Thursday, June 21, 2018

Small Business Owners: Are You Protected from EPL Claim? Probably NOT!

Employment practices liability claims among small business owners are on the rise!  Are you protected?  Probably not!  

The most common types of EPL claims, Wrongful Termination, Sexual Harrassment, Disablily Discrimination, Race Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, Third Party EPL claim, Age Discrimination, Whistleblowing, Retaliation, Misrepresentation, and MORE!! 

Did you know if the UPS driver harrasses your employee and you don't do anything to stop it you can be sued??

A claim against an employer for discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation and even a data breach of personal information can bring your thriving business to a grinding halt.  39% of businesses with over 25 employees have received at least one EPLI claim.  The service and retail industries are the two most likely business’s to receive a claim.  Worse yet, NY State is one of the top 4 states in the country that have experienced the most claims.  The rise in claims can be attributed to many different factors that are worthy of another discussion.  In New York state a disgruntled employee only needs to go to a website to initiate a complaint or claim against you.

As the owner of your business you are responsible for the performance and behavior management of your staff.  That includes hiring, managing and sometimes the termination of an employee.  It is a difficult but critical aspect of your job.  After a difficult but necessary performance management process in an attempt to salvage a valued employee and your investment, you have decided to terminate their employment.  You can now  take a deep breath, learn from the experience and move on.  Or can you?  

A few weeks later you receive a letter from the NY state Division of human rights.  The employee that you recently terminated is making serious allegations against you and your employment practices.  The claims against you are frivolous and false.  However you must respond to the allegations to protect your hard earned reputation.

How do you respond and defend your good name and protect your business.  Do you hire an attorney?  Do you call your insurance agent? Your response can be as easy as calling your insurance agent.   

The good news is that Employment Practice Liability Insurance (EPLI) can be surprisingly affordable.  Many of the major insurance carriers now offer EPLI coverage in their package policies.  Depending on the size of your business, EPLI can range in cost from $200 a year to several thousands of dollars.   Although many of the claims made against employers are without merit, most are settled before they reach a courtroom. The majority of the expenses associated with an EPLI claims are legal fees.  At a minimum, $5,000 -$10,000 is spent to defend and settle even the most frivolous EPLI claim.   

 

If you want to see if you have EPLI and the proper protection for your business, give us a call for a free policy review. 

 


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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Safety First! Frigid Temperatures Expected

In the past few weeks i have seen numerous fires as the result of creosote buildup in the chimney of their wood burning stove or fireplace and due to very DANGEROUS methods to thaw pipes.  Every time i hear about these events it makes me so sad.  I think this is preventable.  So here is some hopefully helpful information to prevent you loosing your home and all of your belongings and perhaps save lives!

1) If you have a wood burning appliance (wood stove or fireplace, etc).  Please, have the chimney cleaned regularly! How regularly depends on how often you use it.  In CNY that has probably been often for the past few weeks!!  The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary".  If you haven't had your chimney cleaned lately please find a temporary alternate heating source, call an insured professional and get that done!

2) If you have frozen pipes.Please DO NOT use an open flame to thaw them. Use a hair dryer, wrap blankets around them, heat tape, a heat gun, etc.  NEVER use a blow torch or any other equipment that has an open flame.  If you are a victim of repeative frozen pipes then you should invest in some heat tape to wrap around the pipes and leave it there.  You can also leave cabinet doors open inside the home to allow the warmer air to get in there.  In addition, it is recommended to leave the faucets on at a slow drip.

3) If you have trouble keeping heat inside your home, it isn't very pretty, but cover your interior or exterior of the windows with plastic.  You don't need the very expensive window kits.  You can get away with a roll of plastic and some tape!  

4) if you can't afford your heat bill reach out to an organization in your community for help.  HEAP is a NYS program that will help pay your fuel bill for qualified individuals (http://www.ny.gov/services/apply-heating-and-cooling-assistance-heap).  If you are at risk of  having your electricity being shutoff you should also be able to reach out to NYS Department of Social Services for emergency assistance (New York state Temporary Assistance hotline at 1-800-342-3009).  Another very helpful organization for individuals and families that are in need is Community Action Partnership, can be located by county (https://www.communityactionpartnership.com/locations.html).

If you need drinking water or a place to stay warm, please feel free to contact us & we will try to find you some help.

Be Safe & Stay WARM!



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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

MAJOR CHANGE COMING IN DECEMBER TO TRUCKING INDUSTRY

Change is coming to the trucking industry in December of this year.  The new mandate will require that everyone convert from paper travel logs to and Electronic Logging Device (ELD).  Many larger companies with fleets have converted to the ELD some time ago.  However, for the small business owner they are most comfortable with the paper logs.  Fear of the unknown, and learning new technology and extra costs are making the business owners concerned & reluctant about making the switch.

The mandate continues to be challenged but it's unlikely that it will be overturned or delayed.

Here are the top 2 things you should know about the mandate:

1) Countrywide Mandate is effective December 18, 2017: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will require many commercial truckers to use an ELD effective Dec. 18. Generally, truckers who are currently required to keep paper logs will need an ELD. This would include most truckers who operate across state lines. Trucks that are older than model year 2000 are exempt. For more details on who is affected, visit the FMCSA website.

2) All ELD's are not the same:  ELDs can be permanently attached to a truck (cab device) or can be a hand-held device (smartphone). Both types make tracking hours-of-service easier and more accurate than paper logs, and also provide vehicle inspection reports and gauges featuring key engine stats. All ELDs must be certified with the FMCSA to be compliant. For additional information on compliant ELDs, visit the FMCSA website.

It is better to switch to the ELD ahead of the deadline that way you will have time to adjust to the new device.   For a limited time, our partner Progressive will be offering free use of an ELD as part of their Smart Haul Program. 

If you are interested in applying for use of the FREE ELD just give us a call at 315-363-0223 and we will submit the enrollment form on your behalf or you can send us and email at info@tiains.com.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

TANNER INSURANCE WELCOMES EXECUTIVE FARM SPECIALIST!

Madison, NY, June 14, 2017– Tanner Insurance Agency Inc is proud to announce and welcome Neil Collins as the new Farm Specialist.  Neil will be responsible for working with farms and ag businesses to identify risks to their business, and then partnering those farms and businesses with insurance carriers to protect their assets properly.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Tanner Team.  I have been involved in Agriculture my entire life, from owning a dairy farm, and currently tapping approximately 2,500 maple trees to produce maple syrup. I look forward to continuing that tradition by providing exceptional service and advanced solutions to Tanner’s current and future farm clients.”

We represent ten different companies that can adequately insure your farm and its ever-changing needs. Each company has an area that they thrive in, so we can meet the needs of farms no matter the size of type. Our farm specialists know farms and their unique set of necessities because they are farmers themselves. We can even assist you with other relative lines of insurance including Workers Compensation, Umbrella liability policies, Commercial Auto, or any incidental business pursuits that you may have.

Keith Peavey, President states “We are very excited to welcome Neil to our team at Tanner.  Not only will he bring a tighter focus on farm owner customer relationship quality to our sales team, but also be an asset to all the farmers who come into contact with him”. 


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Monday, May 22, 2017

Farmers & Motorists: Slow Moving Vehicle Reminder

As the weather continues to warm up and farmers head out to their fields, farmers are encouraged to carefully check their signage and lighting when operating equipment on public roads to avoid accidents.

 

Farmers can stay safe and visible during road travel with farm equipment by doing the following:

•Use reflective strips to show the size of farm equipment
•Use flashers and turn signals
•Use the SMV (Slow Moving Vehicle) Emblem
•Each piece of agricultural equipment, whether self propelled or used in combination, shall separately display a slow-moving vehicle emblem
•Replace an SMV emblem that becomes dirty, broken or faded; it is ineffective and illegal.
•Consider an escort vehicle if moving large equipment on the road
•Pull over, when safe, to allow motorists to pass (do not flag motorist around you)

Motorist that encounter farm machinery on roadways can stay safe by doing the following:
•Be alert for agricultural equipment with SMV emblems, reflectors, or flashing lights 
•Slow down when you see an SMV sign
•Be careful when trying to pass equipment, and pass with caution
•Be aware of possible left-sided turns into fields. 

 

Farmers can read more about the proper usage of the slow moving vehicle sign/emblem and other important information from the New York Farm Bureau by clicking here.

At Tanner Insurance Agency Inc, we are the farm experts!  Not just about insuring the farm but we have actual licensed agents on staff that are farmers as well!! Contact us with your Farm or Farm Insurance questions!  We are here to help.  

 


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Friday, May 12, 2017

At Last The Secret To Lowering Car Insurance Revealed!

How many times have you seen those TV ads that promise they can deliver big savings on your auto insurance? If they were all true, insurers would be chasing each round and round in circles until they went out of business!

What is true is that you might be able to reduce your insurance premiums by taking on more risk. Or perhaps by shopping around, which is exactly what we do for you.

All insurers have different rate structures, charging more for this and less for that, and some offer discounts for certain arrangements, while others don’t.

Here are a few ways an insured person may be able to cut their payments:

  1. Having multiple policies from the same insurer
  2. Installing security devices in your car or your home
  3. Having a safe driving or claim-free home insurance record
  4. Agreeing to pay a higher deductible (the amount you pay before the insurance kicks in)
  5. Changing your insurance policy so certain risks are no longer covered
  6. Accepting a lower maximum payout
  7. Being a low-mileage driver (typically less than 8,000 miles per year).
  8. Driving certain car models (yes, some are at greater risk of being stolen)
  9. Paying premiums as an annual lump sum rather than monthly
  10. Shopping around for a better deal!
Because insurers frequently change their rates and their terms, the only way to keep on top of this checklist is to continuously monitor the marketplace, which is what we do for you.

If we spot obvious opportunities or deals that will favor you, we’ll let you know. But that’s no substitute for sitting down with us for a few minutes so we can run through your needs and your options.

Don’t be hooked by those TV ads, which oversimplify insurability. If you want to know whether you can reduce your insurance costs, just pick the phone up and give us a call.


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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR NY USED MOTOR VEHICLE DEALERS

Effective April 8, 2017, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles made changes to the surety license bonds required of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers: 

 Annual sales up to 50 vehicles will now require a $20,000 bond.
 Annual sales over 50 vehicles will now require a $100,000 bond.  

We remain an active market for these bonds and can help you with your bond for the increased amounts!  We have many companies to choose from and can shop around to find you the best rate.

If you currently have a bond through our agency with CNA Surety, we are proactively assisting by automatically increasing all current $25,000 bonds to $100,000 by rider at their next renewal. However, we are unable to automate the $10,000 bonds, because with the changes in the sales thresholds, we would need to know which bond amount is needed before increasing the bond to either $20,000 or $100,000.  Once you know your bond amount, you can contact us for help.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 315-363-0223 or info@tiains.com.  Tanner Insurance Agency Inc. continues to lead the industry by striving to be the Motor Vehicle Dealer insurance expert.  Let us assist you with the entire process from the bond, filling you in on the application process, helping with liability & property insurance and much more! We are here for you!


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

315 & 680 Prepping for Area Code Change February 11, 2017

On February 11, 2017 the now 315 geographic area will gain a new area code 680. The new 680 area code will cover the same geographic area as the now 315. The numbering plan administrator was running out of numbers with the 315 prefix.  Following are instructions on what has to be done to handle the new addition:

1) For most cell phone customers it simply means making sure all of the contacts in your address book have the area code before the 7 digit number.  If not you will need to add that before February 11.

2) For home phone customers you will want to remember to dial 1+315 and then the number or 1+680 and the number for any numbers you wish to dial.

3) When speaking to others and gaining new contacts be sure to confirm whether it is the 315 or 680 area code. March 11th is when the numbering administration will begin handing out numbers with the 680 prefix.

4) One of the most important things we want our clients to know is if you have an alarm system at home.  If you have an alarm system that dials a number when it is triggered you have to make sure it has the appropriate area code as well.  Please contact the alarm system company if you need assistance.

5) Teach your children the phone number with the area code to reach you.

6) Lastly, if you still use dial up you may need to program your modem to dial the new prefix.

Things that won't change:

1) If you don't dial the full 10 digit number you will get a recording advising you to hang up and try your call again.

2) You can still call 911, 411, 211, 511 etc - no area code required, and  your bill won't change.

As always, if you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact us at Tanner Insurance Agency, Inc.


On February 11, 2017 the now 315 geographic area will gain a new area code 680. The new 680 area code will cover the same geographic area as the now 315. The numbering plan administrator was running out of numbers with the 315 prefix.  Following are instructions on what has to be done to handle the new addition:

1) For most cell phone customers it simply means making sure all of the contacts in your address book have the area code before the 7 digit number.  If not you will need to add that before February 11.

2) For home phone customers you will want to remember to dial 1+315 and then the number or 1+680 and the number for any numbers you wish to dial.

3) When speaking to others and gaining new contacts be sure to confirm whether it is the 315 or 680 area code. March 11th is when the numbering administration will begin handing out numbers with the 680 prefix.

4) One of the most important things we want our clients to know is if you have an alarm system at home.  If you have an alarm system that dials a number when it is triggered you have to make sure it has the appropriate area code as well.  Please contact the alarm system company if you need assistance.

5) Teach your children the phone number with the area code to reach you.

6) Lastly, if you still use dial up you may need to program your modem to dial the new prefix.

Things that won't change:

1) If you don't dial the full 10 digit number you will get a recording advising you to hang up and try your call again.

2) You can still call 911, 411, 211, 511 etc - no area code required, and  your bill won't change.

As always, if you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact us at Tanner Insurance Agency, Inc.



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Thursday, January 12, 2017

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Lt. William Basher

William "Bill" Basher joined Tanner Insurance Agency Inc in our Norwich Office in 2009 as a licensed agent that specializes in commercial insurance and has over 23 years of experience. He lives in Hamilton with his wife Kristen and daughters Emma & Taylor.  In his spare time he enjoys hiking the high peaks of the Adirondack mountains and watching his daughters participate in soccer, basketball, softball, karate, plays & orchestra concerts. He also plays a very important role in the community!

 Lieutenant William Basher of the Hamilton Fire Department, Fountain Fire Company No. 1, accepts a donation from Pauline Pisiak Uvanni, founder of the Victory/University Automotive Group.  University Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram will open their new state of the art dealership in January 2017 on Route 12B in Hamilton. 

In addition to their generous donation to the Hamilton Fire Department University Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram will sponsor one of the major prizes at their 2nd annual Casino Night Fundraising event on February 25th at the White Eagle Conference Center in Hamilton.  They have donated at 40” Hisense H3 HDTV that will be offered as one of the many raffle prizes at this event.  To learn more about this event or to purchase tickets please visit their website at www.hamiltonfd.org or on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Hamiltonfdcasinonight

 


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Buying a Car?

Things to Consider Before You Buy A Car In New York

Buying a car in New York sometimes leaves a lot of car owners wondering if the car they bought is actually worth the price. Before you buy a car, you want to be sure you are getting the best deal. You also want the process to be smooth and less stressful. Although you will get good car dealers in New York, you also want to do your homework and get prepared before you even visit the dealer's showroom, as this will increase your chances of having a remarkable car buying experience.

Remember that car buying is a major lifetime decision which you will be spending a whole lot on. Here are some things you need to know before buying a car in New York:

Define Your Car Budget

You want to narrow your search to a car that is within your budget. So carve out your car budget from the onset. Even when you are opting for an auto loan, you will also have to keep some extra cash aside for minor expenses like car insurance, registration fees, taxes, fuel, and maintenance.

If you are going for auto loans, this is the perfect time to go about it. There are several auto loan options available; from local auto dealers and lenders to online lending firms.

Whatever loan option you choose, remember to compare different quotes. Lenders have their unique lending requirements, so you will get a different quote from each lender.

Why Do You Need a Car?

This is a very critical question to answer before you visit the showroom. Do you need a car to travel to your office every day or you need a one to drop off your kid’s at a nearby school daily? In the case of the former, your focus should be on mileage and efficiency; while for the latter, a high-safety car is most ideal.

Before you buy a car, decide on the purpose of the car.

Do Your Homework - Thoroughly

Critical research will help you cut out the chances of having issues with your car after purchase. So, before you strike a deal with a car dealer, check out their reviews and read the views of other users about the particular car. You can also read magazines like Motor Trend, Automobile, Road and Track, etc. You may also seek opinions of relatives, colleagues and friends.

Are you ready for the search for your dream car?

Remember buying a car is a major investment. You may be putting a chunk of your hard-earned savings into it. Also, the payments made will always serve as a remembrance, reminding you of the decision you made- whether good or bad. So, the onus is on you to make the right decision

 §  Car Dealer says you have 30 days to insure your new car? Beware! It’s not always true!

§  Car Loan Upside Down? Get the insurance, but not from the dealer.

§  Buying a used car? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

§  Buying a car for your teen? Read this.

§  Thinking about co-signing on a loan? We don’t recommend it.



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