Archive for PA

Insurance Companies Pay Out Big for Dog Bites

Duncan Financial GroupInsurance companies shelled out $479 million to pay for dog bites last year, up from $413 million in 2010.

One company alone, State Farm, paid more than $109 million in Homeowner claims related to bites. California – which has more people and dogs than any other state – led the nation with 527 State Farm claims costing more than $20 million, followed by Illinois, Texas, and Ohio. The nationwide average claim was $28,800.

Dogs bite some 4.7 million Americans a year, nearly half of them children, Nearly 400,000 of these bites require medical treatment – and an average of 16 result in death.

Children age 5 to 9 are the group most likely to be bitten. The ASPCA predicts that one of every two children in the U.S. will suffer a dog bite before he or she turns 12, in most cases by their own dog or a pooch owned by a friend or neighbor. Seniors are the next most vulnerable group, followed by mail carriers. Dogs bit some 5,600 USPS carriers in each of each of the past two years, costing the Postal Service more than $1 million worth of medical bills in 2011.

Heredity, socialization, training, physical condition, and activities of humans can all affect the animal’s propensity to bite. Because children are by far the group most vulnerable to dog bites (a child is 900 times more likely to be attacked than a letter carrier) the ASPCA recommends that youngsters should never:

  • Maintain eye contact with a dog
  • Go near a chained canine
  • Approach or touch a dog who is eating, sleeping, or off-leash
  • Scream or run if an off-leash dog approaches
  • Pet a dog without asking its caregiver for permission (it’s wise to have the animal sniff your closed hand first – many dogs perceive an open hand as threatening)
  • Approach a dog from above its eye level
For more information on protecting yourself and others from possible liability, contact Duncan Financial Group and ask about reviewing your Homeowners Policy or getting Umbrella Coverage to cover the possibility of dog bites–even if they are accidental!

Teen Drinking = Insurance Issues

Duncan Financial GroupSummertime is no school time for teenagers and parents taking vacation, leaving their children unsupervised. Unfortunately, these events often become occasions for teens to drink alcohol. Teens at unsupervised parties risk harming themselves and others when they drink. Parents who host these parties might bear responsibility for what happens there and for injuries or damages occurring after the guests leave. Although their Liability insurance might cover any financial damages, the circumstances of the accident determine which policy will respond, and this will affect how much coverage the parents have.

Assume that a guest consumes several beers at the party, drives off in his car, and gets into an accident, injuring himself and a passenger. The parents of both injured teens sue the parents who hosted the party, who in turn notify their Homeowners insurance company. However, the policy’s personal liability coverage does not apply to an insured person’s legal liability for:

  • The occupancy, operation, or use of a motor vehicle by any person
  • The entrustment of a motor vehicle by the insured person to anyone else
  • The insured person’s failure to supervise or negligent supervision of any person using a motor vehicle
  • The actions of a minor involving a motor vehicle.

Because of this, the Homeowners policy will not cover the parents’ liability or defense costs. Their Personal Auto insurance policy might cover them, however. The policy’s liability insurance covers the individuals named on the policy and household residents who are their relatives for their liability for bodily injury from an accident arising out of the use of any auto. Therefore, even though the parents were not actually operating the vehicle involved in the accident, their policy will cover their liability. In addition, the auto policy that applies to the car involved in the accident (the guest’s insurance, or, more likely, his parents’) will also cover the hosts’ liability for the passenger’s injuries. The hosts’ policy will step in if the owners’ policy either does not apply or pays out its maximum limit of insurance.

Now assume that the guest consumes the beer, but a sober guest gives him a ride home. Rather than go straight to bed, the young man goes for a swim in his parents’ pool and drowns. His parents sue the hosts, alleging that his judgment was impaired because the hosts allowed him to drink. In this situation, the homeowner’s policy should pay for the hosts’ liability and legal defense. Because this accident did not involve a motor vehicle, and no other policy provisions that would remove coverage apply, the policy will cover this claim.

Although one policy or the other might apply to a liquor liability claim, there could be significant differences between the amounts of coverage the two policies provide. Most homeowner’s policies provide personal liability coverage of at least $100,000 for each occurrence; many provide limits of $300,000 or $500,000. Auto policies might provide much less coverage. Most states have laws setting the minimum amounts of liability coverage that an auto policy might provide, but those limits are relatively small. For example, New York law requires minimum limits of $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people (higher amounts apply for death claims.) Should a young person become seriously injured or killed, the damages claimed could well exceed these amounts. Parents should consider buying as much liability insurance as they can afford; they should also think about buying an umbrella policy, which pays for damages that surpass the amounts payable under homeowner’s and auto policies.

Of course, the best course of action is to properly supervise parties, so that everyone has a good time and lives to have another one someday.

For more information on y0ur Auto or Homeowners Policy, contact Duncan Financial Group today!

What is Homeowners Insurance?

Duncan Financial Group

Homeowners insurance is an insurance policy that protects you financially in the event that your home and property is damaged in a covered peril, or in the event of a covered lawsuit.

Perils that are typically covered by a standard home insurance policy include fire, wind, lightning, hail and theft. While no one plans on losing their home or possessions to any of these perils, it unfortunately happens every day. Ask yourself this: If your home was ever destroyed in a fire, for example, how would you pay to rebuild your home? That’s where your homeowners insurance comes in.

Homeowners insurance protects the investment you have made in your home by providing you with coverage for specific hazards.

But your home insurance doesn’t stop there. In the event that someone was filing a lawsuit against you for accidental damage you caused to their property, how would you pay for the costly legal fees? Standard homeowners insurance also contains liability coverage that protects you and your family against lawsuits where another party finds you liable for damage to their property or person.

For more information please contact us at (724) 863-3420

What and Who Needs Worker’s Compensation?

What is Worker’s Comp?

Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws on handling claims submitted by employees who are injured on the job. These laws are strict liability – fault and negligence by the employer are not considered in order to collect benefits. Punitive damages are not available to the employee. The legal defenses available in a civil action such as comparative negligence and assumption of the risk are not available to the employer in workers’ compensation.

However, the injury or illness has to be incurred in the course of employment in order for the workers’ compensation system to provide benefits to the injured worker. Workers’ compensation is generally the exclusive remedy for an employee’s injuries or illnesses arising out of the course of employment. It is typically required by the state for every employee – although state law may provide for specific exemptions for officers/owners, small companies (those with three/four/five or fewer employees), domestic workers, farm hands, and independent contractors.

We provide honest service that can be customized for your Insurance needs. Contact Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania at 724-863-3420.

Downtown Irwin Ethnic Food Festival & Craft Show June 9th, 2012

Downtown Irwin Ethnic Food Festival & Craft Show June 9th, 2012

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Contact Duncan Financial Group today for more community events for the whole family!
Duncan Financial Group
311 Main Street Irwin, PA

Our Business Review

Duncan Financial Group
311 Main Street Irwin, PA
Parking in front and back
Edward K.  Irwin,  PA
I have known the Duncan family for many years. They are honest, hard working, helpful, and they give me the best products to fit my needs.  You might be able to find a company that might save you a few dollars on your insurance but will they be there for you when it counts. Or tell you they will get you a large return on you investments.  The proof of a good reliable company is in their past history. Duncan Financial has done that for me.
Janice S.  New Stanton,  PA
The insurance team is always available, prepared, and professional and friendly
Duncan Financial Group is well respected in the community and Mary Rodman has been instrumental
in maintaining an open understanding  with my insurance needs. Thank you, Mary, for wonderful service!
Jayson M.  Pittsburgh,  PA
I have been with Duncan for years. My family has used them for as long as I can remember. My agent is amazing, and I know she always has my best interest in mind. When I moved to Pittsburgh, she helped me write an insurance policy that was right for me. Any time I’m looking for help, she’s there.
Taylor D.  Irwin,  PA
They got me more coverage – great value. They were recommended to me and I am glad they represent me. They helped me consolidate policies from different companies.

Want to write a testimonial? Check out our happy customer survey and get in touch directly with The Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania and tell us what you think of our service!

Main: 724-863-3420

311 Main Street

Irwin, PA 15642

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

Insurance Tips to Help You Save Money

Are you tired of brown-bagging your lunch? Are you sick of staying at home for vacation? One easy way to make the most of your money is to take a look at your Car Insurance. Auto insurance represents a significant annual expense to most people and these tips could save you hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars.


1. Don’t put it off

Auto insurance rates go up and down — by hundreds of dollars a year. This is why you should compare rates often. But how often is enough? I recommend you should compare your rate when the following events happen in your life.

* Your premium goes up
* You’re unhappy with your service
* You buy a new car
* You move
* Your marital status changes
* You add a new driver to your policy
* Your salary or assets increase
* Two years pass since you last compared rates.

2. Be ready

Getting a quote for Car Insurance is easy. In fact, you can get a quote request from Duncan Financial Group right here on our blog. Before you get started, make sure you have the following information available:

* Year, make, model and VIN of each car you’re insuring
* Your annual mileage and distance to work
* Type of alarm or theft recovery device
* Name, occupation, gender, number of years licensed, and Driver’s License number of each household member old enough to drive.

3. Make sure you’re getting what you need

Before you get started, take a look at your current auto policy and make sure it’s giving you the level of protection you want or need. Consider increasing your deductible to lower your rate. Or increasing your liability limits to cover your new home or new income level. If you have an older car find out what it is worth. It may be wise to drop collision coverage and save some money.

Duncan Financial Group has many ways we can help you make shopping for Insurance easier. We have a quote request system  right here on our blog that will immediate comparative quotes, great customer service that is here for your specific needs, and the team of professionals you need standing behind you.

Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?

Prepare Your Children For Gatherings: Eliminate unnecessary anxiety associated with family gatherings. Look through photos of relatives the day before your event. Play memory games matching names to faces. This will help your children feel more comfortable with people they may not have seen in a while. Aunt Mary won’t seem quite so scary when she bends down to greet your child.

Write Things Down: Getting the constant chatter and lists out of your head decreases stress and anxiety. Kids love making lists. Give them a clip board or dry erase board. Assign them each a list. This will help you relax and help your children feel involved. Make sure they write “take a deep breath” and “laugh” somewhere on your list.

Incorporate Affirmations/Positive Statements Into Your Thanksgiving Dinner: This is empowering and reflective. Have each person at the table can state an attribute of their own that they are thankful for. For example, “I am thankful that I am creative.” Feeling stressed? Try, “I am thankful that I am calm.” Your special needs child can prepare ahead with a drawing or sign language if they want to participate without speaking.

Experience the Duncan Financial Group difference. Contact us for all of your insurance needs!

Duncan Financial Group
311 Main Street
Irwin, PA 15642
Tel: (724) 863-3420
Toll free: (888) 383-3420

Does Volunteering Your Time Mean Volunteering Your Insurance?

Millions of Americans donate time—their most valuable asset—to serve as a volunteer board member on non-profits, booster clubs, churches, PTAs and civic organizations, just to name a few. The decisions these folks make can have a dramatic impact on their respective organization—and not always for the better. If a volunteer endeavor goes bad, would a volunteer board member have coverage against a lawsuit under his or her homeowner’s policy?


Homeowners’ Insurance
The last thing volunteers want to consider is what would happen if their favored organization file suit against them as a result of their efforts. But it happens, and not infrequently. This does happen, especially when volunteers make decisions that directly influence the finances of an organization. Often, the only insurance these volunteers have to back their efforts is a homeowner’s policy. Unfortunately, this policy may be of little assistance.

The reason homeowners’ policies do not usually cover liability stemming from actions as a volunteer is the nature of the claim. The policy is designed to cover claims of “bodily injury,” such as someone slipping on cracked pavement in your driveway; and/or “property damage,” such as accidentally setting your neighbor’s house ablaze when burning some brush on a windy day.

Claims against board members do not usually involve bodily injury or property damage. Rather, they involve bad decision making that results in financial loss to the organization, such as the decision to invest in an IT system that turns out to be a debacle, costing the organization tremendous time and money.

There is another problem. Homeowners policies do not cover “professional services.” This is important to note, because board members are often asked to serve in a capacity consistent with their profession. For example, a church member who is a CPA may be asked to serve on the church’s board as finance chairman. Even though he is not paid for his services, the “professional services” exclusion under his homeowner’s policy would still apply.

In addition to the above, homeowners policies do not cover claims of personal injury unless this coverage is specifically added. Personal injury insurance is added to the homeowner’s policy to cover claims such as libel, slander, wrongful eviction, and false advertising.

What to Do
Events causing claims are unpredictable. While the reasons shown above prove it’s unlikely, not all claims against volunteer board members are excluded by a homeowners policy. Decisions to purchase personal injury coverage and a personal umbrella policy will increase your ability to find coverage for a suit against you.

The best method for insuring the actions of board members is for the organization to purchase a Directors and Officers (D&O) liability policy. These policies are relatively inexpensive for most non-profits. Before volunteering, request information on the organization’s D&O policy. The absence of this insurance leaves you at risk of having no personal insurance to defend a suit brought against you by the organization and should influence your decision to serve.

Duncan Financial Group
311 Main Street
Irwin, PA 15642
Tel: (724) 863-3420
Toll free: (888) 383-3420