Insurance Blog
Thursday, 23 March 2017 15:04

Uninsured Dog Owners Beware!

From our IIABA Trusted Choice friends - 

Dogs bite more than 4.7 million Americans each year—and one of every six of those requires medical attention—yet many pet owners are not properly insured against this potentially expensive liability, says Dave D’Orlando, President of Baldwin / Welsh & Parker (BWP) Insurance Agency in Wayland, Hudson, Bedford and Winthrop.

“Homeowners and renters who own dogs should never go without liability insurance, which is part of most standard homeowners or renters policies, or they may be in for a rude awakening if sued,” says D’Orlando. The insurance industry estimates that one-third of all homeowners’ liability insurance claims may be related to dogs.

Many home-based business owners and renters are at particular financial risk when their dogs bite. “Because homeowners’ policies exclude coverage for business-related losses, an in-home entrepreneur without business insurance may not be covered if sued by a customer who was bitten by the entrepreneur’s family dog,” D’Orlando cautioned. Renters also are subject to higher risk because many people who rent are still uninsured for personal property losses and liability claims. Some mistakenly believe that their landlord’s insurance will cover their losses.

Owners whose pets are among the more aggressive breeds such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, or those with dogs that have demonstrated aggressive tendencies, may want to purchase an umbrella liability policy which provides increased coverage in case of an attack. But others should be cautious as well, says D’Orlando. All dog owners should be cautious around children. They represent more than half of all dog bite victims—which usually occur in the face, from dogs owned by family or friends.

“Dog owners need to be aware of the financial as well as physical implications of letting dogs roam free and of not taking precautions to prevent injuries, even at home,” says D’Orlando. It is estimated that 70% of attacks occur on the dog owners’ property.
Leash and muzzle laws vary from state to state as do owner liability. Consumers should be aware of the presence of such statutes and the potential legal and financial repercussions of disregarding them. In many cases, a dog doesn’t actually have to bite someone for the owner to be liable for a victim’s injury. On the other hand, the owner may not be liable for injuries caused by an animal if the injured party was negligent, if the animal has no history of aggression, or if the owner posts approved warning signs.

Most importantly, take precautions to protect others, but don’t forget to protect yourself as well, the IIABA reminds consumers. For more information, contact BWP Agents by clicking here.

And here’s more information from the CDC on preventing dog bites.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 15:02

Teens and Drowsy Driving Alert

Baldwin Welsh Parker 37864463 sDrowsy driving is a serious issue for time-starved drivers today, especially teenage drivers, according to the latest research:

  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that between 2010 and 2015, more than 1,300 drivers aged 25 and younger were involved in fatal drowsy driving crashes in the United States
  • According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in five fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver, and drivers aged 16 to 24 are at the greatest risk for being involved in a drowsy driving crash.
  • A CDC report indicates that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States

The NTSB recently published a blog post about a teenage driver who lost control of her vehicle just over a year ago at about 1:57 in the afternoon. While driving with three other teenage passengers in the car, she lost control of the car and collided with a semitrailer on the opposite side of the highway. The driver was seriously injured, and her three friends died. NTSB investigators determined that that the driver’s loss of control was due to inattention resulting from her fatigue; they discovered that during "the 24 hours before the crash, the driver had very little opportunity for sleep—only about 5 hours on the morning of the crash."

What can parents do to keep teens safe?

Lack of sleep is the leading cause of drowsiness while driving. It slows reaction time as well as reduces lack of focus while driving. As a result of the alarming number of teen accidents and fatalities due to drowsy driving, the NTSB has released a new safety alert: Drowsy Driving Among Young Drivers. The alert outlines steps that both parents and teens can take to stay awake and responsible behind the wheel. The safety alert lists the following tips for parents:

  • Help teens create a good environment for sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends keeping electronic devices such as TVs, video games, computers, and cell phones out of teens’ bedrooms. Research shows that doing so leads to longer sleep times.
  • Advocate for later school start times. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that middle and high schools delay the start of classes to 8:30 a.m. or later. Earlier school start times are associated with higher risk of teen crashes.
  • Teach new drivers that drowsy driving can be as risky as driving drunk, drugged, or distracted.
  • Plan ahead to ensure that teens have a safe ride to and from late night and early morning events.

Download the full safety alert (SA-061 February 2017)

*Original Article Author: By Dr. Jana Price | Original Article Source: NTSB.gov

*Some parts of this article may paraphrased or are direct quotes of the original author and original blog post at NTSB.gov. Both the author and the source are credited in this blog post. Baldwin | Welsh & Parker does not claim to be the author, and shares this article for information purposes only as part of its mission to offer breaking news that may be deemed helpful to readers.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 22:11

Stress Relief Tips for the Workplace

Relieve stress while you're at work.

Stress is something that every person deals with. For most, however, the workplace is the point of origin for stress. According to a study conducted by the APA in 2011, 80% of employed individuals reported being under some type of work related stress on a regular basis. 40% of respondents admitted that they were under extreme levels of stress, and 40% said they were often burned out or stressed by their work. 25% of those surveyed said that their jobs were the number one cause of stress in their lives. Whether it’s due to workload, job security, pay rates or personal issues, chances are that work related stress affects you and your family. There are a few things you can do in order to lower your stress levels and maintain a cool head at the workplace. Here are a few tips to reduce stress at the workplace:

1. Breathe

Breathing is one of the best ways to relieve stress. When we become stressed, our bodies release adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones which raise our blood pressure and cause that stressed out feeling, according to the Textbook of Natural Medicine. Try taking a step back, and giving yourself a breathing break. Focus on breathing deeply, and exhaling completely. Try to conjure up a relaxing day-dream while you complete this exercise, or re-live a relaxing moment.

2. Create a Calm Working Atmosphere

Surround yourself with things you enjoy. This may be a photo album of a recent vacation, a Zen garden to help you relax, or a few trinkets from home that remind you of your favorite place. No matter what it is, bringing a few loved items to your workplace to enjoy can help you escape stress during the day. Also consider bringing essential oils to work. A 2009 study by the Department of Nursing at Youngnam Foreign Language College in Korea addressed the benefits of essential oils in reducing stress. Take a sniff during high stress times, as aromatherapy has been proven to help relieve stress. Choose a few websites that have relaxing images or music, and bookmark them on your computer. Look them up during stressful days, or have them running in the background.

3. Take a Break

Unfortunately, a startling number of people skip out on required breaks in order to finish more work. This not only keeps your body at a constant level of high stress, but also makes burn-out and exhaustion more likely to set in. In fact, looking at a screen all day without a break will stress out your eyes and your body. Even if it is just a ten minute break, take it. Go on a walk around the building, call your mom, or go enjoy a small snack somewhere private. Breaks from work are essential in maintaining a healthy working attitude.

4. Connect with Others

Businesses are starting to realize the importance of co-worker connection. Many organizations are encouraging employees to start groups for socialization and interaction. This may be a lunchtime walking group, a cooking group, or a book club. If your business doesn’t have any opportunities like this, inquire at your place of work about starting one. Being able to connect with your co-workers on a non-professional level helps everyone maintain cool heads during stressful times. For instance, Google offers employees internal groups within their companes that offer specific benefits or outings to encourage interaction and bonding.

5. Exercise

Whether at home before work, or on a break, make sure to get time in for exercise. Getting exercise is an essential part of ridding your body of stress. Try to find some time during your day to get in some exercise. The University of Maryland conducted a study in 2012 showing that exercise not only helps reduce current stress, but may help stave off future stress as well.

6. Eat Stress-Reducing Food

Even if you already eat well, consider taking an orange with you to work. A 2002 study at the Center for Psychomatic and Psychobiological Research, University of Trier, Germany found that a dose of vitamin C helps the body cope during stressful situations.

7. Think Ergonomics

Take an outsiders look at your workspace. Is your seating arrangement comfortable? Is it healthy for your body? Ask your employer about bringing in an exercise ball to sit on. While it may not be proven to help your posture, it won’t hurt it - and encourages core movement during the workday. It will also help protect your muscuoskeletal system, says a 1997 study by the CDC.

8. There’s an App for That

There are many de-stressing apps available on your phone. Download a few and use them when you feel the stress levels rising.

9. Organize Your Day

If you feel distracted or overwhelmed, write down a to-do list or a general schedule for your day. The act of actually writing down the list by hand will help you remember tasks more than typing them on a computer, and will help you organize and focus your thoughts, which will decrease stress, according to Patrick E. McLean's "Defense of Writing Longhand."

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