Glascock & Meenan Insurance

3 POOL SAFETY TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS

A backyard pool can be the center of summertime fun, family time, and exercise. Having a pool at home can be great fun for the entire family. It can enhance your property’s value and provide the perfect backdrop for social events ranging from BBQs to outdoor parties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 7.4 million swimming pools and five million hot tubs in residential or public use in the United States.

Owning a swimming pool, though, is a big responsibility. According to the CDC, 3,536 Americans die in unintentional non-boating drowning accidents each year in the U.S. And for every child under the age of 14 who dies of drowning, another five receive emergency room care for nonfatal submersion.

For the homeowner with a swimming pool, a pool accident can be devastating in many ways.  Drowning isn’t by any means the only safety concern, though. From minor scrapes to biological hazards, there are several safety concerns that go with pool ownership.

To help you avoid problems and have an accident-free and liability-free summer, here are three areas of pool safety tips for homeowners.

Install a Pool Fence and Alarm
Children can slip through doggy doors, climb out windows and walk out unlocked doors in a matter of seconds. To prevent small children from entering the pool area unsupervised and neighborhood kids from using your pool without permission, consider installing a climb-resistant pool fence is one of the best measures you can take.

Guidelines for a safe pool fence include:

  • Have no more than four inches between vertical slats.
  • Be at least four feet high and have a self-closing gate with a latch above the reach of children.
  • Supply no easy footholds or handholds for climbing.
  • Keep furniture or other objects that can be used as a climbing aid away from the fence.

Even if you did not give permission for someone to be there, you may be held liable for accidents that occur on your property. A pool is considered an “attractive nuisance,” the legal doctrine that can hold a homeowner responsible for injuries on their property to children who cannot understand the risks involved in their actions in trespassing. Securing your pool with a locked fenced is one step you can take to help you reduce that risk. Read Full Article

FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Fires can be devastating to any business, but smaller firms tend to have less cushion financially and more to lose, making this threat especially dangerous. If you own a small business, make sure you take all of the steps necessary to mitigate the risk of and prepare for fire.

Inherent danger
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal entity dedicated to workplace and worker safety, estimated 3 percent of casualties that occurred on the job were due to fires in 2007, per the most recent data available. Fire Magazine, a publication devoted to news regarding fires, notes that 60 percent of small businesses fail to re-open after experiencing a fire.

Tips to prevent fires
The Texas Department of Insurance, an agency in the state that covers insurance topics and legislation, suggests minimizing the number of flammable materials stored in the office. This ranges from batteries and paperwork to packaging materials and beyond. Make sure the materials you do store in the workplace are managed properly to avoid fires.

Alarm.org, an Electronic Security Association website devoted to fire safety, recommends that businesses prevent circuits from becoming overloaded and that wiring from electronics are regularly checked for damage. Damage could include exposure of underlying metal cords.

Ensure that your information is always backed up in either an off-site facility or in a cloud computing environment, in case the main office is compromised in a fire.

HOW MUCH RANSOM WOULD YOU PAY FOR YOUR ONLINE INFORMATION?

Information security has become one of the gravest threats facing organizations, consumers and government entities in the past decade. Now that virtually all companies have embraced the era of digitization, hackers and malicious parties are relevant risks in every industry and region of the country.

Consider the following statistics:

  • The 2016 Ponemon cost of data breach report found that the average financial loss companies experience for each event hit $4 million in 2015, which was higher than the $3.8 million recorded one year earlier.
  • The Identity Theft Resource Center, which aggregates instances of data loss and theft, counted 1,093 data breaches among organizations in 2016, the highest figure ever.
  • Small Business Trends, an online publication, explains that 43% of all cyber attacks counted in 2015 were aimed at small businesses. This share represented more than double the frequency of 18% recorded in 2011.

Many small businesses would not be able to foot the bill of a major data breach. What’s more, they need to take significant and intelligent measures to protect themselves against cyber risks.

Let’s focus on one of the threats that has become a hacker’s favorite tool: ransomware.

What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware ─the term used to describe malicious software ─ that infects a device and essentially makes files and data inaccessible to the owner. An individual who experiences this attack will often try to turn on a mobile phone or open an app but will not be able to. Then, the victim will get a message that demands a ransom be sent to a certain account to unlock the files.

Ransomware presents a range of problems to businesses. In April 2016, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation explained that it saw a substantial increase in the number of ransomware attacks on businesses compared to the year prior.   Read Full Article

PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FROM CYBERSECURITY BREACHES

Most people see cybersecurity as something that governments and corporations have to worry about. After all, they hear about cyber attacks on major entities such as Equifax and England’s National Health Service on the news. The truth is, however, businesses of all sizes are at risk of a cybersecurity breach.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 40% of cyber attacks target businesses with fewer than 500 employees. In addition, about one in five small and midsize businesses reported a cyber attack over a two-year period. Computer crime has now bypassed illegal drugs as the country’s number-one criminal money maker, making it in every business owner’s best interest to safeguard their organization as much as possible.

Here are five common questions business owners and nonprofit organizations face about cybersecurity breaches:

What types of breaches are possible?
Businesses are seeing the full gambit of cyber attacks, ranging from man-in-the-middle-schemes to classic malware and phishing attacks. In most cases, the criminals are after credit card and banking information. However, a recent FBI report on identity theft noted that personnel records are becoming a growing area of concern.

Rather than attack a business directly, criminals break into a system and steal employee personal information. Then they use it to create “ghost identities.” As these attacks may not be recognized for some time after they’ve occurred, it can be difficult for authorities to combat them. Seasonal businesses are especially vulnerable to this type of attack, as fluctuations in employee numbers can make it difficult to establish links between victims.

How much could cyber attacks cost a business?
Estimates of what a cyber attack can cost a business vary greatly. The size and type of business affected are major factors in determining the costs. At a minimum, a small retail establishment or seasonal business might lose $38,000 to $55,000 due to an attack. This number includes lost productivity and the cost of paying for professional expertise to fix the security breach. This does not include damages to victims, fines and legal fees which could be exorbitant and reach the millions. READ FULL ARTICLE

5 STEPS TO PREVENT EMPLOYEE THEFT

For many small business owners, there’s no such thing as a small loss due to theft or fraud. When a dishonest employee is the cause, it only compounds the injury. There’s not only the financial burden of the crime but the loss of an employee and the trust in your workforce.

Is employee theft really a problem? A recent study found that, in a retail setting, one of every 27 employees was apprehended by their employer for theft. In an office environment, office fraud lasts an average of two years before it’s detected. Apprehensions of employees for dishonesty spiked nearly 10% from 2015 to 2016, according to a survey of retailers.

How to Watch for Employee Theft & Fraud
The most-likely culprits to steal from employers are employees who have worked at their jobs for several years.

Some danger signals that you should look out for are:
A sudden devotion to their jobs or working later than normal hours.
Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
Evidence of financial troubles or irresponsibility.
Having strong objections to procedural changes related to financial, inventory or supply matters.
Living above their means.
Moonlighting in a parallel business.
Combating Employee Theft
Here are five ways to make it more difficult for dishonest employees to steal from your business and minimize the damage done to your business:

1. Run background checks When making hiring decisions, don’t just check a prospective employee’s references. Run a complete background check. It may seem a little pricey but it can be money well spent if it prevents you from hiring a future thief. Read Full Article

7 Things You Should Know About Insurance Deductibles

Hartford: Alaina Tweddale and Manisha Pradhan

Have you ever wondered how deductibles work when it comes to homeowners and auto insurance? Many people do – this is why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the basics of deductibles and how to choose the best one for you and your situation.

1. What exactly is an insurance deductible?

A deductible is the portion of the costs that you pay in a claim when you need to get your car repaired after an accident or your home repaired after a loss. The deductible amount will be paid by you specific to your property that’s damaged, whether it’s your car or your home, so you should always choose a deductible that you’ll be comfortable paying.

2. How does my deductible work?

The way deductibles work varies, based on whether you’re talking about auto policies or home policies.

Auto Insurance 

If you’re involved in a car accident and your vehicle can be repaired, your insurance company will pay the auto body shop for the damages, minus your deductible. You’ll then pay the auto body shop your deductible amount when your vehicle is completely repaired.

If you’re involved in an accident where your vehicle is totaled — that is, your insurer believes that the cost to repair your vehicle would be more than the value of the vehicle itself — your insurance provider will pay you the current value of your vehicle, minus your deductible.

For example, say you’re involved in a car accident and the damages are estimated to be $2,000 and you carry a $500 deductible. Your insurance company will pay the body shop $1,500, that it, the total damages minus your deductible, to repair your car. Once it’s fully repaired, you’ll then pay the body shop the $500 deductible to pick up your car.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Your insurance company will pay you directly for the damages of your loss, minus your deductible, which you will then use to pay a contractor to repair your home. For example, say that you have experienced a kitchen fire, resulting in a $50,000 loss and you carry a $1,000 deductible. Your insurance company will pay you $49,000, the total damages minus your deductible. When the $50,000 in damages are repaired, you’ll pay for them using the $49,000 from the insurance company plus $1,000 of your own funds, which represents the deductible amount.

3. What options do I have when it comes to my deductible and filing a claim?

You have the right to choose whether or not to file an insurance claim if you have a loss. Typically, people will file claims on larger losses and repair smaller losses on their own.

For example, say that you’re involved in an accident and the damage to your vehicle is $15,000 and you carry a $500 deductible. You would probably file a claim with your insurance provider to repair these damages; if so, you would pay the $500 deductible once it’s repaired.

Now imagine that the damages to your vehicle were only $200 and you have that same $500 deductible. In most cases, a person would choose to pay the $200 out of pocket to repair their car, rather than filing a claim with their insurer. READ FULL ARTICLE

 

DOES BUSINESS INSURANCE COVER THE COSTS OF A PRODUCT RECALL?

well-known food company recalled two brand-name food products after four customers reported finding metal parts in their food. One of the world’s best-selling auto brands faced an airbag recall. And lettuce grown in Arizona caused dozens of illnesses in 35 states.

Product recalls like these are often in the news. They’re especially prominent when the federal government mandates that a company pull a supply of its product off the market based on safety concerns that affect consumers. A business can also trigger its own product recall when it suspects a defect or tampering could lead to customers or others suffering bodily injury or property damage.

But it’s not just big-name brands that face the risk. Beyond headline-making automakers, farmers and meat packers, industries such as manufacturers and suppliers of products are all at risk. These products include consumer goods, electronics, furniture and fixtures, and metal and plastic component parts.

Pulling a product back from the market can spike the company’s costs while putting a dent in the company’s reputation with prospects, customers and the community.

Commonly, businesses buy commercial general liability (GL) insurance coverage to protect their operations, employees and assets. But that type of policy typically does not cover the significant expenses a company can face if it has a product recall. READ FULL ARTICLE

The Basics of Business Insurance for Small Business Owners

Risk comes with the territory when you run a small business. Negative cash flow, personnel issues, accidents on your premises, fire or flood — these are just a few of the risks that can disrupt the stability of your business. One lawsuit or catastrophic event can be enough to set your business back and may even force you to close your doors.

You may not be able to protect against all the risks your business faces, but you can manage some of them with business insurance. This is what a business owner’s policy, or BOP, is designed to help you do.

Business Owner’s Policy: Designed for Small Business Owners

BOP is a policy designed specifically for the needs and budget of small business owners, and the risks they commonly face. BOPs bundle two types of protection in a single policy — commercial property and general liability insurance — which allows providers to sell them for less than two policies sold separately.

BOPs are also customizable. You can add on coverages to tailor a policy to the specialized needs of your business or industry.

A BOP may be right for you if your business has fewer than 100 employees, meets certain maximum income requirements and is a low-risk operation. Businesses that are larger, highly specialized or have high-risk operations may need more coverage than a BOP can provide.

Here’s a closer look at the coverages that are included with a BOP.

Property Insurance

The property portion of a BOP covers damage to your business caused by fire, explosion, windstorms, theft, vandalism and any other perils specifically listed in the policy. The types of property that are covered by a BOP include:

  • Buildings you own, lease or rent
  • Essential business personal property such as equipment, inventory and supplies
  • The property of others while it is in your care

If your building is vandalized, for example, your BOP policy will help cover the cost to repair the damage and replace any damaged contents. If a customer’s property on the premises was also damaged, a BOP will help pay to replace that, too.

But BOP property coverage is not all-inclusive. When purchasing a policy, be sure you understand what business properties and perils are included and excluded to avoid any surprises should you need to file a claim. If you want broader protection beyond the standard BOP, you may be able to purchase a “special” BOP form that provides all-risk coverage for a higher premium. Read Full Article

What Those Big Words Mean: Tips for Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home can be a great experience, but mine has been…complicated, to say the least. The market in West Michigan (where I live) is bursting at the seams with young dreamers hoping to make their first home purchase, but West Michigan is not alone! Renters all over the country are looking to buy, but are instead experiencing the stony truth of the housing shortage across the nation.

Continue reading

From THE BLOG
  • 3 POOL SAFETY TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS
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  • FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
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  • HOW MUCH RANSOM WOULD YOU PAY FOR YOUR ONLINE INFORMATION?
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  • PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FROM CYBERSECURITY BREACHES
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  • 5 STEPS TO PREVENT EMPLOYEE THEFT
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  • 7 Things You Should Know About Insurance Deductibles
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  • DOES BUSINESS INSURANCE COVER THE COSTS OF A PRODUCT RECALL?
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  • The Basics of Business Insurance for Small Business Owners
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  • What Those Big Words Mean: Tips for Buying Your First Home
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  • Glascock & Meenan Insurance Agency an extraordinary team!
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  • Keith Meenan, President of Glascock & Meenan Insurance Agency
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  • Calvert County Accolades — 50 years in business!
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