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The Economics of a Midlife Crisis

  
  
  
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Just how much does it cost to have a Midlife crisis?  Of course that depends on how large a crisis you’re planning.  We have selected our favorite items from Jerry Kronenberg’s article, Cost of a good midlife crisis: $240,000.  To read the article, click here.

Tattoo: $150 - $250

What do you get for that price?   A baseball sized tattoo.  Normally women choose flowers or simple patterns that start around $100.  This idea is not for the faint of heart or those who have a low tolerance for pain.

Plastic Surgery:  $12,469

Men usually go for the Botox before graduating to the face and brow lifts.  Women tend to go big or go home with the full face or brow lift.  Don't expect your health insurance to pick up the tab, because health plans cover only medically necessary treatment, not cosmetic surgery except for things like breast-reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy.

Personal Trainer: $6,240

Naturally you want a body that matches the wrinkle free face, so add that trainer.  Typically a trainer charges about $60 an hour.  With four sessions a week in the ramp up phase of your training, that’s $240 per week for an estimated 6 months to get in good shape.  If you want to  go all the way to buff, add another 6 months.

Red Corvette Convertible: $73,211 plus $1,974 for insurance

In a midlife crisis, of course you’ll ditch that boring minivan for that sexy sports red car – is there any other color – with a Bose 10-speaker stereo and a 455-hoursepower engine with a drive out price of $73,211 according to Edmunds.com .

An Affair: $2,664

According to a survey conducted by VoucherCloud, philandering Americans sped about $2,664 for a 6 month affair including $972 for dinners and drinks, $738 for hotel rooms, $414 for things like movie tickets, $324 for gifts, $216 for miscellaneous. 

A Divorce:  $50,000 (lawyer/filing fees only)

Philandering can get you in loads of trouble, so you may want to have a good lawyer handy.  The cost of a divorce depends on how complex and acrimonious your case is. 

Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp: $9,500

Maybe a fantasy is more in line with your vision.  Common offerings include flying planes, driving race cars, taking classes with celebrity athletes or entertainers.  At the Gene Simmons Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in Calgary, Alberta the musically inclined get hotel accommodations plus the Headliner and Recording Packages that allow you to cut a record and do live performances with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons for $9,000.  Of course, you’ll want the Paparazzi Package with a photographer to capture every moment for an additional $500. 

Life Insurance: $6,800

Your affair and your rock-star lifestyle probably won't do much for your longevity, so you'll definitely need some good life insurance.  With the divorce you’ll probably have a new place to live, so you’ll need property or renter’s insurance.  Not to mention the red corvette. 

At Dean & Draper, we’re here to provide the information you need to make good decisions about your insurance.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Too Much Clutter?

  
  
  

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Hoarding.  It’s one of those words that makes each of us shiver.  Maybe you have even wondered if you have hoarding tendencies.  Exactly when does “saving” cross the line into “hoarding?”

"The definition of hoarding is that it interferes with your life or makes part of your house unusable," said Jessie Sholl, author of "Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding."

If you're telling yourself, "It's a collection," you're probably wrong. Sholl said collectors take pride in their possessions, keeping them organized and proudly displayed, which immediately identifies those who amass twist ties and pens as hoarders rather than collectors.  And if you think your particular collecting tendencies are unique, you're probably wrong about that, too.

In her recent article, 5 Things You Should Stop Hoarding in 2015, Tammy Kennon lists 5 things we should simply let go of in 2015.  Read more...   

Newspapers and Magazines

Who doesn't have a newspaper or magazine that's more than two months old? Anybody?  Apparently paper is number one on the hoarding hit parade.  The big trap is thinking that you will find time to actually read those magazines.  Not.  If you stockpile magazines, why not share the wealth?  Waiting rooms across your city are great places for your slightly used periodicals.  At the very least put those piles of papers in the recycle bin.

Bags

In case you haven’t noticed, bags when left to their own devices, will multiply faster than rabbits.  Keep a handful of bags and recycle the rest.  Remembering to take the reusable bags inside when you’re shopping will stop the flow of bags into your house.

Hotel Shampoo and Conditioner

Those little bottles fall into a major category we use to justify hoarding: It seems wasteful to throw them away.  If you simply can’t leave them behind, donating to shelters is a great way to put them to good use.

Office Supplies

Sticky notes, paper clips, staplers, binders, pens – all useful items.  The real question is just how many do you really need?  If you have more than a year’s supply consider donating the rest to a non-profit. 

Clothing

Let's guess … your closet is packed, maybe with multiple wardrobes in various sizes?  Cleaning out all of your closets could feel daunting, so how about starting with just one?  When you see how wonderfully organized that first closet is, you have great inspiration to do the next one.  Donating clothes that you haven’t worn in a year could put the garment in the hands of someone who really needs it for that job interview.

Our blog is intended to provide useful, interesting information.  If you have ideas or suggestions for blog topics, please comment below.  We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  

Tech Alert - Anthem Cyber Attack

  
  
  
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The news is full of the massive cyber attack on Anthem and the stunning theft of 80 million customer records.  Anthem is one of the nation's largest insurance companies and includes several major Blue Cross and Blue Shield brands.  The information stolen from the insurance giant includes names, birthdays, medical IDs, social security numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and employment information, including income data.

“That's a treasure trove of information,” said Tom Gorup, security operations center manager for Rook Security.  It's enough to commit identity theft, or bypass security questions to lock you out of existing accounts.  And the risk isn't short term, like when a credit card number is stolen. "Just because the attacker stole the data today doesn't mean they'll sell it tomorrow," he said. "They could sit on this information for years."

The impact of this cyber attack is far reaching.  According to an NBC News Report, Anthem Breach: What Should I Do Now?, the victims of insurance company Anthem's breach will have to remain vigilant against fraud for the rest of their lives. To see the full NBC report, click here.    

What to do if you're a customer

If you have Anthem insurance, there's not much you can do but sit tight for now.  In the next few weeks, Anthem will inform you by mail if your information was compromised. All impacted Anthem customers will receive some form of identity fraud protection, the company said.

You might want to consider changing your Anthem password, just to be safe. If you are concerned that your Anthem e-mail and password combination could have also been used to login to another service, you should change those passwords as well.

Monitor your existing accounts

“The first thing you want to watch out for is someone using this info to trick a call center into letting them take over or transfer money out of your existing accounts,” said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner Inc.  Watch for any unauthorized activity or transfers on your current financial accounts, including 401k and brokerage accounts.

Sign up for credit alerts and identity theft protection

Anthem has pledged to offer free credit monitoring and identity protection services to all affected customers. These services will keep an eye on your reports for known indicators of identity theft and send you alerts, look for changes of address, and alert you when someone else tries to use your identity. "All impacted members will receive notice via mail which will advise them of the protections being offered to them as well as any next steps," said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for Anthem, Inc.

File your taxes early

It only takes two pieces of information for a crook to snag your tax refund by filing your taxes early and claiming it for themselves, and the data in the breach contained both, said Paige Hanson, Educational Programs Manager for LifeLock, an identity theft monitoring service. File as early as you can to avoid any problems.

Sign up for fraud alerts

A fraud alert cautions lenders and other to take special care to ensure your identity before issuing new credit. It won't necessarily stop a fraudster but it will raise a red flag to take extra steps, including potentially contacting you directly.

Contact each of the three major credit bureaus--Experian, Transunion and Equifax--and ask that a fraud alert be placed on your file. That will stay on your report for 90 days. By then, you should have a credit monitoring service in place, either one provided by Anthem, or another that you sign up for on your own.   For information from the Federal Trade Commission on how to place a fraud alert, click here.

Stay vigilant

No one knows when or where or if the stolen identities will be used so affected consumers will simply have to stay mindful... forever. "Your Social Security number is not going to change," said Gorup. "This is going to stick with you for life." One tip to avoid fallout from bad guys using the stolen personal information is to never use personally identifiable information as answers to your "secret questions" on your online accounts, said Dwayne Melancon, CTO of Tripwire, a security software company.

"Make up your own questions and answers, or use answers that are fictitious but memorable to you to prevent criminals from guessing their way into your online accounts, "said Melancon.

Our Best Advice

Who knew just a few years ago that cyber crime would be a threat to millions of people around the world?  What can we do as individuals to protect our personal information? 

Change your passwords regularly – at least every 6 months.  Forget about the kid’s birthdays and dog’s name.  Make your password unique.  For some ideas on creating a great password that you can actually remember, Google “How to create a unique password.” 

Check your accounts – all of them.  Look for any unusual activity and report it.

Be careful who you give your Social Security number to.  While you can get a new credit card, your Social Security number is yours for life.

We want to support you and welcome your questions about your insurance coverage. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Get Fit Right at Your Desk - Stay Healthy & Reduce Stress

  
  
  
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Today is February 1st.  Just four short weeks ago you made your New Year’s Resolutions.  How is it going with your resolutions to exercise more and reduce stress?  We thought that right about now would be a good time to offer you some alternatives to hitting the gym. 

In her article “Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work,” Emily Milam offers creative ideas to both work and exercise at the same time.  We’ve selected the 6 exercises we could easily imagine doing at our desks.  For all of the 33 exercises and the complete article, click here. 

The Silent Seat Squeeze: Believe it or not, some exercises can be kept under wraps, and this isometric glutes exercise is one of them. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat until the agenda wraps up or the glutes tire. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.

The Seated Leg Raiser: When pay raises are nowhere to be seen, consider the leg raise. (Bonus: they’re hardly noticeable underneath the desk!) While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for five or more seconds. Then lower the leg(s) back to the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Repeat (alternating legs if raising them separately) for 15 reps. Underwhelmed? Loop a purse or briefcase strap over the ankle for added weight, or for more of an abs workout, add a crunch.

The Stapler Curl: Trusty staplers are always guarded closely, especially the red ones. Seated or standing, take the stapler in one hand with the palm facing upwards. Starting at the thighs, bend the elbow and curl the arm up towards the chest, just like a regular dumbbell biceps curl. Pause momentarily and then lower the stapler back down. Continue for 12-15 reps, then switch. Don’t have a weighty stapler? Try using a filled water bottle or a heavy change purse (the vending machine can wait!).

The Nape Shaper: It’s time to tone that neck! For the first isometric neck strengthening trick, put your head in your hands as if exasperated by the workday (you may already be in this position), and press your palms into your forehead as if trying to push the head backward. Resist the motion by engaging the neck muscles. Next, clasp the hands behind the back of the head and try to push the head backward, resisting the motion with your hands. Hold each exercise for 5 seconds. Slowly release, rest, and repeat 5 times each.

The Desk Chair Swivel: Lucky enough to have a fun swivel chair? Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique abs fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 15 rounds.

The Fab Abs Squeeze: Another silent exercise, this one can be covertly executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.

The “Crunch Time” Crunch: The deadlines are looming, as are hopes for a six-pack by summer. While most jobs don’t condone in-office boozing, you can get the other six-pack with some seated isometric crunches. With both elbows on the thighs, try to curl the chest in towards the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat times 10.

We really like our customers and want to keep you healthy and happy.  Hopefully these ideas for exercising while you work will inspire you to move more, build muscles, and reduce stress.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact us.

Driverless Car Update

  
  
  

Alexey Klementieu Fotolia

Our first Driverless Car blog, Driverless Cars - Big Safety Inatiative? appeared on February 9, 2014.  We thought an update was in order.

Google’s Self-Driving cars have now driven 700,000 miles accident free.  Since the average driver logs about 15,000 miles a year, Google’s mileage equates to about 47 years of safe driving.  Around the country, driverless cars are being tested in California, Florida, Nevada, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. 

In an intriguing article and Info-Graphic in State Tech Magazine, Nicole Blake Johnson has a short list of both the good and bad of converting to Self-Driving Cars.  Click here to view the article.  We’ve listed a few of their points here.

The Good

  1. Less time spent commuting.  Since driverless cars don’t have wrecks, you get to your destination without the delay of traffic jams.

  2. Space.  Road capacity is increased.  No traffic jams, more space for cars.

  3. Speed.  Because the traffic is flowing well, higher speed limits are possible.

The Bad

  1. Fewer Jobs.  Drivers are no longer need for taxis, buses, and freight transportation.

  2. Software.  How “safe” is the software?  Can it be hacked?  Could a driverless car be used in terrorist acts?

  3. Privacy.  Self-driving cars rely on collecting and sharing user locations.

What’s Next?

Speculation is running rampant from when the cars would actually be available; the answers range from 2017 – 2023 depending on the manufacturer; to the big question of who would be liable if the car did actually crash.  Mark Chalon Smith examined the interesting possibilities in his January 7, 2015 article 7 Bizarre Driverless Car Claims.  We selected our favorites to summarize here.

They may bankrupt copy budgets 

Police departments across the country, especially smaller ones, often depend on the income they gather from ticketing motorists. In fact, about 41 million people a year are hit with speeding tickets, with more than $6.2 billion in fines, according to statistics gathered by the U.S. Highway Patrol.  Eventually driverless cars will observe speed limits, detect and respond to traffic signals and essentially make tickets obsolete.

People will trick them out to be hotel suites on wheels

The Rand report also poses that once the fatigue of driving is erased from the equation, people may opt to travel farther - and with all the comforts of home. "Autonomous cars may shift users' preferences toward larger vehicles to permit other activities," says the report. "In theory, this could even include beds, showers, kitchens or offices."

People won't own cars anymore

Some industry watchers believe autonomous cars will provide a new model of transportation that will give people little incentive to own their own vehicle. "Under this 'Uber' like scenario, the same autonomous vehicle could be called upon for the morning commute by a number of individuals with laddered arrivals, while the vehicle could remain 'on duty' for errands during the day as needed by others," says Vincent DeAugustino in his Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst report.

Benefits of this futuristic model include more car-pooling, less traffic and emissions. "In our view, these are great societal benefits if Americans can stomach a new definition of car ownership and the freedom it affords," writes DeAugustino. "Urban Millennials are displaying some willingness to migrate away from this cultural American hallmark, so there's some viability to this thesis, which would significantly reduce the role of personal auto insurance."

Until Then…

We will be here to support you in your car insurance needs.  If you have questions are your policy, how much coverage you need, or want tips to save money on your insurance please call us. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

Life Insurance - Unraveling the Choices

  
  
  

Ana Blazic Pavlovic

We know we need it.  Most of the time, we don’t want to talk about it.  It’s both boring and confusing at the same time.  We need help making an informed purchase and don’t know where to find it.  What are we talking about?  Life Insurance, of course.

Let’s start in the beginning with the “Why.”  Below is a great list of reasons for purchasing life insurance.  Take a moment to see how many of the reasons below are important to you and your family.

Why People Buy Life Insurance 

For the Death Benefit:

  • To replace earning power at death

  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death

As a Disciplined Savings Program*:

  • To help pay for educational costs

  • To supplement retirement income

  • To take advantage of business opportunities

  • For financial emergencies 

Because of the Risk of Waiting:

  • To replace earning power at death

  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death 

For the Tax Advantages:

  • Death proceeds are received free of income tax

  • Cash value accumulations are tax deferred

  • Cash value loans or withdrawals* are free of tax, as long as the policy stays in force

  • Accelerated death benefits are received free of income tax 

In Recognition of Personal Responsibility to:

  • Family

  • Banker

  • Mortgage company 

For the Flexibility:

  • Benefits may be available regardless of whether the policyowner lives, quits, dies or becomes disabled

  • Life insurance is portable; benefits are not lost due to job changes

* Withdrawals and loans will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value available for use

Now that you have made a list of all the really good reasons to buy life insurance, the next challenge is which policy to buy.  Your questions probably include:

  • How much coverage do I need?

  • How do I choose the right type of policy to meet my needs?

  • What about the length of term?

And those questions are just for starters.  Now is a great time to click here to see Dean and Draper’s web page describing your choices – Term Life, Whole Life, Universal Life, and Variable Universal Life.  Still sounds confusing?  Fill out the “Get a Quote” form.  We will carefully listen to your concerns and make sure you find the ideal policy for your situation.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

 

 

2015 Best Cities for Job Searching

  
  
  
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Are you in job search mode or thinking about getting a better job as one of your New Year’s Resolutions?  According to usa.gov, you just listed resolution #5 in the most popular list.  2015 can be a great time to job hunt, depending on where you live.  According to the National Association for Business Economics, nonfarm employment will grow by nearly 220,000 jobs per month while unemployment will fall to 5.4 percent by the fourth quarter.  For the original NABE study, click here. 

We’ve always known that Texas is a great place to live and work.  In a new study, 2015 Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job, Wallethub looked at the top 150 most populated cities in the U.S.  The great news is that 16 Texas cities are listed in that top 150 in the country.  So, here’s the list of the best places in Texas to look for a job.  Want to see both the good and the bad?  Click here to view the complete study. 

Top Texas Cities for Job Hunting

Ready for the countdown?

Rank

City

133

Brownsville

117

El Paso

94

Laredo

78

San Antonio

57

Corpus Christi

47

Amarillo

46

Houston

45

Lubbock

40

Garland

37

Austin

30

Grand Prairie

29

Arlington

26

Dallas

16

Fort Worth

12

Irving

10

Plano

 Notable Texas Rankings

Lowest Unemployment Rate for High School Graduates

     

    1.  Laredo

    2.  Corpus Christi

      4.  Amarillo and Sioux Falls, SD tied for #4.

      Lowest Unemployment Rate for Bachelor Degree of Higher

      2.    Lubbock 2

      3.    Laredo; Oklahoma City, OK; and Peoria, AZ tied for #3.

      Highest Median Annual Income (Adjusted for Cost of Living)

      1. Plano

      Highest Housing Affordability

      1. Corpus Christi

      2. Plano

      And One Negative

      Only one city in Texas appeared in the lists on the down side of this study.  In the “Lowest Monthly Median Starting Salary”, Laredo come in at #148.

      Methodology

      To find the best and worst job markets in the U.S., WalletHub analyzed the 150 most populated cities across two key dimensions, namely “Job Market” and “Socioeconomic Environment.” We assigned a heavier weight to the former as these factors most heavily influence a job seeker’s decision in terms of relocation for employment. We then identified 16 metrics that are relevant to those dimensions.  To see the data set and the corresponding weight for each metric click here  

      What Does Job Hunting Have to Do With Insurance?

      Glad you asked.  Any time you are in transition – job transition, retirement, having a child, getting a divorce, or the death of a spouse – is a good time to review your coverage.  While it may not be at the top of your “To Do” list, we believe that taking about an hour to talk with us will be very valuable to you and your peace of mind.  We are only a phone call away.

      Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact us. 

      Wondering What Can Cause Your Car Insurance Rates to Soar?

        
        
        
      © Christopher Dodge

      We’ve all wondered how insurance companies determine the rate we pay for car insurance.  Clearly the price you pay depends on lots of factors.  Here are 7 factors that you can actually impact.

      In her recent article, The 7 Deadly Sins of Car Insurance, Susan Ladika outlines the top 7 offenses that raise your car insurance.  To view the complete article, click here. 

      Driving under the influence

      Perhaps the deadliest sin of all when it comes to jacking up your auto insurance rates is a DUI conviction. You'll typically be considered a high-risk driver by your auto insurance company for between three and seven years if you have a DUI on your record.  According to a survey commissioned by Insurance.com, the average increase after a DUI is 82%.

      Driving recklessly

      While reckless driving laws vary from state to state, it generally means driving in "willful or wanton disregard" for the safety of people or property. Several states classify reckless driving that injures another person as a felony.  Being convicted of the charge is viewed as a big no-no by auto insurance companies.

      Having a bad driving record

       Start racking up the auto accidents or major moving violations, and you'll be propelled into the high-risk category.  If you have three tickets or accidents, or a combination of three tickets and accidents within three years, you'll typically be considered a high-risk driver, says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at Insure.com.

      Being a serial offender

      If you don't behave behind the wheel, you'll be considered high-risk for years, with even minor infractions having a big impact on your rates.

      Failing to pay your insurance bill

      Compared to drunken driving, it may seem like a minor sin to skip paying your auto insurance bill and letting your policy lapse. But it will cost you big with your car insurance company.  By going without auto insurance, you'll have to pay nonstandard rates when you take out a new policy.

      Having a crummy credit score

      It may seem totally irrelevant in terms of your driving, but auto insurers generally look at your credit when it comes time to set your rates. Research has found that drivers with lower credit-based insurance scores tend to file more claims than those who have great credit scores.

      Driving the wrong kind of car

      Auto insurance is less about your car than the person behind the wheel.  For example, if people who drive a certain model of car file claims more frequently, then everyone who buys that car pays more.

      And lest anyone forget: Adding a teenage driver

      Adding a newly licensed teen to your car insurance policy can cost you more than even a DUI.  A teenage driver is 12 times more likely to crash in the first month of driving than he or she is just a year later. 

      Insurance companies cover that added risk by raising premiums – a lot. Boys cost a lot more, at least in the first few years of driving. Adding a 16-year-old male to your policy increases rates, on average, by 176 percent, while a teen female increases them by 129 percent.

      Moving forward

      At Dean & Draper we suggest that you shop your auto insurance when your policy is about to renew.  You could learn that the speeding ticket you received is no longer considered by your insurer in determining your rates, or that your credit has improved, or simply that another insurance company sees you as a better risk.

      We welcome the opportunity to review your current insurance policies, discuss your insurance needs, and provide you with recommendations on selecting the policies provide the best coverage for the best price.  Please feel free to contact us.

      Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

      2014 Blog Topics in Review

        
        
        

      This year our blog covered a wide range of topics from tech news and cyber alerts to improving your health and insurance tips.  We hope that you have enjoyed the Dean & Draper Blog and invite you to comment or send ideas for blog subjects. 

      Here are our favorite blogs from 2014:

      Cyber Liability Insurance.  Cyber liability insurance has been around for describe the imageclose to a decade now and unfortunately remains one of the least utilized forms of business insurance.  Policy premiums are primarily could be considered a high risk for data breach.  Medical-related institutions and business hosting data such as date of birth and social security numbers are also higher risk. Click here to see the blog.

      describe the imageDriverless Cars – Big Safety Initiative?  What if you could sit in the driver’s seat and cruise down the road without a single thought about actually driving the car?  Just maybe taking people out of the driving equation could be the biggest safety initiative in history.  Check out the driverless car concept, click here.

      Distracted Driving – More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving.  Texting while describe the imagedriving a vehicle has now replaced drinking while driving as the leading cause of accidents and deaths of teenage drivers.  For the facts and figures, click here. 

      describe the imageKeeping Your Employees Safe.  If you are a small business owner, you have a host of things to worry about.  In a recent survey of 502 businesses with 100 employees by insurance specialist Employers®, small business owners listed workplace safety as their biggest worry (35%) followed by professional liability (26%) and cyber security risks (25%).  For some great ideas on making your business a safe place to work, click here.

      On the Road Again.  Before you hit the road on that vacation, check out our 6 tips for getting you and the car ready.  Click here. 

      Houston Tops Road Rage Survey.  Houston has the dubious honor of describe the imagehaving the least courteous drivers in the country followed by Atlanta; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Boston. Houston moved up from 8th discourteous city in the 2009 AutoVantage survey to the top position in 2014.  To see the results of the survey, click here.

      describe the imageRental Car Insurance Coverage.  There you are standing at the car rental counter in the airport.  There’s the big question on the form – to buy or not to buy the rental car insurance.  For some great tips on making the choice, click here.

      Nanotechnology in Every Part of Our Daily Lives.  Today nanoparticles aredescribe the image a huge boon to the food industry.  When placed in packaging, nano-technology extends the shelf life of food.  Detecting e coli and other food born bacteria is the domain of another nanotech particle.  And yes, adding nanoparticles to packaging can make them biodegradable.  And this is on the beginning.  To read the blog, click here.

      describe the imageDust Off That Disaster Recovery Plan.  Six years ago Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island in the early hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008.  When the storm subsided, 2.15 million of the 2.26 million CenterPoint customers were without electricity and the greater Houston area came to a standstill.  For ideas to update your Disaster Recovery Plan or even write one, click here.

      Health Alert – Ebola Virus in Texas.  With Ebola patients just up the road describe the imagein Dallas, we’re all a bit jumpy about the disease.  To read more about plans to treat the victims, symptoms and cautions about the virus, and treating Ebola in Africa, click here.

      describe the imageInsurance Myths – Houses, Red Cars, and Big Crashes.  The top 3 Myths on our list are: #1: "I should buy insurance coverage for my house based on its real estate market value."  #2: "Red cars cost more to insure."  #3: "If I cause a crash with extensive damage to others, my auto insurance company can cancel me immediately."  For the whole list and the truth about the myths, click here. 

      10 Ideas to Reduce Holiday Stress.  During the holiday season rudeness seems describe the imageto rule the day and shopping feels like going to war.  In an effort to improve everyone’s Holiday experience, we have 10 great tips for reducing your Holiday stress and embracing the season.  Click here to view the blog post.

      We wish you a happy, prosperous, and exciting New Year.  We also encourage you to drink responsibly or to be a designated driver this New Year’s Eve. 

      Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. Contact Us. 

      December Celebrations – American Melting Pot

        
        
        
      © Jose Ignacio Soto - Fotolia

      America has long been synonymous with religious freedom.   This diversity is clearly demonstrated by the array of spiritually significant celebrations around our country in December.  Nancy Haught and our friends at Huffington Post compiled a great list.

      December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas. Some Christians revere the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a Greek province in Asia Minor. His reputation for piety may have inspired the legend of Santa Claus. The tradition of leaving gifts for children on St. Nicholas Day began in the Low Countries and spread to North America with Dutch immigrants.

      December 8, Bodhi Day. Buddhists recall that Siddhartha Gautama vowed to sit under a tree in what is now Bodhgaya, India, and not to rise until he was enlightened. The title Buddha means "awakened one."

      Roman Catholics observe this day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, believing that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without sin.

      December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Observed by Catholics, especially those of Hispanic descent, the story of Guadalupe recounts a 16th-century apparition of Mary to Juan Diego, a poor Indian, on a hillside near what is now Mexico City.

      December 17 - 24, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins at sunset on this date and continues for seven more nights. It is a remembrance of an effort to restore the Temple in Jerusalem after a period of desecration. Faithful Jews found only enough oil to light the temple lamp for one day, but the flame burned for eight.

      December 21, Yalda, the Zoroastrian celebration of the winter solstice.  Yule or winter solstice, the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. Juul, a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia, featured fires lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. Wiccans and other pagan groups celebrate Yule.

      December 25, Christmas, observed by Christians since the Middle Ages as the birth of Jesus. Some Orthodox Christians follow a different calendar, and Christmas may fall on a different date.

      December 26, Zoroastrians observe the death of the prophet Zarathushtra, known in the West as Zoroaster. Tradition says he lived in what is now Iran in about 1200 B.C. His teachings include the idea of one eternal God; seven powerful creations: sky, water, earth, plants, animals, humans and fire; and that life is a struggle between good and evil.

      December 26 is also the starting date for Kwanzaa, a weeklong, modern African-American and pan-African celebration of family, community and culture. For some people who keep Kwanzaa, the festival has spiritual overtones in its emphasis on imani, Swahili for "faith."

      We wish you and yours the warmth and wonder of the season.  May 2015 be a year of prosperity, joy, kindness, and peace.

      Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.  

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