November 13th, 2013
Although we are only in mid-November, the temperatures have dropped and brrrrrrrr it’s cold out! While we can’t control the weather, we can minimize some of winters biggest threats to your home. While you likely don’t want to think about snow right now, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to reduce risk.
Prior to a snow storm:• Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
• Keep the attic well ventilated so snow doesn’t melt and refreeze on the roof’s edge.
• Make sure the attic floor is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
To help prevent pipes from freezing:• Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow heat transfer.
• Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
• Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
• Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.
November 8th, 2013
If you refinance or sell your mortgage, it is important to call your insurance agent and notify them of this change.
Refinancing is the process of obtaining a new mortgage on your home in order to reduce monthly payments, take cash out of your home for a large purchase, or change from one lending company to another. When a mortgage is refinanced, the bank or mortgage holder typically requires that the value of the home be re-assessed. Since refinancing involves reassessing the value of your home, it is important to contact your insurance agent so that your policy can be updated accordingly.
In some cases, when you secure a mortgage loan, the lender requires you to include homeowners insurance payments with your loan payments. The lender holds the funds in an escrow account and pays the homeowners premium from this account.
When you refinance or sell your mortgage, it is crucial that you contact your insurance agent; more often than not, clients assume that the lender contacts the insurance agent, but this is not always the case. When the mortgage changes and the insurance agent is not made aware, the homeowners insurance is not getting paid and therefore stands the risk of getting cancelled for non-payment. Especially in today’s market it is extremely easy to refinance without a lender requiring or requesting proof of insurance from our office, they often accept copies of current insurance policies in their place to expedite the closing of the loan.
Please contact us today if you are changing your mortgage: 781-444-3050
November 1st, 2013
Did you know that the average cost per record of a data breach in the United States is $188, including direct costs (forensics, hotline support and credit monitoring) and indirect costs (loss of clients, employee time)?
In today’s interconnected, digital world, every type of organization uses technology to collect and store data. And with new threats to computer systems and data emerging everyday, it pays to be prepared as a single incident can have a huge impact. In addition to financial loss, a breach can halt an organizations’ operations, create legal issues and damage customer confidence. We want to raise your awareness of this growing risk so your business or organization can be better prepared in the event of a cyber attack.
Aronson Insurance understands the complexity of cyber threats and has access to a wide variety of product solutions to help protect an organization’s assets.
Contact us today to learn more: 781-444-3050
October 8th, 2013
Did you know that certain breeds of dogs can preclude you from qualifying for certain homeowners insurance policies? Dog owners are liable for any injuries their pet causes. In the past few weeks, there has been much noise in Massachusetts around a new bill (H 918) that would bar insurers from denying, cancelling, or upping premiums on residential property insurance based on specific breed of dogs that live on the property.
In 2012, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability insurance claim dollars paid out, amounting to more than $489 million, according to Peter Robertson of the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America.
Among the breeds prohibited include pit bulls, German shepherds, malamutes, Dobermans, akitas and mastiffs.
Animal advocates are saying that breed is a flawed means of judging whether a dog is likely to bite and also hope to identify dangerous dogs and keep them away from the public. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, no other state has passed similar legislation.
It will be interesting to see where the discussion leads. If you have any questions about whether your dog could impact your insurance policies, call us today: 781-444-3050
October 3rd, 2013
Whether you’re a small business, municipality, technology company or a large publicly traded corporation, if an organization uses technology, it is at risk of a data breach or cyber attack. In today’s interconnected, digital world, cyber threats continue to grow and represent a serious challenge to organizations of all sizes. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so it is a great time to take a step back and learn more about this critical topic.
Did you know that less than 1/3 of companies are insured against data breaches and that businesses are beginning to rank cyber-security risks as greater than natural disasters and other major business risks?
Here are some tips from Travelers Insurance to help protect a small business:
- Set up a data breach response team and plan that outlines how your company will address any data breaches and the roles and responsibilities of team members.
- Develop a data retention policy. It should explain how your company will retain data and keep it secure, as well as how you will destroy and dispose of unneeded data – dormant customers’ accounts, job applications, former employee privacy information, etc. Make sure you and your employees back up critical information regularly. Have secure locations where this data and its backup can be stored.
- Keep up to date on fast changing state laws regarding data breach, privacy and mandates on how you must notify customers if your data is breached. Incorporate them into your data policy. Failing to do so could result not only in fines and penalties, but in lost customers if a breach is ill-handled, and critically damaging your company’s reputation.
- Be sure that your anti-virus protection is installed and kept up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to designate a limited few within your company who will be responsible for downloading and installing programs. Only download programs from trusted sources, and instruct all employees to stay away from links or ads for software on email or pop-up ads.
- Train your employees. They are your last line of defense. Teach them how to identify and report potential breaches, and to be alert to unusual emails and attachments. Email is the most prevalent way of spreading computer viruses. Inform employees never to open an email that looks suspicious or contains odd spellings or characters. They should only open emails from people they know or have communicated with in the past. Explain about phishing and hacking techniques. Instruct employees to fully shut down their computers at the end of the business day.
- Require employees to change passwords on a regular basis and to use strong, unique passwords. Passwords should be unique to each program, account and computer in use. They should not be written down or shared in any way. A good password is sophisticated enough to thwart hackers, but straightforward enough to be remembered easily. Online password generators can help.
- Make sure that mobile devices that contain company information – laptops, smart phones, tablets and flash drives – are encrypted and password secured, in the event they are lost or stolen.
- Control access to your computer systems and establish a process to deactivate former employees and third party contractors whose service has ended.
If you have any questions about Data Security, contact us today: 781-444-3050
October 2nd, 2013
Ever had questions about flood insurance? The Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued a helpful Q&A on Flood Disasters and Insurance (for informational purposes only). The document provides answers to how a policy will respond for your homeowners policy, commercial policy and flood policy.
Always read your policy to find out what coverages you have or what is excluded. As always, if you have any questions, please contact us today: 781.444.3050
August 8th, 2013
ABC’s about when to call your insurance agent:
A new or additional vehicle
Before buying a home or updating your home
Before changing your relationship status TO or FROM married
Before you buy or sell a business
Birth a new child
Before you buy a piece of jewelry, ATV or snowmobile
Before starting a business in your home
Before your child gets his/her license
Before you get a pet
Child goes off to college
August 2nd, 2013
Insurance needs are often overlooked in the last-minute scramble to get your child ready for college. Here are a few things to consider:
Is your child taking the car with them to school? If your child is not taking a car with them and will be attending a school that is more than 100 miles away, you may be able to see a reduction in your premium. In addition, if your student maintains a B average or higher, they may be eligible for a “good student discount”. Either way, you should inform your insurance agent that a student on the policy will be relocating.
It’s not unusual for students to have hundreds or even thousands of dollars of electronics and other belongings in their dorm rooms – laptops, ipads, bicycles, musical instruments, etc. Such items are typically covered by a parents homeowners insurance, subject to a deductible. But coverage varies, so check with your insurance agent. It’s helpful if you take a picture of the expensive items prior to your child leaving for school. For additional protection for your child’s belongings, look into renters insurance, which is usually only a few hundred dollars a year and is typically subject to a lower deductible. Anyone living off campus needs to get a separate renters insurance policy to cover personal belongings, as will each roommate.
July 17th, 2013
We are in the midst of another heatwave in Boston!
Excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity.
Here are some tips from the American Red Cross:
Listen to a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Eat small meals and eat more often.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
Postpone outdoor games and activities.
Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
For more info, go to http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/heat-wave
July 2nd, 2013
Homeowners and families across the country are getting ready to celebrate July 4th! But, before the celebrations begin, make sure to take some precautions to protect your home and family:
Each year there are many accidents related to backyard fireworks, which are illegal to buy, sell or possess here in Massachusetts. According to officials, from 2002 to 2011, there were 804 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported in MA. Except by licensed professionals, the use of fireworks is illegal in MA, which has adopted the Model Fireworks Law. The safest way to watch fireworks is at a public display put on by professionals. To find out where and when the July 4th fireworks will take place near you, check out this link: http://www.bostoncentral.com/events/massachusetts_fireworks_2010/p5389.php
Grills can cause substantial injury if not set up, maintained and used properly. Read our post on Grill Safety and brush up on your grill knowledge and safety tips to keep your family and friends safe!
Whether you’re planning on hitting the beach or lounging by a pool, be sure to practice safe swimming and to remind your family to do the same.
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
- Always swim with a buddy; do not swim alone
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child
- Avoid alcohol use; alcohol impairs judgment
For more information, check out The American Red Cross Water Safety Article
Boat Safety Tips
If you own a boat, check out our blog posting on boat safety tips