John M. Duncan, Jr

John DuncanJohn M. Duncan, Jr. has been President of Duncan Insurance Group, a division of Duncan Financial Group, LLC since 1997.  He originally joined the company in 1983 as a property and casualty producer.  His credentials include recognition as a Certified Insurance Counselor as well as a Certified WorkComp Advisor.  He also serves as President of the Norwin Public Library’s Board of Trustees, as well as holds a seat on the Board of Directors for Keystone Insurers Group and Norwin Chamber of Commerce.  John graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Business Management.

To contact John Duncan, please call 724-863-3420, ext. 3311 or email him at jduncan@duncangrp.com.

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Keeping Insurance Values Up-To Date

A Quick Insurance Review

Let’s start with some basics about how insurance works. Insurance protects people and companies against major financial losses that occur because of damage of loss of property. Insurance companies determined premiums by taking into account the risks associated with the business. The amount of coverage they need to be fully protected, their past history and statistics that predict what percentage of businesses will suffer a loss or file a claim. The amount of property insurance coverage is based on the cost to rebuild and restore your business, not market value.

The rising cost of rebuilding

In recent years, we’ve experienced devastating weather events at home and worldwide. In 2011 alone, the U.S. experienced $12.3 billion in insured losses from 100 significant events, many unprecedented and unexpected. Some decimated entire communities. And, experts predict that severe weather will likely continue.

Add to that, skyrocketing building costs. As communities here and abroad rebuild, the demand for building materials and labor has intensified, driving up prices. For example, in the fifteen months between the second quarter 2010 and third quester 2011 the following materials increased significantly:

Insurance-To-Value (ITV)

Insurance-to-value is a critical element of any well-constructed property insurance program. If you are your agent or broker keep values up-to-date, this can protect your business by providing you with the coverage you need should a major loss occur.

Traveler’s gas easy-to-use tools that will help you and your agent or broker address this issue. For more information about our ITV and Business Income worksheets talk to you agent or broker.

At Duncan Financial, can help you find what coverage you need to feel most comfortable. Also being an independent insurance agency gives us the capability to write with multiple carriers. Call us today for a customizable package to fit your life style.

A History of the Home of Duncan Financial Group

A small town, Irwin, Pennsylvania, was settled first by Mattias Cowan in 1761. However, the true founder of Irwin was Colonel John Irwin, an Ireland native and fur trader. He and his son led the construction of what is now Route 30 from Greensburg West through Irwin. The primary landmark in Irwin at this time was Fort Walthour, located in what is now North Huntingdon Square.

North Huntingdon Township was officially formed in 1773 when Westmoreland County was divided into eleven townships.

The 1800s in North Huntingdon Township were marked by the entrance of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Westmoreland Coal Company in 1852. Many immigrants settled in Irwin to work in the mines, and in 1890, building lots were established in North Irwin to start the residential community for families.

The 1900s brought much change for Irwin. For the most part, at the beginning of the 1900s, Irwin revolved around mines and small industries, but remained a largely agricultural and residential community. However, the thirties brought change for the working men in the community as the Jersey Cereal Company and the mines closed. World War I was over and the Great Depression had reached Irwin. It was a hard time for the people of Irwin, but they supported each other and kept strong as a community.

Fortunately, the business district thrived after a bypass of Route 30 was built to run right through North Huntingdon Township. The community worked hard throughout the week, and then they continued to bring more business to Irwin’s stores by taking their families to downtown Irwin on Saturday nights for their one night of relaxation. To further help business matters, a Turnpike exit was built in Irwin in 1940.

With the Turnpike exit, along came more accessible cars that kept the business district running. Drive-In movie theaters also came onto the scene, providing for a change from the Saturday nights spent in downtown Irwin. Things soon changed in the Irwin district with the Vietnam War in the sixties. Social change came with new fashion, politics, and music. The social changes were not all happy, though. Irwin lost fourteen of its men in battle during the Vietnam War.

With Woodstock ending the era of social generation, a new time was brought to Irwin. Families changed with the beginning of nuclear families. However, with the loss of family to other parts of the country, people became more dependable on their neighbors, thus strengthening an already strong Irwin community. The seventies also gave birth to latch-key children as mothers ventured into the workforce. Additionally, many community activities and leagues were developed with children and families attending more community events and going to the community pools that had been built.

From the eighties on, a new generation was born in Irwin. This generation has been forced to deal with many realities that no other generation had to deal with. However, the current generations in Irwin have much pride in their small and caring community. Despite all the societal changes, Irwin has managed to stay a strong, safe community that has just the right interdependence between residential and business areas. Irwin is a great small town that holds all the values of America, both old and new.

Stop in at Duncan Financial Group today to get the full flavor of Irwin, Pennsylvania. Our history rich company would love the opportunity to compete for your insurance needs. Contact us today!

Insuring Tokens of Affection and Other Precious Possessions

It’s the time of year when romance is in the air, but tender feelings could prove costly for couples who are moving toward marriage. According to one industry survey, the average price of a new engagement ring was $5,200 in 2010, and 12% of couples spent more than $8,000. For young couples starting their lives together, an engagement ring may be one of their most valuable possessions.

Do you have cherished jewelry or other items that would be expensive (or impossible) to replace? Most homeowners, condominium, and renters policies have limited coverage for your personal property. Adding an endorsement (or floater) to your policy (or a separate personal property policy) may provide additional coverage for especially valuable articles.

Pricey Personal Property

Basic homeowners, condo, and renters policies commonly have a maximum coverage limit for the combined value of certain property. Theft of jewelry, for example, may be limited to $1,000 or $1,500. There are other disadvantages to the personal property coverage in standard policies, including the fact that they generally protect you only from certain incidents (damage or accidental loss are typically excluded) and may be subject to a high deductible.

A Scheduled Personal Property, or SPP, endorsement to your homeowners, condominium, or renters policy can be customized to cover single items or a class of luxury goods, and it typically covers more incidents (except those that are specifically excluded), including theft, mysterious disappearance, and sudden, accidental loss. Examples of classes of personal property other than jewelry include silverware, computers, cameras, sporting goods, guns, musical instruments, fine art and antiques, coin or stamp collections, and other valuable collectibles.

So if your golf clubs never make it back from Hawaii, your diamond engagement ring is lost in the ocean, or your notebook computer accidentally takes a tumble, an SPP endorsement could help you recover the full replacement value, up to your policy limits. And your claim could be subject to little or no deductible.

Duncan Financial is here for you and your family no matter what part of your life you are in. We change as you need. Stop in or contact us today to find out what else we can do for you.

Insurance to Value: Homeowners Beware

Housing values have plummeted throughout the United States.

 

The pace of existing-home sales dropped more than 8 percent from January 2008 to January 2009, reported the National Association of Realtors. Home values declined for 76 percent of all U.S. homes during 2008, estimated Zillow.com. And housing prices have fallen in 70 percent of all metro areas over the past several years, according to Moody’s Economy.com. What’s more, the rate of new-home construction is now at its lowest in 50 years, noted the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Duncan Financial also sees what’s not going down, though, is the cost of rebuilding and repairing houses. Construction costs rose by more than 4 percent between 2007 and 2008, according to a report in Best’s Review magazine citing Reed Construction Data figures.

Rising reconstruction prices are contrary to the economic news of recent months. And it’s contrary to consumers’ expectations that lower home values should mean lower homeowner’s coverage is needed.

What’s more, homeowners are already cutting back on insurance expenses. Nearly one in four households already have changed their insurance coverage in the past year to reduce costs, according to a recent survey by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) and local Trusted Choice® member agencies.

With these conflicting pressures, what should a homeowner do? The first thing: Recall what homeowners insurance is designed to do.

Insurance should “make whole” the policyholder after loss or damage to the home from an unforeseen event such as a fire, lightning strike or windstorm. In the case of rebuilding a home, “making whole” means rebuilding the same or similar structure.

When a home is damaged or destroyed, there are several issues that factor into its repair or replacement cost:

  • Debris must be removed and discarded.
  • Lumber, concrete, and other building materials are in demand on the worldwide market, even if demand is slumping in the United States.
  • Building materials are purchased for just one home, not on a large-scale basis as is for most housing developments.
  • fuel costs, a big part of construction costs, are higher than just a few years ago.
  • Natural disasters in the United States have left a shortage of building materials and labor in certain areas.
  • Homeowners want to get back into their home as quickly as possible, and speed drives up costs.

Does Travel Insurance Provide Coverage For Catastrophes

Duncan Financial Group

When booking a vacation, many people wonder whether or not it is truly worth the added expense to purchase a travel insurance package, and whether or not it will cover them in case of a disaster such as what occurred on the Costa Concordia.

Cruise passengers did indeed benefit from their protection when they were evacuated from the ship. While they waited for Costa Cruise Lines to provide their assistance, those who had purchased travel insurance were already served by the insurers who relayed messages back to the loved ones of the travelers, replaced identification documents (as many of the passports were left behind on the ship) and quickly arranged flights for the passengers to return home again.

The most common policy sold for vacationers on that trip cost about 5 to 7% of the total vacation cost. Its coverage included trip interruption and cancellation, as well as emergency evacuation, medical expenses, and baggage protection.

The covered passengers on the Costa Concordia were reimbursed for any of the emergency medical evacuation and medical expenses that they faced. Their policies also included $10,000 for Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage.

Some of the people who were evacuated from the ship will also likely make claims for their baggage protection benefits in order to be reimbursed for their lost personal items. That said, Carnival Corp., the parent company of Costa Cruise Lines, will also be “addressing personal possessions lost on board.” according to a statement they released.

It’s clear that regardless of any compensation that will be provided by the cruise line, those passengers who insured themselves before leaving on their vacations were provided with peace of mind and assistance that made it much easier to cope with the disaster.

You never know when disaster is going to strike. Do the one thing you can to keep you and your family protected from the unexpected, call Duncan Financial Group today to see what we can do for you.

Are You Prepared for Space Travel?

Duncan Financial GroupIt’s predicted that this year will bring the first commercial flights into space, and with them, those space tourists will also be purchasing travel insurance to provide them with additional coverage for their trips.

Among the leading space tourism companies is Virgin Galactic, which is offering coverage directly through its Web site, although though these travelers can also speak with their travel agents if they want to obtain the coverage they need, just as they would for any other type of traditional vacation.

The ultra-wealthy have already been taking space flights aboard a Russian rocket to the International Space Station (at a hefty price of tens of millions of dollars per trip), However, Virgin Galactic’s trips are being offered at a much more “affordable” rate of $200,000 per seat.

The experience includes a trip aboard a rocket ship which will travel just beyond the barrier into space and will feature a full five minutes of feeling weightless. The entire trip takes about two and a half hours.

Virgin Galactic isn’t the only one in this market; two other specialty airlines are also taking their first steps into space tourism, including accepting deposits for reservations for flights into space.

Allianz,will offer a space travel insurance product this year. According to one of 58 of Virgin Galactic’s accredited space agents in the U.S., and the president of Saratoga, California-based Alpine Travel, Lynda Turley Garrett, “Just to be able to sell space travel as a regular part of your business;; really, just how cool is that?”

Space travel coverage will include a number of different potential risks, such as medical issues before or after travel, and last-minute cancellations.

This may be coverage of the future, but Duncan Financial Group presently is helping thousands of people with feeling comfortable with their insurance policies. Find comfort today, call Duncan Financial Group today.

The Insurance Geek™ on Motorcycle Injuries:

Biker at rally“Mr. Dodge,”

“I am a 50-something whose kids are grown and whose wife has no more objections to my buying a Harley. I read one of your columns in your blog about the young bike rider and his attempts to get to his parents underinsured coverage. I live in Pennsylvania. I know that I cannot get motorcycle Personal Injury Protection coverage in case I get hurt, but am I correct in saying that I can go after my Supplemental Uninsured Motorists coverage if I exhaust the other driver’s liability coverage? I know it sounds morbid, but in my younger days I had a bike and was hit a couple times by idiots that couldn’t see stop signs. Thanks for your help.”

Here is the response:

“Not morbid at all; people need to think about these things. If the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is exhausted by your medical bills, you should be able to collect benefits under the SUM coverage on your bike. So, if your medical bills are $250,000 and the driver who hits you only bought $50,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, the SUM coverage on your bike should pick up the amount over $50,000, subject to the amount of SUM coverage you bought. If you bought $100,000, that’s the most it will pay.”

For more information on how to obtain coverage for injuries sustained while operating your Motorcycle contact Duncan Financial Group today.

Used with permission from http://insurancegeek.typepad.com/ask_tim/

Digital Content Piracy – Latest News

With the recent explosion of SOPA and PIPA in the news media this week, the term “digital content piracy” has received a ton of exposure and left many people wondering if they themselves are guilty of this very crime.

An online pirate is anyone who reproduces the work of another without authorization to do so. Ever downloaded a song from Napster, Limewire or BitTorrent? How about when you burned that DVD so you could have your own copy?  These works are protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Most people who download these types of content without permission from the copyright owner think that they could never get caught. Or, they believe the site they downloaded the material from is the guilty party. This is so far from true. Not only can you get caught, but you can personally be faced with a massive lawsuit.

Did you know that every time you download or upload content, your computer’s IP address can be traced directly back to you?

In a famous recent case, Voltage Pictures went after 24,000 people who downloaded a copy of the film Hurt Locker from a bit torrent website. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were required to give up the names of the users who downloaded the content and lawyers began knocking on doors. The Copyright Group demanded payment from the content pirates each between $3,000 and $5,000 to avoid being sued for $150,000. Voltage ended up taking 5,000 of the accused pirates to court.

These “content pirates” were everyday people just like me and you. They were not executives at YouTube or the CEO of Napster. They were our neighbors, cousins, babysitters and friends.

So, can you be sued for downloading copyrighted material from the web? The answer is yes. You can be caught and held liable. And since “content piracy” is not listed as a covered peril on a personal liability insurance policy- I wouldn’t depend on your liability coverage to help you with the legal costs.

Every good decision starts with a little discernment. Start with protecting yourself the things you can’t control, accidents, storms, life happens.

So call Duncan Financial Group today and find out how you can start making good decisions.