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Faces of Avanti – Ronald Wise

How about a Blast from the Past? Ronnie Prof Photo

We are proud of our intern program at Avanti Business and Insurance Services because we still believe in the power of youth.  One of our first interns reached out to us last month with an update.  Let us share what Ronald is doing these days.

After graduating with a B.A. in English and Art History from Colby College (ME) in 2008, Ronnie (as he is known to us), made his way to the west coast.

Like any young college graduate, between 2008 and 2011 Ronnie kept himself very busy. He held a legal research position for a Public Defender’s office then worked for an entertainment law firm performing contract drafting and negotiation planning.  Along the way, he also found time to get involved in various community volunteering opportunities including the non-profit Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles and the Eagle Rock Music Festival.

Joining Avanti in 2011, he worked as an intern working out of our Studio City office (a suburb of Los Angeles) situated in the San Fernando Valley.  Ronnie focused on our agency’s strategies and five-year plan which involved completely re-working the business model from that of a former captive agency to the flourishing independent agency we are today. He was instrumental in defining the agency’s web presence including the design of our web site, helped get our social media strategy up and running, and assisted Avanti in building a footprint for our virtual office, bringing on clients from Los Angeles’ burgeoning cottage food industry.

As a side note, while employed by Avanti he concurrently held a position with The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens leading a staff of 43 student volunteers, initiating partnerships with local organizations, and cross-collaborating with the Huntington’s Education, Botanical, Development and Volunteer departments.

Leaving Avanti (and the Huntington) in July 2014 to pursue his dream of an MBA, Ronnie achieved that goal this summer and graduated with honors from the UCLA Anderson School of Management (Finance Concentration), attaining a UCLA Anderson Merit Fellowship.  He was immediately offered a position with NBCUniversal, Universal Picture Home Entertainment in a newly developed role that taps into his natural analytical and leadership abilities.

In closing we have some fun facts about Ronnie.  His additional achievements during his tenure at UCLA include leadership recognition for his position as Corporate Finance Director of the Investment Finance Association and as a UCLA Anderson Admissions Ambassador.  During his time at Colby College, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a distinction in both majors, made the Dean’s list for three semesters and was also the Co-Captain of the Colby College Lumberjack Team.  He enjoys Tabletop Board Gaming (i.e. Scrabble), Geocaching, and Ronnie Wise Woodsman Club Colby Collage Log Rolling Compof course, Timbersports.

We are honored to have had Ronnie as part of the Avanti family and wish him the best of luck in his very bright future.

We thank you for reading and following our blog and hope that you enjoy reading about the Faces of Avant – past, present, and future!  For additional information and insight regarding specialty insurance topics, subscribe to The Avanti Reader via RSS or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@Avanti Insurance) to receive automatic notifications of future posts.

What does my Motorcycle insurance REALLY cover?

If you own a car with auto insurance, you likely already know that your motorcycle insurance policy coverage can vary between different insurance companies. (Coverages can also vary between states.) Like an auto policy, standard motorcycle policies will typically cover part of the replacement cost associated with loss, theft or damage to your bike as well as give you financial piece of mind through state-mandated minimum liability requirements. But, what does all of that really mean?

Wrecked Harley-Davidson1

What is Liability?

If you are cited as “at-fault” for an accident, the liability coverage you purchased fixes The Other Guy (TOG) and is designed to provide restitution for both their injuries and property damage they experienced as a result of the “at fault” accident. Not surprisingly, coverage for injuries is called the Bodily Injury limit (typically policies carry a “per person” limit as well as a combined or “aggregate” limit) and coverage to fix TOG’s bikes’ property damage is…..wait for it…..the Property Damage limit.

What about Me?

Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorists coverage gives YOU bodily injury protection when TOG is “at fault” and Comprehensive and Collision coverage protects YOUR bike – whether it is TOG, Mother Nature, or a deer jumping on the road in front of you. Don’t forget: Comprehensive Coverage is everything OTHER than a collision. An example of a comprehensive claim is to find that your parked bike was run over by something while you were inside having lunch with your riding buddies. That said, be aware that laying the bike down due to debris washed onto the road by Mother Nature is considered by some claims adjustors to be a “collision with the road”. In this example, you might be considered “at fault” because you were not driving for the conditions.

Included Coverages

Comprehensive and Collision coverage for your motorcycle policy usually pays for costs associated with loss, theft, and damage including renting a motorcycle, custom parts and equipment; some carriers also cover safety gear (leathers, helmets, boots, and gloves).

Excluded Coverages

Most policies specifically exclude Racing, Stunts, and Delivery Service. Some policies specify that the bike may only be used for EITHER off-road or on-road depending upon the bikes configuration and license/registration. As a side note, should you borrow a friend’s bike and YOU do not have motorcycle insurance, should something bad happen do not assume that your Auto policy will pick up coverage….it likely won’t.

Again, insurance company policies can vary between carriers and states. Get your policy out of the drawer, dust it off, and double check what protection you do and don’t have. Don’t get caught thinking you had coverage for something when you need it the most.

To read more on our thoughts about motorcycles, general insurance topics, or tricks and tips from the trenches, subscribe to the Avanti Reader via RSS, follow Avanti Business and Insurance Services on Facebook or Twitter (@AvantiInsurance) to receive notifications of future posts. Thanks for reading!

My Day at Avanti Insurance

kids at work

It all started with a failed attempt to go to my dad’s work for take your child to work day. I had known that take your child to work day was coming up for a few days before the real deal. Before I had always gone to take your child to work day with my dad and gone to his podiatry office and hung out around there. But this year my take your child to work day went a little differently.

My dad’s schedule is always pretty busy but on take your child to work day of 2016, his day was jam packed with patients and was filled with runs to the hospital for surgeries. I was pretty bummed that I might actually have to go to school on take your child to work day when I had the genius idea of going to work with my mom. My mom works in the heart of downtown Golden at Avanti Insurance.Izzies Day at the Office 05062016

From the minute I walked into the office, I felt a wave of new responsibilities flooding the area. The very professional environment of the place made me really see everything differently and what exactly I was preparing for when I was sitting in all of my 8th grade classes.

I met with my mom’s co-worker, Gail who’s bright smile and infectious laugh suddenly lightened the mood of the entire office.  And then I met with my mom’s boss, Susan O’Kelley. Her warm smile and professional yet lovely sense of fun, set the tone for the day. She told me about how I could help and what exactly I would be doing that day.

My younger sister had the job of preparing the flowers while making herself a “desk’’. I got the privilege of filing. It sounds like a pretty menial job, but it isn’t. It is incredibly important. It is great for organization and being able to do their jobs most efficiently.

I also got to listen to and hear some co-worker to co-worker exchanges. It really started to give me ideas and thoughts about how working and making a living in the future. My mom also gave me an excellent example of how to treat people and provide good customer service.

Overall my day at Avanti Insurance gave me an idea of how to live my life and make a living in the future. I learned how important it is to just be plain nice to people and how great of an example Avanti Insurance and its employees are. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world.

Isabella “Izzy” Valenti




Faces of Avanti – Gail Mayo

At Avanti, we like to mix up our blogs by featuring other areas of interest like getting to know our team.  So, say “Hi” to Gail Mayo!

Gail Mayo Desk

Happy Friday!


Gail joined Avanti earlier this year after deciding she wanted to get back into the smaller but exciting world of the independent insurance agency.

Starting out as an insurance sales agent with Nationwide, she has many years of experience in the industry and is a seasoned veteran.


Gail has seen many positive but dramatic changes for both clients and carriers in the insurance industry as a whole and really enjoys helping people.

On the home front, Gail has three grown daughters whom she is very proud of and is very close with.  In her spare time, she enjoys family and friends, saying “it’s a blast [just enjoying them]!”

We had some fun with her at the office and asked Gail the following questions:

  • Favorite TV Show:  House of Cards
  • Book:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • App Downloaded:  TrueCaller
  • Sports Team:  Broncos (to which she says, “Of Course!!!”)
  • Vacation:  Maui
  • Favorite Quote: “I trust in the Lord with all my heart and I lean not unto my own understanding” (Proverbs 3:6)

Gail thoroughly enjoys what she is doing and loves working on behalf of all of the Avanti client family.  She’s a wealth of information and is happy to answer your questions about insurance coverages and potential risks.  The next time you call or stop in at the office, be sure to say “hello” to Gail.

As always, we thank you for reading and following our blog.  For additional information and insight regarding specialty insurance topics, subscribe to The Avanti Reader via RSS or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@Avanti Insurance) to receive automatic notifications of future posts.

Start Your Engines! It’s Motorcycle Season


If you live in an area with a true winter, then motorcycle season is gearing up.  You are likely antsy to get on the road but now is the perfect time for an annual checkup.  Whether you perform the work yourself or take it to a professional, the first step is a basic checklist.


Refer to your bike’s owner manual for recommendations on the frequency of oil changes but be sure to check the engine oil levels when bringing the bike out of winter storage.  Don’t forget about hydraulic fluids and coolant.  If the respective fluid has the wrong consistency or color (even odor), consider changing the fluid instead of just topping it off.


Look for dust and corrosion around the connectors and keep an eye out for any loose connections.  Test the battery using a voltmeter to check the circuits.

Brakes/SteeringMVAgusta Damaged Throttle

Check pads and fluid levels, check and tighten your handlebars and steering nuts, then check and double check everything again.  Lubricate levers and pedals and inspect cables for kinks or frays.  Make sure you can stop on a dime if you need to.

Lights & Signals

Test light and signal settings including bulbs, fuses, and electronics BEFORE you get out on the road.  Inspect lenses for cracks, be sure the headlight is aimed at the proper height, and test that signals are working as expected.

Chain and Sprockets/Drives/Belts

Chain and sprockets are an easy-to-forget item and a not-so easy problem when things go wrong.  Lubricate not only during your annual checkup but lubricate often.  As suggested by Total Motorcycle, shafts and belt drives don’t require much maintenance but check your owner’s guide for suggestions on frequency of replacement and proper tensions.


Check the treads for wear and tear as well as any unusual tread patterns.  Make sure there aren’t any flat spots or cracks.  Test for the proper tire pressure – manufacturer-recommended tire pressure is usually imprinted on the tire sidewall or can refer to your owner’s manual.

In summary, if you truly winterized your bike, this really is a good opportunity to give it a checkup.  Most of the suggested checklist is fairly simple to accomplish with the propTwisty Roader tools and a little elbow grease.  When you’re ready to rev the engine and hit the road, take a little extra time to get reacquainted with your bike to get your “sea legs” back…Have a fabulous riding season and enjoy the “twisties”!

To read more on our thoughts about motorcycles, general insurance topics, or tricks and tips from the trenches, subscribe to the Avanti Reader via RSS, follow Avanti Business and Insurance Services on Facebook or Twitter (@AvantiInsurance) to receive notifications of future posts. Thanks for reading!

Quick Q&A On Cold Season

What is the common cold?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “The common cold is a viral infection of your upper respiratory tract — your nose and throat.”

What are the symptoms of a cold?

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Sinuses draining into the back of the throat
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes

You may have some or all of these symptoms. As the Mayo Clinic says, “because any one of more than 100 viruses can cause a common cold, signs and symptoms tend to vary greatly.”


How long does the common cold last?

The common cold lasts seven to ten days, usually.

How do you avoid catching a cold?

  • wash your hands often
  • cover your cough (and wash your hands after)
  • don’t use public phones
  • disinfect common surfaces: door knobs, phones, etc.
  • stay away from cold sufferers as much as possible

Do the colder temperatures of winter cause colds?

No, viruses do, but cold, dry air does make a better environment for viruses to spread. The cold season usually starts in the fall, because that’s when school starts. Just being in close proximity makes spreading germs easy.  Add to that young children who are still learning hygienic behavior and you have a recipe for contagion.


How should I treat my cold?

Pushing liquids and bed rest make up the majority of the treatment. Sleeping in a warm room is recommended.  Yes, the Mayo Clinic also recommends chicken soup! It hasn’t decided if Vitamin C, echinacea, or zinc are helpful, but they certainly don’t hurt. Then aspirin or Tylenol if you have fever.  Unfortunately, antibiotics don’t work on viruses so that’s a no go.

Should I see a doctor?

If the symptoms above are the only ones you have, you probably don’t need to see your physician.  If, however, your symptoms last longer than ten days, then there may be reason for concern.  Or if your fever becomes high-grade (> 102 degrees), this may indicate that a bacteria infection has begun.  An upper respiratory infection can develop into other conditions that do warrant medical attention:

  • Acute ear infection
  • Asthma (colds don’t cause this, but can trigger attacks)
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinusitis

Any of the following symptoms should have immediate attention:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Fainting or feeling faint
  • Feeling foggy or confused

Hopefully, following the suggestions above, we can make it through the season without too much discomfort.

For more detailed information on this subject, visit some of the sites used to research this blog:

Neither these websites or this blog is a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

As always, thanks for reading!

—E. A. Cooke


Client Spotlight: Semolina Artisanal Pastas

Those of us at Avanti Insurance Services meet a great many interesting people who run all sorts of wonderful businesses.  For the new year, we’ve decided that once a month we will introduce you to one of them.  For our first offering, we chose a mouth watering company.




Traditional Italian Methods                Certified Organic Durum Wheat

Many Southern California Distributors

“Leah Ferrazzani launched Semolina Artisanal Pasta in October 2014 out of her home kitchen, converting her laundry room into a makeshift pasta dryer using some consumer electronics and a lot of moxie.  Now based out of the historic Lincoln Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, Semolina’s pastas are sold all over the country.  Semolina’s pastas are proof that great pasta doesn’t have to be imported from Italy.  We strive to make a product that is simply good, and because it’s made locally, good for the environment and our community.  As part of that commitment, we plan to donate a portion of our profits to community organizations that focus on food justice, preservation and education.”

Go to Semolina’s website to learn more:

MMMMMM.  I’m ready to eat!

Stay tuned for more client spotlights.

As always, thanks for reading.

—E. A. Cooke


Insuring Winter Vehicles

Do you drive specialty vehicles in winter?  A snowmobile or an Artic Cat?          www.snowcatservice.com                 


Does your business use a snowplow or a Zamboni?      www.goodmedizen.com                               

These are not vehicles that are usually covered under your normal auto or homeowners policy.  These are vehicles that are associated with higher risk than your personal truck or sedan.  A snowmobile can travel at high speeds over uneven ground and off road.  An Artic Cat or a snowplow are often used in bad visibility weather making driving conditions more dangerous. Because of the higher risk, insurance carriers insure these separately.

Here’s a breakdown of the types of insurance that cover your unusual form of transportation.

  1. Snowmobile – specialty motorcycle policy
  2. ATV – specialty auto policy
  3. Sno-Cat – commercial auto policy
  4. Snowplow – commercial auto policy
  5. Ice Resurfacer – business equipment

Insurance for these vehicles is similar to auto insurance, because the same financial risks apply.  Most policies have collision, comprehensive, liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages available.  Pricing for these policies vary greatly, by vehicle, state, age of drivers, deductibles, etc.  Check with a local agent for details.

If you don’t have a winter vehicle yet, you may want to get one of these – NOT!

2016 is going to be a great year.  Ride safe and have fun!

—E. A. Cooke

To learn more about commonly misunderstood insurance terms and other insurance topics subscribe to the Avanti Reader via RSS, follow Avanti Business and insurance Services on Facebook or Twitter (@AvantiInsurance) to receive notifications of future posts.

New Year’s Resolutions

I used to make New Year’s resolutions. I’d make ’em and break ’em.  I don’t do that anymore. I set yearly goals, instead.

What’s the difference?  Attitude.

A new year’s resolution is something you think about in the back of your mind, but don’t really intend to do. Yeah, it’d be nice to do this, but you have other things to worry about.  For example: This year you’ll quit smoking… but you don’t sit down and figure out how to do that. You just hope that because you said you’d quit, and you start your wishing on January 1st, it will magically happen.  It won’t.  If you make a new year’s resolution and you don’t immediately succeed, you say, “Oh well, blew it again this year” and let it go till next year.

New year’s resolutions are often a setup for disappointment.

How are goals different? Goals are like business plans.

You have a goal. You sit down and examine what has kept you from your goal so far.

What behaviors are affecting your success or lack thereof? How will you change those behaviors?  What steps can you take?  Which steps have worked in the past toward your goal, and which haven’t?

Remember!  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

What time frames and deadlines will you apply to your goals?

What will you do to get back on track when you screw up? Because you will screw up.  Change is hard.  You have to work at it. Assume that you will screw up to a certain extent, and then it won’t be so devastating as to make you quit trying.

This is how serious people make plans.

Make goals that are attainable. Reasonable. Within reach.  None of this “I’m going to lose 100 pounds this year”.  This goal is too big and too vague.  Can some people do this?  Sure, but most would find it impossible. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

First, do your homework.  What are the diets that are out there, and how much scientific evidence is there to back up each one’s validity.  Choose carefully, because it’s much easier to lose muscle than it is to lose fat. Make sure that your diet is sustainable long term. You want to stay healthy or there’s really no point in dieting.

Next make small goals that will help you get to the bigger goals.  Try, “I’m going to cut sugar out of my diet in January”.  “I’m going to cut out starches (potatoes, rice, etc.) in February.”

Make goals for your personal life.  Make goals for your business life.  You can do more than one thing at a time, as long as your goals are reasonable. Remember when you were in school and studied five subjects all in the same week?  Sure, you didn’t have a job then, or kids running around your ankles, but if you’re really serious, you will find an hour a day to work on a project or two.

In the first quarter of this year, I’m getting the website for my new business up and running.  What kept me from getting it done last year?  I wanted to do it myself and I don’t know anything about websites!  Talk about a recipe for procrastination!  So, I will do my homework and investigate what to look for in a web designer and management company and hire someone to build my website.  Notice this is a project that is manageable and I’ve given myself a deadline in which to complete my task.

I’m going to work my body better than last year.  I know from experience that my body feels better when it is strong and flexible.  I enjoy weight lifting and have been doing it for ten years or more.  I have added some yoga and stretching to keep myself limber as I age.  Last year, my biggest workout problem was consistency.  So, I won’t say “I will be at the gym every morning at five a.m., or I have failed”.  No, I say, “I will aim at being at the gym every morning, but most likely I will make it three or four days a week. Three or four days a week consistently will still be an improvement over last year.” My body will love me for it.

Neither of these goals needs to get in the way of the other.  They are both reasonable and attainable.  And since one of them should be finished by the end of the first quarter, I can add other goals for later in the year.

New Year is a time for re-evaluation.  For renewal.  For progress.  When you set reasonable goals and accomplish them, they give you satisfaction, self-confidence, and determination to keep moving forward.  They enrich your life.  Not only do you get things done, accomplishment has a delightful side effect:  Happiness.

Happy New Year!

—E. A. Cooke




The Truth About Santa Claus

The origins of Santa Claus seem mostly forgotten as our culture becomes more and more secular and mass-market oriented.  Here’s a reminder of where the jolly ole’ guy came from.

Saint Nicholas

The Santa Claus legend began with Saint Nicholas, born late in the third century A.D., to Christian parents on the Mediterranean coast of then Lycia (modern day Turkey).  When his parents died of plague while Nicholas was still a child, he went to live with his Uncle Nicholas, Abbot in Lycia. He grew in the tradition of the church and eventually became Bishop of Lycia.

Icon_c_1500_St_NicholasThere are dozens of stories of good works and miracles surrounding Bishop Nicholas, that led to his Sainthood. Stories of Bishop Nicholas warning sea captains of bad weather to come, when he was traveling with them. Even when he was elsewhere, he was said to come to them in dreams. Another story tells of the Bishop raising murdered children from the dead.  As a result, St. Nicholas was known, even in his own lifetime,  as the patron saint of sailors and children.

One story that stayed with the Santa Claus legend, involved a poor family with three daughters. Women of the time were often sold into slavery if their families could not come up with a dowry to attract a husband. So Nicholas came by at night and left gold in a stocking hanging by the fire to dry. The oldest daughter now had a dowry and was married. Bishop Nicholas visited two more times and when the father finally found out who his benefactor was, he fell on his knees to thank the Bishop. Nicholas bade him be silent and praise God instead.

In another story, Bishop Nicholas settled a legal dispute which saved three innocent people from being killed by an angry mob. Hence, “he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice”.

Father Christmas

Father Christmas is a conglomeration of various characters from the different cultures that have conquered the British Isles. At ancient Anglo mid-winter festivals, a pagan figure, representing the coming of spring, would wear a long, green hooded cloak and a wreath of holly, ivy or mistletoe, later personified in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as the ghost of Christmas past.

Spirit of Christmas PresentWhen the Saxons conquered Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries, the Saxon Father Time, also known as King Frost or King Winter was added to the pagan legend. Someone would dress up as King Winter and visit the homes of the village, sit by the fire, eating and drinking offerings in exchange for the hope of a mild winter — a bit like the Brit’s tradition of mince pies and whisky for Father Christmas, perhaps? Later to become America’s cookies and milk.

John Leech – Christmas Past

The puritans had a problem with Father Christmas and succeeded in driving him underground for a long time, but he made a comeback during Queen Victoria’s reign. The new Father Christmas was greatly influenced by America’s Santa Claus as he appeared in Clement Clarke Moore’s 1822 poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas, published anonymously in 1823 as The Night Before Christmas:‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house…”

Santa Claus

Some say Santa Claus comes from Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of St. Nicholas, brought to America by the Dutch settlers to the New Amsterdam area (modern New York City). Others say Santa is descended from Father Christmas.  The truth seems to be that again we have combined folklore to come up with a new character. Part St. Nick, part Father Christmas, America’s Santa Claus has become synonymous with gift giving.

Norman Rockwell's Santa

Norman Rockwell

Belief systems mutate over time, legends grow and change.  Whichever version of the legend you subscribe to, the Avanti staff wishes you…

God Bless Us, Everyone.

—Tiny Tim, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Peace on Earth, Goodwill To Men

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1864)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

—Clement Clarke Moore

Though it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.

—Mel Torme