September is National Preparedness Month

unnamedDisaster Preparedness

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Houston and most of Florida. Hurricane Harvey and Irma may have caused over 75 billion dollars of damage.  While this is fresh on our minds, let’s get prepared for the unexpected.   This could be a flood, hurricane, earthquake, wild fire, or any other event that causes damage to our homes.

Remember, your homeowners insurance may or may not cover the next disaster, so it is a good idea to have our team complete a personal insurance review.  Here are some things you can do right now.  Ready.gov has provided many good resources.

Basic Preparedness Tips

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay.  Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a “go-bag” or disaster supply kit should you need to evacuate, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information.
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan and review it regularly with members.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.

More resources for you

www.ready.gov

Download FEMA App

 

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What Is Trending in Risk Management

photo_72844_20160725Are you concerned about the future?  Is your risk management program designed and prepared for changes in pricing, economic downturns, healthcare, changes in employment laws and upcoming political elections?  A broker or agent who cares about your business will be on the forefront of change.  Part of providing outstanding customer service is helping clients understand how current and future trends may affect their risk program.

Every so often, we think it is a good idea to talk about what may be happening regarding insurance and risk management.  We review many different insurance publications, insurance company bulletins, and other professional’s opinions, to analyze these trends.  This allows customers to make educated and informed decisions about their individual programs.

What Is Going on That May Impact Your Risk Program

  1. Increased reliance on technology will lead to better-run insurers and stable premiums. The development of advanced loss control analytic tools will revitalize insurers focus on claim reduction, and potentially lead to increased investments in loss control.  Insurers are using business intelligence to leverage “big data” to help them estimate claims, assets, credit and market data, and gain deeper insights across networks of producers, policyholders, and operations.
  2. Mobile applications are one of the fastest growing areas of insurance. Businesses are able to manage risk programs through technology.
  3. Cyber liability will continue to be a major area of concern for all businesses. The government will continue to require businesses to protect customer’s information. Those businesses that do not will be subject to increased fines.
  4. Most insurance companies are moving toward using data to develop commercial insurance premiums. This means your business will need to rely more on your agent. Your agent will be able to help you navigate through the complex maze of insurance program design, marketing, and placement.

Summer Driving Safety Tips

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Auto Safety Tips

Are you heading to work, school, the beach, or vacation?  It is important to remember summer can be a dangerous time for drivers.  Your auto insurance follows your vehicle wherever you go, with a few exceptions—like Mexico.

Here are a few auto safety tips to help make your summer driving safer

  • If you have teen drivers, make sure they have taken driver safety training.
  • Never use your phone while driving.
  • When on a long drive, take frequent breaks.
  • Roads become very slippery in the first few minutes of rainfall because the rain mixes with the oil and dirt on the road. It takes about 30 minutes of steady rain to wash the oil and dirt off the road.
  • If your car is due for a tune-up, oil change, battery check, or tire rotation, now is the time to get it done.
  • Use seatbelts—every trip, all the time.
  • Traffic laws vary by state so it is important to follow traffic signs.
  • Pack extra water and supplies in case of an emergency.
  • Drive at a safe speed. Speeding increases the likelihood and severity of a crash.

Are You Putting Your Homeowner’s Insurance at Risk?

bigstock-Roof-Line-55803527Things That Will Impact Your Homeowner’s Insurance

If you own a home or rent, you need the right kind of homeowner’s insurance.  Homeowner’s insurance is needed to protect yourself, your family, and your property from loss and/or damage.  We can provide you with many homeowner’s or renting insurance options.  Let us do the shopping for you.

Do not place your homeowner’s insurance at risk!

  • Pay your insurance premiums on time. A poor payment history of constant late payments may encourage the insurance company to cancel your coverage.
  • Do not file an excessive number of claims. No doubt, you buy insurance to pay for covered claims or losses.  However, if you nickel and dime the insurance company, they may be apt to not renew your coverage, or offer a policy with a higher deductible or at a much higher premium.
  • Having a high risk is costly. If you own a pool, have an old home where the wiring or roof has been neglected, or own certain breeds of dogs, you may not get the most competitive rates.
  • Criminal activity. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, your insurer may not offer a renewal.  These activities might include assault, drug convictions, or fraud.
  • Be completely honest on your application. If it is found that the information on the application is dishonest or intentionally incorrect, you may be subject to a non-renewal.

Should Corporate Officers be included on Workers’ Compensation Policies?

bf vb6Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Almost every business needs, and is required to have, workers’ compensation (WC) insurance. Most states (with a few important exceptions) essentially require employers to purchase a workers’ compensation insurance policy to handle their statutory obligations to workers who are injured or made ill due to a workplace exposure. We often have this question come up; should the company owners be included under the WC policy?

Reasons to add owners to WC policy

The benefits are the same for everyone covered under a commercial workers’ compensation policy, but officers many not have thought about these for themselves. Benefits include:

  • Lost wage benefits with no waiting period or deductible.
  • A death benefit as provided under state law.
  • 24 hour coverage on foreign travel.
  • If an owner or officer needs to be retrained as a result of an on the job injury, there is coverage for retraining.
  • No co-pay like there is under medical insurance.

Reason not to add owners to WC policy

  • In most cases the cost will be considerable. Take a small contractor; some carriers will assign a mandatory payroll of around $50,000 (depending on carrier). A small carpenter or carpentry company will be assigned class code 5645, current rate is 12.3728, which computes to an annual premium of $6,186! (example only)
  • Disability insurance can be purchased for less than half the above amount.
  • Many of above benefits can be manage through other risk transfer means.

It may not make sense for every owner or officer to consider this; it should be reviewed and considered periodically. In most cases the cost may be too high for the business to consider. Call our office today. Let one of our workman’s compensation insurance specialist’s help you determine if this is an effective risk transfer tool.

 

 

 

Summer Can Be Risky for Everyone

download (1)Summertime means more of us are heading to the pool, lake, ocean, or river to relax and have fun.  Unfortunately, these activities can lead to accidents and injury.  Summer also brings increases in heat related illness and teen driving accidents, according to PC260.com.

It is also important to have a personal insurance review to make sure all your summer activities are covered.  For example, if you have purchased a boat, you may need a separate watercraft policy.  In addition, if you have installed a pool you will need to add that risk to your homeowner’s policy.  We want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer, so here are some reminders about summertime safety.

Some of the Top Summer Risks

River water can be very cold, especially as the early snowmelt flows downriver.  Even if it is 100 degrees outside, the river water temperatures can be very cold.

If you are planning foreign travel, remember to check travel advisories.  Also, be sure you have all your medical issues managed correctly.  Check with your health insurer, as many will not provide coverage in foreign countries.

Don’t forget your pets. Summer heat can affect your pets, so make sure they are not left in vehicles or in homes during long heat waves.

When you are on the water, do not mix drinking and water craft driving.  Verify that you have life vests for everyone and keep life vests on all children all the time.

Heat stress is one of the most common illnesses during summertime.  The risk of getting skin cancer is much higher among people who sunbathe, and especially those who have experienced multiple sunburns.

Barbecues and fire related risks increase during the summer.  Always keep children away for open fires, and keep barbecues away from buildings.

When riding your bike we recommend you always use a helmet.

July 4th Safety Tips

holiday-1489991_640Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:

In 2013 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage. This is why it is a good idea to have a free home insurance review and quote, call us today!

Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)

  • 17%: Sparklers
  • 14%: Reloadable Shells
  • 13%: Firecrackers
  • 7%: Roman Candles
  • 6%: Bottle Rockets
  • 6%: Novelties
  • 2%: Multiple Tubes
  • 1%: Fountains

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors
  • Never combine fireworks
  • Obey all local laws
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
  • Follow directions
  • Never relight a firework
  • Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks
  • Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash
  • Make sure there is parental supervision
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby
  • Light one firework at a time – then move back quickly!
  • Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals
  • Clean up all used fireworks including debris

“Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July and year end celebrations. Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths” Consumer Products Safety Commission.