Considering a Separate Policy for Your Teen? Officer Poer’s Teen Driver Safety Article: Should Your Teen Drive During Family Vacation?

Whether your teen should drive during vacation is a tough decision that most parents face. Depending on whether your teen would be driving a rental car or the family car only complicates the decision, unless the rental car insurance excludes teen driver.

I am a proponent of helping your teen get as much experience as possible behind the wheel with a calm and competent parent. You need to carefully choose the best times for your teen and you to drive in a new location. If this experience is further complicated by driving an unfamiliar vehicle, you need to be very selective about the times your teen drives.

If your teen is the only child on the trip, and both parents have ridden with him frequently and calmly in the past, then you should map out the areas on the journey that you think would help him gain valuable experience. If your teen is one of several children that are in the car, I would restrict his driving to times when short trips with a parent are possible.

Most vehicles now have a GPS or your teen may be accustomed to using his phone for instructions. At least one parent should be monitoring these instructions as well since, in an unfamiliar setting, your teen may turn sooner than appropriate.

I believe the safest approach is for a parent who is familiar with the route they plan to take to be in the passenger seat and preparing your teen for the next turn by giving him adequate notice to adjust both his position and speed. This parent should stay off of their cell phone (except for directions) so that they are not distracted and giving directions at the last minute.

Driving in unfamiliar areas can cause you to inadvertently speed; so help your teen watch for changes in speed limits and other conditions that may be unfamiliar to him. Don’t ever ask your teen to drive when you are in a hurry to get to your destination. This will cause both of you to be overly stressed and not make good decisions.

I wish you a fun and safe vacation and summer!



Compliments of Your Local Family and Teen Driver Protection Specialist –

Russ Lowry
President & CEO
Oklahoma Insurance Group, Inc.

24/7 Online Help

Considering a Separate Policy for Your Teen? Officer Poer’s Teen Driver Safety Article: Should Your Teen Drive During Family Vacation?

Occasionally parents who have new teen drivers in their household ask me about the pros and cons of placing their son or daughter on a separate policy. This usually is a reaction to learning how much their premiums are going to increase when they add the child to their policy. They think by separating the teen and his car from their other vehicles, they’ll pay less in premium.

While there may be circumstances where this should be considered, normally I advise them NOT to do so. When you separate the teen and his car from the rest of the family, assuming the family has a good driving history, you’re going to end up paying an even higher premium on the teen driver’s car because it won’t qualify for any of the discounts you may qualify for on your other policies, such as a multi-car discount (can be up to 25%), a home/auto discount, or your good credit discount.

Additionally you will have to buy insurance from a ‘high-risk’ insurer. These companies typically charge rates that are more than double the rates of a standard carrier.

But that is only part of the problem. The bigger issue is that you typically can’t buy limits that are high enough for a teen driver from ‘high-risk’ insurance companies.

If your child causes an accident that exceeds these limits, you will most likely be personally sued by the injured parties. In most states, as long as your child is considered a dependent, you will find yourself potentially liable.

Another potential problem with titling a car in your teen’s name and placing him on a separate policy is the potential confusion about coverage when another family member drives the teen’s car. If this is done on a regular basis, and the family member is not a named insured on the teen’s policy you could unknowingly have gaps in your coverage.

The smartest way to insure your teen driver is on your policy with the highest liability limits available. Depending on your financial situation, you probably should also have an umbrella.

Call our office and we’ll be happy to discuss your particular situation and find the best rates and coverage for you and your family.


Compliments of Your Local Family and Teen Driver Protection Specialist –

Russ Lowry
President & CEO
Oklahoma Insurance Group, Inc.

24/7 Online Help

Business insurance requirements are similar to your average state car insurance requirements. Basic liability is required by many landlords (though not all) in a lease agreement, protecting them in the event that they face lawsuits from customers who are injured on their property, among other legal claims. But it’s up to the individual business owners to decide how much insurance they want to buy to cover their inventory and equipment in case of an accident.

Big box stores such as Target, Starbucks and Apple use their deep pockets to buy policies that cover the entire chain for losses stretching into the millions of dollars, according to Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communication at the Insurance Information Institute.

But for smaller businesses, the amount of coverage can vary widely in terms of deductibles and dollar limits, depending on the type of business, the value of the inventory and the depth of an owner’s pockets. Since landlords don’t require businesses to insure their inventory and equipment against loss, some local owners will forego covering it to save money, then in the case of an accident they are left to cover all of the losses and repair costs on their own.

The Good News, for businesses that purchase property coverage, it usually includes losses from civil disturbances. For those who are insured, packages that include liability and property coverage can be very affordable especially when you compare the total loss of inventory and/or equipment.

It’s based on your risk, for example restaurants, whose kitchens pose fire risks, may have to pay for insurance covering their equipment at a higher rate than an office with little exposure. A small office can get coverage for as little as 500.00 a year for liability and property coverage.

Some leases place the repair of glass on the tenants but many insurance companies offer plate glass coverage as a rider on their policies.  It helps to read your lease carefully to understand what you are responsible for and what you need coverage on.

Until this weekend, the two most costly civil disturbances in the nation’s history occurred in Watts in 1965 and Los Angeles in 1992.

The 1992 unrest was the most costly in U.S. history, causing an estimated $1.4 billion in property damage in today’s dollars, according to the data analytics provider Verisk Analytics and the Insurance Information Institute. The Watts unrest resulted in $357 million in damage, similarly accounting for inflation.

The cost of this week’s unrest has yet to be tallied — but in many cases, businesses will have coverage and be able to survive the damage.

If you haven’t review your lease and policy, if you have any questions please call our office at 405-701-5368 or email us, Mendi is our office manager and will help make sure you are taken care of.


Russ Lowry, President
Oklahoma Insurance Group, Inc.


My Safeco Auto Refund


Hello Russell,

Your Personal Auto Customer Relief Refund of $107.00 is currently being processed. A check has been mailed to you and should arrive in 7-10 business days.

The easiest way to view your refund once posted and update your future billing preferences is through the Safeco app.

What is the Personal Auto Customer Relief Refund?

  • As a personal auto insurance customer, you are receiving a 15% refund on two months of your auto premium, based on your premium amount as of April 7, 2020.
  • Through this program we’ll return approximately $250 million to our customers.

For the latest information on how we’re helping our customers, visit

State(s) affected: All

Product(s) Auto, Classic Car, Condo, Earthquake, Home warranty, Homeowners, Landlord Protection, Motorcycle-Off-Road, Pet Insurance, RV, Renters, Umbrella, Watercraft
We at Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance are here for you and your customers. Effective March 23, 2020 we introduced a countrywide 60-day billing leniency policy for Safeco personal lines and Liberty Mutual small commercial customers which has now been extended through June 15. This means that from March 23 through June 15, 2020, we are holding all non-pay cancellations.

What you need to know

  • During this timeframe billing will continue, but policies will not go into a non-pay status.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Recurring Credit Card (RCC) and Payroll Deduct customers will be billed as normal. If customers change to direct bill for any reason, they’ll follow the standard direct bill processes.
  • Late fees will not be applied.
  • All return fees for insufficient funds will be waived.

Please continue to check our COVID-19 agent resource page on Safeco Now® for additional information.

To view this from the source, go here

In today’s post I wanted to show you a copy of what you should have received or will be receiving from your insurance company on your two month refund for auto insurance.

Here is my personal email from Progressive, I still haven’t received anything from Safeco but they are rolling out slowly due to the amount of people so I will post as soon as I get it. Then I checked and the credit card I used to pay my bill was refunded the next day after this email.


Dear Russ,

As part of our Apron Relief Program, we issued you a premium credit for Policy #xxxxxxxxx on 05/14/2020.

Your credit amount

This amount represents a 20% credit of your premium for the month of April. If you keep your personal auto policy active through the end of May, you’ll have another premium credit coming your way—that credit will be issued sometime in June. Check out our premium credit FAQs for more info.

The Progressive app is the best way to stay up to date on all your policy details, including your premium credit. You’ll see your credit listed in your billing history, but here’s a preview of how we applied it:

  • Credits will first be applied to any past due balances. If you don’t have any, then the credit will be applied to your next bill. Or, in the case that your renewal is in process, then your credit will be applied to your renewal payment.
  • If you’ve already paid in full, we’ll return the credit amount to you directly. If your most recent payment came from a personal credit card or bank account, we’ll return your credit to that same card or account. If you used a different payment method (like PayPal or Apple Pay), we’ll send you a check.
  • If you’ve canceled your policy, then we’ll mail you a check in the amount of your credit.

This premium credit is just one of the ways we’re giving back during this difficult time—learn more about the Apron Relief Program on our website.

Stay safe, and thanks for choosing Progressive.

Inside This Month’s Driver’s Seat, The Most Costly Mistake Parents Make Officer Poer’s Teen Driver Safety Article:  The Dangers of Summertime Driving


In last month’s issue, I covered Mistake Number Two, Lowering Liability Limits to Save Money.

Today I’m going to tell you about the most costly mistake parents make. Using an insurance company employee as an agent– Don’t trust your hard-earned dollars with someone that works directly for one insurance company. This agent isn’t in a position to be impartial about your protection or saving you money. Their loyalty is with the company they represent.

You need an agent that will help you find ways to save money- even if it means splitting up your coverage with multiple companies. A company employee can’t do that. They only have one insurance company and one option to offer.

The only insurance agent that can truly look out for your best interests is an independent agent. An independent agent works for you and will go to bat for you- especially when you have a claim.

Insurance is a very technical business. Policies, coverage, endorsements, exclusions. I’ve studied the details: auto insurance companies with the best rates, the most discounts and the best claims service.

If you want an agent that understands the insurance needs of families with teen drivers, works for YOU- not an insurance company and will work diligently to deliver you the best protection at the lowest cost, call my office for an instant quote on your coverage.

The Dangers of Summertime Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest for drivers 15-20 years of age. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) informs us that the highest number of fatal car accidents (regardless of age) occurs in July, with August and June being second and third respectively.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the summer months being the most dangerous. Some that we really can’t control are:

  1. Roads are more congested due to vacation travelers
  2. Vacation drivers are more dangerous due to being unfamiliar with the area and being distracted
  3. More road construction occurs in the summer
  4. More bicycles and motorcycles are on the road
  5. More tire blowouts due to heat and improper maintenance

But one of the primary reasons summer is more dangerous for all of us is there are more teen drivers on the road. More teen drivers equate to more drivers with a lack of experience and judgment, who have proven themselves as a group to cause more accidents, as well as more costly accidents, than any other group of drivers.

That means parents need to be especially vigilant in communicating and enforcing their expectations and rules related to their teen’s driving habits.

Here is a summary of the riskiest behavior and some recommendations; you must decide how to handle these issues with your teen.

Don’t let your teen drive when he is tired. Driving when drowsy is just as dangerous as driving when drunk. Driving at night is also riskier, so the NHTSA recommends a 10:00 pm curfew.

The risk of a deadly accident double when there is at least one male passenger in the car.  How many passengers ride with your teen? The NHTSA recommends no more than one passenger; you may think that’s one too many.

By now everyone knows the dangers of distractions, especially as they relate to cell phones.  What behavior are you modeling for your teen and what consequences have you established for using a cell phone or texting while driving? There are devices you can install in your teen’s car that can disable his cell phone except for emergency calls to or from you.

Many fatalities and serious injuries could be avoided if drivers and passengers would only use their seat belts. Are you exhibiting the right behavior and does your teen understand the consequences of not using a seat belt?

Speeding is one of the most common factors in an accident. Here again, there are devices you can install in his car to notify you when a certain speed is exceeded. Only you can decide how much monitoring is appropriate for your teen. At a minimum establish consequences for speeding that will be a deterrent.

Make sure your teen understands that absolutely no alcohol or other drugs that could impair his abilities are to be taken while driving.

Prepare your teen for the increased road hazards related to summertime driving; talk to him about slowing down in construction zones, yielding the right of way (even when he’s right) to bicycles and motorcycles because they are more vulnerable to injury. Train your teen to check the air pressure in his tires and adjust as needed.

Remember driving is always a privilege that you are giving your teen. You have the power to withhold this privilege when he demonstrates he does not deserve it. Prepare your teen for this great responsibility.


Mercury Premium Giveback and COVID-19 Updates


We are pleased to announce that part one of the Mercury Premium Giveback program will be processed the week of May 11th.

  • California – the Giveback for period one covers the timeframe from March 19, 2020 through April 30, 2020.
  • New York – the Giveback for period one is from May 1, 2020 to May 30, 2020.
  • All other states – the Giveback for period one is from April 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020.

Please visit Mercury’s COVID-19 webpage and FAQ’s document (below) to answer any questions you or your customers may have regarding the Mercury Premium Giveback program.

A follow-up communication will be sent next month when part two of the Mercury Premium Giveback credits and checks are being processed.

Mercury Billing Accommodation Notifications to Agents

In addition to giving back a portion of monthly premiums for two months, Mercury has been helping insureds suffering from financial hardship by deferring payments up to 60 days and making other billing accommodations. Last week we created a process to notify agents by email anytime an accommodation was made for one of your customers.


Premium Giveback FAQ

COVID-19 Response Video

View source version here