Roeding Insurance


The latest articles and news from Roeding Insurance

  • Learn About a Potential Malware Attack July 11, 2018 1:26 pm
    Recently, researchers at Talos--a cyber intelligence unit of Cisco--warned consumers of malware (malicious software) that specifically targets networking devices. The malware, which is known as VPNFilter, impacts an estimated 500,000 routers worldwide, particularly targeting devices from the following manufacturers: * Linksys * MikroTik * Netgear * QNAP * TP-Link VPNFilter Could Collect Your Information Without Your Knowledge Once on your equipment, the malware could stop your router from working, collect information from any systems that run through it and even block network traffic. Experts are concerned over the scope of the attack, as anyone owning a router from the affected manufacturers could be at risk, including businesses and individuals. Agencies like the FBI have also expressed concern over VPNFilter, as this particular brand of malware can be used in espionage attacks on military, security and other government organizations. Reduce Your Risk by Resetting Your Router Unfortunately, there's no simple way to tell if your router is infected. To protect yourself, it is recommended that you: * Reset your router to disrupt the malware. This can be done by simply turning the router off and on or holding the reset button down on your device. For further protection, you may want to consider doing a factory reset of your router.  * Install any firmware updates. These updates are typically found on the manufacturer's website. You may need to search by your router's model number, which can be found on the back of the device. * Create a new, secure password for your router. * Disable remote management settings. For help performing any of the above steps, contact your router manufacturer.
    Jan Schawe
  • Insurance Facts: Tree Damage July 4, 2018 1:51 pm
    The person whose property (house, garage, or fence) is damaged would file a claim with his insurance company, no matter who owns the tree that caused the damage. The insurer will pay for removal of the tree (usually up to $500 per tree or $1,000 per event). If your insurer believes that a neighbor or municipality has any liability (from a sick or dead tree), the insurer will subrogate against the other party. If you are worried about a neighbor’s tree and think it might fall, talk to your neighbor to see if the tree can be trimmed or removed before damage occurs or check with your city or township officials to see if they can intervene. If a tree falls in your yard due to wind and no damage occurs and the tree is not interfering with the homeowner’s driveway or handicapped access, typically a homeowners policy will not provide coverage to remove the tree. If it is your tree, you would be responsible for its removal. Source: Ohio Department of Insurance
    Jan Schawe
  • Spear Phishing July 4, 2018 1:23 pm
    “Phishing,” a type of cyber attack in which a hacker disguises him- or herself as a trusted source online in order to acquire sensitive information, is a common and technologically simple scam that can put your employees and business at risk. However, more resourceful criminals are resorting to a modified and more sophisticated technique called “spear phishing,” in which they use personal information to pose as colleagues or other sources specific to individuals or businesses. A spear phishing attack is often disguised as a message from a close friend or business partner and is more convincing than a normal phishing attempt; when messages contain personal information, they are much more difficult to identify as malicious. For businesses, the potential risk of spear phishing is monumental. A report released by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) stated that there were over 120,000 cyber crime-related complaints against businesses last year, resulting in over $800 million lost. A large majority of these attacks can be attributed to spear phishing, since the messages are designed and customized to make victims feel safe and secure. The Basics of Spear Phishing Any personal information that is posted online can potentially be used as bait in a spear phishing attack. The more a criminal learns about a potential victim, the more trustworthy he or she will seem during an attack. Once the apparent source gains the victim’s trust, and there is information within the message that supports the message’s validity, the hacker will usually make a reasonable request, such as following a URL link, supplying usernames and/or passwords, or opening an attachment. Even if spear phishing perpetrators target just one of your employees, it can put your entire business at risk. Falling for a spear phishing attack can give a hacker access to personal and financial information across an entire network. And, successful spear phishing attacks oftentimes go unnoticed, which increases the risk of large and continued losses. How to Protect Your Business Though it is difficult to completely avoid the risk that spear phishing attacks pose, there are ways to prevent further damage to your business. Make sure that your employees are aware of these simple techniques: ·         Never send financial or personal information electronically, even if you know the recipient well. It may be possible for a third party to intercept this information, especially if the recipient is later subject to a spear phishing attack. ·         Be cautious when you are asked to divulge personal information in an email. Even if it appears to be from a trusted source, it could be a hacker impersonating another person or group. ·         Only share personal information on secure websites or over the phone. When in a Web browser, you can ensure a website is secure when you see a lock icon in the URL bar, or when an “s” is present in the “https” of a URL. The “s” stands for “secure” at the end of the normal “http”. ·         Some spear-phishing schemes use telephone numbers, so be sure to never share information over the phone unless you initiate the call to a trusted number. ·         Never click on links or open attachments from unknown sources. Even opening a file that seems familiar can give a spear phishing attacker access to personal information stored on your device. ·         Ensure that your company’s security software is up to date. Firewalls and anti-virus software can help protect against spear phishing attacks. ·         Encourage employees to think twice about what they post online. Spear phishing hackers often attain personal information through social media sites. Make sure that employees know how to keep this information private to protect their own security as well as that of your business. ·         Regularly check all online accounts and bank statements to ensure that no one has accessed them without authorization. ·         Never enter any personal or financial information into a pop-up window or a Web browser. What to Do If You Suspect a Spear Phishing Attack If you believe that your business has been the target of a spear phishing attack, it is important to act quickly to limit your potential losses. The first step should be to immediately change the passwords of any accounts connected to the personal or financial information of your business or its clients and to obtain a list of recent and pending transactions. It may also be necessary to contact law enforcement. Next, an internal or third-party IT expert should be consulted to pinpoint any vulnerabilities that remain in your business’ network, and he or she can advise you on how to avoid future attacks. If you have further questions about spear phishing or other types of cyber attacks, or if you would like to discuss potential coverage options to further protect your business, contact Roeding Group Companies today.
    Jan Schawe
  • Umbrella Insurance for Your Business and Peace of Mind July 4, 2018 1:20 pm
    In a culture where litigation is commonplace, business owners have many more worries than making profits and retaining top employees. If your product injures a consumer, your organization could face a devastating lawsuit, exponential damages and a tainted reputation in the marketplace. To assist with the financial burden of a claim, many business owners purchase commercial umbrella insurance on top of their standard commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies. Most CGL policies have an aggregate limit that, once exhausted, will not cover any other excess claims. Experienced business professionals understand that the litigious nature of our society combined with surmounting liability judgments are reason enough to purchase additional coverage. Over the years, courts have reached multimillion-dollar verdicts as the result of the following: a grain elevator explosion in which an individual suffered severe burns in Ohio; the use of a chemical inaccurately labeled as animal feed in which thousands of livestock died in Michigan; and a commercial truck accident in Florida in which many people lost their lives. Businesses are also liable for the health and safety of their employees and for their employees’ behavior. For instance, your business could be held liable after your holiday party results in property damage to a rented banquet hall. You may also face litigation if your business office has a carbon monoxide leak that causes a number of employees to get extremely ill. To protect against an unforeseen claim similar to these, commercial umbrella insurance protection is a must. Purpose of Umbrella Coverage Umbrella coverage is designed to protect an organization against monumental liability claims that can demolish a business through a large financial judgment. Typically, an umbrella policy serves the following purposes: ·         Provides coverage for potential damages and court defense fees that exceed underlying insurance policies (typically CGL policies). ·         Provides coverage in situations that are not covered by underlying insurance policies but are not excluded from the umbrella policy. This benefit is subject to a self-insured retention (SIR), similar to a deductible, in which the policyholder is responsible for losses up to the SIR amount.  ·         Applies to claims where the aggregate limit of the underlying policy has been met. The umbrella policy will cover the portion of the claim that cannot be paid with the underlying policy because there are not enough funds available in the policy to cover the entire claim. For instance, if at the time of a claim your CGL policy has $500,000 remaining and the claim in question is $1.5 million, then the CGL policy will cover $500,000 and then the umbrella policy will cover the remaining $1 million. Coverage Details A typical umbrella policy has the following features: ·         Offers coverage for worldwide; personal injury; blanket contractual liability protection; care, custody and control; non-owned aircraft liability; watercraft liability; advertisers liability; liquor law liability; and explosion, collapse and underground (XCU) liability. ·         Offers an extension of insurance protection for additional insureds. ·         Policies follow form, meaning they abide by similar provisions and cover similar losses as the underlying policy. If claims are not covered by an underlying policy, the umbrella policy makes the business responsible for the loss if it exceeds SIR limits. The damage must also involve personal injury, property damage or advertising injury. ·         The insurer has the right to investigate all claims not covered by any underlying insurance. ·         Policies either cover all individuals or cover parties that gain insured status within the contract. Policies also protect an organization’s executive officers, regular employees, directors and stockholders acting on behalf of the organization. Protection for additional insureds is typically excluded when claims involve motorized vehicles, watercrafts and aircrafts. Beyond these stipulations, a commercial umbrella policy ascertains that an organization must hold an underlying insurance policy during the term of the policy. To learn more about averting your business risks with commercial umbrella insurance, contact Roeding Group Companies at 859-341-0202 today.
    Jan Schawe
  • Contractors Pollution Liability Insurance July 2, 2018 9:42 pm
    Contractors, no matter what industry they work in, face environmental risks stemming from operations on a daily basis. For most contractors, a single pollution incident or loss can seriously damage their reputation, operations and even their balance sheet. Making matters worse, pollution incidents can be sudden or occur gradually over time.  While many contractors assume that environmental claims will be covered under their commercial general liability (CGL) policy, the unfortunate reality is that most CGLs contain pollution exclusions that leave contractors uninsured in the event of a pollution incident. Thankfully, contractors are increasingly turning to contractors pollution liability (CPL) insurance to ensure they have the right coverage in place to remain secure and profitable. CPL Coverage Basics CPL policies provide contractor-based insurance for third-party coverage for bodily injury, property damage, defense, and cleanup as a result of sudden and gradual pollution incidents arising from contracting operations performed by or on behalf of the contractor. CPL insurance is intended to provide coverage to all types of contracting operations, including contractors who are involved in building construction and environmental firms that remediate polluted sites. CPL policies are offered on either a claims-made or occurrence basis. What’s more, CPL policies are nonstandard, meaning each policy is different and can be modified to cover the various needs of the contractor purchasing the policy. Policies can be offered on a project or blanket program basis. In some instances, CPL policies can also be used to cover losses from civil fines, penalties and punitive damages. Covered Pollution Incidents Contractors should keep in mind that CPL insurance policies differ in regard to the types of pollution incidents that are covered. Two important considerations when evaluating CPL insurance policies are: Whether or not the policy will respond to gradual releases of pollutants, as opposed to sudden and accidental releases The types of substances that are considered “pollutants” under the terms of the policy Generally, policies that cover both gradual and sudden releases of pollutants provide contractors with a broader scope of coverage. In addition, policies that provide a broad definition of pollutants are considered superior to those that contain a narrow definition. Accordingly, it is important that contractors work with their broker to find a CPL policy that is tailored to their needs. CGL Pollution Exclusions A primary reason why contractors obtain a CPL policy is due to the various pollution exclusions contained in most CGL policies. The pollution exclusions found in most CGL policies take one of two forms, either “absolute” or “total.” CGL policies with an absolute pollution exclusion remove coverage for most pollution events that would occur in the course of an insured's business operations. However, despite its name, an absolute pollution exclusion may preserve coverage for certain incidental pollution damages, products and completed operations liability, and certain off-premises work. However, more commonly, CGL policies include a more restrictive “total pollution exclusion.” This type of exclusion effectively removes coverage for any event the insurer characterizes as a pollution incident. Contractual Requirements Contractual requirements serve as another motivating factor that lead many contractors to obtain a CPL policy. In many instances, project owners and general contractors will require contractors to obtain pollution insurance that meets certain, predetermined standards. From this perspective, having a CPL insurance policy in place can serve as an upfront sales tool during the bidding process that enables contractors to qualify for opportunities when such coverage is required. Finding the Right Policy Regardless of specialty, all contractors should be mindful of the pollution risks associated with their work. A CPL insurance policy can provide much-needed security in the event of a pollution incident, even in the most unlikely of circumstances. Let Roeding Group Companies work with your organization to find the CPL coverage that is right for you. 
    Jan Schawe
  • Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease July 2, 2018 9:17 pm
    Lyme disease is a bacterium that’s often carried by mice and other small rodents. The disease can be transmitted to humans if they’re bitten by a tick that previously fed off an infected animal. Different types of ticks live in the United States and while some can transmit diseases, others are only a nuisance. In general, infected black-legged ticks can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of a tick bite and can include fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches, and joint or muscle aches. To avoid contracting Lyme disease, do the following: Wear light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and keep long hair tied back. Wash your body and clothing after all outdoor activities. Periodically look for ticks if you’ve been outdoors, especially if you’ve been in wooded areas or gardens. Remove ticks within 24 hours to greatly reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease. Check your pet’s coat if it’s been in an area known for ticks. Remember to consult your healthcare provider as soon as you experience Lyme disease symptoms. If possible, send any ticks that you’ve removed to a public health laboratory in your area. The Centers for Disease Control has more information about Lyme disease here.
    Jan Schawe
  • Benefits of Crime Insurance May 14, 2018 4:48 pm
    As a leader within your organization, you want to trust your employees and the people you do business with. However, the reality is that no business is immune to the threat of crime and fraud. In fact, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that a business can expect to lose 5 percent of its revenue to fraud each year. Thankfully, companies can turn to crime insurance, which can provide the following benefits:  1. Coverage for the misuse of funds. It is likely that a number of your employees have access to company funds or financial information. In some cases. employees may abuse this access for personal gain. Crime insurance can protect organizations from the misuse or illegal transfer of funds. ensuring your finances are safe from internal criminal acts. 2. Extortion safeguards. While it can be difficult to imagine. employees and outside actors can extort a company for funds by holding a director or officer hostage or through other illegal methods. Without crime insurance. your organization would have no means to recoup these losses. which could devastate your bottom line. 3. Reimbursement for computer fraud. Computers and emerging technologies have made it easier than ever for employees to carry out crimes against their employers. Crime insurance can provide a crucial layer of protection for any money or securities lost via computer fraud. which is an important piece to an effective cyber risk management program. 4. Insurance for goods in transit. Goods in transit are particularly vulnerable to employee theft and. in some cases, organizations may not notice anything has been stolen until it is too late. What's more, if the theft takes place outside of the organization's premises. it can difficult to prove, often leading to drawn out and expensive legal battles. Crime insurance policies can provide ample protection for goods in transit and reduce the likelihood of extreme losses whenever you send or receive products. 5. Coverage for forgery and alteration. In some cases. your employees have access to checks that they can easily alter for their own gain. Effective crime insurance policies provide coverage for losses that result from the forgery or alteration of a check. Want to Learn More About Crime Insurance? Even if your organization takes the necessary precautions, you could still end up the victim of employee fraud and similar crimes. The only way to ensure your company has the protection it needs is through crime insurance. To discuss your unique risks and to learn more about crime insurance policies. contact your insurance broker today. (c) Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Jan Schawe
  • The Fatal Four May 11, 2018 7:58 pm
    TECHNOLOGY FOR EMPLOYEE SAFETY In 2016, 1 in 5 worker deaths was in the construction industry, highlighting the need for safety and procedural enhancements in construction. The following technology is likely to become more common at construction sites in an effort to improve worker safety:   • Exoskeletons—Workers can wear exoskeletons to transfer weight from repetitive tasks and use less energy when moving objects. The result is a reduced risk of injuries as well as increased strength, dexterity and productivity. • Virtual reality—This technology replicates physical environments and presents training opportunities for employees. It also allows workers to simulate hazardous tasks and identify safety needs. More benefits are expected as technology matures. • Wearables—Wearable devices offer real-time monitoring of workers’ vital signs and can alert workers to the presence of environmental dangers. They can also cut health care costs by reducing health risks such as respiratory problems, cancer, dermatitis and hearing damage. OFF-SITE CONSTRUCTION BENEFITS Off-site construction refers to any building process that takes place away from the ultimate point of installation. The term includes prefabrication and modular construction, which can help contractors accelerate schedules and use less labor on-site, as well as: • Reduce safety risks—There’s less chance of workers falling from heights, such as off scaffolding, because construction tends to take place on a single-level factory floor. • Eliminate weather delays—Work doesn't have to stop because of inclement weather when construction takes place indoors. • Ensure consistent quality—Working in a centralized location allows for more supervision and quality control. 
    Jan Schawe
  • Working in Warm Weather May 11, 2018 7:48 pm
    Precautions for working outdoors The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat when working outdoors. In addition to the temperature, you are more susceptible to heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sun poisoning when you are exposed to excessive amounts of sun. To beat the heat: Drink plenty of water before you get thirsty, but avoid beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, such as items made of cotton. Eat smaller meals before work activity. Ask your doctor if the heat will aggravate your body because of any medications you are taking, and take the proper precautions. Be aware that equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress. Wear sunscreen of at least 15 SPF, which blocks out 92 percent of harmful UV rays. Take breaks, as needed, in shaded or air-conditioned areas. Do you know the warning signs of dehydration? You can lose up to 10 cups of water a day by sweating, breathing and eliminating waste. This is potentially harmful to your body since water and electrolytes are essential for proper body functions. To combat heat-related illnesses, re-hydrate immediately when you experience one or more of these symptoms: Excessive thirst Sleepiness or fatigue Dry mouth Muscle weakness Headache Dizziness or lightheadedness Inability to sweat If you become dehydrated and are unable to drink fluids, give these a try: Suck on ice chips Suck on a popsicle Sip through a straw Did you know? Overhydration is just as serious a problem as dehydration. Overhydration happens when a person drinks too much and can result in dizziness and even seizures. When working in the heat, experts advise limiting your liquid intake to no more than one and a half quarts per hour and 12 quarts in a 24-hour period.
    Jan Schawe
  • Discontinued Operations Insurance Solutions April 12, 2018 1:34 pm
    When mergers, acquisitions and business closings occur and operations are discontinued, or when a sole proprietorship becomes a partnership or limited liability company, the liability of the defunct organization often continues. In some cases, unforeseen liabilities arise even years after the business undergoes changes or closes. As long as products or completed services are still on the market, both past and present organizations may be liable for defects, bodily injury and destruction of property.  Risks When you stop purchasing insurance to cover your business, you will no longer be protected against defense or indemnity costs from events occurring after the policy was canceled. When businesses become partnerships or joint ventures, new insurance policies do not cover current and past partnerships or joint ventures that are not listed on the policy as named insureds. On the other hand, sole proprietors that close a business should consider purchasing discontinued operations insurance, which covers damages that occur after the Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy had been canceled for ceased activity or when it changes through merger, acquisition or change in legal status. These policies are typically offered for a declining percentage of the annual CGL premium to cover potential problems. Insurance purchased during the first year of coverage may cost the same as the CGL policy, but in year two, the premium may be 10 to 15 percent less, then 20 percent less in year three, and so on. Policies also reflect applicable state laws, such as statutes of limitations and repose statutes. Therefore, if applicable state laws outline that a business cannot be sued 10 years after completing a job, then the discontinued operations insurance policy would be written to cover only that 10-year period.  If a corporation—especially a closely held one—is sold, it is important to determine whether the seller transferred all interest or whether the buyer has acquired only the assets of the corporation. If the seller retains the corporate shell, liability comes with it, and the seller may not be able to pay for subsequent liability. If a business is sold to an entity that refuses to accept liability stemming from injury or damage arising from products made or sold prior to the liquidation or sale, the seller will benefit from discontinued operation insurance. Commercial General Liability Policies Most businesses have a CGL policy to cover damages occurring during the term of the policy. If damages and resulting claims occur after operations are discontinued, a CGL policy does not provide protection. Though it does not make sense to pay premiums for a CGL policy when the business is closed or operations have ceased, there is reason to remain protected in the event of property damage, a defect or bodily injury. If a construction company builds a structure with CGL coverage and then goes out of business, it is still liable for subsequent damages due to defects in the structure, but the entity is not covered by the policy. If your organization is discontinuing some or all of its operations, being acquired, merging or changing its legal status from, contact Roeding Group Companies for more information on how to remain protected from liability. We have the solutions and risk management tools necessary to keep you protected for years to come.
    Jan Schawe
  • 3 Questions to Ask When Addressing Sexual Harassment at Your Business April 12, 2018 1:27 pm
    It’s always been important to protect your business and employees from sexual harassment, but recent high-profile cases show the importance of re-examining this topic at your business. Social movements such as the “Me Too” campaign have drawn attention to sexual harassment in the workplace, resulting in a growing number of misconduct allegations. These allegations can result in a wide variety of claims and lead to serious financial and reputational damage. Insurance carriers, courts and regulatory agencies will begin to examine businesses closely to ensure that they take sexual harassment seriously and act to protect their employees and customers. Here are some questions you need to consider when addressing sexual harassment at your business: 1. How do you encourage employees to report inappropriate conduct? The best way to address sexual harassment allegations is to respond quickly. Employees should be regularly reminded that there won’t be any retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior. You should also ensure that there are multiple ways for employees to make anonymous reports to management.   2. Does your employee harassment training address your workplace’s unique traits? A standard workplace policy is a good starting point for addressing sexual harassment, but you should also think about how your employees interact with co-workers and customers. 3. Do your insurance policies include exclusions for sexual harassment? Many commercial general liability policies exclude claims for sexual harassment. Although employment practices liability insurance can provide you with coverage, you also need to ensure that policy periods offer coverage throughout the statute of limitations in your area. Contact us at 859-341-0202 for help addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.
    Jan Schawe
  • What to Do in the Case of a Property Loss April 6, 2018 4:47 pm
    Property Claim Instructions Prepared by Roeding Group Companies 1.    Protect property from further damage. Cover the property if it is exposed to the elements. Make temporary repairs, if reasonable and necessary, to protect the property from further damage. Maintain a record of all expenses incurred. Separate damaged from undamaged personal property. 2.    Take photos of damage (if possible). 3.    Prepare an inventory of damaged personal property. List quantity, description and value. Attach bills, receipts, estimates and related documents.  4.    Retain damaged property until a claims adjuster approves its disposal (unless a danger to safety exists). The adjuster may need to inspect the property. The insurance company may be able to salvage the damaged property. 5.    Notify police in the case of theft. 6.    Expect to be contacted by the claims adjuster within two working days. Please call Roeding Group Companies if you have not been contacted within that timeframe. If the damage significantly affects your continuing operations, we will request that the insurance carrier expedite your claim. Please let us know immediately if your circumstances change and this loss will have a greater impact on your business than originally anticipated. 7.    Be prepared to provide additional information as requested by the claims adjuster.
    Jan Schawe
  • Fortify your home against water leaks from appliances and roofs March 8, 2018 2:15 pm
    Water damage is the most common preventable cause of loss facing homeowners today, according to the Insurance Information Institute.1 Water intrusion can come from a variety of sources including pipe bursts, appliance failure, and roof leaks. All can lead to water damage and potential mold exposure. Your home’s appliances and roofing materials may not last as long as you think. Proper home inspection and maintenance is key to preventing significant water losses. Be sure to regularly inspect your appliances, drain pipes, hoses, and surrounding area for leaks. Contact a licensed plumber or water mitigation company right away to remedy any leaks. Consider engaging them to perform an annual whole home leak inspection. The following information is based on our property claims experience and should be referenced when thinking about replacing or upgrading elements of your home. Failure of appliances can lead to significant water damage. Water with high mineral content can degrade these appliances at an increased rate.2 Average lifespan of common household appliances and mechanical units: Dishwasher: 9 years A/C heat pump: 10 years Garbage disposal: 10 years Washing machine: 10 years Washing machine hoses: 3 years Water heater: 10 years Refrigerator: 13 years Furnace/boiler: 15 years Water softener: 15 years Another important part of our risk solutions survey process for clients is to document the age and condition of roofs. Our report includes recommendations or requirements that your roof is inspected or repaired by a licensed professional to limit your exposure to potential water damage. Average lifespan of various roofing materials: Cedar: 15 years Simulated slate: 15 years Asphalt composition: 20 years Metal: 40 years Copper: 70 years Slate: 75 years Clay/concrete tile:100 years Nationwide Private Client’s risk solutions team recommends you have your gutters cleaned and inspected on an annual basis. If you have any questions, please contact your agent or Nationwide Private Client risk solutions professional. For more information on how you can help prevent losses from water damage, visit nationwide.com/privateclient and click on Risk Solutions Series. We offer this information to assist you in making decisions that can help mitigate your risk. While we cannot address every possible scenario or guarantee these tips will work for you, our goal is to support your efforts to protect you and your family.   1http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/homeowners-and-renters-insurance 2Citation International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, H&R Block – Block Talk Source: International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
    Roeding Insurance
  • Disaster Planning Matters: Find your family in the aftermath of a disaster March 7, 2018 3:38 pm
    Disaster pre-planning matters to protect and find your family in aftermath of a disaster Feb 15th, 2018 · 0 Comment What if a natural or man-made disaster happens and you are not with family? Will you be able to reach them? Where will they be and how will you be able to find them? How will you know if they are safe? How can you be able to let them know that you are safe? During a disaster, you will need to send and receive information from your family but more than likely the traditional means of communication such as mobile phones and computers could be unreliable and out of service. Electricity could be disrupted, and without a plan you and your family are left guessing and spending valuable time trying to locate each other instead of seeking safety and shelter. As safety and risk management professional I am constantly questioning and addressing business owners’ disaster recovery plans, because statiscally it’s been proven that if they don’t have a formal plan in place, then the odds are that they will never recover. According to the  Federal Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA), more than 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and for those that do, only 29% were still operating after two years.  That same concern should be filtered down to your family. Over the years, my now adult kids have made fun of me on many occasions, where my prepper personality and safety/risk management training have come out. For instance once while planning a middle school trip to NYC for my oldest daughter a few years after the 9/11 attack, I felt compelled to include a list of detailed instructions for her to follow in the event she was to get separated from her party after a terrorist attack. I even included an emergency credit card, extra cash and a list of potential rendezvous points and contact numbers. I even went as far as to direct her escape path towards the southeast into the likely prevailing winds in the event of a chemical attack. Yes it’s overkill, but in my defense this was post 9/11 era and she was heading to ground zero. What’s funny is that I am pretty sure that there are still a couple of middle school teachers who still talk about me, after one of them stumbled upon my mini-disaster plan labeled “open upon emergency.” The fact is most of the millennial and generation Z populations don’t even know how to use a dictionary or read a map without the use of their GPS or smartphones. According to a British study seven in ten people today cannot recall their best friend’s telephone number and 51 percent do not know their parents’ numbers. This new digital amnesia world would be totally lost in an event of a natural disaster of huge proportions. Back when I was growing up most of us in my generation could recite 50 plus phone numbers and all the important addresses of every family member. But today with this information easily accessible by the swipe of a finger, the reliance on digital devices becomes too convenient and even I have a hard time remembering important phone numbers and addresses. In our increasingly hyper-connected world people simply have too many phone numbers, addresses, tasks and events in their calendar, account names, passwords, PIN numbers, …etc. Most of us today couldn’t remember everything even if we wanted to, but can access the information on demand when we need it via a connected device. The trouble with that is during a disaster access to this information will be limited and more than likely unavailable for several days if not weeks. The question is how will you find your family? Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members of your household — including children and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, as well as outside caregivers — know how to reach each other and where to meet up after a disaster. To address this concern with my family I just recently handed out laminated wallet cards with all the necessary information. It made for a comical conversation after church on Sunday afternoon while we all waited for a table for lunch, and of course I can only imagine what my son’s new girlfriend thought of me after that. In this mini-homemade laminated disaster plan with very small fonts I included phone numbers, email addresses and addresses of family members for key rallying points in the event of a disaster. I included different rallying points in our home town, in state and out of state locations. I was certain to include different locations of travel in the event we couldn’t travel in one direction or another. FEMA suggests that all families start planning with three easy steps: Collect, Share and Practice. You should create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers. You should then share this information with your family. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Plan online at ready.gov/make-a-plan, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board and you should have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan. If you have family members who still utilize landline phones they should be included first in the information that you provide your family. You should inform your family how to connect through landline phone, mobile device, or computer. Because a disaster can strike during school or work hours, you need to know their emergency response plans and how to stay informed. Discuss these plans with children, and let them know who could pick them up in an emergency. Make sure your household members with phones are signed up for alerts and warnings from their school, workplace, and/or local government. For children without mobile phones, make sure they know to follow instructions from a responsible adult, such as a teacher or principal. It is also important to identify someone outside of your community or State who can act as a central point of contact to help your household reconnect. In a disaster, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town because local phone lines can be jammed. Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs. If you have pets or service animals, you should also think about animal-friendly locations. If you are unable to return home be sure to select a location outside of your neighborhood, which could be a library, community center, house of worship, or possibly a friend’s home. You should also select a place outside of your town or city in the event you are ordered to evacuate your home town. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there. If your phones are working, you should instruct each family member to conserve their phone’s batteries by reducing the brightness of their screen, closing all apps, turn on your airport mode and even turning your phone off and turning the phone back on at the top of each hour so that you have specific time to send or receive calls every hour. Text is best when using a mobile phone, but if you make a phone call, keep it brief and convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family or household members. This will minimize network congestion, free up space on the network for emergency communications, and conserve battery power. You can also use the internet to communicate by email, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks. These communication channels allow you to share information quickly with a widespread audience or to find out if loved ones are OK. The Internet can also be used for telephone calls through Voice over Internet Protocol. The time to plan is now! You have to remember that a failure to plan does not and will not constitute an emergency for everybody else, especially when everybody else is dealing with their very own emergency. Trust me you will not find comfort amongst the chaos and it’s important to note that all great changes are preceded by chaos, but by then it will be too late to matter if you haven’t planned. Be Safe My Friends (article originally published at NKY Tribune: http://www.nkytribune.com/2018/02/keven-moore-disaster-preplanning-matters-to-protect-and-find-your-family-in-aftermath-of-a-disaster/) Keven Moore works in risk management services and is an expert witness. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both the Lexington and Northern Kentucky offices. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Understanding Total Equipment Costs March 6, 2018 8:14 pm
    For most construction companies, cost is the primary concern when choosing equipment that will work efficiently and effectively. In order to control those costs, it is important for companies to understand and monitor the total cost of ownership (TCO). By doing so, companies can optimize maintenance costs, prevent underutilization and realize when it’s the right time to dispose of equipment. Besides the purchase price of construction equipment, the TCO also includes the following: ·         Repair costs ·         Replacement costs ·         Operating expenses, such as fuel and maintenance ·         Insurance and licensing ·         Supporting equipment, such as hardware or special racking ·         Depreciation for items that are owned instead of rented or leased ·         Disposal After calculating the TCO, it is also important for business owners to understand two other factors: asset availability and asset utilization. ·         Provided by Roeding Group Companies     Asset availability refers to the number of vehicles or equipment that are available for use at the beginning and end of each shift. ·         Asset utilization refers to the percentage of vehicles or equipment in use during a specific period of time. Companies should set a goal utilization rate for all pieces of equipment and consider selling underutilized assets. By calculating current TCO, business owners can work toward reducing costs and identifying ways to optimize their resources. 
    Jan Schawe
  • Six Cyber Security Topics to Watch in 2018 March 6, 2018 7:57 pm
    Business and government leaders need to be on constant alert for cyber attacks of all types. With the evolution of cyber threats each year, there are specific threats to focus on for 2018. Here are six cybersecurity trends to watch in 2018: 1.       Cryptocurrency—This is a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. With many people interested in ways to capitalize on cryptocurrency, it is important to realize that the market is very volatile and highly susceptible to fraud and cyber attacks. Some experts feel the cryptocurrency market needs better security and a way to guarantee losses from theft. 2.       Artificial intelligence (AI)—Approximately 87 percent of U.S. cyber security professionals use AI software to identify and predict cyber threats. However, AI can also be used by cybercriminals against the same organizations that use it for protection. 3.       More multifactor authentication—Even though many companies fear that implementing multifactor authentication would negatively affect user experience, the growing concern about stolen passwords might convince them to implement it. 4.       Increased regulation—Businesses could face increased regulation as governments try to compete with the growing risk of data breaches and attacks on infrastructure. One example of such government efforts is the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe. 5.       Increase in state-sponsored attacks—Such attacks tend to be politically motivated. Instead of focusing on financial gain, the intent of these attacks is to acquire intelligence that can be used to obstruct the objectives of a political entity. Appropriate efforts to deter and respond to these attacks will be a key topic for policymakers and businesses over the next decade. 6.       Increasing demand for a chief information security officer (CISO)—Due to the shortage of skilled cyber security professionals, many companies hire external cyber security services and virtual CISOs. This outsourcing is expected to continue until employers find ways to fill the skills gap. 
    Jan Schawe
  • Professional Liability Insurance March 6, 2018 7:53 pm
    Have you considered Professional Liability Insurance? If not, now is the time to familiarize yourself with this coverage! Please do not wait until you have a potential claim to realize you need this coverage. Professional liability insurance covers liability for damages arising from the rendering of or failure to render professional services. Protect yourself and your business from claims not covered by commercial general liability coverage. Professional liability insurance, also referred to as professional indemnity insurance, protects professional personnel against negligence claims made by their patients or clients. Professionals who commonly turn to this type of liability insurance for coverage include architects, home inspectors, lawyers, physicians, real estate brokers and accountants-among others. Specific professional liability insurance carries different names depending on the profession. For example, professional liability insurance in the medical profession may be called medical malpractice insurance, while real estate brokers fall under errors and omissions insurance coverage. Professional Liability Considerations The need for professional liability coverage developed due to typical general liability insurance policies only responding to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or an advertising injury claim. Because professionals such as architects, lawyers, physicians, real estate brokers, technology consultants and others can cause claims without bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or an advertising injury claim, additional coverage is needed to fill this gap. Common claims made on these policies include negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice. For example, if a Web design platform fails to perform properly, it would not cause bodily injury, property damage or advertising injuries. Because of this, the general liability policy would not be triggered. But because the Web design platform not performing correctly could directly cause financial losses, and may be attributed to a misrepresentation of the platform's capabilities, the professional liability coverage would be triggered. Thank you, Melissa Denham
    Jan Schawe
  • Take Cover in a Tornado March 6, 2018 7:49 pm
    Take these steps before a tornado strikes: · Create a family tornado plan that includes where you will seek shelter when a tornado warning is given and where you will meet after the disaster in case you get separated. Practice your family’s tornado plan at least once per year. · Gather items that can protect you such as mattresses, sleeping bags and thick blankets and place them near your shelter area. · Gather bottled water, non-perishable food items, flashlights and a battery-operated radio. · Keep an ear to the radio or television and listen for storm updates/warnings. Take these steps to stay safe during a tornado: · Go to the basement or lowest level of your home, get under a sturdy structure then cover yourself with protective materials. · Crouch down to the floor face down and cover your head with your hands. · If you live in a mobile home, leave your house and seek other shelter. If there is nowhere else to go, lie flat on the ground and cover your head with your hands. · Do not leave your safe space until local authorities say it is safe to do so.
    Jan Schawe
  • Responding to EPL Claims January 3, 2018 11:55 am
    Any business that has employees is a potential target for an employment practices liability {EPL) lawsuit. These lawsuits can be financially and emotionally draining for your company, even if you're ultimately found not liable. Avoiding an EPL claim requires management to be proactive by establishing a consistent methodology for employee policies, record keeping and dealing with your legal counsel and insurers.  Preventive Mediation and Arbitration  Businesses can often save thousands of dollars in litigation costs by having a third party hear claims and mediate a resolution. Many times, plaintiffs sue for damages and losses that exceed the amounts they would have settled for during alternate dispute resolution (ADR). Speedy mediation or arbitration can reduce the amount of lost wages an employee requests, limit the amount of time a company spends preparing a case and spare both sides the financial and emotional costs of going to trial.  But ADR isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to handling EPL claims. Mediation and arbitration cannot protect a company from discrimination charges brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or any other regulatory branch. Additionally, mediation and arbitration often ends with the company having to pay some kind of award to the claimant, even if the company is not legally at fault. When compared to lawyer and litigation fees, however, these awards are typically much less than the costs of a successful defense in court.  Responding to EEOC Charges  If a former employee or applicant seeks a discrimination or harassment charge with the EEOC, the commission will issue an administrative charge before the actual lawsuit takes place. The EEOC sends notice of the charge, listing details of the complaint and reasons for its investigation of the company. If the EEOC determines a violation has taken place and the employer decides not to settle, it will litigate the issue and seek recompense for the affected employee, as well as impose changes to the company's regulations to make it more compliant. If the EEOC does not feel a violation has occurred, it will give notice to the individual who filed the complaint and give him or her 90 days to file a lawsuit on his or her own.  When issued, a formal charge typically lists a number of documents that the EEOC requires to begin its investigation. Whether or not it feels the charge has credibility, an employer should respond to the EEOC professionally and quickly, providing as much detail as possible. If an employer can immediately provide sufficient evidence that the claim is unfounded, it may be able to avoid a full EEOC investigation. An immediate dismissal of a claim by the EEOC can greatly reduce the employee's desire to litigate. First Steps  Any company facing an EPL lawsuit should seek advice from legal counsel to properly investigate the incident and gather as many facts as possible. Time is essential for your attorneys and insurers to gather information and formulate a defensive strategy: Obtain witness statements from all employees who were involved in or witnessed the event. Gather company records on the plaintiff and establish a timeline of events. Contact your insurers as soon as the charge is made. Good Recordkeeping Paperwork is the most powerful evidence a company can use to bolster its case against an EPL claim. Established company policies, such as an employee handbook and records of employee training, set the standard for all company conduct and can be a major advantage in court.  An investigator or jury is less likely to find you guilty if you have records illustrating sound company employment practices. Alternatively, the absence of any documentation could be seen as an effort to cover up or avoid evidence. Keep in mind that any attempt to intentionally misfile or hide company records could be prosecuted as an obstruction of justice.  A Claimant May Want to Avoid Litigation If the EEOC or other regulatory body decides there is enough evidence of discrimination to litigate, next steps include informing both parties of the information collected and offering an informal means of resolving the issue. This typically involves mediation by a council managed by the EEOC investigator.  An employer may ask for such mediation at any time during the investigation. If you're able to meet the demands of the EEOC and the employee filing the complaint, this route may be superior to litigation. If you're certain you're not at fault or decide the mediation settlement is unfair, you may decide to litigate instead. EPL Insurance  No matter how many attempts are made to prevent an employment practice claim from going to court, some cases must eventually be litigated. Once a claim goes to court, it is up to an employer's attorney, employment records and insurer to protect the company from huge damages.  Even if an employer is able to avoid punitive damages, the defense fees alone can cause incredible financial strain. An EPL insurance policy can protect employers from the financial consequences of such litigation. Contact Roeding Group Companies to determine the risk level of your company and how you can build a more secure employment practices policy.
    Roeding Insurance
  • 2017 Volunteer Efforts January 2, 2018 8:22 pm
    It has been an exciting and fulfilling year at Roeding Insurance and our volunteer efforts. Roeding Insurance and our employees have been involved in volunteer efforts for many years. It has become such an integral part of our organization that we decided to put some organization to it and define our purpose. Several employees joined our volunteer team which we call "Roeding Cares" and have a theme of "Roeding Rocks the Neighborhood".  We strive to take a volunteer day each quarter and serve in the community. We have painted walls, replaced ceiling tiles and most importantly worked with the clients at New Perceptions, which helps employ and train challenged people of all ages for work in the community.  We have collected over $2500 in food donations for Be Concerned, a food pantry in Northern Kentucky that serves low income and homeless families in the area, and provided winter coats for the kids at DCCH (Diocesan Catholic Children's Home) in Ft Mitchell.  The Lexington office has sponsored The Sunshine Center's annual January Jamboree which is their major fund raiser helping families in the community from the effects of abuse.  The list goes on with individual efforts and projects. Giving back to the community has become a favorite project of the staff and has had an effect on how we serve our community and our clients. We invite anyone that would like to share in our volunteer efforts to join us from time to time, follow us on social media and learn more about our volunteer efforts. Our community has many opportunities to share our talents and help those that may need help in this time of their life. We are blessed to have been able to volunteer.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Prevent Ice Dam Runoff From Damaging Your Home January 2, 2018 7:15 pm
    During the winter, ice dams can cause serious harm to your roof and home. Water damage is the most common preventable cause of loss facing homeowners today according to the Insurance Information lnstitute. It is important to protect yourself from the potential damage.  What are ice dams? Typically identified by large icicles along the roof line during the winter.  An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms along the edge of a roof that prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. What problems are associated with ice dams? Roof leaks, which may cause interior water damage and may rot the structural components of a roof over time. Water intrusion will saturate insulation, reduce its effectiveness, and allow heat to escape. Heavy weight on gutters may cause significant damage to these components over time. How can ice dams be prevented before a winter storm hits? Clean your gutters before winter begins. This reduces potential snow and ice buildup. Keep your attic space cold. Properly seal exhaust ducts from bathrooms / kitchens / dryers to prevent hot air from leaking into the attic. Professionally insulate and vent attics to allow cold air to circulate under the roof. This decreases the likelihood of the shingles getting warm. Keep your roof dry. Install a snow shield or an ice melting system on the roof. The system should be installed at least two feet up from the exterior wall. This will help prevent moisture back up from ice dams and help snow flow off the roof. If you cannot install a snow shield, try installing gutter heat tape. Although heat tape does not melt ice or snow, it does create channels in the snow for water to escape, which may prevent some of the ice dam effects. What removal methods should be avoided? Nationwide Private Client Risk Solutions recommends hiring a professional roofer to remove the snow to better protect the surface of your roof. Avoid the use of a snow blower, shovel, or hammer. This may cause further damage to your roof and potentially make the problem worse. If you have any questions, please contact your agent or Nationwide Private Client Risk Solutions professional. For more information on how you can help prevent losses from water damage, visit nationwide.com/solutionseries.  We offer this information to assist you in making decisions that can help mitigate your risk. While we cannot address every possible scenario or guarantee these tips will work for you, our goal is to support your efforts to protect yourself and your family.
    Roeding Insurance
  • 5 Steps to Create a Home Inventory Checklist January 2, 2018 2:04 pm
    After a fire, burglary or another event in which you lost possessions from your home, it may be difficult to remember the details of every one of the belongings that you have accumulated over the years. In this situation, having a current inventory of your possessions, including make and model numbers, may help you with any potential insurance claims. Taking the time to document your belongings now can help you recover faster after a loss.  Here are some steps you can use to help build your home inventory checklist.  Step 1: Take the Time to Walk Through Your Property. Compiling a comprehensive home inventory takes time and effort. The more detailed your inventory, the more useful it will be if you have to make a claim. Document possessions inside your home and on your property that may be of value.  Step 2: Keep Your Inventory in a Safe Place. Creating a digital home inventory and storing it off-site will help ensure that it won't be lost, stolen or damaged during any disaster at your home. You can also create a photo or video inventory and upload it to a cloud-based service. First, take a picture of relevant rooms or items. Label pictures of rooms and important individual items with a description, including where you bought it and the make, model and serial number. Don't forget to inventory items that may be out of sight in storage closets or drawers. Second, walk through your home or office using your phone to shoot video of the contents, describing them as you go. Finally, digital home inventory programs allow you to upload multiple photos of each item, including photos of the serial number, receipt and other identifying details. If you choose to create a paper version, consider storing it off-site in a safe deposit box. Step 3: Update Your Inventory Often. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to the inventory while the details are fresh in your mind. This is also a good time to delete items that you have replaced or no longer own.  Step 4: Remember Your Business Assets. While most people think of their home when making an inventory, it is important to document the contents of your business, if applicable, as well.  Step 5: Consider Valuable Items. Valuable items like jewelry, art, and collectibles may have increased in value since you brought them into your home. Check with your agent, if you have one, to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage for these items as they may need to be insured separately. Consider putting jewelry or other valuables that you don't often wear or use in a safe deposit box.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Auto and Driver Risk Management Tips January 2, 2018 12:46 pm
    Did You Know?  A recent study from the University of Minnesota found that talking on a cell phone while driving impairs one's ability even more than driving while intoxicated. Talking on a cell phone and other driver distractions pose a major hazard to everyone on the road. Preventing Distracted Driving To minimize risks while driving: Do not talk on your cell phone or use the text messaging feature. If you absolutely must conduct a conversation, use a hands-free device and speed dial. Never touch up your makeup or hair in the rearview mirror. Limit your conversations with passengers and ask them to keep their voices down so you can concentrate. Do not smoke while you are driving, as you will probably pay more attention to not burning yourself or putting out the cigarette than driving safely. Only adjust the radio when you are completely stopped. Never allow animals to sit on your lap while driving. Do not eat or drink while driving. Avoid reading maps or directions. Instead, pull into a parking lot to get your bearings and determine where you need to go next to reach your final destination. Do not take notes or search for phone numbers. Never use a cell phone (even with a hands-free device) in bad weather, work zones, or heavy traffic. Safety First  Allowing yourself to become distracted while driving can lead to dangerous, and even fatal, consequences. Be a responsible motorist and make paying attention to the road your number one priority when you're behind the wheel. Safety First  Allowing yourself to become distracted while driving can lead to dangerous, and even fatal, consequences. Be a responsible motorist and make paying attention to the road your number one priority when you're behind the wheel.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Review Your Business Continuity Insurance December 6, 2017 5:11 pm
    There are three types of business continuity coverage and specific items to consider for each: Business Income: This is designed to replace income your business would have incurred had no loss occurred. Business income is generally defined as the net profit or loss before taxes, plus continuing normal operating expenses, including ordinary payroll, (payroll for employees other than officers, executives, department managers or employees under contract). Coverage is generally limited to the loss of income sustained until the property is restored, and/or a specific timeframe following the loss. Special Items to Consider: It's important to review ordinary payroll annually. In the past, manufacturers chose not to insure their direct labor costs -- unskilled labor was easily replaced. Consider if that's still true in your marketplace today. Review your projected timeframe for resuming business. After a major loss, getting up and running takes much longer than you may anticipate and can cost much more, too. You may be back in business but your customers are still going to your competitor. An Extended Period of Indemnity extension may be necessary to give you more time to restore your business to pre-loss level. Extra Expense: This is designed to pay for necessary expenses incurred during the period of restoration of the property. Extra expenses include those necessary to continue operating the business at its original location or at a temporary replacement location.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Roeding Insurance Stronger Than Ever December 6, 2017 5:05 pm
    Today is an exciting time for Roeding Insurance!  Our partnership with Houchens Insurance Group is four years strong and has provided our clients access to more markets and expertise, and given Roeding Insurance a larger footprint to extend our services.  As you notice on our newsletter, and soon on our letterhead, we have a new logo and colors to share. We are proud of our 97 year history and look forward to growing and expanding.  As we prepare for the future we felt it was time to get ready for the next 100 years with a fresh new look.   We have seen much growth in the past few years and we have our customers to thank for that.  We appreciate your support, and business, and we hope you like the new look!
    Roeding Insurance
  • 5 Auto Claims that Spike Every Fall December 6, 2017 4:24 pm
    Help your customers stay safe by avoiding these autumn related mishaps on the roads.Cooler weather, shorter days, pumpkin spice, apple cider… fall is a beloved time of year. Unfortunately, as the seasons change, so do the types of hazards our customers face.Insurance agents can help educate policy holders on seasonal risks. It’s important to explain the claims process and provisions of your customer’s policy not only during initial contact, but throughout the year as seasons change.Here are 5 auto claims that spike in the fall months1.Animal collisionMost animals don’t look both ways before crossing the street, and drivers in a hurry may rush out of their driveways before their windows are completely clear and defrosted. This creates the perfect conditions for collisions on slick autumn roads.At MetLife Auto & Home ©, almost 50% of all animal collisions for the year occur between September and December. November, which is deer mating season, accounts for 18% of animal collision claims.Safety tip:Slowdown in areas with deer crossing signs, especially at dawn and dusk. Look out for a group, deer don’t usually wander alone. If you see a doe near the road, there could be a buck popping up nearby.2. Fog and mistIn many parts of the country, warm summer afternoons are giving way to chilly nights. The change in temperature can lead to some morning fog or steamy afternoon mist.47% of fog and mist related collisions are reported between September and December. 17% of those claims are reported in December alone, as fall surrenders to winter.Safety tipCheck your front and rear fog light, making sure that they work properly and that you know how to use them. If fog forms inside of your windows, the trick is to open them a crack and then blast your defrosters.  Give yourself plenty of room between you and the car ahead.3. Parked carsBy the numbers, parked car claims are the third highest type of volume loss from September to December. Busy school parking lots are a likely culprit.There is also the factor of holiday shopping. People tend to run a great deal more errands this time of year, shopping for holiday feasts and presents. All of the extra hustle and bustle can lead to some parking lot dings and fender benders.Safety tipWatch out for drivers cutting across parking spaces diagonally. When backing out of a space, double check your view for other cars in reverse or pedestrians passing behind you. Park in well-lit areas and ask security to walk you to your car if you don’t feel safe. Do not double park or park in between spots; you don’t want to attract retribution from other drivers.4. Rain and slick roadsThere are many factors that can make autumn roads extra slippery. In the Northeast, leaves carpet the roads this time of year. When it rains, wet leaves create a slick surface and tires are unable to grip the pavement. The first frosts of the season can catch drivers off guard, especially on bridges and elevated surfaces.In the Midwest, the first rain after a time of drought can actually be the most dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that hasn’t been washed away.Almost 40% of all claims caused by rain and slick roads are reported between September and December.Safety tip:Slow down and leave room. With as little as 1/12th inch of water on the road, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. If you hydroplane or skid, do not slam on the breaks; do your best to keep your eyes and wheel in the direction you want to go. Make sure your tires are not experiencing baldness or dry rotting and replace them as needed.5. Sun glareTime changes in the fall. School is back in session. The days get shorter and the clocks “fall back” an hour. Driving the kids to school in morning used to be in full daylight, but as autumn progresses, drivers are facing some sun glare. It’s difficult to see pedestrians and the brake lights on the car ahead.Sunsets will start to impact evening commutes. Even when the sun sets behind a driver, it can bounce off of the rearview mirror or reflect off of traffic lights and blind you while your eyes adjust.39% of auto claims caused by sun glare are reported between September – December.Safety tip:Invest in some polarized sunglasses to reduce glare. Drive with your headlights on to provide extra visibility for other drivers on the road. Keep your windshield clear and clean from smudges. Avoid storing papers and items on your dashboard.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Reducing Holiday Homeowner Claims December 6, 2017 12:24 pm
    The holiday season is here and we’re excited to share in the holiday spirit! It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, and while you’re busy decorating the house, safety may be one of the last things on your mind.  I would like to share an article from Safeco Insurance on holiday safety, it is timely and could help in reducing holiday homeowner claims that could occur! According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorations in 2012. Mishaps send about 250 people to the ER daily, with falls, cuts and back strains topping the list of injuries.  To ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season with your friends and family, here are 12 tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home: 1. Keep live trees away from heat sources. Place your tree away from fireplaces and heaters, and keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable, due to needles and sap. 2. Hydrate your tree. A dried-out tree can catch fire faster than one that has been properly watered. Check the water level every other day to ensure proper hydration. Starting with a green tree is one way to keep it from drying out so quickly. 3. Fake it! If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire. 4. Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. Paper can catch fire very quickly and can cause flash fires. Instead, recycle (or better yet, reuse!) your wrapping paper. 5. Work as a team. When stringing lights and decorations above your normal reach, make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base. 6. Double-check your lights for safety. Replace any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. The CPSC issued new guidelines for seasonal light safety in 2015, setting a minimum wire size, and standards for strain relief and over-current protection. 7. Power down before you turn in. Turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire. 8. Prevent electrical cord damage. Don’t mount lights in a way that might damage the cords, and avoid using nails or tacks. Use hooks or insulated staples instead. 9. Secure candles. Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended. 10. Use unbreakable ornaments. If you have fragile ornament, place them out of reach from pets and kids. 11. Skip the fake food. Avoid decorations that look like candy or food if you have young children — or pets — in the house. 12. Beware of poisonous plants. While festive, poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of reach of kids and pets. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Roeding Insurance
  • Dealing With a Homeowners Insurance Claim October 16, 2017 8:44 pm
    If you’ve had a fire, water damage or another unfortunate event in your home, don’t fret. We have all the information that you need to get your claim underway so you can get your life back to normal. When you have a homeowners insurance claim, your actions can make all the difference. Here’s how to maneuver through the claims process with ease: If you were away from your home when the incident occurred, exercise caution when entering your property. If your property has sustained major damage, contact your local government officials to determine how you should proceed. Report downed power lines to the utility company, and keep your electricity off if there is standing water in your home. If it appears as though it is not safe to be at your home, leave. Contact us to report how, when and where the damage occurred. Make a note of the claim adjuster’s name, telephone number and identification number when you call. Protect your home from further damage without putting yourself in danger. This may include boarding up windows and salvaging possessions that did not sustain much damage. Your claim handler can advise you on how to do so safely. Prepare a list of damaged or lost items from your home. Keep damaged items in your home until the claim adjuster has come for an inspection. Also, consider documenting the damage with pictures or video. Provide receipts for damaged items if you saved them. If you need to temporarily relocate, save all your receipts for additional expenses. Your policy may cover you for additional living expenses during this time. Once you’ve reported your claim, the claim adjuster will send you some documents to complete within a specific period of time. Contact us if you have any questions, and return these forms promptly. Contact your mortgage lender to notify them of your loss and to discuss potential contractor bids. Your lender may want to inspect a contractor’s job before making a final payment. Let us help you throughout the process—contact Roeding Group Companies if you have questions or concerns.
    Roeding Insurance
  • Responding to EPL Claims October 16, 2017 8:33 pm
    Insight for Business Owners and Risk Managers Any business that has employees is a potential target for an employment practices liability (EPL) lawsuit. These lawsuits can be financially and emotionally draining for your company, even if you’re ultimately found not liable. Avoiding an EPL claim requires management to be proactive by establishing a consistent methodology for employee policies, recordkeeping and dealing with your legal counsel and insurers. Preventive Mediation and Arbitration Businesses can often save thousands of dollars in litigation costs by having a third party hear claims and mediate a resolution. Many times, plaintiffs sue for damages and losses that exceed the amounts they would have settled for during alternate dispute resolution (ADR). Speedy mediation or arbitration can reduce the amount of lost wages an employee requests,  limit the amount of time a company spends preparing a case and spare both sides the financial and emotional costs of going to trial. But ADR isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to handling EPL claims. Mediation and arbitration cannot protect a company from discrimination charges brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or any other regulatory branch. Additionally, mediation and arbitration often ends with the company having to pay some kind of award to the claimant, even if the company is not legally at fault. When compared to lawyer and litigation fees, however, these awards are typically much less than the costs of a successful defense in court. Responding to EEOC Charges If a former employee or applicant seeks a discrimination or harassment charge with the EEOC, the commission will issue an administrative charge before the actual lawsuit takes place. The EEOC sends notice of the charge, listing details of the complaint and reasons for its investigation of the company. If the EEOC determines a violation has taken place and the employer decides not to settle, it will litigate the issue and seek recompense for the affected employee, as well as impose changes to the company’s regulations to make it more compliant. If the EEOC does not feel a violation has occurred, it will give notice to the individual who filed the complaint and give him or her 90 days to file a lawsuit on his or her own. When issued, a formal charge typically lists a number of documents that the EEOC requires to begin its investigation. Whether or not it feels the charge has credibility, an employer should respond to the EEOC professionally and quickly, providing as much detail as possible. If an employer can immediately provide sufficient evidence that the claim is unfounded, it may be able to avoid a full EEOC investigation. An immediate dismissal of a claim by the EEOC can greatly reduce the employee’s desire to litigate.   
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  • 143 Million People Potentially Affected in Equifax Data Breach October 16, 2017 8:29 pm
    Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, was recently the victim of a massive cyber attack—an attack that may have compromised the personal information of 143 million people. The breach itself occurred between mid-May and July 2017 when cyber criminals gained access to sensitive data by exploiting a weak point in website software. As a result of the attack, sensitive information like Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses and driver's license numbers were compromised. In addition, Equifax said 209,000 credit card numbers were stolen, including information from international customers in Canada and the United Kingdom. The recent attack on Equifax is the third major cyber security threat the organization has experienced since 2015 and one of the largest risks to personally sensitive information in recent years. The attack is so severe, in fact, it’s likely that anyone with a credit report was affected. If you are concerned that you may have been impacted by the breach, Equifax has set up a website to help individuals determine if any of their personal information may have been stolen. Once you have navigated to the website, complete the following steps: Click the “Check Potential Impact” button. Provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. From there, a dialogue box will pop up and indicate whether or not your information was lost in the hack. All U.S. customers will also be given the opportunity to sign up for TrustedID Premier, which is an Equifax service that includes identity theft insurance, credit reports, and a service that crawls the internet and alerts you if your Social  Security number is posted somewhere online. This service will be free for one year for those who sign up by Nov. 21. If you have been impacted by the breach, experts recommend engaging in a credit freeze. This effectively locks down your Social Security number on your credit report and prevents criminals from opening up new lines of credit under your name. For more information on credit freezes, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website. It should be noted that it may not be obvious that you are a customer of Equifax, as the company gets its data from credit card companies, banks and lenders that report on credit activity. As such, it’s important to follow the appropriate steps and check to see if your information was compromised. Additionally, you should review your online bank and credit card statements on a weekly basis. This will help you monitor any suspicious activity. Contact law enforcement officials if you believe criminals have used your stolen information in some way. Roeding Group Companies will continue to monitor the Equifax cyber incident, providing any major updates as necessary.
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  • Roeding Insurance Awarded Best Practices Status for 2017 October 16, 2017 7:29 pm
    We are happy to announce that Roeding Insurance will retain its Best Practices status in 2017, once again becoming a part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States. This status comes by participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) Best Practices Study group. The annual survey and Study of leading independent insurance agencies documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices. To qualify for the Best Practices study, each agency was nominated by either an IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company and qualified based on its operational excellence. The selected Best Practices agencies retain their status during the three-year cycle by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year. This is the second year of the current three-year study cycle, where over 1500 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to take part in the annual study in 2016, but only 262 agencies qualified for the honor. To be chosen, Roeding Insurance had to be among the 35-45 top-performing agencies in one of six revenue categories.   I believe our strength comes from two areas; first, our staff is simply the best. We believe in hiring, training and rewarding our staff and providing an environment that is productive and happy. We retain over 95% of our staff year after year and we are so proud of their efforts. Secondly, we have been rewarded with great customers. From personal insurance to business, public entity, benefits and financial resource clients we are blessed to have clients that share our vision. Year after year we have among the highest retention of clients in the industry. I want to personally thank you for your trust in Roeding Insurance and want you to know we will continue to work to keep that trust. Thank you! Steve Roeding
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  • Your Roommate is on Your Lease, Should They be on Your Policy? August 25, 2017 5:18 pm
    You like your roommate. You trust your roommate. But should you both be on the same renters policy? The answer, in most instances, is “no,” even though some insurance companies allow it. Renters insurance covers your belongings, along with providing protections for loss of use, liability, etc. Roommates are not included by default on a policy, even if you’re both on the lease. Also, there’s no “insurable interest” between roommates, which means they typically don’t have any financial interest in your stuff, and you don’t have any in theirs. To put it another way: If you didn’t renew your lease, you’d take your things, and they would take theirs. It’s not like a divorce, with a lot of shared property. (Although maybe you’d both fight to take that rice cooker you bought together and never used). Here are three reasons not to share a renters policy with a roommate: If they get sued, you could get hurt. Say your roommate’s dog bites somebody. If it’s even covered (some policies exclude certain dog breeds), a shared policy means you could be part of the lawsuit. That would be a hassle, and it might mean higher premiums for you down the road. Your stuff isn’t all the same. Does your roommate have expensive items, such as jewelry? If they have a lot of valuables and you don’t, you could end up paying more than your fair share for coverage. It’s more complicated than sharing the power bill. First of all, sharing a policy means you need to make sure your roommate pays their part of the bill. But things can really get complicated if there’s a claim. The check will be made out to both of you, even if it’s just your stuff that was damaged or stolen. If they don’t sign it, you can’t cash it. (Important note: If your roommate steals your stuff, that’s not covered by renters insurance. And it’s probably time to find a new roommate, too.) While you already share a place with your roommate, you probably don’t need to share your insurance. Having your own policy will provide the protection you need, usually at a very affordable price.  Content Provided by SafeCo Insurance Article Written by Frank Sicilano
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  • Supply Chain Management Tips August 25, 2017 5:03 pm
    Supply chain management is an important, but often overlooked, business consideration. Inventory disruptions affecting your company’s ability to deliver goods and services can significantly impact operations and finances. A business may be held liable for every step in its supply chain. Know as much as you can about who and where your parts, products and services come from — particularly if your company relies on overseas suppliers. Assess the practices, standards and readiness for business disruption of critical suppliers as part of strategic and business continuity planning, including: Regulatory Oversight Just because you follow the rules, it does not mean your suppliers do. All parts and labor conditions may be subject to U.S. regulations for your industry, even if they are imported or outsourced. Constant oversight of suppliers’ policies and practices can help ensure compliance with safety, environmental and industry regulations. Counterfeit Parts Counterfeiting is big business. According to Electronics Weekly, current estimates have at least two percent of electronics components worldwide to be counterfeits.¹ Knowing how to identify counterfeit parts is helpful. Rigorous planning and oversight of vendor selection criteria, engineering controls, component sampling, inspection and testing is key, too. Overseas Suppliers CNN reports that the International Chamber of Commerce expects the value of counterfeit goods to exceed $1.7 trillion globally by 2015.² Also, a domestic supplier does not always equal a domestic product. When parts, components or suppliers come from overseas, consider the risks and liabilities specific to using foreign goods and services. Consumer Demand Market expectations extend to every point in your company’s supply chain. If your customers have specific demands, like earth-friendly products, fair-trade labor practices or clean technology, you should ensure your suppliers adhere to practices in line with these expectations. Where, how and by whom your parts and services are supplied matters. Have a Backup Plan The origin of the materials, products and services your company relies on may not be static. Every time you change suppliers, re-evaluate and re-ensure that the proper regulatory, environmental, safety and backup standards and controls are in place and practiced. Change is Constant The manufacturers, and their materials, products and services your company relies on are rarely static. Every time you change suppliers, re-evaluate and re-assure that the proper regulatory, environmental, safety and backup standards and controls are in place, and practiced. Supply chain management best practices checklist includes, but is not limited to: Know regulations and standards; consult with legal counsel. Know your suppliers, their suppliers and their suppliers. Require a review and approval process for any changes at the supplier (or their suppliers). Conduct a rigorous quality control program. Arrange for independent product testing. Transfer risk to the extent possible; consult with insurance experts. Have a backup plan. Document everything!
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  • DOL Reinstates Wage and Hour Opinion Letters August 24, 2017 8:18 pm
    On June 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that its Wage and Hour Division will reinstate the practice of issuing opinion letters. The DOL discontinued the practice of issuing opinion letters seven years ago in favor of publishing more general guidance. Opinion letters provide guidance to employers on how to comply with the law in specific situations. For example, previous opinion letters have discussed whether time spent by employees taking web-based prerequisite classes at home in preparation for a voluntary job-related training class is compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In contrast, administrative interpretations provide a more general interpretation of the law, making them more readily applicable to a wide variety of situations. ACTION STEPS      No action steps are required of employers at this time.      Employers can look to opinion letters for guidance on how to comply with the law in specific situations or can request their own opinion letter from the DOL. Opinion Letters Opinion letters provide the DOL’s official opinion on how labor and employment laws apply in specific situations. The DOL issues opinion letters after receiving an employer’s request for an opinion. In these requests, employers usually describe a specific situation and pose questions on how to comply with their legal obligations for the particular facts described in the letter. Publishing opinion letters is a labor-intensive process and employers may need to wait several months to receive a response from the DOL. In addition, while the DOL reviews all opinion letter requests, it has traditionally only answered a few, at its discretion. The DOL has published instructions on how to request opinion letters on its website. Wage and Hour Division The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division enforces labor standards under the following federal laws:      The FLSA      The Employee Polygraph Protection Act      The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)      The Davis-Bacon and related acts      The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act      The Garnishment Provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act      The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act      The Field Sanitation and Temporary Labor Camp Provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act      The Temporary Worker Provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act Impact on Employers Opinion letters can be extremely helpful for employers that are trying to understand their legal responsibilities, particularly in areas where the law seems to be outdated or where compliance with one legal obligation interferes with compliance with another. Indeed, employers that receive an answer to their request can rely on the answer they receive in their efforts to comply with their legal obligations. Employers are also encouraged to review past opinion letters and other DOL guidance to obtain a clearer understanding of their obligations. However, an employer that seeks the DOL’s opinion regarding a specific situation should understand the risk that the DOL may not agree with its practices, so employers should consider this alternative carefully. In addition, while employers can rely on an opinion letter, employers should also remember that opinion letters are just guidance—they are not the law, and they are not binding. This means that DOL inspectors, auditors and judges may disagree with opinion letters and find noncompliance even when the employer is following the advice given by an opinion letter. Good Faith Defense However, employers that rely on opinion letters may be able to establish a “good faith defense” under the law. The good faith defense principle allows noncompliant employers to minimize the risk of penalties if they can prove they were making an honest effort to comply with the law. More information Please contact Roeding Group Companies for more information on how to comply with labor and employment laws enforced by the DOL, including the FLSA and the FMLA.
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  • How to Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit August 24, 2017 7:28 pm
    When creating an emergency survival kit for the home, consider the supplies you might need to last you and your family for a minimum of three to seven days. In case of emergencies that may require that you leave your home quickly, such as a wildfire, prepare your kit well in advance, and keep it in an easily accessible location so you can take essential items with you if you must evacuate with little notice. For other emergencies that might require staying in place at home for several days, such as a blizzard, you might want to gather supplies when a storm is first forecast and closely monitor the storm, to ensure that you have everything you need on hand. Whether you are hunkering down to weather a storm at home, scrambling to evacuate to get to safety, or facing the possibility of being stranded in your vehicle during stormy weather, one thing is sure: having the proper provisions can help make a difficult scenario safer for you. The following are some of the key considerations for a survival kit to fit these potential emergency situations. Consider how each of them could suit these scenarios and arm yourself appropriately. One gallon of water, per person, per day. Non-perishable and canned foods, along with a non-electric can opener. Sanitation and personal hygiene items. Flashlights with extra batteries. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio, with extra batteries if relevant. Extra clothing and blankets. A first-aid kit. Emergency cash and checks as credit cards may not be dependable in a power outage. Chargers for electronics, including vehicle chargers. A whistle to signal for help. Duct tape. Copies of personal documents, including a home inventory list, insurance policies and other important legal and financial documents. Bug spray (depending on location and climate). Hand and foot warmers (pending climate). Pen and notebook to keep notes such as important phone numbers, in case the power is out and electronic devices are not working. Baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, infant formula, food and bottles. Pet food and extra water for your pets. At least a three- to seven-day supply of any daily medication for family members and pets.
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  • Prevent Water from Damaging Your Home August 24, 2017 6:48 pm
    Excluding catastrophes, water causes more damage to American homes than fire, thunderstorms, and theft.1 About one in 55 insured U.S. homes has a water damage or freezing claim each year.2 The damage to your home can be severe—whether it’s an old water heater waiting to spill into the basement, a slow leak from a shower valve behind a wall, or an exposed pipe that may freeze and burst. Many of our insurance carriers recommend the following simple and low-cost steps to help prevent water damage: Leaks — if it holds water, it may fail: Inspect all appliances regularly for signs of age such as rust, cracking, and water stains. Check hoses for splits, cracks, or kinks. Verify all water connections are tight and dry. Install a catch basin under appliances like water heaters and washing machines. Work with a licensed plumber as needed. Lower your risk — know how to prevent and remedy these situations: Locate the main water shut-off valve in your home and learn how to operate it. Be sure you know how to turn off fixtures with valves, such as toilets and faucets. If you plan to be away for an extended period of time, consider closing your home’s water main. During freezing conditions, cover exposed pipes and water spigots with insulation to prevent a pipe burst. Replace existing supply hoses to your toilets, faucets, ice maker, washing machine, and dishwasher with braided stainless steel connectors.3 Consider installing a whole-house leak detection system. This device will not only sense problems, but it will also shut off the water automatically to help prevent significant damage to your home and personal property. In many states, you may qualify for discounts on your premium if this type of device is installed. Get to it fast — if water damage strikes, follow these important steps: Locate and close the main water shut off as quickly as possible. If you cannot, call a plumber immediately. Dry the area as quickly as possible, including any standing water. Contact a water mitigation service company — they have the right equipment and experience to mitigate the amount of damage and prevent secondary damage from mold or rot. Contact your insurance agent or call us directly to report a claim. Be sure to save any receipts from incurred expenses to help process your claim. If you have any questions, please contact our office for additional information. We offer this information to assist you in making decisions that can help mitigate your risk. While we cannot address every possible scenario or guarantee these tips will work for you, our goal is to support your efforts to protect you and your family. Article Provided by Nationwide Private Client 
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  • Is the risk associated with Monday’s solar eclipse sufficient reason to close schools? August 17, 2017 6:27 pm
    Article Written by: Keven Moore Local school officials have recently reached out to me as one of their risk control advisers to ask if they should cancel classes because of Monday’s Great American Solar Eclipse. How I would have longed for that call when I was in school. I’m pretty sure that I would have advised them to cancel the week before, the week of and the week after due to the “glaring” risks associated with this solar phenomenon. These inquiries have allowed me to finally put to use those two college astronomy classes that I took as I dodged more challenging courses while I was at the University of Kentucky. On Monday, the entire United States will experience a solar eclipse. The moon will cover at least part of the sun for 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through, anyone within a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will be able to view a brief total eclipse, which includes parts of western Kentucky. The moon will completely block the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night. The temperature will begin to drop and, weather permitting, most of us will be able to experience one of nature’s most awesome sights — one that hasn’t occurred in this country since 1918. Because of the rarity and risks associated with this extraordinary occurrence, school districts are being forced to consider closing for the day. When I first heard the announcement that a school district had decided to cancel classes for safety reasons, like you, my first reaction was “you’ve got to be kidding.” But then my risk-adverse juices began to flow and I soon recognized the potential liabilities that districts could be faced with as a result of this once in a lifetime occurrence. As late as this week, to close or not to close continued to be a heated debate for many schools as they made their decisions. Here’s the issue: When a student steps onto school property, the well-being and safety for that child rests with the school district. To take it a step further, the liability rests with the entire community since as taxpayers we help fund local schools, including insurance costs. That liability extends all the way home to their front door, so when a school superintendent is faced with something as rare as a total eclipse, you can image the “what if” scenarios that go through their minds. Yes, a total solar eclipse presents a tremendous learning opportunity for the students, but so does feeding great white sharks in cages or mixing chemicals in science classes. As any good superintendent will tell you, effectively educating and preparing kids for their future is their top priority, but it’s concern over the safety of those kids and the school staff that keeps them awake at night. For example I work with a school district in Central Kentucky that was pressured to an extent into having school a couple of winters ago after having missed several days due to a significant snow fall. In the haste to open back up to avoid extending the school year into the month of June, they regrettably decided to have convene classes for the last two days of the week. Unfortunately, that decision resulted in two of the district’s biggest workers compensation claims due people suffering falls on the ice in the parking lot. My point is that such decisions are not to be taken lightly and regardless of the decision, half of the community will applaud and the other half will disapprove. So, the first rule of thumb — and advice that I give any school district making such a decision — is to put safety first, regardless of what the critics may say. And don’t second guess the decision as long and your concerns rest with the safety of the students and staff. When reviewing the risks involved with the solar eclipse, there are several scenarios that play out in my mind that could result in liability for the schools. For instance, what if a bus driver looks up at the solar eclipse while driving kids home and is temporary blinded, runs off the road students suffer significant injuries or death? Should school districts issue eclipse glasses to all their bus drivers? Glasses could obstruct their vision. So do you not provide glasses and take the chance? What if Johnny knocks the specially designed glasses off of Billy while the class is outside observing the eclipse and Billy is rendered blind afterwards. Is the school at fault? What if a school district chooses to not cancel classes, doesn’t alter their hours and release all the students as scheduled at the height of the eclipse, then the following day, parents call the office, blaming them for their son’s or daughter’s temporary or permanent blindness as a result of their unsupervised viewing? The parent will want to know where to send that optometrist bill and who their attorney should contact about the pending lawsuit. In today’s litigious happy society, these scenarios may appear farfetched, but they are really a distinct possibility. Trust me, I see it everyday. The event in question is always somebody else’s fault. School districts are simply faced with the following risk management options — cancel classes, dismiss early, hold a non-traditional instructional day (work from home) or remain inside the school for the duration of the eclipse and dismissing afterwards. When these questions started to come into our office, we first decided to defer to the insurance carriers since they would be on the hook for any claims. All were reluctant to provide an official position, but instead directed us to the NASA’s How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely flyer. Another carrier replied that their official position was summed up in two simple words: “Be Safe!” Not to speak for carriers, but when dealing independent school boards or districts, they know when it’s best to leave well enough alone and to let each chose the course they believe is right for them. So none of the insurance carriers were willing to issue a recommendation to guide our clients. As for coverage related questions, we were able to determine that eclipses were not excluded on the policies we reviewed, but more questions remained. Insurance isn’t too complicated, but when it comes to coverage-related questions, you need to absolutely read the fine print. To avoid dodging the question entirely and to be a trusted adviser to our school district clients, we issued the following statement: “The “what if” claims scenarios cannot be given direct, final answers due to not knowing all the circumstances that may arise or be involved during the claim. While an eclipse or damage resulting from it is not specifically excluded from your policy, there can be extenuating circumstances to prevent or limit coverage.” With any claim, no carrier can make a determination on coverage until the claim occurs.  All claims have varied circumstances and those variances may affect liability negatively or positively, so insurance carriers are reluctant to answer these “what if” scenarios for obvious reasons. If schools district opt to remain open, issue approved glasses and make the eclipse viewing voluntary, then they should obtain written parental permission for younger children, who shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision on their own. Begin a good riskologist, I decided not to dodge the question, and therefore will end this article by with an answer. I always operate and err on the side of caution whenever trying to make sound risk management decision. Simply put, schools cannot afford the risk exposure to allow students outdoors to observe this solar phenomena. School districts also cannot release students during the event, hoping students exercise good judgement until they get home to their parents. You have to consider what traffic will be like when schools dismiss. Transportation officials are projecting heavy traffic in many communities, especially where the total eclipse will appear. Approximately 200 million people (a little less than two thirds of the nation’s population) live within a day’s drive of the eclipse’s path. Many of these visitors and locals will be outside, adding to the increased risk of distracted drivers. Hospitals in the affected areas are bringing in additional staff for this very reason and additional police officers will be out to address this resulting traffic nightmare. Back to school traffic is a naturalphenomenon in its own right. When you compound it with the solar eclipse, all coinciding during peak dismissal times for schools, this is the perfect traffic storm. Many parents will choose to hold their kids out of school so they can witness this event as a family. The economic impact to the school district’s budget as a result of possible low attendance will make it too costly for some school district to remain open. When considering all these variables, it is of my personal and professional opinion that school districts should cancel classes for the day. With that said, I just know that somewhere within my inner childhood there is an younger version of Keven snickering and laughing. Be Safe My Friends.
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  • Return to Work Services Overview August 8, 2017 2:36 pm
       Are you aware of the financial benefits of an effective return to work program? ·     The longer a workers’ compensation claim stays open, the more it will cost you. Roeding Group Companies can help you implement a comprehensive return to work program that will protect your bottom line, while still providing your employees with appropriate care. Do you have the right documentation for a successful return to work program? ·     Documentation and collaboration are key aspects of any return to work program. We have all the forms necessary to document every step of the process and ensure that everyone at your business is on the same page. How do you communicate your return to work program to employees? ·     Our employee communications take the mystery out of the return to work process, so your employees can focus on their rehab and recovery instead of worrying about filling out the wrong form. RETURN TO WORK POLICIES AND PROGRAMS Develop comprehensive return to work policies and programs at your business so employees and management are aware of their responsibilities in the event of a workers’ compensation claim Alternate duties suggestion flowchart Use these suggestions for alternate work duties to transition injured employees into roles that best suit their care plans. EVALUATION FORMS AND LETTERS Make communication a priority during the return to work process by using these customizable letters and evaluation forms to stay in contact with employees and physicians. Employee communications Let all of your employees know that their recovery and well-being is a priority with these employee-facing articles. Injury and illness investigation programs Make sure that injuries and illnesses only cost you a single time by investigating the true sources of workplace incidents and reducing the chances of re-occurrences.
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  • Keep Kids Safe with These 5 Tips to Prevent Heatstroke in Cars August 1, 2017 3:12 pm
    Summer is a favorite time of the year for many with warm, sunny days. But it's important to remember extremely hot summer temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly.  During periods of elevated temperature, your body must work more intensely to maintain its internal temperature of 98.6 degrees, leading to the threat of dehydration, among other things. Beyond the risks to people, extreme heat increases a number of exposures. For example, vehicles can break down if there aren't enough fluids to keep the car cool and functional as it reacts to the increased heat.  Of the numerous risks that can occur with increased heat, a heatstroke is often overlooked. Children, especially those under a year old, are at risk because their body's temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's, and they're often too young to alert others for help.  In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees — enough to kill a child left alone in a vehicle. On July 31, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will tweet every 15 minutes for 24 hours to raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke. You can follow the conversation through NHTSA's Twitter page and participate using the hashtag #HeatstrokeKills. The risks of vehicular heatstroke Vehicular heatstroke happens when a child is left or trapped inside a car or truck. As NHTSA explains, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise high enough to kill a child—even when it doesn’t feel that hot outside. Understanding how and why these tragedies happen is the key to protecting our children. In 54% of cases, the child was forgotten by the caregiver. In 28% of cases, children got into the vehicle on their own.  High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death. It begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.  Regardless of the temperature, heatstrokes pose a risk at any given time; they can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Heatstroke fatalities have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas and when the air temperature was 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less — rolling down a window does little keep a vehicle cool. The warning signs of a heatstroke can vary, but may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; a throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; being grouchy or acting strangely.  Follow these five tips from NHTSA to keep children safe from vehicular heatstroke: Look before you lock Get into the routine of always checking the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away. It sounds unthinkable that you'd forget your child in the back seat, but if the child is asleep and you're distracted or in a rush to get somewhere, it does happen. Have a gentle reminder Keep a stuffed animal or another memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place your phone, briefcase or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.  Do a routine check If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely. Set a reminder on your phone to call and check in.  Keep track of your car keys Keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.  If you have a newer model car that has a keyless entry, check with the vehicle's manufacturer on ways to keep children from getting into the car unsupervised. Act to save a life You should act if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Call law enforcement immediately, and free the child from the vehicle to protect that child’s life. Don't be afraid to break a window if necessary. Content Provided by PropertyCasualty360
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  • Clear policy regarding personal use of company-provided vehicles a must for businesses July 31, 2017 4:51 pm
    Personal use of company-provided vehicles has long been a perk that many businesses provide to their employees. In my business, one of the risk management controls that we check is the personal usage policy for company vehicles, one that sets guidelines governing who can use the company vehicle. But recently an increasing number of employees have been found to be using their company cars as a tool to generate supplemental personal income. This is not a completely new phenomenon, but coincidentally there appears to be a recent uptick in such activity with the creation of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. According to the Uber website, the vehicle being used does not have to be in their name but the driver must show proof of insurance, which can be altered or fabricated with enough ingenuity. As risky as that may sound, it’s not beyond someone’s imagination. As a point of reference, I can recall working with a fellow risk control consultant who had questionable work habits and a tendency to disappear at times. Over time, management discovered this individual was running his family business, his own car wash and other family ventures utilizing his company vehicle, printer, fax, cellphone and office space. As it turned out, his day job often times took a backseat to his personal business, but eventually it caught up to him and he was terminated. Over the years employees have been known to use their company vehicles to deliver pizzas, groceries, Amway or Avon supplies, move friends over the weekend or provide caregiving for elderly relatives. Some have even been known to lend their vehicles to their kids. When my son delivered pizzas, the only requirement was to show registration and proof of insurance, but no one checked what vehicle he drove on any given day. Service technicians, landscapers, plumbers, heating and air specialist, cable installers …etc. have all been known to use company trucks and vans to moonlight for their personal business after hours. Some of these individuals even return to offer competitive services for a lower price or for cash on their own time. In addition to the increase in wear and tear on company vehicles, this also depreciates the value due to the extra mileage. More importantly such actions increase liability for the employer when it comes to “negligent entrustment exposure,” not to mention the negative impact on brand image with potential customers. The best method for employers to address the issue of unauthorized vehicle usage is to develop a clear policy. It should permit and define personal miles as “reasonable and incidental,” and prohibit livery service making such use cause for immediate termination. A good employee usage policy should prohibit loaning the vehicle to unauthorized users, hiring it out to others, using it in any livery operations, or any other enterprise not approved by the company. To add more teeth, I have seen companies go as far as prohibiting attaching equipment such as snowplows, winches, or luggage carriers for personal business, as well as banning towing of trailers, boats, jet skis and campers. When writing a personal usage policy that lists prohibited usage, I would further recommend inserting the qualifying phrase “including, but not limited to” to help keep the attorneys happy. Employers should stress to employees that they will be held accountable for violation of the personal usage policy, and will face consequences for unauthorized use of company vehicles. Because different policy violations may call for different consequences, human resources professionals claim that you shouldn’t be too specific unless it’s required. For example, fleet policy can simply state, “Unauthorized personal use of a company vehicle may result in loss of vehicle privileges, or more serious discipline up to and including discharge.” It’s important that all company drivers should sign a statement that acknowledges that they have read the employee usage policy and agrees to follow company policy. In an article in automotivefleet.com, it’s suggested that to better safeguard the fleet policy is to reduce respondent superior liability. The term “respondent superior” is a legal concept that, in this context, essentially states, “As long as an employee is using a company vehicle to perform work for the company, the company can be held responsible if the employee gets into an accident with that vehicle.” Therefore, if policy prohibits employees from using vehicles for specific types of personal use, and, for example, an employee gets into an accident while moonlighting, a company can use this fleet policy rule to argue it is not liable for the accident. It’s not up to the employer’s duty to block the employee from obtaining secondary employment, and such action is typically not legal. Instead, employers should focus their attention on areas of legitimate business concern when addressing the matter of outside employment and instead consider developing a conflict of interest policy that is applicable. It should prevent the personal use of company-provided vehicles for personal gain or non-company related endeavors. No fleet policy can be 100 percent successful in preventing employees from abusing personal use privileges, because a policy is simply nothing more than just a collection of words. It does inform employees of the consequences of breaking company policy and helps employees stay between the lines. Fleet safety policies are crucial to operating a well-managed program and are the first thing underwriters request when evaluating the risk exposure to insure your business. Any good fleet safety manager will tell you that you need to not only communicate fleet policy to employees, but, more importantly, you need to re-communicate it to your drivers regularly. When it comes to fleet policy, there is no such thing as being redundant. Insurance follows the vehicle so regardless of the most specific vehicle usage policy written by the best team of lawyers money can buy, the risk still remains. If there is an incident involving your company vehicle, the employer will be on the hook for any damages or liability resulting from the use of that vehicle. In today’s litigious society, the employer is always viewed as having deeper pockets with higher limits of liability to chase after. By developing a formal and inclusive employee usage policy in combination with a sound fleet safety program, which includes driver training, you can better manager your risk exposure and it should help reduce the amount punitive damages an attorney may try to seek. Article Written By: Keven Moore
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  • 4 Things That Might Not Be Covered by Your Renters' Insurance Policy July 31, 2017 3:28 pm
    When you purchase a renter’s insurance policy, you do so hoping that all of your belongings are covered against theft and damage. Renters’ Insurance is one of the least expensive policies to buy, so purchasing a policy can seem like a great deal. But don’t let any renter’s insurance policy lull you into a false sense of security — you need to do your homework. Your renters’ insurance may not cover everything you would expect it to — a lesson these four renters learned the hard way: 1. Natural disasters: “When I purchased my renters’ insurance a few years ago, I was surprised that I had to buy earthquake insurance separately as a California resident,” says Jackie Lam, a frugal-living guru running the blog Cheapsters.org out of Los Angeles, California. She’s not alone. When you live in an area known for extreme natural disasters — hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and so on — you may not be covered against the elements. So don’t allow a natural catastrophe to also destroy your finances, and find out ahead of time which disasters are covered. 2. Water damage vs. flooding: Understanding the difference between water damage from outside your home and from inside your home is important. If a pipe bursts and you have renters’ insurance, there is a good chance that you will receive enough money to replace your items. However, that may not be the case if groundwater rises and enters your apartment, or if there is a flood that infiltrates your home. “Nobody ever thinks they need it until it’s too late,” says Doug Nordman, a military financial expert from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He has seen people disappointed when floodwaters disqualify renters from receiving payouts for damaged or lost personal items. It’s also worth noting that hurricane-protected renters might get help if the structure of their home is damaged first by the storm and water enters as a result – but water damage from flooding alone may not be covered. 3. Exclusions for valuable personal property For many, purchasing renters’ insurance is about protecting expensive items like computers, other electronics, musical instruments and jewelry. However, Bobby Lee, the money master behind the video blog 2-Minute Finance and a Danville, California resident, discovered that some renters’ insurance policies specifically exclude these items. “I was surprised at some of the exclusions* for computers, tablets, cameras, jewelry and valuable personal property,” he says. “It’s important to ask for additional endorsements for items you believe are especially valuable.” Nordman says active military personnel need to be particularly attentive. He says that many service members living on-base assume they’re automatically insured when they aren’t. “They only realize they need personal property insurance after it’s too late,” he says. 4. Lack of documentation You might claim that you lost something due to a break-in or natural disaster, but the insurance company may not pay your claim if you can’t prove the item’s existence and value. “I was surprised to find that I need to basically itemize everything and take photos of valuables,” says Jackie Lam. Store your list safely by using the online cloud so you can access it from anywhere, or save it to a flash drive kept in a fireproof and waterproof safe. Overall, it’s important to take the time to fully understand your renters’ insurance coverage. Read through your policy, and ask your provider plenty of questions, so you won’t be caught unaware at a time when you really need your insurance to come through for you.
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  • Your Step by Step Guide to Buying a Car July 31, 2017 3:15 pm
    For most people, buying a car is a major investment requiring thought, research, planning and finances. With the multitude of make, model and options available today, this major purchase is enough to make your head spin. And that’s before you’ve even waded through the wide array of financing arrangements. To be sure you make the smartest choice, you’ll need to do some homework. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process of buying a car. Selecting a Car Evaluate your needs and preferences to determine your current car style. If you know the answers to these questions, you may help yourself determine which car fits you best. What are the primary and secondary uses of the car? This may help you determine the best size, gas mileage, and durability for your needs. Who will be in the car most of the time? This will determine how much interior space you need. How often will the car be used? The more time you spend in your car, the more important comfort is likely to be. Considering frequency of use can also help determine engine needs. Budgetary Issues New or used, bought or leased – you need to know all the costs involved in getting your next car. If you’re not sure how much you can afford, talk to a financial advisor or get pre-approval on a car loan from a bank. Professional financial advice will help you know ahead of time how much you can really afford. Once you set your price range, stick to it. If you’re buying new, don’t be tempted by unnecessary extras that will run up the price of the car, and be cautious about purchasing extended warranties. If you can’t afford everything you want in a car, prioritize the features on your list. Don’t forget that owning a car costs more than the monthly payments. Gas, maintenance, taxes and insurance should all be figured into the cost of car ownership. Negotiate a Deal The difference between the dealer’s invoice (estimates are available from automotive magazines, websites, and auto pricing services) and the price listed on the sticker is your bargaining range. The more information you have on exactly what the dealer pays for the standard package and for each option, the stronger your negotiating position. It also helps to know whether the manufacturer is offering any cash rebate offers or factory-to-dealer incentives (which give the dealer more latitude in pricing). The popularity and availability of a particular car can also play a role in your negotiation with a dealer. And keep in mind that the time of year you shop may make a difference in the final price you pay. The end of the model year (September and October) favors consumers because that’s when dealers are reducing inventory to make room for next year’s models. Late December, when more folks are worried about holiday shopping than car shopping, is another good time. Leasing a Car When you lease a car, you make monthly payments in exchange for using the vehicle for a set period of time. Generally, at the end of the contract period, which is usually two or three years, you can simply turn in the car and walk away. Since you don’t own it, you get no trade-in or resale value. If you need to end the lease early, you may face steep charges. Likewise, you may be charged for excessive mileage or excessive wear and tear. Most leases include an option to buy at the end of the lease for a predetermined price. Generally, however, you may pay more than if you purchased the car in the first place. On the positive side, a down payment may not be required, and monthly lease payments are generally lower than monthly payments when you purchase a car. Be sure you understand the terms of the contract and review it carefully before signing. Buying Used Buying used is very similar to buying new: You need to assess your needs, estimate what you can spend and do your homework. You have one additional variable to consider when buying a used car: wear and tear. However, assessing a used car is better left to the professionals. If you think you’ve found a good option, have your mechanic check it out before you buy. A qualified mechanic can tell if the car is in good condition and worth the price, or if it’s maybe just a good wax job. To figure out the going price for a used car model, consult one of the used car price guides available, such as the Kelley Blue Book, which lists estimated values for used cars based on what car dealers are paying for various makes and models. Keep in mind that price guides aren’t the final word on a car’s fair value and that factors such as mileage can change a car’s value considerably. Whatever your final decision may be, make it with confidence and make sure it’s the best car for you (and your family). Content provided by MetLife Insurance
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  • Tips to Prevent Theft and Avoid a Break-in June 30, 2017 6:40 pm
    Residential break-ins and burglaries spike over the summer months. Because as the temperature rises and the weather improves, we tend to do things that make ourselves more vulnerable to theft, like: Opening and forgetting to close and lock our windows, sheds and garages. Leaving our sunroofs open, windows down or convertible tops removed while we’re away from our vehicles. And going on summer vacations with our kids, making our homes a hotter target for burglars. But, with a couple of preventative measures, you can help deter would-be thieves and keep your property safe. Lock it up. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), about 35% of household burglaries in the U.S. were “unlawful (no-force) entries,” which means that the burglars were able to easily access the stolen items, such as through an unlocked door or window. And in 2015, the average dollar loss per burglary was $2,316! So, rule No. 1 when you’re trying to prevent a break-in is to make sure your home and car are properly locked up. Here’s a checklist to help you get started: Close and lock outside doors and windows before leaving your home or going to bed. Have deadbolt locks installed on all outside doors and check that your outside doors’ hinges are on the inside of your home. If your outside door has glass panes or there is a window within 40 inches of the door’s lock, you can install a double cylinder deadlock which must be unlocked from both the inside and the outside. Install special locks on sliding glass doors or place a strong dowel, a steel bar or two-by-four, in the bottom track to prevent the door from sliding back and opening. Change your locks immediately if your keys are ever lost or stolen. Never put personal identifiable information on your house keys, such as your full name, address or phone number. When you’re moving into a new home, have all the locks changed. Instead of hiding a spare key outside your home, give it to a trusted neighbor that you know well or a friend who lives nearby for safekeeping. Keep your garage door closed and locked. And lock the door leading from the garage inside your home. If you own a shed, always lock it up. Stop your windows from opening more than a few inches by inserting a pin or nail into the window frame. This provides extra protection in case you leave the window unlocked. Before you walk away from your vehicle, put your windows up, close the sunroof or convertible top, lock the doors and never leave your keys inside the vehicle—even for a short period of time. Don’t be a showboat. Take steps to avoid advertising to burglars. Don’t allow them to see all the nice things you have that might be worthwhile to steal. Try this out: open your curtains and blinds at your home so that you can see outside, then walk around your home to see what’s visible when you look inside the windows from outside. Take steps to move valuable items away from plain view or make a note to keep those shades drawn. This also means that if you just bought the latest cutting-edge electronic gadget, you should make sure the box it came in isn’t visible on the curb with your trash and recycling. Here are a few more tips: Keep your lawn mowers and bicycles stored out of sight and locked up. Use curtains on garage and basement windows to hide what’s inside. In your car, don’t leave valuables out, such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, wallets, purses, shopping bags and other valuables. Don’t leave your garage door opener in view inside your car. If at all possible, don’t move items to the trunk of your vehicle when you’re in a public place. But in a pinch, it’s best to store them in the trunk than in a front or back seat. Confuse and deter crooks. Burglars want an easy target, where they can get in and get out unseen. They tend to make their move when people are away from their homes or vehicles and other people aren’t around to see them. Consider taking these steps to make your home and car less desirable and more difficult to break into: Keep trees or shrubs that are near your home trimmed so they can’t be used as a hiding place. Add exterior lighting or use motion-sensitive lights in your backyard. Think about installing an alarm system in your home or vehicle and make sure you use it. Consider installing security cameras at your home to deter thieves. For especially vulnerable windows, a heavy-gauge metal ornamental grille can be used. It should be attached with non-removeable screws or fastened from inside your home. And if you’re planning to be away from home for a while, do your best to make it look like you’re still there. Connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on and off during the day and evening. Leave a television or radio on to make it seem like someone is home. Arrange for the post office to hold your mail and ask a friend or neighbor to pick up and keep newspapers or deliveries until you return. Have someone mow your lawn or shovel snow off your driveway and sidewalk if you’re going to be gone for a long time. If you have a home phone, don’t change your voicemail message and tell callers that you’re out of town. Keep your travel plans private. If you park your car outside, ask a friend to move it periodically to make it look like you’re still at home. Let the police know that you’ll be away from home for an extended time and request that they drive by your property to check on things periodically. Talk to the experts. Your local police department knows the ins and outs of burglaries and crime in your area. If you want additional advice on how to best secure your home, car or business, you can ask for a police officer to conduct an inspection and give you advice on how to improve your security. Many police stations offer this service for free. Another smart thing to do is to educate yourself on what crimes are common in your area. Some cities have an online crime map that shows exactly where reported incidents have occurred. And finally, get to know your neighbors. If you and your neighbors know each other, then strangers will stand out. Community Watch Programs, which began in the 1960s, have been proven effective in lowering and preventing crime. So, watch out for suspicious activity in your neighborhood to help both you and your neighbors prevent break-ins. This article is for informational purposes only. The suggested tips do not constitute an all-encompassing list, and Grange Insurance makes no guarantee as to their effectiveness in preventing break-ins. References: -Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) -San Jose Police Department -How Stuff Works
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  • In a Car Accident? Helpful Tips on what to do next June 29, 2017 8:11 pm
    No one expects to get into a car accident. Although you can work to prevent and prepare for one, the sudden jolt may leave you shocked and stressed and unsure of what to do next. While you try to wrap your head around what just happened, it’s easy to forget vital actions that can aid your physical and financial recovery. Just remember to be SAFE—both literally and by following our acronym: S – Safety first A – Alert authorities F – Fact collection E – Exchange information Safety first The No. 1 priority after a car accident is the safety of yourself and others. Immediately after the accident, be sure you: Turn on your hazard lights. If possible, pull your car over to a safe place. If not, stay inside with your seatbelt on. Check the safety of others and provide assistance to anyone with an injury. Don’t move an injured person. This can cause additional damage and should be avoided unless the person’s safety is at risk. Alert authorities Even if it’s a minor fender bender that you think you can settle among yourselves, it’s still important (and in some states, the law) to call the authorities no matter how small the accident is. Call 911 or the local police station. Avoid saying “I’m sorry.” Even if you feel guilty, don’t admit fault—especially when talking to the police. You may find out later that the other driver was actually to blame or that you share the blame. Even if you don’t show visible injuries, it’s recommended to call for medical help or at least visit the emergency room or your doctor after you leave the area. Be sure to file an accident report, even if police don’t come to the crash site. Depending on the state’s laws and the severity of the accident, police may not be dispatched. Filing a report puts the accident on the books and can help speed up the claim process. Fact collection After an accident, you may feel a whirlwind of emotions. Stay calm, and immediately document the accident as you experienced it. Take pictures of your car, any other cars involved and the surrounding area. Take notes on what happened before, during and after the accident. Include details about the location, weather, road conditions and traffic control. Write down the names of any law enforcement officials or witnesses who are at the scene. Exchange information Swapping information is essential to work through any sort of claim or legal process that could result from a car accident. Be sure to exchange: Names Addresses Phone numbers License plate numbers Driver’s license numbers Insurance providers Policy numbers What to do once you arrive home Unfortunately, even after you have SAFE-ly left the accident, there are still a few matters to take care of, such as filing a claim. You’ll want to report your claim ASAP. The sooner you file a claim, the sooner your insurance provider can start working on it—and the sooner you can get your life back together. If you’re a Grange policyholder, you can report a claim by calling our 24-Hour Loss Reporting Center at (800) 445-3030. You can also report your claim online after logging into or creating your own My Grange account. Note: This article contains helpful tips for any driver involved in an auto accident. Policyholders may choose to follow this advice or not without it affecting their auto coverage. References - Edmunds.com - CNN - How Stuff Works - TeensHealth from Nemours Content provided by Grange Insurance
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  • Will I Pay More for Car Insurance with a Teen Driver? June 29, 2017 8:02 pm
    Auto Insurance for Teenage Drivers This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on Safeco.com showcasing the expertise of local independent agents and aimed at helping you understand important insurance coverage and issues. As much as you’ve been waiting for this moment, you’ve been dreading it, too: your teen has passed the state driving test and is now an officially licensed driver. You no longer have to taxi him or her to school, to practice, or to friends’ houses. But, your newfound convenience isn’t without concern. Of the many things you worry about with your young driver, including your child’s safety, high on the list is the cost of insuring your teen. So, let’s take a look at what goes into teen car insurance rates so you can better understand what may be awaiting you. Do Teenage Drivers Increase Car Insurance Rates? In most cases, yes. After all, you’re extending your coverage to another driver, and that typically costs more. And, not just any driver, but an inexperienced one. The direct impact on your car insurance rates can vary depending on the state where you live. That said, most states allow insurance companies to utilize the following factors in pricing coverage for a young driver: Male or Female: Premiums are often driven by statistics. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for young male drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 the motor vehicle death rate for drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost twice as high for males vs. females. Primary Driver: If your teen has her own vehicle, she will likely drive it more often than if she were sharing it. More time behind the wheel can mean higher rates, as your teen has gone from an occasional operator with limited use to a primary operator. Type of vehicle: The make and model of a vehicle always impacts your car insurance costs. If it’s a high-end vehicle, you can expect to pay more, particularly for an inexperienced driver. Always check how much a vehicle will cost to insure for a teen driver before you plunk down the cash for it. Ask for Discounts for Your Teen Driver It’s true teen car insurance rates can be pricey, so be sure not to overlook opportunities to save. Your independent agent can help you better understand potential discounts that may be available to you. Here are a few common ways to save on teen car insurance, but these can vary by carrier: Drivers education: Knowledge is power so many insurance carriers will provide a discount if a newly licensed driver takes a driver’s education course. Ask your independent agent which courses may qualify you for a discount. Good student: Most insurance companies provide a discount for students who have at least a B average. This may need to be verified each year, so be sure to keep a copy of the latest report card handy, given that this credit can be as much as 20 percent. Electronic monitoring: Some insurance companies offer a discount if you adhere to safe driving habits as verified by an electronic monitoring device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port. In most cases, monitoring only lasts for a specified period, and you have access to the data collected. Away at school without a car: If your young driver attends a boarding school or college more than 100 miles away, be sure to tell your insurance company. There is typically a large credit for this while still providing coverage when she’s home. What if I Don’t Tell My Insurance Company About My Teen Driver? The consequences of not informing your carrier of a new driver can vary by state and carrier. However, the end result may be financially devastating. In the best case scenario, if your teen causes an accident, the insurance company may decide to cover the claim. However, it may also charge you for back premium, billing you for the extra cost of insuring your teen, dating back to when his license was first issued. This may be significant depending on how much time has passed. Even if the carrier does agree to cover the claim, it may only do so according to the minimum liability limits of your state. This scenario could leave you severely under-insured, and you may have to pay for some of the costs out of your own pocket. In the worst case scenario, the carrier may deny the claim entirely, leaving you responsible for all damages. That includes damage to all vehicles and property involved, bodily injury, pain-and-suffering and loss of income. Is this something you are willing to risk with an inexperienced driver? Handing your keys over to a teenager may be terrifying, but it also provides freedom for you both. With careful consideration of your insurance needs, you can enjoy this time as the rite-of-passage it is. Stay safe and contact your local independent agent with all of your teen driver insurance questions!  About April McBriarty-Weismann and HPM Insurance April McBriarty-Weismann has worked in insurance nearly her entire life. She began modestly, cleaning her father’s insurance agency, McBriarty Insurance, back in the ‘80s as a high school student. She went on to obtain a degree in journalism and work in advertising before getting back to her roots and joining her father’s firm. Helping run the firm for 10 years, she then sold it to HPM Insurance, where she now serves as the Vice President of Business Development and Communications. Combining her insurance expertise and creative writing skills, she seeks to make insurance understandable and even fun for clients of HPM, which has locations in Amherst, New Hampshire, and Bedford, New Hampshire. Content Provided by SafeCo Insurance Article Posted by April McBriarty-Weismann, HPM Insurance 
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  • How to Create a Business Continuity Plan June 29, 2017 7:52 pm
    When you run a business, there’s nothing worse than a missed opportunity. And when an unexpected event—whether it’s natural or man-made—disrupts your business, every minute can feel like a missed opportunity. To avoid such issues, it’s essential that you have a business continuity plan in place. A business continuity plan will help you limit downtime and loss in the event of a disruption, while boosting customer and employee confidence, lessening business risks and reducing potential financial losses. Follow these five steps to help create your business continuity plan and keep your business on track, even during the toughest of times. 1) Uncover your risks The two biggest mistakes businesses make are failing to identify a potential threat and underestimating the severity of a known threat. To avoid these mistakes, follow these simple steps: Identify your threats, including natural hazards that might affect the location of your business. Rank the probability of those threats, then rank the severity of each. Multiply the probability and severity to create scores for each and address the highest scores first. 2) Analyze your operations Responding quickly to a disruption can be the difference between survival and closure. Identify your key business functions and processes and decide how long you can go without them and remain in business. Consider the answers to these questions when formulating your answer: What is your main product/service? What are the things that could most likely impact your ability to do business? Which of your business functions and processes have legal, contractual, regulatory or financial obligations? 3) Know how to contact employees and vendors What happens if an emergency prevents your employees from accessing your business? Would a local disaster also affect your vendors? Two-way communication with your employees and vendors is critical before, during and after a disaster. Make sure you can answer the following questions: Would you know how to reach your employees? Do you have current home and mobile telephone numbers, addresses, emails and emergency contact information? Do you have current contact information for key suppliers, vendors and business administrators? Is all this information available offsite from your business location? 4) Have an information technology (IT) plan No matter the size or scope of your business, it’s nearly a certainty that you rely on computer hardware, software and digital data. Having access to these tools and information is crucial to your ability to stay in business. Keep backup copies of everything on or accessed by your computer including operating systems, critical software, files, logins and passwords. Store one backup copy onsite and another in a safe at an offsite location that will still be available in the event of a large-scale disaster. Before an event, shut down and unplug all your computer hardware. Consider elevating or moving equipment offsite. 5) Prepare your business finances Whether it’s having the correct insurance or an emergency cash fund on hand, preparing your finances in advance of a disaster is critical to keeping you in operation during a disruption. A well-stocked emergency cash supply can help you buy supplies or crucial equipment during a disaster. Identify all financial obligations and expenses that must be paid. Work with your independent insurance agent to determine the best coverage for your business. References - ContinuityCentral.com - DisasterSafety.org Content provided by Grange Insurance
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  • Westfield Insurance Foundation's Legacy of Caring Fund Benefits NKY Family Promise June 29, 2017 6:49 pm
    NEWS RELEASE Westfield Insurance Foundation's Legacy of Caring Fund Benefits Northern Kentucky Family Promise Newport, KY May 10, 2017,-- Northern Kentucky Family Promise received a grant from Westfield Insurance Foundation thanks to the help of Roeding Insurance Group. The grant is part of the Westfield Legacy of Caring program, which invites Westfield independent insurance agents to nominate a local nonprofit in the areas of disaster recovery, insurance pathways, family stability or safety. "Thanks to the generous donation from Westfield Insurance Foundation, we can increase our efforts toward2 ending family homelessness," said Amanda Speier, Executive Director. "We have strong relationships with our agents, and we value the important role they play in their communities," said Ed Largent, Westfield President, CEO, board chair and Westfield Insurance Foundation chairman. "Our agents help provide peace of mind and security, and the Legacy of Caring fund is an extension of the fundamental role insurance plays every day stabilizing families, businesses and communities." Roeding Insurance Group and its employees are proud members of the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati community. Our collaboration with Westfield allows us to further our citizenship efforts and have impact in critically important initiatives," said Steve Roeding, President. Northern Kentucky Family Promise is one of 78 nonprofits nationwide receiving a Westfield Legacy of Caring grant - collectively totaling nearly $550,000. Westfield is proud to work with their independent agents in distributing nearly $1.3 million since the onset of the Legacy of Caring program in 2015. Roeding Insurance Group was founded in 1921 and is today one of the largest employee-owned insurance and financial services agencies in the Cincinnati Tri-State area and the state of Kentucky. With offices in both Crestview Hills and Lexington.. l<Y, they are managed by local residents committed  to the  communities  they serve. Family Promise of Northern Kentucky is a faith-based collaborative that empowers Northern Kentucky children and their families, experiencing temporary homelessness, to attain sustainable independence.   About Westfield  Insurance Foundation Westfield Insurance Foundation was established in 2005 as an independent private foundation endowed by Westfield Insurance. In keeping with the values of Westfield Insurance, the Foundation exists as a dedicated community and industry partner; concentrating resources to have an impact on safety, disaster relief and family stability. The Foundation  donates over $3 million annually to  a variety  of charities.   About Westfield Insurance Westfield Insurance is a part of Westfield Group, a customer-focused insurance and banking group of businesses headquartered in Westfield Center, Ohio, and in business for nearly 170 years. Westfield Insurance provides commercial insurance in 21 states, personal insurance in 10 states and surety services to customers in 50 states. Westfield is one of the nation's 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of more than 1,000 independent  insurance agencies. Westfield Insurance has won consecutive Gold and Silver Healthy Ohio Worksite Awards in 2016 and 2017 from the Ohio Department of Health and Healthy Ohio Business Council. Westfield Bank provides banking solutions for businesses and individuals, and Westfield Services provides service and training support for independent insurance agencies. Learn more about Westfield Group at http://www.Westfieldlnsurance.com&nbsp; and  www.Westfield-Bank.com.
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  • Kentucky Supreme Court Ruling: Parker v. Webster County Coal June 29, 2017 5:09 pm
    Parker v. Webster County Coal The following information was put together by our legal and workers compensation team. There was a recent decision within the KY Supreme Court that will affect not only future workers compensation pricing, but could also have an effect on future claim settlements. Previously, the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation system terminated all income benefits on the date the employee qualified for normal old-age Social Security retirement benefits or two years after the employee’s last injury or last exposure, whichever last occurred.  On April 27, 2017 the Supreme Court of Kentucky declared this provision unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court stated there was an equal protection problem with the statute by treating injured older workers who qualify for normal old-age Social Security retirement benefits differently than it treated injured younger workers or older workers who never paid into Social Security such as the Teachers Retirement. Summary of the Effect of the Parker Decision ·         For Fatal claims, the benefit duration will increase to lifetime for spouses who remain unmarried, as well as for other dependents such as parents or siblings. ·         For Permanent Total Disability (PTD) claims, the benefit duration will increase to lifetime for the injured worker. ·         For Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) claims for affected older workers, the benefit duration will entitle them to full award to 425 weeks or 520 weeks, depending on the disability rating. Though not quantifiable, the Parker decision is expected to result in significant unfunded liability, as claimants who would currently be entitled to receive income benefits in Kentucky only to their (or the deceased worker’s) Social Security Retirement age will now continue to receive benefits for the statutory duration of the disability (PPD) up to life (Fatal dependents or PTD injured workers).  Furthermore, some claimants with previously closed PPD awards who are within the statute of limitations for reopening claims in Kentucky per KRS 342.125, may seek to have their claims reopened to pursue a PTD award based on this decision.  Under KRS 342.125, a claimant may reopen their claim within 4 years following the date of the original award or settlement. What this means to your business is an average increase on Kentucky Workers’ Compensation rates by 5.6% potentially starting with renewal dates of 7/1/17.  The Law change also states carriers can make the rate change retroactive back to August of 2016, so far none of our companies have given indication of going back. June 21, 2017 update from our defense counsel on this issue: “Status of the Parker v. Webster County Coal – Webster County filed a Petition for Rehearing with the Supreme Court.  Parker has filed a Response to the Petition.  The next step will be a ruling by the Supreme Court.  The Court can either change its ruling on the issue, or not.  Should the Supreme Court deny the Petition, the Opinion will be final as of the date the Petition is denied; however, the Supreme Court is not under a finite timeframe in which to rule on the Petition.  Given that, we have no idea when the ruling will occur, but believe it will be at least two to three months before they render a decision on the Petition. Until the case becomes final, ongoing claims that are awarded or settled will be awarded under the pre-existing law; the claimant bears the burden of preserving the issue to entitlement under Parker v. Webster County Coal on appeal.   If the Supreme Court sticks with its ruling that this statute is unconstitutional, the only way for Industry to address this will be through the legislature.”
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  • College Students and Insurance: A Primer for Parents June 29, 2017 4:19 pm
    The Typical College Student’s Insurance Needs This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on Safeco.com showcasing the expertise of independent insurance agents and aimed at helping you understand important insurance coverage and other important issues. It’s an exciting and emotional time when a child – err, young adult – heads off to college. And, for many parents, a confusing time in regards to car insurance coverage and personal property coverage. Should college students remain on the family’s auto policy? Do they have coverage for their belongings in the dorms? Let’s take a look at these and other issues to help clear up some of the confusion. Wheels or No Wheels? If you’re supporting your college student financially, you can still consider her a household member for insurance purposes. Yes, even if she doesn’t live at home or moves out of state, and even if she is older than 18. This means that: If she takes a car to school, she can stay on your auto insurance policy. Be sure to tell her that lending the car to friends is out of the question! If she leaves the car at home, there’s likely no need for her to be listed as a daily driver on your policy. This could reduce your car insurance rates, especially if the school is more than 100 miles away from home. If she returns home for a weekend or holiday, she can still drive under your coverage. However, if she will be using the car for an extended period, such as during summer break, you should let your independent agent know. Oftentimes carriers offer a Good Student Discount for students who maintain a high GPA, such as 3.0 or above. If your college student is remaining on your auto policy, be sure to talk to your independent agent about whether this is available for you. Also be aware that, if your student owns her own wheels or you transfer ownership of a vehicle into her name, she will need to register and insure the vehicle herself. This is a great way to start building her insurance history! What’s It All Worth? Car or no car, your student is no doubt taking several thousand dollars’ worth of personal belongings with him to college: laptop, tablet, TV, smartphone, gaming equipment, books, wardrobe, luggage, etc. Some lines of study may even require costly gear, such as musical instruments or cameras. Your existing homeowners policy should extend some personal property coverage to your student. For example, 10 or 20 percent of your personal property coverage may extend to your student’s dorm stay. So, if you have $100,000 of personal property coverage on your policy, your student has $10,000 or $20,000 worth of coverage. This may even follow your student to a foreign country if he’s studying abroad for a semester or longer, but be sure to check with your local independent agent. To make it easy to take advantage of this coverage in the event of a covered incident, be sure to: Create an inventory of what your student is taking before he heads off to college and what it’s all worth. Include receipts, photos, serial numbers, and as much other information about the items as you can. Itemize any items worth more than $1,000 since, in most cases, there is a cap on how much coverage particular items or types of items receive under your policy. Itemizing the valuables offers broader coverage and also broadens the coverage territory to anywhere in the world. For students renting a house or apartment off-campus, or even a dorm on-campus, a renters insurance policy in their own name is another option. Renters policies are oftentimes highly affordable ($10 to $20 a month in some cases) and provide liability and medical payment coverages in addition to personal property. What About Umbrella Insurance? An umbrella policy covers all household members. If you have one, it gives your student even more liability protection in auto accidents and other mishaps, according to your policy. It’s normal to be nervous when your kids head off to college. But, there’s no reason to be nervous about whether you’ve handled their insurance needs properly. Use this primer as a guide but remember that your own insurance coverage may differ depending on your policy, your carrier, and your state. To further put your mind at ease, check in with your local independent agent for regular guidance. Trust me, there is no such thing as too many questions when it comes to keeping your young adult safely insured!  About Cresta Combs and Menicucci Insurance Agency About Cresta Combs and Menicucci Insurance Agency Cresta Combs brings nearly 10 years of insurance experience to Menicucci Insurance Agency, an independent insurance agency based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the agency’s personal lines manager, she strives to provide the best in service and education, helping clients understand how their coverage works. She draws on a wealth of knowledge about insurance and current practices within the industry to help clients maintain broad coverage at a reasonable price. Privately held and locally owned since being founded in 2007, Menicucci Insurance Agency further emphasizes excellent customer service, high-quality insurance products and a deep commitment to ethics throughout the organization. Content provided by SafeCo Insurance
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  • Young Minds + The Insurance Industry: How to Unite an Unlikely Pair June 29, 2017 3:44 pm
    Let’s face it: a career in insurance isn’t the first thing on the minds of most high school and college students. While those of us in the industry know it’s an interesting and ever-changing career path, insurance has a bit of an image problem for those that aren’t involved in it, especially the millennial generation. When I speak with young people, they tell me they feel like the insurance industry is alien and intimidating to them and they imagine insurance agents sitting in dull, gray cubicles doing the same thing every day. A transformation from student to independent agent This pervasive, misaligned view of the industry is why it’s so important for all of us in the IA channel to embrace programs like InVEST – a non-profit organization associated with the Big “I” – which provides insurance education to high school and college students, and gets them interested in working in the industry. I have a long history with this program and I’ve seen it from many perspectives. Strategic Insurance Services, the agency I work for, is a sponsor of InVEST, which is how I initially got involved with the agency. I can say with certainty that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the great help that I got through the InVEST program. An insurance industry wake-up call I didn’t know that I wanted to be an insurance agent when I entered high school. In fact, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. A meeting with my guidance counselor during my junior year of high school led to the suggestion that I take an InVEST class as an elective. Within two weeks of the program, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was the class assistant during my first year of the program and I wound up becoming the InVEST president at the school my senior year. In addition to learning about the insurance industry, InVEST helped me develop critical skills for the business world in general, such as how to ‘dress for success,’ prepare for an interview and put together a resume. Having that knowledge gave me an extra edge when I was entering the workforce. Helping give back by serving with InVEST These days, I’m still involved with InVEST classes through my volunteer work. I collaborate with an InVEST teacher to develop lesson plans; I put together a ‘Career Day,’ acted as a judge for the students’ mock insurance agencies and took charge of the lessons focused on auto insurance. One key component of InVEST is that it teaches students what career life is like, because the regular core classes in school aren’t teaching students important life skills like how to handle a job interview or write a resume. Please get involved InVEST helps introduce young people to potential careers in insurance. I would suggest to established professionals in the insurance industry to find ways to educate and share your experience with younger people, such as through volunteering with the InVEST program. The insurance world is always changing; in auto insurance alone, we’re already encountering changes with ride-share apps like Uber and self-driving cars on the horizon. We need bright, young minds that are going to have a fresh take on new obstacles in the industry. Get involved in InVEST - host a job shadow day, visit a classroom, recruit a graduate and more! Find an InVEST program near you - If InVEST doesn’t have a program in your area, it will provide the materials and resources necessary to launch one at a local school – for free. Content from SafeCo Article Written by Amy DeLorenzo 
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