On behalf of all of us here at GWB Insurance, we want to wish you a safe and happy 4th of July! In observance of the holiday our office will be closed on Monday July 3rd and Tuesday July 4th.
Hurricane season started on June 1 and runs through November 30. Hurricane preparedness does not end at home. An often over-looked segment of hurricane safety is the workplace. Whether or not you are an employee or an employer, it is essential to take proactive steps in preparing for unpredictable storms and other disasters.
Steps to take before hurricane season:
- Establish or review an Emergency Action Plan that considers prevention, emergency response, evacuation criterion, disaster recovery and key personnel.
- Detail communication procedures for staff, vendors and clients. Maintain a current list of key contacts with telephone numbers and addresses. Keep a copy accessible offsite.
- Ensure provisions for alternate remote data transmissions.
- Inspect roofs and flashing to ensure they are in good condition and properly secure.
- Maintain a supply of plastic or tarpaulin to cover water-sensitive equipment.
- Ensure proper working condition for emergency equipment, such as flashlights and battery-powered radios, drills and saws.
As the season’s change we wanted to point out what a difference a few months make. The top photo show’s a photo taken this week and the lower photo was taken a few months back when our tree unexpectedly fell and yes of course insurance covered it. On behalf of all of us at GWB Insurance, we wish everyone a happy spring!
Parting is such sweet sorrow—especially when it’s with a tool that was supposed to make auto insurance comparison shopping so much better. We’re talking about Google Compare—the formidable partnership between Google, Compare.com, CoverHound, and ITC that launched in March 2015 and is now purportedly closing up shop.
In the past couple days, word has been spreading that Google is pulling the plug on its plunge into auto insurance comparison shopping as well as its comparison tools for bank and mortgage products and credit cards. The shutdown is supposedly happening because of roadblocks by car insurance companies and regulators. It’s also been circulating that Google wants to refocus on improving consumer product sites and the “customer experience.” Another rumor is that in the nine months since launching Google Compare, it has only spread to a handful of states when it was supposed to be in the double digits by now.
“We can’t integrate as quickly with companies as fast as we thought. We can’t get the regulators to say yes to everything we demand. When we get a company to embrace the idea of online shopping, they say ‘This is terrific. We’re all in. Let’s start in Iowa,” according to Brian Sullivan, editor for Risk Information, recalling a conversation with a Google Compare executive.
Whatever the real reason, it’s caused Google to put a halt on its work toward an online auto insurance comparison site—temporarily or permanently.
What does this mean for the auto insurance world? If you’re an independent auto insurance agent, it could be very happy news. When the news first broke that Google was entering the car insurance market, CEO of W.R. Berkley Corp., William R. Berkley, said independent agents should, “be afraid, be very afraid.”That’s because Google is an internet giant that is deep into the development of its very own self-driving cars. Google knows the traffic rules, hazards, and details of every backroad, highway, and turnpike in America. That gives the company the ability to tailor auto insurance rates to a never-before-seen accuracy that even telematics hasn’t touched. While the debate is still there that people will always go to independent agents for personalized service, the idea of a giant competitor closing its doors has to be comforting to say the least.
Contact GWB Insurance today at (401) 726-3330 and let us do the comparing for you. We work with over 20 financially stable companies to put together competitive insurance proposals catered to you or your business. Buy Local!
The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- In 2013, Thanksgiving Day (November 28) was the leading date for home cooking fires with 1,550, 230% above the average number of fires per day.
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries and was the third leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.
Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.
Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?
Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
- Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
- Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.
The Top 10 Insurance Myths
Insurance is something that nearly everyone purchases. Whether you own a car or carry health insurance through your company, it’s likely you’ve interacted with an underwriting agency at one time or another. Insurance is sometimes misunderstood, and it can be a complicated topic.
It is important to be educated about the different types of insurance out there, but sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the truth from myths. Here are a few common myths we hear all the time:
#1 – “I don’t have that much stuff, so I don’t need renter’s insurance.”
A lot of people think that they don’t have enough stuff to make buying renters insurance worth it. Go around your apartment or rental home and take stock of all your items, including furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, towels, and more. Everything should be counted, even the food in your kitchen. After you do this, you’ll probably be surprised at just how much you could lose in the event of a natural disaster, fire, or theft. Even if you don’t own very expensive items, you can get back on your feet faster when you have renters insurance to compensate for your losses.
#2 – “Only rich people need umbrella insurance.”
Many people believe that umbrella insurance is only for the wealthy, as it gives significant coverage (usually over $1 million) for liability lawsuits. Umbrella insurance adds additional liability coverage to existing policies, such as auto or home insurance. The fact is, anyone can face a liability lawsuit, but not everyone has enough insurance to pay for one. If you’re legally responsible for someone’s losses, injuries or death, there’s a chance you could be sued for more money than a standard insurance policy will cover. Umbrella insurance is a cushion everyone can use to get peace of mind when the worst happens.
#3 – “I’m a homemaker, so life insurance won’t benefit my family.”
Life insurance is a dynamic product that can help support the entire family, not just those who earn money. A life insurance policy can help cover the costs from a lost salary, childcare, food, transportation, housekeeping, mortgage payments and more. When you buy life insurance, you can be sure that your family continues on with a similar standard of living.
#4 – “Obamacare means I can’t keep seeing my current doctor.”
Many people think that when the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) goes into effect, they will no longer be able to see their current doctor or other medical provider. This is simply not true in most cases. If you are receiving health insurance through an employer already, you won’t really see any changes to your insurance coverage. If you are purchasing a new plan, you may need to find a plan that will have your current doctor in-network. With all the plans available, it is very likely that your current provider is covered under one of them. You can even ask your doctor or medical provider what insurances they accept to help you choose. This is also a place where an independent insurance agent can be helpful, as they work with several insurance companies and can shop around to help you find the coverage you want.
#5 – “I don’t need flood insurance if I don’t live near the water.”
Flood insurance is not required in some areas, so you may believe that don’t need this protection if you don’t live near a body of water. Even if you don’t live in a flood plan, it’s a good idea to carry flood insurance. Flooding can happen anywhere, whether you live on the ocean or in the desert. Things like hurricanes, strong rains, or problems with water systems can cause flooding, no matter if you live near a large body of water or not.
#6 – “A red car will cost more to insure.”
No one knows exactly how this myth started, although it may be due to the bright color of red cars standing out in traffic. It could also be that scientists have proved that color has a direct effect on mood. The truth of the matter is that owning and insuring a red car will not cost you any more then insuring a blue or green car. What is going to affect your auto insurance premium is your driving history, the age of your vehicle, and the make and model of your car.
#7 – “Disability insurance isn’t necessary, because Social Security will pay me.”
While Social Security can help people who are disabled, it may not be able to meet all of your needs. There are also strict qualifications to meet before you can receive disability benefits through Social Security. This is why disability is so important. Disability insurance can be used for long-term or short-term disability, unlike Social Security, and it will kick in immediately after you become disabled to replace lost income.
#8 – “I’m young and healthy, I don’t need health insurance.”
People who are young and without serious health problems may not prioritize health insurance coverage. While you may not need many aspects of health insurance coverage, like prescription coverage or maternity care, you should still consider carrying a basic health insurance plan. This will protect you from outrageous costs if you happen to have an accident or get diagnosed with a serious illness.
#9 – “Long term care insurance is only for the elderly.”
Most people think that long term care insurance only covers nursing home expenses for the elderly. However, it can also very beneficial for younger people. It can help to cover costs from an accident, if you need rehabilitation. It can also help cover the cost of an illness that puts you out of work for a long time. Purchasing long term care insurance can help you save money, even if you have a good health insurance plan.
#10 – “If I have homeowners insurance, all my belongings are covered automatically.”
Some homeowners assume that their homeowners insurance covers the entire house and everything in it. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. You may need to go through a process called “scheduling” to get all your items covered – which typically requires an inventory and description of all the items you own. Higher-value items, like electronics and appliances, will need to have the serial number included. To ensure you get reimbursed for your losses, keep an ongoing list of all your belongings. Take pictures of your things and remember to include details like serial numbers or receipts when you go through the scheduling process with your insurance company.
These are just a few of the most common myths related to different types of insurance. To be fully protected from life’s unexpected surprises, use insurance to your advantage and stay educated about the truths and myths surrounding it.
When visiting the school, walk or ride the route your child will take. Speak to your child about talking to strangers, and observe along the route any areas in which your child must exercise caution.
Look for the school patrols, crossing guard, or police officers on the streets near the school. Find out the school’s policy for early arrivals, and if needed, organize with other parents to have adults stationed outside the school to watch the children until the school allows them to enter.
Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. Ask the teacher the times he/she is available to talk to parents.
Now that you know the teacher of your child, offer to help with class trips or with school activities. Are more books needed in the library? Offer to hold a book drive or find a company that will donate books.
Does the teacher need assistance with particular projects in the school? If time permits, offer to be a classroom parent or to organize other parents to help in the classroom or at the school. If you can’t make it to the classroom during school hours, ask if there are things you can do from home or on the weekends that would be helpful.
Afterschool and Extracurricular Activities
If the school offers afterschool and/or extra-curricular activities, find out ways you can assist. If the budget restricts afterschool activities, find ways you or members in the community could assist.
Make homework time a daily habit. Find a quiet and consistent place at home where your child can complete his or her homework.
If your child is having difficulty with his or her homework, make an appointment with the teacher to discuss his or her difficulty. Check with the counselor and the teacher about tutors to get your child help if needed.
Limit the time that you let your child watch TV. Too much television cuts into important activities in a child’s life, such as reading, playing with friends, and talking with family members.
When your child is watching TV, watch with him or her when you can. Talk together about what you see. Try to point out the things in TV programs that are like your child’s everyday life.
When you can’t watch TV with your child, spot check to see what he or she is watching. Ask questions after the show ends. See what excites him and what troubles him. Find out what he has learned and remembered.