Cold Weather Work Habits and Personal Protection Equipment

Dec 07

Most of us have heard of cold-related illnesses such as frostbite, hypothermia, chilblains, and trench foot. All are illnesses related to cold stress. But the cold is insidious and works its way deep into the body where it indirectly causes cold-related problems.

Workers with chronic diseases such as asthma or arthritis are more likely to suffer flare-ups in cold weather.

Cold stress also decreases the worker’s dexterity, coordination, mental skills, and causes an overall decline in performance that negatively affects worker safety. Workers are more prone to accidents.

Also, working in the cold increases the likelihood of employee sprains and strains. This turns up as a health issue such as a low back strain. However, all muscles and tendons have less resistance to harm when exposed to cold weather.

What is Cold Stress?

Cold stress is the way your body responds cold temperatures stemming from heat escaping from part of your body, such as hands, limbs, feet, and/or head. When the body has prolonged contact with cold, lengthy exposure is a physical and mental challenge to your body.

Humans lose heat four ways:

  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Conduction
  • Evaporation

The best way to avoid cold weather stress leading to cold weather illness or injury involves changing work habits and wearing the right clothing.

Changing Work Habits

How long an employee works in cold weather depends on wind and air temperature. The colder the temperature and the stronger the wind, the shorter work periods are. The following table, adopted by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) as Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for cold stress is an excellent guide for management in establishing the length of a work period.


Top High-Tech Car Safety Features

Nov 10


MP900438798 - smallEverybody has felt that unpleasant surprise when a car comes zooming into view after being hidden in a blind spot. Older motorists are no different, and they see warning systems against this hazard as the top safety feature in newer cars, according to a new report by the MIT AgeLab and The Hartford Insurance Company. After surveying hundreds of drivers over age 50 who get behind the wheel at least three times a week, the study found that these “mature motorists” felt more confident with cars which have at least one of 10 advanced safety technologies.

Here are the top 10 safety features for older motorists (in order):

  1. Blind-spot warnings alert drivers when another vehicle is approaching unseen and also help with parking.
  2. Crash mitigation systems detect imminent collisions and can help reduce passenger injuries.
  3. Emergency response systems alert paramedics or other emergency personnel if there’s an accident.
  4. Drowsy driver alerts warn motorists when they nod off or otherwise become inattentive.
  5. Reverse monitoring systems help drivers (especially those with reduced flexibility) judge distances and back up safely by warning of objects behind the vehicle.
  6. Vehicle stability control reduces crashes by helping steer a car if it veers offline or has trouble navigating a curve.
  7. Lane departure warning alerts motorists when they drift from a lane.
  8. “Smart” headlights illuminate the road more effectively by responding to the direction the driver is steering and the vehicle’s speed.
  9. Voice-activated command systems allow motorists to use a car’s features without losing focus on the highway.
  10. Automated parking assist calculates the angles and steers the car into the space, reducing driver stress and increasing the number of potential parking spots.

How many of these safety features does your newer car have?



Home Security Systems: Myths And Reality

Nov 02
thief-1562699_1920Don’t let negative rumors about home security systems keep you from adding this valuable protection for you and your family. Before you buy a system, consider these myths and realities:
Myth: No one will break into my home.
Reality: Burglars can target any home anywhere, and they’re seeking unprotected targets like yours. In 2011, the FBI reported more than 1.5 million residential burglaries, an average of more than one a minute.

Myth. Security systems cost too much.

Reality: According to the FBI, burglaries cost victims an average of $2,185 in 2011. A security system that costs $50 a month (a mid-range figure for most systems) can provide more than three and a half years of protection for the money and valuables you might lose in a home burglary, not to mention helping ensure your peace of mind.

Myth: My pet will set off false alarms

Reality: Many home security systems are pet friendly, designed to distinguish between pets and intruder.

Myth: Having a security system won’t lower my insurance rate

Reality: Because insurance companies can save a ton of money when policyholders use quality alarm systems (which reduce the chances of burglary claims significantly) they offer these customers a sizeable discount on homeowners coverage. You can use these savings to offset the cost of your system.

Myth: Because I have insurance, I don’t need a security system

Reality: Insurance can’t bring back irreplaceable items, such as family heirlooms or other valuables, which a home security system can help protect. What’s more, many people don’t want to deal with filing a claim and receiving an insurance settlement.

For more information on the benefits that alarm systems can provide, feel free to get in touch with us at any time.



Insurance When Families Squeeze In

Jun 01


Home and Auto insurance were relatively straightforward for yesterday’s ‘typical American household” – Mom, Dad, and the kids. Today, economic pressures are leading more and more adults to move back in with their parents, double up with other families, or make room for elderly relatives. These multi-generational households and other nontraditional living arrangements can raise serious insurance issues.

In most states, when family members move in with relatives who have Homeowners (HO) insurance, their belongings will be covered under the relative’s policy. However, if the individuals who move in are not related to their policyholder, their belongings probably won’t be insured.

With a rented apartment or house has Renters insurance, the coverage rules are different. In these cases, the policy won’t cover the property of a person who moves in with the renter, regardless of whether the two are related.

In a multi-generational household, or when multiple families live under one roof, whether or not you’re the homeowner, it makes sense to supplement standard Liability coverage under a your HO policy with a relatively inexpensive Personal Umbrella policy.

If you’re in a multiple-living situation, let your Auto insurance company know even if the other drivers have their own coverage and won’t be driving the cars your policy covers. Some car owners who house other drivers with checkered histories behind the wheel might wind up paying higher premiums, On the other hand, a roommate with a clean driving record could lead to multiple car discounts or other benefits.

Whether it’s Auto, HO, or Renters insurance, please let our agency know before you find yourself in an expanded or multi-generational household.



Landlord Insurance, Anyone?

Apr 27


If you rent all or part of your property to others, it makes sense to buy this special type of Homeowners insurance. A Landlord insurance policy will cover damage to the building and your belongings, and protect you against potentially catastrophic legal and medical cost suits from lawsuits by people injured on your property.

If the property is mortgaged, the lender will usually require that you buy enough coverage to pay off the outstanding loan balance.

Above this level, you can tailor your Landlord coverage to your needs and budget in a number of ways:

  1. Changing the deductible (which usually ranges from $100 to 5% of the building coverage).
  2. Selecting the type of losses covered, by buying either “comprehensive” coverage – which pays for losses from all causes, unless specifically excluded – or on a “named perils” basis, which covers only losses from a listed number of causes.
  3. Choosing the type of reimbursement – either “actual cash value” (the value of your property, less depreciation) or the more expensive “replacement value.”
  4. Adding coverage to provide reimbursement for loss of rental income during a period when the property is uninhabitable.
  5. Covering increased liability risks from dealing with tenants, such as legal fees, libel, slander, and discrimination claims.

In making your decision, assess the benefits of potential premium savings against the risk of paying for hefty classes.

Our Homeowners’ Insurance specialists will be happy to evaluate your situation and recommend a comprehensive, cost effective solution. Just get in touch with us at any time.



Fraud Costs Everyone

Mar 02


Wrecking a car and lying about it or staging an accident to get a payout are crimes that can cost a perpetrator dearly. Similarly, any inaccuracies reported (about a child’s GPA, ZIP code where a car is garaged, etc.) for financial gain is also technically fraud.

This type of “soft fraud” is far more common than hard fraud — and is much harder for the industry to deal with because it’s so difficult to detect. Consider “claims padding,” such as urging a body shop to fix dents that never happened after a car accident or claiming more serious pain or injuries than actually suffered.

Although perpetrators might think of these as victimless crimes, everyone with an Auto policy pays for them in higher rates needed to offset the cost of phony claims.

Here are a few common examples of soft fraud, as described by Allstate and the auto buying and research site,

  • Grade faking: A parent or student lies about high grades to get a good-student discount.
  • Location lies: A policyholder tries to get a premium cut by using a parent’s address in a rural, less-traveled area to register and insure a car that’s usually driven in a more accident-prone city. He also tells his insurer that he drives half the miles that he really does.
  • Missing drivers: A family fails to inform their insurance company that there are two teen drivers in the household, not just mom and dad.

Soft fraud is usually treated as a misdemeanor. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, it could cost the scammer a fine of up to $15,000, jail or prison time, and probation — not to mention the humiliation of going through the legal system.