Keep Your Home Safe

The majority of home burglaries do not involve violence or the use of a weapon. The average dollar loss from a burglary in the United States is just over $2,000, and there are over 2 million burglaries in the US every year.

Your house is more than just an investment, it is a place where memories are made and dreams are built. Whether you are a first time home owner or celebrating many happy years in your dream home,  We are here to help you protect the home you love and the life you’ve built. The good news is about 80% of home burglaries are considered preventable. As you plan your holiday travel, here are a few things to remember.

Most burglars are afraid of getting caught, and will only go through unlocked doors and windows.

Thieves love to see piled up newspapers on your lawn. It lets them know you aren’t home.

If a burglar sees that no lights are on, chances are no one is home.

Attractive ornaments or pricey “kids’ things” outside your home can indicate to a potential intruder that your house is full of valuables.

Cyber thieves hope you put your old financial records in the trash without shredding them, because they want to collect your personal information.

Leaving your cars unlocked and valuables inside is an invitation to a burglar—even if it is in your own driveway.

If you post your vacation pictures on Facebook while you are away, it lets burglars know that your home is unoccupied.

People who fail to lock their guns in a gun safe are more likely to get them stolen. Lock all guns in a cabinet and use trigger locks as well.

If do don’t tell your neighbor you will be gone, it is just one less person for the burglar to worry about.

If you have a security system, use it 100% of the time. Burglars will generally not enter a home with a security system.

Create and maintain a detailed household inventory, and call our office today.  We can provide information that may help you determine if you have adequate insurance coverage on your home and belongings if, despite your good planning, the worst case scenario occurs.

Stay Dry While Boating… Take A Boating Safety Course

Boating is a great adventure on any type of boat and is being enjoyed by many on a daily basis, but with that comes a great responsibility. It is not mandatory to do a boating course at this time, but there are some excellent reasons to get your self-informed about the rules of the road.

You will learn about safety equipment and what you are required to have on your boat before you undertake any boating excursion. This is very important because what you don’t have with you could make the difference between being able to handle a situation or not.

You will learn that driving a boat is vastly different from driving a car. You are dealing with air and water currents. If you have never docked a boat you may think that it is easy until that is, the current is pulling you in the opposite direction that you want to go.

Knowing how to work with lines and tying knots is part of boating. You have to be able to secure a boat properly. If your boat gets away, it is amazing how quickly the current will take it out of your reach, and you will probably require the assistance of another boater to help you get to it.

You will learn what the channel markers mean. We learned the hard way the first time we went out on a boat and ran aground outside the markers. We also had no clue what the red and green markers meant on the poles. This you also learn on the course.

There are speed limits on certain water ways, but unlike the roads, they may or may not be posted. Ignorance may not be enough to get you out of a ticket.

Using charts for coastal navigation can be a lifesaver. It’s your roadmap that helps you stay away from the shallows and shows where all the markers and bridges are, and by using measurements, you can calculate the distance and time it will take to get somewhere.

Just like on the roads, there is the right of way. On a boating course, you will learn who has the right of way and why.

Every boat should have a horn. You may hear one long toot or 2 short toot and so on, and you’ll learn what they mean.

There are boating regulations and laws that must be followed by all boaters, for example, (and I have seen this rule broken so many times) you are not allowed to sit on the bow of the boat with your feet hanging overboard.

Anchoring a boat is not just a matter of plopping it down to the sand. There is a mathematical technique applied to anchoring that has to do with the size and length of your boat. Knowing how to do this correctly will give you that extra insurance of knowing your boat is going nowhere until you want to move it.

 

 

 

 

 

Barbecue Safety

Fire up the grill, bring on the steak, it is time to barbecue. You might think you know all you need to know about BBQ safety and grilling. But why don’t you review this page, just to make sure. We want your BBQ experience to be fun and safe for the entire family. On average there are over 9,000 home fires annually directly related to barbecuing. According to the National Fire Prevention Association; 17,000 people went to the emergency room and there was $84 million in property damage in 2015 associated with barbecuing.

Home barbecue tips:

Never BBQ inside, in a garage, on the roof or on a second story deck

Never leave your grill unattended

If you’re using a charcoal grill, let the lighter fluid soak into the coals a few minutes before lighting them so that any vapors have time to evaporate. When you do light the coals, stand back

Open the grill lid before you light it

Don’t wear loose fitting clothing

Keep a fire extinguisher outside or close by

Make sure you use the grill 10 feet away from your house

Have the BBQ close to a water source

Don’t let raw meat sit out long without being chilled or cooked

Always wash your hands before and after handling food

Don’t over indulge in alcohol while barbecuing

Let the grill cool down before you store or cover it

Always make sure that the barbecue is in a safe place, where children and pets won’t touch or bump into it.  Remember that the barbecue will still be hot even after you finish cooking, anyone contacting the barbecue could be burned. Make sure your home owner’s policy is up to date. Have fun be safe and eat well!

Civil Disobedience Is Newer Civil

A Risk Management Update

There seems to be a growing number of protects and civil disobedience these days. For whatever the reason for the protests, it does create a risk for your business. Your business insurance is designed to protect your business from unknown claims or accidents. Our job is to be your business insurance resource and to provide you with the best combination of coverage, price, and service.  A commercial liability policy can protect your company from actions by yourself and employees if a third party is damaged or injured.

Are Riots A Covered Loss?

Generally speaking, damage to your building and other property due a riot is a covered peril. This would include fire, theft, and vandalism. If you were forced to close your business by civil authority but had no building damage you may be able to collect for lost revenue, depending on how your policy is written. Remember, each policy is unique, so call our office for a review.

What If The Fire Department Refuses To Put Out The Fire?

Insurance companies generally will not deny a claim because the fire department pulled back for safety reasons. If civil authorities limit or restrict access to a burning building, your insurance will not be jeopardized.

Final Thoughts

Business insurance is designed to protect your business from accidents and other unforeseen events. Many of the damaged businesses had insurance, and those that did not will most likely have to close their doors.

Don’t Buy A Used Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is one of those essentials that will help save your life should you have an accident while riding your bike. This will protect your head from a damaging and even potentially fatal head injury. Motorcycle helmets are so important that state lawmakers have even included a directive in the state laws that orders all people riding the motorcycle to wear helmets.

Some people though do not understand the importance of this accessory. In fact, some people do not even like wearing it because it is too heavy and too suffocating. Others find it a killjoy not to be able to feel the wind on their faces when riding a motorbike.

Motorcycle helmets are not really that expensive, but they are also not cheap. Some who are not that well-informed will probably save all their money for the motorcycle leaving a really small budget for safety gears like the helmet. Some even buy used helmets instead of new ones. This, however, is one practice that should not be encouraged.

Using used helmets is extremely dangerous and impractical. Used helmets are actually worthless, and what is more, you cannot really tell whether they are damaged or not. You won’t even be able to tell if they are relatively new ones or not. This is because the helmet is made from a hard outer shell that envelops a layer of expanded polystyrene. You will never be able to tell if the expanded polystyrene is already compressed or not unless you cut the outer shell. An already compressed polystyrene layer will not protect you from an accident.

Another thing that you should consider is the fact that polystyrene becomes brittle as it ages. This is the reason why old helmets should be exchanged for new ones in a couple of years as it may not be able to absorb much of the impact when an accident does happen. The polystyrene layer is also easily damaged by the sun and by chemicals such as gas vapors.

Motor bikers who always place their helmet near the gas tank will also unknowingly damage the lining of the helmet. It is also not a good idea to always let the helmet sit under the heat of the sun. If you can, try to park your motorbike in areas that are shaded. Pointed objects may also compromise the lifespan of the helmet by piercing through the polystyrene layer inside.

Prom and Graduation Safety

This is the time of year when graduation parties and proms are in full swing. We congratulate all graduates on a job well done. High school is full of defining moments for Bay Area teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation. We want your celebration to be a happy and safe one, so here are a few tips.

However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments – serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:

Absolutely no alcohol

Always use seat belts

No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances

 Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.

Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.

Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.

Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.

Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

How Cloud Computing Changes Cyber Risk Exposures

Cyber risk and cloud computing is a topic that keeps evolving. In a recent study 40% of companies thought they did not need cyber liability insurance. Many thought cyber liability was covered under their business insurance policy. And others thought that if they used the cloud to store client’s information that they had no risk.

A recent example has been the Anthem Health data breach; here over 80 million people may have had their personal data compromised. If a large company like Anthem Health can have a cyber-breach, so can your company. See More Here

How Cloud Computing Will Change The Cyber Risk Landscape

There is no question that cloud computing changes the cyber risk landscape. But using the cloud does not reduce your risk. In fact, using the cloud may increase your risk. As more firms use the cloud, cyber criminals will increase their efforts to brake in, as there is more information for them to steel. Your risk will vary depending on the platform your firm uses. One benefit is that your business may require less in house technology which will reduce operating costs.

Cyber Risks Are Growing

Russian hackers recently stole over 2 billion online names and passwords. Home Depot had millions of customer credit cards stolen. A local restaurant recently had 1200 customer credit card numbers stolen, and finally a medical clinic had a lap top stolen that contained 5,000 patient’s names and confidential information. Every company is at risk for cyber theft and loss.

Cyber Insurance

We can provide your firm with the right combination of pricing and coverage. Cyber risk    insurance is available at very reasonable premiums. Many of our companies offer coverage to help protect your business from loss.

How to Minimize Holiday Risks

A Personal Insurance Update

November is here and that means the holiday season has started.  Over the next number of weeks, holiday activities will consume much of our time.  This is also the season when homeowners have insurance claims for fire, burglary, theft from vehicles, and even auto accidents.

Now may be the best time to have us review your personal insurance in order to make sure you have the individual coverage you need.

Shopping Safety Tips

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Put your shopping bags in your trunk.

NEVER leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

ALWAYS park in lighted areas. Do NOT park in remote areas.

Shop with a friend.

Keep receipts in your wallet or purse.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.

If you make expensive purchases, like jewelry or guns, call our office, as we may need to add these to your policy.

Christmas Tree Safety (provided by the NFPA)

Make sure the tree is at least four feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Make sure the tree is not blocking any exit or door.

Add water to the tree stand daily.

Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

Only used approved lights.

Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs

Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

Home Safety Tips

If you are planning a vacation during the holiday, here are few ideas to consider:

Get a security system.

Trim landscaping that is too close to your house.

Don’t advertise your vacation on social media.

Cancel mail and other deliveries.

Leave lights on when gone.

Have a neighbor check on your home.

Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.

Risk And Insurance Issues Faced By Most Businesses

A 2018 Business Insurance Update

Risk management and insurance issues that your local business faces are not that much different from those faced by fortune 500 companies; fortune 500 companies’ risks are just larger and possibly more complex.  Making sure that you have the right kind of business insurance for protecting your operations is our number one goal.

Recently, PC360.com ran an article describing the top risks for large corporations.  We thought we would relate these risks to your local business, and suggest some insurance that your business should consider to cover these risks.

Business Interruption Insurance – This can include lost net income, continuing expenses, and even relocation expenses. This coverage is not always automatic, and needs to be added with specific limits.

Directors and Officers Liability – Directors and officer’s liability insurance helps protect your business, owners, executives, and managers if individuals, competitors, third parties or government regulators make claims.

Regulatory Compliance Issues – New regulations and contractual risks are increasing for all organizations. Issues include; contracted employee, healthcare, workers’ compensation laws, environmental issues, cyber reporting requirements, and more.

Employee Safety – Maintaining a safe working environment should always be a top priority for your business.

Cyber Liability – Did you know that the average business has a greater chance of having a cyber breach than it does of having a fire? It is true, and your business insurance policy most likely will not cover cyber liability losses. “This new world of connected devices promises insights on which companies can base strategic decisions. But the ability to obtain more information brings the responsibility to use that data appropriately, maintain customers’ privacy, and practice effective cybersecurity.”  com

 

How To Have A Safe Halloween

Halloween is approaching.  Kids and adults are looking forward to dressing up and going out to trick or treat in the neighborhood.  With a little bit of planning you can ensure your ghouls and goblins have a frightfully fun time this year.

More than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian-car accidents on Halloween between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., compared with the same hours on other days throughout the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Police will be increasing traffic patrols on Halloween in order to keep our kids safe, and to catch drunk drivers.

Protect The Trick Or Treaters

Instruct your kids to never go into a stranger’s home.

When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories, look for, and purchase, items with a label clearly indicating that they are flame resistant.

Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.

Make sure that any props your kids carry, such as wands or swords, are short and flexible.

Only go to homes with a porch light on, and never enter a home or car for a treat.

Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision.

Don’t eat homemade candy unless you know the family.

Carry a flash light.

Inspect all wrapped candy. If it has been opened toss it out.

Set a curfew.

 

Home Safety

  • Clean up your yard.
  • Make a clear, well illuminated path to your door.
  • Remember that a lot of Halloween decorations, like dried flowers, straw, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Make sure to keep your decorations away from all open flames.
  • If you have a large display, make sure all electric cords are taped or secure to prevent tripping.
  • Practice indoor fire safety by checking all smoke detectors. Make sure candles are placed in a secure area.