Be Prepared For The Freezing Temperatures

BlobServerIt’s about to get very cold outside! Freezing temperatures can lead to frozen pipes and water damage in your home. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take right now to help prevent freezing pipes.

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Keep heat at 55 degrees or higher even when you are out of town.
  • During a cold spell, turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night.
  • Wrap pipes in foam insulation tubes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest.
  • Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes.
  • If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on and drain your water system before you go.
  • Identify the locations of shutoff valves so you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible should a pipe burst.

For more tips, including what to do if a pipe does freeze, check out this helpful article: 

pipes_0_0Todays Homeowner with Danny Lipford – How to Prevent Frozen Pipes 

Disastersafety.org – How to prevent frozen Pipes

2015 First Annual LBD Awareness Golf Tournament

 Many of you, at one point or another, have worked with our long time employee, Julie Beshers, over the last 14 years. However, very few of you are aware that her 68 year old father, Cecil Pittman, has been battling Lewy Body Dementia since 2011.

In November, TCIS was proud to be a part of the Pittman’s First Annual Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Golf Tournament, honoring Cecil Pittman.   The family was able to surpass their goals this year; not only did they sell out their first year but they raised over $25,000 for the Lewy Body Dementia Association. They were able to generate and elevate awareness of an illness most have not heard of. We cannot wait to see what’s in store for the 2016 Second Annual LBD Awareness Golf Tournament!

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Popping the Bigger Question: Who should insure the engagement ring?

Purchasing an engagement ring is a big decision and you should be equipped with the right information before making your purchase. Here’s a guide on making a purchase that will make your fiancee, bank account, and your insurance agent say “Yes!”

Brace the bank

An engagement ring is an investment, and (thankfully) you get to dictate how much you’re willing to risk. According to www.theknot.com in 2013, the average cost of an engagement ring is $5,431. If that price makes you cringe, no worries—you can still find a great ring for a little less, but read the next section to ensure you don’t compromise quality for price.

Understanding Girls’ Best Friend

There are four elements to determining quality of a diamond- carat, clarity, color, and cut. Educate yourself on these elements. A carat is a diamond’s weight, not size, so don’t be fooled by how big a diamond may seem; the clarity is an assessment of a diamond’s internal and natural characteristics. The color and cut of a diamond depends on preference; color is graded on an alphabetical scale, and cut varies, but affects the way the gem shines.

Certified & Appraised

Ask the jeweler for the assessment of the diamond and a GIA diamond grading report. An assessment of the diamond on the jeweler’s stationary protects you in the event that the jeweler misrepresented the value and facts about the ring. A GIA diamond grading report also serves as backup verification for your purchase— the Gemological Institute of America is the most respected lab in the world. If your jeweler cannot provide the assessment or GIA report, back out of the store slowly and find another jeweler.

Now the REAL big question: Who should insure the engagement ring?

You proposed, but your fiancée will live in their condo until the big day– what do you do? This is a matter of insurable interest. When you purchase valuables (like an engagement ring) for someone else and you want to insure the item, you are trying to create insurable interest. Insurable interest says, “I have a strong interest in this item but it does not reside in my home with me; however, I should be able to insure it for a period of time.”

The easiest way to create insurable interest for the person in possession of the ring is to make the use of the ring by her conditional…i.e., you still own the ring and it doesn’t become your future spouse’s until you both are married. Until that time, you have an insurable interest and there should be coverage under your policy.

If you make ownership conditional on marriage, you likely have an insurable interest and can insure it yourself. Since most homeowners policies limit theft of jewelry to about $1,500 (some less, some more), the ring should be scheduled on his homeowners policy. An alternative is for your fiancee to insure it on their policy since coverage usually extends to any property you use, not just property you own. This assumes that either or both have homeowners policies (or they live at home and are covered by their parents’ policies). When you are married, you both should have a single homeowners policy with both as named insureds and the ring and other jewelry scheduled on the policy.

Be sure to talk to us, here at TCIS-The Complete Insurance Source about all of your options and steps to getting your new future off to a bright start!

from trustedchoice.com

Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries

Work Comp-Neck Injury CompressedOverexertion and falls account for more than $25 billion in workers’ compensation costs in the U.S.
Being hurt by an object or equipment ranks third in workplace injury causes and claims costs in the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety’s 2014 Workplace Safety Index.
In its 15th year, the annual ranking of top 10 causes of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries is based on the company’s workers’ compensation claims data and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

The research institute examined 2012 claims data for injuries lasting six or more days and ranked the injuries by total workers’ compensation costs.

10 Leading Causes and Direct Costs of Workplace Injuries in 2012:

1. Overexertion $15.1B 25.3%
2. Falls on same level $9.19B 15.4%
3. Struck by object or equipment $5.3B 8.9%
4. Falls to lower level $5.12B 8.6%
5. Other exertions or bodily reactions $4.27B 7.2%
6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle $3.18B 5.3%
7. Slip or trip without fall $2.17B 3.6%
8. Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects $2.1B 3.5%
9. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks $1.84B 3.1%
10. Struck against object or equipment $1.76B 2.9%

The leading cause of injury on the list, overexertion, was typically related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing. Other exertions, which came in at number five, includes injuries due to bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting,
standing or walking.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, worker deaths in America are down. In 1970, there were on average 38 worker deaths a day and in 2012, the figure was down to 12 deaths a day.

OSHA reports workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65
percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled.

 

taken from insurance journal.com

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

emergency-and-fire-extinguisher-signA portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Safety tips
• Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

• To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

 • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.

• Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

• For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.

• Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

• Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.

Most importantly- Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

The Era of the Drone: The Good News and the Bad News

droneNews reports about drone use in America appears almost daily. Whether it is Amazon’s envisioned delivery service Amazon Prime Air, Facebook & Google’s planned solar drones to expand internet access, or the gentleman in Kentucky who shot down a drone spying on his daughter. The drone has moved from the battlefield to the backyard and to the boardroom

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has conservatively estimated 30,000 drones will operate in the United States by 2020. The projected number may rise as more manufacturers enter into the market.

Given the projected growth in drone use, consideration must be given to the liability inherent in their operations. Drone owners should verify they have insurance coverage before the first unit ever takes flight.

The Good News; Insurance Services Office (ISO) standard Homeowners Policy (HO3) includes coverage for “hobby aircraft not used or designed to carry people or cargo.” This may change as drones become more common.

Now the Bad News: if you own or operate a drone for commercial use the standard ISO General Liability Coverage Form (CG 00 01 04 13) excludes liability “arising out of the ownership, maintenance, use, or entrustment to others of any aircraft.”

ISO has created three endorsements intended to deal with this exposure on your General Liability policy but your carrier may not be willing to add the endorsement to your policy. Since this coverage is new and untested in court many companies are declining to add the endorsements.

Don’t fear. If coverage is not available through your General Liability carrier other alternatives are available through companies specializing in aviation insurance. Aviation policies can provide both the liability and hull (physical damage) coverage for your drone. Premiums for these policies start at $1,500.

So, if you own, operate, or just dream of operating a drone, be aware of the added exposures and cost created by the drone. And whatever you do, don’t forget to call your agent before takeoff.

Scott Walton

 

Tiffany’s answer to “Should I take the Loss Damage Waiver”

auto-email small“When a client is renting a car, I often get asked if they should purchase the insurance that the rental car company offers or if their policy will cover a rental vehicle?
If you have full coverage on your vehicle, then your policy will extend coverage to a rental vehicle just like it was your own: same coverage limits and deductible amounts. However, it typically does not provide coverage for “loss of rents,”  this refers to the loss of income by the rental car company if it is involved in an accident.  The rental car company could still charge you the daily rental rate while it is being repaired. A lot of credit card companies offer loss of rents coverage as long as you use your credit card to rent the vehicle. I encourage you to always call your credit card company to see what they offer before agreeing to purchase the insurance.”

Tiffany Miller

Account Manager

Charge it, Baby!

philAt the beginning of this year, Phil Smelley, President of TCIS purchased a Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle and had a 2 port, hi-speed charging station installed at TCIS. Have you seen him driving around the county in his TCIS mobile? If you were at the Chamber golf tournament he was actually parked at the 6th hole. He’s very proud of his eco-friendly vehicle. It’s high-tech, quiet, and the tax deduction isn’t too shabby either.

At first glance, his purchase may seem a little frivolous, but lets’ look at the numbers behind this “frivolous” purchase.

  • 55% of EV buyers are between 36 and 55 years old
  • Nearly 21% have an average income of 175K+
  • Nearly 44% have at least 1 child at home
  • Because of their limited range, they are typically purchased as a second or third vehicle
  • EV owners have higher education, higher income are smart and responsible. (According to Experian Automobile out of Schaumburg, IL)All these numbers add up to the ideal client for TCIS.

chargerThe charging station at TCIS shows up on plugshare.com so anyone with an EV can get a free charge. This is just another great way TCIS wants to help you take care of the things that matter to you most.

So stop on by anytime, have a cup of coffee, get a free charge and give us the opportunity to talk with you about your insurance needs.

 

 

 

Space Heater Safety in the Workplace

space cat
Space heaters can be a common fixture in the workplace during the colder months, and when used correctly, they can provide warm relief. However, if space heaters are used improperly, are not kept clear from combustible materials, or are not functioning properly, they can cause fire, electric shock or produce carbon monoxide (CO) gas.

As an employer, if you do not have a formal policy prohibiting the use of space heaters within your facility, it is important to provide guidelines for safe use. Practicing safe use and having guidelines in place may help reduce the risk of fire or injury to your property and employees.

  • Use of space heaters should not be allowed unless supervisor or management approval is provided prior to use.
  • Units that have been listed or labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or ETL (Intertek) should be the only space heaters permitted for use.
  • Keep at least 36 inches of clearance around every space heater and only use them in areas free of flammable liquids and easily ignited or combustible materials.
  • Proper placement of the space heater is important. Be sure it is not in a high-traffic area or in any area where it may become a tripping hazard.
  • If using an electric space heater, make sure electrical cords and plugs are not frayed or damaged. Always plug the heater directly into the wall outlet, and be sure the power cord is not crossing a walkway. Never use extension cords or power strips, as these could overheat and lead to a fire.
  • Be sure space heaters are never left unattended. They should be turned off when the employee leaves the room or area of the heater, and they should be unplugged at the end of the day.

from travelers.com