9 Things Louisiana Homeowners Should Know About Flood Insurance

by Lauren G. Steinhardt, Producer, Gillis, Ellis & Baker

Last month we all watched as our neighbors across our state were enveloped in floodwater. As the water subsides, and helping hands busily take on tasks that are all too familiar to many in New Orleans, I’ve been struck by the pervasive misunderstandings that surround the risk of flooding and Flood Insurance. Below are a few points to clarify popular misconception, in particular, as it relates to the map changes taking place in Orleans Parish on September 30, 2016.

An view from an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter shows flooding and devastation in Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 15, 2016, where service members have rescued residents and provided relief. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake
A view from an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter shows flooding and devastation in Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 15, 2016, where service members have rescued residents and provided relief. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake.
  1. You are in a flood zone. We all are. Every community in Louisiana (and most of the US) is mapped by FEMA and fits into one of many flood zones based upon the likelihood of a flood in any given year.
  1. The real question is: Which zone are you in? Zones B, C, and X are moderate risk zones. Any zone that starts with an A has a higher risk of flooding, and Zone V has the highest risk of flooding.
  1. Special Flood Hazard Areas: The A Zones and V Zones are known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) and are considered susceptible to a flood that has a 1% (or higher) chance of occurring in a particular area in any given year.
  1. Recurrence Intervals: A flood with a 1% chance of occurring in a particular area in any given year is commonly known as 100 year flood. The recent flooding in Louisiana is the eighth 500-year (or greater) rainfall event in the US in just over a year.
  1. New Flood Maps: Effective September 30, 2016 new flood maps will go into effect for Orleans Parish. Many properties will no longer be located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. The owners of properties that are moving out of SFHA will likely see a reduction in flood premium. Many of the companies that administer flood policies for the NFIP will review the policy and if possible, send refunds to their client’s midterm. With thousands of clients affected, this process will take time, but still good news!

    New Orleans Area Flood Map via FEMA's Risk Map 6 Website
    New Orleans Area Flood Map via FEMA’s Risk Map 6 Website: http://maps.riskmap6.com/LA/Orleans/
  1. Two changes are taking place. The maps in some areas are being revised to reflect improved drainage systems, moving some areas from high risk flood zones to moderate risk zones. The other change taking place has to do with the Base Flood Elevation, which is changing in some areas. If the structure on a property is positively elevated relative to the Base Flood, the risk of flooding decreases, as does the flood premium. Even if your property isn’t moving out of a high risk zone, you may still benefit from the change in Base Flood Elevation.
  1. But, don’t let your guard down. If you are told by a Real Estate agent or your Lender that you don’t need Flood Insurance they mean you don’t have to have Flood Insurance to qualify for a federally backed mortgage. They don’t mean Flood insurance isn’t important to protect your assets.
  1. Flood insurance covers physical loss to a structure and/or the contents contained in the insured structure. Homeowners, keep in mind, coverage for loss of use is not included in Flood Insurance. Similarly, Business owners should remember that Business Interruption is not covered by the NFIP. Some insurers offer a Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy to make up for this gap – talk to your agent about the availability and pricing.
  1. Hindsight is not a reliable forecaster for future events. As we’ve seen time and time again, “I’ve never flooded before” doesn’t mean, it won’t happen in the future. Flood insurance policies for homes in B, C or X zones is usually less than $500 for $250,000 of building and $100,000 of contents coverage. If you choose to retain this risk, be sure you have the financial capital to recover without insurance.

Saying you aren’t in a flood zone is like saying you don’t have a temperature. You always have a temperature. The question is: Do you have a fever?

Lauren Galligan Steinhardt | Producer | Gillis, Ellis & Baker
Lauren Galligan Steinhardt, Producer, Gillis, Ellis & Baker

The importance of knowing your risk is clear. For most Americans their home is the largest asset they will ever own. The exceptions are generally business owners, who likely have even more funds in buildings and contents. Careful consideration should be taken to protect your home or business. Do your research and talk with your insurance agent to make an informed decision. Any of us can be affected by a flood. If it happens to you, we want to be able to tell you it’s going to be okay, because you bought flood insurance.

Wealth at Risk: How High Net Worth Families Overpay to Be Underinsured

Title imageAs an affluent individual, you have proven yourself to be financially savvy—saving money when you can and investing wisely. But are you spending your hard-earned wealth wisely when it comes to insurance?

In 2010 and 2012, Chubb Personal Risk Services® conducted a survey of more than 600 independent insurance brokers and asked if their clients were over or underinsured with their mass-carrier insurance for 21 types of coverage. The results revealed many opportunities to improve protection and maximize value in families’ personal insurance programs.

We, as Assurex Global Partners, wanted to share the following white paper with you so you could see the breadth of ways in which high net worth individuals, like you, are overpaying to be underinsured.

The whitepaper discusses:

Wealth at Risk_Gillis Ellis Baker_Assurex Global_Thumbnail_150x188– Survey Results
– Savings Opportunities
– Guarding Against Significant Loss
– Other Coverage Optimization Opportunities
– How to Perform A Personal Risk Review

Read the whitepaper here >

We’re taking our insurance knowledge on the road!

GEB VP & Producer, Jeff Howard, presenting on cyber risks
GEB VP & Producer, Jeff Howard, presenting on cyber risks

By now you’ve heard of GEB University, a seminar series focused on what we do best: insurance, risk management and employee benefits. We host these seminars in our office. But now we’d like to also offer the opportunity to bring our insurance knowledge to you!

GEB University participants
GEB University participants

This unique service allows our experts to offer detailed and tailored insurance and risk management training. Through continuing education, our community will better understand our industry, its mechanics and language. It is our goal to change the way most people view this misunderstood industry, called insurance!

GEB Producer, Liz Van Dervort, discussing Management Liability
GEB Producer, Liz Van Dervort, discussing Management Liability

Please contact us if you are interested in having a GEB expert present one of these seminar topics to your organization or association.

– Insurance 201: Beyond the Basics
– Cyber Risks: Prevention & Mitigation in a Technological World
– Contractual Considerations For Your Business
– Management Liability/Directors & Officers Insurance
– Understanding the Pollution & Environmental Risks to Your Organization
– Retirement Planning, Fiduciary Responsibility
– Workplace Safety
– Disaster Preparedness For Your Business
– Human Resources: Fair Labor Standards & Compensation Considerations
– Human Resources: Harassment & Discrimination Issues & Risk Management

Don’t see the topic you’re looking for listed here? No worries. We can tailor a presentation to your needs. Just contact us to get the ball rolling!

GEB's Parke Ellis & Lauren Steinhardt presenting to non-profit organizations at the Greater New Orleans Foundation
GEB’s Parke Ellis & Lauren Steinhardt presenting to non-profit organizations at the Greater New Orleans Foundation

Contact Amanda Graves to set up your seminar at:
– Call: (504) 619-1043
– email: agraves@gillis.com

Be sure to mention the following information:
– Your name
– Organization
– Seminar topic
– A few date/time options

We look forward to taking our insurance knowledge to a meeting near you!

Top 5 Reasons to Consider the Louisiana Insurance Academy

LIA Cohort 2 Graduates
LIA Cohort 2 Graduates

Some people are born into the family business. But, many others who work in the insurance industry probably never really envisioned themselves on this career path in the beginning. People sort of just, end up here. Even so, most will tell you that they are happy to be a part of this misunderstood business, called insurance.

Louisiana Insurance Academy at Delgado Community College New Orleans
LIA sign at Delgado Community College

It’s not the “stodgy” industry of the past. We’re spicing things up, trying to appeal to the millennials. Most of all, it is a business that allows us to do good things for people, a cause that is noble and just.

That is why Gillis, Ellis & Baker (GEB) is proud to support the Louisiana Insurance Academy (LIA), a program focused on kick-starting a career in insurance. Housed at Delgado Community College, the program will first introduce students to the fundamentals of Property and Casualty insurance before taking on a much more detailed study of both Personal and Commercial insurance. Graduates are prepared for the state licensing process and an entry-level career in the insurance industry.

LIA students participating in a lesson
LIA students participating in a lesson

We know you’re already anxious to apply, but just to pique your interest even more, we’ve put together these top five reasons to consider the LIA and a career in the insurance industry. Enjoy.

A career in insurance surprises people. Nobody ever sees it coming. And yet, the work is fast paced, technical and carries a high level of professional responsibility. Those in the customer service level help guide individuals and businesses to make sound decisions in the protection of their assets. This is not all about pushing paper. It is an integral part of any insurance firm’s operation.

LIA Lesson Books
LIA Lesson Books

It is said that 50% of the people working in the insurance industry are within 10 years of retirement. This creates a huge need to fill spots in the operations of most insurance businesses. Those that enter the industry with a working knowledge of general insurance have a distinct advantage in finding jobs in the field of insurance.

A position in the insurance field is highly portable. The demand for quality talent extends throughout Louisiana, and, in fact, across the entire country. Insurance is not so much a job as it is a career.

GEB's Parke Ellis teaching a lesson
GEB’s Parke Ellis teaching a lesson

An insurance career can be financially rewarding. Average starting salaries are in the $30,000 to $35,000 range and can run even higher in larger agencies and brokerages. A typical insurance job comes complete with a full suite of benefits.

Days never repeat themselves. Because a typical insurance professional may handle over 100 clients, each day brings new challenges. The satisfaction comes from successfully counseling clients through their particular issue and providing timely service on their account.

LIA graduates catching up at a happy hour get together
LIA alumni catching up at a happy hour get together

So there you have it. Seize this opportunity, folks.  It is a great business and a great ride.

To learn more about the Louisiana Insurance Academy, visit www.dcc.edu/LIA.

Charles Eshleman Elected President of the Greater New Orleans Executives Association

Charles Eshleman
Charles Eshleman

Charles Eshleman, Vice President of Gillis, Ellis & Baker (GEB), has been elected President of the Board of Directors of the Greater New Orleans Executives Association. He has been an active member of the organization since 2012.

Prior to joining GEB in 1994, Charles was President of the Bryer Insurance Agency in Metairie, LA. A graduate of Metairie Park Country Day School, Charles also obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Tulane University, and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane.

Charles has over 25 years experience handling large property and casualty accounts, with an emphasis on construction and real estate. He has served on the state board of the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Louisiana, and is a past president of the New Orleans chapter of PIA. In 1998, he was named PIA’s Insurance Agent of the Year for Louisiana. In addition, Charles has served on the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Metairie Park Country Day, New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor, and The Tulane Alumni Association.

gnoea-logoAbout the GNOEA:
Founded in 1971, the Greater New Orleans Executives Association is an organization of 65 business owners in the metropolitan area. The association serves its members by allowing them to share critical business information, referrals and market data along with expert advice on key legal, accounting, insurance and labor issues.

IRS to Accept ACA Filings After June 30 Deadline

IRS to Accept ACA Filings After June 30 Deadline-1

The IRS has announced that electronic Affordable Care Act (ACA) information returns may continue to be filed after the filing deadline, which was June 30, 2016. These returns are required under Internal Revenue Code Sections 6055 and 6056, which were created by the ACA. Reporting entities that file 250 or more individual statements under these reporting requirements must file electronically through the ACA Information Returns (AIR) Program.

Reporting entities that were not able to submit all required ACA information returns by June 30, 2016, should still complete the filing of returns after the deadline. In general, penalties may apply for information returns that are not filed on time. However, the IRS will not assess penalties for late filing on reporting entities that have made legitimate efforts to file information returns, if they continue to make efforts and complete the process as soon as possible. In addition, penalties may be waived in some cases, for reasonable cause.


Parke Ellis Honored with IIABL Lou Daniel Award

Parke Ellis
Parke Ellis

Gillis, Ellis & Baker (GEB) would like to congratulate Chairman, Parke Ellis, for receiving the highest honor given by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Louisiana (IIABL), the Lou Daniel Award. He received the honor on June 20th during the IIABL Annual Convention at the Sandestin Beach Hilton in Destin, Fla.

Lou Daniel was an independent agent from Baton Rouge, who served as the Legislative Chairman for many years and served as the Louisiana State National Director to the national Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America for many years.

Parke Ellis receiving the Lou Daniel Award from IIABL President, David Dethloff

The IIABL Lou Daniel Award is only awarded when someone has contributed to IIABL and the Louisiana insurance industry over many years and clearly rises above the contributions of other valuable association volunteers. Parke is the 27th recipient of the Lou Daniel Award, which has been given out since 1965.

Parke served with distinction on the IIABL Board of Directors, rose through the officer chairs, and served as IIABL President in 2013-2014. During his time on the IIABL Board of Directors, one of the primary strategic goals of IIABL was to bring new young talent into our Louisiana independent agencies. The IIABL Board frequently discussed various ways to recruit, train, and employ young people into local agencies.

Cohort 1 Alumni
LIA Cohort 1 Alumni

As part of this effort, Parke created the Louisiana Insurance Academy (LIA). Parke worked with Delgado Community College in New Orleans to recruit a wide variety of new prospects into the Academy program, developed curriculum, recruited instructors, taught classes, managed the program, counseled students, and graduated 29 newly trained people into Louisiana independent agencies and brokers.

Cohort 2 Graduates
LIA Cohort 2 Alumni

The passion which Parke has for career opportunities in independent agencies, his hard work, and the enormous amount of time he has spent in creating this program is truly inspiring.

Parke has been with GEB since 1981 and is a graduate of the Williams School of Business at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

In addition to the IIABL and the LIA, Parke serves the insurance industry in the following capacities:

• President – Associated Risk Managers (ARM) of Louisiana
• Board Member – Associated Risk Managers (ARM) International
• Past President – Independent Insurance Agents of Greater New Orleans

Thank you for your passion for and service to the insurance industry, Parke! This honor is certainly well-deserved. Congratulations!

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana is the go to information resource and primary advocate for independent insurance agents in Louisiana. IIABL is a member-based, professional trade association serving more than 400 independent insurance agents, meeting the education, political and business needs of members to maximize business opportunities. Learn more at www.iiabl.com.

Aviation General Liability for a Holistic Risk Management and Insurance Program [eBook]

New Orleans Aviation Insurance

Few businesses have more exposure to risks and liabilities than airports. However, most threats that airports face can be managed through a combination of insurance and risk management.

To provide more information on this complex insurance market, our Partners at Assurex Global, in collaboration with The Magnes Group, created the eBook, Aviation General Liability for a Holistic Risk Management and Insurance Program. Read the eBook to learn more about the following types of aviation insurance:

• Premises LiabilityNew Orleans Aviation Insurance
• Hangarkeeper’s Liability
• Products and Completed Operations Liability
• Personal and Advertising Injury Liability
• Contractual Liability

Read the full eBook here >

Liz LaGrange Named TIPOGNO 2015-2016 Rookie of the Year

Liz LaGrange, AINS, CIC
Liz LaGrange, CIC

Gillis, Ellis & Baker would like to congratulate Commercial Lines Account Manager, Liz LaGrange, CIC, for being named the 2015-2016 Rookie of the Year by The Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans (TIPOGNO)!

The Rookie of the Year award is presented to recognize the accomplishments of a new member who has made a significant contribution to the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP) within two years of joining the association.

Liz has been in the insurance industry since 2010 and has been a member of TIPOGNO since 2013. She has served as chairperson on two different committees and participated in multiple education programs. Liz also obtained the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation, and recently completed the Confidence While Communicating (CWC) course and has competed in the local and regional speak-off competitions.

TIPOGNO President-Elect, Amber Townsend, presenting the Rookie of the Year Award to Liz LaGrange
TIPOGNO President-Elect, Amber Townsend, presenting the Rookie of the Year Award to Liz LaGrange

Since entering the industry in 2010 with no prior insurance experience, she has steadily been promoted from an entry-level assistant to Commercial Lines Account Manager. She stated that being a part of IAIP has been one of the best decisions she has made in terms of appreciating and maintaining her career.

Liz is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, where she earned a pair of Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Spanish and Political Science.

Liz received her award at the TIPOGNO Officer Installation and Awards Dinner on June 2nd at Metairie Country Club. Liz was very surprised to receive her award, although of course we were not… We would like to thank her for being an influential part of ‪the GEB team‬, as well as the local insurance community!

Left to Right: Angela Hochberger, Heidi Thrash, Angela Falcone, Doug Mills, Liz LaGrange, Karen Crouch, Katy Green, Brenda Puckett, and Amanda Graves
Left to Right: Angela Hochberger, Heidi Thrash, Angela Falcone, Doug Mills, Liz LaGrange, Karen Crouch, Katy Green, Brenda Puckett, and Amanda Graves

At the event, two of GEB’s own were inducted as members of the Board of Directors:
– Personal Lines Account Manager, Angela Falcone, CISR, CIIP
– Commercial Lines Account Manager, Liz LaGrange, AINS, CIC

GEB is also proud to have numerous TIPOGNO Committee Chairpersons, including:
Karen Crouch, Assistant Treasurer
Lynn Labus, Education
Angie Hochberger, Health/Fitness/Safety
Katy Green, IIAGNO Liaison

We are looking forward to the year ahead under the leadership of newly installed President, Brittany Davis Stoudt of Emergency Restoration, Inc. Congratulations, Brittany!


IAIP LogoFounded in 1938, The Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans (TIPOGNO) is a local chapter of the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP), which is open to individuals in the insurance and risk management industries. TIPOGNO serves its members by providing insurance education, leadership development and networking opportunities to its members.

Cybersecurity Quarterly Update Released

Identity Fraud

In 2015 alone, more than 13 million Americans fell victim to identity fraud, resulting in damages of more than $15 billion.

To combat this all-too-common problem, our go-to resource for digital forensics and cybersecurity, LIFARS, has provided our second Quarterly Update of 2016. Read this guide to learn more about:

  • How to protect your online presence from identity theft
  • What to do in the case of a data breach
  • Steps to take if your identity is stolen

Read the full Update here.