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Wishing you a happy new year!

By Cincinnati Insurance

Wishing you a happy new year!

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Our best tips to help your property withstand winter

By Cincinnati Insurance

snow-plow

As you plan for winter, verify that your snow removal contractor has a certificate of insurance.

If you haven’t made preparations already, now might be your last chance to get your home or business in shape before the coldest months of the year. Here are our best tips for commercial property owners and homeowners that can help you prevent damage from the worst that winter has to offer.

A well-maintained building is ready for winter

Buildings protect us from the elements but, like people, are not immune to seasonal change. Take action to help protect your commercial building from the effects of winter. Your efforts now will keep you and your customers more comfortable later.

Here are some tips for owners of commercial buildings covering general building maintenance; snow and ice removal and management; and frozen pipe prevention. More

Let it flow! Let it flow! Let it flow!

Did you know that letting your most weather-susceptible faucets drip during periods of extreme cold can keep your water pipes from freezing? Don’t let cold weather ice your pipes this winter!

Because liquid expands as it freezes, pipes full of water are vulnerable, and those outdoors or running against exterior walls are especially susceptible. With a few preventive steps, you can save the expense and bother of burst pipes and water damage. More

First aid for frozen pipes – steps to prevent more problems

There’s plenty of cold weather ahead of us – enough to freeze pipes, causing costly water damage at your home or business.

If you suspect you have a frozen pipe – you’ve turned on the faucet, but no water comes out – call a qualified plumber immediately. Shut off the main water valve, and leave the faucets open until repairs are made. If a pipe has burst, take the necessary steps to prevent further damage, and contact your insurance agent to file a claim. More

For more information and advice on the best way to protect your home or business, speak to your local independent insurance agent.

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Light your way to a safe holiday

By Cincinnati Insurance

Light your way to a safe holiday

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Staying safe from fire in public places

By Stephen Dale

Staying safe from fire in public places

While a fire might be the last thing you expect when you go out to dinner or a movie, think about fire safety and how you might react. Your life and health can depend on it.

An average of more than 16,000 fires occur annually in public places such as restaurants, movie theaters, night clubs and meeting spaces. More than 7,000 fires happen each year just in eating and drinking establishments.

Consider, too, that on average, 84 people die in fires outside their homes every year. From 2005 to 2015, there were 925 nonresidential fire deaths in the U.S.

You can help protect yourself and your family by being aware of your surroundings and making note of these safety concerns as you visit public spaces:

  • Exit paths should be clear of obstructions.

    Find the nearest exit – Make it a habit to look for exits wherever you go. Building codes usually require two ways out of every building or floor. Know where the nearest exit is, keeping in mind another door may be closer than the one you entered.

  • Pay attention to combustibles hanging from the walls and ceilings – Generally, combustibles should be limited on walls and ceilings, and only standard wall and ceiling coverings are acceptable. Pay particular attention to exposed foam as decoration in restaurants and nightclubs; it burns quickly and causes toxic smoke.
  • Pay attention to overcrowding in a room – If it feels too packed, it probably is.
  • Be aware of obstructions – Paths to exits should be free and clear of obstructions and easy to access.
  • Be conscious of construction – Exits and areas like stairwells should be free of combustibles. Stairs should be solid and usually enclosed by substantial construction separating them from the rest of the building. Open stairwells usually should not be labeled as exits; if you see one that is, make sure you know of an alternate route.
  • Respond to fire alarms – When a fire alarm activates or emergency notification is provided, act immediately. Do not wait to see what others are doing or assume there is no incident; you may have only minutes to reach the nearest exit out of the building.

Fire exit doors should be marked and unblocked.

Other public places that require special attention are day care centers and homes for the elderly: Children, elders and people with special needs often cannot save themselves in a fire and need the help of the …read more

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Life insurance: A gift fit for a grandchild

By Tyson Dailey

Life insurance: A gift fit for a grandchild

Life insurance can be an appropriate and thoughtful gift for a child.

When you think about all the things you want to purchase for your grandchild, life insurance would likely be near the bottom of the list. While it may not be the most exotic purchase, by the end of this blog I hope life insurance would be up for consideration. Life Insurance for a child or grandchild offers three important advantages: it’s inexpensive; it provides protection for the unexpected; and certain types of life insurance could help protect your child’s or grandchild’s insurability.

First, life insurance is inexpensive. The way life insurance works is that the younger and healthier you are, the less the coverage will cost. Life insurance premiums are based on life expectancies and risk factors. Risk factors would include things that could adversely affect life expectancy, for example, health issues; habits like smoking or sky diving; and family history.

Let’s compare an 18-year-old nonsmoker with a 40-year-old smoker with high blood pressure and heart issues. The life insurance company would see the 18-year-old as a better risk based on age and the other risk factors (smoking and health), so the same coverage would cost less for the 18-year-old.

Second, life insurance’s main purpose is to provide a tax-free death benefit. I know it’s not a pleasant thought, so we will not dwell on it too much, but answer this question: Would it be better to have a tax-free benefit or use credit cards or a loan to pay for final expenses?

Finally, depending on the product purchased, you could protect your child’s or grandchild’s insurability.

As a parent or grandparent, you have a couple of options available for your child or grandchild’s insurability. First is term life insurance, which would provide coverage for a fixed number of years. A term policy could be converted later for up to the original face amount to a permanent form of life insurance without proof of insurability.

The other option would be a permanent life policy, which would be more expensive; however, it could offer a major advantage. Permanent forms of insurance can offer an insurability rider that allows purchasing additional coverage, without the proof of insurability. This protects your child or grandchild in case they develop a medical condition, making coverage more expensive or unavailable down the road. Just as insurance is more expensive as you age, some medical conditions make life insurance unobtainable.

Regardless of …read more

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Staying safe while you celebrate

By Cincinnati Personal Lines

Staying safe while you celebrate

Keep your holiday merry. Be cautious with candles, Christmas lights and fireplaces,

You want your holidays to be memorable, but for the right reasons. Help ensure you celebrate a safe and happy holiday by observing these simple – but essential – tips to help safeguard your loved ones and belongings.

Celebrate with a live tree – safely

Choose the right tree! Healthy trees have green needles that do not fall off easily and supple, not brittle, branches.

  • Water your tree daily, and keep your tree indoors for no more than two and a half weeks.
  • Remove the tree immediately if it stops taking water or if needles become brittle or begin to drop.

Light the way to a careful holiday

  • Test each strand of holiday lights in an outlet before hanging.
  • Inspect strands for frayed wire and bulbs that are cracked, broken or missing.
  • Touch each strand to be sure the wire and bulbs are not heating up. Discard any warm strands.

Watch and tend to open flames

  • Decorate trees only with ornaments and electric lights, avoiding candles.
  • Display candles away from curtains, paper and other combustible items and pets.
  • Always extinguish candles when you leave the room, and monitor and trim wicks as you enjoy the candles’ warmth and aroma.
  • Use a dish or container designed to catch melted wax.
  • Always lock up candles, matches and lighters to protect children.

Maintain your fireplace and smoke detectors

  • Before you get toasty in front of a fire, have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned.
  • Use only aged, hard firewood to start and fuel your fire. Wrapping paper and tree needles and branches burn unpredictably and belong in the trash.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing batteries regularly.

While the holiday rush may keep you busy, taking the time to protect your family and home from fire is a valuable investment, ensuring more happy occasions for years to come.

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New jewelry? Remember to insure those valuable gifts

By Kirsten Faherty

New jewelry? Remember to insure those valuable gifts

Protect your valuable gifts; remember to add them to your insurance policy.

The holidays provide us with good reasons for presenting special – and often valuable – gifts to our loved ones. In the excitement of surprising someone with a gift that makes a big impression, remember that properly insuring expensive gifts can bring you peace and joy long after the holiday season is over.

Follow some easy tips for insuring new jewelry and valuables:

  • Consider taking advantage of a store or manufacturer’s warranties or guarantees, but don’t mistake them for insurance. For example, some major jewelry chains offer limited guarantees on gemstone and diamond replacement or repairs. This is a wonderful perk so long as the store is in business and you comply with regular inspections and the terms of the guarantee agreement. But in the event that your jewelry is lost or stolen, it is unlikely that the store will be able to help you. Talk with your insurance agent about your valuables and the best options to protect them.
  • Be sure to insure your expensive purchases to value, not just what you paid for them. Door buster specials during the holiday season may enable you to get a remarkable price on an item, but if you only insure for the price paid, you may not be able to get that same deal if you have to replace it later. The value of precious metals and gemstones fluctuates, so getting an appraisal can help you and your agent determine the appropriate amount of insurance. (And, don’t hesitate to ask your jeweler to provide an appraisal gratis as a way to close the deal. It never hurts to ask, and the cost of an appraisal may be worth it to the jeweler to make the sale.)
  • Take a photo of new, valuable items, and have it ready – along with any copies of the receipt, serial number, appraisal or certificate – when you talk to your agent about the right coverage for your items.
  • Get to know your policy’s limits. Coverage for expensive electronics differs from the protection for a diamond bracelet. Your agent can help you understand your policy and customize it to make sure it protects all of your valuables, whether the item is something you watch, listen to or wear.
  • It’s natural to want to bask in the warm feelings generated by giving someone special a present that wows, so consider insuring the …read more

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Cyber risk insurance: New coverage for emerging risks

By Rodney French

Cyber risk insurance: New coverage for emerging risks

Cyber insurance is now available to address many emerging risks.

It seems you can’t turn on the news without hearing about a cyber-related crime or incident.

Criminals are increasingly using ransomware as a means of extortion. Ransomware is a form of malware, usually delivered by email phishing scams, that locks victims out of their critical data until they pay the criminals a fee. The FBI received more than 2,400 complaints about ransomware in 2015, with a reported loss of more than $24 million. Authorities believe the actual costs could be much higher because the crime is underreported. The Department of Justice estimates that these ransomware attacks now average 4,000 per day – that’s a 300 percent increase over 2015.

Headlines usually describe breaches of sensitive customer data suffered by large, well-known companies. In reality, most cyber-attacks are not high-profile cases but softer targets, such as small- to medium-size operations. No business or industry is immune to cyber risks. Lost or stolen mobile devices, improper disposal of paper records or deficiencies in system malware protection can lead to a breach or attack.

The good news is that insurance coverage is available that can be tailored to protect your business from cyber risks.

DATA BREACH PROTECTION

Small- to medium-sized businesses should consider coverage for:

  • response expenses, including forensic IT and legal reviews, notification to affected individuals, public relations expenses as well as fines and penalty coverage
  • third-party defense and liability
  • identity theft recovery
  • protection from computer attack on your network, including data restoration and re‑creation costs, system restoration expenses, loss of business income and public relations services
  • network security liability in case there is a breach of third-party business information, unintended spreading or forwarding of malware or a denial of service attack
CYBER DEFENSE PROTECTION

If your business stores large quantities of sensitive information, for example, financial institutions, health care organizations or schools, ask about cyber defense coverage which may include:

  • cyber extortion coverage
  • electronic media liability coverage
  • access to online risk management and educational resources
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE

With or without insurance coverage, you can take steps help prevent loss:

  • encrypt data
  • patch system vulnerabilities
  • shred sensitive documents
  • educate your employees on topics such as email phishing scams
  • develop and test contingency plans

Speak to your local independent agent about the coverages that are right for you.

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