Preparing for a Safe Halloween

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Fun and Games | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Halloween is just around the corner, and many people may not realize how scary this eerie night might really be for their personal safety, their property . . . or their wallets. Here are some tips to prepare for Halloween hazards that may come in disguise or under the cloak of dark.

The following safety tips are endorsed by Trusted Choice(r), the consumer branding program for independent insurance agents and brokers:

  • Prevent Accidents: Remove or move lawn furniture, or any other obstacles, to avoid accidents or damage. Ensure your home’s entry is in good condition, free of loose or broken pieces on stairwells and walkways to avoid trick-or-treaters’ injuries on your property.
  • Fire Dangers: Prevent fires by making sure pumpkins containing candles are placed at a distance where a child’s costume cannot be ignited or a curious guest may tip it over. Extinguish all candles before going to bed. Consider using battery operated lights wherever possible. A variety of Jack-O-Lantern lights are available at most stores that sell Halloween decor.
  • Costume Safety: Be careful with costumes. All disguises should be made from flame-resistant materials and shouldn’t be too long or contain sharp accessories. Try to avoid masks that may obscure vision and try to use hypo-allergenic make-up.
  • See and Be Seen: Encourage each trick-or-treater and adult chaperones to carry a flashlight. Apply light-reflecting material to costumes.
  • Don’t be a Scary Driver: Drive sober, slowly and even more carefully than usual on Halloween. Watch for children who may be running or wearing dark costumes in the road.
  • Power in Numbers: When walking, travel in groups and cross only at corners and crosswalks-never between parked cars-and stay on well-lit streets.
  • Unwelcomed Guests: Scare away potential property vandals who often use the chaos of Halloween night to strike by keeping outdoor lights on.
  • Pet Safety: Keep pets inside. Warn your children to stay away from animals as they go door-to-door. Halloween night can be stressful, even on the friendliest dog or cat or other creatures.
  • Candy Inspection: Cavities aren’t the only candy-related risks on Halloween. Inspect all children’s treats. Never eat unwrapped items, collect candy only from those you know and ask the local police department if it offers a candy x-ray and/or inspection service. Throw away any suspicious candy.

Stay safe . . . and BOO!

Printed with permission from Trusted Choice.

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“Satellite, Headlines Read . . .”

Posted on September 28, 2011. Filed under: Personal (Home & Auto) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Science and technology are wonderful things! Just think of cell phones, light bulbs, and planes. Speaking of planes, did you hear about the Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite that fell in the pacific ocean this past Saturday? Luckily, no one got hurt. But if parts of it fell on a home or an auto, is there coverage? You might want to check your insurance policies. It may not be a satellite that falls on your home or auto. It may be a tree! If your home policy covers “Falling Objects” you are likely covered. If you rejected comprehensive coverage, then your car won’t be. If you’re not our client, and don’t have an expert to ask, you are welcome to give us a call (512.257.8000). We will be happy to help you ask your company the right questions.

Enjoy Dave Matthew’s “Satellite” video!

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Tax Credits and Group Health Insurance

Posted on September 9, 2011. Filed under: Group Life & Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Are you a small business owner in Austin, Texas, or the greater Austin area, who would like to offer benefits to your employees, but think you can’t afford to do so? We can help you by providing free small group health insurance quotes with five of the largest health insurance providers in the nation. We can also help you calculate your possible tax savings, through the government credits that are currently being offered. We are licensed in the State of Texas and provide: commercial, life and health (for both individuals and groups), home and auto insurance. Contact us today!

*Note: we are not tax advisors, nor do we provide tax services. All information provided will be illustrative. Tax professionals should be consulted to determine actual eligibility for and amount of any applicable credits.

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Technology Companies Beware!

Posted on August 31, 2011. Filed under: Commercial | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Insuring technology companies is a complex endeavor. Besides the more basic coverages like general liability, products and completed operations, and errors & omissions, many companies must also consider cyber liability, intellectual property, and invasion of privacy cliams. And, that is just to name a few.

It’s also important to remember that claims do not only arise because of disgruntled employees. Some of the most costly mistakes are just that, simple mistakes. For example:

1. The inadvertant erasure of critical data.
2. An employee accidentally sends an inappropriate email to the wrong recipients.
3. Failure to meet deadlines, agreed upon specifications, or compatibility requirements.
4. Software failures, which cause other damages such as bodily harm or even death (ex. transportation system programs, hospital or other medical treatment systems, etc.).

All of the above can lead to costly judgments, often in excess of the actual losses or damages that may have been caused.

To ensure you have adequate coverage, we recommend you choose an insurance agent that not only understands the exposures you face, but the business you do.

We are your technology insurance expert. Located in Austin and serving the great state of Texas. Call us!

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Fun in the Sun

Posted on February 21, 2011. Filed under: Personal (Home & Auto) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Warm weather often arrives early in Central Texas, which for many means it’s time to bring the watercraft out of storage! It’s vitally important that your insurance agent know about the watercraft you own, to ensure you have appropriate and adequate coverage. You should also understand your coverage prior to renting boats or other watercraft. Did you know whether a boat or jet ski is inboard or outboard may impact how it is covered by, or excluded from, a homeowner’s policy? For more information, or for quotes, contact us.

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Professional Liability Claims Triggers

Posted on December 10, 2010. Filed under: Commercial | Tags: , , , , |

If you have Professional Liability coverage, make sure you understand whether it is a “claims-made” or “claims-made-and-reported” policy. The latter can be a trap.

Both types of policies trigger coverage when the claim is made. The difference lies in when the claim must be reported to the insuring company. In a “claims-made” policy, the claim must occur during the policy term and be reported “as soon as possible” or “as soon as practical,” which may be after the end of the policy term. A “claims-made-and-reported” policy has much more stringent reporting provisions, which may cause issues for claims arising late in a policy period if they are not reported before the policy term ends or shortly after.

Take some time to understand your coverage. For Professional Liability insurance quotes, call us. We are located in Austin and licensed in Texas.

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Setting Yourself Apart as an Employer

Posted on December 10, 2010. Filed under: Group Life & Health | Tags: , , , , |

One of the easiest ways to set yourself apart as an employer today, is by offering a benefits package. Because of the recession, even large companies are cutting and, in some cases, eliminating the benefits they offer their employees. Being a small to mid-sized employer should not mean you are unable to provide health insurance benefits.

While employers are required to contribute a minimum of 50% of the employee’s premium, there are tax breaks available to help offset the cost. Plus, there is no question that a benefits package is one of the best ways to attract and keep high-quality, experienced, employees. Additionally, individuals with health benefits are more likely to visit a doctor when they get sick, meaning quicker recovery times and less sick days. Employee morale can also be positively impacted, when employers communicate that they value their staff and care for them.

It can be a daunting task to investigate group health options, as the number of companies offering coverage and the variety of plans available is expansive. However, there are affordable options for both PPO and HSA plans, for most employers. An independent agent can provide valuable assistance by collecting quotes from multiple insurers and identifying plans that best suit your company’s needs. It is important to know that utilizing an agent DOES NOT affect your premiums. And, when quoting identical small group plans with the same insurer, the cost will be the same regardless of the agent you use. Because of this, it is most important that you identify an agent who is experienced, knowledgable, detail oriented, and focused on meeting your expressed needs.

We want to be your advocate. Contact us for customized, personal attention, focused on your expressed needs. We are located in Austin and licensed in Texas.

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