2012 Archive

Healthcare Reform Update

Healthcare reform has been a topic of concern for business owners and individuals alike, the importance of knowing the upcoming changes can save you money, but more importantly being aware of the changes will alleviate a lot of potential compliance issues. Working in the insurance industry handling employee benefits—I find myself talking to a lot of business owners and Human resource executives. One prevalent concern, regardless of what industry people work in, is health insurance and the changes that are coming over the next few years.

Drunk Driving: Some Startling Statistics

The holidays are in full swing, and with that come holiday parties. These gatherings are great fun, filled with good company, good drinks, and bad gifts. I would like to take this time to focus on the good drinks for a moment. Most of us have hit the egg-nog a little too hard at one time or another, but all too often someone will get behind the wheel afterward.

A Step by Step Guide to Proper Communication

Alright, let me say that this isn’t an article dedicated to making sure you and your spouse/significant other have an open flow of communication in your relationship. This article is about communication in a different sense—benefits communication. In the state of Massachusetts it is now a law that you must have health insurance, therefore most employers in this state now offer health insurance. There exists a serious flaw in the mandatory system of employer sponsored health insurance. The flaw is that most employees don’t actually understand their coverage!

Dealing with Ice Dams

This weeks blog is courtesy of our friends at Peerless Insurance.  

Tips on the causes of Ice Dams and preventative measures that you can take to avoid them.

10 Tips to Terminate Turkey Frying Tribulations

Thanksgiving is about family, giving thanks for what you have…and turkey. Turkey is the main course for most Thanksgiving Day dinners, and sometime people like to get creative with the way they cook it. One of the more popular cooking methods is turkey frying. Those who use this method for their Thanksgiving beast swear that a fried turkey is more flavorful than an oven-baked turkey.

The biggest mistake a business can make in their workers' compensation program.

by: Joe Bickel

Dogs Take a Big Bite Out of Insurance Claims.

By Jennifer Bruni, Plymouth Rock Assurance

Dogs Take a Big Bite Out of Insurance Claims Dogs are biting into insurance companies’ profits.

The American Pet Products Association says that there are more than 78 million dogs in the United States. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 4.7 million people get bit by dogs each year. More than half of those bitten are kids. About 20 percent of those bitten – some 885,000 people – get medical attention for dog bites. That’s a lot of rabies shots in a lot of bellies. Ouch.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hurricane Coverage

Do I have hurricane insurance?

Hurricanes are wind losses.  Homeowner’s policies provide coverage for losses caused by wind subject to a deductible.  Insurance companies issue different deductibles.  Depending on where the property is located there may be a wind, named storm or hurricane deductible.  Check with your agent to see what deductible applies to your policy.

What happens when my tree falls in my yard?

The Life Insurance Buyers Guide

Life insurance is a topic that is either overlooked or avoided—mainly because it brings to light the inevitable truth that everyone, regardless of age or gender, will pass away. Granted some people will be prepared; while others will be shocked at the loss of their loved ones—one thing you can do to ease the financial impact that death brings, is to prepare in advance and think about life insurance. While it is never an easy subject to bring about, the purchase of life insurance will allow your friends and family to focus on making themselves whole after such a devastating loss.

Having a Safe and Spooktacular Halloween

With Halloween just over a week away, I thought it would be nice to take a moment to discuss the origin of this holiday and share some tips on how to make Halloween a safe and enjoyable evening.

Are You Prepared For A Disaster?

September is National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Department of Homeland Security. The goal is to promote disaster preparedness for people, businesses, and communities. An integral part of disaster preparedness is creating a kit which will hold the basic supplies you will need in the event of a disaster.

According to www.ready.gov, a basic disaster supplies kit should contain the following:
• Water
• Enough non-perishable food to last for at least three days and a manual can opener
• Battery powered radio

Workplace Violence and Workers Compensation

One of the most astonishing statistics I discovered while researching this topic is that Homicide is currently the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries (behind traffic fatalities) and the LEADING cause of death for women in the workplace. (as reported by NCCI www.workplaceviolence991.com )

Fall Maintenance Checklist

It seems that the temperature has headed south along with the geese which means that Fall has just about moved in. As the summer wanes and school begins there is a brief period of time, before the holidays (uugghh) arrive where we can do some safety maintenance and clean up of our homes. Here are some ideas that you should put on your list of “to do’s” to avoid problems over the winter.

Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Your College Student's Belongings?

With fall fast approaching, school bells will soon be heard by children and parents alike. Those who have children going to college have no doubt purchased a new laptop, bedding for those oddly shaped and oh-so-comfortable dorm beds, TVs, stereos, and countless other “necessities” to make their son or daughter’s home away from home that much more comfortable. So what happens if one or more of these items are stolen, or damaged in a fire?

Medical Loss Ratio Rebate Checks By James Vose

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been upheld, business owners and human resource professionals have been very curious about the effect this will have on their organization.  In the State of Massachusetts, many provisions the PPACA requires have already been enforced.  One provision that many are unaware of—is Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Reimbursement checks that carriers are issuing to organizations.  As a result of the growing number of questions that we have received from our clients—we wanted to communicate the reasons carriers are now i

How Your Driving Record Affects Your Insurance Premium

Recently I overheard someone ask why their driving record would affect  their insurance premium.  I asked my co-worker, Matt Boyle, to conjure up a relatively easy to understand answer for you.   

Massachusetts Healthcare Exchange for… Business'

Auto Accidents: Am I At Fault?

Car accidents are a stressful event regardless of whether or not you are at fault. Are you hurt? Is there damage to your car? Where is your registration? These are just some of the many questions that instantaneously cross your mind after the initial “impact” of the crash. Once you do a self check to make sure that all of your parts are in tact and that the other driver is relatively unscathed, the topic of who is at fault begins to surface.

The Massachusetts RMV "Seven Day Rule" Clarified

We all have purchased a car at one time or another. Often times we transfer the plates from an older vehicle that we are replacing. When this happens, there is an assumption that the Registry of Motor Vehicles gives us seven days to get our registry affairs in order. The truth is, this is not always the case. So the question that begs to be answered is “when do we have seven days to handle our registry paperwork?”

Does my insurance score affect my ability to become insured? Yes it does!

If you haven’t purchased personal insurance recently, you may be surprised when your agent tells you they are going to run an insurance score in order to quote a policy for you. An insurance score indicates claim history. The insurance score is a soft hit on your credit which indicates “acceptable” or “unacceptable”. Each carrier has its own guidelines regarding acceptability. Insurance companies view you, the potential insured, as a risk. By analyzing and insuring only superior risks the insurance company reduces the likelihood of paying for losses.

Lightning Safety

Our area has experienced some impressive thunder and lightning activity recently, ironically June 24th –June 30th is Lightning Safety Awareness Week- It’s seems fitting to review some Lightning Safety facts and tips with our blog followers.

WHEN THUNDER ROARS, GO INDOORS!.... This is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ (NOAA) & National Weather Services Campaign slogan.

Pool Safety For Summer Fun

With the warm weather now in full swing, people have begun opening their pools for the summer. While pools are a great way to escape the heat, there are things you must consider to be sure your summer oasis is safe.

Protecting The Investment In Your Nuptials

Are you hearing wedding bells? If so, you are no doubt in the midst of countless hours of preparation and paying out exorbitant amounts of money for this special day. But what happens if the wedding is postponed or cancelled, or if something happens to the wedding gifts? Lucky for you, there is an insurance policy to cover such things.

Call 1-800-DIG-SAFE

Planning any additions to your home? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or deck? All of these home improvements will require some level of digging, and some of these improvements are so small you may not think you have to notify the appropriate authorities of your intentions. The truth is that no matter how small the projects, if any digging is required then you must notify all utility companies to be sure that you are not digging near a utility line.

Culture vs Safety, What Drives the Cost of Workers’ Compensation. by Tom Rogers

Have you ever played the game of “If I was starting a football team today, who would I draft to be my starting quarterback?” Tom Brady, of course. That’s a no brainer, but a topic for another blog.

The Dangers in Choosing Health Insurance Based on Price Alone

Being a Health Insurance broker, I’ve had many conversations with employers and businesses about how they have been combating the rising tide of health insurance costs. As customary, even more-so recently, I’ve noticed a common theme within each answer; “I pick a plan with a low premium because I’ve got to keep health insurance to keep my employees”. While this strategy can be beneficial towards an employer’s bottom line—you could end up injuring your reputation as a great place to work, thus adversely affecting your business.

Dwelling Value vs. Market Value: What Are You Insuring?

With home values significantly reduced for the past few years, I have grown accustomed to phone calls from customers insisting that the dwelling value listed on their insurance policy is way too high. They typically say, “I could never sell my house for that much.” With spring in full swing and home buyers out scouring real estate listings again, it might be a good time to explain what home buyers are actually insuring.

Are You Getting a Return on Your Human Capital?

If a business invests in capital improvements, they often expect a return on their investment, and measure what that return will be.  If they invest their cash on hand in equities or interest bearing accounts or securities, the expectation is that there will be a return on that investment as well.  Are you getting a return on your investment in human capital?

Navigating the Landscape of Healthcare Reform

Lawn Mower Safety

March winds, April showers, bring May flowers, (and hay fever) so it’s time break out the allergy medication, ready the lawn mower and start the spring house cleaning!

Do you know that each year emergency rooms treat approximately 75,000 persons with power mower injuries and more than 9,000 of them were children under the age of 18? Older children and adolescents were most often hurt while cutting lawns as part of their chores or as a way to earn money.

Spring Thaw, Wet Basement

Do you find that during the spring thaw your basement takes on water? If so, below are 5 things you should know in the event you have water in your basement.

1. Water leaking into your basement is not covered under flood insurance.

Some things do not remain the same

Recently, there have been many discussions about cell phone usage, bans and restrictions in regards to commercial vehicle drivers.  It seems appropriate for us to share an article that was published back in December 2011 from HNi which discusses acceptable mobile devices and reviews the details of what is considered a "compliant mobile device".

 

Here is the HNi article with a link to read the entire story.

Covering Your "Assets"

There is something to be said for having a home inventory list.  You never know when something unexpected will happen resulting in a loss.  As they say, you have to cover your %$@.  Well some people over the years have taken that to the extreme.  Some of the most peculiar things ever insured are items that would not be lost in a fire or flood, nor are they items that would be on any home inventory list.  These insurables are actually parts of the human anatomy and were, in fact, insured for millions of dollars.  Some of the weirdest insurance policie

New Vs. Used: The Car Buying Conundrum

When it comes time to buy a car or truck, most people struggle with an important question-do I buy new or used? There are pros and cons to both choices, and serious consideration should be taken to be sure you do what you feel is best. Below are some things to think about when deciding on which path to choose.

Super Bowl party safety tips

The Super Bowl is fast approaching with extreme levels of excitement and anticipation. Many of us are planning parties and inviting family and friends into our homes to enjoy the big event.

Vacant property and how it affects your insurance policy.

In this tough economic time and with foreclosures on personal residences and businesses at a record high more and more properties are now vacant. Vacant buildings are more prone to arson, theft of copper plumbing, vandals and water damage. On the liability side, vacant property is often an attractive nuisance.

Safety Tips For Living In A Winter Wonderland

Winter is a wonderful time of year, filled with beautiful scenery and scores of outdoor activities.Winter is a wonderful time of year, filled with beautiful scenery and scores of outdoor activities.

New Year's Resolutions, Another Chance to Get it Right

Approximately 40-45% of adult Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year. We are in our second week of January and at this time only 71% of Americans who have made a resolution are still on target to achieve that goal according to a study done by the Journal of Clinical Psychology. As time marches on, many more hopefuls will find it harder to keep their resolution.

Commercial Drivers Beware

On January 3rd, 2012 Massachusetts adopted a federal law prohibiting the use of hand-held mobile telephones while operating a commercial vehicle. This does not prohibit drivers from using a mounted cell phone where a call can be answered with the push of a single button from the driver’s seat, such as Bluetooth or an earpiece. Push-to-Talk  devices are also prohibited as they still require the driver to use at least one hand to operate the device.

A New Approach For A New Year

So, we all know that being healthy is beneficial for a whole host of different reasons—from reducing stress, to looking and feeling better about yourself, to having more energy to get you through the day’s trials and tribulations.  But, can living a healthy lifestyle save you money?  Believe it or not, YES!  Leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce your health insurance premiums and will reduce your health insurance claims throughout the course of a year.  Now I know that this is hard to believe—so let’s talk about why and how this is the case. 

The majority of people