Up on a Roof

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Up on a Roof
Most vulnerable spot in your home is right over your head

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Little Cars Tally Big Bumper Bills Texting & Driving How Much Life Insurance Do I Need? FEMA Updating Flood Maps Our Best Rewards

he largest hailstone ever recovered and recorded in the U.S. was a whopping seven-inch chunk of football-shaped ice found in Aurora, Nebraska, on June 22, 2003. No doubt, hailstones of this dimension aren’t an everyday occurrence in most neighborhoods. But damaging hail is more common, with the largest concentration of hailstorms occurring in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In fact, every year about $1 billion in property-casualty hail-related damage is reported across the U.S., according to industry statistics – and one of the most at-risk spots for a homeowner is the roof.
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Little Cars Tally Big Bumper Bills
f you’ve noticed more small vehicles on busy city streets these days, there’s good reason. After all, these minicars and microcars have a lot going for them – they’re affordable, “green,” fuel-efficient and easy to park on city streets. However, recent safety tests by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) are sending up a red flag concerning the popular vehicles’ bumpers. In fact, of seven minicars and microcars tested by the IIHS, none earned the top rating of good, and just one, the Smart Fortwo, earned an acceptable rating. Five out of the seven earned poor ratings and one earned a marginal. More Test Results The Institute evaluated results according to a new ratings protocol for low-speed tests that better represents the damage insurance claims centers assess daily. The worst performer is the Kia Rio, with $9,380 total damage in the four tests; two full-width and two corner impacts earned it a poor rating. The Rio’s repair bill is worse than those of most other small and midsize cars and minivans the Institute has tested. This minicar racked up about $3,700 damage, or 30 percent of its purchase price, in the full-front test alone. The Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and Mini Cooper also earn poor ratings for bumper performance, according to the IIHS report. The Smart Fortwo is best overall, with $3,281 total damage in four tests. Costs are relatively low for this microcar because its prepainted plastic body panels are dent-resistant, inexpensive and easy to replace. The Chevrolet Aveo, a minicar, is next best, with $4,490 total damage.


Better Design Possible “Bumpers can be designed so there’s no damage in these low-speed impacts. At a minimum, repairs should cost less than the typical insurance deductible for a collision, which is $500,” says Institute senior vice president Joe Nolan in an IIHS press release. “This is why we set the benchmark for a good rating at less than $500. Damage at this level may be only cosmetic, so consumers may choose not to bother with repairs.” No vehicle can earn a good or even an acceptable rating in the IIHS bumper tests if it’s unsafe to drive afterward or can’t be driven at all. Inoperable headlights or taillights, severely buckled hoods or a compromised engine cooling system

would prevent any vehicle from achieving the top two ratings. For instance, the Accent’s hood buckled and its radiator hose kinked in the full-front test. New Rating Standards Besides this group of minicars and microcars, the Institute tested 54 other vehicles under the new ratings protocol. The Smart Fortwo joined the Ford Focus and Scion xB as the only cars to earn acceptable ratings. The Aveo was one of 15 to rate marginal. Of the 61 cars the Institute tested as of June 2009, 43 rate poor. “With consumers watching every penny in this shaky economy, no one should have to shell out hundreds and even thousands of dollars to fix damage that shouldn’t happen in

the first place,” Nolan said. “Our new bumper ratings should help streamline the buying process so consumers can zero in on vehicles with good bumpers. At the same time, the ratings should encourage automakers to make improvements that help move cars off their lots.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses – deaths, injuries and property damage – from crashes on the nation’s highways. For more details on the IIHS bumper tests, visit

Bumper performance in low-speed crash tests: MINI AND MICROCAR RATINGS AND REPAIR COSTS
Rating A M P P P P P

Front full $1,480 $1,071 $2,291 $1,688 $1,124 $3,476 $3,701

Front corner $663 $1,437 $2,637 $1,167 $1,216 $839 $1,758

Smart Fortwo Chevrolet Aveo Mini Cooper Toyota Yaris Honda Fit Hyundai Accent Kia Rio

Rear full $631 $1,370 $929 $3,345 $3,648 $2,057 $3,148

Rear WEIGHTED corner AVERAGE $507 $899 $612 $743 $474 $999 $831 $773 $1,155 $1,637 $1,951 $1,960 $2,123 $2,705

Texting & Driving: Deadly Combo
ending text messages while driving is a dangerous habit. In teen vernacular, it’s called a “nobrainer.” Nonetheless, it’s a practice on the rise, with one in four cell phone users admitting to texting while driving, according to a recent consumer study of 5,000 respondents. In addition, accounts of accidents and deaths attributed to text messaging while driving continue to make the news. Although teens are the biggest offenders, drivers of all ages admit to text messaging. In fact, crash statistics surrounding distractions in vehicles, such as texting, are growing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted drivers account for almost 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of nearcrashes in the United States. That’s one reason 14 states and the District of Columbia now have laws banning texting while driving (as of July 2009)


and many more are considering them, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Teens using a driving simulator while sending text messages or searching their MP3s slowed down, wove in and out of their lanes and, in some cases, ran over pedestrians, according to a study presented recently to the Pediatric Academic Societies. The study included 21 subjects between 16 and 18 years of age with at least six months driving experience. Each driver completed four separate 10-minute driving blocks: Undistracted, talking on a cell phone, text messaging and using an MP3

player. The results for the teens sending text messages or fiddling with their MP3 players showed increased “lane position deviation” and speed changes, mostly slowing down. For more information about the specific laws banning or limiting cell phones and text messaging while driving, visit

Up on a Roof

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Tougher Roofs In recent years impact-resistant roofing materials have been developed that far surpass the coverings that were out there even 10 years ago. If you’re considering a new roof, you’ll want to learn more about these options that can minimize damage while protecting your family’s home. The first things to look for, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), are roofing materials tested and approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) with a code of UL 2218. However, that’s not enough; within this standard are four rating categories from Class 4, which is the best, to Class 1, which is the least resistant. Therefore, the best products will be rated UL 2218 Class 4. While you’re at it, also check for the fire-resistance rating of the roofing materials. If products are untested or failed tests, they are listed as “nonrated.” Inspect Your Roof Right now is a great time to check your roof for potential problems. Here are some tips on what to look for – after you’ve carefully secured and climbed your ladder – from the National Roofing Contractors Association: •	 First,	check	for	ceiling	spots	and	any	signs	of	water 	 damage	on	interior	walls,	which	are	usually	a	sign 	 that	your	roof	needs	a	leak	repair.

•	 	 	 	 •	 	 	 	 	 	 	 •	 	 	 	 	 	 •	 	 	 	 	 	

Clean	gutters	and	check	for	excessive	amounts	of shingle	granules	in	your	gutters;	granules	give shingles	added	weight	and	protect	them	from ultraviolet	rays. Inspect	around	chimneys	and	pipes	for	loose materials	or	wear.	Flashing	is	the	material	installed between	your	roof	and	any	wall,	such	as	the	wall of	your	chimney.	If	the	flashing	is	cracked,	it should	always	be	replaced	as	it	could	cause	leaks, especially	if	you	live	in	areas	of	the	country	that receive	heavy	snowfall. Check	shingles	for	buckling,	curling	or	blistering; this	indicates	the	end	of	the	shingles’	life expectancy.	Blistered	shingles	often	are	caused by	inadequate	roof	ventilation.	Also	note	any missing	shingles,	which	are	sometimes	hard to	spot. Make	sure	that	the	gutters	are	leaf-free	because, if	they	aren’t,	drain	outlets	will	dam	up	and rainwater	will	fill	the	gutters,	back	up,	overflow and	eventually	pull	gutters	loose	from	their mountings.	Water	that	pools	in	troughs	will	rot wood	gutters	and	rust	sheet	metal	gutters.


Shingle Evaluation Checklist
Keeping shingles on your house is extremely important. If edge shingles are not well-fastened or extend beyond the drip edge more than the ¼-inch typically recommended for high wind areas, the wind can lift them up and start a peeling process. This domino effect leads to significant loss of roof covering, which can allow water into your home, or worse. To check your shingle strength, the IBHS suggests the following evaluation:

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Inspect a number of shingle tabs and make sure they are well-secured to the roof, particularly along the roof edges. Use the tips of your fingers or thumbs to gently lift up on the edge of the shingle tabs to assess the strength of the adhesive and whether or not the tabs are well-anchored to the shingle below. As long as the shingle is still flexible enough to lift and re-set flat, roofing cement can be applied. To do this with a caulking gun, place three dabs of asphalt cement about the size of a silver dollar under each tab, and press the tab firmly into the adhesive. On gable ends, secure the three shingle tabs closest to the gable edge.

Contact Amica Remember, if you ever experience a homeowners claim – whether it’s a roofing repair or major reconstruction – Amica can help you find the right contractor for the job. Amica’s Homeowner Repair Assistance Program gives you access to a national referral network of more than 2,000 professionally credentialed emergency service and restoration contractors. Your adjuster can answer any questions you may have about the program, or just call us at 800-242-6422 for more information.

he National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) are working together to offer a free online program to help consumers learn more about impact-resistant, steep-slope roof systems. According to an IBHS insurance claims study that involved 320,000 homes that suffered hail damage in a specific region of the country, homes with impact-resistant roofing materials benefitted from a 55 percent


Free Program on Roof Systems
reduction in losses when compared to homes that did not have impactresistant roofs. The program, entitled “Impact-resistant Roofs: Smart Steps to Reduce Hailstorm Damage,” discusses roofing issues and problems associated with hail impact and the benefits of installing impact-resistant roofing products. The program is free and consists of four self-paced learning modules. For more information, or to register for the program, visit


Life insurance can never heal emotional loss, but it will relieve a family’s financial worries.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?


t’s a question customers ask Amica Life representatives quite often. After all, life insurance is different from other insurance products. A car or home has a specific value attached that auto or homeowners insurance can “cover” when a loss occurs, and, in most cases, this type of personal insurance is either mandated by the state or a requirement for a loan or a mortgage. However, no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one – a husband or wife, or a mother or father. “That’s why life insurance becomes a very personal decision that must be considered carefully,” said John Pickel, an assistant vice president at Amica Life. Two Kinds of Loss “Actually, when a person dies, two kinds of loss occur. There’s the emotional loss and the economic loss. Life insurance ensures that a family can deal with this economic loss for as long as needed,” he explained. “It can never heal the emotional losses, but it will relieve the financial worries initially and for years to come.” Another thing that differentiates life insurance from other types of insurance is the large monetary amount of a policy – such as $500,000 or $1,000,000. These are amounts that many families can’t identify with, explained Pickel.

“That’s why we break it down and discuss a family’s needs based on its monthly income and bills – what’s coming in and what’s going out,” said Maryanne St. Jean, an Amica Life training supervisor. “We want them to consider whether they could afford their current lifestyle if income were lost due to the death of a provider.” Commonly, someone looking for insurance will call Amica Life with an idea of how much insurance they’d like to purchase. Often, however, these figures aren’t based on real dollars needed. They simply represent a ballpark figure or a rule of thumb that someone might have suggested, explained Pickel. Pinpointing Your Needs For example, when customers say they’d like to purchase a $100,000 term life insurance policy for 20 years, they are often surprised to learn that this amount translates into only $553 of income per month.¹ If their current monthly income is $1,100, it doesn’t take long to realize that the $100,000 amount won’t go far in providing for a family’s needs. Often, with these misconceptions out of the way, an Amica Life representative can help pinpoint a family’s needs and the right amount of insurance needed.

“These needs vary widely from customer to customer, as income varies from person to person, and that’s why we try to learn as much as we can about our customers,” said St. Jean. She noted that one family with young children may need a strong safety net of long-term life insurance to ensure the children’s needs are met, while another family might have other forms of income to fall back on if a provider passes away. “Our customers must look carefully at their individual needs,” said Pickel. “It’s our job to make sure they have all the information possible to make an informed decision and to provide the right product for the right reason.” When considering life insurance, a “rule of thumb” is a safe starting point. However, when establishing a coverage plan that specifically meets your family’s needs, planning begins with your careful assessment and should include guidance from an Amica Life representative. To review your insurance needs, simply call 800-619-6077 to speak with an Amica Life representative.
¹ Amount of insurance income paid each month assumes principal and interest of 3% is liquidated over 20 years.

FEMA Updating Flood Maps
lood zones are land areas identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that classify their risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zone – it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate or high-risk area. Flood risk can, and does, change over time for many reasons: new development, changes in levee classification, and environmental changes, to name a few. As a result, FEMA is currently updating flood hazard maps across the country. These new flood maps, also known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), show flood risk at a property-by-property level. When new maps are issued, your risk may have changed as well – along with your flood insurance requirements. If your property is mapped out of a highrisk area, your flood insurance costs could decrease. If you’ve been mapped into a high-risk area, you will be required to purchase flood insurance if your mortgage is through a federally regulated or insured lender. If you live near a levee, your flood risk may be higher than you thought. Hundreds of levees across the country

no longer meet federal standards for protection, so when new maps are issued, these areas will be shown as high risk. If you’d like more information about flood risk or to learn when new flood maps will be available in your community, visit, the official Web site for the National Flood Insurance Program.

We’ve Been Busy at
nhancing	and	expanding	our	online	services	at 	 is	one	way	we	respond	to	your	changing	needs	and	deliver	 nationally	recognized	customer	service.	If	you	haven’t	visited	recently,	we	encourage	you	to	do	so.	Here’s	what	 you’ll	find: Online Identification Cards 	 If	you	have	an	auto	insurance	policy,	you	can	now	print	or	 request	copies	of	your	insurance	identification	cards	online.	You	 can	access	this	feature	by	logging	into	your	account	and	then	 selecting	“Insurance	ID	Cards”	from	the	left	side	navigation	 bar.	This	function	is	available	to	auto	customers	in	every	state	 we	service	(restrictions	apply	for	New	Jersey	and	Delaware	 residents). Online Claims Status 	 If	you	have	an	open	claim,	you	can	now	check	on	its	status	 and	the	details,	such	as	the	name	of	the	claims	handler,	the	claims	summary	and	 payment	information.	You	can	access	this	feature	by	logging	into	Manage	Your	Account. More to Come 	 In	the	near	future,	you’ll	have	even	more	management	tools	to	access	your	online	Amica	accounts.	We’re	 redesigning	the	pages	in	an	effort	to	expand	the	range	of	information	we	will	be	sharing	with	you.	Our	goal	is	to	provide	 you	with	the	information	you	need	at	the	click	of	a	mouse. If you have any questions or suggestions about, we’d like to hear from you. E-mail us at


Corporate Office One Hundred Amica Way, Lincoln, Rhode Island Mail: PO Box 6008, Providence, RI 02940-6008 Web site:


11077-022 8506 (10-09)


Cert no. XXX-XXX-000

A Note from Bob DiMuccio:

mica recently earned its 10th top ranking – “Highest Customer Satisfaction Among National Auto Insurers” – in the J.D. Power and Associates’ National Auto Insurance Study. It is our 10th auto insurance award in as many years. Amica also earned high praise for its claims service in a national consumer magazine’s most recent homeowners insurance group survey. Fact is, Amica has earned the magazine’s top rating in all six of its homeowners insurance surveys since 1985. We think that, too, is amazing. Why should you care? After all, these surveys represent the experience of only a small fraction of our customers. However, we believe these results are indicative of what you can expect when you discuss your insurance needs, purchase a policy or present a claim to us.

We recognize our service reputation is earned one customer at a time. That’s why we strive to serve the needs and expectations of each customer, each time. You’ll find our employees to be dedicated insurance professionals who work hard to make sure your customer service experience is as good as those reflected in these award-recognized surveys. We appreciate your willingness to tell others about your experience with Amica – be it through a J.D. Power and Associates survey or a friend or relative. These personal recommendations have been at the core of our growth. For more than 100 years, our best rewards have come from you. Your thank-you notes and stories about your Amica experiences – of loss and renewal, of hopelessness and regained strength, of thoughtless tragedy and surprising kindness – will always be the real indicators of our success. Thank you for choosing Amica as your insurance company. And keep letting us know how we can serve you better. Best regards,

Robert A. DiMuccio Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Amica received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2000-2009 National Auto Insurance Satisfaction StudiesSM. 2009 based on 22,930 responses from policyholders of 32 insurance carriers, who were surveyed from March-April 2009 about their experiences and perceptions.

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