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Position yourself for workstation comfort

By Jim Smith

Position yourself for workstation comfort

Millions of workers spend their days in front of a computer screen. To stay comfortable and prevent strain or injury, make sure your chair, desk and screen are arranged to fit your needs.

Read our infographic for suggestions to help you stay comfortable and productive.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has additional resources to help you make sure your head, feet and body are correctly positioned.

Download the PDF

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Business equipment – What will you do when it fails?

By Robert Crouch

Business equipment – What will you do when it fails?

Consider protection for the mechanical and electronic systems that keep your business running.

Tornadoes and fires may or may not happen to you, but like the human body, from the day it first goes into operation your business equipment begins the journey to its eventual failure.

Standard commercial property policies typically don’t protect against unexpected equipment breakdown, and warranties, service contracts and preventive maintenance agreements only cover so much. Adding equipment breakdown coverage can be a valuable part of your business insurance portfolio.

Who needs equipment breakdown coverage?

The very nature of business and equipment is continually changing, becoming less mechanical and labor-intensive and more technologically and electronically driven. Equipment breakdown protection is more essential than ever.

Manufacturers…

Power surges and electrical fluctuations are leading sources of equipment breakdown. Some manufacturing equipment is particularly sensitive to these sources, including computerized production machines such as computer numerical control (CNC) lathes, commercial printing equipment and machines using microprocessors.

…and everyone else!

Many people think they don’t need equipment breakdown coverage unless they are in the manufacturing or processing business. Nearly every business is susceptible to failures of telephone systems, computers and air conditioners.

For example, a restaurant owner found out how valuable his equipment breakdown coverage could be. His refrigeration system broke down, resulting in a $30,000 loss. Equipment breakdown coverage paid for costs associated with a refrigerated trailer to temporarily provide for his food storage needs while a new refrigeration compressor was installed.

So consider the mechanical and electronic systems your business depends on, and see your local independent agent for coverage that can keep your business running.

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Three concerns, one life insurance policy

By Seth Wasserman

Three concerns, one life insurance policy

Guaranteed whole life insurance can address your most pressing concerns.

With so many options available for life insurance, some people struggle with their decisions and opt to … do nothing.

But what if one policy made their choice easy? Guaranteed whole life insurance provides a level premium that never changes based on your health or age. This simple option can protect you from three of the biggest emotional and financial concerns that could happen during your lifetime: death, disability and outliving your money.

DEATH

Let’s discuss the obvious concern first … death. All of us are going to die, but the important fact that most people don’t consider is when that is going to happen. We just don’t know. Term insurance, which provides coverage for a specific timeframe, is only one option. Another is whole life insurance that can protect you for your entire life and removes the uncertainty of whether your insurance will be there when your beneficiaries need it the most.

DISABILITY

Second is the chance you may become disabled. The Social Security Administration estimates that one in four 20-year-olds in the workforce will suffer a disability before retirement. I had to have lumbar fusion on my back at age 36 and was on disability for more than four months. Along with disability coverage through work, I had a life insurance policy with a rider providing benefits for chronic illness. The disability policy through work was enough to cover my income, but the rider gave me peace of mind in case I needed more income. I never expected the disability, but because I prepared I was able to provide for my family. Many whole life insurance policies offer optional riders, amendments to your policy, such as the chronic illness rider that will provide a yearly benefit to help offset medical costs and income should you become disabled.

OUTLIVING YOUR MONEY

The last concern is the chance you may run out of money. Many people don’t properly prepare for their retirement and expect what I call “The Windfalls”: winning the lottery, receiving a large inheritance or striking it rich in the stock market. The chance of windfalls happening is extremely low. As a matter of fact, with inflation and the high cost of health care, even if a windfall does come to you, it may not be enough. With a whole life policy, cash value grows tax deferred and, if needed, can provide another source of funds …read more

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Caring for your collection: Preventing loss

By Matthew Cluxton

Caring for your collection: Preventing loss

Simple steps help you protect your collection from loss.

Collecting can be an enjoyable hobby, an educational pursuit or even a financial investment. So how do you look after a collection now that you’ve assembled one? While every collection is unique and has its own specific needs, you can take some simple loss prevention steps to help protect yours from loss or damage.

A good place to begin is creating and maintaining a current inventory of your collection. For each item in your collection, your inventory list should include: artist/maker, title, date, type of object, materials used, any inscriptions or markings on the object and its value. Be sure to include photographs to document the condition of each item and store a copy in a secure, secondary location such as a safe deposit box.

Theft and fire are two of the most common causes of loss involving collections. Consider installing centrally monitored burglar and fire alarm systems. Not only will this help keep you and your family safe while deterring loss or damage to your collection, it can sometimes result in savings on your insurance policy.

When choosing how to display or store your collection, consider the following suggestions:

  • Hire a professional art handler to ensure objects are properly installed.
  • Avoid hanging objects behind doors, in narrow hallways or in close proximity to furniture or shelving.
  • Do not hang objects above a working fireplace or in close proximity to other heat sources such as radiators.
  • Keep objects out of direct sunlight, as UV light can cause severe damage, specifically works on paper, photographs or textiles.
  • Do not store objects in basements or attics, as these areas are vulnerable to flooding, leaks and dramatic temperature changes).
  • Fragile objects should be displayed behind glass or secured with specialty wax, putty or gel.
  • Have a mulch bed or other type of barrier around outdoor sculptures to prevent damage from lawn equipment.

Realize, too, that all art objects are sensitive to the influences of temperature and humidity, which could lead to damage such as warping, cracking and mold growth. Maintaining a controlled home temperature and humidity level will help prevent damage to your collection.

Sometimes accidents simply can’t be anticipated or stopped, but by implementing some of these preventive loss measures, you have a better chance of increasing the longevity of your collection.

Contact your local, independent insurance agent for advice on coverages to protect your collection.

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Personal umbrella policy: Your liability safety net

By Bill Taylor

Personal umbrella policy: Your liability safety net

A personal umbrella policy offers extra liability protection for a variety of circumstances.

When accidents happen, lawsuits may follow. You can protect your financial assets and future earnings by purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy.

A personal umbrella policy works with your existing insurance to add the extra layer of protection that you may need. After all, you don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued for $1 million.

Auto

Liability coverage on your auto policy protects you when there is damage or an injury caused by you, a family member or even someone else using your car with your permission. Your auto policy coverage limits could be exhausted in a serious accident; that’s where the umbrella policy steps in.

Homeowner

As a homeowner, your potential for a liability loss is always there: a visitor is injured slipping on your basement steps; your dog bites the neighbor’s two-year-old daughter; or your child’s friend is injured jumping into your swimming pool. You could be presented with some pretty catastrophic medical bills in any of these situations. An umbrella policy would give you that additional layer of protection.

Watercraft

Do you own a boat? Lawsuits have resulted from accidents when skiers are being towed from the insured’s boat and even from another boat. Injuries from these accidents could well exceed the coverage from your watercraft policy.

There are several other features of the umbrella that make it a vital policy to own. An umbrella policy can extend your protection to situations in which you would otherwise not be covered by your underlying policy. The umbrella affords you worldwide coverage.

Most umbrella policies would also protect you if you were sued for libel, slander, defamation or invasion of privacy. You might scoff that any of these scenarios are merely evidence of a lawsuit-happy society. Keep in mind that even if a court ultimately rules that a suit is without merit, you’ll still have defense costs. That in itself can be expensive. Both primary and umbrella policies have the obligation to defend you, even if the suit is determined to be frivolous. The umbrella is an additional layer of coverage for you.

When you shop for an umbrella policy, begin with the companies that have your home and auto coverage. And remember that buying all your policies from a single company may earn you a package discount on premiums. Your local, independent agent can help you find the coverage you need.

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Beware the hazards of charging – and over-charging – devices

By Steve Heiden

Beware the hazards of charging – and over-charging – devices

It’s always safest to use the charging cord that came with your phone or tablet.

Lithium ion batteries are common in many consumer devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, providing a boost of power in a small size. However, the increased power also means a greater risk of overheating and fire because more energy is directed into a smaller space.

While a number of overcharge protection features are built into these batteries and devices, proper storage and charging are critical to preserve battery life and to minimize exposure to overheating and fires.

UNAPPROVED CHARGING DEVICES

One major hazard is using a non-manufacturer-approved charging device with your phone, tablet or laptop. Cheap generic chargers are easy to find at convenience stores or as giveaways at conventions or other events. It’s tempting to use generic chargers if you lose or leave behind the cord that came with your device. While generics may be compatible with your phone or tablet, compatible doesn’t mean safe.

Different devices require different levels of charge. A generic device runs the risk of putting too much charge into a device, causing the battery to overheat. Manufacturer-approved chargers are less likely to run this risk because they are made specifically for their own devices.

BATTERY FAILURE

Overcharging is not the only cause of battery failure that can result in fire. Also be aware of:

  • External heat, such as leaving a smartphone in the car on a hot day
  • Mechanical abuse, such as dropping or denting the phone
  • Manufacturing defects, such as those that made the news for causing fires, resulting in product recalls
TIPS TO STAY SAFE

In addition to using the manufacturer-provided charging cord, follow these tips when you store and charge portable electronic devices:

  • Never charge devices overnight. While most portable devices are designed to stop charging once the battery is full, a fire could occur if the charger overheats.
  • Place the device being charged on a hard flat noncombustible surface to allow for adequate ventilation.
  • Don’t place laptops, tablets or cellphones unattended on couches or beds or in areas where they might overheat and come into contact with flammable materials.
  • Inspect chargers for wear or damage. Frayed or damaged cords should be discarded immediately and replaced to prevent sparks and fires.
  • Charge devices in short bursts rather than for extended periods. Former recommendations to fully deplete batteries and then charge do not apply to lithium ion technology.

How to protect yourself from fraud

By George Grossenbaugh

How to protect yourself from fraud

Check references before signing a contract.

They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but disaster can if you fall victim to unscrupulous contractors.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that insurance fraud accounts for about 10 percent of all property casualty claims. While the majority of contractors are trustworthy, some take advantage of vulnerable policyholders, and the added expense can result in higher insurance costs for all consumers.

Protect yourself from scams by considering these tips on what to do when someone offers services:

      • Get more than one estimate. Do not feel obligated to sign a contract right away.
      • Get everything in writing, including cost, work to be done, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations.
      • Request references and check them out.
      • Ask to see the contractor’s driver’s license, and write down the license number. Also take down the vehicle plate number.
      • Never sign a contract containing blank spots. Unacceptable terms could be entered later.
      • Pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate ONLY after work is satisfactorily completed.

While your instincts may be to rush through the process of finding the help to restore your property, taking the time to find the right contractor can save time, money and additional frustration in the long run.

To report suspicious activity, contact your insurance agent or carrier or the National Insurance Crime Bureau:

      • Text FRAUD and your tip to TIP411 (847411)
      • Call 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422)
      • Submit a form on www.nicb.org

To locate an agency representing The Cincinnati Insurance Company, visit www.cinfin.com.

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