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Winter 2019 Insurance News

10 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes & Avoid Costly Insurance Claims

Frozen water pipes and the damage they cause are a reality for thousands of people each year. And unfortunately, a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent pipes from freezing.

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Using Hands-Free Devices While Driving Not So Risky: Research

New research suggests that drivers who use hands-free electronic devices, as opposed to handheld ones, are not increasing their risk of getting into a crash.

According to the research from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), with hands-free technology, drivers can make calls and perform a variety of other tasks while still keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

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Protections and Limitations of Title Insurance — What You Need to Know

Most people have title insurance on their property but some may be unfamiliar with the concept, protections or limitations of title insurance. Title insurance is a form of insurance that protects a property owner from financial loss caused by defects in title to a property.

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What to Do If an Employee Displays Signs of Dementia

Faced with an aging American workforce, companies are increasingly navigating delicate conversations with employees grappling with cognitive declines, experts say.

Workers experiencing early stages of dementia may struggle with tasks they had completed without difficulty. Historically punctual employees may forget about scheduled meetings. And those who have traveled to the same office day after day, sometimes for years on end, may begin to lose their way during their morning commutes.

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New Airbnb Taxes Impose Added Costs on Homeowners

Interest in short-term rentals has increased over the past several years with the growth of home share platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway. As a result, state legislatures across the country have seen this as an opportunity to increase revenue by taxing these services. Surprisingly to many, some of the biggest proponents of this type of legislation are actually the home-sharing platforms themselves. In addition to publicly advocating for them, they’ve also put their lobbying might behind these proposals. The home-sharing platform providers see an opportunity to access another revenue stream because they can offer tax collection and remittance as an additional service and charge for it. There are a lot of interests involved.

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Travel Insurance Increases in Popularity for Tourists

Consumers are seeing the benefit of insuring their travels against the unexpected.

With the frigid temperatures covering much of the country, a trip to warm locale just might be in order. Travel, whether for business or pleasure, has grown in popularity and Generali Global Assistance’s Travel Insurance division recently shared insights on the trends it observed in 2018.

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Pain Management Task Force Releases Best Practices for Fighting Chronic Pain

A ​draft report​ from the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, which acts in an advisory capacity for the federal government, contains new guidance for pain management in the United States in the age of the opioid epidemic.

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Court Rules Federal Age Bias Law Protects Only Current Employees, Not Applicants

A divided U.S. appeals court dealt a setback to older job applicants, saying they cannot invoke a federal law against age bias in employment to challenge hiring policies they believe have a discriminatory impact.

In an 8-4 decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said the “plain language” of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which forbids discrimination against people 40 and older, showed that Congress intended that law to cover current employees, not outside job applicants.

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Most Medical Cannabis Users Have Operated Vehicles Under the Influence, Study Finds

More than half of people who take medical cannabis for chronic pain say they have driven under the influence of cannabis within two hours of using it at least once in the last six months, according to a new study.

One in five said they had driven while “very high” in the past six months, researchers from the University of Michigan Addiction Center reported in a new paper in the journal Drug & Alcohol Dependence.

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Happy Fall But Beware of these seasonal liabilities that homeowners face

Every season comes with an exceptional climate pattern, but most fascinatingly, some have effects that touch people’s property and, in most cases, the effects turn out negative for individuals who do not take precaution and prepare for seasonal liabilities. Fall presents its own liability risks; however, prevention of this risks goes a long way in minimizing damages and insurance claims that may follow. Let us take a glance at some of the risk’s homeowners face.

Check for Damages all Round your Property

Take a stroll along the edges of your fence checking for loose pickets, falling posts, and rails among others. Ensure all these are repaired as soon as possible to avoid severe damage when the weather pattern gets intense. During your stroll, ensure to check the driveway in any case there are deep ruts. These ruts are a major cause of falling for anyone walking along the driveway.

Keep your Property Clear of Falling Leaves

When you notice the beautiful flowers and leaves on your driveway or walkway, take time to clean them from the ground, this is because of their slippery nature when they get wet from rain or dew. This can be a liability risk especially when the package delivery guy, visitor, or mailman falls and gets injured, resulting in a liability claim against your insurance policy. Alternatively, you can get an arborist to check for rotting trees that could fall and crush your home.

Avert Water Damage

During the fall season, meaning lots of rain, it is important to have your roof checked for holes and missing shingles and have them repaired just in time to prevent any water leakages. Have your gutters cleared off any leaves or dirt to ensure smooth flow of water away from your roof, ensure the drainage system around your home is perfectly working, and lastly have your doors and windows properly insulated to avoid being blown open by the heavy wind.

Cover up Swimming Pools

In case you have a pool, closing it up may save you money against liability risks such as having someone injured while using it weather, they have permission or not. Performing basic pool maintenance like cleaning the pool area, filters, and surfaces, before totally closing it will not only keep it safe but also keep people out of water during times when others are not around in cases of emergencies or accidents.

Avoid Fires

Fires have a tendency of starting unexpectedly, especially at home. There are several ways however to minimize such risks;

  • Inspecting smoke detectors to ensure they function efficiently
  • Check accessibility of fire extinguishers
  • Annually inspect your heating system and chimney
  • Clean oily garage surfaces and secure volatile compounds

Understanding Hurricane Insurance (Wind & Flood Damage Coverage)

Hurricane season is upon us, and already we’ve seen massive storms cause damage along the coastlines. For homeowners, the joys of living near the beach or the convenience of a nearby ocean are suddenly overshadowed by the risk of major loss, and their attention is turned to their insurance, or lack of it, during these tragic times. Many homeowners don’t fully understand their coverage, and they face sudden stark truths when attempting to file a claim. Insurance to cover the damage inflicted by a hurricane is rather complicated, and it is actually a bundle of several components.

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12 Ways to Protect Your Home or Business from Flooding

Floodwaters are among the most damaging natural tragedies to come upon a property. They are relentless, unyielding and brutal. The only real defense against them is to be prepared so that you can hopefully avoid some of the damage they can bring. Here are 12 ways to protect your home or business against a flood.

  1. Downspouts. Be sure your structure has gutters and downspouts properly installed all the way around it. The downspouts should be routed far enough away from the building to give the water an external path for runoff.
  2. Gutters. Check your roof for any debris and make sure the gutters are clean so the rainwater can flow away freely.
  3. Runoff. Verify that any external drains or channels designed to route water away from the building are not blocked or impaired.
  4. Drains. Check any city storm drains near your location to verify they are not covered, and remove any blockage so the floodwaters can flow away.
  5. Foundation. Inspect your foundation for any cracks or shifts that might allow water to pass inside. Have any problems repaired, and consider adding extra levels of waterproofing to help repel floodwaters as they arrive.
  6. Landscaping. If flooding is an ongoing possibility for your location, you may want to consider adding some retaining walls or other landscaping designed to protect against rising waters.
  7. Sump Pump. Check your sump pump and drains to verify they are free and clear to remove water before it rises in the home.
  8. Backflow Valve. Have a backflow valve installed on your main sewer system. This keeps raw sewage from entering your home as floodwaters rise.
  9. Protect. Store your valuables safely above any flood lines for protection.
  10. Elevate. Elevate your expensive appliances and heating/cooling systems to keep them above the potential flood line. Also, consider having your electrical wiring and outlets raised to a safe level.
  11. Water Sensors. Electronic water sensors can alert you if there is a problem, allowing you to check your property and get valuables moved to safety.
  12. Plan Ahead. Have a plan in place for how to deal with an incident. Imagine floodwaters approaching your facility, and think of what you’d like to have ready at that time. Go through the motions of dealing with an issue, so you’ll be rehearsed and ready for a sudden surprise in the future.

Family Fire Safety – Education and Planning

Children have a natural curiosity about fire and its ability to “come out of nowhere.” However, as an adult, you’re well aware of the dangers of fire and the value of fire safety education. Matches, lighters, and other heat sources are one of the leading causes of fire-related deaths for children under five.

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Popular Misconceptions about homeowners insurance

As a homeowner, are you familiar with all the details of your homeowner’s insurance, and how much coverage you have? According to recent studies, almost 60% of today’s homeowners don’t understand their policies and are not properly insured.

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Home Inventory For Insurance

Most homeowners don’t realize how much they actually have until a disaster strikes – loss of valuables from a burglary or damage from a fire. Showing your homeowner’s insurance agent documentation of your belongings can speed up the claims process and ensure you’re fairly compensated. Technology has made this even easier- just a few minutes with your smartphone is all most people need for a home inventory. Read more

What Makes the Best Insurance Policy?

Hint: It’s not overall price.

Whether you’re looking to buy insurance for yourself or your business, or both, you shop around looking for the best deal. There are so many marketing campaigns out there to “help you” by saving money on important policies such as auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and various types of business insurance. But the lowest price does not equal the most valuable policy. Read more

Contractor Bond Speciliast Banas & Fickert

Why to Trust an Independent Insurance Agent Over Special Offers in the Mail

Have you or your business been receiving lots of correspondence from insurance carriers? Are these special offers they rave about actually good deals? Turn this annoyance into a learning opportunity and ask your agent about what a good deal on insurance actually is. Read more

Did You Know? Different Kinds of Water Damage Need Different Insurance Coverage

Did you know that your homeowner’s insurance coverage only covers certain kinds of water damage? Depending on whether water damage is caused by flooding or a water leak, your coverage may not be sufficient. It’s important to know this information before finalizing any homeowner’s insurance policy. Read more