Whether you’re a hugger by nature or prefer not to be touched, your physical and mental health benefit when you celebrate National Hug Day, which is held annually on January 21. Give a few hugs today, and everyday to help improve your overall health and well-being.

Increase Oxygen Flow

Touch increases your body’s hemoglobin, and it carries oxygen to all your body’s organs. With oxygen, your body’s able to fight diseases as it recovers from illness.

Reduce Physical Pain

UCLA Pain Control unit’s Dr. David Bresler sees the need for physical touch. He prescribes his patients’ to perform bear hugs four times a day as part of their pain management treatment plan. To give and receive a bear hug and reduce your physical pain,  Dr. Bresler suggests that you face your partner and use both of your arms to fully embrace him or her.

Improve Mental Health

Hugging releases oxytocin, an important hormone that affects your mental health and well-being. With it, you’ll feel happier and less anxious.

Reduce Stress

A study performed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researched the responses of 50 people after a stressful event. Part of the group held hands and hugged for 20 seconds, while the rest of the participants sat quietly and did not touch. When asked to recall a recent stressful event, the cuddlers experienced lower heart rates and blood pressure readings then the non-cuddlers. You, too, will enjoy reduced stress when you hug!

Sleep Better

Instead of fighting insomnia or relying on sleeping pills, participate in a few hugs everyday. They relax your body and your emotions, so that you can enjoy a better night’s sleep.

Live Longer

Hugging also stimulates your skin’s nerve endings, which allows them to signal to your brain to slow cortisol release. It’s a hormone that builds up your immune system, fights stress, reduces inflammation and helps you live longer.

As you can see, hugs do more than just show affection. They also improve your physical and mental health. Implement them into your daily routine on National Hug Day, and talk to your doctor and health insurance provider about additional ways to stay healthy and whole. If you  are looking for health insurance coverage, or have any questions, feel free to call Tracy-Driscoll at 860-589-3434.

 

snowy road

The winter season is in full-swing, and the weather that it brings can create very dangerous driving conditions. Since you may not be able to stay home every time snow or ice falls, follow these defensive driving tips. They will help you arrive at your destination safely.

Clean/Prep Your Vehicle

Before you leave your driveway, spend a few minutes cleaning your vehicle. Make sure that you remove any snow and ice off your vehicle. Finally, pay special attention to your car’s windows, mirrors and lights so that you can see, and other drivers can see you on the road.

Tell Someone

Just before you leave, tell someone where you’re going, which route you expect to use, and your anticipated arrival time.

Snow

Now that your vehicle is adequately prepped and cleaned, here’s how to drive carefully in snow:

  • Use smooth motions as you brake, accelerate, and change gears.
  • Allow extra space between you and other vehicles.
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and improve visibility.
  • Drive on fresh snow, rather than in the packed and slippery trails that have been left by other vehicles.

Ice

Ice poses as a tremendous threat to your safety on the road, and is one of the most hazardous of all winter weather.  So please stay home if possible during ice storms. Otherwise:

  • Reduce your speed and leave at least 10 car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • During a skid, stay calm as you accelerate and break gently and smoothly. Steer into the skid, too. For example, steer right if your vehicle is skidding to the right.
  • Be aware of black ice. It’s hard to spot, but is just as dangerous as white ice or snow.

Hail

During dangerous hail storms, you must pay extra attention to the road and implement several safety measures.

  • Drive into the storm so that the hail hits the reinforced windshield rather than the side windows and back glass that aren’t as strong.
  • Stay away from ditches that can flood during hail storms.
  • Pull over if the storm becomes too heavy, and wait until it stops.

Make sure to follow these defensive driving tips the next time you get caught in winter weather. For added protection, you may want to update your auto insurance too. If you have any questions, give Tracy-Driscoll a call at 860-589-3434.

 

fireplace-by-krazy79

Your fireplace looks beautiful and adds warmth to your home,  but it can also be a serious fire hazard! This winter, protect your home and family as you enjoy your fireplace by following these maintenance tips.

Check the Chimney

As an essential part of your fireplace, your chimney needs a thorough inspection once a year. Hire a professional to look for cracks and other damage, and to clean out any combustible buildup like creosote. Then, secure a spark-arrestor screen to the chimney, which will prevent dangerous sparks from escaping and unwanted animals from entering your home.

Start the Fire Safely

Before you light a relaxing fire, make sure that you open the flue. Also, start your fire with only approved materials like newspaper and dry logs. Remember, don’t use it to burn leftover holiday gift wrapping or to grill food!

Maintain the Screen or Door

Every fireplace needs a safety screen or glass door. It prevents sparks from flying into your home and also discourages your children or pets from reaching into the fireplace. Ensure that the screen is constantly in place and free from any damage.

Remove Combustibles

Flammable rugs, draperies, paper and other combustibles have to stay at least three feet away from your fireplace. Otherwise, these combustible materials could cause a fire.

Use the Right Tools

Metal tools safely adjust logs and remove ash. Store these tools near your fireplace, but out of your children’s reach.

Provide Proper Supervision

Always supervise your fire! If left unattended, sparks could start a fire in your home or your children or pets could walk into the bright but hot embers.

Remove Ash and Coal Properly

A one-inch layer of ash in the firebox insulates the fire. To remove excess ash or coals, wait until they’re completely cool. Use an ash vacuum or metal shovel, and place the materials in a secure metal container outdoors.

By following these maintenance tips, you’ll safely enjoy your fireplace throughout the cold winter months. Additionally,  if you have any questions on how to update your home insurance policy in case of an accident, please call Tracy-Driscoll at 860-589-3434.

 

Recently the TRACY-DRISCOLL Team dressed up in orange to raise awareness for those diagnosed with COPD.  There are 15 million Americans who have been diagnosed with COPD with another estimated 12 million who may have COPD that hasn’t been diagnosed.

COPD 111914 bCOPD 111914 c

 What is COPD?

When you breathe, air travels through tubes in your lungs—called airways—to millions of tiny air sacs. In a healthy lung, the airways are open and the air sacs fill up with air. Then the air goes quickly out.

COPD makes it hard to get air through the airways and into and out of the air sacs.

COPD includes two lung problems:

  • “Chronic bronchitis” is increased cough and mucus production caused by inflammation of the airways. Bronchitis is considered chronic (or long-term) if a person coughs and produces excess mucus most days during three months in a year, for two years in a row.
  • “Emphysema” is associated with damage of the air sacs and/or collapse of the smallest breathing tubes in the lungs.
  • Stage 1: very mild COPD with a FEV1 about 80 percent or more of normal.
  • Stage 2: moderate COPD with a FEV1 between 50 and 80 percent of normal.
  • Stage 3: severe emphysema, with FEV1 between 30 and 50 percent of normal.
  • Stage 4: very severe COPD, with a lower FEV1 than Stage 3 or those with Stage 3 FEV1 and low blood oxygen levels.

Life with COPD can be full of ups and downs. From dealing with the diagnosis to learning to do things differently. You can learn more about COPD at www.COPD.com

 

 

 

If you own a business in Connecticut or are a partner, you’re probably already familiar with risk. Part of the risk of any small business is the loss of critical tools and property or liability to others, either of which can cause loss of income or even force you to close your doors. Having the right policy can save your business from going under.

Good coverage and a well thought out plan can save you money in the long run. Large companies employ full-time risk managers to keep their risk-taking to a minimum. But chances are that as a small-business operator in Connecticut, you are your company’s risk manager, along with its personnel director, office manager and possibly the entire staff all rolled into one. Learn more about Connecticut Business Insurance inside The Consumer’s Guide to Small Business Insurance.

If you have any questions concerning how to best insure your business please call Tracy-Driscoll at 860-589-3434.

 

Obesity has just become a disease. But how is obesity defined?

The current definition is twenty percent more weight than the ideal weight for an individual’s height and weight. A six-foot one-inch man weighing 216 pounds is considered obese.

Typically, some big people who are muscled from labor are on sites. This definition will almost certainly paint the construction industry labor force as obese.

As a disease, obesity and its affects must be dealt with the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind. What accommodations will be required?

What will be the effect on workers’ compensation work related disease coverage?

Safety personnel should consider these issues. Perhaps some site humor can be expected, but worker body mass index (BMI) might be a future consideration when hiring.

Employees who appear obese by the old definition probably need to be educated on the risks of weightiness. The physical stresses of the construction industry added to true body fat content is not a joke, it is dangerous. Even some safety equipment is not available to fit certain body types.

Consider adopting a physical fitness culture for onsite workers which includes maintaining a body mass index of below 30. This number may result in technically obese employees, but the BMI does not consider muscle mass or conditioning.

Visual inspection of the crew will indicate relative obesity which can be addressed individually. Begin to move in that direction, and then when the clarifying regulations promulgate new standards, you’ll be in a position to correct any deficiencies.

The secondary issue is whether this disease is work related; therefore treatment is covered by workers, compensation, or is it an individual issue which means Affordable Health Care Act or group coverage.

The lines blur with this issue. Good risk management suggests watching this issue carefully for future regulations, but in the meanwhile, begin informing employees about preventative healthcare.

As always if you have any questions please call Tracy-Driscoll at 860-589-3434.

 

With summer over, cold wet weather is not far away. Workplace safety is important for those workers who are outdoors working. Unfavorable weather conditions can cause health problems that are severe such as frostbite and hypothermia. In addition to cold and wet weather, wind is also a danger. With a blowing or gusty wind, cold wet weather is dangerous even if the temperature is above freezing.

Fortunately, by staying aware of your surroundings and using simple precautions you can avoid dangerous illnesses such as hypothermia and frostbite. A buddy system is a good idea for outdoor workers too. Know the signs of cold stress to look for it in yourself and your co-workers when your team works outside in cold climates.

Following are some cold weather safety tips for workers.

Frostbite

Frostbite is a medical term used when your skin and body tissue start to freeze because of exposure to cold weather. Your body’s most vulnerable parts are extremities including the nose and ears, fingers and toes.

Frostbite can come on quickly. Symptoms can include,

*A tingling sensation much like pins and needles.
*Numbness
*Pain
*Pale or waxy skin that hardens
*Protective thermal clothing such as gloves, socks and a ski mask are helpful in deterring frostbite.
Nevertheless, prolonged exposure may cause frostbite even when extremities have some protection.

What to do if you or a coworker has frostbite

*Remove tight clothing and jewelry
*Place affected body parts in warm water bath. Do not use hot water as body tissue needs slow warming to avoid damage
*When normal feeling returns, pat dry the area and cover it to keep it warm
*Go for medical attention
*Notify a supervisor

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a dangerous illness that happens when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees.

Hypothermia symptoms

Victims of hypothermia have uncontrollable shaking. Other symptoms include:

*Bluish skin (especially fingers and lips)
*Exhaustion
*Irrational behavior
*Irritability
*Uncoordinated movements

Helping hypothermia victims

Hypothermia is a dangerous illness. Take the following steps when a worker displays hypothermia symptoms:

*Call 911 at once
*Move the victim to a warm dry place
*Take off wet clothing and put warm dry clothing on. Wrap the victim in a blanket.
*The victim should drink anything high in sugar such as a sports drink. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
*Make every attempt to keep the victim awake if possible
*Ask the person to move their extremities to make muscle heat

Working in cold, wet weather is physically tiring. In order to cope follow these tips.

*Take short breaks in a dry place often to warm up
*Use layered clothing that you can add or take off as conditions dictate
*Work boots need proper insulation and waterproofing
*Wear the right cold weather clothing
*Use a buddy system and try to work in groups – be aware of the fitness of your co-workers
*Keep clothing changes available so you can change out of clothing that will get wet

All employees need training on the symptoms and emergency treatment for frostbite and hypothermia.

 

Whether you are a first-time home buyer, a veteran of many years of mortgage payments and house upkeep, a condo owner or an apartment dweller, your household is one of some 90 million in the United States. Chances are your home is your single most expensive budget item and—for the home or condo owner—your most valuable investment. Homeowners insurance is a package policy that covers both property—structures and personal possessions—and liability. But do you understand what’s covered?

For example, as a Connecticut resident, you may not be thinking about their flood insurance coverage. Flooding is the nation’s most common natural disaster, and can happen in every U.S. state and territory. It’s important to be prepared for flooding no matter where you live. For more information on flooding, check with FEMA. Then come back to Tracy-Driscoll for your home insurance needs.

Homeowners insurance is substantially standardized in the United States. The information in The Consumer’s Guide to Homeowners Insurance is based on the most commonly purchased policy (called HO3 in the industry) offering the widest protection.

If you have any further questions regarding home insurance do not hesitate to call Tracy-Driscoll at 869-589-3434.

home insurance

 

As an independent agency, Tracy-Driscoll & Co.’s main concern and duty is to represent our clients. When you experience a loss, Tracy-Driscoll will follow through to make certain that you receive prompt, fair payment of your claim.

Tracy-Driscoll & Co deals only with the products offered by a select group of financially sound, reputable insurance providers. We will always place your policy with the company offering the most appropriate coverage at the best available price.

Tracy Driscoll is dedicated to our clients, and we thank them for supporting us. If you would like to learn more about what it means to be insured by an independent agency please call Tracy Driscoll at 869-589-3434.

 

 

Cyber crimes have been around for several years. Insurance companies have developed policies designed to cover many different exposures. Some policies are specifically designed to cover first-party exposures while others address third-party exposures. Some policies cover both.

Businesses must evaluate cyber risk from both a first-party and third-party perspective. First-party losses are costs that cover the company’s own expenses caused by a cyber crime. Examples of such costs may include notification and credit monitoring for compromised individuals (note that some policies consider notification costs as a third-party coverage), data restoration, system repair and lost income.

Traditional first-party insurance policies typically limit or exclude coverage for cyber crimes. For this reason, a cyber insurance policy that covers first-party costs should coordinate with other first-party insurance policies. Such policies may include equipment breakdown, crime and other property insurance.
When a cyber crime occurs against the first party’s system or operations, third parties may be affected. Examples of third-party exposures include: infringement of copyright, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access to confidential information, software that causes the third party’s system to fail, and theft of identity, medical or other private data.

Third-party costs may include defense costs and judgments or settlements for lawsuits brought by customers, employees or others. Costs may also result from an investigation brought by a regulatory body.
Traditional third-party insurance policies typically limit or exclude coverage for cyber crimes. For this reason, a cyber insurance policy that covers third-party costs should coordinate with other third-party insurance policies. Such policies may include professional and general liability, technology and other liability insurance.

Cyber safety is important. If you have any questions or concerns please call Tracy Driscoll at 860-589-3434.

 
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