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Stay safe in and around the pool

By Cincinnati Insurance

pool-safety

A dip in the pool is a great way to enjoy the sun and get some exercise, but pools are not without hazards. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to be safe in and around the water. Here is a sampling of our blogs about pool safety.

Everybody in the pool! Safely

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an average of 390 drowning deaths occur annually among children age 15 and younger, and emergency rooms treat 5,200 pool and spa submersion injuries involving children in that age group.

Don’t let your family become a statistic. Follow all safety precautions in and around the pool. We have tips for pool safety at home and in public places. Read More

Safety comes first when the pool is open

Television and movies often show drowning as a dramatic event with victims thrashing and calling for help or lifeguards springing into action for the save.

While these instances can occur, drownings often are silent and difficult to see. They can occur in shallow water or even after a person has left the pool. Read More

Test your pool safety knowledge (Quiz)

A day at the pool with your family should be all about fun and sun! But, knowing how to enjoy the pool safely is key to everyone having a great time. Take our five-question quiz to test your knowledge of pool safety. Take the Quiz

For more information

Whether you own a pool at home or operate a pool for a health club or community organization, remember to consult with your local, independent insurance agent to make sure your insurance policy includes coverages to protect you as a pool owner.

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Thank you for your service

By Chris Beckman

lifestyle-thank-you-for-your-service

December 24, 1944. A young American soldier stands guard outside a bombed-out shelter that he and his comrades are using as a resting place for the night. The winds are howling, and the frigid temperatures send a piercing chill down his spine. Soon this almost unbearable feeling leaves his body as his mind begins to reminisce about his family at home.

There’s Mom in the kitchen with his sisters preparing Christmas dinner while Dad and his brother sit at the table smoking their pipes and strategizing how the poker game will be played that night. The Christmas tree lights up the dim corner while the record player bursts out the soothing voice of Glenn Miller.

Bill Beckman (courtesy of the family)

In the distance, a distinct humming sound enters the room, snapping the soldier to reality. Quickly he realizes the origin of this foreign sound. It is a German BF 109 fighter plane heading straight toward him to deliver an early Christmas present. Life quickly returns to his frozen legs, and he finds shelter under a truck. If he had stayed on memory lane a few seconds longer, those fond Christmas memories would have been his last. It was at that point that Bill Beckman realized that he had found himself in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.

My grandfather was fortunate enough to return to the United States from the largest war the world had ever seen. He settled down, got married and raised a family. He found employment in the insurance industry and retired within this same industry.

But he continued to hold a fond passion for the country he fought so bravely to protect from the wrath of a Nazi regime. He never asked for medals or free meals. All he ever wanted was a simple “thank you for your service.”

So the next time you receive a package, have a nurse complete your checkup or meet with your insurance agent, be cognizant that some of these individuals had a past life in the Navy, Army, Air Force or Marines. They wear many styles of clothing, but their patriotism and love for country shine through the thickest of dress coats and uniforms, the bluest of scrubs and the fanciest of dresses. A simple “thank you for your service” shines greater than any medal and satisfies more hunger than the largest of any feasts.

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Tips for packing and shipping art and collections

By Matthew Cluxton

capstone-moving-art-collection

Thoroughly review shipping companies you contract to handle your art or collection.

You may have just acquired a new item for your collection. Perhaps you have consigned part of your collection to a gallery to sell on your behalf or agreed to loan an object to a museum for exhibition. Maybe you purchased a new home and will be moving your entire collection across country. Whatever the scenario may be, this is one of the most vulnerable times for your artwork.

While transit damage is one of the most common causes of loss, proper packing and shipping procedures can ensure the safety of your collection. Consider choosing a specialty fine art packer and shipper with a solid reputation and experience in handling high-value objects. Referrals can be obtained through sources such as conservators, auction houses, art dealers, museums, other collectors or your local independent insurance agent, as they have experience with frequent transit exposures.

In addition, consider the following tips:

  • Create an inventory of item(s) to be shipped. Provide a copy of the list to both the shipper and the person receiving the shipment.
  • Determine appropriate packing materials. This usually depends on the type of item to be shipped and the duration of the shipment.
  • Create condition reports of the item(s) prior to packing and immediately upon arrival. This will ensure that you will know when any damage occurred.
  • Relay to the shipping company the correct dimensions and weight of each item to be packed and shipped so that adequate art handlers can be assigned for the job.
  • Avoid local moving companies or common carriers who may not be experienced in handling highly valued items.
  • Ship items in climate-controlled vehicles equipped with a GPS system, alarms and air-ride suspension.
  • Use shippers who use dual drivers so that vehicles are not left unattended.
  • Confirm if third-party shippers or other subcontractors will be involved in any aspect of the shipping. If so, make sure the third party has the same standards and procedures in place as the shipper you contracted.

Thoroughly review the level of experience and reputation of the company you are considering. Carefully review the shipping contract and research the amount of insurance the shipping company carries. If you choose a company simply on price, the result might be disappointing.

For more detailed information on how to protect your collection while in transit, contact your local independent insurance agent.

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Steer clear: Cars and motorcycles can be deadly mix

By Lisa Tebbe

safety-tips-motorcycles

Keep alert! Cars and motorcycles must share the road.

Motorcycles made up just 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States in 2015, but motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than private passenger occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and five times more likely to be injured, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency observes Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May and offers safety tips for motorcyclists and drivers.

Speed was a factor in 33 percent of the motorcycle accidents that resulted in death. That is substantially higher than any other vehicle, NHTSA found. A full 41 percent of the accidents were the result of a rider colliding with another vehicle, but only 6 percent were struck from behind.

Safety is important and often life-saving for a motorcyclist, and all of us who share the roads with them can help by remaining alert.

Motorcyclists who take preventive measures can avoid accidents or serious injuries by:

  • wearing a helmet and reflective clothing
  • maintaining a safe speed
  • not riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • not tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic
  • avoiding riding in inclement weather
  • avoiding cell phone use while driving

Many cities offer motorcycle safety courses that teach how to ride safely and what to do immediately following a crash until help arrives. A motorcyclist wearing a helmet is 37 percent less likely to die of injuries than one not wearing a helmet. No matter how many precautions the motorcyclist takes, he or she cannot always avoid being struck by other vehicles.

When a motorcycle is struck, the impact can be significant, and a light tap that may not cause injuries to the driver of a four-wheeled vehicle could be life-threatening to a motorcyclist. This is why it’s important for motorists to keep an eye out for motorcycles and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the motorcycle. Always use your turn signals, avoid texting or talking on the phone while driving, and avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The National Safety Council also provides safety information and tips for motorists and motorcyclists.

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The rise of the drone

By Kate Miller

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You’ve seen news articles on them. You’ve seen posts on the internet about them. You might even have seen them flying around your neighborhood. Perhaps on Halloween you’ve seen a flying apparatus with a ghost attached to it floating down your street, or perhaps you’ve seen something flying above your house and wondered if a camera was taking pictures of you. These unmanned aircraft systems (UASes), also known as drones, are aircraft systems without a human pilot on board. Instead, they are controlled by an operator on the ground.

If you haven’t seen one in action yet, just wait. Hobbyists purchased about 1.9 million drones in 2016, and the Federal Aviation Administration estimates that purchases might grow to as many as 4.3 million by 2020.

Businesses are also beginning to purchase drones for commercial purposes, with the number expected to grow from 600,000 in 2016 to 2.7 million by 2020, according to the FAA. Companies are turning to drones for aerial photography, real estate, construction, agriculture, advertising, search and rescue, landscaping, insurance and many other uses.

When entering into the world of drones, a number of rules and regulations must be followed, some of which are detailed on the FAA’s UAS website and Fact Sheet on Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations.

In August 2016, the FAA implemented a UAS rule known as Part 107, which applies to small drones weighing 55 pounds or less and requires operators to fly under 400 feet within visual line of sight and only during daylight hours. If businesses wish to fly outside of these parameters, then a waiver may be requested. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), most waiver requests come from California, are for nighttime operation and involve the aerial photography industry.

Several potential liability issues are involved in the use of drones:

  • Bodily injury to others – the drone crashing or dropping an item that results in injury to a person
  • Property damage to others – the drone crashing or dropping an item that results in someone’s property being damaged and potentially causing business interruption losses
  • Personal injury/Advertising injury – claims involving invasion of privacy, trespassing and infringement or defamation
  • Data collection – if the drone is collecting information and is hacked to obtain the data.

While claims resulting from bodily injury and property damage have established legal precedents for recovery of damages, …read more

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Is your resume camera-ready?

By Kirsten Faherty

lifestyle-resume-camera-ready

Your resume is a snapshot of your career, so make sure it represents your accomplishments.

There are many good reasons to get your resume ready and up-to-date, even if you aren’t in the market to make a career move. Keeping your resume current and uploaded on a site like LinkedIn may assist you in making connections that can further your success in your existing role, or it may lead you to professional or educational associations that can help you keep your knowledge fresh.

If you think of your resume as a snapshot of your career, you owe it to yourself to invest as much effort into getting your resume camera-ready as you would when having a professional photo taken. Make sure your resume is ready for its close-up by creating a flawless representation of all you’ve accomplished so far:

Make a great first impression

Before interviewers meet you, they’re introduced to your resume. Depending on the position you’re pursuing, your resume may be one of dozens (even hundreds) reviewed, and if it’s not the best it can be, you may never make it to an interview. Make sure your resume is as crisp as the suit and as polished as the shoes you’ll wear to meet your potential new employer. Formatting that highlights your strengths, consistent punctuation, sensible spacing and even correctly spelled words suggest that you pay attention to details, which is something all employers appreciate.

Brian Wood, vice president of Human Resources at Cincinnati Insurance, advises, “Make sure that the reader can tell your basic qualifications within 10 seconds of looking at your resume. If it takes longer, the reader will likely move on to the next resume. If we have 200 submissions to sort through (which is very, very common in an organization our size), you only get a few seconds to make your resume stand out.”

Learn from examples

Sometimes, we discover what we like by first recognizing what we don’t like. Do an image search online for “professional resumes.” While not everyone agrees on what makes a resume professional, (meaning some of the examples returned in my search were truly awful!) seeing different styles can help you find a format that resonates with your own preferences. There are also plenty of templates – both free and for pay – available online that you can use to build your own.

Know the value of a page’s real estate

Space is at a premium, because …read more

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How to rent a car without borrowing trouble

By Cincinnati Personal Lines

personal-insurance-auto-rent-car

Know your auto policy before you travel with a rental car.

If your travel plans include use of a rental car, a little knowledge about auto insurance could preserve your peace of mind and save you money. Before you rent, consult with your insurance agent and check your policy for coverage, limits and deductible amounts.

You may be able to save money by declining the insurance offered by the rental company if your own policy provides the coverage you need.

Other than collision

If you are involved in an accident while driving a rental, you could be liable for damage to the auto and any resulting injuries. You could also be responsible for the rental agency’s lost income and the diminished value of the rental car, if damaged. In addition, you may be responsible for losses other than collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism, while the rental is in your possession.

Other drivers

Drivers already named on your personal auto policy may be covered for use of a rental car within the United States. However, if the rental contract limits who can drive the vehicle, be aware of the restrictions and act accordingly. Some personal auto policies are contingent on the language of the rental contract, so you may not be covered if you let someone else drive the vehicle.

And, if you don’t have an auto policy of your own, the rental company’s insurance may be your only option.

Collision

Some personal auto policies cover collision losses to rental cars only if you already have collision coverage on your owned autos, subject to the policy deductible. Other policies offer “first-dollar” coverage on rented vehicles through their liability coverage, meaning you pay no deductible on a covered loss.

Liability

Purchasing an umbrella policy can further protect your interests by increasing your liability coverage. The umbrella also may extend your coverage territory beyond that of your auto policy. However, when traveling abroad, you may need to purchase the insurance offered by the rental company, because foreign countries may not recognize your U.S. policy.

Your personal auto policy may also provide coverage for rental of other types of vehicles: trailers, such as do-it-yourself moving trailers; pickups; vans; and trucks under a specified weight limit.

Your local, independent insurance agent can help you evaluate your coverage needs and make sure there are no gaps in your policy.

As you prepare to travel, take time to assure that the right auto coverage is in place; …read more

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Take a trip … and put it all behind you

By Troy Dohmeyer

safety-tips-towing-behind

Ensure a safe and fun trip with your trailer or boat by following some towing tips.

Every year millions of motorists by choice or necessity engage in a widely-practiced highway pastime: towing a trailer behind their car or pickup truck. I’m one of them. Growing up in Northern Wisconsin, I had hundreds of opportunities to tow trailers, boats, travel trailers and anything else you can think of, and over the years I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to assist the occasional tower.

Although towing a trailer isn’t “rocket science,” you should realize there’s more involved than when you’re driving a vehicle with nothing hooked behind. Here are some trailer-towing safety tips:

Before You Go

Before you hook up the trailer, inspect the trailer, hitch and safety chains for excessive wear. Ensure the electrical hookups work for the trailer wiring and brakes. Check tire air, oil, fuel and coolant levels — you should do this before any trip, whether or not you’re towing a trailer. Make certain the vehicle and trailer lights operate.

Proper Trailer Loading

Load the trailer with heavier items toward the front for proper weight distribution. About 60 percent of the cargo weight should be in the trailer’s front half. This properly places about 10 percent of the loaded trailer weight on the tow-vehicle hitch.

Practice Driving…Especially Backing

If you’re not a trailer-towing rock star, take time to practice before beginning your trip. When backing up, place one hand on your vehicle’s steering wheel at the six o’clock position. To move the trailer’s rear end to the right, turn the steering wheel to the right; to the left, turn left. In more complex towing situations, such as boat launching, use low-range gears for extra power and control.

Turning Suggestions

Allow more room to the inside on right turns since the trailer wheels track to the inside turn path more than will the vehicle wheels.

Passing

When passing a slower motorist or changing lanes, signal well in advance and move gradually into the next lane. After passing, allow the trailer or RV extra room before returning to the driving lane. Avoid passing on steep grades, up or down.

Stopping

Driving while towing a trailer requires a greater distance to stop. A good rule of thumb: Allow one vehicle and trailer length between you and the vehicle you’re following for each 10 mph of speed. Eliminate panic stops by shifting to a lower gear and pumping brakes lightly to reduce vehicle speed.

Clearance

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Divorce and the life insurance beneficiary

By Ronda Bradley

life-insurance-divorce-beneficiary

Make sure your life insurance beneficiary designations are in order. These arrangements are easily overlooked in the event of divorce.

While we all dream of happily ever after, various sources reveal that in the U.S. approximately 50 percent of first marriages, 64 percent of second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages will end in divorce. These staggering numbers highlight an issue that may be overlooked in the process – life insurance and beneficiary designations.

Review life insurance beneficiary designations

Divorce can have a major impact on a life insurance policy when a former spouse is designated as the beneficiary. The beneficiary will not be affected by the divorce if the:

  • divorce decree or property settlement includes the life insurance policy
  • policy includes divorce or marital status language (ask your independent life insurance agent about your specific policy)
Check your beneficiary designation early

It is critical to review your life insurance policy and beneficiary designations when you go through a divorce.

Currently, 30 states have laws that automatically revoke the beneficiary designation to a former spouse after the divorce is final. If the insured person dies and a former spouse is named as beneficiary on the policy, the proceeds may go to either the contingent beneficiary or to the deceased’s estate if there is no contingent named. An exception may be made when the policy is part of the divorce agreement.

If you have elected a former spouse as a beneficiary, but have not addressed this in the property settlement or divorce decree, you may want to consider reconfirming your former spouse as beneficiary. Although some state statutes are not completely clear that reconfirming the beneficiary will have the desired effect if the death benefit is litigated, it is best to reconfirm your intentions for the death benefit so that the life insurance company has this information.

Individuals going through a divorce should be aware of the possible difficulties of beneficiary designations and seek the advice of a divorce attorney so the insurance proceeds can be addressed properly in the court settlement.

Life insurance represents the last chance to tell family members that they are special. Make sure your last gift is delivered as intended.

For more information about life insurance products to protect your family, see your local independent insurance agent.

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Protecting your identity AND the environment

By Maureen Johnson

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You can do your part to protect the environment while at the same time protecting your identity.

While we know that it’s important to take steps to protect our personal information, it always seems to end up at the bottom of the to-do list.

But identity theft is not going away any time soon. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 17 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014 alone. With numbers like this, chances are good that someone you know has been a victim. And you also know how much of a hassle it can be to deal with the aftermath of identity theft.

What if you could cross several items off your ever growing to-do list all at once? Did you know that many of the actions that help prevent identity theft also have the added benefits of simplifying your busy life and protecting the environment?

3 Environmentally-Friendly Ways to Protect Your Identity
  1. Go Paperless – An easy way for thieves to gain access to your personal information is by stealing your mail. Take advantage of the electronic delivery and online payment services that your banks, utilities, credit card and insurance companies offer. If you already pay online, but still receive paper statements, consider turning them off. Not only do you reduce the risk of identity theft, you reduce the amount of paper cluttering your desk and landfills.
  2. Eliminate Junk Mail – All of those pre-filled credit card offers that seem to arrive each week are another way for criminals to use your personal information to open new credit accounts. You can take steps to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail that you receive. The Federal Trade Commission website has an entire section devoted to privacy and security, including ways to opt out of unsolicited offers and telemarketing calls.
  3. Shred Documents – Believe it or not, criminals routinely sift through the trash of both homeowners and businesses looking for sensitive identity information. One way to prevent this is to shred any documents with personal information after they are no longer needed. While many businesses already shred documents with personal information, homeowners can look for similar services or invest in an inexpensive shredder from the office supply store. In addition to shredding documents, these services also recycle the paper, keeping it from the landfills.

So, set aside a few minutes this weekend to reduce the …read more

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