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Baldwin / Welsh & Parker

Thursday, 03 November 2016 04:42

Manage the "Four C’s" of Winter Fire Risks:

Chimneys. Candles. Cooking. Christmas. Children.

winter fire hazardsThanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve—these holidays mean celebrations, many of them in decorated homes filled with merry-making family members and friends.

Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents also know that the winter holidays bring greater-than-usual risks of fire in homes.  The National Fire Protection Association reports that, over the course of a calendar year, the 10 worst days for fires in homes fall between December 24 and January 6.

Fortunately, these risks can be reduced with safe practices that address the “five Cs” of winter fires: chimneys, candles, cooking, Christmas trees and children.

Chimneys

Buildup or blockage within a chimney can catch fire. Chimney fires are unpredictable: they can be noisy and fierce, or can smolder undetected.

Common-sense tips:
  • If you haven’t checked or cleaned the chimney in the past two years, don’t use it.
  • Have a pro inspect the chimney for creosote (which is what builds up in a chimney and fuels a chimney fire)
  • Use dry wood. This minimizes creosote buildup.
  • Don’t burn wrapping paper, boxes, trash or Christmas trees.
  • Don’t use liquid to start a chimney fire. Use kindling.

Remember fireplace basics, too: use a screen to contain sparks; and let ashes cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Candles

Home-candle fires happen on Christmas Day more often than any other day, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Next worst: New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve. How do they start? Half of home-candle fires begin because an item is left near a lit candle. Four of 10 home candle fires start in bedrooms, with bedding, furniture, and curtains igniting.

Common-sense tips:
  • Make sure all candles are out before you leave a room or go to bed.
  • Keep clothing, curtains, furniture, and other flammable items away from candles and flame.
  • Use candle holders that don’t tip over.

Cooking

The National Fire Protection Association notes that 46% of all home fires start in the kitchen.  

Common-sense tips:
  • Keep an eye on what you fry
  • Be alert when cooking
  • Keep things that can catch fire away from cooking area
  • Never leave your cooking unattended
  • Turn off your cooking equipment when you leave the room

Christmas Trees

The National Fire Protection Association notes that 300 home fires start each year with Christmas trees. It’s not just live trees; artificial trees also burn. Three major reasons Christmas-tree fires start: electric malfunctions, heat too close to the tree, and children playing with matches, candles, or fireplaces.

Common-sense tips:
  • Buy a cut tree that has green, fresh needles.
  • Buy a fake tree that is fire resistant.
  • Use a secure stand.
  • Locate trees a minimum of three feet from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators.
  • Water live-cut trees every day.
  • Use lights listed by an industrial laboratory. Link together, at most, only three strands of bulbs.
  • Throw out lights that have frayed or broken cords.
  • Pull the plug on lights before going to bed or leaving home.
  • When a tree starts dropping needles, it’s time to dispose of it (outside, not in the house, garage or basement).

Children

Perhaps the most unpredictable risks for winter fire are those young people who are, naturally, exploring and experiencing the wonders of the winter world for the first time. Remember that lights and flames are fascinating to children.

Common-sense tips:
  • Watch the wires. Keep kids away from light strands and power cords.
  • Matches, candles, stoves and ovens often get extra use during the holidays, at a time when adults are occupied with cooking, cleaning and entertaining. Stop and ask: “What might draw a child’s curiosity in this house?” Then shield children from those items, physically and through discipline and direction.
  • Put matches/lighters out of children’s reach. Use lighters that have a child-resistant safety feature.
  • Train children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters.

Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker agents stand ready to assist consumers with a homeowners insurance claim. The best claim is no claim, though. Use these common-sense practices to prevent home fires.

Thursday, 03 November 2016 04:15

Drive Safely: Give Wildlife a “Brake”

Drive Safely: Give Wildlife a “Brake”

Slow down! Plus six more ways to lower your risk of hitting an animal (and what to do if a collision occurs)

The Humane Society of the United States

Animals are forced to cross roads and highways in search of food, water, cover and mates—placing them in the path of our speeding vehicles. So what can you do? First and foremost, slow down! Keeping your speed in check gives you a better chance of stopping in time if an animal darts into the road.

Read and share our lifesaving tips, especially with younger drivers you know. (Reports suggest that young adults ages 15-24 have the highest injury rate of any age group from car accidents involving large animals.)

  • Follow speed limits.Many animals are hit simply because people drive too fast to avoid them. Taking it slow makes the roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, too.
  • Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk and in the first few hours after darkness.Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
  • Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under roads.Most animal/vehicle collisions occur on these roads. Slow down to 45 mph or less.
  • Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. This will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play and slow-moving vehicles. 
  • Don’t throw trash out car windows.Discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads. 
  • Use your high beamswhenever possible.
  • Lower your dashboard lights slightly.You'll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.

How to help injured animals

Sometimes collisions are unavoidable, no matter how careful we are. Here's what to do if you hit an animal or come across an injured one.

Do not put your own safety at risk.Unless you can move the animal from the road in absolute safety, do not attempt to do so. Use your hazard lights or emergency road flares to warn oncoming traffic of the injured animal. Never attempt to handle a large animal like a deer, or one that could give a serious bite, like a raccoon.

Best way to prevent a crash: Slow down.

Call someone with the proper training and equipment. When you need assistance, call the non-emergency number of the local police department (program the phone number into your cell phone right now so you have it when you need it) and describe the animal's location. Emphasize that the injured animal is a traffic hazard to help ensure that someone will come quickly. Stay in the area until help arrives.

Use heavy glovesto protect yourself or avoid direct handling if you try to rescue a small animal yourself. Remember that the animal doesn't know you are trying to help and may bite or scratch in self-defense. An old towel is helpful if you need to move an injured animal.

Gently coax or place the animal into a cardboard boxand transport him/her to an animal shelter,wildlife rehabilitator, or a receptive veterinarian. If there is a delay, keep the animal in a dark, warm, quiet place to minimize fear and stress.

If you accidentally kill an animal, try to move the animal off the road—but only if you can do so in complete safety. Otherwise, report the location of the animal's body to the local police department, and it will arrange for removal. This will prevent scavengers from being attracted onto the road and eliminate a potential traffic hazard.

Monday, 31 October 2016 15:21

9 Halloween Safety Tips

9 Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is tonight and many consumers may not realize how scary this ghoulish night might really be for their personal safety, their property…or their pocketbooks. Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents can help families better prepare for Halloween hazards that may come in disguise or under the cloak of dark. To help families and businesses have a good time and protect themselves against more scary Halloween risks, we are offering the following safety tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 and use battery operated lights wherever possible. 
  3. 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 instead. 
  4. See and Be Seen Encourage each trick-or-treater and adult chaperones to carry a flashlight. Apply light-reflecting material to costumes. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. Unwelcomed Guests Scare away potential property vandals who often use the chaos of Halloween night to strike by keeping outdoor lights on. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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.

Important information and resource from our friends at Trusted Choice:

Next time your teen groans at the thought of a weekend driving lesson, flash a smile and tell the young driver it won't be with you. Let them try a distracted driving simulator, a video-game-like experience that creatively inspires teens to keep their eyes on the road.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Any activity that diverts a driver's attention from the road is distracting. For new, young drivers, these temptations seem like harmless, everyday tasks. From answering a phone call to adjusting the radio station, non-driving activities should be left until the car has come to a complete stop and is safely parked.

The United States government has created a website, NHTSA website, to educate parents about the dangers of distracted driving with some eye-opening statistics. For example: "Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted."

The site also explains it takes an average of five seconds for a driver to read and respond to a text message. In that short period of time, a car traveling at 55mph can drive the length of a football field!

A study from the Pew Research Center titled "Teens and Distracted Driving: Texting, Talking and Other Uses of the Cell Phone Behind the Wheel" discovered that 75 percent of teenagers ages 12-17 own a cell phone, and 66 percent of them use the mobile device for texting. Of those teens who send text messages, one in three in the 16-17-year-old age bracket admits to texting while behind the wheel. Fifty-two percent say they chatted on the phone -- which also counts as distracted driving -- while operating a vehicle.

Making Auto Safety Exciting and Interactive

Toyota’s TeenDrive365 Safety Clinics are popping up across the nation (with events scheduled far into 2015) to help address these dangerous habits. The two-and-a-half hour class teaches road safety and automobile maintenance for both parents and teens -- because we can all use a little tune-up when it comes to driving safety.

The hottest feature of the clinic is the realistic driving simulator that allows teen drivers to find out what happens when they take their eyes off the road for even moment to respond to a text message or apply makeup. The simulator reinforces defensive driving techniques and how to use safety features in the car to make driving both enjoyable and safe.

Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy & community affairs for Toyota in North America and president of the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation, said in a recent press release, “At Toyota, we really believe that the most important safety feature in any car is an educated driver – whether you’re 16 or 60. That’s why we’ve been committed to offering free education programs, like our Teen Driver Safety Clinics, that bring teens and parents together to learn about ways to be safer behind the wheel.”

The clinic is free and open to anyone who registers on the TeenDrive365 website.

Other Ways to Feel Secure When Your Teen's On the Road

It can be scary letting your teen get behind the wheel. The best way to ease this stress is to ask questions and be prepared.

  • Is your child covered as an additional driver on your auto insurance policy in the event of an accident?
  • If your teen hits another vehicle or someone's property, is it covered?
  • Does your child need special insurance coverage while driving a school-owned vehicle in a driver's education class?

If your teen is taking driving lessons using your vehicle, make safety for your child and others on the road your number one concern. Find out what type of policy and coverage you need by talking with one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice independent agents. They're happy to explain how to add a new family member to an existing policy, and when the time comes, secure their first automobile insurance coverage policy.

Here is a piece by IIABA's Trusted Choice which give you concrete ways to prevent property crimes. 

 

Property Crime prevention

 

Are you unknowingly enticing potential thieves to damage your property or break into your home? While you want your home to be a welcoming environment for family and friends, you might be surprised how common habits might be inviting to criminals, too. According to the FBI, there were over nine million property crimes in the United States in 2010. This statistic includes vandalism, arson, larceny and theft. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for burglary and property damage with these easy-to-follow tips.

Make It a Point to Keep Everything Locked Up

While you probably lock your vehicle and the main points of entry into your home, you may overlook locking your fence gates, garage or garden shed from time to time. The San Jose Police Department strongly encourages homeowners and renters to lock all doors, windows, and any point of entry to their property to deter theft. An unlocked gate allows a thief access to your backyard, away from the view of your neighbors. Once inside your yard, a thief has more freedom to peer through windows and patio doors. Access to garages and garden sheds also gives a thief more tools to use to break into your home. For example, a ladder in your backyard could make it much easier for a criminal to enter your home from the second story—where windows are more likely to be unlocked. Tools such as drills, hammers, and crowbars are also kept in many sheds and garages and can be used to break windows and open doors. Even if a thief is unable to get into your home, your backyard likely has valuable items such as a barbeque grill or bicycle.

Be Careful with Your Trash

Even what you throw away for curbside pickup can make you a target for theft, says the Bristol Herald Courier of Virginia. Perhaps you took advantage of Black Friday deals after Thanksgiving and scored a great price on a large  flat-screen television. After unpacking a television, gaming console, or computer, many people leave the boxes at the curb for recycling or trash pickup. Unfortunately, most packaging for expensive electronics shows pictures, brand names and specifications of the products in plain view. Placing boxes at the curb makes your home a target for thieves looking for electronics to steal. When unpacking electronics, break down the boxes and packaging instead and place them in black trash bags.

Maintain Your Home's Lawn and Landscape

Did you know that your landscape might entice property thieves? According to a presentation by the City of Mesa, Arizona Police Department, the way in which your home is landscaped and maintained affects your risk for theft. For example, large, untrimmed shrubs and bushes can give criminals a place to hide—especially at night. Be sure to keep hedges and bushes cut back so that the majority of your yard can be easily seen from a number of vantage points. On the other hand, shrubs and bushes can deter theft as well. Thieves are less likely to attempt to break into windows with landscaping underneath. Small bushes can provide an obstruction to otherwise easily accessible windows.

Light Up Your Property

Dark properties are alluring to those with malicious intent. Hiding under the cloak of darkness makes sneaking around someone's home much easier. The San Jose Police Department recommends keeping your home's exterior well illuminated with motion sensor lighting. This type of lighting can be found in hardware stores throughout the country. Because the lights are activated by movement, you don't have to worry about lights staying on night and day. If you choose to install motion sensor lights, make sure they illuminate your backyard, the sides of your property, and driveways or pathways. When installing this type of lighting, the higher the light is mounted the better, so that criminals cannot reach the bulbs to unscrew them.

Consider Using a Security Alarm

Security systems come with a variety of features to suit almost any budget. From basic systems that sound off loud alerts when an armed point of entry or window is breached to high-tech systems that allow for surveillance from a tablet or smart phone, there is likely a system that offers the best features  for your needs. Not only is the loud sound of a security alarm a major deterrent, many systems alert your local police department that your security has been compromised in some way. Furthermore, signage such as picket signs and window or door decals from your security system company can deter criminals as well. Many homeowners and renters insurance policies offer discounts for homes armed with security systems. Talk to your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent regarding home security discounts.

One of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker's Trusted Choice agents can make sure you have the best policy to protect your property, and even provide you with more helpful tips for preventing theft and vandalism.

Here's are important tips to get your fireplace ready for the winter season from our friends at Trusted Choice

 

fireplace

Once the sun sets this time of the year, you feel the cool air creep in. It’s those crisp, cool evenings that often give homeowners the itch to start a fire in the fireplace and curl up on the couch. Before you have your first fire of the season, take these safety steps to ensure a relaxing, cozy night doesn’t turn into a stressful situation.

  1. Hire a professional to clean and inspect your chimney. In addition to creosote build-up, therecan be other issues such as leaves or birds’ nests that pose a problem. The chimney structure and liner should also be looked over carefully for any signs of deterioration.
  2. Stock up on seasoned hardwood. Ideally, you want wood that has been split and stacked for at least 6 months. Not only will you get more heat out of this type of wood, but it leaves less creosote behind, reducing the main risk factor for a chimney fire.
  3. Have the right supplies. Use kindling instead of a flammable lighter fluid, and build the fire on a metal grate. Use a metal screen or glass doors to keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace. Store matches and lighters up high.
  4. Move items near the fireplace. Over the summer, the hearth might become a place to store any number of items, including magazines, books, pillows, and toys. Make sure all items are moved a good distance from the fireplace.
  5. Educate children about fireplace safety. Make sure they know to stay away from the fire and never play with matches or a lighter.

There’s nothing better than the first fire of the season. Gazing into the flames and hearing the wood crackle is the perfect way to end a long day. Before you use your fireplace this fall, follow these steps to ensure a safe experience.

Sunday, 16 October 2016 20:30

Preventing Home Fires - Heating Safety Tips

The National Fire Protection Association has these important tips as the weather gets colder, Make sure your fireplace and heating equipment are in top condition!

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

Click here for more - Heating Safety Tips

How to choose a backpack for your child. 
Kids walking home from school


By September 16, National School Backpack Awareness Day, over 79 million students will go back to school. Many will carry a heavy load to school, especially if they’re starting middle school, where they carry more books, supplies, equipment and electronics than before. It seems like they pack their school lockers in their backpacks and carry them to and from school every day. But overloaded backpacks on children can cause pain and injury that often continue throughout adulthood.

In fact, a 2009 University of California study showed that 64% of American students aged 11 to 15 complained of back pain from heavy backpacks, and 21% reported that the pain lasted more than six months. Moreover, experts say 80% of adults have experienced back pain at some point in their lives, and it can start in childhood.

But it’s not just kids’ backs that can be harmed by weighty backpacks.

“Shoulder rotator cuffs and joints, elbows, wrists, hips and legs can be injured by improper lifting or carrying of heavy backpacks,” warns chiropractor Wm. Todd Fisher, DC of Chantilly Chiropractic Center, PC in Chantilly, VA. “Further, a child’s growth plates and the discs in their back and neck can be damaged, setting them up for a lifetime of back problems,” he states.

So what’s the solution? Choose the right backpack for your child’s size and needs. Here are some keys to choosing the right backpack.

Choose Back Safety Over Stylishness

We know kids love to be “cool,” especially tweens and teens. And it’s important to get your kids things they won’t stuff in the back of the closet and refuse to use. But preventing a lifetime of back injuries may mean sacrificing a little style. Moreover, says Dr. Fisher, “Bigger isn’t better, either.” And neither is cheaper.

So how do Dr. Fisher and other experts recommend you choose a backpack? “Start with knowing your child’s weight and height,” he says. “A backpack should never fall more than four inches below the child’s waistline, nor should it be heavier than 10% of their weight.” A backpack that’s too heavy and too low causes the child to bend forward to balance it, leading to neck and back strain. So it should be at shoulder level and never sag away from the body.

Sometimes the most stylish backpacks lead to serious, long-term musculoskeletal problems in children because they break all of these rules.

Gary Sato, DC, a California chiropractor, Assistant Coach of USC Men's Volleyball and Assistant Coach of USA Men’s Volleyball during the 1988, 1992 and 2012 Olympics, agrees. The father of three, including two teens, he says, “It’s terrible to see kids have back pain that continues into adulthood, so it’s critical that parents convey to them the importance of back care over stylishness.” In other words, this is another area where peer pressure can have long-term health consequences. Besides, you can buy some stylish backpacks and still keep your kids’ backs safe.

What Features Should a Good Backpack Have?

In addition to being high-quality, meaning durable enough to hold heavier loads without excessive sagging and having a reflector, Dr. Fisher suggests backpacks have the following features:

  • Have wide, thick, padded, adjustable, well-made shoulder straps. This type of straps helps keep the backpack on securely and distribute the weight more evenly across the shoulders and back. They also prevent damage to the child’s flesh and muscles from cutting into the shoulders.
  • Be the right size for the child and their uses. Again, bigger is not better, but smaller than needed (like many of the drawstring bags) is not cool, either. Both can be harmful, since kids are likely to overload bigger backpacks, and the poor construction of many drawstring bags makes them inappropriate for heavier loads.
  • Have sternum and hip straps. These straps across the stomach and around the hips help balance the load of the backpacks and stabilize them on your kids’ backs.
  • Have ample compartments. Not only is this a way for kids to carry more delicate items more securely and with less damage (especially if the compartment is padded for electronics), but also the weight of the backpack gets more evenly distributed.
  • Be padded on the back and have air bladders in the right places. Both keep the contents of the backpack from injuring the body and help balance its weight.
  • Have wheels, in some cases, with sturdy pulling handles. Wheels allow backpacks to be rolled, which takes most of the strain off children’s growing bodies. But be careful with these, because wheels often mean users overload them; they have to be lifted to be carried onto the school bus and down stairs. Lifting heavy bags can cause strain, and these can cause other safety issues, too. So make sure your child’s school allows them.
choosing a backpack
 
 

Dr. Sato agrees with these features, adding, “Backpacks should also be breathable so kids don’t sweat while carrying them.” Breathability will help backpacks last longer (since the salt in sweat can break some fabrics down) and not carry odors.

How Should Your Kids Load and Carry Their Backpacks?

In order to choose correctly, you’ll need to know what your child will be carrying and how. In addition to this nifty chart provided by The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA),which shows parents and students how to both pack and wear their backpacks, Dr. Fisher has a few other suggestions. “Backpacks should not be worn lower than four inches below a child’s natural waistline because that forces them to lean forward to balance the load,” he explains. That can cause strain across the child’s musculoskeletal system, including back, neck, hip flexors, ankles and feet.

He adds they should be securely fastened on a child’s body to make sure the backpack is high and close to the body. He suggests children, “stand in front of a mirror after loading their backpack to check posture.” If they find themselves leaning forward, they should remove some of the contents of the backpack. Watch this Boston University video for additional considerations about properly choosing, loading and wearing a backpack.

Also, this video provides additional wearing information, including warning signs the backpack is too heavy. Dr. Sato says it’s OK for kids to carry additional bags if their backpacks are too heavy but, in general, kids should not be overloaded carrying them.

Where Should You Purchase Backpacks?

Start with the school’s supply list to determine what kind of backpack your child is allowed to carry to school. Then go shopping. It’s likely that the more children you have, the more budget-conscious you’ll be. Both doctors agree that this is understandable, but say that it’s just as important to consider your child’s long-term musculoskeletal health when purchasing their backpack. Don’t automatically choose the cheapest option at a discount retailer. That may not be the best backpack for your child’s size or needs.

Moreover, while there are numerous high-end brands to choose from, Dr. Fisher recommends the AirPack brand. Other popular brands are REI, JanSport, L.L.Bean, Kipling, Herschel and North Face. But whatever brand you choose, make sure it meets the criteria above, including those from the AOTA. Dr. Sato recommends that you go in to the retailer, look at backpacks and try them on your child, and then go online to buy them at the best price.

If you follow these strategies for choosing, loading and wearing a backpack, your child is less likely to be injured carrying one.

Business owners have enough to worry about besides uncontrollable threats that prevent success. Business liability insurance is one way to help prepare for and protect your business from the biggest risks you face.


Top Business Risks in 2016

A recent study done by Allianz concluded that the following three risks are considered by business owners to be among the most significant business risks for 2016:

 

You can protect your business from these threats with a variety of business insurance policies, including business liability insurance—specifically cyber liability insurance and employment practices liability insurance.


Protect Against the Top 3 Risks with Liability Insurance for Your Business

Liability claims are among the most expensive business insurance claims. Without appropriate liability coverage, one lawsuit or unexpected event can force you to close your doors. Business liability insurance can help you protect your business from the 3 top risks named in the survey.

In order to protect your business from cyber incidents, PR disasters, and the impact of new technologies, you need:

  • General business liability insurancealso known as Commercial general liability insurance (CGL) is the most basic form of business liability insurance.

General liability insurance definition: A contract that protects a business against claims due to injuries, accidents, and negligence. It can protect your business from costs related to bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, legal costs, judgments, and personal injury claims such as libel and slander. To protect your business from more specific types of emerging threats, you may need to purchase additional liability policies.

  • Cyber liability insuranceis important for any business that uses electronic information. If you are sued because of a data breach or other cybercrime, your business could be responsible for paying legal fees, court-ordered judgments or settlements, and any other court-mandated costs. Your general liability policy may not appropriately cover these costs.

Cyber liability claims are also extremely costly in terms of fines, public relations costs, and other expenses you must pay on behalf of your affected customers.

While cyber liability policies continue to evolve because of the ever-changing nature of the threats, most cyber liability insurance policies protect your business assets by covering your legal defense costs, as well as any settlements and judgments that you are ordered to pay. Cyber liability insurance also helps businesses repair their reputations and damage to their brands in these situations by providing coverage for PR and other related expenses.

  • Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI)is another form of liability insurance for your business that is becoming more important as technology changes. EPLI provides protection from claims and lawsuits brought against a business, its officers or directors, or its employees and managers for discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and other employment-related allegations.

In addition, EPLI covers claims related to employee benefits mismanagement. In today’s interconnected society, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which new technology makes it possible for an employee’s benefits enrollment or personal health information to be made public inadvertently. EPLI insurance would protect you in such a circumstance.


Other Kinds of Business Liability Insurance to Consider

In addition to the risks named in the Allianz study, most businesses face a variety of other threats that could lead to a liability claim. Depending on your type of business, you may need to consider a number of additional business liability policies to protect your assets.

  • Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance:Also referred to as professional liability insurance, this policy will protect you from loss or damage arising from poor or misleading advice, or an act of negligence that leads to a client's financial loss.
  • Liquor liability insurance:Coverage that protects any business that sells or serves alcoholic beverages, including restaurants, nightclubs, and bars, that can be held liable for damages or injuries caused by intoxicated patrons.
  • Product liability insurance:If your product causes any form of injury or damage, product liability insurance will cover compensation and possible legal fees if you are sued.
  • Environmental impairment liability (EIL) insurance:A specialty insurance policy created for companies and contractors who engage in jobs or production that have toxic by-products. EIL insurance will cover many of the costs related to spills, leakage, or contamination, including fines and cleanup costs.
  • Pollution liability insurance:A business insurance policy that covers the costs associated with pollution cleanup, as well as liability claims for pollution-related injuries, illnesses, or deaths.
  • Event liability insurance:Standard personal or commercial liability policies will not cover the varied exposures related to special events. Event liability policies can be tailored to your specific event, from small, one-time events to large, elaborate affairs.

How to Know if Your Insurance Policy is Right for You

Business liability insurance—in all of its forms—is essential to the long-term success of your business. Every business liability policy must be tailored to your unique business, or you face having limited or no coverage when you really need it.

Consulting with an independent agent who represents multiple insurance companies is the best way to ensure that you can find the best basic and specialized commercial liability insurance to address all of the insurable risks inherent in your business. Working with your local independent agent, you will determine the type and amount of coverage you need based on:

  • Business size, type and value
  • Type of work you do
  • Type of risks
  • Level of liability

Your agent can seek out the best coverage—from multiple insurance companies—to meet your needs and budget.


How to Find the Right Commercial Liability Insurance Agent

Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker insurance agents are trained to be one of your most trusted business advisors—no different from your accountant, lawyer, or banker. Don’t trust your business to just anyone. Choose an independent insurance agent who will be as invested in protecting your business as you are. Whether you need small business liability or corporate liability insurance your agent can help you evaluate specific business risks and the various liability risks your company faces.

Our agents represent multiple insurance companies, providing you with a broad range of options to meet your needs. Find an agent in your community today and start addressing your top business risks.

Data Breaches. Malware. Hacking.

Recently cyber attacks are always in the news, and no one is immune.Shocking statistics reveal this ever-present and expanding problem has serious consquences for all business organizations. Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Insurance gladly shares these tips to protect your business from this devastating threat.

According to a recent Paychex blog, "Experts uniformly agree that educating employees about the threats of data breaches and cyber theft is a critical step in protecting your company's invaluable data. But while most small businesses understand the need for a comprehensive data security program, many still believe hackers are only interested in going after big companies, and therefore may not take all the precautions that they should. In fact, statistics compiled by the National Cyber Security Alliance paint a disturbing portrait of small business vulnerability:

  • Almost 50 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack.
  • More than 70 percent of attacks target small businesses.
  • More than 75 percent of employees leave their computers unsecured.
  • As many as 60 percent of small and medium-sized businesses that experience a data breach go out of business after six months.

A breach or attack can result in a significant loss of income, particularly if the small business involved lacks cyber liability insurance. If news of the breach goes public, the damage to the business's brand may be insurmountable."

In addition to a hacker getting into your system, data theft can occur if an employee’s computer is stolen, or if an unauthorized person is able to access a computer in your office. It could even be a disgruntled employee who carries out data theft. Any business that collects and stores sensitive information from customers, including credit card information, contact information, credit information, social security numbers, medical information, etc. is at risk for data theft.

Here are a few tips to reduce your risks for cyber attacks and data theft of sensitive customer information: 

  • Change the passwords you and your employees use to log into your technology systems on a regular basis
  • Avoid emailing sensitive information, but if you do, use a secured email service
  • Have employees lock their computer screens when they step away from their desks
  • Avoid having unescorted/unsupervised visitors walking through your office
  • Don’t open strange email attachments or click unusual links in emails, especially from an unknown sender as they may be scams
  • Have a written technology policy in place so that all of your employees understand the expectations and rules guiding how your business handles sensitive data
  • Consider Cyber Liability insurance

Loss of electronic data is not covered under most commercial theft policies because it is not a tangible asset, and most general liability policies also exclude coverage for your costs to notify customers of potential data theft, pay for the costs of investigating the loss or the costs of potential fines, penalties or lawsuits that result from a failure to protect the data. A cyber liability policy can provide your business with coverage that will help you cover several costs, including the expenses to inform your customers and regulatory authorities about the possible exposure of data.

To protect your small business from these exposures, consider a Cyber Liability Policy. Our Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agents at Baldwin / Welsh & Parker can help you identify the risks your business faces from data theft, and can help you identify a policy to cover those exposures.

 

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Waltham, MA - 781-890-3740

Hudson, MA - 978-562-5652

Wayland, MA - 508-358-5383

Winthrop, MA - 617-846-0731

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