763.244.3735 | 530 Jefferson Blvd. Big Lake, MN 55309
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The Basics of Life Insurance

If others depend on you for financial support, part of your financial plan should include how you will provide for them in the event of your death. To help you decide which option is the best for you, we’ve covered the basics.

Life Insurance MN

The Basics of Life Insurance

If you are married, it’s important for both spouses to have a life insurance policy. If both people bring in an income, a death can be a difficult financial loss. Also, if a stay-at-home parent should pass away, expenses such as childcare and other domestic items can create financial hardship, too.

There are two basic types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. The type of life insurance policy that best suits you will depend on your unique needs.

Option #1: Term Life Insurance

Just as its name implies, term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, or term, that you choose. Since it offers a death benefit but no cash value, term life insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your beneficiaries for a specified period of time.

Renewal term life insurance can be renewed at the end of the term, at the option of the policyholder and without evidence of insurability, for a limited number of successive terms. It can also be converted, or exchanged for a permanent insurance policy, without evidence of insurability down the road. It’s important to note that rates generally increase along with the insured’s age.

Option #2: Whole Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is any form of life insurance other than term. Examples are whole life, universal life and variable life. These policies combine term life insurance with a long-term, tax-sheltered savings plan.

Whole life is the most basic type of permanent life insurance. It provides coverage that lasts a lifetime and also builds up a cash value that you can borrow against, withdraw or use to pay future premiums.

A life insurance policy with a cash value is ideal for those who have a lifetime need for insurance protection, prefer stable premiums over the life of the policy, want a policy that allows them to build tax-deferred values, and value the high degree of coverage the policy affords. While rates for a whole life insurance policy remain stable over the life of the policy, premiums are initially more costly than for term insurance.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

To find the right amount of coverage, it’s important to weigh your dependents’ current lifestyle and spending needs against their future sources of income and assets. We can help you figure out how much your family will need to replace this lost income over this length of time should something happen to you. Call us today at (763) 244-3735 to learn more.

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Make OSHA Record Keeping Easy With OSHA Logs

Make OSHA record keeping a breeze!

As an employer, you’ll need to fill out just one very simple online form either on your computer or smartphone and you’ll be able to create all OSHA forms instantly.

This includes the OSHA Form 300, 300 A and 301. You’ll be able to download, print, or email these documents just like any other PDF.

And, since all the forms utilize one data source, you’ll eliminate the potential for mistakes between the forms.  Also, if you need to make a change, do it once and all three forms will be updated automatically.

  • OSHALogs will also automatically generate instant statistics.  Including each logs Incident Rate, Dart Rate, Loss Time Case Rate, and Severity Rate.
  • OSHALogs also has the capability to fill out your state’s first report of injury.  And because we piggyback off the information already entered in the
  • OSHA records, on average, we cut the time it takes to fill out your state’s first report of injury in half.  And, because our agency subscribes to, we’ll instantly be notified when an incident or first report of injury is filled – providing us with instant access to the information and the ability to reach out to you and support you if needed.

The system requires no downloads and works on all computer and mobile platforms.  Computers, Tablets, and Smart Phones are all supported.  Spectacular indeed, is jam packed with great features.  But, at its core, it takes the guesswork out of OSHA record keeping and makes the process a breeze.

If you’d like to get your company set up with OSHALogs.  It’s easy.  Reach out to our agency work comp specialists and we’ll get you set up!



Insurance Specialists Team – Your Master Certified Work Comp Advisors


Independent Insurance agent





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MN Republicans Offer Health Insurance Reform Right Out of the Box    

House and Senate Republicans yesterday announced the introduction of their 2017 health care reform initiative, House File 1 and Senate File 1.   Entitled the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act, it will provide premium relief for Minnesotans devastated by increases in individual health insurance premiums along with steps to provide more options for individuals and small employers seeking health insurance in the state.  The bills will be authored by Rep. Joe Hoppe, Chair of the House Commerce Committee and Sen. Michele Benson, Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee.

First, the bill establishes a $300 million premium relief program to provide direct financial assistance to individuals who are purchasing health insurance and who do not receive government subsidies.    Under the program, every month health plan companies will provide the Commissioner of the Department of Management and Budget with information on everyone who has purchased effectuated coverage.   This information will include name, address, or other identifying information and the premium paid for coverage.  The individual must then apply to the Commissioner for premium assistance.  The application will include the individual or family’s modified adjusted gross income.

In contrast to what was proposed by the governor last month, the Republicans decided to make this program income sensitive.   For the first three months of the program,all eligible individuals making less than 800% of federal poverty ($95,040 for an individual, or $194,400 for a family of four) would qualify for premium assistance equal to 25% of their premium.  Then for the remaining nine months of 2017, there will be three categories of premium assistance based upon levels of income between 300 and 800 percent of poverty.   Between April 1 and December 31 of 2017, the assistance will be 30%, 25% and 20% based upon income level.  The assistance program must not exceed the $300 million appropriation.  If it does the commissioner would adjust premium assistance most likely at higher income levels.

Fifteen million dollars will be set aside for continuing care for people who have been required to change health plans and have lost their current provider.  This money would go to their new health plan which would be required to allow patients currently engaged in a course of treatment to continue with their doctor for acute conditions, life-threatening mental or physical illness, pregnancies beyond the first trimester and for special provisions and treatment for the last six months of life.  This would be available immediately after passage and appears to not be tied to income.

Other provisions include allowing small business to reduce their reinsurance attachment point and narrow their claims settlement period making it easier for them to self-insure, requiring the DOC to disclose filed rates to the public earlier so they can react to future rate increases and last but not least allowing for-profit HMOs to enter our market.   Only non-profit HMOs are allowed currently in Minnesota.

Another portion of the bill relates to surprise billing.  Surprise billing occurs when a person is receiving care from a large clinic or hospital.  Often as part of that care, a non-network provider will be called in to provide medical or diagnostic services.  Afterwards the health plan does not pay network provider rates and the patient then is billed directly for the full-service rate.  Generally, the patients never have knowledge of the provider’s status until they get the bill, hence the surprise.  This proposal would require the plans to take steps to avoid this practice and require the non-participating provider to accept in-network payment rates.  This could be a bit controversial.

The House Republicans are putting this legislation on a fast track and would like to pass this legislation as early as next week.  The Senate has indicated that will have a few hearings on their bill prior to its passage.  Once the bills are passed, they will be sent to a conference committee where negotiations with the governor will begin.   Governor Dayton has yet to express his opinion of the legislation.

Dominic Sposeto
MIIAB Lobbyist
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Claims service with a local Travelers Insurance Agent


Travelers Claim service

Travelers Personal and Business Insurance Auto & Property
Local service.

Travelers has more than 11,000 experienced Claim professionals located across the country who are prepared
to handle property or auto claims of all sizes and complexities.

Travelers Claim professionals receive specialized training at Travelers Claim University so that they can meet your
customers’ high expectations.

Improved agency efficiency. has many valuable services for customers, such as claim reporting, so you can
spend more time growing your business.

Growth and retention.
9 out of 10 customers who have had a claim with Travelers would recommend Travelers to a family
or friend.

Catastrophe readiness.
Travelers has Claim professionals located across the country who are trained in catastrophe response
and a fleet of Mobile Claim Offices ready to respond where your customers are. There are also more than 30,000 Travelers
employees available to help in the event of a large catastrophe.

During times of loss – especially catastrophic losses is when you value your insurance policy, your independent agent and Travelers claims service.


The Insurance Specialists Team Proudly represents Travelers Insurance.


Travelers Insurance Quote

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Pokémon Go

– Beyond the Basics

– Loss prevention tips for all your home matters, provided by: Insurance Specialists Team


Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings to Stay Safe

Pokémon Go—a location-based, free-to-play game for iOS and Android smartphones—has been encouraging players to get outside and walk around. However, players should be fully aware of how the game works in order to ensure that they remain safe at all times.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go uses a smartphone’s GPS and gyroscope sensors to determine a player’s location. The game then uses that information to display Pokémon near the player, through the phone’s camera. The game also marks popular locations, such as parks, memorials and other frequently visited areas, as places where players can compete with each other and gather free in-game items.

The game has proven to be extremely popular with a variety of age groups, with over 7.5 million downloads in its first week of availability. However, its focus on traveling to new locations and the constant need to look down at a phone to play presents a variety of risks to players.

Here are some basic safety tips to keep in mind while playing Pokémon Go:

  • Never travel to an unfamiliar area while playing the game. Thieves have been known to gather near popular areas identified as meeting spots by the game.
  • Look up from your phone regularly to watch out for obstacles such as rocks, stairs and bodies of water.
  • Never look at your phone while you’re crossing a street. Drivers may assume that you’re fully aware of your surroundings while you’re crossing.


Helpful Hints


Pokémon Go should never be played while driving. As the game requires a player to constantly look at his or her phone, it can cause a substantial risk of an auto accident. Additionally, the game will not function properly while moving at high speeds, which can increase the likelihood of an accident.



Ham Lake Insurance

Insurance Specialists Team

(763) 244-3735

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Work Safely in the Yard

Let’s Keep Our Lawns – and Ourselves – Safe in Minnesota

For many of our neighbors in MN, summer means more than sunshine and vacations. It also means working in the yard – often with tools that can be dangerous if not used properly.
Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don’t let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital! Follow these handy safety tips.
Tool safety tips from the U.S. CPSC
 Dress appropriately. To protect yourself from debris when using lawn tools, wear eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes and no jewelry. Sturdy shoes are recommended, and ear plugs may be appropriate depending on how loud the device is.
 Before starting, remove objects from your work area that could cause injury or damage, such as sticks, glass or stones.
 Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Never let a child ride or operate a garden tractor or riding mower, even if the child is supervised. And never assume children will remain where you last saw them.
Use extreme caution when backing up or approaching corners, shrubs and trees.
 Teenagers using power equipment should always be supervised by an adult.
 Handle gasoline carefully. Never fill tanks while machinery is on or when equipment is still hot. Of course, you should never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or any gasoline-powered equipment.
 Do not work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
 Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.
Lawn Chemical Safety Tips…

 If you use chemicals to control weeds or pests in your lawn, read the product label carefully so you understand the potential effects on humans, animals and the environment. Follow all instructions.
 Keep children and animals away from the application area, and protect your skin, eyes and nose during and after application.
 Remember, use only the recommended amount. Using more of the chemical will not do a better job.
 Ask yourself if you truly need to use a general pesticide. Is there a product that will specifically treat only the problem you need to solve?
From all of us at The Insurance Specialists Team, here’s to keeping both you and your lawn healthy this summer!

Home Insurance MN

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Is it Time to Replace Your Car Tires?

Your car’s tire performance is essential to both its safety and its efficiency. Tires eventually lose traction and braking ability, and should be replaced when necessary. When your tires are in tip-top shape, they ensure that you stay safe behind the wheel.

Do Your Tires Need Replacing?

Here’s how to determine if you need to replace your tires:

  • Inspect tread wear bars. These are small bridges that form between your treads. If you look at your tread pattern and notice the beginnings of these bars starting to form between the treads or running across the tires, and then become flush with the tires’ tread, you should replace your tires.
  • Conduct the penny test by placing the coin upside down with Lincoln facing you in the center of the tread.
    • If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head or the metal above it, replace your tires immediately.
    • If Lincoln’s hair is partially visible, start comparing tire prices, as you will need new ones soon.
    • If you cannot see the top of Lincoln’s hair (tire tread should be as deep as his forehead), your tires do not need replacing yet.

If you notice that your tire wear is extremely uneven or that your tires have worn out much faster than you expected, visit a competent auto shop. They will check your suspension and make any necessary corrections before replacing your tires.

Other Tire Tips

  • Rotate your tires from the front to the rear in pairs.
  • If you drive a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle, replace all four tires when it is recommended in your service manual. The differences in tire diameter can cause permanent damage in your differentials if you do not do so.
  • If you notice uneven wear on your front tires, your front end may be out of alignment. Have them checked and rotate your tires to the rear of the vehicle. This should correct the problem.
  • Since tires do not wear evenly, perform the penny test at several points from the outside to the inside of the tires. Generally, tires will wear more on the inside but over-inflated tires will wear more in the middle.
  • Test and replace your tires at the same time. If you drive with mismatched tires, you will not have the level of safety, performance and efficiency that a matched pair provides.
  • Always keep your tires properly inflated.


To learn more about our automobile insurance coverages for new, used, antique or classic vehicles, contact us today!

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Avoiding the Truck Zone

Always allow room for the truck zone. Don’t forget to share this with your friends and family!

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Expand your employee benefits package with exclusive savings on auto insurance

Great News!  We think you'll love this :-)

We have a special deal that saves up to 30% on your insurance with workplace and other discounts.

As an independent insurance agency, The Insurance Specialists Team represents multiple carriers – not just one. This allows us to offer your business and your employees the best options for competitively priced insurance.

Working in partnership with Safeco Insurance®, one of the insurers that The Insurance Specialists Team represents, we’re pleased to offer an easy and convenient option that enhances your employee benefits package by helping your employees save on auto insurance – at no cost to you. The Safeco Insurance Workplace Discount Program offers your employees exclusive savings on Safeco® Auto insurance on top of the discounts Safeco already offers.

Safeco Insurance has been protecting individuals and families since 1923 and, in addition to auto insurance, offers:

  • Comprehensive auto, antique/classic car, home, motorcycle,  boat and RV coverage
  • 24/7 claims service
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Online account management tools
  • Local Insurance Specialists

We’ve made implementation easy. There is no cost to you, and your employees will have access to some of the best prices Safeco has to offer, making the Safeco Insurance Workplace Discount Program an easy choice for your business.

And as an independent agency, we are not employed by any insurer, which allows us to work on your employee’s behalf to help get them the coverage they need, even if the Safeco Insurance Workplace Discount Program isn’t the best option.

Please call IST today at 763.244.3735 to find out how to get started.



Auto Insurance



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Prepare and protect your boat or RV in the off-season

Follow these tips to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter.

progressive boat insurance





□ Review vehicle manuals for winterization and maintenance.
□ Check rubber seals, gaskets, roof tops, decks, windows, etc. to prevent water intrusion.
□ Remove anything that retains water.
□ Turn cushions on edge to prevent mold and mildew.
□ Fill gas tank to minimize condensation. Add a fuel stabilizer.
□ Change oil/oil filter to protect your engine from impurities.
□ Turn off refrigerator. Disconnect battery cables and turn off all
battery switches or remove the battery completely.
□ Open and clean drawers, lockers, refrigerator and freezer.
□ Use a coupler lock on trailers. Lock all compartments and entry doors.
□ BOATS: Pressure wash hull to remove marine organisms. Clean thru-hulls and strainers. Open seacocks to drain any water. Store the boat “bow high.” Remove the hull drain plug so rainwater
can escape.
□ Close windows and blinds—and keep the RV/boat covered.
□ Block all wheels securely so your vehicle/trailer can’t roll.
□ Remove your keys, update your contact information at the storage facility, and have someone check on your vehicle periodically.
□ Review your insurance policy for the optional
specialized coverages you may need, such as
Roadside Assistance, Emergency On-Water Towing
(Boat) and Vacation Liability (RV), just to name a few.

For more information on these or other specialized
coverages, contact your personal lines insurance specialists team.

Progressive RV Insurance

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Do You Need a Personal Umbrella?

Use the quick form below to determine if you should consider an umbrella.
Personal umbrella
Umbrellas aren’t just for the super wealthy. We live in a litigious society and umbrellas don’t cost much. In fact, they could be considered a bargain after a judgment.

It’d be a sad day if you were determined liable for an at fault accident and had a judgment against you. For example:


$2,000,000 judgment – $30,000 (the state minimum auto liability limits) = Bad situation – especially when you find out how affordable an umbrella or just extra liability coverage costs.  It’s one of the few real bargains in insurance.

Do you have the coverage you may need?

Total amount you have At Risk:

Current Insurance Protection

Gap in coverage?



"At Risk" Gap (What you need vs. What you have):

Call me to talk about ways to fill the gaps!

If responsible for an accident, you may have to pay for...
  • Car Damage
  • Loss of Use
  • Towing
  • Car Rental
  • Damage to Personal Property
  • Damage to Business Property
  • Environmental Cleanup
  • Modification to a Home
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Towing
  • Loss of Essentials Services
  • Attorney Fees
  • Loss of Wages
  • Medical Bills
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The Truth about Water Damage

Most policies don’t come with backup of sewer and drains coverage.  It’s true.  Do you have this coverage?  How much do you have?

For more information on home insurance call the home Insurance Specialists Team 612.460.7796 get an online quote or start up an online chat.

What to do if you Experience a Sewer Backup

A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of the affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold and further damage. In the event of sewer backup, turn the water off and immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. This should include:

•Wet-vacuuming or removing spillage
•Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant
•Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
•Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes
•Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering
•Cleanup of ductwork

Homeowners and business insurance do not cover flood damage: Only flood insurance will cover your losses in the event of a flood.

If you have water damage… Call 24 restore Office (612) 255-9578 | Toll Free (888) 804-2785 The quicker the damage is mitigated the lower the cost and damage. Call your agent or 24 restore right away.

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Wedding Insurance?

Wedding Insurance


Why Would You Need Wedding Insurance…


What could possibly go wrong?

It’s wedding season. The insurance specialists team offers special event and wedding insurance which provides cancellation postponement coverage and other coverages to cover your investment, with an option to add liability coverage with no deductible, for many of things that could go wrong – that are beyond your control.

Some Possible Wedding Day Disasters…

♥No Dress

♥Lost Deposits

♥Lost Rings

♥Severe Weather

♥Transportation Shutdown

♥Ruined Photos

♥Call to Duty

♥Damaged Gifts

♥Sudden Illness

♥Venue Requires Insurance

♥Additional Expense



Wedding insurance can offer the following coverages for your special day.

Cancellation / Postponement

Lost Deposits

Additional Expenses

Event Photographs & Video

Event Gifts

Special Attire

Special Jewelry

So much has been invested in planning your dream wedding, but what happens if something goes wrong? Call and speak to an insurance specialist 763.244-3735.  We offer other special events insurance as well. Is it affordable?  Yes, call and get a quote. 763.244.3735

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2015 Driver Improvement Program 55+ Class Schedule

Enroll in a course near you or call 1-888-234-1294

First Time Basic 8 Hour Course – One 8 hour session or Two (4) hour sessions on consecutive days $24


18 & 19   Wed./Thurs.  5:00 to 9:00 PM              Broadway Village

10            Tuesday          9:00 AM to 5:30 PM      Superior Collision

25            Wednesday    9:00 AM to 5:30 PM      Nowthen Alliance Church

28            Saturday         9:00 AM to 5:30 PM      Coon Rapids Riverdale Cub


7 & 8      Tues./Wed.      5:00 PM to 9:00 PM     First National Bank of Elk River

25            Saturday           9:00 AM to 5:30 PM    Nowthen Alliance Church


19 & 20    Tues/Wed.   5:00 to 9:00 PM               Ed’s Collision & Glass


20 & 21     Mon./Tues   5:30 to 9:00 PM               Ramsey City Hall


4 Hour Refresher Course – Repeat Students (1X) every 3 years – $20.00

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Rental Car Insurance

Before you rent a car, contact Insurance Specialists Team to find out how much collision and liability coverage you have on your vehicle. In most cases, the coverage and deductibles you have on your personal automobile insurance policy would apply to a rental car, providing it is used for pleasure and not business.

If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or if it is damaged in an accident. If you plan to rent a vehicle frequently, your best bet is to purchase a non-owner auto liability Insurance policy from Insurance Specialists Team.

The best time to make the decision about whether you will need extra rental car insurance is before you’re standing at the car rental counter. Read on to learn about car rental insurance considerations and what you need to know to make sure that you’re covered.


It’s not uncommon for rental car agencies to offer you the opportunity to purchase additional auto coverages, but do you need them?  Insurance Specialists Team has your answers.


  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, you most likely do not need to purchase CDW from the rental car agency.Additionally, your credit card company may include some collision and theft protection if the rental car is paid for with your card. This includes coverage for “loss of use,” which refers to the amount of money a rental car company can stand to lose while a car is being repaired. If your credit card doesn’t offer coverage for loss of use, you may want to consider purchasing CDW from the rental agency.
  • Liability insurance provides excess liability coverage of up to $1 million for the time you rent a car. Rental companies are required by law to provide the minimum level of liability insurance required by your state. Generally, this does not offer enough protection in a serious accident. If you have adequate liability coverage on your car or an umbrella policy on your home/auto, you may consider forgoing this additional insurance.

Auto Policy Options

If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or if it is damaged in an accident. If you plan to rent a vehicle frequently, your best bargain is to purchase a non-owner auto liability insurance policy from us.


A non-owner auto liability insurance policy covers you for damage that you may cause to someone else’s car and liability for injuries to its occupants, or to pedestrians, in the event of an accident. The policy will also provide medical payments coverage for you and your passengers, and under-insured and uninsured coverage. This pays for the cost of an accident involving a hit-and-run driver or a driver who has little or no insurance.


However, non-owner auto liability insurance does not provide collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to the car you’re driving if you crash into another car or object, or the car rolls over.


If you drive an older vehicle, but plan to rent a luxury vehicle, it’s important to make sure that your policy will cover the complete cost of the replacement value of the vehicle you are renting.


In addition to a non-owner auto liability policy, an umbrella liability policy is also an option to meet the underlying auto insurance policy requirements when renting a vehicle.


One more thing to note: if you are renting a vehicle that is not classified as passenger car (such as a moving truck, 15-passenger van, etc.), you must purchase a separate policy from the rental company to be covered in that vehicle.


Renting a car outside the United States?

In general, your U.S. auto insurance does not cover you abroad. However, your policy may apply when you drive to countries neighboring the United States. Check with our agency to see if your policy covers you in Canada, Mexico, or countries south of Mexico.


Car rental agencies overseas usually provide auto insurance, but in some countries, the required coverage is minimal. When renting a car overseas, consider purchasing insurance coverage that is at least equivalent to that which you carry at home.


Also, if you are renting a car abroad, you may need an international driver’s license.


Top Ways to Save on your Auto Premium

  • Consider raising your deductible.
  • Keep up your good driving record.
  • Drive less to qualify for a low-mileage discount.
  • Drive a car with safety features such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, etc.
  • Install an anti-theft device.
  • Ask about our multi-policy discounts.
  • Have your insurance with IST – obviously.
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It’s no secret winters in the Midwest are frigid. Keep the chill outside by following these helpful tips to reduce your energy bills without sacrificing comfort.


The most common home heating fuel is natural gas and according to the Department of Energy it’s used in about 57 percent of American homes.
• Shop around for the best price on home heating fuel; some companies will sell at a lower rate if you pay upfront

• Purchase heating fuel in the off season; often times, filling your tank in spring and summer costs less than fall and winter

Make your home more energy efficient
According to the Department of Energy, making your home more energy efficient can save 5 to 30 percent on your monthly energy bill. Just think of what you could do with that savings!
• Conduct a home energy audit — hire a professional or use the Department of Energy’s do-it-yourself energy assessment to help identify problem areas

• Make sure your attic and ceilings are sufficiently insulated as heat rises and if it’s not stopped by insulation, it will escape through your roof

• Furniture should not block floor vents or radiators

• Consider installing a programmable thermostat (ideal for those that are away from the home for set periods throughout the week); according to, proper usage can save around $180 every year in energy costs (again, more money in your pocket!)

• If you have a wood fireplace or wood stove, make sure the damper is closed when it’s not in use

• When purchasing new appliances, consider ones with energy star label; not only do they operate more efficiently but some may be eligible for federal tax credits (visit for more information)

Windows and Doors
Proper maintenance of windows and doors is key to improving energy efficiency in your home. According to, seven to 12 percent of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors.
• Add or replace weather-stripping around doors — the cost is inexpensive and typically easy to install or replace

• Repair or replace broken or cracked window and door glass

• Open curtains and blinds during the day so sunlight can warm the room and close them at night as they act as a second barrier against cold winter air

• If replacing your windows or new construction, consider thermopane windows as they can increase the energy efficiency of your home up to 70 percent

Hot Water Savings
• Insulate your hot water heater as this may help hot water stay hot longer without using extra energy

• Install a low-flow showerhead; many homes built after 1992 have this so if you have an older home consider the update

• Run the dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full; turning on either machine when only half full wastes hot water.

• Wash clothes in cold water

• Clean the lint filter out of your dryer so it functions efficiently

To learn more about home heating, check out this infographic courtesy of the Department of Energy. Do you have any additional tips? Please share in the comments field below. We’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Tis the Season for Christmas Shoplifting…and for Stolen Gifts

Insurance MN








These holiday tips brought to you by The Insurance Specialists Team

We are in the peak holiday shopping season. Whether your at Rosedale, Northtown mall, The MOA –  we’d like to suggest a few reminders about how to be safe and to prevent your gifts and other purchases from being stolen. Shopping during the holiday season can present many dangers, but following a few prevention measures can help keep your holiday season joyous.  Packages left in a car in plain site can be too much for criminals to resist.

Please keep these safety tips in mind, so that you can enjoy the season without incident:

Shopping Safety Tips

· Always be aware of your surroundings.

· Don’t leave purchased merchandise in your parked car where it can be seen. If you take purchases to your car and then continue shopping, always put your purchases in the trunk.

· Police advise you to remove the GPS unit and if necessary, take it with you. That includes even the suction cup, if that can be removed.

· Don’t carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with checks, credit or debit cards. Carry your cash and wallet in a front pocket to reduce your chances of having your pocket picked.

· NEVER leave car doors unlocked or windows open or park in isolated areas.

· Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and watches.

· ALWAYS park in lighted areas closest to the windows.

· Shop with friends.

· Keep receipts on you and not in the bag.

· As you return to your car, be sure to keep your car keys in your hand.

· If you make expensive purchases like jewelry or guns, call our office as we may need to add these to your policy.

· Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

· Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

We hope you never have a loss or claim, but if you do, call our office as soon as possible.  Remember to schedule your jewelry and expensive items.


The Insurance Specialists Team will always work hard to find you the best combination of coverage price and service. Please call us today at  Big Lake, Ham Lake or Minneapolis for a free quote.

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AAA Membership Special Limited Time Offer

AAA MEMBERSHIP Effective September 29, 2014 throughout 2015, we are pleased to announce a special limited time new member offer!

• – Waive enrollment fee and One Free Associate with a New Primary Member when enrolling.
• Free Associate must be added same time New Primary Member enrolled.
• Only one “Free Associate” per new Household.
• Free Basic (revised name “Classic”) Dues only for 1st Associate. PlusRV and PremierRV are at current rates. All other Associates can be added at the ½ priced rate • Not applicable to existing active members.
• $5 Discount when adding Automatic Renewal – no change. • This new offer is not combinable with any other new member offers.

AAA Insurance

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Should You Raise Your Auto Insurance Deductibles?

When Is It A Good Time To Raise Deductibles On My Auto Insurance policy?

Many of us are searching for methods to conserve cash. IST strives to offer the most effective combination of prices and insurance coverage to all our customers. We recommend that you evaluate your insurance program annually to ensure your insurance is correct and in line with your needs. We’ll generally contact you via email and/or phone to do a quick review or to schedule a good time for an insurance review. One of the things worth considering during a review are adjustments in deductibles. Raising deductibles can lower your costs without assuming too much risk.

Raising your deductible will lower your costs. Assume you pay $225 each month for your auto insurance that has a $250 comp. deductible and $500 collision deductible. By boosting your deductible to a $1000 comprehensive and $1,500 collision deductible you could possible save $75 per month. That is a $900 yearly cost savings. Assuming you don’t have any accidents, the savings would certainly practically pay for itself in a little time. (This is an example. Actual cost savings will certainly be based upon individual aspects).

If you increase your collision deductible to $1,500 and also have an accident the next day, you must pay the $1500. Are you prepped to handle that? Your deductible and risk tolerance are a personal choice and your economic situation figures in in the deductibles and protection you pick. We could examine your insurance coverage as well as provide deductible saving choices, so consider raising deductibles at your next review.

Last Thought and feelings– When should you remove your deductible?
There does come a time when it is not cost effective to keep any sort of comp/collision insurance. As vehicles age, the value may not be worth insuring with comp and collision. Eventually you have to think about the expense of insurance coverage vs. exactly what you may expect as a return. As an example, if you pay $500 for a six month policy, but your auto has a depreciated worth of $1,500, the expense may not warrant the insurance policy. In this example your annual insurance policy cost is a large % of your vehicles worth. Contact your insurance specialist if you have any questions or would like to run some comparable auto insurance options.

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Emergency Dental MN – A No Insurance Emergency MN Dentist 952-334-8157 Do you need an emergency dental MN emergency dentist in Minneapolis, MN and suburbs now? Have an excruciating toothache you…

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KTTC-MN: ObamaCare Increasing Health Insurance Costs For Mayo Clinic Employees

KTTC-MN: ObamaCare Increasing Health Insurance Costs For Mayo Clinic Employees (January 31, 2014)

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IT Insurance

The Insurance Specialists Team specializes in IT insurance for technology businesses including self-employed individuals and IT consultants working from home. We understand the unique risks you face, that’s why we offer technology insurance that is customized to your specific needs. We cover a range of IT professionals including (but not limited to):

  • IT consultants
  • Application service providers
  • Database administrators/designer
  • Computer consultants
  • Computer programmers
  • Hardware installation experts
  • Integration Specialists
  • IT project managers
  • Online security specialists
  • Software developers
  • System designers
  • Website developers

Professional liability insurance

Professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance protects your business if there’s ever a discrepancy between the services you provide and your client’s expectations. Understanding the specific risks you face as an IT business, we can customize this insurance by adding $200,000 of software copyright infringement coverage to most of our IT insurance policies.

Contact one of our tech insurance specialists to learn more. 763-263-0785

General liability insurance

All technology service providers should seriously consider general liability coverage. It protects you from third-party claims arising from bodily injury (slips and falls), personal injury ( libel or slander), and damage to someone else’s property.

 Business owner insurance

Also known as a business owner’s policy or BOP insurance, this combines general liability coverage with protection for your business equipment, such as computers, printers, copiers and office furniture.


We have Solutions for technology companies…

Whether you’re a start-up, fast-emerging companies or established global enterprise, you expect insurance solutions tailored to your needs.  We can help you.  Our experience and local market knowledge positions you to deliver impactful risk management and insurance solutions.

At IST, our IT Insurance Specialists have industry expertise to help protect technology companies from cutting-edge threats as well as everyday hazards. From specialty policies like Global Companion to auto, property, general liability, umbrella, E&O, network security liability,media liability and workers compensation, we have the products to support this specialized industry.

More than just a policy Tech company CFOs* told us risk mitigation, education and prevention are important to them,which is why we are dedicated to sharing our knowledge and resources to help technology companies avoid losses and protect their assets.

IT Insurance Specialists Team 763-263-0785


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The Great 401(k) Flaw

401(k) plans have become widely used over the last 30 years.

Unfortunately, the plan has many flaws. The biggest of which: is that when people reach the age they MUST begin withdrawing money from their plan. Age 59½. The 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on IRA withdrawals ends at age 59½. However, you are not required to take distributions until after you reach age 70½… AKA – the governments payday.

How many of us were told to save tax deferred and then take out when you are retired and in a lower tax bracket? How many people can risk retiring into a lower bracket or income? It’s a ridiculous proposition. Who believes tax rates will be lower in the future? I doubt assumptions were made for the inevitable escalating tax rates – except maybe by someone in the government.

There are over 75 million baby boomers beginning to retire in between 2012 and 2016.

As more baby boomers withdraw their funds (Selling stocks), a dramatic decline in the stock market could result.

The more people who see the dramatic stock market decline, the more people will sell their shares to avoid losses; causing stock prices to tank even further. This is something Robert Kiyosaki predicted 10 years ago.

Poor retired Person

But, who wants to see puny returns that can’t keep up with inflation or miss out if the market doesn’t crash or go down? This is one of the reasons we use Equity Indexed Annuities, Life Insurance, and other safe money principles where you can get the benefit of the market ups, but avoid any loss during the market downs.

I don’t know about you – but, after the last market crash – I’ve become a lot less interested in gambling on stocks and try to limit the risks involved in the market. My gains have been more consistent and less volatile.


To learn more about the best annuities today – like the ones we personally use, please give us a call 763.263.0785 or send us an email.

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Good Moods or Bad Moods… They’re Contagious

People try to avoid picking up germs from someone who is coughing, but when they encounter a person who is in a bad mood, they can just as easily pick up their cranky vibes.

Moods are contagious.

It’s easy to catch a good mood. When you’re at work and co-workers have good news about something or someone, they want to share it with you. Excitedly, they announce the good news and everyone is in a better mood.

The infectious quality of mood and emotion has been widely studied as a form of contagion. Without consciously trying, people are very good at picking up on other people’s negative or positive emotions.

The situation is called “emotional contagion.” The first step involves unconscious copying of facial expressions and movements. Seeing a smile makes you smile, a frown makes you frown.

If you’re both frowning, you will tend to start feeling bad too and share emotions until you are both in the same mood. Mood copying is common when you are in frequent contact with others.

When a friend or co-worker is in a mood, it’s more likely that you’ll catch it than from a stranger.

Marriage researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that husbands experienced lower marital satisfaction when their wives reported higher stress. Wives were less affected by their husband’s stress levels.

Studies emphasize the importance of choosing friends and significant others wisely. People who are positive and upbeat can make you feel the same way.

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Referral Corner

We want to thank you for your referrals over the years. We always ask our clients, “If they can just refer us one client per year, it would help us immensely.” We are grateful to everyone who’s referred someone our way, and we always love to have new people become part of our inner circle of friends and family.
Simply send them our contact info. call 763.244.3735 , or email or have them stop by one of the agency locations and tell them to tell us you sent them.
We will give you a thank you and a Target or Visa Gift Card.  We may take you to the ball game too!


Insurance Minneapolis


Insurance Ham lake

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Grilling Safety

Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!


Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling in MN isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.


Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.


There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.



Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).

NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.

Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.

Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.




Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.

Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.

Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.

To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.


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Why Families Need Life Insurance

Ben Van Houten the father of sextuplets died Wednesday night from a sudden heart attack, confirmed the Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes in Holland, MI.

Van Houten lived in the Holland area in western Michigan. In 2004, his wife, Amy, gave birth to six children over three days at a Grand Rapids hospital. They’re now 10 years old. The kids were joined by a sister, now 7.

At this time, it’s necessary to ask, was the family properly covered with life insurance? Their grief must be astounding. But that anguish cannot be compounded with sudden poverty.

Life insurance is critical at moments like this. Ask these questions:

What’s its purpose? Life insurance should really be called “death protection” because its purpose is to protect the family against the premature death of a breadwinner or a caregiver. It acts as a substitute for income. The potential risk of losing that earning power is what makes life insurance a necessity.
Who should buy it? Mainly people who have others depending on them for income support. If you have a non-earning spouse and/or children, or some other significant financial obligation, you need life insurance. Your spouse may also need coverage, even if he or she doesn’t work, if child care or other expenses would result from the spouse’s death. If you’re single, or have significant cash resources, you probably don’t need it.
What should you buy? Inexpensive term life insurance. A common misconception about life insurance is that it is a permanent need that each family has. This is totally untrue. Most financial experts see it as a way to simply “buy time” until you accumulate savings, not as a permanent fixture in your financial program.

Protect your family. Life insurance is the foundation of any family’s financial house. Act today, because it’s the one element you can’t go back and fix.

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Understanding Auto Insurance

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Health Insurance MN – MNsure – Obamacare

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Car Insurance Quote MN l Get Free Car insurance Quotes in Minnesota

Car Insurance Quote MN

Minnesota is the Land of over 10,000 Lakes. Suitable , since The Insurance Specialists Team of MN provides 10,000 pearls of knowledge and understanding (plus or minus a couple thousand) here about Minnesota car insurance.

No matter where you live in Minnesota — Minneapolis to Moorehead to Mankato — you can score Insurance Specialists Team’s auto coverage and discover all the benefits and savings from it.

Begin your free Minnesota car insurance quote, take advantage of our affordable policies, super savings options, and modern online tools. Plus, of course, the most informative insurance site on this, or any, side of the St.Croix!
Insurance Specialists Team’s Minnesota has car insurance discounts From the Top Insurance companies

Home to the Vikings,Timber Wolves, Twins. and Wild – Minnesota could be considered the Big little city. Which is to say, residents in your state love their teams and know winning deals when they see them. And shopping for Minnesota auto insurance isn’t complete without some nifty North Star State perks to boot.

Specialists at the Insurance Specialists Team MN can help you save big with these discounts:

Easy Three Discounts
Multi-Car discount
Paid-in-Full discount
Homeowners discount

Snap shot discount
Defensive Driver discount
Good Student discount
Anti-Theft discount

Alumni Discount

AAA Discount

Early bird Discount

Referral Bonus and many more!

Discounts may vary. If  you have questions about all the discounts, give us a call at 763-263-0785 Big Lake.  763-452-2145 Ham Lake. 612-460-7796 MPLS


Auto Insurance Quote MN
Required Minnesota car insurance coverages


All Minnesota drivers are required to have a Minnesota no-fault policy with personal injury protection, liability insurance, and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. You must have at least the following limits for each:

Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP — medical coverage ($20,000 limit)
PIP — economic loss ($20,000 limit)
Liability coverage
$30,000 bodily injury coverage (one person)
$60,000 bodily injury coverage for 2 people or more
$10,000 property damage coverage

These liability limits are commonly written as 30/60/10. It likely isn’t enough and it may actually cost less to have higher limits as some carriers will rate having higher limits better.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
$25,000 for injuries to one person
$50,000 for injuries to 2 people or more

Settling injury claims after an accident

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means that each driver (and each driver’s insurer) is financially responsible for his or her injuries in an accident, up to a set limit.

Minnesota no-fault helps cover medical-related bills after an accident. These expenses can include medical bills, replacement services, and income loss if you have to miss work.
Settling property damage claims after an accident

Since no-fault applies to bodily injury, if another driver damages your car or other property in an accident, you’d file a claim with that person’s insurance company instead of your own. (That’s what property damage liability coverage can help pay for.)
Optional car insurance coverages

On top of the required Minnesota car insurance coverages, drivers can also choose from these extra options when you get your Minnesota car insurance quote.

Comprehensive coverage (including glass replacement coverage)
Collision coverage
Emergency road service coverage
Rental car coverage
Customized parts and equipment coverage
Loan/lease gap coverage

Comprehensive and collision coverages may be required (by a lease or finance company) if you lease or have a loan on your car.
Car repair shops in Minnesota

IST customers love the savings – check our reviews!

The Insurance Specialists Team has connections for auto glass, body shops, contractors, handy men,etc. See our trusted referrals page!
Factors that can impact your Minnesota car insurance premiums

The following can affect your car insurance rate in Minnesota:

The coverages, limits, and deductibles you choose
Vehicle type
Annual mileage
Driving record
ZIP Code
Discounts you qualify for
Credit-based insurance score

Minnesota driving trends
Uninsured drivers in Minnesota

A recent report from the Insurance Research Council estimated that 13 percent of Minnesota drivers were uninsured in 2009. That was in line with the national average of 13.8 percent.
Driving safety

Year after year, driving fatalities have decreased in Minnesota. In 2010, there were 411 traffic-accident deaths, a small drop from 421 in 2009 (and an even bigger drop from 455 in 2008).
Not having proof of insurance

Keep proof of your Minnesota car insurance in your auto at all times. If you can’t provide proof of insurance… your license could be revoked.
Your right to car insurance

Regardless of your driving record, you have the right to obtain car insurance in Minnesota. See IST for a car insurance quote MN and what they can do for you.

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