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A Senate vote on legislation that would delay flood insurance premium increases for up to four years may take place next week. The bill that has been drafted would delay most of the rate hikes until FEMA completes the affordability study mandated by the law, proposes alternatives to the rate hikes, and gives Congress adequate time to review their findings. Revisiting the flood insurance premium rate increases has broad support in Congress, with members of Congress from Hawaii to Vermont urging passage of such legislation.

You can read more about the flood insurance bill delaying rate increases by CLICKING HERE:

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HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS: MYTHS AND REALITY

Don’t let negative rumors about home security systems keep you from adding this valuable protection for you and your family. Before you buy a system, consider these myths and realities:

Myth: No one will break into my home.

Reality: Burglars can target any home anywhere, and they’re seeking unprotected targets like yours. In 2011, the FBI reported more than 1.5 million residential burglaries, an average of more than one a minute.

Myth. Security systems cost too much.

Reality: According to the FBI, burglaries cost victims an average of $2,185 in 2011. A security system that costs $50 a month (a mid-range figure for most systems) can provide more than three and a half years of protection for the money and valuables you might lose in a home burglary, not to mention helping ensure your peace of mind.

Myth: My pet will set off false alarms

Reality: Many home security systems are pet friendly, designed to distinguish between pets and intruder.

Myth: Having a security system won’t lower my insurance rate

Reality: Because insurance companies can save a ton of money when policyholders use quality alarm systems (which reduce the chances of burglary claims significantly) they offer these customers a sizeable discount on homeowners coverage. You can use these savings to offset the cost of your system.

Myth: Because I have insurance, I don’t need a security system

Reality: Insurance can’t bring back irreplaceable items, such as family heirlooms or other valuables, which a home security system can help protect. What’s more, many people don’t want to deal with filing a claim and receiving an insurance settlement.

For more information on the benefits that alarm systems can provide, feel free to get in touch with Tracy-Driscoll at (860)-589-3434.

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Businessman Stepping on Banana PeelWith slips, trips and, falls remaining one of the top causes of workers compensation claims, safety experts stress the need for preventive measures and ergonomic workplace design.

Such accidents need particular attention in nonindustrial environments where employers often install terrazzo or marble floors that can be dangerous to walk on.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, same- level slips, trips and falls (in which workers slip and fall on the surface where they’re standing) accounted for 134,580 lost workdays and 111 deaths in 2011. The number of same-level falls increased 42.3% from 1998 to 2010, the highest growth of any accident type during this period. These mishaps are costly, in 2010, Liberty Mutual a a leading workers comp insurance company, paid $8.61 billion in same-level fall comp claims.

Implementing safety measures such as, cleaning spilled liquids promptly and placing floor mats on smooth flooring will help prevent workplace injury. Reviewing injury records to find trends will help determine additional safety measures to implement in the workplace. Many businesses are replacing surfaces that contribute to these mishaps which is a highly cost effective investment that can curb expensive litigation and workers comp liabilities.

Although these precautions have prevented thousands of slip-and-fall accidents, the risk will remain a problem until employers work with design professionals to create ergonomically friendly safe buildings. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is sponsoring a “Prevention Through Design” initiative to address ways that architects and engineers can get involved in designing safer workplaces (for example, by training college engineering and architecture students about safety and ergonomic considerations).

Tracy-Driscoll‘s workers comp specialists would be happy to check your business for slip and fall hazards and recommend steps to help keep your staff and visitors from slipping.

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Autumn is in full swing and sights of pumpkins, falling leaves, and cooler weather are amongst us. This time of year brings much excitement as it’s the kickoff of many holiday festivities to come. Whether it is a Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner, or a Holiday celebration, it’s the season to celebrate so let’s get the party started! Be sure your clients have the Protector Plan© for Events on the guest list of all their private celebrations.

The Protector Plan© for Events, a no deductible policy starting at $160, may help with unavoidable situations such as cancellation/postponement due to catastrophic weather, sudden illness/death, vendor no shows, special attire mishaps, and more. There is also an option to buy liability insurance, which includes the ability to add onsite liquor liability coverage.

This Special Event policy is intended to cover private, by invitation only, events hosted by individuals. This policy cannot be used for events held by organizations/businesses, events open to the public, or for events where there is an attendance fee.

If you’d like to learn more about insuring that special event call one of our Specialists at Tracy Driscoll Insurance today at (860) 589-3434. After all ‘Tis the holiday party season!

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The fire-protection systems in many of the nation’s assisted living facilities are dismal, says a recent report. Many lack such basic safeguards as smoke alarms and sprinklers. As a result, these facilities have suffered an average of one fatal fire per month during the past five years. In a huge industry with deep emotional implications, this matter will continue to receive nationwide press coverage.

The media attention should help businesses in all industries understand the importance of adequate fire protection. The cost of updating these systems pales in comparison to the huge emotional, physical, and economic damages that a single fire can cause.

As a business owner, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your structure capable of withstanding a blaze?
  • Is your staff aware of safety measures to both prevent and combat a fire?
  • What about your surroundings? Are the businesses near or next to you prepared?
  • If the worst were to happen, how long would it take your business to bounce back?

Although it might take intensive effort to protect your building against fire, carrying the proper insurance is one decision you can make immediately. Invest in comprehensive property and business income coverages today!

Contact Tracy-Driscoll today for more information on how these policies can help your business bounce back after a fire or other disaster.  You can reach us at (860) 589-3434.

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This year’s open enrollment season for selecting workplace benefits comes just before major health care reforms under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect. Because it’s never been more important to choose a health plan for you and your family, we offer these guidelines for enrollment: 

• You’ll need to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. If your employer won’t offer coverage or the plan doesn’t meet minimum standards, you must buy coverage from an insurance company or through statewide insurance exchanges, which opened for enrollment on October 1 (in some cases, you might be eligible for a premium tax credit.).

• Compare benefits and insurance plan networks. Check out provider networks to make sure that they include your doctors and preferred hospital system, especially if you’re being treated for a serious or chronic condition. You’ll pay a lot more to see providers outside the network with a preferred provider organization (PPO) and will probably have to pay the full cost of services for out-of-network providers with a health maintenance organization (HMO).

• Remember that your employer does not have to offer coverage in 2014, and will not cover your spouse – because the ACA limits the definition of “dependents” to children.

• Pick the plan with the best value. Your costs include deductibles and co-insurance (the percentage the plan pays after you satisfy the deductible); copayments for doctor visits, urgent care and emergency room treatment; and your portion of the premium. Run scenarios to see how much each health plan would cost, and choose the one that meets your unique needs.

Tracy-Driscoll’s health insurance professionals stand ready to offer you their advice – just give us a call at (860) 589-3434.

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The bad news: slips, trips, and falls are one of the nation’s leading causes of workplace injuries. The good news: working with safety professionals can help prevent these accidents – and keep your Workers Compensation costs under control.

Falls on the same level (in which workers slip and fall on the surface on which they’re standing) cost Workers Comp insurance companies a hefty $8.61 billion in 2010, accounting for 16.9% of their total claims. That’s the word from Wayne Maynard, Manager of Technical Services and Product Development for the Loss Control Advisory Services unit of Liberty Mutual, the largest Comp carrier in the nation.1

According to the Liberty Mutual 2012 Workplace Safety Index, “bodily reaction” injuries – which includes those caused by slipping or tripping without falling – represented $5.78 billion of Comp costs in 2010, or 11.4% of the overall burden,. Falls to a lower level in that year accounted for another $5.12 billion, or 10% of claims.

These costs are rising, due in part to an aging workforce (older worker tend to have more balance problems). Falls on the same level increased 42.3% from 1998 to 2010, while bodily reaction injuries increased 17.6% during this period.

You can help reduce the frequency of slips, trips, and falls by taking such ergonomic enhancements in the workplace as 1) adding slip-resistant flooring; 2) eliminating raised surfaces that might cause tripping; and 3) installing handrails on stairs. Also make sure that your employees take immediate steps to clean up spills that could create slippery floors.

Tracy Driscoll’s professionals would be happy to provide a complimentary “slip, trip, and fall” safety review of your premises – just give us a call at 860.589.3434.

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1Fifty might seem old – unless you plan on living past 100, it means that your life is more than half over. However, people at this age today are far younger than they used to be. Think about how your grandparents looked in their 50s and 60s and beyond compared to today’s grandparents.

Although growing older isn’t what it used to be, you might still think that people over 50, who tend to be less healthy than their younger counterparts, can’t afford to buy Life insurance. Not so.

Increased competition in today’s market means that insurance companies are seeking customers of all ages and that rates are lower than ever. More and more insurers are designing and marketing policies to people 50 and older, which means that they have a far better chance of getting Life coverage.

To help protect your loved ones with Life insurance, at a cost you can afford, we’d recommend these guidelines to a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Watch your weight. Having a normal Body Mass Index (generally less than 25) will improve your chances of living longer.
  2. Deal with any health issues. For example, if you have a condition such as high cholesterol, get it under control, whether by medication or changing your diet.
  3. Exercise regularly, for obvious reasons.
  4. If you’re a smoker, kick the habit. Quitting will not only improve your health, but save you money – which you can invest in helping pay your premium.

Of course, these recommendations apply to Life insurance applicants at any age.

We’d be happy to help you find the policy that can best meet your needs – feel free to give your Tracy-Driscoll insurance agent a call at any time.

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Tracy-Driscoll Insurance was proud to be a participant in the United Way of West Central Connecticut’s 2013 Adopt-A-Child Back to School Program.

The generosity of all participants allowed over 500 children from Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, and Plymouth to return to school fully prepared for the new school year with a new outfit, backpack, and school supplies ready to learn and filled with hope and confidence.

United Way Back Pack Program 2 Pictured from left to right:  Amy Lukaszewski, Sandy VanDeusen, Ellen Leichner, Marissa Sylvester, Kathy McNamara, Liz Sikorski, Janice Mauriello, MaryAnn Maroney and Dale Brown (Program Coordinator)

You can learn more about the United Way of West Central Connecticut at http://www.uwwestcentralct.org/

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