Monthly Archives: October 2011

Insurance Terms

In
American Sign Language, if you want to say, “I am happy,” you
indicate yourself then sign “happy” then indicate yourself again.
Directly translated, you have signed, “I happy I.” In sign
language it makes sense to finish a short sentence that way to
indicate a conclusion. In spoken English we use certain verbs and
tones to complete a sentence or phrase. Insurance has its own
vocabulary and at Homer Smith Insurance we want to help you stay
informed.


Occurrence:

An
occurrence has a slightly different meaning than an accident because
an occurrence can happen over a long period of time. If you suffered
a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel, from your job, the
strain would probably be considered caused by an occurrence.


Scheduled
Item:

If
you have something of value you can “schedule” it. This entails
getting an appraisal for the item and settling on a premium to cover
the item if it is stolen, lost, or damaged. The item is now a
“scheduled item.” If you own expensive jewelery, furs, art, or
instruments it is important that you are familiar with scheduling
items because you will want a replacement of the same caliber.


This
last term is a mouthful: Blanket Unscheduled Coverage:

If
you have items such as those enumerated above that you will want to
replace if stolen or damaged. And if these items are not worth an
impressive sum, you may want to discuss “blanket unscheduled
coverage” for a set of items such as all of your unscheduled
jewelery. You will still want to document your items with photographs
and appraisals if possible.


In
sign language, to indicate a question, make your index finger into a
hook and wiggle it slightly. Whether you need information about
Washington
Homeowners Insurance
or Health
Insurance
we are ready to answer your questions.


Sources:


Glossary
of Insurance Terms
.
A.M. Best. Web. 13 Sept. 2011.

<http://www.ambest.com/resource/glossary.html#S>.


Hungwlmann,
Jack. Insurance for Dummies.
2nd ed. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2009. 71-72. Print.

Workers Compensation Part Two

At
work injuries are one of the reasons employers are required to have
Washington
State workers compensation
.
According to the
Bureau
of Labor Statistics
,
“Muscular Skeletal Disorders accounted for 29 percent of all
workplace injuries requiring time away from work in 2007.” Muscular
Skeletal Disorders, such as carpal tunnel are usually caused by
repetitive motion or strain. Fortunately, muscular skeletal disorders
can sometimes be prevented with proper care and precautions.


Have
you ever attended a lecture or listened to a presenter who opened
their presentation by asking everyone to get up and stretch for a few
minutes? This happened to me recently. The presenter even added a
yoga-instructor-sounding, “reach for the sun.” I felt like I was
back in elementary school and noticed that some of the people around
me seemed to be thinking the same thing. What I didn’t know is that
this is actually a good idea for a number of reasons and a technique
that employers, presenters, and employees may want to emulate.
Periodic movement and stretching are simple ways to protect against
repetitive stress injuries. Encouraging people to take time to break
before sitting through a lecture also helps concentration, so you, as
the speaker, get their full attention.


Investing
in an ergonomic key board or a better chair may be useful to prevent
carpal tunnel. WebMD also recommends checking to make sure your
office space is set up based on “ergonomic guidelines.” As always
fitness and general wellness also help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
and other Muscular
Skeletal Disorders
. When typing, try to keep
wrists in straight because that allows the tendons full movement.


Sources:


“Preventing
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” 
WebMD .
Ed. Michael Smith. WebMD , 21 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.
<http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/preventing-carpal-tunnel-syndrome#>.

halloween – A short history

            We know Halloween as an October Holiday centered around children, trick or treat and parties where usually sane adults are encouraged to dress up and enjoy a little fun. Scholars have suggested the holiday has its origins in an ancient Celtic festival know as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”) which means “summers end” if you speak very ancient Irish. the name Halloween – and its date, october 31 – are more recent. it is a variation on ” All Hallows Evening” – the day before All Saints Day.

            Halloween came to America with Scotch and Irish immigrants who brought along traditions that related to All Saints Day. Among these were traditions of children begging for “souls cakes” – sweet cakes made as a remembrance of souls lost, and carving turnips into the shapes of lanterns to remember souls held in purgatory. fortunately, they found pumpkins when they got here or we would all have jack-o-turnips on our front steps.

            Part of Halloween is costumes and begging door to door for treats – trick or treating. This seems to be ancient as a tradition – resembling the medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead. trick or treating does not seem to have become a widespread practice in the U.S. until the 1930s and actually wasn’t widely prevalent till after World War II. (Your humble blogger does not remember trick or treating before about 1950s). National attention was given to trick-or-treating in 1947 issues of Jack and Jill (magazine), and by Halloween episodes of network radio programs – Baby Snooks and The jack benny Show in 1946 and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948.

             The notion of having costumes on halloween could go back to the celtic celebration. That may have been an occasion where our ancestors were taking stock of the harvest and concerned about the spirits of the dead. masks and costumes may have been worn to appease or respect the spirits of the dead. All speculation of course, till we get our time machine working.  

            Halloween become popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to exposure to Us television and other media, trick-or-treating has ever started to occur among children in many parts of Europe and is seen in Saudi Arabia. it has often been a controversial holiday. Some associate it with paganism – though it certainly seems to have Christian roots – and some have objections to halloween activities. Newspaper reports from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, often saw Halloween trick-or-treating as a form of extortion. In 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner that read “American Boys Don’t Beg.”

             Whatever your views of Halloween, for most of us it is a fun fall holiday in the community. many of us will decorated our houses, children will appear at our door to door and lots of candy will be consumed. Our most sage advice at this fall holiday is – children, parents and grandparents will be walking to your house at night. make sure your Washington homeowners insurance is up to date!

 

What is it all Worth?

 

                Whether you rent or own a home or condo, you probably have an idea in mind of the value of all your personal possessions. you are probably wrong. Did your mental inventory account for that old jewelry you never wear or the stack of music CD’s you have accumulated? In the event of a loss, you need a sound, comprehensive inventory to document your claim and the aftermath of a fire, flood, earthquake or theft is not a good time to be trying to remember what power tools you had in garage. Creating a household inventory is tedious, but there are tools to help you document what you own for your Washington Homeowners Insurance claim.

                1.          The complete inventory, including photos, may be one of the most valuable investments for peace of mind we will ever make for ourselves and our families. if a catastrophic event disrupts our homes and surroundings, a home inventory will eliminate the need to piece that information together in the aftermath of the event.” Gail Haubrich, FEMA individual assistance housing supervisor 

                You can write a simple inventory list by hand. Go room by room and document every items of value. If you don’t have a receipts or product information for an item, you can write down information about when and where you bought it. Make a separate listing of special items – jewelry, art work or collectibles.

                There are many sites online that provide paper forms for household inventory and if you are comfortable using a computer, the Insurance Information Institute offers a free inventory program. Your digital camera or camcorder can also be used to create a supplementary visual record of your possessions.

                Make copies of your inventory whether you use paper, software or pictures. Keep at least one copy outside your home in a safe location. If you keep a copy in your home, considering getting a small insulated safe, or put a paper copy of your inventory in a freezer bag and tuck it away in your freezer. The insulation will offer some protection in the event of fire and is large enough to locate in other catastrophic situations.

                This all seems like a major effort, but if you take a little time now to inventory what you own, if a worst case scenario does occur, you will be in a position to work quickly toward rebuilding.

 

 

Hosting Sensibly in the Holiday Season

            From october through January, Holidays and events will bring families and friends together in homes across the country. The holiday are full of food, fun, family and friends but they can also be an occasion for injuries and accidents when part of the fun includes alcohol, but it’s not news to hear that more drinking leads to increases in personal tragedies, but it’s important to remember that everyone needs to be responsible for their actions.

            If you are hosting an event for family, friends, employees or business hosts, you become a social host and need to be particularly concerned about your responsibilities. Hosts play an important role in any party. They get the credit when their guests have a good time; they can also be asked to take responsibility when something goes wrong. in Washington, there are circumstances where a party host can be asked to take some responsibility if a guest causes damage or injury on the way home from a gathering. In other words, a social host may be sued for contributing to losses caused by alcohol-impaired guests.

            Generally, it is the person who causes the loss that bears the burden of responsibility. However, many states impose liability on social host if alcohol is served to minors, if the host was reckless in serving alcohol or if the host “should have” recognized the extent of the guest’s intoxication and not served more alcohol

            While a Washington homeowners insurance policy may offer coverage if a host has substantially contributed to a loss, an insurer may contest a claim for a number of reasons, including:

  • A gathering involves the host making an income
  • The party is thrown as fundraising event
  • A Host’s knowledge that the guest was impaired and continued to serve liquor
  • The host failed to make arrangements for impaired guests ( designated drivers, taxis, lodging, etc.)
  • Local or state law(s) related to providing alcohol

            Host who take their responsibility seriously make certain that parties are thrown responsibly, are done as a social (rather than business) event, and that the chances of putting inebriated guests on the road are minimized. A good host will make sure that food is available, that a liquor supply under his or her control is cut-off and that impaired friends or relatives are prevented from endangering themselves or others. No celebration should end up with a lawsuit.                                      

Here Are Some Good Home Security Habits Brought to You By Washington Home Insurance!



            Your primary line of defense against break-ins and burglary is your home security set up: locks and alarm installation. Washington home insurance may protect you from financial losses if your home’s security is breached, but good preventive measures must always be your prime focus.

            Don’t rely entirely on security devices to protect you; it’s important to back up your physical security arrangements with a few sound, practical precautions that will help to keep you one step ahead of criminals. Check out these tips:

1. Have a regular routine to lock all doors and windows and set alarms before you leave the house.

 

2. If you see something that you think is suspicious, such as strangers loitering in your area, tell the police.

 

3. Don’t hide spare keys outside your home; burglars know all the likely places to look for them.

 

4. Never have your home address on the key ring that holds your house keys.

 

5. Avoid giving out information about yourself or your plans to anyone you don’t know well.

 

6. Never post notes for family members or service people on external doors of your house.

 

            Solid doors, strong locks on doors and windows, and an effective home alarm system are all good ways of preventing burglary. Talk to your insurer or agent if you are planning to install additional security measures, because upgrading home security may qualify you for discounted Washington home insurance premiums. With Homer Smith Insurance, we can help you with anything you need regarding this important coverage. Contact us today!

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workers Compensation

                It is a lovely day in October and you are taking a walk with a friend listening to the leaves crunch beneath your feet. The air is crisp and the sun is shinning. Suddenly, you realize that your feet are no longer supporting you and you fall on the dry leaves. Concerned, your friend holds out a hand as you scramble to your feet. “What happened?” she asks. Bewildered, you look around and see no stones or sticks that you could have tripped on. In fact, your path was completely clear, so you make a joke about how your super power is tripping on air. We have all demonstrated spectacular lack of coordination. Unless your friend caught the incident on her phone camera, a couple bruises or a minor scrap are probably the only evidence of your fall. Unfortunately, one of the most common ways people get injured on the job is by falling.


                If you are a business owner it is required by law that you have Washington State workers compensation insurance. You may have the most responsible workers in your company, but anything can happen. If you can trip while taking a stroll, a competent worker could fall off a ladder or trip on stairs and injure themselves. At Homer Smith Insurance we can help answer any questions or concerns about workers compensation insurance. If you are an employee, know that it is against the law if your employer does not have workers compensation insurance. Check with your employer so that you as a worker know that you will be covered if you are injured on the job. 

Preventing Auto Theft

            Auto Thefts have been declining for the last decade, likely helped by advances in devices to prevent or deter theft that are being introduced every year. But auto thefts still happen and sometimes for the worst of reasons, the failure to take common sence precautions.

            Most new vechicles have alarms that are set-off when sensors detect attempts to gain access to a vehicle’s doors, hood, trunk or windows. Horns and flashing lights are a great deterrent to many thieves. Besideds alarms, a variety of other strategies and products have been developed to protect your vehicle from break in or theft.

These include:

  • Electronic (coded) Keys
  • GPS Tracking Devices
  • Floorboard/Crook Locks
  • Gearshift Locks
  • Hood Locks
  • Kill Switches (fuel or ignition)
  • Steering Wheel Lock
  • Theft-Deterrent Decals
  • Tire/Wheel Locks
  • Trunk Locks
  • VIN Etching

            Even Though, Car thefts have dropped nearly 40% since 2001, auto theft continues to be a major problem. The most effective tool to prevent loss continues to be simple loss prevention and common sence and, of course, having a good Washington auto insurance policy in case all else fails.

            Theives typically look for two things when looking at opportunities for theft. the first is attractive reasons to steal; the second is easy targets. In the car department, the Cadillac Escalade currently leads the attractive list, but any car is a candidate for theft and that brings us to some straightforward loss prevention strategies. Vehicles are often stolen after owners have left valuable property in the open that is easily seen by potential theives such as GPS devices, expensive purchases, laptops and sound equipment. Another major factor contributing to theft is an owner leaving a car unattended; with its keys in the ignition. The vehicle-owning public stil needs education on basic loss prevention. Chances for auto theft can be substantially reduced by some very simple behavior:

                        1. Lock your car

                        2. Hide valuables ( such as by placing then the trunk) and

                        3. Never leave a vehicle running and unattended

            Whether you own a new luxury can or an old clunker, there are people with plenty of incentive who want to steal it, given the opportunity….practice basic loss prevention and minimize your chances of being a victim of auto theft.

Dwelling Fire Insurance

What
will our homes look like fifty years from now? In the past,
architects designed energy efficient dome houses, which have often
been portrayed as homes of the future. These days many people live in
apartment buildings, duplexes, or rental homes. So what would an
apartment building of the future look like? I came across an article,
featured on the Inhabitat, that described EDITT Tower, a proposed
apartment building for Singapore’s Ecological
Design In The Tropics
project. According to the article, each
of the twenty-six stories of the skyscraper would have organic
gardens for the inhabitants to use for planting their own food. The
structure is also designed to be energy efficient and the speculation
pictures look spectacular. (check out the url under “sources” if
you want to see the artistic renderings)


Modern
homes and apartments are much safer than older homes, for example
many hazardous chemicals are no longer used in construction.
Unfortunately, it will be many years before completely fire proof
homes or appliances are developed. Even if you are living in EDITT
Tower, you may want to consider dwelling fire insurance, which is not
always covered by Washington
homeowners insurance
. At Homer Smith Insurance,
we can help you find a policy that will cover your property and
possessions.


Sources:

Kain,
Alexandra. “Singapore’s Ecological EDITT Tower.” 
Inhabitat:
Design Will Save The World
.
Ed. Mike Chino. Inhabitat, 15 Oct. 2008. Web. 20 Oct. 2011.
<http://inhabitat.com/editt-tower-by-trhamzah-and-yeang/>.

Auto Insurance

You
are out for a nice Sunday afternoon drive to the grocery store, when
a car rear ends you at a stoplight. The car only made a dent in your
bumper, so you aren’t worried about it, until you ask the other
driver for their insurance information. The driver apologizes and
tells you that they don’t have auto insurance. Understandably, you
are upset because they damaged your car and have no insurance to
compensate for it.


You
are a responsible driver, you’ve had the oil in your car changed,
your insurance is up to date, and you drive carefully. If everyone
was as responsible as you, there would fewer accidents and traffic
violations. Unfortunately, not everyone on the road is as thoughtful
as you are. Uninsured motorist insurance is an important part of your
Washington
auto insurance
plan because you shouldn’t have to pay for
someone’s carelessness. Many drivers who have auto insurance—it is
the law after all—do not realize that many people on the road
failed to either get insurance or keep it up to date.


Uninsured
motorist insurance will cover most damage inflicted on your vehicle
by an uninsured driver. You still need to get the driver’s
information and document the accident. A driver who doesn’t have
insurance may try not to give you their information, but it is
important for your claim to have their license plate number, name,
and contact information. You should always take a photograph of the
damage to your car and theirs. If you are in a hit and run situation,
try to snap a picture or memorize the license plate and report the
incident immediately.


According
to The Insurance Research Council, in Washington
State
, about fifteen percent of drivers are uninsured based on
their 1994 to 1997 averages. The national average is fourteen
percent of drivers without insurance.