Insurance ensures gratitude

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November 15, 2022

PHOTO: PETE SCHOPEN

My son Caleb was able to walk away from this mishap with just minor injuries. PHOTO: PETE SCHOPEN

Gratitude can come on many different levels.

You can be grateful when your college football team wins. You can be grateful when your backache goes away. You can be grateful when an employee wins an award. During this holiday season, it’s a good time for us to contemplate and reflect on the things that make us grateful.

SHOOTING FOR THE MOON

Here is a great example of gratitude: When I was in eighth grade in McGrew, Neb., my teammates and I were on our way to a basketball tournament. On the bus ride there, we thought it would be hilarious to “moon” the car directly behind us. So, my teammates and I took turns dropping our drawers and showing the vehicle behind us the skinniest, whitest butts in the Nebraska Panhandle. This went on for miles until we finally pulled into the parking lot of the school hosting the tournament. It was an exciting tourney and we ended up getting second place.

Four years later, I was a senior sitting in study hall, talking to one of my teachers. This particular teacher was the former principal at McGrew. She brought up that championship game from eighth grade and asked me if I remembered the bus ride. I looked at her strangely and cautiously said, “Yeesss?” She told me it was memorable for her, too. She was driving the car behind the bus! I turned 10 different shades of red and two others that haven’t been invented yet. I asked her why she didn’t suspend us from the tournament or from school. She said she had a horrible day at work and our shenanigans made her laugh all the way to the tournament. She was grateful for our little show. I told her I was grateful she never told my mom.

As you can see, gratitude comes in many shapes and sizes.

RELYING ON EXPERTISE

Two things happened recently that made me incredibly grateful, and they both involve my insurance agents.

I am fortunate to work with two gentlemen who have always put my best interests front-and-center: My cousin Joe Sepsey, who handles my personal property (family life insurance, auto, house, etc.), and Steve Quist, who takes care of my business and business assets (business life insurance, fleet vehicles, property, workers compensation, etc.).

In August, my son Caleb was involved in a bad car accident. Physically, he is fine, and we are grateful. The car is another story. Both front tires were ripped off the frame, which was bent beyond repair.

Luckily, Joe had convinced me to drop the gap insurance that I normally get on all of my personal and work vehicles and go with coverage called “keeper endorsement.” For an additional $40 every six months, Caleb’s car was covered in the case of a catastrophic loss. With the “keeper endorsement,” my insurance company replaces or repairs a new car up to the first four years. Because all new vehicles are considered used the moment you drive them off the lot, this policy helps clients who are immediately underwater with their vehicles. Financially, it is amazing! We purchased Caleb’s 2019 car in 2020 slightly used.

Pete Schopen

Pete Schopen, owner
and founder, Schopen Pest Solution

Remember, the “keeper endorsement” covers the first four years of the car so, even though it was used, it still falls within the first four years. We owed $16,000 on the car, so I was just hoping to get that covered and paid off. The Kelley Blue Book price for a 2022 version of his vehicle is $42,000. I am quite grateful that my insurance company paid off our loan and still paid us the difference, and we received a $26,000 electronic deposit.

On the business side, I am grateful for Steve. He is always professional and makes me feel like he is fighting for my best interests. In July, Schopen Pest Solutions was audited by our workers compensation carrier. As most of you know, workers compensation is calculated based on your payroll. Well, I miscalculated our payroll by nearly $250,000. The reason I miscalculated is because I based my numbers on Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2021, whereas the carrier based its numbers on July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Because Schopen Pest Solutions is always growing at or near 25 percent, my company was six months older, which means the numbers were 12.5 percent larger than what I told the insurance company. Which also means we were supposed to be paying more for our insurance.

Still, the auditor’s numbers seemed inflated to me — and they were. So, when I got a $9,600 bill for underpayment, Steve went to work. He found that the auditor failed to recognize overtime. Overtime pay can only be included for the hours worked, not for the bonus pay that goes with the overtime. For example, if a $20-per-hour worker puts in 50 hours, workers compensation insurance can only count the extra 10 hours (over 40 hours) at $20 per hour, not the $30-per-hour wage.

Steve also realized the auditor categorized all of our employees as technicians. But only half of my team is out in the field; the other half are clerical workers. There is a huge difference in cost between the two groups. When the dust settled, the carrier reduced our underpayment by more than $6,000 — and I am grateful.

I also am grateful for the life God has given me, my wife and kids, all of my pest pro peers and my employees. I’m also thankful for Fruit Loops, Will Ferrell movies, my RV, September weather in Illinois, and my cozy recliner.

I hope all of you have a fantastic finish to 2022 and a wonderful holiday season.


Schopen’s Open Book

Start-up: Schopen Pest Solutions Inc.
Headquarters: McHenry, Ill.
Founder: Peter F. Schopen Jr.
Start-up Date: April 11, 2006
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 44 (all full-time)
2006 REVENUE: $97,235
2007 REVENUE: $172,495
2008 REVENUE: $203,732
2009 REVENUE: $243,427
2010 REVENUE: $325,960
2011 REVENUE: $425,847
2012 REVENUE: $489,887
2013 REVENUE: $572,772
2014 REVENUE: $687,326
2015 REVENUE: $858,180
2016 REVENUE: $1,079,068
2017 REVENUE: $1,478,600
2018 REVENUE: $1,877,496
2019 REVENUE: $2,095,118
2020 REVENUE: $2,398,367
2021 REVENUE: $3,295,259
2022 REVENUE TO-DATE: $2,795,515*
AUGUST REVENUE: $355,540**
*Up 22.9% from 2021
**Up 28.5% from September 2021

About the Author

Schopen is owner and founder of Schopen Pest Solutions, McHenry, Ill. You can email him at pete@schopenpest.com or reach him via Twitter: @schopenpest; Instagram: peteschopen; or Facebook: schopen pest solutions, inc.

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