Position yourself for workstation comfort

computerMillions 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.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has helpful hints to help you make sure your body is positioned correctly.  Use this website, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/positions.html

by Jim Smith

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Business equipment – What will you do when it fails?

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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.


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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Caring for your collection: Preventing loss

woman-hanging-picture-300x169By Matthew Cluxton

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.

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Cover Those Personal Injury Loss Exposures

The homeowners policy liability section covers only “bodily injury” and “property damage.” Thus, any type of non-bodily injury such as personal injury is excluded without the attachment of a personal injury endorsement.

Examples of personal injury claims include wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, and oral or written publication that injures a party’s reputation. This latter event is becoming particularly problematic with the rapid growth in social media.

So here are some tips to pass on to your clients to carefully manage their personal injury loss exposures.

Exercise caution when posting on social media sites. Anything negative you share on the Internet is permanent. Avoid highly controversial subjects, sensitive political issues, or inflammatory remarks. Taking the high road is the best approach.

If you are blogging or communicating on social media, be careful that you have your facts straight. If it is a close call or a gray area, why say it at all?

Exercise caution in the case of product disparagement. There are lawyers and business owners who are willing to threaten lawsuits when it comes to negative comments about their products.

Provide strict ground rules for your children on social media and closely monitor their activities. Keep the computer in a public part of the home in order to closely watch their activities. Screen who your children “friend” on Facebook. Place strict limits on the amount of time your children spend online. Provide age-appropriate and concrete explanations of libel, slander, sexting, and their ramifications.

If you are on a not-for-profit board, such as a home owners’ association, exercise due care in dealing with others on sensitive matters. Be especially careful regarding newsletters that go out to the community.

Procure a personal injury endorsement with sufficient limits to provide protection for a personal injury claim. But remember that this endorsement does not provide protection for business-related activities. Also, purchase a personal umbrella policy that provides higher liability limits for a variety of personal liability claims, including personal injury.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

Copyright 2015
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.


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Mitigate Your Water Damage Exposure

Torrential rains and flooding continue to impact many parts of the country, causing a big jump in water damage claims. Mechanical breakdowns are also culprits when it comes to these types of losses. But there are many ways you can protect your home from these unfortunate events, including the following.
◾Procure flood insurance, even if your home is not in a high-risk flood zone, as many of these losses occur in moderate- to low-risk flood zones. For high-value homes, also look into excess flood insurance available from private insurers.
◾Your home’s drainage system should be checked to verify that proper water drainage occurs. For example, gutter downspouts should extend the proper distance from the foundation.
◾Your yard should be properly graded to slope away from your home to allow surface water to adequately drain. French drains can also assist in this process.
◾A sump pump system should be considered in your basement to keep unwanted water out of this vulnerable part of your home.
◾Periodically check your washing machine hoses since these hose failures cause millions of dollars of water losses each year. Hoses should be replaced at the first sign of wear. Consider upgrading to the heavy-duty wire mesh hoses or stainless steel hoses during this replacement.
◾Ascertain the location of your main water shutoff valve. Water shutoff valves should be installed on water lines under toilets and sinks and water lines leading to outside faucets.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

Copyright 2015
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.


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Weigh the Pros and Cons of Travel Insurance

The summer season is now upon us, which means vacation plans for millions of Americans are taking shape. One loss exposure many people fail to consider concerns vacation-related losses. Travel insurance can be purchased to cover this potentially large exposure.

Travel insurance is a specific type of insurance that is available to a person who will travel in the near future. It is designed to protect an insured from a wide variety of travel-related losses, including trip cancellation or interruption; emergency medical events; emergency evacuation; lost or delayed baggage, personal effects, passports, and visas; and legal expenses.

It is important to look at the pros and cons of travel insurance and the scenarios in which it may be a wise purchase. On the positive side, travel insurance is probably a wise idea for the person who engages in adventure travel. For example, say that you are hiking in the Andes and are seriously injured in a fall. You need to be airlifted off the mountain, with a cost of $50,000. Travel insurance would be invaluable in this scenario.

Indeed, even nonadventure travelers to foreign countries should seriously consider travel insurance that provides medical care. Prior to this decision, however, you should check with your current health insurer to see if it provides coverage in the country you are visiting. If your existing policy does not provide coverage, travel insurance is probably a wise choice.

If your health is a bit on the precarious side, travel insurance may be a good idea, particularly for complex trips involving numerous flights and connections. If your medical problems necessitate a cancellation or delay in the trip, your travel insurance will typically pay your associated costs. Be aware, however, that any health conditions you have may need to be disclosed up front to the insurer.

Another situation where travel insurance may be advisable is the planning of a destination wedding, in which a huge chunk of the expenses are nonrefundable, such as airline passes for family friends and venue reservations. If an event interferes with the wedding, the nonrefundable expenses could be large and daunting.

On the flip side, travel insurance can be expensive. The cost may be anywhere from $200 to $400 to insure a $6,000 domestic trip. In this case, you are purchasing travel insurance for financial annoyance. Travel insurance should be purchased for financial disaster, such as the airlifting example above, and not for financial annoyance.

Travel insurance often contains a host of exclusions. Thus, consumers should read the policy carefully to see what is and is not covered. For example, some travel insurance policies may not cover medical evacuation or may have severe restrictions on this coverage.

Lastly, deal with a reputable travel agent when deciding to procure this coverage. This travel agent will properly vet the travel insurance company, verifying that it is financially stable and has been in business for many years. There have been cases of financially insolvent travel insurers denying claims right and left due to financial difficulties.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

Copyright 2015
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

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Still need health insurance in 2015??

As your broker, I’m here to share helpful information and answer your questions. In an effort to assist people who were unaware of the tax penalties for not having medical coverage in 2014, the federal government has provided additional time to obtain medical coverage by April 30, 2015. This extra time should help people obtain medical coverage and reduce their Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax penalty in 2015.

You may be able to enroll in medical coverage for yourself and your family by April 30, 2015, if you meet the below requirements:
•Live in a state with a federal health care exchange and are not currently enrolled in 2015 medical coverage
•Attest that, when you filed your 2014 tax return, you paid the penalty for not having minimum essential coverage in 2014; and,
•Attest that you first became aware of the individual mandate after the 2015 open enrollment period (i.e. after February 15, 2015).

I can help guide you through the process of determining if you meet the requirements, how you can potentially reduce tax penalties for not having the minimum essential health coverage, and how to apply for health coverage.

Please contact me today at 865-675-6500.

Kym Clevenger

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