News & Events

August 10, 2018

August is Back to School Safety Month.  With the new school year about to start, it’s a good time to remind motorists to be extra careful at all times.  Here are some safety reminders for drivers:

Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving

Reminders for your kids:

Cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars Always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them

For addition tips, go to the National Safety Council at https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/seasonal-safety/back-to-school.

August 3, 2018

What are the 100 deadliest days for teens?  It’s from Memorial Day to Labor Day, when accidents among teens drivers spike by 15%. Join the millions who have pledged to drive distraction free.  From checking emails to posting on social media - all of it can wait.

Go to www.itcanwait.com and take the pledge.  Pass it along and save our teens.  Check out the videos, take the 2018 VR Tour, and become an advocate with download documents you can share.  

July 27, 2018

There are plenty of things you should remember to bring when heading off on a boating adventure, but there are also a few things that you’d be better off leaving behind. Certain items can create safety issues on a boat, while other things can just be a plain mess to clean up. Whether it’s your own boat or someone else’s, consider leaving these things behind when heading out for a day on the waves.

1. Shoes with marking soles

While shoes with dark soles are more likely to leave marks than those with light soles, you can test any pair of shoes to make sure they are non-marking and won’t leave scuff marks on the boat. Just draw a line with the heel of your shoe on a piece of plain white paper, and then check the paper to see if your sole left a mark. If you do not see a mark, you have non-marking soles. If you do see a mark, leave that pair behind.

2. Spray sunscreen

Pack a bottle of sunscreen or jar of clear zinc oxide to protect your skin from the sun while on the boat, but leave the spray sunscreen behind. When used on a boat, spray sunscreen can leave a slippery film on your deck, making falls much more likely.

3. Chocolate or other messy snacks

While certain snacks, like pretzel rods or grapes, are ideal for a day on the water, others aren’t. Be mindful of bringing snacks that won’t leave a mess behind. Two snacks you should leave behind are chocolate and cheese curls. Chocolate will melt in the heat, and cheese curls always seem to give you bright orange fingers that are bound to leave prints on boat upholstery.

4. Cigarettes

Refrain from lighting up on the boat, particularly if you are a guest. In certain situations, such as at the gas pump, cigarettes can cause a fire hazard. Not to mention that most boat owners don’t want to have to worry about someone burning a hole in the seats or throwing cigarette butts overboard. Leave the cigarettes at home.

5. Unexpected guests

If you don’t own the boat and didn’t give the boat owner a heads up about bringing a friend, child, or dog, it’s best to leave any surprise guests behind. Since boats have certain capacity restrictions, you should be respectful of that and always ask permission before bringing along a guest on someone else’s boat.

6. Perfume

Leave perfumes or scented body sprays behind, and keep in mind that it’s best not to apply them before going on a boat trip either. Perfume not only attracts bees and other pesky insects, but others who are along for the ride may not appreciate the scent in such close quarters.

7. Glass bottles or containers of any kind

Don’t bring along any soda bottles or glass containers that could shatter and leave small pieces on the boat deck. Glass can create a safety hazard, so opt for aluminum cans or recyclable plastic containers instead, and make sure you dispose of trash in proper receptacles at the dock.

8. Plastic grocery bags

These may seem like a good idea for transporting food and snacks at first, but once you empty out whatever you put into them, they are likely to fly off the boat as soon as a breeze kicks up. Help keep our waterways clean by leaving the plastic grocery bags at home, and use zippered lunch bags or cooler bags to carry food onboard instead.

Now that you have a list of things you should leave behind, don’t forget to think about the important things you need to have onboard. If you are a new boater, be sure to check with the U.S. Coast Guard to find out what safety equipment you are required to have onboard. Happy boating!

Source: Progressive

June 29, 2018

With Hurricane Season upon us, it makes sense to review your business continuity plan.  To illustrate why you need a comprehensive plan, here is a story from a business owner in Houston regarding their business recovery experience.

Three Brothers Bakery, a 69-year-old business owned by Janice and Robert Jucker, suffered losses of around $1 million after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston last August.  In 2008, the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike forced the couple to close the bakery for nine months.  They lost $1 million after that storm.

Since 2001, the bakery has survived four floods, a hurricane, and a fire.  Calling herself “the Queen of Disasters,” Janice says she has learned a lot over the years about how to protect their business and recover more quickly after each event.  The Juckers received the SBA’s 2018 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Disaster Recovery.

Here are some useful business continuity tips from Janice Jucker:

Review your hazard and flood coverage NOW.   If you don’t have flood coverage, which is NOT covered by hazard insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase flood insurance.  There is a 30-day waiting period after you make the first premium payment, so just hope you don’t experience a flood before the policy takes effect. Make sure you have access to your insurance policy information, especially policy numbers. Keep handy phone numbers for both your insurance agent and the claims department. Find a good restoration company—the team who’ll help you clean up the mess so you can focus on the task of reopening your business—and save their number in your cell phone. Maintain an updated list of all your employees’ contact numbers and email addresses.  You’ll want to make sure your team is safe and kept in the loop about the recovery progress. Obtain a line of credit or have enough cash to run your business for at least three months. Move your important business records, personal memorabilia, and anything that’s irreplaceable to an offsite location. Move as much data as you possibly can to the cloud.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, the SBA approved more than 132,000 low-interest disaster loans for a total of $6.8 billion.  While the SBA will always be ready to assist businesses, homeowners, and renters after a declared disaster, having a preparedness plan in place will go a long way toward keeping your organization intact while supporting the long-term recovery of your community.  

Disaster preparedness resources:

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety—Tips on how to create your own business continuity plan, how to rebuild stronger, and an interactive disaster hazard map

Ready.Gov—Preparedness tips for risks including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, cyber-attacks, and active shooters

Start today to draft a business continuity plan to ensure you are prepared should a major catastrophe strike.

 

 

Source: SBA Administrator

June 22, 2018

In May, Small Business Optimism rose to 107.8 - the second highest level in the 45-year survey history according to JobCreators.  Income increases hit a 45-year high with a net 35 percent reporting raises for their employees, while positive sales trends are at the highest since 1995.  Business expansion plans are also the most robust in survey history.  

If business expansion is in your future, give us a call to discuss the affects these changes not only have on your business, but what effect they may have on your insurance coverages.

June 15, 2018

You will need to consider obtaining coverage for your motorcycle.  While you can easily add it to your personal auto policy, there might be a better way to provide protection due to numerous gaps in coverage since auto policies were not designed with motorcycles in mind.

Consider a specialized motorcycle insurance policy.  Here is why:

Personal Auto Policies provide physical damage which covers the auto, but not personal property.

Specific motorcycle policies are written to motorcycle-specific terms which eliminate confusion as to what is covered when a claim occurs.

Motorcycles are bound by the same coverages as your personal auto policy.  If a motorcycle owner wants, as an example, higher medical payments, he/she would be restricted if they have chosen to use their auto policy instead of a dedicated motorcycle policy.

Specific motorcycle policies can offer discounts only available on motorcycle insurance.  This can be as much as 10%.

Give us a call when you are getting ready to insure your motorcycle, and we will explore the best option(s) for your new wheels

Source:  IRMI

June 8, 2018

24 dog breeds have been identified by experts that should not be around children or young families.  These breeds can also cause your homeowner's insurance to skyrocket or cause a cancellation.

Skye Terrier Neapolitan Mastiff Dalmatian Dachshund (Standard Smooth) Chinese Shar-Pei Jack Russell Terrier Pekingese Shih Tzu Japanese Chin French Bulldog Greyhound The English Toy Spaniel Afghan Hound Chow Chow Affenpinscher Siberian Husky Australian Shepherd Weimaraner Saint Bernard Bullmastiff Rottweiler Alaskan Malamute Chihuahua Akita

So before bringing a new four-legged member to your family, give us a call to discuss.

May 25, 2018

Lots going on this weekend; most likely you will have a barbeque and take a dip in the pool.  Here are a few things to consider this Memorial Day weekend to keep you and your family safe:

Pool Safety - Keep an eye on swimmers, especially younger children; never drink alcohol while swimming or supervising swimmers.  Use Sun Screen - Don't forget to break out umbrellas to provide shade.  Remember, you still are exposed to the sun's rays so don't forget to wear a hat and sunglasses and apply sunscreen every two hours. Grill Safety - Make sure your grill is clean.  Dirty grills cause many injuries.  Don't wear loose clothing and keep items, except the food, away from the flame.  After grilling, make sure the coals are out or the propone is turned off. Drink Responsibly - If you are driving, don't drink and drive.  Keep your cellphone out of reach. Elect a designated driver or hitch a ride with another attendee. Use Caution with Fireworks - Know your local laws regarding fireworks.  After lighting fireworks, keep a safe distance.  Don't hold fireworks in your hand after they are lit, and don't light them  in a container of any kind.  Only responsible adults should use fireworks, no teenagers.

Review these tips and enjoy and safe holiday weekend.

Source:  UPMC Health Beat

May 18, 2018

According to Michael Ogden in his recent article in PropertyCasualty 360, there are five mobile devise threats and how to prevent them.

Top threats:

Phishing Attacks - use deceptive sites or software programs that masquerade as legitimate ones to steal vital user information (user login credentials and credit card numbers) Malware Infections - can steal data and eat up computing resources from mobile devises.  They can trigger users into taking actions that further compromise mobile devices. Advanced Persistent Threats - are coordinated network attacks hackers use to gain access to an organization's network and data. Untested Mobile Apps - beware of downloading apps from a third-party source instead of downloading from regulated app stores. Outdated Operating Systems - leaves your mobile devise vulnerable to malware and other security threats.

How to avoid these threats according to Comodo Threat Research Labs:

Avoiding connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, such as public Wi-Fi hotspots; Downloading apps from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store and iOS App store, and not from unreliable third-party sources; Being wary of unsolicited calls or messages; and Mitigating mobile device attacks from penetrating the corporate environment, which provides the controls needed to secure, manage and monitor all the employe­e-owned mobile devices that access critical business data.

Keep these tips in mind to help you maintain your mobile device.

May 11, 2018

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