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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.

 

Protect Your Skin and Look Younger

  
  
  

© umberto leporini - Fotolia.comMost of us blame genetics for wrinkling and aging skin.  The reality is that most of us make wrinkles worse with our habits and thoughtless actions.

The major culprits in aging skin are sun exposure and smoking – we’re all aware of those causes.  Tanning beds or repeated unprotected time in the sun prematurely ages skin.  A heavy tobacco habit ages not just the face but also the skin all over your body.  That sucking action required to smoke and the squinting through the smoke adds insult to injury.  Not to mention the cancer risk.

While Americans spend billions on products to combat the aging process, some of the best ideas don’t cost a penny.

Counting on Car Windows for Sunscreen

Yes, the car windows block ultraviolet B light.  The skin aging ultraviolet A light slides right through.  If you drive with your hands on the top of the steering wheel, you probably have already noticed the tan or dark spots popping out.  Before you take off, take a moment to put sunscreen or lotion with an SPF of at least 15 on your hands, neck, and arms.  If you don’t like the smell or greasy feel of sunscreens, several hand lotion manufacturers are now adding SPF to their regular products.  Be sure to read the labels.

Squinting and Straws

Without those sunglasses, you’re bound to squint in bright sunlight and add to those pesky wrinkles.  You’ll want UV protection on the lenses and a large frame to protect your eyes.  Have a couple of pairs – one to carry with you and the other to leave in the car. 

Any repetitive facial movement can cause wrinkles – like sucking on a straw.  If you pucker up when you drink from a straw, you might want to consider another method for consuming liquids.  Yes, of course, the straw keeps your teeth from coming in contact with liquids that could stain them.  The choice is yours.

Catching Some Sleep

Just when you thought it was safe to get a little sleep…  If you sleep on your side with one side of your face buried in the pillow, you could be adding wrinkles.  "The constant pressure on one side of the face for several hours every night can cause wrinkles to be permanently ingrained on the face," says dermatologist Emmy Graber, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center.  Sleeping on your back is best for escaping sleep wrinkles.  Add a pillow under your knees to make it easier to relax.

Here It Is Again - Exercise

No surprise, exercise also helps keep skin looking younger and can reverse some skin aging effects according to a recent study by McMaster University in Ontario.  Read the study...

With just 30 minutes of exercise twice a week, the study of sedentary older adults found that skin composition was significantly improved.  After age 40 have visibly younger skin, similar to someone in their 20s and 30s.

You Are What You Eat

Eating your vegetables, olive oil, legumes, and fish can improves both your health and skin.   The American Academy of Dermatology recent research suggests that a diet high in sugar and refined carbs makes skin look older.  Drinking too much alcohol dehydrates and damages skin as well.  Avoid large amounts of meat and dairy products to keep you skin looking great.

No Tugging or Pulling

The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, which makes it more prone to wrinkles. And although not scientifically proved, says dermatologist Emmy Graber, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center, being gentle with the fragile dermis around our eyes may help reduce that crinkly look. Avoid pulling, tugging or stretching. Choose makeup products that go on and come off easily. "Similarly, contact wearers should be cautious not to tug too hard on the eyelid skin when putting in contacts," she says.

Over Washing and Under Moisturizing

Save the deodorant soap for your body parts say the dermatologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center.  Deodorant soap can dry your face.  Using lukewarm water, baby your face – no excessive scrubbing and pulling on your delicate skin.  Pat dry and follow with a moisturizer – it feels good, plumps skin cells, and gives you a smoother look.  Choose a daytime moisturizer with an SPF.

At Dean & Draper we hope that you will find these tips, ideas, and information useful.   

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.

Houston Tops Road Rage Survey

  
  
  
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Houston has the dubious honor of having the least courteous drivers in the country followed by Atlanta; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Boston.  In their 2014 In the Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey, AutoVantage – a roadside assistance provider - measured behavior, observation, and attitudes related to road rage in America’s largest cities.  Houston moved up from 8th discourteous city in the 2009 AutoVantage survey to the top position in 2014.   

Who is the most courteous?  For the second time, Portland tops the list.  The friendly driver list continues with Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Charlotte.  Which cities became more courteous compared to the 2009 survey?  Minneapolis – up 15 spots, Dallas – up 11 spots, Detroit – up 9 spots, and New York City – up 9 spots. 

Survey respondents also observed safer driving habits in their fellow commuters with reductions in speeding, running red lights, tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, and slamming on the brakes.  Giving up distractions was also observed with one notable exception – observations of texting while driving increased 9% since 2009. 

While drivers are giving up distractions and being less aggressive, respondents were more likely to lose their cool in reaction to other drivers.  In comparison to the 2009 survey, horn honking increased 12%, cursing another driver increased 8%, obscene gestures are up 3%, and arm or fist waving went up 4%.

To view the AutoVantage survey click here.

Defusing Your Own Road Rage

We all have felt some irritation if not rage while on the road.  In fact, every one of us has a pet peeve about other driver’s habits.  Here are some tips to make your next drive more pleasant and calm.

Don’t do unto others.  Having a hand gesturing, pantomiming altercation at 60 miles an hour on a crowded freeway is never a good idea.  Hum a few bars of Let It Go and move on. 

Stay out of the way.  Give aggressive drivers plenty of room to get around you.  Let them do what they want at all times.  You don’t know the offending driver’s circumstances – an emergency, they’re lost, have a medical issue, or are managing depression. 

Yield.  Most drivers in Texas consider a Yield sign a suggestion.  Remember your real objective is to get to your destination safely and yield anyway – even if the right of way is yours by law, custom, or common sense. 

Be aware of your surroundings. Drivers do a whole lot more than driving.  We’ve all seen our fellow drivers texting, talking on the phone, applying lipstick, and even reading while rolling down the road.  And yes, multitasking is distracted driving.  Distracted drivers cause more accidents than drunk drivers.  Be aware and anticipate the actions of the drivers around you.  For more information on Distracted Driving,click here to see the Dean and Draper blog Distracted Driving - More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving.     

Look at your own driving behavior.  Most of us think we’re great drivers and all of the other people out there are dangerous.  Maybe it’s time for all of us to slow down, obey the traffic laws, and wear our seat belts – always.

Get your beauty sleep.  More than 56,000 crashes annually are caused by drowsy drivers according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.  Young people ages 16 to 29, especially males, are most at risk.  So are shift workers whose sleep is disrupted face the same risks.  Stay alert, it could save your life.

Find your Zen place.  Be a supportive driver as opposed to an aggressive driver.  Facilitate what that aggressive driver wants to do instead of thwarting them.  Their need could actually be much greater than yours at that moment.

We hope that you find the information in this blog interesting and the tips useful.  As always, we want to contribute to your health, wellbeing, and safety.  If you have questions about your auto insurance, we welcome your call, 713.527.0444 or toll free 888.266.2680.

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. 

Boost Your Brain Power

  
  
  

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We’ve all done it – walked into a room only to forget the purpose of the trip.  Or someone asks you for information and your answer is “How soon do you have to know?”  We’ve all wished for increased brain power – no matter what our age. 

Sid Kirchheimer’s recent article in AARP Magazine offers some tips on affordable ways to power up your brain. Be sure to click on the links to quizzes and additional information throughout the article. 

1. Lift weights

Any exerecise is good for mind and body , but weight lifting and resistance training may offer special benefits, according to at least a couple of studies on women.

In one study of 65- to 75-year olds with normal cognitive function, women who exercised for an hour once or twice a week, using dumbbells, weight machines and other calisthenic exercises significantly improved their long-term mental focus and decision-making. The control group — which did not see the same brain benefits — did "balance and toning exercises" including stretching, range-of-motion.

Another study, of 70- to 80-year olds with mild cognitive impairment, showed cognitive improvement among women who did either resistance training or aerobic exercises. Men weren't included in that study, but other research involving both genders finds that strength training helps preserve or improve memory.

2. Laugh

No joke: Humor is healthy. A hearty laugh provides short but similar benefits of aerobic exercise for improved heart (and brain) health and immunity. Other benefits: Laughter elevates the production of neurotransmitters linked to improved memory and alertness while decreasing stress hormones that can cloud thinking. And when listening to jokes, as you wrestle to understand the punch line, areas of the brain that are vital to learning, creativity and decision-making activate, much as they do when working out "brainteaser" crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

3. Take a nap

In addition to improved daytime alertness, good sleep — night after night — helps keep memory and learning well-tuned. But even with Rip Van Winkle-like nocturnal habits (and certainly without), consider a regular afternoon nap for about 90 minutes. It costs nothing but time — and the payback, according to studies, could be significant. Compared to non-nappers, those who partake in daytime zzz's display measurable improvements in tests gauging decision-making, problem-solving, creativity and even tasks like recalling directions.

4. Meditate

Studies find that daily meditation can strengthen connections between brain cells, increase growth in the part of the brain that controls memory and language, and may even bolster the ability to process information and make decisions more quickly. There are various forms of meditation, but most involve spending 15–60 minutes — best if done at least once a day — of focused attention on a word, object, sound or even your own breathing. Classes help, but for cost (and other) consciousness, consider free "how-to" videos and help available online.

5. Rate your plate

Brain-boosting foods don't have to be expensive. Grains like oatmeal, brown rice, barley and quinoa supply energy to the brain, which may boost learning. Nuts and seeds — including low-cost peanuts, sunflower seeds and flax — are loaded with vitamin E, which helps combat cognitive decline as you age.

Blueberries, cherries, raspberries and red grapes contain antioxidants to feed brain areas responsible for memory and learning (apples, bananas and oranges are also good). Spinach, tomatoes, onions and asparagus are vegetable standouts. And while salmon remains supreme, less expensive fish — also rich in omega-3 fatty acids — include tuna, sardines, anchovies and mullet.

6. Step lively

Elliptical, schmilliptical. Just walking briskly — no equipment necessary — cuts your lifetime risk of Alzheimer's disease by half. So does most anything else (including money-saving DIY gardening and housecleaning) that gets your heart pumping for at least 150 minutes per week, ideally for 30 minutes or longer per session. Why? Boosting heart rate improves blood flow to areas of the brain involved with memory, learning and decision-making. Hint: Studies find a walk in the park boosts energy, focus and well-being more than indoor exercise.

7. Socialize

Take a free class at the local library. Volunteer. Make use of Facebook. Or just hang out with friends. Any of these no-cost activities reduces the risk of dementia and slows or prevents cognitive decline. Theory: Social engagement means mental engagement — talking or just being around others requires focus and attention to details (while combating loneliness, itself a risk for dementia), and some research suggests even brief but regular social engagement bolsters memory, self-awareness and the ability to not be easily distracted.

8. Brush and floss

For just pennies a day, good oral hygiene can help prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Most people know that inflammation in your mouth has been linked to heart disease; what's less well-known is that gingivitis has also been linked to several cognitive problems, including declines in memory and verbal and math skills. More serious gum disease boosts the risk of memory problems as much as threefold (plus factors into stroke, diabetes and heart disease).

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling.

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. 

 

 

5 Megatrends That Will Revolutionize Insurance

  
  
  
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In an industry publication, PropertyCasualty360, we found the article below both stunning and enormously valuable.  At Dean & Draper, we consider providing information part of our commitment to our customers.  We hope that you will find the article thought provoking and inspirational.  Please send us your insights and comments.

At IICF's Women in Insurance Regional Forum, PwC experts examine five global certainties that will impact insurance, business, and the world.

by LAURA MAZZUCA TOOPS, PROPERTYCASUALTY360.COM

June 11, 2014, Forum in Chicago

A megatrend is not a prediction but a certainty, an event with global ramifications that is already unfolding and affecting people. And although the more massive of these megatrends can be intimidating, they present more opportunities for creative thinkers who can rise to the challenge of solving them.

Learning to surf the wave of megatrends was the topic of "Trailblazing: Frontiers of the Future," a presentation at the IICF Women in Insurance Regional Forum, held last week in Chicago. The event was part of IICF's four-city (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Dallas) event, designed to accommodate more attendees than last year's inaugural event in Manhattan.

In “Trailblazing: Frontiers of the Future,” Tim Ryan, vice chairman, markets, strategy and stakeholders leader, and Kelley Buchanan, managing director, insurance advisory, PwC, examined how global megatrends will impact all of us, and how businesses can benefit by addressing them full on.

Calling today the "best time to be in business," Ryan says that in PwC's quarterly meetings with its clients, all trends point to growth: patent filings are up 9%, business bankruptcies are down, and corporate giving has increased 40% since the recession.  Read complete article

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.

 

Snack Your Way to a Better Night’s Sleep

  
  
  
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More than 50 million Americans don’t get enough sleep.  When you find yourself frequently staring at the clock, tossing and turning, or can’t seem to shut your mind down here are a few foods that can make falling asleep easier. 

Here are some sleep inducing food choices from Jacob Teiltelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fabulous and Neurologist Alon Avidan, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center.  Eat these snacks about 30 minutes before bed and keep them light – more is definitely not better.

Nuts & Seeds

Almonds

Almonds contain magnesium, a muscle-relaxing mineral that plays a key role in regulating sleep. A handful of almonds or a tablespoon of almond butter before bed may help you fall asleep — and stay asleep.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that produces sleepiness.  Walnuts help your body respond better to stress, too. For extra flavor, toast them briefly on top of the stove in a dry skillet until they're golden brown or bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are loaded with a variety of essential nutrients, including substantial amounts of tryptophan. Pair a small piece of carb-rich fruit with your pumpkin seed snack to help the sleep-inducing nutrients reach your brain.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is rich in tryptophan, which the body uses to build hormones essential for sleep.  spread some peanut butter ona few whole-grain crackers, which provide carbs to help the tryptophan reach the brain more easily.

Fruit

Bananas

Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid which morphs into serotonin and melatonin in the brain. They also offer abundant amounts of magnesium and potassium, notes UCLA's Avidan. "Both minerals help to relax muscles and may ease a painful charley horse that can wake you during the night," he says.  It takes about an hour for tryptophan to reach the brain, so plan your snack accordingly.

Cherries

Cherries, especially the tart varieties, are one of the few natural sources of melatonin according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.  Recent studies have found that volunteers who drank tart cherry juice daily fell asleep sooner and slept better and longer.  Have a handful an hour before bedtime; if fresh ones aren’t in season, go for cherry juice or the dried variety.

Pineapple

Certain fruits can significantly boost natural levels of melatonin, which tend to decline as we age. Researchers found that levels of a melatonin marker were raised by more than 266 percent after eating pineapples, 180 percent after eating bananas and 47 percent after eating oranges.

Carbs

Cereal and Milk

Milk also contains the sleep-promoting tryptophan.  The carbohydrates in cereal make tryptophan more available to the brain, according to the National Sleep Foundation. For the best nutritional bang, choose a small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal.

Crackers and Cheese

The protein in cheese provides sleep-inducing tryptophan, while the carbs in crackers may help you fall asleep faster. Gram for gram, cheddar cheese contains more tryptophan than turkey.

Hummus

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), the main ingredient in hummus, are not only rich in tryptophan, but also in folate and vitamin B-6. Folate helps to regulate sleep patterns, especially in older people, and vitamin B-6 helps to regulate your body clock. So spread some hummus on a small slice of bread for your before-bed snack.

Jasmine Rice

Having a bowl of rice 4 hours before going to bed could help you fall asleep faster, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers theorize that high glycemic-index foods like jasmine rice may boost tryptophan and serotonin, thus encouraging sleep. In the AJCN study, men fell asleep after an average of 9 minutes. Make sure to stick with jasmine rice rather than opting for the lower glycemic-index long-grain rice.

 

Beverages

Milk

Downing a warm glass will encourage sweet dreams, says Donald Hensrud, a preventive medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Milk is full of tryptophan, so it will have a sedative effect. Plus, it’s a good source of calcium, which helps regulate the production of melatonin. “If you can’t sleep or if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, get out of bed and have some milk,” Hensrud says. Make it even sweeter with a teaspoon of honey.

Green Tea

Green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Just make sure that the green tea you enjoy at night is decaffeinated, because the caffeine in regular green tea might keep you awake.

 

We hope that these tips will lead you to a restful night’s sleep.  At Dean and Draper we’re always looking for ideas to make your life better and easier.

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

And It’s Hurricane Season Again!

  
  
  
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   Forecasters are predicting a quieter 2014 hurricane season than usual.   The current projections are for 11 named storms, including 5 hurricanes, 2 of which are predicted to attain major hurricane status - Category 3 or stronger.  Even with the “quiet” season, we all need to be prepared for the storm. 

"The early dynamical model runs suggest another relatively slow season," said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for Weather Services International (WSI), a part of the The Weather Company. "Three independent statistical techniques all suggest 11 named storms this year."

 Getting Ready

Long before a storm is even in the area, it’s a great idea to get some of the important prep handled.  Reviewing your homeowner’s and flood insurance should be at the top of this list.  If you want a professional opinion of your coverage, please contact Dean & Draper.  To get helpful information about flood insurance, click here. 

Make Plans

The website http://www.ready.gov, offers free downloads of templates and brochures for Emergency Plans both for Families and Businesses.  The Family Plan includes a communications plan, building an emergency kit, pet owner information, gathering important papers, protecting your property, evacuation, and so much more.  Families may also need to plan for Seniors or family members with disabilities.  Templates and brochures for making those plans are on the website as well.

The Business Plan includes information on planning business continuity, a business impact analysis worksheet, continuity resource worksheet, and a template for a business emergency response plan. 

Evaluate the Risks

Keeping track of the storm is easier than ever with the amazing technology available to forecasters.  The most popular and watched sources include NOAA/National Hurricane Center , The Weather Channel, and local television stations.  For evacuation routes and road conditions, check the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Evacuate or Stay

Despite the risks involved and the advancements made in emergency warnings, some people continue to ignore calls to evacuate and attempt to ride out approaching storms in their own homes.  According weather and emergency professionals, it’s never a good idea to “ride the storm out” if you have the means to leave.  When officials declare an evacuation for your area, do yourself and your family a favor and leave.    

Information on preparing for a hurricane is available from local authorities, booklets prepared by local television stations, and through the Internet – just Google “Hurricane Preparedness” and you’ll get 165,000 hits.  Be informed, make a plan, heed the warnings, and stay safe.

Trivia Question: What is the difference between a hurricane, cyclone, and typhoon?

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon.  We just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Naming Protocol 

Hurricanes names are selected by the World Meteorological Organization. Every six years, the list of names begins again! However, the names of especially destructive hurricanes are usually retired.

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.

4 Ways Insurance Might Respond if Godzilla Attacks

  
  
  

© Mirko Raatz - Fotolia.comLast week an article written by Laura Mazzuca Toops in PropertyCasulaty.com’s newsletter posed an interesting question.  How would your insurance company react to the mayhem created by a huge lizard?  What would be covered and by which policy? 

Just a few notes.  The Golden Gate Bridge – a casualty to Godzilla’s rampage - is currently not insured and replacement cost is estimated at $1.55 Billion.  Insurance coverage for your home would depend on whether it was stomped and smashed or caught fire and exploded.  What about your car?  Would the comp or collision coverage take care of a big foot squashing it?  And then there’s the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).  Is Godzilla a terrorist?  Laura’s article begins below.  Enjoy!

Ever think about policy wording, exclusions and ISO forms when watching a summer blockbuster? You’re not alone.

Although classic movie monster Godzilla has been crushing cities (specifically, Tokyo and Manhattan) since 1954, his latest incarnation in this spring’s hit movie has shed new light on the damage wreaked by the old lizard—this time on San Francisco.

The new “Godzilla” movie earned $93.2 million on its opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. But the dollar amount of insurance claims and collateral damage that would result if a 335-foot prehistoric lizard really did hit San Francisco could make that amount pale in comparison.

We asked long-time insurance educators (and Godzilla fans) Chris Amrhein and Bill Wilson (director of IIABA's Virtual University) to discuss how Godzilla’s return would impact the insurance industry. Read on to see their predictions. 

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week

  
  
  
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 Over 70 million dogs live in U.S. households.  While the Fido in your home may be as gentle as a lamb, not all dogs are as easy going as your best friend.  In fact, more than 1/3 of homeowner insurance liability claims in 2013 were for dog bites and totaled more than $483 million according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.  Children are by far the most likely dog bite victims of the 4.5 million dog bites in the U.S. annually.  To see more information about the Insurance Information Institute analysis of homeowners insurance claims, Click Here

Sunday, May 18 – Saturday, May 24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  For more information and great tips, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.  Click Here

“All dogs have the potential to bite, but for most, biting is a last resort,” said Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet's hit TV series It's Me or the Dog. “If time is taken to raise, teach and socialize a dog correctly, the likelihood of a bite incident occurring is extremely low, explained Stilwell, a passionate advocate for positive reinforcement training methods. “Confident dogs have less need to use aggressive behavior.”  

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Since children are by far the largest group of dog bite victims, here are a few tips for keeping kids safe – adults, too.

  • When you see a yellow ribbon on a dog’s leash, keep your distance.  The yellow ribbon means that the dog doesn’t like to be approached or petted by strangers.
  • Avoid unknown dogs especially if they are loose and wandering the neighborhood. 
  • Always ask an owner for permission to pet their dog.  Owners will let you know if the dog isn’t friendly. 
  • The best exit strategy is confidently, quietly, walk away when confronted by an aggressive dog.  Children should stand still if a dog goes after them – “be a tree.”
  • Dogs can be startled or frightened by people yelling, running, hitting, or making sudden movements toward them.  Approach the dog quietly and keep your movements slow.
  • Educate children at a level they can understand.  Focus on gentle behavior and that, just like people, dogs have likes and dislikes. 
  • Teasing dogs by taking their toys, food or treats, or by pretending to hit or kick can provoke exactly the behavior you don’t want.  Bullying isn’t good for dogs either. 
  • Avoid aggravating a dog by pulling ears or tail, climbing on, or try to ride them.
  • When the dog is asleep or eating leave him alone.  We all enjoy peace and quiet during a meal or when we’re asleep. 

Top 10 Dog Bite States 

In the race to become the top state for dog bites, California came in first with 1,919 claims at an average cost of $33,709.  New York had the highest cost per claim, $42,122 and came in second in number of claims, 965.

10.       Wisconson – 449 claims, cost per claim $31,629

9.         Arizona – 488 claims, cost per claim $27,503

8.         Indiana – 503 claims, cost per claim $25,502

7.         Texas – 775 claims, cost per claim $19,339

6.         Michigan – 866 claims, cost per claim $24,700

5.         Pennsylvania – 909 claims, cost per claim $29,078

4.         Illinois – 914 claims, cost per claim $28, 941

3.         Ohio – 948 claims, cost per claim $18,852

2.         New York – 965 claims, cost per claim $43,122

1.         California – 1,919 claims, cost per claim $33,709

Over half of the houses in this country are home to a dog, too.  We hope you have found the information in this article interesting and useful. 

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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