As storm Sandy approaches the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S., we wanted to make sure our customers, friends and colleagues are aware of important steps to stay safe and avoid damage. For those not directly within Sandy’s area of influence this a reminder of preparation techniques should you face such risks in the future.
Safety for individuals
Create or review a disaster plan. Plan an evacuation route in advance and determine where you will go if told to evacuate.
Prepare a survival kit. Stock up on drinking water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit and medicine for everyone including your pet. Include extra clothing, blankets, batteries, flashlights, a portable radio and cash.
Secure outdoor objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture.
Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
During a heavy storm, power off and unplug electronics and appliances.
Locate important papers and documents, including your insurance policy and have them ready to take with you should you need to evacuate.
Leave promptly if ordered to evacuate.
Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant damage. Remember to:
Close and lock all windows and doors.
Remove window air conditioners.
Remove valuable items from your basement. If it’s not possible or practical to move some items, elevate them off the floor on pallets or concrete blocks.
Clear exterior drains. Look for exterior drains at the bottom of basement stairs, in window wells, and anywhere sidewalks or driveways slope toward the foundation.
Clear gutters of leaves and debris. This is also a good time to repair any damaged gutters.
Make sure water can drain away from your foundation. Check that your downspouts have elbows and splash blocks to direct water away from the house.
Check your sump pump. Pour water into the sump and verify that the pump is working properly. If it has a battery backup, test the battery backup by switching off the main power to the house at the circuit breaker.
Take extra precautions with portable generators. Generators should be properly grounded and should never be operated indoors, in garages, basements or near windows or doors.
Since generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), make sure you have working CO detector in your home.
Never plug a generator into a wall outlet, which can “backfeed” into your home’s electrical system and endanger utility workers or anyone who comes near downed wires.
Store generator fuel in an approved can away from the house, open flames and fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas appliances.
Safety for businesses The following precautions can help protect people and property and guard against disruption of operations:
Review your business continuity plan and communicate emergency evacuation and business interruption instructions to employees. If you don’t have a written plan, a template is available from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. An emergency plan includes a detailed procedure for evacuation, a checklist for shutting down processes and protecting buildings, contents and equipment, and yard storage. Procedures should include salvage instructions to follow post-event.
Back up critical data and computer records off-site so that operations can continue after a disaster. Consider keeping a backup generator and plenty of batteries on hand so your business can continue to operate after a power loss.
As a storm approaches, quick actions should to be taken to install temporary protection features including:
Shutter or board up windows to protect them from flying debris
Clean out floor drains and catch basins to ensure maximum drainage
Anchor structures, trailers and yard storage so they are more likely to stay put in high winds
Fill emergency generator and fire pump fuel tanks
Shut down production processes safely
Shut off all flammable and combustible liquid and gas lines at their source
Shut off electrical power at the main building disconnect before the storm strikes
Once the storm has subsided and it is safe to return, a salvage team should be assembled and repair work prioritized, assuring proper supplies are available and safety procedures followed.
Claim Reporting Should you suffer a claim, please report claims directly to your insurer as soon as possible after the storm. The sooner they learn about losses, the sooner we can help. If you are uncertain of how to report claims please feel free to contact your Agent or Account Manager at Trustco to assist. They can be reached at 801.278.5341 or toll free at 1.800.644.4334 or for general inquiries at email@example.com
Trustco’s Personal Lines department has been working hard over the month of September to earn a visit from The Travelers Ice Cream Truck-Wagon. This was due to their hard efforts in writing new business with Travelers Insurance and improving client’s coverage at the same time!
We all felt a bit like little children as we ran out to the Ice Cream Truck and got to place our orders. Thanks to our Personal Lines team and Travelers for providing this fun incentive!
“The early bird gets the worm.” we’ve all heard it a hundred times. However, amongst a number of my successful colleagues I notice an alternate trend; they’re successful night owls. Admittedly, the bulk of them are in business development, marketing or creative fields where finding a solution for their client may not require regular office hours. For many, their muse, inspiration, luck, or whatever you call it strikes later in the evening when the house (or office) is quiet and they are left with their thoughts. As such, I was happy to find the following article in Fast Company which outlines research done at the London School of Economics and Political Science regarding night owls. The article is a very interesting read, especially if you’re a night owl (or an aspiring one). I say “aspiring” because many night owls find themselves mindlessly trolling the internet or stalking friends on Facebook. These things aren’t inherently bad, unless of course they are making the early bird pay for it!
Of the number of suggestions articulated in Lydia Dishman’s piece, a few really stood out. The first was to choose one project to work on in the evening; multiple projects can lead to a lack of progress and a feeling of being overwhelmed late in the evening. If you’re feeling overwhelmed you’re substantially less likely to function the next morning when you’re team needs you.
The second is Big Picture Thinking. Utilizing the late hours to reflect on the issues facing your company, your family or whatever is a great use of time, so long as you keep it positive. As Frank Aldorf, Chief Brand Officer at Specialized Bicycle Components stated in the article:
“At night is the time when I get stuff done and can think about the bigger picture. It’s focused. That’s the time when I can turn notes and ideas drafted on the fly into concepts and future projects. I read through saved articles and get inspired by my well-maintained RSS feed.”
While early birds have the advantage of being focused and read to go in the morning, night owls can gain similar benefits, so long as you’re able to stay focussed and not over do it. Let your creative side flourish in the evening so you can get back to work in the morning on the project or idea you’ve been researching.
In the wake of Neil Armstrong’s passing an interesting story emerged of Armstrong, and his colleagues, approach to providing for their families if the worst were to happen. I can only imagine the laughs and confusion that emerged from underwriters as they tried to put a dollar amount on one of the most dangerous endeavors imaginable. As a result, on an approximate salary of $17,000 a year his life insurance would have been about $50,000!
As insurance brokers we like to think insurance can solve a lot of the problems our clients face. The reality is, sometimes risks are better managed outside of the insurance framework. As noted on UKInsurance.net, the astronauts issued their own insurance policies. What they did is both ingenious and the most efficient form of insurance we’ve heard of in some time (though it may result in some hand cramping). With hours to spare prior to take off the astronauts signed hundreds of post cards with space related pictures on them. Their autographs upon such post cards, which were also stamped and postmarked on July 16th, 1969 insured maximum value should the worst happen! Such “Insurance Covers” formed a successful form of risk transfer with virtually no cost.
While few of us have jobs that enthrall the entire nation or have celebrity status, to perform similar “Insurance Covers”, the creative approach to risk management is something to be applauded. Wether you make sure the “handyman” is insured & licensed, or if you’re deciding to buy “ticket insurance” in Mumbai instead of a ticket for the train, the creative approaches can both manage your risks and ensure you don’t have any unforeseen expenses should things turn out badly. Stay creative and stay safe (and don’t forget to check with your attorney to make sure it’s legal)!
The Treasury Department announced it’s intention to sell off $18 billion worth of AIG shares in a move that will take the US from position of majority holdings (53%) to a minority group (20%). More importantly for tax payers, the sell-off represents a positive return. Read more about the transaction here.
As Mitt Romney noted on his trip to London, there were “disconcerting” signs that London may not be ready for the Olympic Games. Problems including security services, immigration, etc. were all facing the games close to the start. At Trustco we joked about the insurance implications, if the games had proper surety bonding in place for these issues, along with other insurance implications. Though they may have faced many issues in the beginning the games were a resounding success.
During NBC’s broadcasts they focussed strongly on the Olympic organizers vacant seats at some of the most anticipated events (such as Wimbledon and others). What was impressive is how quickly Lord Sebatian Coe quickly reallocated tickets to military, students and teachers to attend events. They additionally placed previously issued tickets back into circulation.
Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones posted on blogs.HBR.org and article titled ”Agile Problem-Solving at the London Olympics”. It is a phenomenal article for any business person who is also an Olympics enthusiast. The article identifies keys of high performance organizations. One of which was professionalism. In it they state:
Professionalism gives your organization almost instant legitimacy both with customers and employees.
This is identified in a story they relay of the british troops searching bags (something often met with frustration) and two troops calmly and efficiently handling a large crowd attempting to board a train. Their authority and professionalism helped them achieve this in a very high stress situation. Lastly, they provide a recommendation, something which we often tell our customers about risks. They state:
The clever organizations are the ones that turn threats into opportunities, relying on professionalism and creativity to respond with agility.
It’s a great approach many of us can take in the threats or risks that our businesses face.
Lastly, our congratulations to London for a very well done Olympic games.
Last week, Eric Kingdon had the pleasure of sitting down with a news crew from KSL Channel 5 news. They were doing a special on the fires plaguing Utah and what residents can do to plan for it. The biggest thing, of course, is to make sure you’re properly insured.
For instance, Dennis Richardson, who watched a wildfire move five miles over a matter of hours. While he was watching, his home burned. He’s worried, but not panicked, because his property is insured.
“It’s wiped out everything in the area,” he said. “I’ve got a really good guy. A really good guy.”
This is a great time to make sure your homes & businesses are insured adequately. When a fire is about to engulf your home, or is even threatening the area some insurance companies will restrict changes to your policies.
“Insurance companies have been known to implement what they refer to as a moratorium to where no changes can be made to a policy, or no policies may be written, within a certain geographical boundary,” Kingdon said.
Make sure whatever’s important to your family or business is properly taken insured. Please contact your agent or call Trustco at 810-278-5341 to make changes to review your policies.
To read the whole article by KSL and also view the interview with Eric Kingdon please click here.