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5 Ways to Run a Successful Meeting

Stuck in a tedious and over-long meeting a couple of weeks ago, while other attendees were checking their smartphones, I was thinking about how we all want to have more effective meetings but never seem to succeed in improving them. You could fill a whole library shelf with books on the subject but that may be part of the problem: There are too many "rules" and not enough buy-in! So, here's a simple 5-point basic plan I jotted on my note pad during that meeting that might give you some food for thought about how to streamline your meetings and the outcome. • If decisions don’t need to be made, you possibly don’t need a meeting. Use email or social media for gathering opinions and reporting back. • If decisions do need to be made, only invite the people who really need to be there for the decision-making. Others with a vested interest can be updated in a note. • Have a timed agenda with no more than three key issues, each with a stated objective. • Start each meeting ...
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Important TIPS For Teens Going To College

Is someone you know about to join the 21 million students attending American colleges in the coming semester? If so, do they know the rules about campus safety? These days, knowing the risks and staying safe is a bigger concern than ever. Security falls into two basic categories: personal safety and protection of property. Although personal safety is the more important, 80 percent of all campus crimes are property related. Most colleges have their own campus safety policies and guides but the basics that all students should be aware of include the following: • Keep apartment or dorm windows and doors locked at all times and don’t allow strangers to follow into residence blocks. • Park cars in well-lit areas and keep them locked. Don't leave valuables inside. • Bicycle owners should use a strong lock, and chain the bike to a sturdy fixed point. • When going out, let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return. It's safer to go out with someone else. &bul ...
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Watch Out For Parking Lot Tricksters

A quick warning to watch out for parking lot "Samaritans" -- con artists who claim they spotted smoke coming from your car, or another problem, and offer to put it right for you. I've read about these tricksters quite a lot recently. In most cases, they're just out to make a quick buck, usually claiming that they happen to be auto mechanics.  If this happens to you, the best thing is to refuse their offer, get in your car and drive away. Don’t leave your vehicle because these crooks might try to take revenge on it. Then get your car checked out by someone you trust. Another parking lot problem I hear more about these days is the fake "accident". This time, the scammers purposely get in your way when you're backing out. They may be on foot or in a vehicle, but the aim is to get you to bump them so they can make a claim on your auto insurance. They may even threaten you and demand cash there and then. Look out for people hanging about near your car when you return to it, or people sittin ...
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New Flood Insurance Regulations

Assurant, one of our Flood Insurance partners has made us aware of some new legislation that will affect many homeowners: Federal Agencies will Require Escrow for Flood Insurance Beginning January 2016. Up until now flood insurance was not in escrow and the homeowners were required to purchase flood insurance and pay for the policy in full in advance.  No financing or payment plans were available.  If you didn't purchase a flood policy and you were in a special hazard area the bank would force place a policy for you - just enough to satisfy the mortgage. Five federal financial agencies this week finalized a rule requiring lenders to escrow flood insurance premiums for homes in flood zones, and exempting homeowners from a requirement to buy flood insurance for detached structures.  Highlights of the agencies’ action:  • Banks and mortgage servicers must escrow for flood insurance premiums on mortgages made, increased, extended or renewed after Jan. 1, 2016, for customers in s ...
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Planning To Travel? Gets The Facts About Travel Insurance Here

Are you planning a vacation this year? Organizing a trip is one of those exciting-but-exhausting experiences. The prospect of all that fun can be tinged with all the hassle of planning and last minute hitches. If you're traveling abroad you have to make sure you've got your passport, visas, currency, tickets, inoculations -- and don't forget the phrase book! Even vacationing in the US involves a bewildering array of activities like finding accommodation, mapping routes and places of interest and doing all that packing -- and don’t forget your reading glasses and medications! Amid the flurry, it's easy to overlook a key component of your safety -- travel insurance. I get a lot of questions about that at this time of year, mainly: What does travel insurance cover and do I need it? There are four main types of insurance and what they cover largely dictates whether you need it: *Cancellation coverage, which can protect you both if you have to cancel your trip or if the provider goes bus ...
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Don't Make This Mistake

I wanted to alert you to a risk you may be facing but may not discover until it's too late. When it comes to insurance, many business owners make one of two mistakes: They believe property and general liability insurance will cover all the risks they face; or they're aware of other dangers but don’t think they can be protected. In most cases, they're wrong on either count. Scores of additional hazards may threaten a business, while almost every conceivable risk can be protected with insurance -- if you know where to get it. The principle categories of business insurance are: *General liability -- for accidents and negligence claims. *Product liability -- for defective or unsafe products you make or sell. *Professional liability, sometimes known as errors and omissions -- for claims alleging malpractice or mistakes. *Commercial property -- for damage to your buildings caused by a wide range of hazards. *Employee benefits including health, life and disability. *Vehicle and equipment ...
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How to Keep Your Cell Phone Safe

Are you like me, getting into a mild panic when you can’t find your cell phone?  My cell phone case also doubles as my mini wallet.  I store some cash, credit cards and driver's license in in so I don't have to carry my large pocketbook everywhere!  Men I am sure you can relate!  hahaha :-) We've all become remarkably dependent on those clever little mobile devices but somehow more than 100 disappear -- either through carelessness or theft -- every minute. Often, the loss is not just a matter of inconvenience. Sometimes, phones contain lots of confidential information that could lead to all sorts of trouble if they get into the wrong hands. So, for 2015, I'm going to try to get better at looking after my cell phone and I'm sharing with you some of the tips I've collected on how to do that, in case you feel the same way. * Don’t take it out of your pocket or purse and place it on a table or wherever you happen to be sitting. It's easy to forget and it's an easy targ ...
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Spot & Stop These Overheating Warning Signs

  Finally the warmer weather has arrived.  Hopefully it is here to stay for several months at least!  We all react differently to the hot days of summer, but it's a statistical fact that hundreds of people die every year as a direct result of heat exhaustion.  Mostly, those deaths could have been avoided with a little know-how, either through prevention or a quick response. Would you be able to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion -- in yourself or others -- and would you know how to deal with it? The first signs may be heavy sweating, rapid pulse and cramps. As the condition becomes more severe, the sufferer may feel chilled or have goosebumps on the skin. They may feel faint or dizzy, especially when quickly standing, sometimes nauseous, and have a headache. According to the much-respected Mayo Clinic, anyone who suffers these symptoms should stop all physical activity, move to a cooler place and drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks. Clothing should be loosened or r ...
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How to Decide on the Right Amount of Life Insurance...

As I was standing in the cereal aisle in the supermarket last week it occurred to me that choosing how much life insurance coverage you need is like trying to decide which cereal is healthier: Grape Nuts or All Bran? There seems to be a lot of confusion about how much and what kind of life insurance you might need, and why! Since we're getting so many questions about life insurance – I thought I better do my best to clear the water... Of course, choosing a life insurance policy is more important than choosing a breakfast cereal, but the choices are nearly as varied. Here's a little information that might be very helpful. As with all insurance, after you decide you need the protection, the question becomes how much protection do you need, want and can afford. So, here are some guidelines for deciding the amount of life insurance that would be adequate for you. There is no hard-and-fast answer for everyone, but in general, experts recommend that your life insurance death benefit be about six to ...
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Pet Safely: That dog nearly bit me!

I was out in the neighborhood the other day when i was reminded of an important message I thought was worth sharing... A friend's dog had what appeared to be an injured paw - as I approached the dog (which I knew) it snarled and growled at me like it had never done so, snapping it's teeth at me and just missing my hand! And then I remembered - hurt animals (even one's familiar to us) don't always act as we expect and we need to take extra care around them. I jotted down some helpful hints that could save a pet's life AND protect you or a member of your family and wanted to share: Approach the ill or injured pet slowly and cautiously.  Even your own pet can become aggressive when in pain or scared. Don't make any sudden or loud movements; you might scare the animal. If needed, use towels or blanket to subdue cats or small dogs. Keep your veterinarian's phone number and address in a convenient location (on the fridge or in your phone perhaps) in your home. Keep the phone numbe ...
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