Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

How clever is your password? If it’s on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2016, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.
To create a more secure password, make sure you are not relying only on numbers, and try to avoid simple keyboard patterns. You may also want to avoid easy-to-find information such as birthdays, favorite sports teams and addresses. Attempt to create a password that is eight or more letters long, and avoid using the same password for multiple access points.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. football
  6. qwerty
  7. 1234567890
  8. 1234567
  9. princess
  10. 1234
  11. login
  12. welcome
  13. solo
  14. abc123
  15. admin
  16. 121212
  17. flower
  18. passw0rd
  19. dragon
  20. sunshine
  21. master
  22. hottie
  23. loveme
  24. zaq1zaq1
  25. password1

Being a responsible adult means making sure loved ones who depend on you are financially safeguarded if you unexpectedly leave them behind.  The way you provide that protection is with life insurance.

Your life insurance premium will never be lower than it will be today.

 Think about it this way:  It is highly unlikely that a person would be healthier at age 40, 50 or 60 than they were at age 20.

If you have life insurance through your job, keep it – but purchase a private policy also.  Because:

  1. What if you lose your job?
  2. What if you hate your job and want to find a different one?
  3. What if you develop a health condition before your lose your job?

For parents, the need is much greater and less debatable.  If a parent passes away, the children still need food, clothing, shelter and college educations.

Call your agent today for a no-obligation life insurance quote.

Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads.  But it’s been about 30 years since carbureted engines were common in cars.

In addition, the term “warm-up theft” is a widely used term among car thieves to describe the stealing of a car that has been left running and unattended.

And then there’s the danger of CO concentrations when warming a car in a garage – either a closed garage or one that is open.  In an Iowa State study, warming up a vehicle for only 2 minutes with an overhead door open raised CO concentrations in the garage to 500 ppm.

So what should you do?  Start it up, make sure all your windows are clear of ice/snow/fog, and just drive the thing!

Shopping online.  Buying gas.  In nearly all of the things we do from day to day, there’s the risk of identity theft.

ID theft has soared to nearly 18 million victims a year in the U.S.  If this happens to you, fully straightening out your records could take about 6 months and 200 hours of work.

Here are 10 sensible habits to adopt that will help you protect your identity:

  1. Limit what you carry in your wallet, and know what’s there in case it goes missing.  Make photocopies of all cards you carry in your wallet and store copies in a safe place in case all or one of them goes missing.
  2. Keep your computers, software and other electronics secure and up to date. Use strong passwords.  Keep everything backed up.
  3. Don’t over share. Will the last 4 digits of your social security number do in lieu of the entire number?
  4. Do check your credit reports throughout the year. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the 3 bureaus once a year.
  5. Keep an eye on your accounts. Your account statements can alett you to identity theft sooner than your credit report in most cases.
  6. Watch your surroundings. Whether you’re using the ATM or a portable device, be sure others nearby aren’t watching as your type in your PIN or password.
  7. Reduce your mail. Use paperless billing when available.  You may opt out of pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT.
  8. Be skeptical when someone asks for your information.
  9. Mind your garbage. Invest in a shredder for your home
  10. Tidy up at home. Tax returns, credit cards you use infrequently, checkbooks, passports, birth certificates – these and other important documents should all be stored under lock and key.

Despite your best efforts, you may still discover that your identity has been stolen.  If so, take immediate action to:

  • Fill out the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Affidavit. https://www.irs.gov/uac/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft
  • Take the affidavit to the police and file a report.
  • Call your financial providers to request new account numbers and cards.
  • Contact 1 of the 3 credit bureaus to place a fraud alert. The bureau you contact will share it with the other two.

Most importantly, before you think your security has been violated, contact your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY agent to determine if Identity Recovery Coverage is already contained in your homeowners policy – or if you need to add it.

 

(Taken from http://www.safeco.com/blog-detail/preventing-identity-theft/1240029938619)

If you have a metal roof on your home, you have great fire resistance, energy efficiency and long wear expectations.  On the other hand, there is the potential for an insurance claim limitation in cases where there is “cosmetic” damage to the roof.

What is “cosmetic” damage to metal roofs?  It is described as damage that only affects the appearance but not the function of a specific property component.  For example, there might be marring or pitting or other superficial damage to a surface but there is no reduction in the ability of the surface to protect the inside of the building.  Since the Midwest weather patterns continue to include storms and hail, insurers seek ways to reduce the potential for overall premium increases.  This is one of those options.

Should you have questions about your specific policies or coverage, please contact your agency representative/advisor. We are standing by to assist you.

Have you ever wanted more information on one of your insurance policies at 9 o’clock at night  – or would you simply prefer to check on an insurance claim yourself rather than ask someone else to do that for you?

If you answered either of these questions with a “yes,” there is a solution to meet your needs.

If you are not currently registered with the website of the company who provides your insurance, perhaps you will want to pursue that option.  Some of the things you can do on-line (at a time of your choosing) is to:

  • Pay your bill online
  • View billing information
  • Access policy documents
  • Track a claim
  • View & print auto ID cards

To locate the correct web address for your insurance carrier, check any of the recent documents you have received from your carrier or phone your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative who will be happy to assist you.

While most students are already back on campus, it is not too late to be sure student’s possessions are adequately covered from perils like fire and theft.

Ask your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative if your student’s possessions will be covered by your homeowners policy while living on campus.  Students living off campus should consider renters insurance.

College students should complete an itemized checklist of their possessions.  Not only would this list be helpful in case you need to file a claim, but your insurance carrier may ask for such a list in the case of a claim.

You may also want to download the Mo2Go Wallet App. This allows you to store all of your insurance information on your smartphone.  Users have the ability to text or email their insurance cards right from the app.  In case you get pulled over, Missouri law allows drivers to show proof of insurance electronically, and this app allows you to do so.  Students should have all of their insurance information on hand just in case they need to use it when they are away from home.

Most young adults are able to stay on their parent’s health insurance policy until age 26.  Students are encouraged to take copies of their insurance cards and know where to go for health care when away from home.

If there are questions or to download the app, visit www.insurance.mo.gov.

A climate of safety doesn’t happen by accident–it’s up to business owners to make it a reality:

  1. Have a vision

How do you want your business to be known? Determine the cultural qualities that you want to enact and consider how they relate to a climate of safety. Many goals, such as on-time delivery, efficient service, and employee retention, tie directly back to safety. Promote that vision in simple, straightforward ways to both workers and supervisors: Be here, be safe, be healthy, that’s how customer needs are met.

  1. Get worker feedback

Often, powerful safety measures emerge from simply asking: What do you need? What would make this task easier or safer? You might be surprised by the ease involved in creating a climate of safety when you incorporate employee input. Accidents–and related injuries–can be avoided by acting on ideas recommended by the people closest to workplace risks, such as adding additional lighting, installing a handrail beside a step down, or replacing mats or rugs with greater frequency.

  1. Huddle up

Pair your one-on-one discussions with team huddles. Begin employee shifts with reminders of essential safety precautions in the work to be done, addressing questions and concerns. These daily reminders build team awareness of safety issues, help coworkers understand what it takes to protect themselves–and each other–and let them know that the company values them as both contributors to success and as human beings.

  1. Train supervisors

Business owners and operators can’t always engage with every employee or team without help from their managers. Train your supervisors to give and receive feedback on issues surrounding safety, and to properly investigate or assist in investigations surrounding incidents.

  1. Find resources

There are plenty of resources available to help you understand and mitigate the risks in your workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a large free database of safety publications, videos, and even software. And some insurance providers, like Liberty Mutual Insurance, offer safety consultations and online access to educational materials and research to help business customers mitigate risks.

By understanding your risks, you’re in a much better position to prevent costly accidents and protect your workers and business. Work with employees, supervisors, and experts to visualize your climate of safety–and then make it a reality.

Published on: Jul 13, 2016
Liberty Mutual InsuranceView

You can easily give your service techs credibility and put the customer’s mind at ease within the first two minutes of a service call – and then you are the hero!

by Charlie Greer | Contractor   http://contractormag.com/columns/greer/best_service_calls_709

Here are the top 10 ways service techs can gain credibility: 1. Put the customer’s mind at ease regarding her immediate problems within the first two minutes. Address the situation or need that prompted the service call first. Then you’re the hero and her mind will be relaxed and open to whatever else you have to say. Develop this calming, comforting and reassuring tone of voice when explaining the

Here are the top 10 ways service techs can gain credibility:

  1. Put the customer’s mind at ease regarding her immediate problems within the first two minutes. Address the situation or need that prompted the service call first. Then you’re the hero and her mind will be relaxed and open to whatever else you have to say.

Develop this calming, comforting and reassuring tone of voice when explaining the problem, how quickly it can be repaired and the price to do so.

Don’t walk in the door and start selling service agreements or bringing up additional products or services until you’ve put her mind at ease regarding her original complaint.

  1. Once you’ve put her mind at ease, do a “courtesy inspection.” Check everything over. The more stuff you look at, the more broken things you’ll find. You’ll quote more work on every call. The more you quote, the more you’ll sell. The more you sell on every call, the more profitable you’ll become.
  2. Be an “active listener.” Customers want to be listened to and won’t know you are listening unless you acknowledge what they’ve said, and demonstrate that you’ve heard them and understand their concerns. You do this by:

Standing and listening, without doing anything else, while they’re talking; Repeating back to them what they’ve just said to you (even if it was erroneous or insane).

  1. Make eye contact. People respond positively to eye contact and associate it with honesty. Plus, it shows confidence, which is extremely important. They want you to be confident. If you’re uncomfortable with eye contact, practice by staring yourself in the eye in the mirror, pupil-to-pupil for about five minutes per day for awhile.
  2. Make a positive visual impression. Your first impression is crucial, and it’s usually visual.

Ideally, service techs should base their personal appearance decisions on what will appeal to the widest variety of people possible. This includes the proper footwear, headgear, belt buckle and undershirt. This also includes your tools. If you’re selling “quality,” you better not be using cheap tools. That sends a conflicting message.

  1. Be organized. This pertains to everything from your presentation, to your appearance, to the way you use you tools, to your truck.

From the moment you greet the customer, it must be obvious that you are:

  • A professional;
  • Successful at what you do;
  • Have done this before and have a standard procedure that you follow in this type of situation; and
  • Competent enough to be trusted to take this job and get it done without being watched.

Customers want you to be able to reach behind you into your tool pouch and, without looking, pull out the right tool and replace it when you’re done.

They don’t want to see things thrown about randomly in your truck.

Don’t spread things around in a haphazard fashion, talk to yourself, or make grunting or “struggling” noises while working on the equipment.

Carry a small mat with you and lay your tools and parts on it while you work.

Leave the work area as clean as you found it.

  1. Get the customer involved. It’s OK for the customer to leave you alone while you’re doing your diagnostic procedure. In fact, it’s often desirable.

When it comes time to present your finding and recommendations, it’s best to talk about the problem in front of the problem.

  1. Speak in simple terms. Don’t try to impress your customers with your intelligence by using a lot of big words. A confused mind always says “no.” Keep your explanations short, simple and to the point.
  2. Do the whole job on the first visit. Unfortunately, for many techs, the focus is on running the maximum number of calls per day. This means often deliberately ignoring repairs or procedures that would benefit the customer but are non-essential.

This type of “tunnel vision” approach can cause callbacks, and one callback can suck the profits out of an entire day’s work.

The concern should not be the number of calls run per day but an intelligent compromise between the number of calls run per day and gross income.

Doing everything that needs to be done while you’re there reduces (or even eliminates) callbacks and cuts down on travel time, which actually frees you up to see more customers and run more billable calls.

  1. Do neat paperwork. Most service calls are run with only one spouse present — sometimes none. Neat, legible paperwork spelling out the work you did goes a long way toward eliminating those annoying after-the-fact phone calls to the office from absent spouses, friends and family members.

Additionally, doing neat and complete paperwork, including pressing hard enough to make the bottom copy readable, goes a long way toward getting the office personnel to favor you.

For more information

http://contractormag.com/columns/greer/best_service_calls_709

Does your company have a written accident investigation plan – one that has been clearly shared with your employees?  If not, please don’t wait until after you need it to establish a policy.

The policy should outline:

  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Perhaps the most important part of this plan is to determine why the accident happened.  Also, don’t forget to include investigation of those “near misses.”  These latter investi-gations could lead to the very best preventative measures.

Or go to:  https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/products/topics/incidentinvestigation/index.html