Most parents go to great lengths to childproof their homes, but there’s one danger that is all too often overlooked. According to Safe Kids, “Every 3 weeks a child dies from a television tipping over. Over the past 10 years, a child visited the emergency room every 45 minutes because of a TV tipping over.”
As part of our Caring Company initiative, we recognize local clients and Renaissance Alliance members who give back to the New England community. There’s no better embodiment of generosity of spirit than Anton’s Cleaners, currently embarked on their 11th Annual Belle of the Ball, which is collecting prom gowns now through April 5, 2015.
Belle of the Ball cleans and distributes prom dresses and provides related accessories at no charge to high school junior and senior girls who could not otherwise afford to attend their school’s prom. Unlike other prom gown collection drives, this program culminates with a day-long boutique where deserving girls are invited for a day of personal shopping and pampering. The program has grown to hosting more than 400 young ladies for an indulgent day of prom “shopping,” beauty tips, and prizes.
When the Academy Awards take place this weekend, it’s unlikely that any of the winning actors or producers will be thanking their insurers from the podium – yet insurance is a vital behind-the-scenes component in the business of making successful films. It’s one of the key factors in ensuring that “the show must go on.”
At a film industry event last year, a Lloyds’ panel spoke about insuring film and television productions, noting that the industry requires insurance to protect against production delays, damaged equipment, accidents and natural disasters, to name a few common risks. Lloyds’ panelists identified the biggest risk:
“The majority of claims come from cast or crew non-appearance, according to Elliot. The financial cost of losing a lead actor or director can be enormous. Elliot cites the case of a film production in Europe where the director suffered an illness during the production and post-production phases resulting in an insurance claim of around $2.3m.”
“Fireman’s Fund covers about 80% to 85% of the $200 million or more in policies Hollywood spends each year to insure movies and TV shows. Premiums range from 1% to 4% of a movie’s budget, meaning that a $200-million movie may spend at least $2 million on insurance coverage.”
The company said that in 2012, the average claim paid to a film or TV producer in 2012 was $60,651, But some were substantially more:
“When Audrey Hepburn fell from a horse while making “The Unforgiven,” her resulting back injury delayed filming of the 1960 John Houston movie. Fireman’s Fund paid more than $240,000 to cover the losses.
“Spartacus” was more costly for the insurer, which paid $245,000 for delays caused by an emergency operation for actress Jean Simmons, $53,000 for star Kirk Douglas’ viral infection and $335,000 for co-star Tony Curtis’ severed Achilles tendon.
But its most expensive claim was for “Wagons East.” Fireman’s Fund paid about $15 million when star John Candy died in 1994 during production in Durango, Mexico.
The insurer paid a $7-million claim after Patrick Swayze fell off a horse and broke his legs during filming of the 1998 crime movie “Letters From a Killer,” Diaz said.”
Enjoy the Academy Awards this weekend. Insurance nerds who miss the recognition of the behind-the-scenes role their industry plays might enjoy some of these insurance related films:
It’s peak season for home fires. While cooking is the leading cause of home fires year round, heating-related fires are a close second during the winter months – think space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces. Use of inappropriate and unsafe materials during power outages can also lead to winter fires – relying on candles for lights, using a gas range for heat or a portable grill for cooking. The latter can also result in carbon monoxide poisoning, as can running a generator in or too close to the home.
Here are some short videos from FEMA that offer quick reminders about fire safety.
And with all this snow, don’t forget to dig out your nearest fire hydrant – a mere few minutes can make the difference when it comes to fire.
With Valentine’s Day looming, we’re definitely in need of some hugs here in New England — for the warmth if nothing else! It’s been a tough few weeks and if the weather reports are true, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Hard to remember, but New England is famous for more than just snow. One of our famous creations is distributed in the millions at this time of the year: the ever popular candy conversation hearts were invented in Massachusetts at the Necco factory, where they are still being produced today. But there’s one modern twist: they’ve added a few new conversation phrases for 2015:
The five other new conversation hearts for 2015 are: “BFF,” “TE AMO,” which is “I love you” in Spanish, “JE T’AIME,” which is “I love you” in French, a picture of a smiley face, and a picture of a handlebar mustache.
That’s pretty convincing, but how do you know if your home or business is at risk? The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has a great infographic (below) along with an informative post on Four Steps to Identify and Address Roof Risks from Heavy Snow – it offers tips for how to identify and assess your risk and how to address problems safely. It’s well worth a read, particularly since forecasters say there may be more snow in our future this week!
Car theft used to be a major worry for car owners, but today, it’s just a passing concern. Hot-wired cars may now be a thing of the past. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that car theft has dropped by 58% since 1991, the high point when 1.661 million vehicles were stolen. The improvement is so dramatic that many police departments throughout the country have disbanded their dedicated auto theft investigative units.
“At its peak in 1975, Massachusetts ranked third nationwide (behind California and New York) in total annual thefts at 91,563, and the state remained in the top 10 states for auto theft until 1992, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau stats. The state ended 2013 with 9,122 thefts.”
Law enforcement and insurance-industry focus helped to turn the tide, but perhaps even more importantly, technology advances have changed the playing field. Transponder keys, immobilizing technologies, and tracking & recovery systems have all contributed to the drop. But criminals aren’t throwing in the towel — they are adapting and getting smarter. Some of the ways they get around things are to steal the transponder itself. Another way is through fraudulent financing. Crooks steal your identity and then secure financing under your ID to buy a new car.
One devious and increasingly common new car crime is called VIN cloning or VIN switching, a real concern for used car buyers. It works this way: Thieves steal a car. Then they locate a similar model and make and copy the vehicle identification number (VIN). The thieves then make and install counterfeit VIN plates for the stolen car. You buy the car complete with paperwork, but one day police knock on your door to reclaim the stolen vehicle. Unless your state offers some consumer protections, you may be out of luck – you still have loan payments but your car was confiscated.
–Check the VINs on the dash, driver’s door sticker, car frame, title documents and service records all match
–Examine the VIN plate on the dash for any sign of tampering
–Look at the CARFAX and check:
—–For a clone alert
—–If the mileage on the odometer matches reported mileage
—–For several registrations between states – this is a red flag which should be investigated further
–Follow our tips for detecting salvage title fraud
–Get the car inspected by a qualified, independent mechanic
“Shoveling lots of wet, heavy snow presents a real risk of heart attack if you’re not in shape to do it. And musculoskeletal injuries are even more common.” That’s a reminder from Lenny Bernstein, who offers excellent tips for shoveling safely in the Washington Post. The following short video accompanies his tips.
It was one for the record books for many in New England. When assessing damage, the Insurance Information Institute reminds us that:
“Standard homeowners policies provide coverage for damage caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer of the I.I.I. “Car accidents caused by slippery road conditions are also covered under standard auto insurance policies.”