In the world of insurance professionals, there are generally two kinds of agents:captive agents and non-captive, or independent agents.
By definition, captive agents work exclusively for one insurance carrier and are obliged to give business only to that company. While some captive agents belong to affiliated groups of their parent company, the captive agent's priority is to develop business for the parent company above all others.
In return, the insurer usually provides its captive agents with an allowance for office expenses and benefits such as pensions, life and health insurance, continued insurance training and credit union membership. And, while maintaining an estimated 5,000 captive agents worldwide, the captive agent population has reportedly been on the decline.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, many insurance carriers are trying to contain business costs by shedding their captive agents and relying more on independent agents or direct marketing through the mail, by phone and on the Internet.
Despite the decline, many captive agent groups maintain that captive insurers are the simplest and purest forms of agencies, which will enjoy continued success by offering a wide variety of coverages—greater than the coverages available through independent agents and brokers, leading to longevity in an array of markets.
Is becoming a captive insurance agent right for you? Take a look at the benefits and challenges to find out.
Benefits of captive agents:
In direct opposition to captive agents, non-captive, or independent agents, represent multiple insurance companies and work on behalf of the client to find them a policy. Non-captive agents receive the majority of their earnings through the commission of policies sold, although they may also be compensated by their sponsored agencies.
While some non-captive agents are completely independent of a primary company, most non-captive agents report chiefly to one company, while still maintaining more selling freedom than captive agents. How?
As an independent agent of XYZ Company, the agent must report the majority of their business to XYZ. However, if XYZ is unable to sell a policy to a customer for any reason, the non-captive agent can then find the customer a policy through another affiliated insurer. Theoretically, non-captive agents are able to pick and choose the best policy for their clients.
And yet, despite the non-captive's flexibility, the road to success is not an easy one. Often times, independent agents are responsible for providing their own resources to start their business, and although the agent can work with multiple companies, they may still feel pressure to sell a healthy number of policies from one insurer in particular.
Are you ready to become a non-captive insurance agent? Take a look at the benefits and challenges facing independent agents.
Benefits of non-captive agents:
Hello again Sitting around a backyard fire pit is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a nice summer evening.
Without the proper precautions, however, it can also be quite dangerous.
So before you get out the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for National S’mores Day on August 10, check out these guidelines to make sure you won’t get burned by an unsafe fire.
Decide what style is best for your yard.
You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to fire pits — from ready-made metal bowls to the classic, do-it-yourself pit ringed with rocks. And they don’t even have to burn wood. Gas models can be more convenient and may actually reduce the risk of a fire blazing out of control.
Make sure you follow the law.
As the popularity of fire pits has grown, some municipalities are creating new regulations around their use. And general burn bans are often in effect to protect air quality. Check with your city or county to determine whether you can use a fire pit, along with the rules you need to follow.
Take a look around.
Make sure there aren’t any flammable materials near your fire pit or flammable surfaces, such as a wooden deck, under it. Your pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure. Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby in case of emergency; you can also use a bucket of sand to put out your fire. Finally, check the wind direction before you start a fire, and make sure kids and pets remain at a safe distance.
Build a safe fire.
Only use seasoned hardwood if possible, as softer woods, such as cedar, can spark and pop. Never burn garbage, leaves or paper, and don’t use fluids — even lighter fluid — to start or restart your fire. If you have a metal fire pit, use the included screen, and don’t overload it.
Make sure it’s out.
Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. Spread the ashes out and let them cool. Pour some water (or your sand) over them — but don’t leave just yet. Always give it a little extra time to ensure the fire is totally out and won’t flare up. Besides, it’s still a nice night out, right?
Whether you’re headed to the nearest state park or traversing multiple state lines, a little planning will help you make the most of your summer motorcycle getaway. North Carolina being the best of both worlds, in my slightly biased opinion since we have the mountains on the west, and and beach to the east!
Not sure where to start? Our tips will help you figure out where to go, what to pack (spoiler alert: not too much) and how to get there safely.
Where to go
No, you don’t need an exact plan. But you do want to have a general idea of where you’re headed; you can always switch it up on the fly.
Packing smart – not just light – is one of the best ways to prepare for an extended motorcycle ride. We’ve all been on a trip with someone who brought four bags for three days. Don’t be that person.
Regular motorcycle maintenance is vital, but so is inspecting your bike prior to hitting the road.
Ah, summer. It’s warm outside and comfortable inside, with air conditioners and fans blowing a cool breeze throughout the house. What a perfect time of year!
Until the power goes out, that is.
Now it feels just as warm inside as it is outside — possibly worse. Everyone’s frustrated, including the pets. And you can’t even turn on the television for a little distraction.
It doesn’t have to be totally miserable, though. Here are a few strategies to help you through when the power is down, the mercury is rising and you don’t know what to do:
First things first, stay safe.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty. Alcohol and caffeine can accelerate dehydration, so avoid them. If you get dizzy or weak, sit down in a cool place, drink water and wipe your face and body with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t have you on the road to recovery, get medical attention quickly. Also consider taking the family, especially seniors, to an emergency cooling center in your area.
Watch when you open the windows.
Don’t open the windows when it’s scorching outside. Instead, open your windows at night (if you can safely do so) and let your home fill with that cooler air. Then, as soon as it starts to heat up, close your windows and blinds so that air sticks around as long as possible.
Dress for success.
Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing and as little as possible (when you’re at home, at least). A water-soaked bandana or rag on your neck can work wonders, too. Now’s not the time to worry about fashion — it’s all about comfort.
Undress for success.
If you have a pool, well, what are you waiting for? Get suited up and jump in. Just don’t forget the sunscreen and be sure not to leave kids and pets unattended around pools no matter how shallow they are. If you don’t have a pool or even a sprinkler, a cool bath or shower is an excellent way to bring that body temperature down.
Don’t forget about Fido (or Fluffy).
Animals can get heatstroke too, particularly if they are very young, very old, overweight or have other medical issues. Make sure they are drinking plenty of water and that they have access to shade if they go outdoors. A cool bath or damp towel can be soothing, too, as well as a swim in the morning or evening.
We know there’s just no substitute for that feeling when the air conditioner kicks back on. But following these tips can help ensure that you’ll be safe — and sane — while you’re waiting for that to happen.
At the end of the week – perhaps before – the night sky will light up with red, white and blue. It’s all part of our nation’s annual Fourth of July fun.
Yet, in recent years, along with the fireworks frenzy have come fires numbering in the tens of thousands and property damage totaling millions of dollars, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), not to mention injuries ranging from minor burns to blindness.
It may be enough to make you forgo your own fireworks and enjoy a free public show in your community instead. That’s exactly what the NFPA advises. If not, celebrate with common sense and these fireworks safety tips:
And for our folks that stay or have property out at the coast, please be careful with hurricane Arthur moving in!
Here's some local places/times listed for firework events!
The Triangle is bursting with firework displays and Independence Day celebrations.
Baseball and fireworks? What could be better? On Wednesday and Thursday at 7:05 p.m., the Durham Bulls face the Gwinnett Braves at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, with fireworks following both games. Tickets available at durhambulls.com.
Find the early birds in Smithfield on South Third Street near Johnston Street. The Coco Loco Party Band will play at 6:30 p.m., and fireworks will go off at 9:30. In between, enjoy games and other activities.
The Applause! Cary Youth Theatre will perform at 6:30 p.m. and the Cary Town Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. 919-469-4069 or go to www.carytownband.org.
Durham Bulls versus Gwinnett Braves at Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 7:05 p.m., followed by fireworks. Tickets available at durhambulls.com.
Independence Day Celebration at Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road. The event will include concessions, a kids’ adventure zone and a performance by the N.C. Symphony before fireworks at dusk. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the Carolina Soul Band will accompany a townwide Garner All-American City Shuffle. 919-773-4442.
Vendors, music, inflatable rides and fireworks from 6 to 9 p.m. at South Park, 820 S. Main St.
Fireworks show will begin at dark, about 9:30 p.m., at Morrisville Community Park, 1520 Morrisville Parkway.
A two-day celebration begins Thursday with a night of picnics and fireworks at Wake Forest High School, 420 W. Stadium Drive. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and The Band of Oz starts playing at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5, children 6 and under are free.
The first of three nights of Fireworks Extravaganzas at Five County Stadium at 7 p.m., following the Mudcats game versus the Lynchburg Hillcats. Tickets are available at milb.com.
Downtown Apex will celebrate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The flag will be raised at 9 a.m., Uncle Sam’s Parade of Wheels will begin at noon, and the Fire Department Splash Down will spray away at 12:30 p.m.
Celebration will get underway at 3 p.m. in the Singing Grove at 406 E. Main St. The afternoon will offer live music, dancing and activities for children. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m.
From 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., games and family-friendly contests will occur at Fred G. Bond Metro Park, 801 High House Road.
Gates open at 3 p.m. for a celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway. The Kids Zone will be open from 3-7 p.m. The Cary Town Band will perform at 6 p.m., and the N.C. Symphony will perform at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks will follow the concert. Lawn seating is free.
Independence Day would not be complete without a Watermelon Eating Contest emceed by The Dirty South Improv Comedy Troop. Kenan Stadium gates open at 7 p.m. with a juggling Uncle Sam, face painting and inflatable sports challenges. The winner from each of three heats will compete on the Kenan Stadium stage, followed by the Bull City Syndicate Band and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Donations of $1 per person or $5 per family are encouraged.
Festivities and fireworks will occur at Municipal Park on West Stallings Street. Starting at 4 p.m., families can participate in relay races, basketball competitions, cornhole and bingo. Fireworks launch at 9:30 p.m.
Catch some all-American sports with the Collegiate National Team’s two-game lineup against Chinese Taipei at 6:05 p.m., followed by the City of Durham’s official July 4th Fireworks celebration. Tickets available at durhambulls.com.
The Eno River Asssociation will be hosting a full day of music – beer garden included – at the 35th Annual Festival for the Eno at West Point on the Eno in Durham from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets and the lineup are available at enoriver.org/festival.
65th Annual Watts Hospital-Hillandale Fourth of July parade will begin at 10 a.m. in Oval Drive Park, 210 W. Club Blvd.
Louisburg High School gates will open at 5:30 p.m. On tap are games, inflatables, music, food and fireworks. Rain date July 5.
Celebrate in a more historic fashion at the annual Picnic in the Park. The West Tryon Street parade will begin at 9 a.m. The day will include a reading of the Declaration of Independence with Mayor Tom Stevens, free performances at the Farmers Market Pavilion, pony rides at River Park a pie bake-off. 919-732-7741.
A fireworks show is scheduled from 8 to 9 p.m. at Kenly 95 Petro on Johnston Parkway in Kenly.
The July Fourth Celebration at Knightdale Station will begin at 5 p.m. at Knightdale Station Park, featuring music from The Embers, food trucks, vendors and fireworks at 9:15 p.m. The event will begin at 5 p.m. A shuttle will run from Knightdale Community Park.
The State Capitol celebration will include music, historical and military displays, carriage rides and face painting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On the steps of the Capitol at noon, 30 new citizens will be naturalized followed by a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Gates open for “The ’Works” in downtown Raleigh at noon, with 20 bands on three stages, an art sale, food vendors, a beer garden and children’s activities. Contests for hot-dog chowing, watermelon-seed spitting and ice-cream eating round out the listings. Bands start playing around noon on two Fayetteville Street stages. The gates at Red Hat Ampitheater open at 5 p.m. If you’re attending just to catch the fireworks, officials recommend you arrive by 8 p.m. for the 9:30 p.m. show. From noon to midnight, people may park their vehicles along streets in and around downtown and Glenwood South and catch the free R-LINE at one of its designated stops.www.raleighnc.gov/transit.
For a more historic celebration, visit the Joel Lane House, 160 S. St. Mary’s St., from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to ask costumed docents questions about colonial life.
If downtown’s crowds are too daunting, Brier Creek has a fireworks display planned for Friday night at dark. The show will be visible from the parking lots of both Brier Creek Commons and Brierdale Shopping Center on Brier Creek Parkway.
For the 11th year, Selma’s All-American Festival will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. in the heart of downtown. The festival will feature live entertainment, a children’s area, vendors and fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
The Wendell parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Main Street near Mortex and proceed to the J. Ashley Wall Town Square. Food and music by the Seaside Band from noon to 2 p.m.
At 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday, the Five County Stadium Fireworks Extravaganza will follow the Mudcats game with the Salem Red Sox. Tickets at milb.com.
Archer Lodge Community Center at 14009 Buffalo Road is hosting a Family Fun Day. Starting with a 7 a.m. 5K and fun run, the day includes a 2 p.m. parade, bingo and cakewalk. The Army Ground Forces Band will play at 7:30 p.m., and fireworks will blast off at 9:15 p.m.
Collegiate National Team against Chinese Taipei at 7:05 p.m., followed by fireworks. Tickets available at durhambulls.com.
The Eno River Association will host another full day of music at the 35th Annual Festival for the Eno at the West Point on the Eno from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. enoriver.org/festival.
Keep up the red, white and blue feelings from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Sugg Farm Park, Grigsby Avenue. Festivities – including music, food, inflatables, games, potato sack races and crafts – will begin at 5 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. Admission is free.
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