Do Babies Need Health Insurance?

Buying health insurance in Abilene, TX can be a confusing activity. From shopping for different policies to trying to understand the various terms and jargon that are used, you want to make sure you are getting the best plan that can meet your unique needs.

Insurance for your Infant

Often, people wonder whether or not babies need health insurance. We know the mother needs insurance when the child is born to pay for the associated costs, but there are actually a lot of expenses that the child will incur during the first few years of his or her life, especially medical expenses. Having an insurance plan, like from Koda Insurance Group, in place that covers these cost is vital to ensuring you are not going to suffer a financial burden due to them. 

Babies need health insurance because there is a long list of checkups that they need to attend, especially during the first few years after being born. It is at these checkups that they will be assessed for learning and developmental issues. Without insurance, many parents will find it nearly impossible to ensure their children are able to receive the health care they may desperately need.

Having health insurance is also important because it helps cover vaccination costs. As a baby grows, there are many vaccinations that are suggested by physicians. Missing one of these vaccinations could be detrimental to your child’s life. With the right insurance in place, you can rest easy knowing that your baby is going to receive great health care from a qualified doctor who can tell you when it’s time for the child to receive vaccination shots. 

Contact an insurance provider serving the Abilene, TX area today to learn more about health insurance. 

Important Things to Understand About Life Insurance

Do you think about ways that you can protect your family if something happens to you? There are several important things to understand about life insurance policies. First off, you may want to have a discussion with your family about what kind of protection might be needed if you pass on. Of course, nobody wants to talk about these issues, but if you do want to see the best for your family, then it might be something that you want to discuss with them.

Also, you should take some time to think about the kind of quality of life and care that your family should receive once you do pass on. There are more than one type of policy, so take the time with an agent to discuss what type of policy might be best for your current situation, then periodically see if changes need to be made to your coverage to reflect needs. 

Term Life Policies

Term life insurance is different from permanent life insurance. It usually means that there is a living benefit. Also, the premiums differ from permanent life policies. As its name implies, term life insurance provides coverage for a certain period of time. It could be 10, 15, 20, or even 30 years per policy. The policy can then be renewed after such time if nothing happens. Term life payouts only occur during the policy period. 

Permanent Life Policies

Permanent or whole, life Insurance policies differ because sometimes you can borrow against your policy in times of need. Also, the major difference is that you usually pay more in premiums for permanent life insurance because the coverage lasts a lifetime. Also, you don’t need to pay tax on cash value accumulation. For more questions, refer to your agent at Koda Insurance Group in Abilene, TX. 

Tips for College-Bound

A Few Tips for the College-Bound


College is expensive enough without the added cost of unexpected accidents or theft, not covered by your insurance policy. If you have a student heading away to school, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your coverage.

HOMEOWNERS (varies by state)

  • Personal Property: Most homeowners policies will cover personal property for up to 10% of your total policy while your child is residing at school (a $100,000 policy equals $10,000 in coverage). Not all types of damage are covered, so read your policy carefully. Some items such as jewelry or expensive electronics, require special coverage. Renters insurance is strongly recommended.
  • Liability Coverage: General damage to a dorm room or apartment is not usually covered.
  • Documentation: Creating an inventory of the items your child is taking to school is a good idea. Use photographs and keep receipts.

AUTO (varies by state)

  • Car Stays Home: Keep your child listed on your auto policy if they will still drive your car while at home on school breaks.
  • Car at School: Make sure to notify us if your child will be taking a car away to school. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and listed on your policy, it will be covered.
  • Driving a Friend’s Car: Students are generally covered if they are listed on their parent’s policy and are not regularly using the vehicle. The coverage would be secondary. The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage.
  • Discounts: A full-time student meeting certain academic requirements can qualify for a good student discount. Distant student discounts may also be available. Drivers under 21 who have completed driver’s education may also get a discount.

Before your child leaves for school, call Koda Insurance Group at 325-695-9999 or e-mail can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. We’re here to help!

How to Manage the Unique Risks of School Bus Drivers

Imagine navigating all the normal risks of driving – congested traffic, aggressive drivers, distracted drivers – while also taking responsibility for the safety of a couple-dozen elementary schoolchildren in your backseat. School bus drivers and contractors take on significant liability risk each time they hit the road, as well as some other unique exposures not faced by a typical commercial auto fleet.

Mark Plousis, Vice President, Commercial Underwriting, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, describes some of the challenges faced by school bus contractors, and the solutions available to mitigate the risk.

R&I: What are the top areas of exposure for school bus contractors?

Mark Plousis: An estimated 26 million kids take a bus every day, and all the activities associated with children entering and exiting a bus and being transported create exposure, especially when the children are very young and maybe not as aware of their surroundings.

Last year, there were 22 child fatalities associated with activities around a school bus. It usually results from someone not adhering to the signals on the bus, driving around it while it’s stopped, and hitting a child going to or from the bus. In some cases, it results from the school bus actually hitting a child or from activities taking place on the bus. There are various abuse issues that are associated with the school bus contractors, whether that’s aggressiveness or sexual abuse from a driver to a passenger, or passenger on passenger abuse. Incidents like these are very rare, but anything involving a child immediately becomes significant.

Automobile physical damage and liability risk is another big area of exposure, especially weather-related catastrophes

R&I: What are the top drivers of auto liability risk?

MP: As with all of the commercial auto industry, distracted drivers are a big problem. A school bus driver is distracted enough with the activities of multiple children entering and exiting the bus, or horsing around on the bus and making noise. The driver is also expected to look out for bad behavior like bullying. And today that’s compounded by the prevalence of handheld devices. Some drivers are checking their phones and texting while driving. We need school bus drivers to be totally alert and totally aware.

Many commercial auto fleets use telematics to track driver behavior. Are school buses equipped with telematics?

MP: School buses have been active in the telematics business for a long time, beginning with simply installing cameras on board. Today, the cost of telematics systems is dropping as the technology gets cheaper and easier to produce, so more of our contractors have implemented fleet telematics. It does help manage the driver, because the driver knows he or she is being watched, and it may also help manage the children for the same reason.

In addition to conditioning behavior of the driver and the passenger, telematics systems also memorialize the data, including speed, hard braking, sharp turning, etc. So over time, we start to see drivers not using their phones while they’re operating the bus, and being cognizant of their speed, how they make turns, and how hard they hit the brakes. School bus contractors can manage their risks much more effectively with the help of telematics.

R&I: Do schools set certain standards that bus contractors must adhere to around the maintenance of the vehicles or qualifications of drivers?

MP: The federal government actually sets a lot of standards for the “traditional” yellow school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association dictates how the buses are built, maintained and operated, and has established safety standards on the drivers.

Many states have additional driver requirements on top of that, such as a criminal background and sexual offender background check. Each state may have different standards around bus specs – everything from its structure to how high the seats are and how the swing arm is attached. And each state reviews the buses of each contractor to make sure that they comply, so there is a lot of built-in risk management by the states. It’s imperative that contractors follow these guidelines and do everything in their power to ensure their vehicles are safe and their drivers are qualified, otherwise they risk losing their contracts with a school district and may end up out of business.

R&I: What risk mitigation recommendations would you make to school bus contractors?

MP: The top items are driver screening and driver training.

Many contractors that we work with already do extensive training, both onsite at their facilities and on the road, having drivers practice their routes and familiarize themselves with their stops. They’ve taken a very hands-on approach.

As part of our School Bus Contactor Program, we also offer several risk management services, including an online driver safety training program that focuses on distracted driving.

Screening driver history can be more difficult, but we are addressing that with DMV monitoring. We put all of our contractors’ drivers into one of our vendor’s databases and monitor their driving activity 24/7. If a school bus driver has a speeding incident or a DUI incident on a Friday or Saturday night, we’ll know about it right away, and we’ll let our insureds know about it. Addressing those issues immediately is the best way to keep unsafe drivers off the road, which goes a long way in reducing all kinds of risk. Insurance coverage is secondary to proactive risk management.

R&I: What other services are included in Philadelphia Insurance’s school bus contractor program?

MP: We have a team of risk management consultants that will work with insureds on a number of issues. They’ll review each account’s loss history, identifying patterns to see where they can help reverse a negative trend. They’ll review safety manuals and help to create a better one if needed. They’ll do field inspections of their yard and each individual bus to make sure everything’s safe. They’ll also provide one-on-one driver training. It’s a hands-on approach.

R&I: What coverages does the program provide?

MP: The key benefits of the program are auto liability and auto physical damage. We also have an auto enhancement form that gives some good physical damage coverages to the operators, including a zero deductible for repair of glass, and coverage for towing, lease gap, electronic equipment and other physical damage causing loss of use. Property/casualty commercial general liability, as well as abuse and molestation coverage are also available.

In the event of a significant accident, we do have crisis management coverages that can be utilized immediately, which includes image restoration. With social media and the ability for word to spread so quickly, it’s important to make sure companies respond to an incident quickly, but correctly, and also to ensure no one is defaming their character unfairly. We have a team of contractors with the company that can work with our insured to make sure that their reputation is maintained and taken care of.

To learn more about Philadelphia Insurance Companies’ solutions for School Bus Contractors, visit

This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio in collaboration with Philadelphia Insurance Companies.

Go here to view the original Risk & Insurance Magazine article.

Restaurants Can be a Warzone for Injuries

Think large kitchen knives, onions, and a cutting board. What comes to mind?

If you’ve worked in an Abilene, TX restaurant, you or someone you know has probably cut themselves at some time slicing vegetables or food of some type. Aside from construction, restaurants remain one of the environments with the highest rate of worker injuries annually and even monthly. 

There is so much involved in cooking and food preparation that can cause a serious injury, combined with the fact that many restaurant workers are younger and less experienced, that it’s of little surprise statistically that food venues skyrocket with injuries every year. Safety and training can make a huge difference as well as preventative tools such as cutting guards, splash protectors from hot oil and water, protective clothing, and more. However, eventually just about everyone in a kitchen gets hurt by something.

Most injuries tend to be small and heal quickly, but a serious injury can be debilitating. A large pot of hot water can cause scalding injuries that can last for weeks. The loss of fingertips with a knife don’t heal quickly. They require special treatment for weeks to avoid infection. Burn injuries leave permanent scars and are common with ovens and hot frying grease. And then, there is the wet floor slip and fall which can break bones.

The bottom line is that today’s restaurant needs a workers compensation policy in place with protections because employee injuries will happen. Koda Insurance Group can help. We work with dozens of restaurants in the Abilene, TX area and can size up a good policy that matches your business model correctly. Email or call Koda Insurance Group and our staff today and protect both your business and your workers the right way.