The Bush Insurance Blog

The Butler Company, Inc. and Bush Insurance Merge!

Posted by Brad Butler, CIC, CPIA on Thu, Sep 05, 2013 @ 05:10 PM

The Butler Company Bush Insurance

In our never-ending effort to offer the best in exceptional service and great companies to protect you, and your family, we want to share some great news!

As of September 1st, The Butler Company, Inc. has merged with Bush Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. This includes the staff you are accustomed to working with plus the great Team at Bush Insurance. Rest assured we are still here to serve you.

You now have access to more of the leading insurance companies in the U.S. This means you have more choices in insurance protection, more choice in pricing, plus you have more agent specialists to make sure you get the best insurance value for your dollar.

Chester Butler, CIC, CPIA, will remain with the agency and Brad Butler, CIC, CPIA will join the Team as Assistant Vice President. We are excited about this merger because of the great resources and increased market strength it will provide to you, our valued customers.

Your new Insurance Team includes:

  • Two members of the Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame
  • Four Tennessee Agents of the Year designees
  • Four Past Presidents of the Tennessee Professional Insurance Agents Association.
  • One National Agent of the Year, elected by the National Professional Insurance Agents Association.
  • One Tennessee Legislature Proclamation Honoree for excellence in the insurance industry.
  • Your new Team of insurance agents have a total of 270 years of experience!

We welcome you to our new Team! Please do not hesitate to contact us at our new location. We now can offer you all types of insurance, such as home, auto, boat, RV, motorcycle, business, bonds, life, group health, and financial services. This is one stop shopping to make your life easier.

Most importantly, thank you for your business! &

Tags: Brad Bush, Leighton Bush, Bush Insurance, the butler company, Brad Butler, chester butler

A Winter Tale for Auto Drivers

Posted by Chester Butler, CIC, CPIA on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

The sky was blue and tWinter snow storm on Alabama I-65.he sun glistened on hundreds of automobiles and trucks lined up bumper to bumper. It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon on January 18, 2013. The snow storm was over. But it left 2 inches of slushy ice that was beginning to melt off automobiles and trucks. I was standing where I thought the center line might be, chatting with two truckers.

Jeb kicked a clump of ice with his cowboy boot and said, “I figure it will be sometime ‘fore things get to movin’. We stand a good chance of being here awhile.”

Tommy, a tanker driver, chimed in, “Temperature's dropping. We got about another hour or so and then this road is gonna be a skating rink.”

“Well, at least we ain't got no super truckers,” Jeb said. Tommy grinned and spat tobacco juice in the snow.

“What’s a super trucker?” I asked.

“That’s them fools that drive a rig 80 miles an hour. That’s probably one of ‘em thats got us blocked now. Or else a speedin’ four-wheeler decided to play a game of bumper cars. Damn it, it’s crazy to drive the like some folks do in this stuff!” replied Tommy. I would get to know Jeb and Tommy better in the cold and dark hours ahead.

My journey had started in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was snowing when I headed west in my little Honda Hybrid. Hours later, I would be thankful I had topped off my tank with fuel. I decided to  keep a steady 50 mph speed. Traffic passed at 70 mph. I saw a few patches of slush but the snow didn’t seem to be sticking. I made Birmingham and pushed through traffic and picked up I-65 North.

I knew that if I could get beyond the steep hills 20 miles north of Cullman, I’d be ok. That didn’t happen. Just as I approached Cullman, the snow began to blow horizontal. And in just minutes, visibility dropped to a 100 yards. I reined in the Honda to 20 mph. That didn’t seem to bother drivers who continued to pass me at 50 to70 mph.

I decided to take the last exit to Cullman and sit it out. Maybe rent a motel room and catch up on some paperwork. As I approached the exit ramp, a speeding car cut in front of me in an effort to make the ramp. The driver lost control. The car missed the signage but took out a light pole and careened down a slight embankment before it stopped.

I maintained control by not instinctively hitting the brakes. But now I was past the ramp. Goodbye Cullman! The next exit was about 20 miles ahead. That turned out to be a very long 20 miles.

Several miles up the road, traffic slowed. It would move a few hundred yards and then stop. During the stops, people left their cars and trucks to exchange gossip about what was ahead. Some tried to climb the embankment next to the highway to relieve themselves. Few were successful. Many relieved themselves beside their cars or in between the big semi trucks.

As the shadows faded into evening, the roadway slush froze. Then nothing was able to move.

Jeb and Tommy would ask me later, if they could share their water or food with me. I had both, so I declined. I also had an emergency kit in the trunk with a blanket. I had boots and heavy clothes. Plus, I had a cell phone to let my family know where I was and that I was fine. Not everyone was so lucky.

Frankly, it was a frightening situation for many drivers. One lady exclaimed to me, “They just can’t leave us out here to freeze!” I called the Alabama Department of Transportation. I got a recording telling me it was no longer a working number and to call the Alabama state operator. The recording did not give a phone number for the state operator. I didn't let the lady know I could not connect. Later, she told me that she called local law enforcement. They told her that they were too busy with secondary road accidents to assist those stranded on I-65.

I didn’t see the first Alabama Highway Patrol car or emergency vehicles until about 8:30 PM. They were followed by heavy wreckers making their way down the north bound right-of-way. About 9:30 PM I heard a helicopter. It circled and I think landed somewhere up ahead. “Someone is injured. Gosh, and we’ve been in this same spot for 5 hours. Poor soul,” I thought.

I bundled up to sleep about 10:15 PM.  At 12:30 AM, one of my new trucker friends knocked on the window, “Time to rock and roll, Bro! Stay behind us, and give us some room.”

I barely had time to get my car started when I heard the air horn of the lead truck let the other truckers know that we were on the move. That truck and another had successfully blocked the traffic for hours. This prevented more accidents from occurring. It also allowed the wrecks ahead to be cleared and jack-knifed trucks to be pulled to the side of the roadway. Then dump trucks traveled south in north bound lanes with loads of sand. They spread it for miles in front of us while we waited in our cars, oblivious to their efforts to help.This allowed all the stranded drivers to safely head north.

I set a new record for the drive from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Nashville, Tennessee…18 hours! Typically, it is an easy four hour drive.

So what are the “take aways” from my experience?

  1. Be prepared! Keep an emergency kit in your car especially for winter driving.  If you don’t know what one should contain here is a good list of the things to include in your auto emergency kit.
  2. Be cautious! My little Honda Hybrid performed well because I was very cautious. Some drivers of SUV’s with four-wheel drive ended up in the median because they did not adjust their driving to match the conditions.
  3. Educate yourself. Did you know it is more difficult to stop in slush than on snow? Here are some good winter driving tips and a little test of your winter driving know how.
  4. Be a Good Samaritan, like Jeb and Tommy. In an emergency, a kind word or small gesture goes a long way in calming the people around you.
  5. If you are in an accident, when it is safe to do so, report your claim to your insurance agent or company. Here is a free app that you can use to do that with your Iphone or Android. You do not have to be a customer of this insurance company to use this application. They should get a gold star for their generosity, don't you agree?

If you are one of our insureds, thank you for your business and be careful out there! We’ll be here, when you need us.  If you are not a customer, but we sound like the kind of agents you’d like to have represent you, call us at 615-690-8859 or drop our personal auto specialist an email at


Tags: mobile auto app, auto drivers, winter driving on ice, Nashville insurance agent, chester butler

Manage Property Risks- The Home Fire Hazard

Posted by Chester Butler, CIC, CPIA on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

You can manage property risks such as fire.This week is Fire Prevention Week. And it is no accident that it occurs this time of year. After all, it’s when you turn on your heating system and you are spending more time inside. The kids are back in school and many are at home preparing late afternoon snacks. And you may be building a cozy fire in the fireplace. Why not use tomorrow night as a fire safety reminder night for the family?  

Here’s what you do to make it fun. Gather the family around a desktop, laptop or tablet and then go here for a Fire Safety Quiz from the National Fire Safety Association.  This is a 10 question quiz that the young or elderly members of the family can understand.  Appoint a reader and each family member can take turns answering a question. Give a little prize for the family member that gets the most answers right.

Making the quiz a game can save your life and the lives of your loved ones. So make time to do it even if your teens groan!

Now that your family is thinking about fire safety, here are a few more questions and tips to prevent unexpected home and apartment fires.

What home appliances are the most likely to start a fire?

  1. Your clothes dryer. You prevent dryer fires by cleaning the lint filter after every load. You check and clean the dryer vent regularly. And you make sure you clean the dust and lent from underneath the dryer.
  2. Your kitchen range. You can prevent most kitchen fires but it is recommended you have a small extinguisher in the kitchen. Most kitchen fires start when a pot is left unattended. So just don’t do it! If a grease fire erupts, do not throw water on it. That may spread the fire. Turn off the stove and smother it.  Same goes for oven fires. Turn off the oven and do not open the door. It will likely go out. Nowadays everyone has a microwave. If a fire starts in it, do not open the door. Unplug it if you can safely do so. It will likely extinguish itself.

What is one of the most common causes of home fires?

This surprises many people; it’s faulty wiring and overloaded wall outlets.  With all our new computers, TV’s and other electrical appliances that may stay on for long hours, wiring can overheat and cause a fire. So do not over load outlets with extension cords. Do not cover electrical cords with rugs or pinch them under furniture.

What two things are in your garage or basement that are potentially fire hazards?

In many homes the furnace is located in the garage or basement. Your heating units should be checked annually. Cracks can rupture the combustion chamber and allow the unit to catch fire. So an annual inspection by a professional is money well spent to protect your home and family.

Usually, you will find combustibles such as cans of paint, cans of gasoline and other flammables in the garage or basement. If you must store them in those areas, they should be far away from the heating unit. The entire area surrounding the heating unit should be clear of any items.

What is the number one appliance for saving lives when a fire occurs?

This is a “gimme”.  It is a smoke alarm in working order. But you learned that in the quiz, didn’t you?

So protecting your home from fire is easy but it does require a bit of time and common sense. Take the time to educate your family. It is just the right thing to do and the right time of year to do it.

Of course, fires do happen every week in Nashville. If you are a Nashville renter, Renter's Insurance is a necessity, not an option. If you are a Nashville homeowner, make sure you manage your property risks prudently with a quality homeowners insurance policy.

Do you need help evaluating your homeowner or renters insurance? We are here to help. Just give Stefanie a call at 615-690-8859. Drop her an email if you prefer, at






Tags: protect your family, renters homeowners insurance, the butler company, manage property risks, chester butler

The Butler Company, Inc. named National Social Media Agency of the Year

Posted by Stefanie Butler, CPIA, MHP, HIA on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Chester Buter National Social Media AwardThe Butler Company, Inc. was awarded Social Media Agency of the year by National PIA. Each Year the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents honors an agency with the Excellence in Social Media Award. The Butler Company President, Chester A. Butler III, accepted this award on September 21st, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The award honors a PIA member agency that uses non-traditional communication tools to effectively further the goals of the organization. Chester Butler, President of the Agency said, "We constantly look for new and effective ways to communicate with our clients and potential customers. Social media has become one of the foremost methods of communication. So we wanted to be on the cutting edge of this new media in the insurance industry."

The Butler Company believes it is important to have a relationship with new and existing customers. Brad Butler, Vice President of the agency said, "Since insurance is a complex product, we believe a simple website is not enough. One way to help educate and inform our clients is with social media, blogs, and electronic newsletters. It also allows us to listen to our customers and monitor possibilities for improvement."

Chester Butler The Butler Company"We also “follow” our customers utilizing Social Media. Not only do people follow The Butler Company's social media, but the agency follows our customers. Being in touch with our customers, allows us to respond to their needs," continued Butler.

Ninety-nine percent of their content is created by the agency personnel. The Butler Company social media theory is simple: put insurance topics in plain English, not insurance-speak; make it fun, and create real world, useful content. They say their content is not always about insurance.

"A big thank you goes to our customers and those that follow us on social media platforms," says Chester Butler, "Without customers and associates that follow us on social media, we would not have been honored with this award. So we are grateful to be their insurance agents."

butler company twitter Butler company facebook butler company you tube butler company linkedin butler company blog butler company google plus
the butler company blog

Tags: nashville business insurance, insurance news, business insurance nashville tn, PIA National Award, Nashville insurance agent, the butler company, The Butler Blog, nashville insurance agents, chester butler, Tennessee insurance agent, insurance blog, Social Media, Insurance Agent of the Year, butlerinsurance, insurance agent Brentwood TN, insurance Nashville TN

Manage Property Risks in the Buyer Beware Homeowners Marketplace

Posted by Chester Butler, CIC, CPIA on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

It is a buyer beware market for homeowners insurance.You go to your mailbox.  You extract the entire stack of mail. As you meander back down your driveway, you begin the sorting process and mentally think, “Trash, trash, catalog, light bill, insurance bill and this one, hmmm, looks like a letter from Auntie. Oh, well, I will save that one for later. Let’s see about the bills.”

You tear open the electric company's envelope and glance at the amount.

“Close to last month’s,” you recall. 

Then you open the envelope from your insurance company and gasp. The bill for your homeowners insurance is several hundred dollars more than what you paid last year.

“There has got to be some mistake,” you say and you make a mental note to call your agent the next day.

This scene has been playing out thousands of times across Tennessee. It is likely to continue through the first quarter of 2013. I have written before about why this is happening. And I have written a series of blogs on how you can lower your cost in the face of these Tennessee homeowners rate increases.  But rate increases have not been the only thing insurance companies have been up to as they try to control upward spiraling homeowners insurance claims.

The homeowners insurance marketplace has become a “Buyer Beware” market place.  Here are some things you should know if you go homeowner insurance shopping:

  • Replacement Cost does not mean the same thing to all insurance companies. For example, State Farm offers functional replacement cost coverage. This means that if your oak banister is destroyed and must be replaced, the insurance company may replace it with pine, stained to look like oak. It’s functional, so you must accept it. Other insurance companies, such as Travelers, will replace the banister with oak. Their replacement cost is a percentage of extra value above the value for which your home is insured. Which will you choose?
  • Deductibles have changed in the homeowners market place. The new recommended deductible is $1,500. Rates for lower deductibles will continue to increase.  But a higher deductible is usually better than a percentage deductible. State Farm and others are now using percentage deductibles regularly. They sound good on the front end but they will cost you when a claim occurs.  A 2% deductible on a $400,000 home is $8,000!
  • Beware of multiple deductibles.You may find that when a claim occurs you are facing two deductibles. One on the structure of your home and one on the contents of your home. Lucky for consumers this is not a popular strategy. One company, the Hartford, is actually doing just the opposite. They offer a special endorsment for a single deductible if your auto and homeowners are damaged in the same incident. Good for Hartford! So you need to make sure you understand how deductibles apply to a claim. 
  • Beware of Actual Cash Value coverage on your roof. My understanding is Tennessee Farm Bureau and Allstate/e-insurance will no longer offer Replacement cost on roofs. They are not the only insurance company using this strategy. Here’s how it works: Your 20 year roof is destroyed in the 15th year by a hail storm.  It costs you $8,000 for the roof 15 years ago. The new roof cost is $12,000. You will get a check for about 25% of the $8,000 you paid for the roof, less your deductible. If your deductible is $1,000, you’ll have a whopping $1,000 check from your insurance company. Now you only have to pay $11,000 out of your pocket for your new roof. Are you a happy camper?

None of these strategies are illegal. The insurance companies may offer any insurance contract approved by the State of Tennessee. Nevertheless, I see two problems:

  1. The insurance sellers are not doing a good job of informing the public of these changes.
  2. The insurance buyers are not reading their policies and asking the right questions.

That is the perfect storm. Hang on; it’s going to be stormy weather for a while.

Do you need a safe haven from the homeowner market place storm?  Call Stefanie at 615-690-8859 or drop her an email at  Come on in, get out of the ugly weather. Join The Butler family of insureds. We feature warm smiles, hot coffee and fair rates for excellent insurance protection.  Isn’t that what you are looking for?

Tags: the butler company, manage property risks, How to lower homeowners insurance costs, Tennessee homeowners insurance rate increases, roof damage insurance coverage, chester butler, how to lower home insurance costs

BondYourself-Tennessee's Bond Secret

Posted by Chester Butler, CIC, CPIA on Thu, Aug 02, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Get a thumbs up on your bond! There is a windbreaker in my closet that is my second skin. It is the jacket I automatically reach for when I leave the house. And it spends a lot of time in the back seat of my car. It is a trusted defense against wind, rain, snow and chilly evenings. And yes, it’s old …but it is dependable and it works. It works because it is a simple solution for many different bond needs.

BondYourself is like my old windbreaker.  It’s old but dependable. You will not find any flashy videos or thundering intro music on the site. This is a website I put up in the 1990’s. It is not a fancy site. And every year, it serves more people than it did the year before, people who need and are looking for surety solutions. It gives a business people and others a simple, fast solution to many bond problems.

 As far as I can tell, BondYourself delivered the first corporate surety bond over the internet. That was no easy feat back in the ‘90’s. Insurance executives scoffed when I suggested delivering bonds over the internet. I called one bonding company after another. Each company representative was courteous, gave me “the smile” and a turn down.

In the bond business, “the smile” can have several meanings. Its common meaning is, “thanks, but no thanks”. Or it can mean that the smiling person is thinking, “I wonder if he is harmless or do I need to call security?” I got the feeling that often the smiling company executive was thinking, “What idiot in our company gave this guy a Power of Attorney to execute bonds?”

Finally, an old bond school classmate gave me a fair hearing. He liked the idea, but suggested setting up BondYourself as an affiliate of The Butler Company, Inc. So a new company was born to try a new idea, delivering bonds over the internet. I have never looked back. 

Today, BondYourself delivers more bonds over the internet than any other Tennessee agency. It is the “go to” site for Tennessee notaries. A Tennessee notary can get their notary bond, their errors and omissions insurance and their notary seals and supplies with just a few clicks. And it’s all delivered to their desktop or doorstep.

Pest control operators from Bristol to Memphis use for a quick solution to their Tennessee pest control bond needs. Many pest control operators are small businesses. They know if they need help getting their bond posted, the folks at will go the extra mile to help them. After all, I remember what it was like to be turned down when I tried to open!

Tennessee contractors are learning that BondYourself is their surety solution, too. Simple applications, no financials and fast turnarounds make securing bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds a snap for construction trades of all kinds. And unlike many bond agents, at BondYourself we love smaller contractors.

So if a bond problem is stopping you from following your dreams, visit  If you need a construction bond, visit

And if you need a little bond counseling, call me, Chester Butler at 615-690-8856. That’s my direct line. Or if you prefer, drop me an email at  My counseling is free and I will give you a fair hearing, just like my old classmate gave me many years ago. Fair enough?

Tags: The Butler Blog, chester butler, surety solutions, surety solution, bondyourself,, tennessee notary bond, licensed insured and bond

Uninsured Contractors and Others Who Put Your Business at Risk

Posted by Chester Butler, CIC, CPIA on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

HA contractor accidently caused this apartment fire.ave you verified the insurance coverage for your contractors, subcontractors and vendors? When an insured business does not take the time to determine if their contractors, subcontractors and vendors are insured, they enter The Danger Zone. They are putting their business assets and perhaps their personal assets at risk. These kinds of business insurance risks vary so let's sort them out.

It is helpful to know the difference between a contractor, subcontractor and a vendor:

  • A contractor performs work for you, such as the construction of a new building or the repair of your existing place of business. Typically, something like construction of a new building is not directly related to your deliverable products and services. The plumber, you hire to fix a leaky faucet, is a contractor.
  • A subcontractor does provide labor or products which become part of your product or services. If you build cars, the tire manufacturer is a subcontractor.
  • A vendor supplies materials or services which do not become part of your final product or service but are necessary for your business operations. The copier machine distributor is a vendor.

I think most business people understand that a construction contractor can cause bodily injury to your employees, customers and to your property. Nevertheless, I still find business owners who allow uninsured contractors to do repairs. That is certainly hazardous. And it is just as hazardous to use uninsured subcontractors and vendors. Many business owners do not realize the risk they are taking.

Here are some examples to ponder:

The Contractor Risk-You own an apartment building. You hire an uninsured handyman to thaw some frozen pipes. He uses a propane torch and sets the building on fire. It burns to the ground. People are seriously injured. As the building owner, you become liable for the injuries and any jury awards. Your property insurance pays for your building. Your insurance company pays for the injuries, but you are in court for 5 years. Your insurance costs are now triple what they were before the fire.  It pays to use insured contractors.

The Subcontractor Risk-In most states liability runs up hill. What I mean is you can easily become legally liable for actions, omissions and the products of uninsured subcontractors. If your uninsured subcontractor makes a mistake that causes bodily injury or property damage, your business is legally liable by default. If your subcontractor carries no Workers Compensation insurance, you become legally liable for the injuries of their employees. And if your insurance company determines you are using uninsured contractors, you will be penalized financially. It pays to use insured subcontractors.

The Vendor Risk-Many small businesses fail to verify that their vendors have insurance coverage. Let’s suppose your copier supplier has no liability insurance. The vendor supplies a table for the machine. The table is not designed for the weight of the copier.  While one of your best customers is visiting your office, she asks to make a copy. When she is making the copy, the table collapses and crushes her foot. Now you have a problem. Your liability insurance will likely pay and your insurance rates will go up. You’ll likely lose the customer because she may have to sue to collect. It pays to use insured vendors.

If you are one of Tennessee’s business insurance buyers you might want to join The Butler Blog. It will help you keep up with the emerging risks of today’s changing business world.

Do you need help with a business risk or business insurance problem? Feel free to give me, Chester Butler, a call at 615-690-8856 or if you prefer drop me an email at I am happy to help you.


Always consult your attorney and other business advisors regarding business risks. Always consult your insurance policies because insurance contracts vary widely. I am not an attorney and do not give legal advice. The Butler Company, Inc. is an insurance agency and does not give legal advice. My comments are based on my experience as an insurance agent and broker.

Tags: uninsured contractors, business insurance risks, the butler company, The Butler Blog, chester butler, insurance buyers

Insurance News from The Reluctant Blogger, Chester Butler

Posted by Chester Butler on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 @ 03:20 PM


Welcome to Chester Butler's new insurance blog.Welcome to my new blog. I am a reluctant blogger. I have plenty in my work day to keep me busy without writing a blog. But now I am adding another permanent item on my master “To Do List”.  The List is always with me.  On many days it is guide. On some days it is an albatross. Nevertheless, in a world awash with relentless waves of information, the List is also an anchor. It is a daily road map that keeps me on track when the inbox, the new emails, the phone calls, the seminars and the news media tempt me with new data and new issues.  But my List issue begs the question; the question is why add a blog? Why add another item to handle on a regular basis to The List?

It is because of you, our customers. You are the small business owner. You are the local contractor. You are the regional manufacturing company risk manager. You are the nonprofit executive. You are the film producer. And you are the family insurance buyer. And you deserve to know how to manage risk in a rapidly changing world. You need to know how to be a savvy insurance buyer. You need to know about the new products available to protect your business and your family. A blog seems to be the right tool to bring you that information quickly.  

Here’s how my blog can help you:

  • The world of risk management and insurance is changing faster than it has in 50 years. These changes affect all insurance buyers. There are new risks and perils to deal with in our digital age. And you cannot run from them. These changes will affect your family and your business.
  • New tools allow insurance companies to change their appetites daily. A good example is personal auto insurance. You can get a quote today and that premium will probably change if you do not purchase the policy within three days! You need to know what to expect.
  • Catastrophic losses can now have an immediate effect on premiums for certain classes of business. For example, a large loss in the entertainment industry can influence new premium quotations in a matter of days. You need to know what is on the horizon.
  • New insurance products are arriving in the market place daily. Many things are insurable today that were not insurable just a year ago. And the coverage you thought you had may evaporate with the latest court decision. You need to know what is available.
  • As a buyer you now have more responsibility than before. For example, courts now expect you to read and understand your insurance policies. Insurance companies may demand you complete an application for insurance that your agent was allowed to complete for you in the past. You need to be aware of new expectations.
Do you have time to keep up with all this? Probably not. Not to worry. I’ll keep you informed. And if you want a topic covered, just drop me an email

Tags: insurance news, risk mangement, small business insurance, new insurance products, The Butler Blog, insurance buyer, chester butler, insurance blog, insurance blogs

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