Hiking and Risk Assessment

hiking way - escursionisti

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I recently hiked a stretch of the Appalachian Trail  in Maine known as the “100 Mile Wilderness” with my two sons; and even being literally days from the office, and days from cell coverage or other reminders of “civilization”, I had an epiphany about personal risk. 

While insurance and public safety measures are importants tool for reducing the effects of risk on our personal lives, it does change our everyday assessment of the risk we are all willing to bear. 

When you’re miles from any kind of help descending a trail littered with boulders, roots, and deadfall trees, every single step is deliberate and cautious.  The risk of losing your footing – anywhere on the trail – carries dire consequences.  A compound fracture coud be life threatening; even a mild sprain could mean you have to lay off your pack with a week of food, clothing and shelter to your two companions (assuming you’re traveling with companions).  

Back here in civilization, we go to great lengths to minimize risk to the public when they pass by or into our office.  The sidewalk is repaired each spring after winter’s snowplow damage; concrete filled steel posts are anchored in the sidewalk to protect us from vehicles parked outside; we have non-slip rugs; and have moved our commercial operation to our basement to provide a conference room for customer privacy.  All these are good steps for providing a safe and hopefully risk-free environment to the public.   But it changes our personal assessment of risk 

The downside of this is in how it changes some people’s perception of real risks.  We talk of “risky behavior” by teens when they drink and drive, or take drugs: the only risk they may perceive is getting caught by their parents or the police and losing driving privileges.  They’ve been so insulated from “the trail” that my sons and I walked on, that they risk their lives and the lives of people with them and around them when they speed down a residential street drunk and high.  

We all make risk assessments in so many decisions; and reducing risk in all public places allows us to carry-on and focus on things important to us.  But occasionally, a walk in the woods where the environment hasn’t been safety sanitized, can be a good re-set for our perception of the world. 

Our journal appears at http://gordon100wild.wordpress.com/ 

Geoff Gordon 

www.agordon.com 

Linseed Oil is Hot Stuff

Linseed oil

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Ever wonder about horror movie special effects where an object suddenly bursts into flames without any likely cause? Look around the movie set and there is no electrical short, match, flame or spark to set the object ablaze.  You may have witnessed a phenomenon called  spontaneous combustion.   

One of our insurance agency customers learned about this phenomenon firsthand  after cleaning her antique pumpkin pine floors with linseed oil. She placed the rags in her washing machine. The insured walked away for only a few minutes before turning on the machine when suddenly the rags combusted and began melting the inside drum of the washer. The fire department responded within minutes and the homeowner only incurred very minor smoke damage to her million dollar home.  

There was a very happy ending to this story but it brings an awareness to the dangers of linseed oil and other oils used to finish wood. Heat  is generated during the drying process for these oils. This is because the oils do not dry like paint through the evaporation of a solvent or water. Linseed and other oils dry through the same process that generates fire- oxidation. There must be enough heat in order for spontaneous combustion to occur. That’s why you won’t see a recently finished table spontaneously combust from linseed oil treatment because the chair is open to the air.  

  

Linseed oil soaked rags pose the biggest risk for spontaneous combustion. The rags act as an insulator as the oil oxidizes. This allows the oxidizing oil to become hot enough to cause the rags to smoke and eventually ignite.  Also,  the bigger the pile of rags then the greater the risk of sudden combustion. Room temperature is also a factor.  Rags reach ignition temperature quicker in warmer rooms.  

Have no fear home improvement enthusiasts- there is a way to safely dispose of rags soaked with linseed or other oils to finish wood. These cloths should either be burned immediately following use or stored in a metal container filled with water and a metal lid to be disposed as hazardous waste.  

For more topical, relevant insurance information, risk management resources, or to get a quote from us, visit our website.  

   

Kasey McCarthy, CPCU  

A. G. Gordon, Inc.  

Just Some Insurance Humor

An insured called her auto carrier to report an accident.  She was very distraught as it was her first accident and she insisted that it was caused by the other driver.  While providing her company with the details of the incident, she was asked by the claim representative to provide her plate number.  She indicated that it was 123NMF.  The claim rep repeated it back to her as 123 N as in Nancy, M as in Mary, and F as in Francis.  The insured responded, no it is 123 N as in Not, M as in My, F as in Fault!

Donna M. Bellavance
A.G. Gordon, Inc.

For topical and relevant insurance resources, or to get a quote, visit our webpage www.agordon.com.

Moving Into Fall

Some Things to keep in mind moving into fall. At A. G. Gordon, Inc. we wish everyone a peaceful and safe seasonal transition.

Grill Safety:  With Summer winding down, everyone is trying to get in as many cookouts as possible before the weather gets cooler.  Be sure to check your propane tank to be sure you have enough to last – nothing more frustrating than to run ‘out of gas’ in the middle of a meal!  Also be sure to watch children around the grill – smaller kids don’t understand the danger of burning themselves. 

It’s Back to School time!  Be sure to be on the lookout for kids waiting for the school bus.  And most importantly – be aware that school buses make frequent stops!  Be sure to stop not only behind the school bus, but also in front of it.  Kids will be entering and exiting – let’s keep them safe!

Summer is over and what a wonderful one it has been.  With Fall in the air, now is the time to do those all important home checkups.  Have you had your furnace cleaned for the upcoming heating season?  Covered the Air Conditioner unit?  Checked the roof and windows to be sure all are secure?  Winterized the lawn mower?  Covered the pool? Click here for our Homeowner’s Checklist to complete.

Moving into Fall, it’s been easy to forget some of the important things like health checkups, etc.  Before the colder weather comes, why not schedule an appointment for a physical?  How about a dental checkup?  And why not schedule time with your physician for those all-important flu shots?  Then relax and enjoy all the upcoming holidays!

Sandi Cornell
Ratings Expert, A. G. Gordon, Inc.

And for more insurance information, resources, and to get a quote, visit our website, www.agordon.com.

Home Project Snowballs

A true story from the life of an agent on staff:

We were looking forward to replacing our exterior door and because it seemed manageable, planned on doing it ourselves.  In retrospect, it was probably a mistake.  My husband removed the door frame including the threshold and we found what we believe are termites and carpenter ants along with the damaged sill and other areas.  At least it seems to be isolated to that small area.   He tore out the affected areas and sprayed with the old toxic chemicals that were on hand.  We made multiple trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot to pick up supplies and more spray to treat the affected areas.  We’re not done yet and as it turns out, we’re replacing the deck now instead of next year so that he has easier access to replace the damaged area.  Unfortunately, our homeowners policy won’t step in either, as there are exclusions for insect damage, wear and tear, deterioration, and other damages that happen over time. 

If you’re more inclined to hire a carpenter than try this kind of project yourself, be sure to ask for a certificate of insurance, showing they have liability and workers compensation insurance.     This should be a minimum “legitimacy” level for any contractor, and is one good way to separate the pros from the amateurs!  For a project like ours, we should have found a pro!

Keep in mind that insect damage is not usually covered under a Homeowners policy:
“Additional Exclusions”. We do not cover, with respect to any property, any loss resulting from, caused by, contributed
to, or aggravated by any of the following:

  1. Wear and tear, marring, or deterioration;
  2. Inherent vice, latent defect, or mechanical breakdown;
  3. Rust or other corrosion, mold, or wet or dry rot;
  4. Contamination, smog, or smoke from agricultural or industrial operations, including smudging;
  5. Settling, shrinking, bulging, or expansion, including resultant cracking, of pavements, patios, foundations, walls, floors, roofs, ceilings, fences, swimming pools, retaining walls, or bulkheads, whether resulting from growth of vegetation or otherwise;
  6. Birds, vermin, animals, rodents, or insects, except that this exclusion does not apply to collapse under Coverages A and B, under which we do not cover loss involving collapse resulting from detectable decay or detectable damage by birds, vermin, animals, rodents, or insects, and that any ensuing loss resulting directly from a Peril Insured Against to property described in Coverages A and B is covered.

 

For more insurance information, as well as topical and relevant resources. Visit our website or recieve an online quote.

Personal Umbrella Coverage

Geoff Gordon, representative of Andrew G. Gordon, Inc. talks about personal umbrella coverage, and what it entails.

For more topical insurance information and risk management solutions, visit our website.
To watch more insurance videos, click here.

Beware bungee cords

Bungee cords are used more frequently during the summer months; hiking, camping, boating , car travel, etc.
Bungee cords are also a major cause of eye injuries. My friend suffered an eye injury and lost four teeth last year from a bungee cord that snapped loose. He was merely a spectator at a soccer game!
My optometrist also stated that bungee cords are the #1 cause of eye injuries (not confirmed).
Please be careful for your safety and the safety of others…..Bungee Beware!
Be sure you have enough liability insurance in case a guest hurts themselves at your home. For more information on home liability insurance, visit www.agordon.com.

Get Registry reminders…automatically

With the Registry providing less notice by mail for license renewal reminders, we recommend everyone sign up for automatic email reminders for renewing your driver’s license, registrations, state inspection stickers. You can use Plymouth Rock’s on-line service, available through our web site at: www.agordon.com. Don’t let an expired inspection sticker, or worse, an expired driver’s license become the reason your insurance costs go up! For the best auto insurance advice, choice, and rates, visit www.agordon.com.

ID theft – insurance protection

With more people accessing the internet and spending more and more time on their computers, identity fraud incidences are becoming more prevalent. It is in your best interest to check with us regarding adding coverage if you don’t have already.
In the meantime, follow simple rules: maintain strong passwords, don’t open suspicious emails, and especially don’t reply to emails asking for account numbers or other personal private information. Consider also ID protection services.
ID theft can happen to anybody, and having a coach and an advocate after the fact to get your identity back can be invaluable.
For more on this and other ways your homeowners can protect your assets, visit www.agordon.com and click the homeowners link.

AIR announces new hurricane modeling

Warm summer breezes remind us in the insurance world that conditions ripen for tropical storms and hurricanes.  Hurricanes damage so much property over such large areas that forecasting the damage for all the landfall possibilities is important.  Having accurate tools for estimating costs that the industry can expect during hurricane season can make or break an insurance company.  Good data and accurate modeling are critical.

AIR Worldwide is one of the top modeling companies in the world, and they just announced the next generation model.  These are enormously complex models that take into consideration wind estimates, construction types (e.g. frame vs. masonry or steel), new building codes in vulnerable areas and other variables.  For more, visit AIR’s recent press release on the issue. http://www.air-worldwide.com/NewsAndEventsItem.aspx?id=19474

For more on home and property insurance for your home or business, visit www.agordon.com.