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Watch Out For Deer

November brings the annual convergence of the deer hunting season and the deer mating season.  These two activities tend to generate crazy deer who jump in front of cars so exercise extra caution the next few weeks and watch out for deer!

Watch Out For DeerHere are some additional tips to stay safe on the road this fall:

  • Slow down, it’s better to arrive alive and the slower you’re going during a collision the less likely you are to be seriously injured…or worse.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Deer tend to cross roads near streams or areas where woods are situated close to roadways.
  • Deer usually travel in groups. If you see one or more deer run safely past…watch out because there may be more.
  • In recent years the deer population has skyrocketed in urban and suburban areas. According to the Missouri Department of Insurance 26% of deer-related accidents in 2013 occurred in urban areas.
  • Avoid ‘highway hypnosis’…scan the road from ditch to ditch as you drive.
  • Don’t swerve abruptly.  Sometimes hitting the deer is your safest option if the alternative is rolling your vehicle or swerving into oncoming traffic.
  • Be extra careful from just before dusk to just after dawn as most deer strikes occur between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. The majority of accidents involving deer occur between October and December and November is the worst month.

Final watch out for deer tip:  If you want coverage for your car after running into that crazy, suicidal deer…make sure that you have ‘comprehensive’ or ‘other than collision’ coverage on your vehicle.

 

Insurance Regulator Encourages Earthquake Insurance

Regulator Encourages Earthquake Insurance Following Great Central U.S. “Shakeout” Exercise

  

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Great Central U.S. “Shakeout” exercise has passed, but it doesn’t mean Missourians should stop thinking about earthquake preparation. The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging policyholders to follow up with their insurance agents to see if their property is covered by earthquake insurance. Most policies do not include this coverage, which must be purchased separately.

“The Shakeout exercise is a great reminder for homeowners to review their policies for earthquake coverage,” said John M. Huff, director of the department. “Consumers who aren’t covered are encouraged to buy this extra protection for their homes, businesses and belongings.”

Missouri is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri and the nation’s most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest earthquakes recorded in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that area from 1811 to 1812 – the largest occurred on Feb. 7, 1812.

Earthquake insurance market contracting, but coverage still affordable

“The availability of earthquake coverage is a growing challenge in our state,” Huff said. “We continue to work with the industry to advance private sector improvements to the market for earthquake insurance. Unfortunately, the number of companies offering coverage is declining. We know deductibles are rising substantially and there is a decline in both coverage options and availability in some areas, particularly southeast Missouri.”

Craig’s Jones Notes:  While there are fewer companies offering earthquake insurance in Missouri we still have a number of earthquake options available through many of our insurance companies for Missouri and the rest of the States we do business in.  Call your Yennie & Jones agent to ask about earthquake protection options.

Exercise Care on Freeways

Exercise Care on Freeways

Automobile accidents are a major cause of death in the United States. They are the single most common cause of death among children and young adults, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A high percentage of these automobile accident deaths occur on our nation’s freeways and highways due to the high rates of speed encountered. There are, however, steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim on the freeway, including the following.

  • When you merge onto the freeway, you should be at average traffic speed.
  • When in the right lane of a freeway, move over one lane to the left when you see drivers coming into traffic from the entrance ramp. If this is not possible, slow down to give the entering driver more room.
  • Allow plenty of room between you and other vehicles. Many driving experts advocate the two-second rule. Under this rule, you should start counting when you see the vehicle in front of you pass a fixed object. Count “one thousand one, one thousand two.” If you reach the fixed object before “two,” you are following too closely.
  • Try to maintain average traffic speed. Vehicles going much slower or faster than other traffic are a recipe for an accident. Common sense, however, regarding speeding laws must also be considered.
  • You should use extra caution when driving at night or in bad weather. Remember that many drivers do not adjust their driving habits for the weather or bad road conditions.
  • Avoid any sudden moves, since this does not give other drivers time to react.
  • Continuously scan the roadway ahead of you for signs of trouble, including construction and traffic slowdowns.
  • Be aware of the positions of other drivers around you, particularly those beside you or slightly to the rear. Make sure that your rearview mirrors are properly adjusted before you drive your car.
  • Remember that your reaction time and overall driving skills decline as you get tired. Breaks every few hours are important.
  • When exiting the freeway, be sure to signal well in advance. Do not slow down significantly until you start to turn off the freeway.

Copyright 2014
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Become a Safety Fanatic and Save

At Yennie & Jones Insurance we want to help our clients with employees protect not only their bottom line, but also their people. That’s why we encourage you to participate in Missouri Employers Mutual’s WorkSAFE Week Aug. 18-22. Missouri Employers Mutual has great tools to help you become a Safety Fanatic and eliminate these top workplace accidents whether we have your workers compensation insurance protection placed with MEM or another of our highly rated workers compensation companies:

  • Slips and falls
  • Vehicle crashes
  • Strains and sprains
  • Machine/tool related injuries

Check out MEM’s materials at Passion For Safety today.

Consider Earthquake Loss Control Measures

Earthquake Loss Control Measures:  States in which hydraulic fracking is occurring have seen a dramatic rise in earthquake incidents, raising concerns that this drilling method could be to blame. For example, there is a tremendous amount of fracking activity in Oklahoma. The Sooner State has experienced almost 250 small-to-medium earthquakes so far this year, according to the US Geological Survey.

For people in earthquake-prone areas, earthquake insurance is a smart option. But another area of focus should be in loss control. Here are some risk control tips (authored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety) for you to pass on to your clients facing this loss exposure.

  • The foundation, a common area of structural weakness, needs to be thoroughly examined for weaknesses. When concrete foundations are crumbly or porous, they lack the strength to resist earthquakes. Unreinforced brick or stone masonry may need to be strengthened or replaced. An engineer is required by most communities to design these types of repairs. Signs of insect damage and dry rot in the wood need to be checked. Hiring a structural pest control expert and repairing water leaks may be necessary.
  • Older homes in earthquake-prone areas may not be bolted to their foundations. Anchor bolts can be installed by capable home owners relatively inexpensively with the proper knowledge and tools. Otherwise, a foundation contractor should perform this task.
  • Bracing materials within the foundation should also be inspected. Weak bracing materials (e.g., cement plaster or wood siding) may have been used in the construction process. Stronger bracing materials such as plywood are necessary to support the cripple wall. (The cripple wall is the short wall that connects the foundation to the first floor of the house and encloses the crawl space.)
  • For homes built on a slope or even a slight grade, extra strengthening may be necessary.

Experts indicate that retrofitting most single-family homes costs between $3,500 and $7,000. Home owners who perform some of this work themselves pay less.

Studies show that properly strengthened homes are safer to live in and easier to sell. A study of the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake of 1994, which caused between $13 billion and $20 billion in property damage, indicated that strengthened homes stayed on their foundations in the same neighborhoods where unstrengthened homes failed to do so.

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

Copyright 2014 International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Computer Travel Tips

Whether we’re traveling for business or pleasure, most of us can’t dream of taking a trip without our computer or tablet. How else would we check our email, prepare for our business meeting or see what our friends are up to on Facebook? Follow these tips to make sure your device is safe while flying:

  • Place your laptop in a separate bin when going through airport security. This is required by the TSA, but will also save your laptop or device from being damaged by other items.
  • Charge, charge, charge. Make sure you have a full battery before taking off. You never know when you’ll find an electrical outlet next. If your computer can accommodate a spare battery, be sure to have one with you.
  • Keep an eye on them. Electronics are often stolen. If you leave your seat to walk around or use the lavatory, be sure put your laptop or tablet in a protective case and place it inside your briefcase. It is much less likely to be stolen if it is packed away.
  • Ask about on-board use. Each airline has different rules about using your device in-flight. Make sure to ask a flight attendant before taking out your laptop and hitting that power button.
  • Your laptop does not count as your carry-on item. According to the TSA, a laptop, even if it is in a laptop bag, does not count as a flyer’s carry-on item.

Additionally, don’t forget to check out Yennie & Jones’ travel insurance protection options before you leave home.  We offer a number of options including:

We can even offer Kidnap & Ransom Insurance in certain circumstances.

Call us at 816-540-2114 or look at our Travel Insurance Protection Webpage for more information.

Homeowner’s Insurance Policies Do Not Include Earthquake

Missouri Department of Insurance encourages consumers to consider buying earthquake insurance because most homeowners policies do not include earthquake coverage.

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging Missourians to check with their insurance agents to see if their property is covered by earthquake insurance. Most homeowners policies do not include this coverage, which must be purchased separately.

“At a minimum, consumers need to know if their policies include earthquake coverage,” said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. “Now is the time to check. Consumers who aren’t covered are encouraged to buy this extra protection for their homes, businesses and belongings. ”

Missouri is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri and the nation’s most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that area from 1811 to 1812 – the largest occurred on Feb. 7, 1812.

The cost of earthquake coverage has continued to rise, however the cost is still affordable. According to 2012 statistics, if an earthquake strikes along the New Madrid Fault, nearby Mississippi, New Madrid and Pemiscot counties would be hardest hit. However, only 19 percent of homes in Pemiscot County had earthquake coverage, 26 percent in New Madrid County and 27.5 percent in Mississippi County.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Farm Vehicle Safety

by State Auto Farm and Ranch Underwriter Jeanna Lemaster

Due to the change in farming over the years, farm vehicles have changed too. A farm fleet of vehicles can encompass a large variety of vehicles, trucks, and trailers. More and more farmers are increasing the auto fleet to maximize harvest transportation and keep labor costs down. There are many hazards associated with using these types of vehicles, especially by an inexperienced or perhaps inattentive driver. Drivers and vehicle owners should be trained in the specifics of maintenance and inspections of the vehicles so they can quickly identify and correct any problems. Drivers should be trained to recognize hazardous conditions.

Farm TruckMaintenance of the farm vehicles should include:

  • Checking tire condition and tire pressure before every single use.
  • Inspection and repair of the suspension systems.
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is charged and operable, and that there are adequate flares or reflective devices on hand.
  • Checking headlights, body lights, signals and outside reflectors.
  • Service rakes, including the trailer brake connections, and parking brake.
  • Inspect nd repair hydraulic lift cylinders regularly, as well as suspension systems.

Safety in regard to the farm vehicle should include:

  • Training ad practice. New drivers of these types of vehicles need practice and raining PRIOR to harvest so they are able to drive safely.
  • Use afe distances. Trucks take more time to stop, steer, and switch lanes.
  • Load properly. Overloaded trucks are much more dangerous. Both the driving of he vehicle and the dumping of the load is more dangerous if the load is      too large for the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). Most vehicles have the GVW inside the driver side door.
  • Ensure stability when dumping. Raised truck or trailer beds are unstable and can ause tipping incidents. Ensure ground is level and firm, avoid dumping on indy days, do not jack knife the trailer, and ensure the load is not off enter.
  • Ensure the trailer is properly hitched to the pulling vehicle.
  • Make sure to avoid any overhead power lines while operating a dump trailer/truck. Contact with the truck and power line can result in electrocution of the driver.

It is very important for every owner and driver to have a maintenance and safety program in place. Insurance losses for poor safety or maintenance of a farm fleet of vehicles could not only be very costly in time, commodity, or liability losses, but also very dangerous causing serious injury or worse. The USDA has good resources that can be used to make or modify both maintenance and safety programs.

Measure The Cost of Flooding

All it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and its contents and unlike a fire or a burst pipe, flood damage isn’t covered by your homeowners policy.

The National Flood Insurance Program has developed an interactive tool that shows you what damage a flood could do to your home as the waters rise, inch by inch.  Measure the cost of flooding to your home, you’ll be surprised.

How Would You Rebuild Your Dream?

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