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Staying Safe From Huge Liability And Lawsuit Bills

Imagine what it would be liked to be saddled with a debt you can't clear for the rest of your life. I know of people in exactly that position after a disastrous incident, and it's not because they weren't insured. It was because they didn’t have enough insurance. Here's the problem: Every day, American courts and juries are making lawsuit awards that go way beyond anyone's expectations for things like injuries, lost wages, medical costs, property damage, libel and slander, and several other personal liabilities. Most people on the receiving end of these awards thought their homeowners or auto insurance would protect them but, with high settlements and soaring legal costs, their coverage won’t stretch far enough. Now, I'll let you in on a little secret: You can easily avoid this risk with low-cost protection called Umbrella Insurance. OK, you may already know that. The point is that for around 50 cents to a dollar a day (as a very rough average), umbrella or excess liability insuranc ...
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10 Keys to Happiness for 2016

Happy New Year! We say that so easily to one another, don’t we? And yet we also know that happiness can be an elusive emotion. So much depends on our personal and family circumstances, of course, so that wishing happiness can sometimes seem a bit hollow. But I’ve noticed more and more that true happiness has become a real quest for many people, fed up with the uncertainties of life and full of realization that happiness is often found where you least expect it. What does happiness mean to you, I wonder? For this seasonal time, I came across this little collection of 10 quotes on how other people viewed it. There are some real nuggets of wisdom buried inside them.     1)One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory – Rita Mae Brown (In other words, forget the past!)    2) The secret of happiness is freedom and the secret of freedom is courage – Thucydides     3)Life’s truest happiness is found in friendships – Unknown (Stressi ...
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NYS Minimum Wage Changes Effective 12/31/2015

As the end of the year is fast approaching it is important to be aware of some minimum wage changes for New York effective December 31,2015 so businesses can start planning accordingly.  Restaurants also will see an entirely new class of worker with which a separate minimum wage will apply.  I will give you a hint that this is the class of worker that sent everyone into a tailspin when it was announced that $15 would be the minimum wage by December 2020. Employers, especially restaurants and those in the hospitality industry need to be sure they are compliant with these changes prior to January 2016. • The minimum wage will increase from $8.75 to $9.00. This applies to all employees who do not receive tips as part of their wages. • The minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $5.00 to $7.50. Previously there were different rates for different tipped employees, however, starting December 31, that will no longer be the case and ALL tipped employees will need to be paid $7.50 pe ...
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Prepare for a Flood: Hurricane Joaquin & Heavy Rains

As hurricane Joaquin moves up the coast we want to be sure you have as many resources as possible to deal with the heavy rains that may impact our clients.  Please the website for the National Flood Insurance Program for lots of free resources about flood and the risk from heavy rains.   The NFIP recommends the following:   Review your current homeowners insurance policy and become familiar with what is and is not covered, as damage due to flooding is typically not covered. Make a flood plan and plan evacuation routes. Itemize and take pictures of possessions. Keep valuable items and family heirlooms on the upper floors of your home or building.  We offer free home inventory information & forms on the free reports section of our website or by clicking HERE. ​BEFORE A FLOOD OCCURS ​ Prepare your house. First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let ...
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15 Time Wasters to Avoid to be Successful

I try to be a very efficient person.  I keep notes and stay fairly organized and really try to finish one task before starting another.  This is sometimes difficult for my position where my day is often filled with interruptions.  When an emergency or something urgent arises of course I stop what I am doing and deal with it immediately.  Then I go back to what I was working on before I stopped.  I keep notes so I can easily pick up where I left off.  I also use a program on my computer that just runs in the background called Rescue Time.  The CEO of a marketing company we work with used it.  It keeps track of the time you spend on computer based activities.  I can review this and put items in many different categories all sorted by efficiency.  I came across the following info graphic which is a visual representation of 15 time wasters successful people avoid. Although planning is number 5 on the list I am a planner and I think by planning ahead it helps me to ...
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Presidential Proclamation: National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, September 2015

Pediatric cancer affects thousands of young Americans each year. It is the leading cause of disease-related death for children, and this year, more than 10,000 of our Nation's youth will be diagnosed with this tragic disease. Every September, America honors all those who have been affected by this life-threatening illness: young girls and boys whose childhoods have been cut short, the loved ones who know the pain pediatric cancer causes, and the communities across our country that rally to support their friends and neighbors during difficult times. As a Nation, we come together to stand with those who have experienced devastating loss, and we renew our commitment to advance research, improve treatment, and ensure a brighter, healthier future for all young Americans. I follow several children and their families that are fighting this horrible disease on Facebook and there are lots of ways you can help: 1) The Keys Program: This is one of my favorite charities.  They bring smiles to children battling a l ...
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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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