If you haven’t made your resolutions for health care for the new year, now’s the time! Here’s how to tap into the resources that your insurance company, employer, and community-based services can provide:

  • Tap into preventive benefits. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to pick up the tab for such preventive services as vaccinations, screenings, and especially annual wellness visits – which provide an excellent baseline for setting your health goals.
  • Get the most out of your health coverage. For example, most plans pay for weight loss programs and weight loss surgery when appropriate. You might also have full coverage (or a discount) for stop-smoking programs, dietitian services, and treatment for such chronic conditions such diabetes.
  • Get health screening at work. Employee wellness programs usually offer rewards for participation in health screening that can pinpoint your risk for certain diseases. Says Helen Darling, President of the National Business Group on Health, “Many people don’t actually know their health status, and if you ask them, they almost always self-report as healthier than they are.”
  • Use Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). These programs offer a wide array of resources that workers and their dependents can use to help them through hard times that often lead to health-related problems (such as hypertension due to stress from a divorce or financial pressures).
  • Check out community-based programs. Such healthcare organizations as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Heart Association, and American Cancer Society provide a wealth of free information and resources to help people stop smoking, lose weight, or reach other goals that improve their short and long-term health.

To learn more about keeping yourself and your family as healthy as possible, just give Tracy-Driscoll a call at 860.589.3434.

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The “polar vortex “in January shattered temperature records throughout the central and eastern U.S.:. New York City hit 4 F o and Chicago suffered -16 F. o The cold snap killed more than 20 people, , schools closed, highways shut down, and people remain inside and kept warm.

Your home, like you, needs to stay warm. Here are a few guidelines to help you and your family keep toasty indoors this winter.

  • Cover your drafts. Seal all open areas. Including doors and windows. You can buy “snake rolls” online through DIY, or roll up an old towel and put it at the source of the draft. Caulking works great for windows.
  • Replace your furnace filters monthly. Although this item might be out of sight and out of mind, put it on your calendar.
  • Winterize your air conditioning unit and pipes. Drain all water from the air conditioner. Get styrofoam covering for your pipes to keep them from freezing. Make sure all water spigots are turned completely off.
  • Replace your doors and windows with storm units.
  • Pay attention to the thermostat. It’ s easy to run your heater on high, but you’ll also get a huge electric/gas bill each month. Adding a blanket or two instead will help keep your bill under control.

For more information on staying warm, feel free to get in touch with our home insurance experts at Tracy-Driscoll – 860.589.3434

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Millions of people have a history of mental illness. If you’re one of them, and are concerned that your condition will make it harder to obtain a life policy at an affordable premium, not to worry. Unless this problem affects life expectancy by increasing your risk of death by suicide, most insurance companies will be happy to provide coverage at standard rates.

For example, if you’ve been taking prescription medication to treat “reactive depression” (a condition triggered by a tragic or traumatic effect) , you should be able to buy a life policy, as long as you can show that you’re in treatment and have control of the situation. In general, the same holds true if you’re suffering from more serious depressive condition– such as bi-polar disorder. However, if you’re being treated for mental illness, wait for a month of two before applying for life insurance, so that your body will has time to adjust to your medication.

Before writing coverage, the insurance company will need to know your medical history, when you were diagnosed, the nature of your condition, the name of your health care provider(s), the treatment you’re receiving, and how your condition is progressing.

If your history shows one or more suicide attempts, the company might wait a year or two before issuing a policy, even if you show that you’re getting appropriate treatment, can function in society and hold down a job. The premium will probably be higher during the first few years, and the policy might include a clause that denies death benefits if the insured commits suicide within the first two years of coverage.

The life insurance specialists at Tracy-Driscoll would be happy to provide you with more information.  Give us a call at 860-589-3434.

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Unfortunately, this saying does not hold true for your firm.

Sad to say, in today’s “litigation society,” it seems that just about any business (including yours) can be sued for any number of reasons. Consider these scenarios:

  • A computer error results in the release of sensitive information about a key client.
  • An overzealous employee sends a LinkedIn message criticizing a competitor.
  • A security guard detains a visitor that he suspects of theft.

Each of these incidents could easily lead to six-figure litigation; and, even if you won, you’d have to deal with the time, hassle, and expense of defending the suit – as well as the potentially significant indirect costs from negative publicity.

Not to worry. Personal Injury Liability insurance will pay for any judgment, up to the amount of the policy, against your business for non-physical harm to a third party from a wide variety of causes: libel, slander, defamation of character, false arrest, malicious prosecution, wrongful eviction, or violation of privacy. (This “peace of mind” coverage is distinct from another essential policy, Bodily Injury Liability, which covers allegations of physical damage).

Bear in mind that Personal Injury Liability has a far different definition in insuring your home and auto. Under a Homeowners policy, it covers physical harm to people injured on your property or as a result of your actions. Auto Liability insurance includes two coverages –Bodily Injury and Property Damage – that, together, are known as Personal Injury Liability or Personal Insurance Protection (PIP).

Tracy-Driscoll‘s Business insurance specialists stand ready to recommend a Personal Injury policy that provides the coverage you need, at a price you can afford. Give us a call at 860-589-3434.

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Imagine, you’re getting away from the cold weather for a nice Caribbean cruise. You’ve been planning this trip for more than six months. Your bags are packed and ready. then a major snow storm strikes. cancelling all flights out of your local airport.

Let’s say you’re on safari in the African plains when you start feeling ill. You’re hundreds of miles from a hospital. Your guide is driving as fast he can, but it will take hours before you get to medical care, and you’re fading rapidly. To save your life, the guide has to call in a medevac copter.

Under these scenarios, you’d be out thousands of dollars — unless you have Travel insurance! This invaluable “peace of mind” coverage can provide total reimbursement for a trip that’s cancelled, as well as access to quality hospitals, pharmacies, and health care providers in case of death or illness as well as other travel-related expense.

Don’t leave home without travel insurance! For more information, feel free to get in touch with the professionals at Tracy-Driscoll today – (860) 589-3434.

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New federal regulations under the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) require insurance companies and health care providers to treat mental illness and addiction in the same way as physical ailments. That’s good news for everyone with health insurance.

The ACA prohibits denying coverage or charging higher premiums to due pre-existing conditions, which include mental illness, while expanding coverage for screening and behavioral assessments and eliminating co-payments or out-of-pocket fees.

The rules beef up the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 by closing loopholes and setting implementation guidelines– an advance that Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius calls “the largest expansion of behavioral health coverage in a generation.” Under the regulations, mental health benefits must match those for medical and surgical treatment, including copayments, deductibles, number of visits to providers, residential treatment, and outpatient services.

The regulations could affect 62 million people, including 23 million substance abuse addicts. Administration officials called the new rules a response to the need to help the mentally ill get help before they commit such violent acts as the massacres in Aurora, DO and Newtown, CT.

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, Executive Director of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, and American Psychiatric Association President Jeffrey Lieberman praise the rules for providing expanded care.

“Health plans have supported MHPAEA and worked to implement these requirements in a manner that’s affordable, safe and effective,” adds Karen Ignagni, President of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group of health insurance companies. “The new regulations enable patients with mental and behavioral health conditions to keep benefitting from the innovative programs and services that health plans have pioneered.”

To learn more about how these rules will apply to your health insurance, feel free to get in touch with us at Tracy-Driscoll today: 860.589.3434.

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HELP KEEP YOUR NEW WORKERS SAFE

Insurance statistics show that recently hired employees are far more likely to suffer on-the-job injuries than more experienced workers.

Here are some of the causes behind injuries to new hires – and what can you do to curb these mishaps:

  1. Employers assume new employees know more than they really do. Orientation offers an opportunity to find out how these workers know about safety.
  2. Many new employees are afraid to ask questions. Supervisors need to tell these workers there are no “stupid” questions about safety. Many workplaces assign an experienced employee to guide and mentor new hires.
  3. Because the environment is unfamiliar people don’t know what to do in an emergency.Make sure new employees familiarize themselves quickly with the facility and receive training in emergency procedures.
  4. Employee training focuses on tasks, not safety. Job instructions should address potential dangers and how to avoid them.
  5. Employees lack knowledge about hazardous substances. Provide appropriate raining when assigning new workers to jobs that could expose them to hazardous materials.
  6. New workers don’t understand the importance of personal protective equipment. Injury statistics show that an alarming number of new workers weren’t wearing PPE that could have prevented or reduced the severity of the mishap. Make sure your orientation includes information about selection, use, and care of PPE.
  7. The worksite doesn’t convey the message. New employees need to see a workplace that’s clean and orderly, supervisors who answer safety questions promptly and politely, and frequent drills in emergency procedures. The initial impression can make a huge difference in the new worker’s attitude toward safety.

The professionals at Tracy-Driscoll stand ready to offer our professional advice on helping you keep all of your employees safe on the job.  Call us today at 860-589-3434.

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More and more businesses are storing data on off-site service providers (known collectively as “the cloud”) to reduce costs and boost efficiency. However, many companies either don’t realize how vulnerable this information is, or don’t have contracts that make third-party cloud providers responsible for lost, stolen, or corrupted data.

If there’s a data breach when you’re using cloud-based services, who should be held responsible? Storing software and/or databases on the servers of a cloud provider with shared infrastructure immediately eliminates many of your cyber security controls. Backing up data in multiple locations increases the likelihood that it will survive, but also raises the odds of a data breach. What’s more, shared infrastructure can leave this information exposed to malware or other computer viruses.

What about connectivity? After all, your cloud provider can’t guarantee that you’ll have access 100% of the time. If the remote server goes down or there’s a data breach, how long might it be before you’re able to restore operations? How might such an incident affect your company’s reputation, and its financial position?

An effective Cyber insurance policy can reduce these risks significantly by:

  1. allowing you limit the spread of sensitive or confidential information by reacting to cyber extortion as soon as possible
  2. notifying your clients that their data has been lost
  3. hiring a PR firm to get out the message to clients about the measures your company is taking to prevent future breaches
  4. providing the ability to set up a data center
  5. reimbursing customers and clients for confidential information compromised by the breach

Tracy-Driscoll can help you select comprehensive coverage that can protect your data in the cloud.  Give us a call today at (860) 589-3434.

 

Protect your investment

Not too many people consider their vehicle an investment, but it is. In fact it could be your most important investment. Your vehicle gets you to and from your employment. Your vehicle offers a safe and accessible way to travel.

As your investment, you take care of it. You put gasoline in the car. Diligently, you pay attention to the maintenance schedule for your oil changes and milestone check-ups. Rotating your tires, parking your car in a garage or a covered parking area, getting your car detailed, and other long term preventive measures are on your to-do list. You make sure your car is in tip-top shape.

Getting the right kind of car insurance should be on that list as well. Sadly, that is not the case. Many people like to get liability insurance to satisfy the requirements of the bank or the state. Realistically, however that basic coverage may not be enough coverage for expenses incurred in case of an accident. Liability insurance is basic insurance that only offers coverage for the other person in case of an accident. If you have damage to your vehicle and/or injuries you are out of luck.

Protect your investment and don’t skimp on auto insurance coverage. Get the best possible policy that covers your investment. Give Tracy-Driscoll a call today at (860) 589-3434 to get a review of your auto policy so we can help you fill in the gaps.

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DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE?

Not all homeowners policy cover everything the ‘what ifs’ of life.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies have gaps in coverage, which can get expensive in the case of any emergency. Here are just a few of them:

  • Earthquakes. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover earthquakes. You will need a separate policy for coverage.
  • Floods. If you have a flood in your basement and no extra flood coverage, you’ll be paying for damages out of pocket.
  • A new building code? Your county passes a new building code and your house is not up to par. Only “ordinance or law” policies will reimburse your upgrades.
  • Did you cover your pipes for the winter? I hope so, otherwise any damages will be paid by you.
  • Fido. Due to certain breeds being labeled as ‘aggressive,’ not all types of dogs are covered under the homeowners’ policy, specifically Doberman Pinschers or Pitbulls.
  • Put your money in a bank. If you have money lying around your house and it gets stolen or damaged, the homeowners’ policy may only cover up to $1,000 of it.
  • Pools. You will need an umbrella policy to cover any injuries incurred around the pool area, since it is considered an ‘attractive nuisance.’

These are just a couple of the possible gap scenarios. There are many more. Make sure you contact the insurance experts at Tracy-Driscoll at (860) 589-3434 for a complete review of your homeowner’s policy so that we can close the gaps.

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