Press Release

RMC Group Expands Its Property and Casualty Division

RMC Group is pleased to announce that two team members have passed their Resident Customer Representative Insurance Exam. Kathleen Gill and Kelly Wild passed their state exam and are now licensed Florida 4-40 Customer Representatives.

The 4-40 Customer Representative License allows an individual to transact insurance in an office as a salaried employee of a General Lines Agent or Agency. Before taking the 4-40 exam, they had each received their Professional Customer Service Representative (PCSR) designation.

“We’re proud of their hard work and determination to further their careers,” commented Ashley Simpson, RMC’s Human Resources Manager. “And excited for them to continue to grow in their roles here at RMC.”

With two new customer service representatives in its Bonita Springs headquarters, along with new hires, Michael Rindenau and Joy Savasta-Lagan, RMC Group continues to expand its Property and Casualty division.

Press Release

Michael Rindenau Joins RMC as Director of Marketing

RMC Group is pleased to announce that Michael Rindenau has joined the company as Director of Marketing, Property and Casualty Division.  He will also contribute to RMC’s Captive and Health operations. As Director of Marketing, Michael will be responsible for the overall management of RMC’s Property & Casualty division, including developing underwriting relationships with carriers. His goal is to deliver the best possible insurance portfolio to clients based on standard and alternative market options.

Michael Rindenau
Michael Rindenau

“Having spent many years preparing for this role, I am ready to take the Property & Casualty Division at RMC Group to new heights! Looking forward to an exciting 2021,” Michael said.

Michael brings over 30 years of experience in the Property and Casualty insurance industry to RMC Group. His in-depth knowledge of Property and Casualty insurance products and outstanding insurance carrier relationships will make him important member of the RMC Group team.

Previously Michael worked for Insurance Office of America in New Jersey. In that role, Michael led a Property and Casualty team in preparing submissions for new and existing large commercial businesses. He also served as liaison between multiple offices and national insurance carriers, establishing contracts and long-term commitments.

Michael is a licensed insurance agent in the state of New York and New Jersey, and a graduate of Brooklyn College.

Mark Elwell, Executive Vice President of Risk at RMC Group, commented, “Michael recognizes the need for creative solutions during this period of rising costs and limited coverage availability. His experience, knowledge of the market, and relationships with carriers will be invaluable in helping our clients find the right coverage.”

Personal Insurance

What is a Flood Zone?

Flood zones are geographical areas that share a risk of severe flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines an area’s zone using the Flood Insurance Study, a collection of flood risk data for specific waterways. Knowing your flood zone is important for understanding your flood insurance needs.

Special Flood Hazard Areas

Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are areas that are at high risk of flooding. FEMA will classify an area as an SFHA if it has a 1% chance of experiencing a highly damaging flood within a year.

If you live in an SFHA, other than a Zone D, and have a federally backed mortgage, your lender will require you to purchase flood insurance.

Zone A is an SFHA.  But FEMA has not established a statistically likely depth for damaging floods.

Zone AE include areas for which detailed hydraulic analyses provide elevation information for flooding.

Zone AH is susceptible to a type of shallow flooding known as ponding. Ponding occurs when runoff collects in a depression with no or limited drainage. Standing water in this zone is usually about 1 to 3 feet deep.

Zone AO is also susceptible to shallow flooding.  The most common type of flooding in Zone AO is sheet runoff, in which water flows downhill over sloping terrain. The water may reach a drainage system or channel, or it may dissipate first. Depths of sheet runoff are usually under 3 feet.

Zone AR is at high risk because a flood control structure, such as a levee, provides less protection than it once did. To constitute an AR designation, there must be a restoration plan in place for the structure, and the structure must still provide some protection.

Zone A99 is a community where a flood protection system is under construction. The construction must be federally approved and meet certain project progression milestones.

Zone D is an area with potential, but unspecified flood hazards.  This means that there has been no detailed analysis of hazards. Flood insurance is optional but recommended. Rates depend on the risk’s uncertainty level.

Zones V and VE are Coastal High Hazard Areas (CHHAs). These zones are susceptible to damage from fast-moving water and high waves that may exceed 3 feet. Base Flood Elevation (BFE) calculations are available for VE but not V zones. The VE flood zone is the newer designation for areas formerly known as V1 through V30.

Moderate Flood Hazard Areas

Moderate flood hazard areas are known as Zones B or X.  These areas are less likely than an SFHA to have a highly damaging flood but still have up to an 0.2% annual chance of severe flooding.

Minimal Flood Hazard Zones

Minimal flood hazard zones are higher in elevation than moderate flood hazard areas. These are labeled as Zones C or X.

Homeowners in moderate and minimal flood hazard areas are not required to buy flood insurance, though it is still recommended. Storms are becoming more severe nationwide, and that means a higher flood risk for everyone.

For more information on flood insurance or questions about which zone your home is in, contact RMC to speak with a licensed agent today.

Risk Management

An Insurance Policy is a Contract

When it comes to insurance, one mistake that many people make is failing to read their policy.  Most insureds believe that they understand what their policy covers simply by the name of the policy.  For example, an auto policy covers everything car-related, and a homeowner’s policy covers everything that can happen to your home.  However, this is a big mistake.

An insurance policy is a contract between the insured and the insurance company, and, like any contract, its effect depends upon the language of the contract.  In addition, since contract interpretation is a matter of state law, the state where your policy is issued is a huge factor.  The same language in one state can have a completely different meaning in a different state.

A Business Interruption Policy Doesn’t Cover All Interruptions of Business

The need to read your policy has never been more clearly illustrated than during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected businesses from the hospitality sector to the travel industry to medical practices.  Whether as a result of government orders or the fear of customers to leave their homes, businesses of all types have either had to shut down completely or reduce their capacity.  As a result, businesses have lost significant revenue during this time.  Fortunately, many of these businesses have business interruption insurance policies and have asserted claims under their policies.  Unfortunately, without exception, the insurance companies issuing those policies have denied coverage.  Why?

The quick and cynical answer is that the insurance companies do not want to pay these claims.  The full extent of business loss in the American economy is not yet clear.  However, one estimate is that businesses have been losing close to $40 billion a month.  Yet, the entire property and casualty insurance industry has collected approximately $6 billion in premiums.  Clearly, the premiums will not cover the losses.  However, another reason may be that the insurance companies are simply reading the language of the policies and enforcing the policies as written.

The typical business interruption policy contains language that protects a business against the inability to operate due to loss or damage to property.  In most states, the courts have interpreted this language to require actual physical damage to a business’ building.  Without demonstrated physical damage to property, there is no coverage.

Claims Have Turned to Lawsuits

The result has been that, since the pandemic began, over 5,000 lawsuits have been filed against insurance companies.  While none has been fully adjudicated yet, we are beginning to see some results.  In most cases, an insurance company will respond to a lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss.  A motion to dismiss challenges the sufficiency of a complaint, and, by a large margin, insurance companies are prevailing on their motions to dismiss.

In order to overcome a motion to dismiss, a business must allege that its business property was damaged in the same way that it would have been damaged by fire or flood.  This is a difficult bar to eclipse.  Most business closures have been caused by government shut-down orders, rather than actual physical damage to busines property, which prevents its use.  Some plaintiffs have tried to get around this problem by claiming that their property has been damaged by the presence of the Covid-19 virus on the premises.  This has worked but only in a small number of cases.

The reason that this claim has not been more successful is that many business interruption insurance policies contain a virus exclusion.  This virus exclusion was generally added to business interruption policies in 2006.  However, there are some business interruption insurance policies that do not contain a virus exclusion.  In those cases, the plaintiffs have been able to defeat the insurance company’s motion to dismiss.

Governmental Action

Another way in which businesses are trying to get around the “physical loss or damage” requirement is by claiming that their business interruption was caused by governmental action.  Therefore, whether their physical location was damaged is irrelevant.  The government order caused the loss of their ability to use their premises.

Again, this approach has been only marginally successful.  In a very small number of states, the courts have said that the policy’s use of the phrase “loss or damage to property” must be read to mean that “loss” and “damage” are not synonymous.  Otherwise, if they meant the same, one would be what courts call “surplusage”.  In other words, either loss or damage would be excess language without adding any real meaning to the phrase.  Courts tend to avoid surplusage.  However, this argument has worked in only a few states.  In most states, the courts have said that the typical business interruption insurance policy does not cover governmental orders, as would a regulatory change policy.

What’s an Insured To Do?

The obvious answer is – READ YOUR POLICY!  However, this is not a very satisfactory answer for a couple of reasons.  The first is that insurance policies are not pictures of clarity.  They are often ambiguous and contain confusing endorsements and exclusions.  Even a highly educated businessperson may have difficulty understanding a policy if he or she is not experienced at reading policies.  The second is that, by the time you’ve read your policy, it is often too late.

The best answer is that you should work with an experienced and knowledgeable insurance professional, like RMC, before you buy your policy.  After all, you wouldn’t sign a contract without first consulting an attorney, and an insurance policy is a contract.  Not only can your insurance advisor explain your policy’s provisions before you have a claim, a professional advisor will have access to the policies of multiple companies and can find the policy that best suits your needs.  In addition, an insurance professional can negotiate with an insurance company to obtain coverage that is not part of the standard form policy.

A second reason to work with a professional is that the professional can introduce you to innovative concepts, like a captive insurance company that may better suit your needs.  A captive insurance company is an insurance company formed by a business to insure the risks of the business.  It can work in concert with your commercial insurance, replace some or all of your commercial insurance or insure risks that are not insurable or are prohibitively expensive on the commercial market.  Because you own your captive insurance company, you control the risks that it can assume.  As a result, you can tailor its policies to cover your specific needs.  While it is too late to form a captive to insure against the Coved-19 pandemic, now is the time to plan for the next unexpected risk.

Personal Insurance

What Is Not Covered by Home Insurance?

Home insurance provides you with valuable financial protection, but it doesn’t cover everything. The good news is that you can usually fill in those gaps by purchasing additional coverage.

Here are a few of the exclusions you may see in your policy, along with what you can do to increase your protection.

1. Mold and Rot

Most home insurance won’t cover damage from mold and rot because these issues generally stem from poor home maintenance.

There are some exceptions. For example, if mold or mildew develops because of a burst pipe, your insurance may cover the cost of remediation.  In general, though, your safest bet is to prevent mold growth by controlling dampness and humidity in your home.

2. Flood and Earthquake Damage

Floods and earthquakes are both standard exclusions under most homeowners’ insurance policies. You can get flood insurance and earthquake insurance through participating insurers, and it’s a good idea to consider these policies even if you don’t live in a high-risk area.

Earthquakes can cause significant damage even if you’re far away from fault lines, and increases in severe weather events mean that any home is at risk for flood damage. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that 20% of all flood claims are filed for homes in low to moderate-risk areas.

3. Sewer Backups

The standard home insurance policy won’t cover damage from sewer backups.  Neither will flood insurance. That’s partly because homeowners are legally responsible for maintaining their own sanitary sewer lateral — the pipeline between your home and the municipal sewer main in the street. Even if a sewer backup happens because of a problem in the main, you’re still responsible for the damage.

The Civil Engineering Research Foundation calculates that the number of sewer backups is increasing at a rate of about 3% per year. It is worth looking into separate coverage which can be purchased or added as an endorsement to your home policy.

4. Termites and Other Pests

Pests are another issue that insurers consider to be preventable, so most home insurance won’t cover damage from infestations. This includes:

  • Rodent-chewed wiring and drywall
  • Bed bug removal
  • Termite damage

Termites alone cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year. The best way to prevent an expensive removal process is to keep your home in good repair. Fix leaks and holes as soon as you spot them, control humidity, and have a professional pest removal service check your home every year for signs of infestation.

5. Luxury Items

According to the III, because valuable items like jewelry and collectibles are easily stolen, most policies put a dollar value limit on coverage. You can increase your protection by raising the liability levels on individual pieces or by purchasing a stand-alone floater policy.

There may also be a coverage limit for cash that you keep in your home. Take your nest egg out from under your mattress and get it into an FDIC-certified account since you’ll have little recourse if it’s stolen or damaged in a flood or fire.

A Final Word

These are several of the most common things that home insurance won’t cover, but the list isn’t exhaustive.

To discuss what your policy excludes and what you can do to keep your belongings safe, contact RMC today to speak with a licensed agent.

Personal Insurance

Factors That Affect Homeowner’s Insurance Premiums

You may not know it, but your home insurance premiums are the result of complex calculations.

Insurance companies consider many different factors, from the condition of your home to your payment history.  Some of those factors are within your control as a homeowner and others are not.

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for homeowner’s insurance, along with what you can do to keep your premiums as low as possible.

1. Deductible

A deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company will pay anything on a claim.

For example, if you have a $2,000 loss and a $500 deductible, you’ll pay $500 and the insurance company will pay the remaining $1,500 — assuming the claim is approved.

Deductibles usually apply only to property damage and not to liability claims. If someone gets injured on your property and sues, your deductible wouldn’t count against covered costs.

Most home insurance policies have a minimum deductible. If you choose a higher deductible, you’ll typically get lower rates, but you’ll pay more if you file a claim.

2. Age of Home

Older homes may be more expensive to insure because they typically cost more to rebuild. The construction materials, like hardwood flooring or wall plaster, are more expensive and more difficult to acquire.

If you own or are considering buying an older home, you can offset the increased insurance cost by updating systems like plumbing, electrical, and heating. Newer versions of these systems cost less to replace, reduce your overall insurance risk, and won’t change the aesthetics of a historic home.

3. Roof

Insurance companies pay special attention to the condition of your roof when determining your insurance rates. An older or damaged roof increases your vulnerability to storm and water damage, so an insurance company is likely to charge you more. Upgrading that old roof may qualify you for an insurance discount that can help offset the cost of replacement.

4. Home Security

According to the Insurance Information Institute, you can save up to 5% just by installing a burglar alarm, smoke detector, or deadbolt locks. If your alarm system alerts local emergency responders, or if you upgrade your fire protection system to add sprinklers, you can save as much as 20%, depending on your insurance company

Different companies have different requirements for home security and fire protection systems. Before you invest in a system, check with your insurance company to find out how much you could save.

5. Public Protection Class

Insurance companies also calculate your home’s fire risk using the Insurance Services Office’s Public Protection Classification System. The system uses factors like fire department quality, water supply system, and fire alarm systems to score a community’s fire response system on a score of 1 to 10. Lower scores mean that it’s easier for firefighters to get to your home, and that may mean lower rates.

6. Proximity to the Coast

Coastal areas are at higher risk of hurricanes and windstorms. If you live near the ocean, your insurance company may require you to carry a separate hurricane deductible.

Homes near the coast also have a higher risk of flooding. Flood insurance is excluded from most standard homeowner’s policies, so you’ll have to purchase a separate policy.

7. Swimming Pool

A pool in your yard increases your liability risk. In the summer of 2017 alone, at least 163 children under 15 died from drowning in pools or spas. Nearly 70% were under age 5.

Because the potential for loss is so high, the Insurance Information Institute recommends that all pool owners increase their liability coverage to at least $300,000. That extra coverage is important, but it will drive up your insurance premiums.

A swimming pool is also expensive to replace. That can also increase your premiums because it increases the overall cost of rebuilding your home.

If you don’t want to get rid of your pool, you might be able to mitigate the additional cost by installing safety measures. Install a secure fence around your pool so that no one can swim — or fall in — without your knowing about it, and definitely don’t install a diving board. It’ll drive your rates up even more.

8. Dogs

In 2019, there were 17,802 dog bite claims filed nationwide, costing homeowners $797 million. The average cost per claim is also going up, so it’s no wonder that insurance companies can be wary of covering aggressive pets or breeds.

Some insurance companies avoid insuring people with certain “aggressive” breeds, like Pit Bulls or German Shepherds. Others make decisions based on the individual dog and whether it has a history of biting.

Regardless of breed, if a dog bites someone, an insurance company will consider the dog to be more of a liability and may increase the owner’s premiums or remove the dog from the policy. Some will reinstate coverage if the dog completes behavior training or is physically restrained.

9. Insurance Score and Credit History

In most states, insurance companies can use your insurance score and/or credit history to determine your homeowner’s insurance rates. Your credit score tells a company how likely you are to pay your premiums on time. Your insurance score predicts whether the company will take a loss by insuring you.

Both scores are calculated based on your personal borrowing history— debts, repayment history, number of accounts in use, and so on. That makes this one of the easiest cost factors to control. By paying your credit card balances off every month, avoiding defaults, and staying out of bankruptcy, you can control your home insurance rates.

Key Takeaways

Educating yourself about your homeowner’s insurance rates makes you a more informed consumer.  It lets you shop around more effectively and choose the right amount of coverage for your needs.

If you have questions about your home insurance rates, contact RMC today for a free homeowner’s quote.

Personal Insurance

Homeowners Occupancy Explained

One of the most common misunderstandings found when working with agents and their buyer clients is how a new home will be used.  While this might not seem important at the time of purchase, it can create major problems in the event of a claim if the property is not properly insured.

Why Does It Matter?

Simply put, insurance claims may differ depending on who is living in the property and how often the property is being used. For instance, a home that is occupied full time by the owners will be far less likely to suffer damage due to vandalism or fire than one that is left unoccupied for 6 months of the year.

Types of Occupancy

There are three main occupancy types: primary, secondary, and seasonal.

A primary home is where the owner(s) live most of the year. Typically, this is the address on their driver’s license.

Secondary occupancy is a property where the owners live part of the year; using it on weekends or vacations. They have a main home elsewhere, but the secondary residence is never shut down for a long period of time. The owners come and go throughout the course of the year.

Seasonal properties are just that; they are occupied for a season and then shut down for an extended period; typically, for three months or more.

Other Times to Review the Occupancy

Occupancy is not just a consideration at the time of purchase. As people’s lives change over time, so can the way they use their homes. Primary residences can become secondary. Secondary can become seasonal. And sometimes, what started out as owner occupied can become a rental property.

It is important for property owners to notify their insurance agent if any of these changes take place. Insurance policies can be changed or rewritten to reflect the change in occupancy. It’s better to change the policy than to learn after you have filed a claim that you have the wrong type of insurance policy.

It is also important to consider they type of occupancy when a property is listed for sale. Will the owners be living in the property during the process or have they already moved.  Have they removed the furnishings? It then becomes important to understand the difference between the type of insurance needed for a property that is vacant and a property that is unoccupied.

Vacant or Unoccupied

Most homeowners’ policies exclude damage caused by vandalism or burglary if the property has been vacant for 60 days or more. Vacancy is not a defined term in most insurance policies, however the best way to think of it, is a property that is without any contents. An unoccupied property on the other hand is one that is still furnished, but the owners have no plans to occupy it.

As a real estate agent, if you are listing a property that is either unoccupied (the owners have moved to a new location) or vacant (the personal property has been removed), it is worth mentioning to your seller clients that they need to notify their insurance agent of the change. That way the insurance policy on that property can be written appropriately without any issues.


It is important to understand the different types of occupancy because if a claim were to arise during the sale of the home, it could hold up the selling process.

As a real estate agent, knowing the basics to help your buyers and sellers through the process will allow you to show more value and provide excellent service to your clients. Which in turn will allow for them to return to you for future property transactions or refer you to family and friends. And aren’t referrals the key to all business?

For more clarification on home occupancy issues or to answer any general insurance questions you may have, contact RMC Group at 239-298-8210.

Personal Insurance

3 Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint For Earth Day and Beyond

On April 22, the 50th annual Earth Day is expected to include more than 1 billion people in nearly 200 countries taking part in what the Earth Day Network calls “the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.”

Since the first Earth Day in 1970 (which was connected to the passage of the Clean Air Act that year), there have been many environmental victories—such as passing and strengthening laws for cleaner air and water, expanding Marine Protected Areas, reducing over-fishing, even improving our ability to predict extreme weather events.

Scientists say more progress is needed if we are to slow the impact of climate change, and carbon emissions are a major threat, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Since the mid-1800s, the agency notes, carbon concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by about 40%. Because of their warming effect on the planet over time, carbon emissions can contribute to severe weather, rising sea levels, and other significant issues.

You might think the problem is so big there’s nothing you can do about it—but there are many ways you can help reduce these emissions. Here are three things the environmental organization Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty (COTAP) recommends to lower your carbon footprint and do your part to help the planet:

  1. Don’t drive so much—and when you do drive, be fuel-efficient. Driving a conventional vehicle burns fossil fuels, so the less you drive, the less carbon you emit. (Even electric cars typically have a carbon footprint, depending on the type of energy used to charge them.) You also can lower your emissions by keeping your car well-maintained and driving sensibly: To maximize your gas mileage, don’t speed excessively or accelerate suddenly, and make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  2. Limit your air travel. Everybody loves vacations, but airplane flights generate a lot of carbon emissions: For every round trip transatlantic flight, 30 square feet of Arctic sea ice is lost, according to Climate Central, an independent organization of climate scientists and journalists. When you want to get away, choose shorter flights, or try “staycations” closer to home. Also, if you travel for work, consider videoconferencing tools instead.
  3. Look around the house. There are plenty of other ways to lower your impact on the environment—and saving energy in your home is a great start. Make sure your home is insulated properly to keep things warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without cranking the thermostat up or down. Choose appliances that are energy-efficient. Even something as simple as replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs (and turning lights off when you’re not using them) can help.

However you choose to mark Earth Day, remember that little steps can create a big impact. Maybe you can bike to work a couple of times a month. Walk to the market instead of driving. Leave the AC off until the hottest days of summer. It all adds up—for you, for those you share the planet with, and those who will come after you, too.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Personal Insurance

Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings Time is also Daylight Safety Time

Don’t forget to move your clocks forward one hour this Sunday, March 8, 2020, to observe Daylight Savings. We here at RMC Group want to remind you it’s also a great time to improve your family’s safety.

Be safe in your home

Health and safety agencies often use the approach of Daylight Saving Time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The American Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms and talk with your family about your fire escape plan. Whether you live in Florida, or elsewhere, practice the plan too – at least twice a year.

Daylight Saving is a great time to check your emergency preparedness kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies.

Carbon Monoxide a concern too

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die annually in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing the batteries in your CO detectors when moving your clocks forward this Sunday.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

See the CDC’s site for more ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.

We here at RMC Group hope these tips help and that you’ll consider sharing them with the people you care about so they can live safer lives too.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Personal Insurance

Winter Storms Ahead: Are You Ready?

We admit it: As insurance pros, our picture of winter isn’t exactly cozy. Winter storms mean traffic snarls, hillsides turning to sheets of ice, and cars sliding around like hockey pucks. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst, frost swells and other damage. Heating your home with fireplaces and holiday lighting can increase the risk of fire.

A picture-perfect winter requires a few precautions

Here are a few of our top tips to help reduce weather-related hassles this winter.

  • Winter-proof your car with good snow tires, new wiper blades, antifreeze, and emergency road supplies.
  • Keep your attic cool to help prevent ice dams. Insulate the attic floor and make sure it is well-ventilated.
  • Do not overload circuits with holiday decorations.
When winter storms hit, be smart

If you do not have to drive, stay put. If you must drive, make sure you’ve winterized your car and have a full tank of gas.

When the air is cold, keep bath and kitchen cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around pipes. If pipes do freeze, let them thaw normally—they’ll be less likely to burst.

And if the power is out, make sure you avoid leaving candles or fires burning unattended. If you use a portable generator, follow the instructions and do not use it indoors.

Know what your insurance covers

We want to help you rest easy.  You will be more relaxed when you know you have prepared your property to lessen the chance of winter storm damage. Your insurance policy covers repair or rebuilding costs. However, your deductible does apply. Check your policy to see what is covered and to confirm the deductible you have chosen.

If you have any questions at all about your coverage, call RMC Group at 239-298-8210 and we will help you review your options.

Reposted with permission from Safeco Insurance®