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ISA in the News

Directors and Officers Liability Insurance   

Protecting the organization and your personal assets

Gary Perry - Insurance Service of Asheville - gperry@isa-avl.com

Directors and Officers Liability insurance commonly referred to as D&O insurance is an often overlooked exposure to public or privately held for-profit and non-profit organizations.  D&O litigation can be extremely costly regarding defense cost alone due to the usually long legal process involved in most cases.  Five and six figure defense costs are not uncommon regardless  of whether any compensation is ultimately awarded.

Another little known fact regarding D&O litigation is that not only is the organization’s financial assets at risk, but the personal assets of each director and/or officer are at risk too.  In addition, North Carolina is one of several states that allow marital/spousal assets to be attached as a part of D&O settlement awards.

D&O lawsuits can originate from numerous issues.  Mergers, acquisitions, sale of organizational financial assets, investment strategies, alleged unfair trade practices, and financial misrepresentations are just a few examples that often result in D&O litigation.

Officers and Board members of non-profit organizations are also potentially exposed to D&O claims and are subject to the same personal and spousal financial asset attachments should compensation be awarded to the plaintiff(s). 

D&O insurance policies vary greatly in coverage features, benefits, limits, and exclusions depending on if you’re a for-profit or non-profit entity.   Not all situations are insurable, but a careful review of proposals obtained should be conducted to ensure that the policy chosen best fits the exposures and needs of your particular organization.   

Choosing an insurance professional knowledgeable in Directors and Officers Liability insurance can help you evaluate your potential D&O exposures and guide you in choosing the coverage that best protects your organization and you!


Short-term Gain, Long-term Exposure

Ensuring Insurance for Asheville’s Vacation Rentals

Anthony Mitchell – Insurance Service of Asheville - amitchell@isa-avl.com

 For some residents of the Asheville area, the good fortune of living in a hotbed of tourism offers opportunity by the utilization of their home as a short-term/vacation rental.  Notice I said some residents.  This hotly debated topic has made headlines in the past year as city leaders decide where to draw the line on short-term rentals within the city limits.  Currently, there are no restrictions in the county related to short-term renting.

 As of this writing, the practice of renting out what is deemed “accessory dwellings” (basement apartments and detached cottages, among others) is illegal and carries with it a $500 per day fine by the city.  However, a recent City Council vote amended a previous City of Asheville rule and now allows partial home rentals so long as they meet the conditions of the term “homestay.”  This set of circumstances describes a resident renting out part of their home while continuing to reside there.  By and large the recent changes set forth by the city creates more flexibility by: eliminating a minimum house size, eliminating a rental restriction cap of 25% square footage of the dwelling, and allowing for older “non-conforming to modern land-use rules” homes to be used for homestay purposes.  These changes did see a few restrictions, among them – the number of rental rooms allowed has been cut from 3 to 2.  On the whole, it appears that the City of Asheville is working to strike a balance in the availability of short-term renting by residents.

 So you have run the City of Asheville gauntlet-  qualifying your home as an acceptable homestay and have paid $200 for a homestay permit (or have a residence in the unrestricted county). You say to yourself, “Yes, the hard part is over!”  The next stop is the bank, right?  Perhaps, but for more than depositing money from the rentals – it may be to borrow to cover for losses at the property.

 Imagine you are one of the property owners I just described.  Now imagine that the unthinkable happens: the home burns to the ground because a guest accidentally knocked over a candle or an injured guest sues you for medical costs after tripping off of that last step you have been meaning to replace.  Now imagine your insurance agent or claims adjuster breaking the news that your policy will not cover this and that trip to the bank will be a sizable withdrawal and not a deposit.  It finally dawns on you that your hard work and property equity is gone in an instant.  Did your stomach just sink? 

 Conditions influencing properly insuring your property include, but are not restricted to:

 -          How the home is inhabited / average length of stay

-          How the property is managed (yourself, property management company, etc.)

-          How the property is marketed (yourself, Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)

-          How the property is owned (personal name, LLC, trust, etc.)

  These are among the unique property characteristics that will determine which insurance company will accept your specific risk and offer a competitive price.  Proper coverage may come in the form of making small changes to your existing home insurance policy (called endorsements) or writing a different kind of policy altogether.   Keep in mind that standard home insurance policies are written with the intention of covering personal residential circumstances, not the property being used as a mini-hotel.   Do not wait until your first guests are unloading their cars to speak to your insurance agent about your options. 

   Also, do not be surprised if your current home insurance carrier is not interested in these kind of risks.  Oftentimes this coverage is specialized and with so many factors potentially affecting the protection of such a large asset, you should always speak to an independent insurance agent.  Independent agents have access to a wide variety of options and solutions to account for individual situations and needs.  This may benefit you in the future, especially if you have claims or a change in the usage of the property.  In all of the cases described, multiple options are your friend and the only place you are assured of having them is with an independent insurance agent.

 If you are interested in renting out your residence, do your homework and talk to the experts.  With potential fines and gaps in your property coverage working against you, being smart and thoughtful will make all the difference in what that next trip to the bank will look like.



August 11, 2015

Dr. and Mrs. Charles Cummings

How one couple protected their business, home and family for a lifetime

When Charles and Jeanne Cummings first purchased their Asheville home in 1963, the bank officer suggested an insurance agency. Dr. Cummings remembers clearly asking "Can't I work with who I want?" 

Turns out the "who" he wanted to work with was Jim Stickney, III, the president and founder of Insurance Service of Asheville. More than five decades later, the Cummings remain loyal ISA customers. 

Today, with the assistance of Personal Lines Team Leader Cindy Scollin, the Cummings have a variety of lines with ISA including coverage for Dr. Cummings' beloved antique cars (a 1928 Ford Phaeton among them), their primary residence, and vacation properties. 

Most notable in their insurance history is the damage incurred when Hurricane Ivan hit the Asheville area hard in 2004 with high winds and flooding. Scollin guided the Cummings through home damage claims. She also navigated a less common claim: Their John Deere tractor was lost due to flooding at a repair shop. The repair shop was not covered, but the tractor was.

Dr. Cummings also secured commercial lines insurance with ISA for WNC Dermatology, the practice he founded in Asheville. Though Dr. Cummings has since retired, WNC Dermatology remains an ISA customer today.

Current ISA President Jim Stickney, IV says, "We appreciate the Cummings' trust in Insurance Service of Asheville and look forward to continuing to serve them."


January 18, 2015

Insurance Service of Asheville Life, Health and Employee Benefits Team Awarded Membership in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina President’s Club



(Asheville, N.C.) The Life, Health and Employee Benefits Team at local, independent insurance agency Insurance Service of Asheville (ISA) was recently awarded membership in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s (BCBSNC) President’s Club. This distinguishes the agency for its outstanding contributions to BCBSNC in sales and service to its customers and community.

Members of the ISA Life, Health and Employee Benefits Team include Matthew Bradley, NaTosha Crooks, Pat Elliott, Carol Owens and Debra Sale.


November 20, 2014

An Entire Truck — Full!

Fifth Annual Blanket & Winter Wearables Drive a Great Success

Despite the below-freezing temperatures (or maybe because of them), the Asheville community turned out in droves for the fifth annual ISA blanket and winter wearables drive this Wednesday. The drive, which supports Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry's Crisis Ministry had a steady stream of donors and netted thousands of blankets, coats, gloves, hats and scarves to help keep our neighbors in need warm this winter. We literally filled the entire ABCCM truck.

Thank you to all who donated and helped spread the word about the event! Thanks to ISA and ABCCM staff members for working the drive throughout the cold morning and for bringing tasty treats to share. We appreciate all the media who covered the event: Asheville Citizen-Times, Mountain Xpress, WLOS and others. A great big thanks to our presenting media sponsor 98.1 The River for all their great support and being a part of this fun annual tradition five years in a row!



March 11, 2014

Doctors by Phone: Learn How Through ISA

Doctors by phone? Try it, you’ll love it!

Lower health care costs for you and your employees

Improve employee productivity and enhance job satisfaction

Reduce lost work time by employees

Provide access to health care answers, advice and treatment, including prescriptions, 24/7/365

All at NO COST to you and very little cost to your employees!


How? Give ISA a call and we'll share the secret!



February 12, 2014

Affordable Care Act Update: Final Employer Shared Responsibility Regulations Issued

On Feb. 10, 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department released final regulations implementing the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The regulations are effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

The ACA imposes a penalty on large employers that do not offer minimum essential coverage to full-time employees and their dependents. Large employers that offer this coverage may still be liable for a penalty if the coverage is unaffordable or does not provide minimum value. The ACA’s employer mandate provision is often referred to as the “employer shared responsibility” or “pay or play” rules.

Highlights of the final regulations include:

·        Compliance for medium-sized employers is delayed until 2016.

·        Certain 2014 transition relief is extended, including relief for non-calendar year plans.

·        The requirement to offer coverage to 95 percent of full-time employees will be phased in over two years.

·        Full-time status is clarified for certain groups.

To read a full bulletin with additional details and explanations regarding the final employer shared responsibility regulations click here.

For more information, please contact:

Matt Bradley, Life Benefits Manager

Carol Owens, CISR, Life Benefits Account Executive

Patricia Elliott, RHU, Life Benefits Account Executive

Debra Sale, CISR, Life Benefits Account Manager

 NaTosha Crooks, Life Benefits Account Manager


January 8, 2014

Business Additional Coverage Options Checklist

Your business insurance needs are as unique as your business itself. Many businesses carry the basic "Big Four" coverages—Property, General Liability, Autos and Workers Comp—but depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of the exposures, there may be other coverage needs.

Because there is no one-size-fits-all business insurance, we offer a variety of smart coverage options to fit your needs. Some common additional coverages are listed below.

As you begin the new year, make sure your business has all the coverage it needs. Explore our checklist below to see if your needs or preferences have changed, and contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss additional coverage options.

·        Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) – Covers employer liability for wrongful acts in employment related practices, such as wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to promote, etc.

·        Employee Benefits Liability – Covers errors and omissions in the administration of employee benefit plans (failure to enroll, bad benefit advice, etc.).

·        Fiduciary Liability – Covers errors and omissions in the administration and investment of retirement plan assets.

·        Professional Liability – Provides liability protection for professional services.

·        Umbrella – Provides excess liability catastrophe limit (usually $1,000,000 to $25,000,000).  Extends over Auto Liability, General Liability, and Workers Comp (Employer’s Liability).

·        Directors & Officers – Covers wrongful acts of for-profit or non-profit officers, directors, employees, volunteers, entity, etc.

·        Crime – Employee theft, burglary, forgery, computer fraud, etc.

·        Business Interruption & Extra Expense – Covers lost earnings and extra expenses as a result of a covered property loss.

·        Boiler & Machinery – Provides special coverage on boilers, pressure vessels, electrical switch gear, generators, compressors, production machinery, etc., for breakdowns from a sudden and accidental occurrence excluded by standard fire insurance policies.

·        Building Ordinance or Law – Covers additional expenses incurred as a result of an ordinance requiring you to build to “new code” if your older building is damaged.

·        Off Premises – Covers property in transit, at temporary locations or otherwise away from described premises.

·        EDP – Provides specialized coverage to include electrical and mechanical breakdown of electronic data processing equipment (excluded by most fire insurance policies).

·        Flood – Excluded by most property policies.

·        Earthquake – Excluded by property policies.

·        Cyber Risk – Network security, data breach, unauthorized access to identity info, computer virus, media liability, crisis management, etc.

·        Environmental Hazard – Pollution and contamination are excluded from general liability policies. Limited coverage can be obtainable.

·        Employee Benefits - we also provide a full range of Employee Benefits plans including: Group Health, Dental, Life, Disability, Vision, Self-funded Medical and 401(K) Plans.

We wish you a healthy and prosperous new year.


November 4, 2013

Changes to “Use-or-Lose” Rule for Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

On Oct. 31, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2013-71 (Notice), which relaxes the “use-or-lose” rule for health FSAs. Under the relaxed rule, employers will now be able to allow participants to carry over up to $500 in unused funds into the next year. This modification applies only if the plan does not also incorporate the grace period rule.

Under Internal Code (Code) section 125, a health flexible spending account (FSA) is an employer-sponsored account that employees can use to pay for or reimburse their qualifying medical expenses on a tax-free basis, up to the amount contributed for the plan year. Health FSAs are subject to a “use-or-lose” rule stating that any unused funds at the end of the plan year (plus any applicable grace period) will be forfeited.

To read the entire bulletin with full details on these FSA rule changes click here.

For more information, please contact:

Matt Bradley, Life Benefits Manager

Carol Owens, CISR, Life Benefits Account Executive

Patricia Elliott, RHU, Life Benefits Account Executive

Debra Sale, CISR, Life Benefits Account Manager

 NaTosha Crooks, Life Benefits Account Manager


October 23, 2013

ISA and AFLAC: Voluntary Benefits

Difficult economic times mean tough choices.

For many of our clients, adding voluntary benefits, a no-cost way to enrich an existing core benefits plan on an a la carte basis, makes more sense than cutting critical areas of a business, laying off key employees or losing them to a competitor with a richer benefits package.

For our clients' employees, the ability to choose and purchase the benefits they want and can afford is invaluable.

Want to learn more about how you can enhance your benefits package, strengthen your relationship with your employees, and attract and retain smart, talented people—all at no cost to you and with little administration?

There’s more than one reason savvy business owners put us to work. Give us a call, and we’ll show you what ISA and AFLAC can do for you.


October 9, 2013

Announcement of AFLAC and ISA Partnership

ISA has recently entered into an affiliation with AFLAC, which will be playing an even more important role in the employee benefit picture once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014. ISA and AFLAC have entered into a unique marketing partnership for this area. We retain our usual independence and desire to represent any carriers we choose, though we find that by sharing resources with AFLAC we can add strength and value to those products and services. We would like to introduce you to Susan Russell, AFLAC's District Manager, who will be sharing office space here at ISA. Susan has many years of experience and authority with AFLAC, which we believe will enhance the opportunities for your employees to get straight input about and access to AFLAC.



September 27, 2013

EMPLOYERS: Assisting Employees and Their Dependents with Health Insurance

Making important decisions about health insurance can be difficult, and most of us appreciate the advice of an experienced, knowledgeable professional. Your distribution of the required "Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options Notice" to your employees may generate lots of questions and even a bit of anxiety about what is best for them and their families under the Affordable Care Act.

As your trusted insurance advisor, the health insurance professionals at ISA are available to assist you and your employees in answering questions about this landmark legislation; what it means to them and their families; and even to assist them in obtaining rates and information on possible tax credits through both the public and private Marketplace (aka "Exchange").

If you missed our previous eNews regarding the October 1 employer deadline for required notice to employees of new health insurance marketplace coverage options check out the archived bulletin here.

For more information, please contact:

Matt Bradley, Life Benefits Manager

Carol Owens, CISR, Life Benefits Account Executive

Patricia Elliott, RHU, Life Benefits Account Executive

Debra Sale, CISR, Life Benefits Account Manager

 NaTosha Crooks, Life Benefits Account Manager


September 9, 2013

CRITICAL DEADLINE FOR EMPLOYERS: Required Notice to Employees of New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options

The Affordable Care Act (also referred to as health care reform) requires that, consistent with guidelines issued by the US Department of Labor, ALL employers provide notice to employees regarding the soon to be launched health insurance exchanges. These notices must be provided whether or not you offer a group health plan and are required regardless of the number of people you employ.

A copy of the notice for employers offering a health plan may be found online. The notice must be provided to your current employees by October 1, 2013, and to new hires within 14 days of an employee’s employment start date. It may be provided via first class mail or electronically if such delivery meets the US Department of Labor’s safe harbor rules for electronic delivery. Additional information may be found at www.dol.gov. You may need to provide multiple forms: one for those employees who are eligible, one for any employees in their waiting period, and one for those employees who are not eligible such as part-time or 1099 employees.

Trust ISA, your go-to benefits expert, to give you sound, sensible and expert insurance advice. If you would like to visit our office to find out how ISA can assist your employees in finding affordable health insurance options for their families, please let us know.

We anticipate that many of your employees will have questions about the individual mandate, marketplace coverage options, and the impact all of this may have on them or their families. We invite you to encourage your employees to call us directly with their questions.

At ISA, we’re here for you, and we’re happy to help!

For more information, please contact:

Matt Bradley, Life Benefits Manager

Carol Owens,CISR, Life Benefits Account Executive

Patricia Elliott, RHU, Life Benefits Account Executive

Debra Sale, CISR, Life Benefits Account Manager

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