Eight of top 10 most dangerous metros for pedestrians are in Florida

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Walking is definitely good for your health. But it may be dangerous to your life in busy cities, particularly in Florida. A study by Smart Growth America ranked eight Florida metros in the top 10 after analyzing pedestrian deaths over a 10-year period.

The group created a Pedestrian Danger Index to compare pedestrian safety in cities of different size, density, and rates of walking. So, it’s not only a factor of big cities with more cars and more walking. The study contends it is also due to “poor pedestrian infrastructure,” meaning roads are designed to move cars along with little thought to people traveling on foot.

About football champions, a legacy of love, and life insurance

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warrick Dunn has a legion of fans, and they are not only football fans. The man has amassed fans for his charity work, particularly with Habitat for Humanity. How he got involved is a story in and of itself.

Two days after Dunn’s 18th birthday, his mother was shot and killed in a robbery. She was a single mother and a police officer, who was working off-duty escorting someone to the bank to make a large deposit when the armed robbery occurred. Dunn was the eldest of six children, and he took on the responsibility to provide for his five siblings. One of his first actions was to use the proceeds from his mother’s life insurance policy to buy a home for the family to provide them with stability. He knew a stable environment matters – greatly. His work with Habitat involves providing homes for single mothers to bring that stability to others and to honor his mother.

Among the many beneficiaries of Dunn’s generosity is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who threw the winning pass Monday night to win the College Football Playoffs. Check out this story from last night’s CBS Evening News on how a former NFL great helped Clemson’s champion.

It helps to answer the question about why you should buy life insurance. It’s about love. And, it’s about a legacy of love.

A (single) winter day in Florida

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It doesn’t dip below freezing very often in Florida (which is just the way we like it!). When it does, a refresher is in order on what precautions to take so cold temperatures don’t put a freeze on your budget due to costly repairs that could have been avoided. Check out our cold weather survival tips.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from freezing conditions. It’s always best to prevent the damage in the first place, of course. Parts of the Florida Panhandle dipped below freezing over the weekend, and that could occur again in the coming weeks. Cold-weather warnings prompted me to buy all my outdoor faucets a hoodie (see photo above). For about $3 a faucet, it’s a good investment in preparedness, especially since you have to disconnect the hose to slip it on. Freezing temps can cause water locked inside garden hoses to expand and burst – and the cost of those hoses is not covered by insurance.

Frost on the ground in the morning, and in the mid-50s by mid afternoon. Gotta love it!

 

Winter months mean heightened wildfire risk

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When the thermometer hits 80 degrees in January, it is hard to remember this is our winter season. But a drive along Florida’s forested highways is a visual reminder. Much of our greenery is brown, since rainy season is months away. And, that means the wildfire risk is heightened. From January through March, the wildfire risk in Southeastern states increases.

The state Dept. of Agriculture publishes a daily Wildland Fire Danger Index and only a few counties are currently at moderate risk (thanks to some recent thunderstorms). But the wildfire threat is present until we hit the summer months, so you’ll be hearing those Smokey the Bear commercials on the radio. Smokey’s familiar refrain (“Only you can prevent forest fires.”) is a refresher on some of the simple things to avoid, such as making sure your car does not start a wildfire. Hot cars parked on dry grass is like a match to a fireplace log.

Smokey knows 90% of wildfires are caused by humans. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has tips on reducing wildfire risks. Top tips: Create defensible space by removing decayed leaves and trees near your home, and build with fire resistant materials.

#1 reason for unpaid hurricane claims? Minor damage

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The 2016 hurricane season is a wrap, and you are probably seeing a few news stories detailing the number of insurance claims from Hurricane Matthew, as well as the  insurance claims from Hurricane Hermine. More than 87 percent of claims from Hermine are closed; almost 78 percent of claims from Matthew are closed. But the news headlines do not focus on that positive note. Instead, they point out that about a third of claims from the storm are unpaid. You have to read down six paragraphs in the newspaper story to find out why. I’ll tell you in the second paragraph below.

There are two primary reasons claims are closed without being paid:

  1. Storm damage was minor and under the amount of the hurricane deductible, or
  2. The damage was not covered by the policy.

Everyone knows headlines don’t tell the whole story. They are designed to attract attention and are not written by the reporter, but by someone looking to grab the reader.  To be truly informed, we have to look beyond the headline, true?

Insurers have encouraged policyholders to report storm damage even if it is minor because Florida has a calendar year hurricane deductible. That means storm damage from more than one storm in a season counts toward the deductible amount.

Damage not covered from the storms would include falling trees that do not damage an insured property, such as your house or fence.

Now you know rest of the story.

Business strategy for 2017: Plan for 3-day waiting period for business interruption insurance

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During hurricane season, emergency preparedness professionals suggest that people have enough food and water around to last three days. Business owners need to plan for three days on their own, too. But it’s not about food and water; it’s about cash reserves.

One important coverage for a business owner to consider is business interruption insurance. It is triggered due to a slowdown or suspension of a business’s operations due to a covered peril, such as a fire or hurricane. And, it has limitations that must be recognized, with the most important being the typical waiting period of 72 hours before coverage kicks in.

Why is there a waiting period? It exists to lower the cost of insurance coverage and to encourage the business to take necessary, immediate steps to minimize business losses. There are ways to reduce or remove that waiting period, at an additional cost. However, knowing the coverage does not go into effect the moment the lights go out is the first step to planning for it. Many small businesses do not do that. After every natural disaster, they learn about it too late.

Business owners should find insurance coverage that matches their business size, that suits their particular needs, and they must remain confident in their understanding of how a commercial insurance policy works. Now is the time for small-business owners to take a hard look at their risks and make a plan for 2017.

According to the Small Business Administration, 99.7% of all businesses are small. If that sounds surprising, understand the SBA defines “small” as a business with fewer than 500 employees. About 80% of businesses are VERY small, as in under 10 employees. Thinking big is a success strategy as necessary for the sole proprietor as it is for the CEO of a giant corporation. It includes thinking about how to make it through the first 3 days after disaster strikes. With a well-conceived plan, the disaster itself may certainly ruin your day (or month), but it won’t ruin your business.