2013 Remembered

Today, we ring out the old year and ring in the new. Thanks for visiting us this year and we look forward to bringing you more insurance information and tips in the new year! But for now, here’s a recap of some of the highlights of 2013.

What the world searched for in 2013: Google charts

2013 The Year on Twitter

Time: Top 10 of Everything in 2013

New York Times: The Year in Pictures

CNN: The Year in Pictures

Time: The Year in 365 Pictures


Chat with Santa online – or track him as he makes his rounds

What Would the 12 Days of Christmas Gifts Cost in 2013?

10 Bizarre Christmas Traditions From Around The World

25 of the Saddest Santa Pictures Ever

And stay safe!
Use your credit card at Target? Here’s what to do if your data might have been swiped

Celebrating safely through the winter holidays

Holiday Hazard Checklist

Holiday and Christmas tree fire safety outreach materials

Wishing you the best holiday ever – see you again in the New Year!


Does your car make the grade? Check out IIHC 2014 Top Safety Picks

How good do you feel about your car’s safety? You can check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s lists of the 2014 Top Safety Picks to see if your car makes the grade. If you are in the market for a new car, it’s particularly handy information. Twenty-two vehicles earned the highest safety awards thanks to a high level of protection in crashes and the availability of front crash prevention technology to avoid many collisions in the first place. Another 17 makes earned awards by meeting the crashworthiness criteria alone.

In addition to the listings, the linked release (above) offers some good information on how these awards were determined – but to really get a sense of their testing and rigorous standards, check out this short video that shows some of the testing in action.

Seasonal Animal Fun for your Friday Amusement

We are expecting the first significant snow for much of the region this weekend so get ready. New Englanders have different opinions about this – some kids and adults love the snow, others hate it and find it a nuisance. We thought you might enjoy this clip of Bailey the Unknown Reindeer cavorting in the snow – obviously he’s a member of the “pro-snow” camp.

Second, we have the “Hard To Be a Cat at Christmas” video starring many of the Internet’s favorite celebrity cats: Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, Oskar the Blind Cat, Nala Cat, and Hamilton the Hipster Cat. It’s an ad promo for cat food, but it’s so cute we had to share.

Holiday alert: Be on guard for identity theft

Credit Card Security12 million Americans were victimized by ID theft last year – to keep your holiday season merry, make sure you do not become one of this year’s statistics.

The Insurance Information Institute offers some helpful tips to stay safe:

1.Proceed with caution when shopping online. Make sure you are buying products or services from a reputable, familiar company with a secure network. And never buy anything online from a website that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. (You will know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// instead of just HTTP://).

2.Monitor your accounts. Do not rely on your credit card company, or bank, to alert you of suspicious activity. Monitor your bank and credit card statements to make sure all transactions are accurate. If you suspect a problem, contact your credit card company or bank immediately.

3.Be cautious with personal information. Whether on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet, do not divulge sensitive information or your social security number unless you initiated the contact, are familiar with the person or company and are confident that they have a secure line.

Here are some additional online shopping safety tips:

  • Make sure that your web security, anti virus and malware detection programs are updated and that your firewall is on. Many experts suggest the “belt and suspenders” approach of having more than one program as a backup.
  • Make sure that your browsers are up to date.
  • Watch out for email phishing offers, they are getting pretty good at creating authentic-looking emails spoofs of mailings from big name entities. Don’t click the email link. If you get an offer from your bank or a big name store, don’t click the link, go directly to the bank or type the website name in your browser.
  • Public Wi-Fi is not secure so avoid doing banking and transactions that would expose your credit cards, passwords, or personal info.
  • Before shopping, it’s a good time to update your passwords. Create unique passwords for each site – see resources below.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for “free” gift offers and contests from unknown sites – don’t give away any personal information or credit card numbers to anyone you don’t know.
  • Stick with reputable sites and brand names. Investigate any unfamiliar companies. Check reviews and run a Search for the company name with the words “complaints” or “scams.”

Helpful resources

OnGuard Online