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6 Tips to Keep You Swimming Safely
When the temperature heats up in Florida, all you can think about is cooling off at the local pool or even at one of our favorite spots right here in West Palm Beach – Peanut Island. Just remember: Where there’s water, there’s risk.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump in (carefully) and have some fun with family and friends. It just means you should keep these safety tips in mind any time you swim in at the beach:
- Don’t go it alone. Swim only in designated areas, with a lifeguard if possible, and use the buddy system – even adults shouldn’t swim when no one else is around. As for children, they should never be left unattended in or near the water or supervised by another child.
- Mind the rules. If an area forbids diving or is closed for swimming, that means it’s unsafe to do so. Save yourself a trip to the hospital and follow all posted rules and warnings.
- Keep away from drains and piers. In a pool or spa, a drain’s powerful suction can trap children and adults. Be sure everyone knows to keep their distance. The same goes for riptides and currents if you’re in an open body of water.
- Know how to respond. When someone is missing, especially a child, always check the water first. Learn CPR and other skills that can save lives.
- Use common sense. Don’t use drugs or alcohol during water activities. Do have life jackets for inexperienced swimmers, and keep plenty of sunscreen and water on hand to help everyone beat the heat.
- Alert a lifeguard if you see someone struggling. Alternately, you could throw the person a floating object or reach out with a long object.
With a little caution, and a whole lot of supervision, you can help ensure your day at the pool or beach goes swimmingly. Have fun getting wet!
Cyber Insurance is a vital piece of your Business Insurance Package. Did you know that almost half of hacking and malware attacks target small to medium-size businesses? Ransomware, which freezes entire computer networks until a ransom is paid, is the biggest threat, increasing 15-fold in the past two years. Do you have Cyber Insurance?
With that in mind, here are the five most important things you can do to protect your computers and the data on them.
- Back up your system at least weekly and your data every day. Store your back-ups offsite.
- Use commercial grade security software and keep it up to date. Keep all other software up to date too.
- Limit who has access to your computers and network and don’t plug in external drives unless they’ve been checked.
- Restrict others’ Internet access and don’t click on links online or in emails unless you’ve checked they’re genuine.
- If you don’t already have it, consider cyber insurance. While everything else you do is to protect your system and data, cyber insurance protects you against financial loss and a damaged reputation.
I hope 2019 is a cyber-safe year for you! And if you’d like to discuss cyber insurance, please get in touch.
Is this year the breakthrough year when it comes to getting decluttered?
Most of us are drowning. In clutter, that is. And it just keeps getting deeper, doesn’t it? Like most everyone, I’m always making promises about clearing stuff out and making a fresh start. Is 2019 going to be the breakthrough year, I wonder?
If you’re with me on this, you may be interested in a few ideas I’ve just come across one of the best ways to declutter your home. Most people don’t know where to start so here’s what the renowned Lifehack self-improvement website suggests:
- Start small — one room at a time and just a quarter hour or so for each session. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed.
- Start at the top. Begin in the attic or bedrooms and work your way down.
- Start in the middle of a room. That makes it easier to clear floor space and see progress — to keep you going!
- Get rid of stuff that’s broken, useless or outdated. Be firm.
You can find the full list of tips here: http://tinyurl.com/LifeHack-declutter.
While we are still thinking (maybe some are restarting February if January was a bust) about the New Year, Harbor Insurance would like to offer our best wishes for the year ahead. We hope it’s a good one. And please remember we [Harbor Insurance now Partnered with Acentria ] will be here in 2019 for all your insurance questions and needs!
Should I Buy ID Theft Insurance?
The recent data breach at credit monitoring agency Equifax has left many people wondering if they need Identity Theft Insurance. 143 million personal records and 209,000 credit card numbers were accessed.
Most adults in the US and a large number in Canada were affected. The main effects of the breach are:
-Someone could try to borrow money using a victim’s name.
-If you’re one of the credit card victims, someone could use your card number to buy stuff.
-There are lots of things you can do to reduce the risk of being hit, such as putting a fraud alert of freezing your credit records, using a monitoring service to regularly check your credit record and taking action yourself to check your bank and credit card balances as frequently as possible. (Note that monitoring credit records does not include checking for illegal use of your credit card unless specifically stated by the monitoring service).
You can get more information and tips about protecting yourself here: http://tinyurl.com/equi-tips
But what about insurance? Here are the key things you need to know.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may include a small amount of coverage for this risk.
Identity theft insurance does not, as a general rule, cover you against the direct financial losses if someone misuses your credit card or takes out a loan in your name. These costs are usually borne by the bank or card company. The real purpose of ID theft insurance is to help meet the cost of straightening out all of the problems that flow from falling victim, such as restoring victims’ identities and repairing credit reports, covering lost wages and paying attorney’s fees. ID theft coverage can be issued either as a standalone policy or as an endorsement to your homeowner’s insurance. It usually costs around $40 to $60 and covers expenses of up to $25,000.
Identity theft insurance won’t stop thieves, but if you fall victim it could ease the pain of putting things right. If you’re thinking about getting this type of insurance, check your homeowner’s policy first, then speak to us here at Harbor Insurance
Are you hiring? The perfect job candidate is sitting across from you. They’ve impressed. And they have a great college degree.
But do they? When you’re hiring, especially in a hurry, it’s easy to accept those “course of life” claims from a job candidate that looks promising out of the gate.
Checking a job candidate’s credentials is like taking out insurance — something you do to protect yourself in the future. When you are hiring, be sure you are hiring smart!
Here’s what to do as part of your hiring process. It won’t take long:
>Contact the school to confirm the applicant received the qualifications claimed and request a certified academic transcript (subject to the applicant’s agreement).
>Research the school online to ensure it’s accredited by a legitimate agency. >Also, check the credentials of the accrediting agency because some diploma mills use bogus accreditation.
>Ask the applicant for proof of the degree and accreditation, if you don’t get satisfactory answers from the first two steps.
For more information, particularly on the issue of checking accreditation, is available from http://tinyurl.com/FTC-credentials.
Even if you’re frantically busy, you should also take up prior employment references. Doing so now could save you time and trouble in the future. Hiring smart pays dividends in the long run.
And don’t forget, if you need to check any aspect of your insurance protection, you can contact on the agents at Harbor Insurance to assist you.
Would you like to review your current Business Insurance portfolio with a knowledgeable and local Florida insurance agent? Please contact us here: www.harboria.com or 888-451-8818 . Or if you simply would like some additional information on the suite of products we offer, visit us online on our Business Insurance pages.
A dishonest employee!? You can insure against this risk.
Embezzlement? Theft? Unthinkable! It only happens to other people, right?
Sad, but not true. It can happen to anyone. When it does, it’s almost always a shock. It’s not expected.
It’s my job to protect you, so let me pass on a few tips. Please take a quick moment to review these tips. (Or, at least, save them to read later.) There are warning signs. And things you can do to protect your business. Consider this:
- A fancy new car? A luxurious vacation?
- If an employee has a sudden change in lifestyle, that may be a warning sign. (Or maybe they really did win the lottery!)
- Showing up to work when nobody is there? Or staying late? It’s possibly a good thing! But experts tell us this might be a warning sign, too.
- They don’t like you checking on them, when it didn’t bother them before. Watch out for any big changes in behavior.
- Expensive office supplies or costly promotional gifts go missing.
Hopefully, you’ll never need them, but here’s a full list of 11 warning signs: http://tinyurl.com/11-signs.
Employee dishonesty can seriously damage a business. But you can insure against this risk. Please contact me if you’d like to learn how.
You can’t stand still. You need new ideas to grow your business. But if you make a mistake, it could spell big trouble.
You know about risk management. That’s why you look to us for your insurance protection. But what’s the secret to testing new products or ways of doing things without rocking the company boat?
You could start by checking out these ideas from Entrepreneur magazine.
-Small and simple. Create the bare minimum of product or service that will allow you to test it and get feedback from customers.
-Define, test, repeat. You probably won’t get it right first time so modify it as you get feedback.
-Outside feedback. Don’t rely on people who support you like colleagues and friends to give honest feedback. Ask customers and other outsiders.
-Who’s buying: Make sure you know your customer profiles and what product or service you’ll be replacing.
Check out this brief video interview with entrepreneur Adam Callinan at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234878
The magazine also has a useful list of 10 questions you should ask to evaluate your business idea at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225514
And if you’d like to talk more about risk management in your business, remember you can always give me a call. 888-451-8818 OR visit us online at www.harboria.com
Guarding Against Rowdy Renters using Airbnb
Everybody’s doing it: Renting out empty space in their homes, or even entire properties, via the online service Airbnb. It’s a great concept both from the host’s and the renters point of view –provided everyone plays by the rules.
Sadly, that’s not always the case and the news media frequently report on homes that have been trashed, leaving owners not only to pick up the mess but also the bills for costly repairs and replacements.
According to attorney and law author Stephen Fishman, the best way for hosts to limit the risks of trouble is to screen their renters over the phone. You should ask them the purpose of their trip, whether they’ve used Airbnb before (and if so, if they can provide references), exactly how many people will be staying, whether they smoke and whether they’re bringing pets. If any answers don’t suit you, you can turn them down.
In fact, establishing good lines of communication with your renter and, if possible, looking in on them, is the best way to ensure they treat your home respectfully. But you can also check your renters out online, on social media sites like Facebook, and you should certainly make them sign a written rental agreement, as well as providing a security deposit.
Entrepreneur Laiza King, writing for the online news site Huffington Post, also suggests these 5 tips for protecting yourself:
1. If you’re not going to be around, and the property is your main home, secure your mail, either via a locking mailbox or using a PO Box for redirected mail.
2. Lock your valuables away and make sure the contents of your home are properly insured. “Though Airbnb has an insurance system that covers certain types of damage, they don’t protect debit or credit cards, checks or financial papers, jewelry, etc,” she says. (Speak to us if you’d like to discuss contents insurance for your rental property)
3. If you offer Wi-Fi, protect the details of your system. You can set up a guest-only network. And by connecting via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), their Internet activities won’t be traceable to your home. (Google “VPN” to learn more about how to do this.)
4. In addition to checking out the renter’s profile, create an emergency plan for them, explaining safety issues in the home, locating features like fire extinguishers, and providing a list of emergency numbers.
5. Install a security system. “With a security system, you can monitor what goes on in your home,” she says. “In addition, outfitting your home with a home security system may earn you more bookings as it provides your guests with an extra layer of security which may not be available in other rentals they are also considering.”
Of course, there are also risks with being an Airbnb renter. See the firm’s safety guidance on this here: http://tinyurl.com/airbnb-renter
Also, please contact our office directly to speak with your agent regarding any and all rental activity you have or may be considering. Each insurance policy may respond differently (i.e., minimal coverage may exist or no coverage at all applies) and you want to ensure that your policy has the proper coverage for any and all rental exposures.
Request more information here – harboria.com
Be and Stay a Healthy As You Cruise
More than 12 million people set off on a cruise from North American ports every year. Most of them return refreshed and with happy memories. But a small proportion don’t feel so good. They fall victim to an onboard infection that sweeps through the ship.
The most common cruise illness is Norovirus. It’s mainly a vomiting bug without long term effects. But that’s not much consolation if you’re cruising for just a week or two. It’s highly infectious, which means that once someone gets it, it roars through the “captive” environment of a cruise ship.
That said, there are several things you can do to limit the risk of becoming infected while cruising. The most important tactic is as simple as regular hand washing — because the virus spreads through physical contact, not just with other people but with virtually anything you can touch.
In fact, if you can avoid touching railings, bathroom door handles and elevator buttons, so much the better. Avoiding buffet areas, where people handle the same utensils and even breathe over the food can also help if there’s actually an outbreak onboard. And keep hand sanitizer with you or in your stateroom.
You should also drink plenty of water, but this should preferably be bottled, especially if the virus is already onboard. And when you visit ports, you should also take water from your cruise ship with you.
It’s worth noting by the way, that Norovirus is not just a cruise sickness and the above rules might help you if the illness is active locally.
Cruising also increases the risk of over exposure to the sun, so always take and use sunscreen. Warning: It may be expensive on board so buy it before you go.
The other big danger is the risk of overeating. They don’t call those midnight feasts “Death By Chocolate” without reason! Try to pace your eating across the day — and get plenty of exercise to work off those calories.
One final bit of advice: Don’t forget to take out travel insurance before your trip. Although cruise lines sometimes compensate passengers for viral infections or other hazards that disrupt vacations, it’s by no means guaranteed. With good insurance, at least you can be protected if illness wrecks your vacation. Talk to us if you’d like to know more – call, click or email. harboria.com