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Dust Off That Disaster Recovery Plan

  
  
  
Ike

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.  Whole neighborhoods were dark, businesses across the area were closed, and hundreds of windows in office towers were blown out.  CenterPoint attacked the downed power lines with 5,000 tree trimmers followed closely with more than 7,000 linemen.  At the end of day 18, CenterPoint concluded their emergency operations.  If you lived in Houston and the surrounding area during Hurricane Ike, no doubt you have a survival story of your own. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike companies put their Disaster Recovery Plans to the test.  Companies without a plan vowed to put one together.  And so Disaster Recovery Planning became the hottest topic in years.  The impact of a natural or human-caused disaster on businesses is far-reaching.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster – either natural of human-caused – never reopen. 

Is your Disaster Recovery Plan in a binder on the shelf gathering dust?  Possibly you haven’t even written one – yet.  We would like to suggest that right now is a great time to move forward with your plan before the next disaster hits. 

Ready Business - a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters – is an amazing source for tools to create a plan addressing the impact of many hazards. Read more... 

Developing a Preparedness Program Steps

Program Management.  Organize, develop and administer your program.  Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program.

Planning.  Gather information about hazards and assess risks.  Conduct a business impact analysis.  Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks.

Implementation.  Write a preparedness plan addressing: resource management, emergency response, crisis communications, business continuity, information technology, employee assistance, incident management, and training. 

Testing and Exercises.  Test and evaluate your plan, define types of exercises, learn how to conduct exercises, use results to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness.

Program Improvement.  Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed, discover methods to evaluate the program, use the review to make necessary changes.

Need some help creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?  Check out the Business Continuity Suite developed by the DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate and FEMA.  The software will help you create, improve, or update your BCP.  The Suite consists of a BCP training, Disaster Recovery Plan (DRC) generators, and self-directed exercises for testing an implemented BCP.  To download the BCP Suite click here.

Testing and Exercising Your Current Program

Now would be a great time to take you Disaster Recovery Plan out for a test drive.  You have several choices for putting your plan through a drill.

Walkthroughs, workshops, or orientation seminars.  All three are basic training for your team members.  They are designed to familiarize your team with emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications plans along with their roles and responsibilities as described in the plans.

Group Discussions.  In an informal session, the tams discusses their roles during an emergency and their responses to a specific situation.  Facilitator guided discussions of scenarios allows team members to be a part of the planning process. 

Functional Exercises.  Designed to exercise specific team members, procedures, and/or resources, functional exercises are scenario driven.  For example a critical business function failure or a hazard situation.

Following any of the above exercises, a debriefing of team members and leadership provides additional information on improving the plan.

At Dean & Draper we welcome the opportunity to discuss your Disaster Recovery Plan and support you with the insurance you need to recover from natural or man-made disasters.  Contact Us. 

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

New Arena for Hackers – Driverless Cars

  
  
  
Google Self Driving Car

The idea of leaving the driving to the car is becoming reality.  Major car manufacturers Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Diamler are currently testing prototypes for both cars and trucks.  Even Google is jumping in with their version of an autonomous car.  The technology used in driverless cars is available today and is projected to be an $87 billion business by 2030. 

The way ahead is fraught with challenges.  For instance, if the automakers “take the wheel” are they liable for accidents?  Will the responsibility for insurance shift from the car owner to the manufacturer? 

With the explosion of devious and talented hackers around the world, visions of these autonomous vehicles being hijacked, used in kidnapping, and even as a motorized weapon are dancing in the heads of security forces worldwide. 

In a Bloomberg article published last Thursday, September 4, 2014, Alexa Liautaud examines some of these challenges. 

“A red VW Golf jerks back and forth as it maneuvers into a parking space in the English spa town of Cheltenham. The halting efforts resemble those of a new driver, and in a sense they are -- just not from the person sitting at the wheel.

The car itself is navigating into the spot, which it manages without a scratch. The man in the driver’s seat, who has his hands resting leisurely on his lap except for the occasional gear change, is a mere onlooker in this demonstration of the latest automated-car technology.

While the idea of robo-cars whisking us off to our destinations may sound like science fiction, the technology exists and is largely ready for the real world. What’s harder to determine is the risk associated with the emergence of these vehicles.”   Read more... 

Yes, we’re living in interesting times.  Our first blog about driverless cars was posted on February 9, 2014.  In the past seven months, we’ve seen increasing articles and news stories about the technology, benefits, and downsides of autonomous vehicles.  At Dean & Draper, we’re focused on providing you with the insurance coverage you need when you need it – no matter what you choose to drive. 

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. 

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

  
  
  
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For most of us Labor Day means the end of summer, a long weekend for the last trip to the beach, or a backyard barbeque.  The original intent of the holiday was to recognize the contributions that laborers make to the United States as a whole. 

The origins of the holiday are still under debate.  In Canada, the first Labour Day was April 15, 1872.  The Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for work’s rights.  Twenty-four of the Toronto Typographical Union members were imprisoned for striking for a nine-hour working day.

In the United States, the first Labor Day parade was in New York City on September 5, 1882.  In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected for the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organization in other cities to celebrate a “workingman’s holiday” on that date.  The holiday was recognized in cities around the country through municipal ordinances in 1885 and 1886.  Oregon was the first state to pass the Labor Day holiday bill on February 21, 1887 followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. 

The actual founder of the U.S. Labor Day is still under discussion over 100 years after the first Labor Day celebration.  Some of the records name Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor as the first to suggest a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” 

The challenger, Matthew Maguire, a machinist and secretary of the Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ, apparently proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. 

President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide – interesting because Cleveland was not a labor union supporter. 

In the United States membership in labor unions reached an all-time high in the 1950’s with about 40% of the work force participating in a union.  Today, union membership is about 14% of the working population.  Teachers are the largest group of union workers nationwide.  The lowest number of union members is in agriculture, finance, restaurants, and bars – about 1% of the population.

We invite you to have a relaxed Labor Day with family and friends celebrating the last days of summer and, of course, the American worker – creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership. 

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.    

Off-Campus Living and Renter’s Insurance

  
  
  
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Are your kids heading off to college and their off-campus apartment?  Here’s one more thing for you to think about – renter’s insurance.  While your homeowner’s policy usually covers students living in dormitories, off-campus housing can be a different story.

In yesterday’s post, Hannah Bender with propertycasualty360.com lists the 5 Key Truths About Renter’s Insurance and College Students along with some great tips.

Living in an off-campus apartment is a popular housing option for many college students, as it comes with greater freedom and independence.

At the same time, however, an off-campus apartment that is not affiliated with a college or university can bring new responsibilities. Often, a parent’s homeowners’ insurance policy covers students living in dormitories, but once a student moves off campus it is a whole new ballgame. Renters’ insurance, although not usually required, can be a necessity for college students. Renters’ insurance not only can protect a college student’s belongings -- which often include expensive laptops, televisions and other valuables -- but it can also provide liability protection in the event that someone is injured unintentionally on the property.  Read more... 

If you have questions about your homeowner’s policy covering student’s belongings or if you need a separate renter’s policy for off-campus housing, please call us.  We’re always here to answer your questions.  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. 

Small Business at Big Risk for Cyber Attacks

  
  
  
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Hackers always seek vulnerable targets and have found a big one in small businesses.  More likely to have weak online security, less likely to use cloud services without encryption technology, and no full-time IT support, small businesses are easy pickings for cyber breaches. 

Symantec, an online security company, publishes an annual Internet Security Threat Report.  The 2014 report highlights include:

  • 91% increase in targeted attacks campaigns in 2013
  • 62% increase in the number of breaches in 2013
  • Over 552 million identities were exposed via breaches in 2013
  • 23 zero-day vulnerabilities discovered
  • 38% of mobile users have experienced mobile cybercrime in past 12 months
  • Spam volume dropped to 66% of all email traffic
  • 1 in 392 emails contain a phishing attacks
  • Web-based attacks are up 23%
  • 1 in 8 legitimate websites have a critical vulnerability

To download a copy of the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report 2014, click here.

Here are 9 cyber security tips for small business owners:

1.      Use the FCC’s Small Biz Cyber Planner to create a cyber security plan

The Small Biz Cyber Planner is valuable for businesses that lack the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to protect themselves from cyber threats. The tool walks users through a series of questions to determine which cyber security strategies should be included in the planning guide, and generates a customized PDF that serves as a cyber-security strategy template.  Get the FCC’s Small Buz Cyber Planner, click here. 

2.      Establish cyber security rules for your employees

Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect personally identifiable information.  Clearly detail the penalties for violating cyber security policies.

3.      Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
Install, use, and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors.

4.      Educate employees about safe social media practices

Depending on what your business does, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be taught how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. This type of safe social networking can help avoid serious risks to your business.

5.      Manage and assess risk

Ask yourself, “What do we have to protect? And, what would impact our business the most?” Cyber-criminals often use lesser-protected small businesses as a bridge to attack larger firms with which they have a relationship. This can make unprepared small firms a less attractive business partner in the future, blocking potentially lucrative business deals.

6.      Download and install software updates when they are available

All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install such updates automatically.

7.      Make backup copies of important business data and information

Regularly backup the data on every computer used in your business. Critical data includes word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly.

8.      Control physical access to computers and network components

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so make sure they are stored and locked up when unattended.

9.      Secure and hide your Wi-Fi network

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your home business make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, configure your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).  In addition, make sure that passwords are required for access. It is also critical to change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.

The threat of cyber hacking, underscored by the credit card breach at Target, is now so great that US businesses are buying insurance coverage against the expense of being hacked or losing sensitive customer information.  A decade since it was first introduced, cyber insurance has graduated from a splurge to a necessity propelled by a series of high-profile data breaches that have cost companies many millions of dollars. 

If you have questions about Cyber Breach insurance we welcome your call.  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.

Drugs That May Cause Memory Loss

  
  
  
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We all experience times when we can’t seem to remember as many details as we used to.  Like the time you got up, headed to another room, and couldn’t remember why you made the trip.  Is it forgetfulness or some other memory loss disorder?  Just maybe it’s your medications.

We have condensed the following information from an article in AARP Magazine by Dr. Armon B. Neel, Jr.  To read the complete article, Click Here.

Here’s a list of medications that can cause some memory loss along with some alternatives. 

1. Antianxiety drugs (Benzodiazepines)

Prescribed for: Anxiety disorders, agitation, delirium and spasms, and to prevent seizures. Because benzodiazepines have a sedative effect, they are sometimes used to treat insomnia and the anxiety that can accompany depression.

Examples: Alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion).

How they can cause memory loss: Benzodiazepines dampen activity in key parts of the brain, including those involved in the transfer of events from short-term to long-term memory.

Alternatives: Benzodiazepines should be prescribed only rarely in older adults for short periods of time.

Consult your health care professional before stopping or reducing the dosage of any benzodiazepine. Sudden withdrawal can trigger serious side effects, so a health professional should always monitor the process.

2. Cholesterol-lowering drugs (Statins)

Prescribed for:  Treating high cholesterol.

Examples: Atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).

How they can cause memory loss: Drugs that lower blood levels of cholesterol may impair memory and other mental processes by depleting brain levels of cholesterol as well.  (The brain, in fact, contains a quarter of the body's cholesterol.)

Alternatives:  Ask your doctor or other health care provider about instead taking a combination of sublingual (under-the-tongue) vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg daily), folic acid (800 mcg daily) and vitamin B6 (200 mg daily).

3. Antiseizure drugs

Why they are prescribed: Long used to treat seizures and more recently for nerve pain, bipolar disorder, mood disorders and mania.

Examples: Acetazolamide (Diamox), carbamazepine (Tegretol), ezogabine (Potiga), gabapentin (Neurontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), levetiracetam (Keppra), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), pregabalin (Lyrica), rufinamide (Banzel), topiramate (Topamax), valproic acid (Depakote) and zonisamide (Zonegran).

How they can cause memory loss: By dampening the flow of signals within the central nervous system (CNS). All drugs that depress signaling in the CNS can cause memory loss.

Alternatives: Many patients with seizures do well on phenytoin (Dilantin), which has little if any impact on memory. Many patients with chronic nerve pain find that venlafaxine (Effexor) — which also spares memory — alleviates their pain.

4. Antidepressant drugs (Tricyclic antidepressants)

Why they are prescribed: TCAs are prescribed for depression and, increasingly, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, smoking cessation and some hormone-mediated disorders, such as severe menstrual cramps and hot flashes.

Examples: Amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil) and trimipramine (Surmontil).

How they can cause memory loss: TCAs are thought to cause memory problems by blocking the action of serotonin and norepinephrine — two of the brain's key chemical messengers.

Alternatives: Talk with your health care provider about whether nondrug therapies might work just as well or better for you than a drug.  Venlafaxine (Effexor) seems to have the fewest adverse side effects in older patients.

5. Narcotic painkillers

Prescribed for: Also called opioid analgesics, these medications are used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain, such as the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Examples: Fentanyl (Duragesic), hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo), morphine (Astramorph, Avinza) and oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet). These drugs come in many different forms, including tablets, solutions for injection, transdermal patches and suppositories.

How they can cause memory loss: These drugs work by stemming the flow of pain signals within the central nervous system and by blunting one's emotional reaction to pain.

Alternatives: In patients under the age of 50 years, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the frontline therapy for pain. Talk with your doctor or other health care provider about whether tramadol (Ultram), a nonnarcotic painkiller, might be a good choice.

6. Parkinson's drugs (Dopamine agonists)

Why they are prescribed: Used to treat Parkinson's disease, certain pituitary tumors and, increasingly, restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Examples: Apomorphine (Apokyn), pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip).

How they can cause memory loss: These meds activate signaling pathways for dopamine, a chemical messenger involved in many brain functions, including motivation, the experience of pleasure, fine motor control, learning and memory. As a result, major side effects can include memory loss, confusion, delusions, hallucinations, drowsiness and compulsive behaviors such as overeating and gambling.

Alternatives: If you are being treated for RLS, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether one of your prescription or over-the-counter medications may be the trigger.

7. Hypertension drugs (Beta-blockers)

Prescribed for: Beta-blockers slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure and typically are prescribed for high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. They're also used to treat chest pain (angina), migraines, tremors and, in eyedrop form, certain types of glaucoma.

Examples: Atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), propranolol (Inderal), sotalol (Betapace), timolol (Timoptic) and some other drugs whose chemical names end with "-olol."

How they can cause memory loss: Beta-blockers are thought to cause memory problems by interfering with ("blocking") the action of key chemical messengers in the brain, including norepinephrine and epinephrine.

Alternatives: For older people, benzothiazepine calcium channel blockers, another type of blood pressure medication, are often safer and more effective than beta-blockers.

8. Sleeping aids (Nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics)

Prescribed for: Sometimes called the "Z" drugs, these medications are used to treat insomnia and other sleep problems. They also are prescribed for mild anxiety.

Examples: Eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien).

How they can cause memory loss: Although these are molecularly distinct from benzodiazepines (see No. 1 above), they act on many of the same brain pathways and chemical messengers, producing similar side effects and problems with addiction and withdrawal.

Alternatives: There are alternative drug and nondrug treatments for insomnia and anxiety, so talk with your health care professional about options. Before stopping or reducing the dosage of these sleeping aids, be sure to consult your health care professional.

9. Incontinence drugs (Anticholinergics)

Prescribed for: These medications are used to relieve symptoms of overactive bladder.

Examples: Darifenacin (Enablex), oxybutynin (Ditropan XL, Gelnique, Oxytrol), solifenacin (Vesicare), tolterodine (Detrol) and trospium (Sanctura). Another oxybutynin product, Oxytrol for Women, is sold over the counter.

How they can cause memory loss: These drugs block the action of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that mediates all sorts of functions in the body. In the brain, they inhibit activity in the memory and learning centers. The risk of memory loss is heightened when the drugs are taken for more than a short time.

Alternatives:  It's important to make sure that you have been properly diagnosed.  Simple lifestyle changes could be a good alternative, such as cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, drinking less before bedtime, and doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles that help control urination.

10. Antihistamines (First-generation)

Prescribed for: These medications are used to relieve or prevent allergy symptoms or those of the common cold. Some antihistamines are also used to prevent motion sickness, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, and to treat anxiety or insomnia.

Examples: Brompheniramine (Dimetane), carbinoxamine (Clistin), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), clemastine (Tavist), diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and hydroxyzine (Vistaril).

How they can cause memory loss: These medications (prescription and over-the-counter) inhibit the action of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that mediates a wide range of functions in the body.

Alternatives: Newer-generation antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are better tolerated by older patients and do not present the same risks to memory and cognition.

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. 

Nanotechnology in Every Part of Our Daily Lives

  
  
  
© bonninturina - Fotolia.comWe all thought this “nano” thing was interesting and at the same time we couldn’t imagine how to monetize the theory. 

Today nanoparticles are a huge boon to the food industry.  When placed in packaging, nanotechnology 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.

In her article Nano What?: Yes, Nanoparticles Were Probably in Your Breakfast This Morning, Patricia L. Harman with PropertyCasualty360 explores the nanotechnology explosion and the areas where we’re all touched – most of the time without even knowing it – by the infamous nanoparticles. 

Nanotechnology involves every area of daily life, and while there are many benefits to its use, there are unknown dangers as well. Best described as “engineering on a very small scale,” nanotechnology has allowed manufacturers to create products like cell phones, cameras, CDs and DVD players.

The number of industries utilizing nanotechnology has grown exponentially. The food industry is a large user of the technology. Placed in packaging, it extends the shelf life of many foods. It can add more flavor, be used to detect e coli and other bacteria in food, and even enhance nutrients. A nano-enhanced barrier protects oxygen-sensitive foods and keeps them from spoiling longer. When incorporated into “green” packaging made of lobster shells and corn, nanotechnology makes it biodegradable. And nanobarcodes can be used in products to trace foodborne outbreaks.

To read Patricia’s complete article, click here. 

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.  

Long-Term Care Insurance

  
  
  
© Luftbildfotograf - Fotolia.com

Isn’t it interesting that most of us aren’t motivated to make a change or plan for the future until we’re faced with a life altering event – our own or one close to home?  One of those decisions is planning for the care of a loved one or even ourselves when our circumstances require constant supervision or help with our daily basic activities.  Fortunately, Long-Term Care Insurance can provide the means to have the support of in-home caregivers, assisted living, or facility care. 

What is Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-Term Care Insurance provides funds to help you cover long-term care costs in the same manner Health Insurance provides financial coverage for doctor’s visits and hospital bills.  While the concept is similar, Long-term Care Insurance and Health Insurance are two very different types of insurance.

Health Insurance would likely provide coverage for doctor visits, hospitalization, and maybe even prescription medicines.  When someone’s condition requires constant supervision or long-term care, Health Insurance is not likely to provide coverage for those services.  Health Insurance is also not designed to cover the long-term care expenses for paralysis from an accident or stroke, Alzheimer’s, or the care needed as a natural result of aging.

Long-Term Care Insurance is designed to provide coverage where Health Insurance leaves off.  When constant supervision or assistance with the basic activities of daily living like bathing, eating, toileting, dressing and moving about is necessary Long-Term Care Insurance would provide funds to help cover those care expenses.

Wondering how much care in your area costs? 

The costs of long term care still remain high – nearly 70% of Americans will need long term care as they age.  According to the Glenworth Annual Care Costs 2014 Survey, the average cost of facility care in Texas is $50,735.00 annually.  To review the Glenworth results, click here. 

How Can You Save on Long-Term Care Insurance?

Because you may not collect for decades to come, be sure to buy from a company that has been around for some time and is financially stable. 

  • Find out if long-term care benefits are available through a group policy from your employer. Employers might subsidize the cost, lowering what you must pay.

  • Check whether you can add long-term care benefits as a rider on an existing life insurance or annuity policy. These “combination” arrangements can save because the insurance company gains operational savings that it can pass along to you.

  • Buy a policy with the longest waiting period you can afford. For example, choosing a 90-day period instead of a 30-day period can cut the premium by 30%. However, if you do need long-term care services, you should save some money to pay these costs until the waiting period ends.

  • If both spouses of a married couple are considering buying long-term care policies, look into buying one joint policy for both of you. Such a policy pays when either one needs care and can pay for both, if necessary, up to its benefit limits.

  • If you’re still looking to trim the premium further, consider buying a policy that will pay most, but not all, of the average nursing home costs in your area. For example, if a nursing home room now costs $120 per day, buy a policy that pays $100 per day. However, be sure to buy an inflation-protection provision.

Dean & Draper can assist you with comparing both benefits and costs. As with other types of insurance (and many other purchases), comparison shopping can save you money.

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.

Doing the Next Right Thing – Health & Safety

  
  
  
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We’re all challenged with getting our “To Do” list completed in a day.  Actually, most of us think a day that sees 75 – 80% completion a really good day.  So when a shortcut presents itself, how tempting is it to head down that path?  Do we always take the time to consider the ramifications of that shortcut?  How taking that course will impact those around us or the outcome of the project? 

Aaron J. Morrow in an EHS Outloud Blog article titled Unselfishly Safe describes how his dad made a good choice and provided a great lession for us all.  

Unselfishly Safe

If it weren’t for diaper rash, I might not be here today.

Not too many people can make that claim, or at least would have the guts to admit it – especially in a national magazine. But it’s true. Diaper rash saved my butt – literally and figuratively.

When I was just a few months old, my dad (who was 22 at the time), happened to be watching me when a friend asked him if he wanted to go to the bookstore. My dad was – and still is – addicted to reading and collecting books, so this was like asking a kid if he wanted to go to Disneyland on a school day.

He regretfully declined. I can imagine him looking at me and lamenting, “My book collection will never make library status because of you.” I’m just kidding about that last part.

According to the story, I was a little cranky (a rash will do that to a baby), but more importantly, my dad feared the wrath of my mom if he’d chosen to take their firstborn to the bookstore instead of taking care of her poor baby at home (a wife will do that to a husband).

A short while later, my dad received a phone call reporting that this good friend had been in a very serious car accident and was lucky to be alive. This friend was a bigger guy, and as a result of his size and the steering wheel, was blocked from going completely through the front windshield. This was 1978 and there were no air bags.

My dad’s friend suffered injuries to his head and face and bruises to his upper body. My dad would have been holding me in the passenger seat (the California laws weren’t as strict as they are now), and buckling your seatbelt wasn’t required by law. So you probably can imagine what might have happened to us if we’d been in that car.

This story got me thinking about the choices that we face while performing our daily tasks, and the ramifications that those choices have.

When it comes to being safe at work, we often forget that it’s not just about what we want or what’s best for us or even our company. We forget that there are a lot of people in this world – family, friends, colleagues, roommates – who depend on us, and at the end of the day, these people need us to continue to be part of their lives.

We’ve become an incredibly entitled society. We’re bombarded with marketing messages telling us that anything standing between our desires and us is bad. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge fan of working hard, striving to be successful and taking care of No. 1. However, when I see this attitude toward safety in the workplace, it’s very worrisome.

Selfish Acts, Unsafe Acts

W.H. Heinrich, who is considered to be a pioneer of industrial safety in America, developed a theory we’ve come to know as “Heinrich’s Law,” which estimates that 88 percent of accidents and incidents are caused by unsafe acts. Most safety professionals are familiar with this theory. Whether you agree or disagree with Heinrich, I challenge you to look at the accidents in your experience and think about whether this theory has some truth to it.

During accident/incident/near-miss investigations, if you look at the contributing factors (human factors more specifically), you’ll notice that these events typically fall into one of these categories:

  • Unsafe acts – These can be divided into two categories: errors (individuals’ mental and/or physical actions that fail to achieve their intended outcome) and violations (willful disregard for rules and regulations).

  • Preconditions for unsafe acts – Individuals fail to prepare physically and/or mentally for duty (lack of rest, alcohol consumption, self-medicating, poor dietary practices, off-the-job overexertion, bad habits).

  • Unsafe supervision – Failure to administer proper training and/or lack of professional guidance (risk without benefit, no risk assessment, improper work tempo, poor crew pairing).

  • Organizational influences – Failure of resource management, organizational climate and operational processes (structure, policies, culture).

When I look at an accident and consider each of these categories, I can point to all of them and name selfish choices or decisions that were made by someone that resulted in failure to some degree.

The obvious ones are taking shortcuts (UA), choosing to work impaired (PUA), not preparing crews correctly and pushing production (US), and failing to own safety at the highest level (OI). If you’ve ever sat with family members in the emergency room nervously waiting to see if their dad will ever be able to walk again, you know exactly how “me” choices affect more than the injured individual.

So the million-dollar question is: What do we do?

Maybe it’s as simple as putting aside selfish desires and looking at the bigger picture. Maybe as safety professionals, we take a look at our own work habits and get more involved with our co-workers on a “human” level, instead of focusing on all the reports, meetings and audits that we have to complete.

I wish I had the right answer. But I do think this unselfish approach to safety needs to spark some conversations.

When the opportunity or invitation presents itself to gain a little bit more, go a little bit faster, reach a little bit further or take that quick shortcut, we probably should stop for a minute and consider the effects that this decision might have on our loved ones and the others around us.

I’m glad my dad did.

Aaron Morrow

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.  

Rental Car Insruance Coverage

  
  
  
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You’re on vacation – ready to get the rental car and hit the road.  And then there’s that pesky question about purchasing supplemental insurance.  Does your standard auto policy cover rental cars, too?  What about your credit card – don’t they provide insurance for rental cars?  The “to buy or not to buy” question could stop you cold.  Why not ask a few questions before you get to the rental counter?

As a Dean & Draper customer, we invite you to call us if you want to review the coverage of your auto policy.  We’re happy to talk with you about your coverage and answer your questions.  Contact Us.

In a recent article from PropertyCasualty365 , “8 Facts About Credit Cards and Car Rental Insurance”, Laura Mazzuca Toops provides some great tips and information.

It's summertime, and peak season for vacationers and car rentals. Even though most standard auto insurance policies cover rental cars, roughly 20% of consumers always purchase supplemental coverage when renting a car, and 20% do occasionally,  according to a study by Progressive. Why? A study by the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners finds that 62% of consumers don't think their personal auto insurance automatically covers rentals, and 24% aren't sure whether their credit cards provide any coverage.

Most credit card companies offer some sort of free rental car collision coverage, along with other perks. But what exactly does it cover? A recent report by CardHub examines each major card network’s rental car insurance policy and explains what type of rental car insurance coverage consumers automatically receive through their credit cards, how they can take advantage of it, which credit cards offer the best insurance coverage, and whether any other forms of supplemental insurance are needed.”

Read more...

If you are considering purchasing a new auto policy or are shopping for a different provider, please give us a call.  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.

 

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