Archive for November, 2011

Reduce Your Social Host Liquor Liability Exposure

Posted on November 30, 2011. Filed under: Personal (Home & Auto) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 13,000 people per year (about 35 per day) are killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.

Many of these tragic accidents happen after an inebriated person leaves a party—an event in which the host of that party might be held liable for injuries and deaths to innocent parties. Although there might be coverage under your personal auto policy or homeowners policy if you (as the host) are held legally responsible for such a terrible accident, a wiser risk management strategy is to avoid or reduce the chance of loss altogether. With that in mind, here are some tips to consider if you (or a resident family member) occasionally host social events involving alcohol.

  • Surveys of youth indicate that the most common source of alcohol is the young person’s own home. Thus, closely monitor social events your youth hosts to make sure there is no drinking allowed—particularly any type of illegal underage drinking. It is wise to not allow your teenager to host a party when you are out of town.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol at your event.
  • If alcohol is served at your party, make sure that there is plenty of food. The consumption of food slows down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Encourage designated drivers and provide nonalcoholic drinks for these guests.
  • Look for signs of intoxication. An intoxicated person often has trouble walking, has slurred or loud speech, or is atypically uninhibited. There is not, however, a fool-proof method of determining whether someone is intoxicated because exceptionally tolerant individuals often do not show signs of tipsiness even though they are intoxicated.
  • Restrict alcohol to any near-intoxicated or intoxicated persons by offering instead some food or alternative nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Consider hiring trained bartenders. As they are trained to recognize and deal with intoxication, using professional bartenders can significantly reduce the risk and may help in defending a claim should there be one.
  • If you have a cash bar, use tickets and issue a limited number. Don’t price alcohol too low because this encourages excessive drinking.
  • Do not allow the intoxicated guest to drive away from the event even if you have to take away his or her car keys. Instead, offer to drive them home or provide a free cab service. Soliciting the help of the guest’s spouse or a close friend may help.

Contact us for a free review of your liability coverage or for a quote. Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

Copyright 2009
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

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Battling Holiday Stress and Depression

Posted on November 29, 2011. Filed under: Good for You | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The holiday season is now in full swing. And, while this is a time full of happiness, cheer and fellowship for most, for some it is the most stressful time of the year. With the whirlwind of added demands, such as parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, good emotions can quickly turn into stress and sadness. Add to that an injured economy, and many are feeling extraordinary budgetary pressures this year.

The Mayo Foundation and Mental Health America suggest the following ideas to help lift the weight of holiday stress:

  • Keep your holiday expectations in check.
  • Focus on today, and leave the past behind.
  • Do something for somone else.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake; too much can worsen depression.
  • Surround yourself with people who are caring and supportive.
  • Take some time for yourself.

If you are feeling “SAD,” you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which typically happens when the days are shorter and the sun is not out as long each day. To combat the effects, spend time outside when the weather is nice and work out regularly.

If you focus on taking care of yourself, you will naturally ease the stress and lift your mood, so you can enjoy the holiday season and its many blessings.

For more information on healthy and green living, visit our website.

(Adapted from: BCBS of Texas “News from the Blues”)

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Avoid Packing on the Holiday Pounds

Posted on November 11, 2011. Filed under: Good for You | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

“The average adult consumes 3,000 calories and 229 g of fat in one Thanksgiving meal, reports the American Council on Exercise. A 160-pound person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off a 3,000-calorie Thanksgiving Day meal. Furthermore, that figure swells to 4,500 calories when the entire day’s feasting is considered.” (, “How Many Calories Does the Average American Consume on Thanksgiving?”)

A time for celebrating family and fellowship, Thanksgiving is the official beginning of the holiday season each year. It can also easily become an excuse for many of us to overindulge in both food and drink. From the appetizers, game day snacks, Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, and extra helpings of dessert, it is no wonder many of us pack on a few extra pounds each year at this time. But, there are healthy ways to enjoy the holidays, without impacting your waist line.

First, don’t criminalize the food being served. But, do plan what you are going to eat. It is fine to try a little of everything . . . key word being “little.” Rather than a full serving of every dish, treat yourself to a taste or two of each. Use a smaller plate, to help you dish up smaller servings.

Second, don’t rush back for seconds. Allow your food to settle for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This will give your stomach time to register what you’ve already eaten, and to communicate to your brain whether or not you are actually still hungry.

Third, don’t sample every dessert. Choose your favorite and have one small serving. Or, better yet, prepare a lighter version of a yummy treat so that you can easily avoid the heavier, calorie packed offerings.

Fourth, don’t take that nap when you finish eating. The tryptophan in the turkey may be singing you to sleep, but your best option is a brisk walk after your food has had time to settle. Fresh air and some activity will help your body burn up those calories faster.

Fifth, skip the late night snacks. Save the turkey sandwiches for lunchtime. And, if you just have to have another piece of pie, eat it for breakfast instead of at midnight.

Follow these helpful tips and you really can have your cake and eat it too!

For more healthy living tips that are good for you, visit our website’s educational resources: Keystone Insurance Services Resources.

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