William Penn Building
109 Chesley Drive
Media, PA 19063

Insurance company Hurricane info for boat owners

Developing a Storm Preparedness Plan for Your Boat: Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

Boat sailing away from oncoming storm

The summer season has the potential to bring fun-filled days and enjoyment for many boat owners. Experienced mariners know fickle weather is a fact of life, but some weather events have the potential to seriously damage or even destroy your vessel. If a tropical storm or hurricane is forecast on the horizon, having a plan in place can help you to prepare your boat for many possible circumstances — whether you plan to haul it out to dry storage or keep it in the water.

Secure and Protect Your Boat

If at all possible, consider hauling your boat out of the water. It is important to not delay this action because as a storm gets closer, your boat ramp or marina may become congested as more boat owners take the same action. Hauling can help protect your boat against damage from contact with the dock or improperly secured vessels.

Also consider the anticipated tidal surge, and if this will overcome the location near the marina or boat ramp, consider moving the boat further inland or find a convenient area of higher ground where you have already received permission to place your boat until the storm passes. Remember, if you plan to keep your boat on land, be sure to remove the drain plug to help prevent water from collecting in your vessel.

Improve Your Docking or Mooring Location

If you cannot remove your boat from the water, plan to improve the location where it will remain docked or moored. First, double up all lines and confirm they are in good condition and long enough to accommodate storm surge. Then, inspect the cleats and dock conditions where these are to be secured. Sometimes it is best to secure additional lines around fixed pilings, if available. Add chafe gear protection where the lines will be in contact with sharp or rough edges and install extra fenders to prevent damage to the hull.

Finally, if your boat will be on a mooring, or another place to secure a vessel in the water, consider the use of additional anchors to supplement the mooring. In some cases, a three-point anchorage can assist the vessel in handling an inbound and outbound tidal surge better, especially in congested mooring fields. Whereas, reinforcing a single point mooring may be best when there is plenty of room around the vessel to swing as the surge passes inland and back out to sea.

Regardless of whether your boat will be on land or in the water during severe weather, follow these tips to help protect it from damage:

  • Remove as much loose boating gear onboard as possible, especially electronics and important documents. Any gear that will remain on your boat should be secured to help prevent it from clogging scuppers and deck drains.
  • Remove sails, dinghies, bridge enclosures and cockpit coverings (Eisenglass/Isinglass, dodgers) to help reduce wind damage.
  • Turn off and disconnect shore power cords, water supply hoses and propane or other gas valves.
  • Secure and lock all hatches and port holes. Check for leaks, and seal them as necessary.
  • If your boat’s mooring is exposed, explore alternative locations that may afford better protection and have a plan to allow for your boat to be relocated to the safer location in the case of an impending storm surge.
  • Avoid staying aboard your boat during a significant storm.
  • Check with your marina for any additional safety measures.

Create a written plan and checklist of the steps you intend to take when severe weather is in the forecast. Once you have created a written plan, take some time to test it and practice implementing the procedures you have developed.

Once the weather clears, if you find your boat has sustained damage be sure to contact your insurance company in a timely fashion.

Winter weather tips and links

Ice dams can cause leaks and roof damage! Here’s how to prevent them this winter: http://bit.ly/1yBIH7k

Winter weather means risk to your home from ice dams. Prevention tips: http://bit.ly/1L0mMPq

Are you a Safeco customer experiencing damage from fallen trees? Here are 5 things you should know: http://bit.ly/1MmXQCj

It’s cold outside! Here are two simple ways you can help prevent frozen pipes: 1. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. 2. Keep heat at 55 degrees or higher even when you are out of town. More tips here: http://bit.ly/22NMcJf

Cold weather is coming! To prevent frozen pipes, turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night. More great tips here: http://bit.ly/22NMcJf

Store a winter driving survival kit in the event you end up on the roads during a snowstorm. More bad weather tips: http://bit.ly/14Q5pAj

Improperly installed floor mats can interfere with operation of your brake and accelerator. Learn more here: http://1.usa.gov/1K1i4xL

The roads get dicey when they’re icy. Here’s how you can stay safe if you’re driving during or after a winter storm: http://bit.ly/1mCkPRW

Don’t let your good driving habits slide during bad weather. Tips for driving on slippery roads: http://bit.ly/JKzYg4

Report on Clothes Dryer Fires

USFA Releases New Report on Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings

Contact:

USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853

EMMITSBURG, MD – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings. The report, Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) (PDF, 612 Kb), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
  • Clothes dryer fire incidence in residential buildings was higher in the fall and winter months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
  • Failure to clean (34 percent) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Dust, fiber, and lint (28 percent) and clothing not on a person (27 percent) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Fifty-four percent of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings were confined to the object of origin.

Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) is part of the Topical Fire Report Series. Topical reports explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

For further information regarding other topical reports or any programs and training available at USFA, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.

Avoid Power Surges from Lightning

PROTECT YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS AGAINST DAMAGING LIGHTNING

Lightning-related property damage has soared by 83 percent since 2004, according to insurance industry data. Damage to valuable electronics such as flat panel televisions have helped drive up insured losses, which totaled more than $1 billion in 2010.

Additionally, hundreds of deaths and injuries are linked to lightning strikes each year, according to the National Weather Service. Seeking shelter early is the most effective protection against a lightning strike.

As electronics have become more sophisticated and commonplace in homes and businesses, costs associated with lightning-related losses have risen. The number of paid insurance claims for lightning damage rose 12.8 percent from 2009 to 2010, and the average claim amount increased from $4,296 to $4,846, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Unlike other natural hazards that affect specific regions of the country, numerous states are exposed to lightning. While some areas, such as Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas have more frequent lightning, it can strike anywhere if the weather conditions are right so it is important for everyone to understand their lightning risk.

Lightning does not need to actually directly strike a home or business to induce a power surge and cause extensive damage. While often lasting only a millisecond, power surges can raise the voltage in electronic circuits from a few hundred to as much as several thousand volts. They are one of the most severe, common and immediate dangers to modern, sensitive electronic equipment. The resulting damage can range from loss of expensive electronic equipment to structure fires. Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system receives and routes the electrical strike into the earth, thereby discharging it and eliminating the danger.

In conjunction with Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which is June 24-30, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) provides the following important information about reducing the risk of lightning-related property damage.

IBHS recommends that properties in areas subject to an average flash density of 2 to 3 fl/sq km/yr or greater, as defined in the map shown below, should have a lightning protection system installed. An effective option is the installation of surge protection on the electrical service to the property.

  
HOMEOWNERS:

• For protection from lightning strikes in the general area of your home and externally produced surge, a whole-house surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage or a fire. It is important to make sure that it is either a secondary surge arrestor tested to IEEE C62.11 or a transient voltage suppressor that has been tested to UL 1449, 2nd Edition. Many utility companies provide these systems.

• The protector should be installed in accordance with Article 280 or Article 285 of the National Electrical Code (as is applicable) and must have a working indicator light. Consider installing additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment, which should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.

• Whole house surge protection will not protect you from a direct strike on your house. For added protection from a direct strike, add receptors on the roof and cables that will help to direct the strike away from the interior of your house. Homes in areas subject to an average flash density of 10 to 14 fl/sq km/yr or greater as shown on the accompanying map have an increased exposure to lightning. Homeowners in these areas should consider installing protection from a direct strike in addition to whole-house surge protection.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS:

Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system works by receiving the strike and routing it harmlessly into the ground thus discharging the dangerous electrical event. For more information on lightning protection systems, see FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 5-11 -Lightning and Surge Protection for Electrical Systems, available at http://fmglobal.com.

Lightning protection systems should be designed and installed in accordance with:

• National Fire Protection Assoc. (NFPA) 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems

• Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. (UL) Standard 96A, Installation Requirements for Lightning Protection Systems

• Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) Standard 175, Standard of Practice for the Design – Installation – Inspection of Lightning Protection Systems

• All materials should comply in weight, size, and composition with the requirements of the UL 96 Materials Standards.

• All equipment should be UL listed and properly labeled.

• Equipment should be the manufacturer’s latest approved design of construction to suit the application where it is to be used in accordance with accepted industry standards and with NFPA, LPI, & UL requirements.

IMPORTANCE OF ANCHORAGE

Many areas with lightning exposure also are prone to thunderstorms accompanied by high winds. It is for this reason that any lightning protection system should be properly anchored to the structure to avoid being dislodged by high winds. In the aftermath of a high wind event, it is not unusual to find that cables and components of lightning protection systems have broken loose from their anchorage points. The movement and impact of the lightning protection components, especially on membrane roofs, can lead to holes and cuts in the roof surface that lead to water intrusion.

While it is difficult to estimate the actual loads on the cables when they begin to move in strong winds, it is clear that installations with cables held in place with aluminum prongs on cleats are frequently inadequate in strong winds. Closed loop connectors are better suited for high wind regions. For additional guidance on securing a lighting protection system, see the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Publication 549 – Rooftop Attachment of Lightning Protection Systems in High-Wind Regions.

AVOID POWER SURGES

Lightning can create strong electromagnetic fields, which can induce a power surge that affects power, telecommunications and radio frequency transmission lines; these in turn affect electric equipment inside a facility. Due to the low voltages normally used in data transmission cables and the sensitivity of the connected electronics, communications cables are extremely susceptible to induced voltage surges.

When lightning directly strikes exposed cables feeding electric equipment, the extremely large, overwhelming power surges it produces are devastating. State-of-the-art certified electrical surge protection systems are a part of the electrical systems of thousands of commercial and public facilities worldwide and are intended to maximize protection of life and property. The appropriate design and installation of the wiring within a facility is extremely important in mitigating the effects of surges.

Surge suppressors installed at the high exposure service entrances, where power enters the facility, establish the first line of defense against high powered, externally generated surges. These devices will address surges caused by lightning, power company grid switching, power system faults, severe weather, and neighboring facilities. If possible, use separate surge protection for office and circuits supporting electronic equipment and those supplying power to machinery and other equipment that may cause surges. Surge suppression devices should be installed in a staged, cascaded or layered manner to divert surges of various strengths at different points within an electrical system.

Install an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for computer equipment, which is an electrical apparatus that provides temporary emergency power when an input power source fails. Installing such a device for computers, data centers, telecommunications equipment or other electrical equipment could help avoid an unexpected power disruption that may lead to injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss. A UPS may provide approximately 10 to 20 minutes of power in order to allow personnel to save vital data and have a controlled shut down if long term back up power, such as a back-up generator, is not available.

Make sure the building’s electrical system is properly grounded in accordance with the National Electrical Code and that all telephone, cable and satellite wires are bonded to the same grounding point. Some equipment and circuits may require special attention. Process control, sensing and monitoring devices may all require individual protection, including plug-in units installed at point-of-use locations.

For information about additional layers of surge protection, visit the Lightning Section at http://disastersafety.org/.

For more information on protection of electrical systems and equipment, see FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets available in the Electrical Section at http://fmglobal.com.

 
© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

 

Traveler’s improved Yacht- Boat coverage

Expanded Hurricane Haul-Out Reimbursement Coverage Now Available at No Cost
Enhancement to Travelers Yacht Program Effective Immediately

Good news!  Just in time for the 2012 Hurricane season, we are expanding our Hurricane Haul-Out (HHO) Reimbursement Coverage and automatically including coverage for all Yacht policies.  Effective immediately, you can provide your customers peace of mind with the coverage they need.

Customer Benefits

  • Broader Coverage – expanded coverage now applies to named Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms and Tsunamis
  • More time to prepare – coverage now applies to the area where the yacht is located any time the watch or warning is posted by the National Weather Service
  • Economical – annual $25 premium is eliminated

Safeco / Liberty Mutual added some tips for savings on auto insurance.

Present additional discounts*

  • Low mileage: For vehicles driven less than 8,000 miles per year and assigned to a primary driver aged 25+, the low mileage discount can save as much as 20%. (Not available in AK, CA, NC or NJ)
  • Pay in full (or Two-Pay on Annual Auto): Customers receive a discount when they choose the pay in full option on 6-month policies. Customers with annual auto policies get a discount for either the pay in full or two-pay option. Two-pay is a great way to improve retention while allowing insureds a guaranteed price for 12 months with a reasonable payment schedule.
  • Ask about student status: Several driver-level discounts are available to students, including the good student discount (available to students aged 16-24 who have a B average or higher) and the distant student discount (available to students residing at an educational institution 100+ miles from the principal garaging address without access to the vehicle).
  • Quote a Package: Whether it’s Auto + Home, Auto + Condo or Auto + Renters, a second property policy with Safeco can mean a sizable premium decrease.
  • Quote in advance of the effective date: When your original quote date is prior to the effective date of the policy, the insured can receive the advanced quote discount as a reward to shopping early and maintaining continuous coverage. 
  • Ask about anti-theft: An anti-theft device in the vehicle qualifies for a vehicle-level discount on comprehensive premium.

Other tips

  • Quote higher deductibles: Quoting slightly higher deductibles can provide significant savings over time. For a little more out of pocket expense at the time of potential loss, the insured can enjoy longer term price savings.

Tornados

Tornado danger

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, 1,200 tornadoes typically hit the U.S. each year, causing an estimated $4.9 billion in property claims and killing an average of 70 people a year.

Last year was one of the deadliest and active tornado seasons on record. NOAA reports a total of 1,691 tornadoes across the country in 2011 and an estimated 550 fatalities. 

Having the proper insurance for a home, car, business and other property and valuables is essential in case of a tornado or other catastrophe, of course — but people’s safety comes first and foremost.

Here is some additional information for customers, along with safety tips from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA:

  • Make sure you know what the warning signals sound like in your community and take cover immediately. Basements are best, but if that is not an option, the central part of a building, in a bathroom, closet, interior hallway or under a heavy piece of furniture, away from windows, is the next-best place. If one is available, a mattress can be used as additional protection. 
  • Anyone in a vehicle should leave it and head to the nearest ditch, face down, if no other facility is available. 
  • People inside mobile homes should get out of them and find shelter elsewhere. As with someone in a car, if no other shelter is available, they should lie in a ditch. 
  • Clubs, churches or members of other organized groups should conduct tornado-safety meetings. Those meetings should include provisions to get word out to elderly community members and others who may need help when tornado warnings are sounded.

We are Snapshot from Progressive certified!

We are now certified Snapshot* Progressive Auto Insurance Agents here in Media, Pa Delaware County Pennsylvania.

With Snapshot, Progressive’s usage-based insurance program, you could turn your good driving into huge savings—of up to 30 percent—on your car insurance.

Enjoying your savings
On day 31, your initial Snapshot savings—which can be anywhere from 0 to 30 percent— kicks in. After six months, you’ll send back the device, we’ll finalize your driving snapshot, and you can keep saving for as long as you’re insured by Progressive.

You can only save money with Snapshot—your rate won’t go up—but if at any point, you decide Snapshot isn’t right for you, just call us and then send back your device.

Quote and enroll in Snapshot to try usage-based insurance today!

Call us at 610-565-4500

Thought I’d pass along some spring Homeowners information

 

Spring ahead with these home maintenance tips.

Inspect your smoke detectors, and make sure that there is one on each floor of your

home. Test them monthly, and change the batteries annually or as needed.

 Check the light bulbs in all your fixtures to be sure they are the correct wattage as

recommended by the manufacturer.

 Replace all high-intensity bulbs (such as incandescent) with fluorescent bulbs that don’t

produce as much heat.

 Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting

plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other

power service.

 Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.

 Have your air conditioning system inspected by a professional as recommended by the

manufacturer.

 Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from

accumulating.

 Check water heater for leaks and corrosion.

 Clean or replace your furnace filter.Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust,

and pieces of material.

 Remove all dead trees in your yard, and keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and

away from utility wires.

 Safely store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.

 Repair cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walkways to provide a level walking

surface.