Selective has automatically opened Claims cases for all of our customers in the area.  Please feel free to call us and we will answer as best we can at this time.  You can also call the Selective Claim number above to get an update on your claim or to provide better contact information.
Barnegat, NJ – For the 12th year in a row, The Van Dyk Group has retained its status as part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) “Best Practices” Study Group. Each year since 1993, IIABA and Reagan Consulting, an Atlanta-based management consulting firm, join forces to study the country’s leading agencies in six revenue categories. The agencies comprising the study groups are selected every third year through a comprehensive nomination and qualifying process and awarded a “Best Practices Agency” designation. The selected “Best Practices” agencies retain their status during the three-year cycle by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year. This year concludes the current three-year study cycle in which more than 1,200 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to participate. Only 224 agencies qualified for the honor. To be chosen, the agency had to be among the 35-40 top-performing agencies in one of six revenue categories. The agency was nominated by either an IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company and qualified based on its operational excellence. The Best Practices Study was initiated by IIABA in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. The annual survey and study of leading independent insurance agencies documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices. Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance – property, casualty, life and health – as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address:
There has been a lot of talk in the Real Estate industry recently about the need to improve perceptions that people have about our industry.  The public generally does not think very highly of those of us who work in Real Estate.  In fact, in a recent article on Yahoo ranking the 10 most hated Industries in America, the Real Estate Estate Industry ranked as the 4th most hated.  A huge part of the problem is the message that we, as an industry, are getting out. There was an article published recently in a local newspaper about the improving local Real Estate Market. The jist of the article was that there are towns that are seeing upswings in houses sold and median sales price, but that there were also some towns who are still experiencing declines in sales price and units sold. I am one who usually checks on the comments section of online to articles, to see what people are saying.  One of the comments about this article really struck a sour note with me.  The comment started as follows:” Most of what is said about real estate these days is less than true, just twisted to suit what works for the moment.” What does it say about the Real Estate industry and the messages that we are sending out when this is the kind of reaction you get to an article that is mostly positive about the Real Estate Market. What makes this worse is that the author of the article mentioned a few towns where he didn’t have ALL of the data to make the assertions that he makes regarding the market. As the Treasurer/Secretary of the Ocean County Board of Realtors, and a Broker in one the areas that was affected by the incomplete information, I felt the need to comment.  In the comments I included a more accurate picture of the market with the correct information using ALL of that data.  It didn’t show a great picture, but it did show a much more stable Real Estate market than the “more than $100,000 decline in median sales price”.  (Here is the full article if you are interested) *as an aside, the true decline for the town in question (Ship Bottom) was around $40,000. Here is where we, the Real Estate Industry, are losing the public and fostering the negative perception they have of us.  We are afraid to put out negative numbers and to connect and converse with the people regarding the true state of the Real Estate market.  Instead we hide behind messages like “Now is a Great time to buy a home”. I am so sick of hearing that message that it makes me cringe every time I hear it!  It is so played and people are tired of hearing it, as is evidenced by the comment mentioned above. We are always looking to put a positive spin on every report that is put out there, instead of simply talking about the true market conditions.  The message we should be putting out there is complete one, the good, bad, AND ugly. There is nothing wrong with letting people know that prices are down slightly, but the number of units sold remains steady.  Agents will raise curiosity more by conversing with the public about it instead of regurgitating the same “its a good time to buy” garbage.  People will not trust you if you are only spouting the company line, and you are adding to the negative perception of our Industry when you do so. They will trust you for letting them know your thoughts and being honest and transparent about the market.  You will then come to be respected for your knowledge and honesty, and start to build relationships.  Which is what this business is all about! Converse and connect with the public.  Be truthful and honest.  Share your thoughts and opinions.  Be the agent the public wants to hear from because of your own thoughts and knowledge.  Not the agent who keeps feeding people spoon-fed answers to a very complex question. The answer is never as simple as “Now is a Good Time to buy a house”!

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