Universal Cell Phone Chargers No Longer a Pipe Dream

Sony Ericsson K750i

Image via Wikipedia

By 2012, it is anticipated that most cell phones in the United States will use the same kind of connector to charge their batteries. This technology has already been adopted in Europe. LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson, among others, have agreed to use the Micro-USB technology as the common universal charging interface. This single standard will not only make life easier for the more than 3 billion mobile phone users in the world today, but it will lower cost, and help the environment.

While a relatively simple agreement, this represents a huge leap in ease of use for cellphones. If the trend continues and more companies agree to this consensus, every phone charger will become interchangeable between phones. Only 1 or 2 cellphone chargers will be necessary per houseold, rather than the current average of 4-5, reducing the effective cost of owning a cellphone.

Furthermore, cell phone manufacturers are developing chargers that will consume about 50 percent less power. Eliminating the need for people to replace lost chargers will significantly reduce greenhouse gases emitted in the manufacturing and transporting of these extra chargers. It will also mean less waste in landfills because people won’t simply throw away chargers when they stop using their old phones. It is estimated that 700,000 pounds of old cell phone chargers are added to our landfills in the United States annually.

Saving energy and saving our planet is huge. Huge savings for auto, home, business and life insurance are just a call away at A. Gordon Insurance!

Bill Cordaro
Commercial Accounts
Andrew G. Gordon, Inc.
Insurance & Risk Management

Andrew G. Gordon Insurance: April 2011

Boston Massachusetts: Copley Square

Image via Wikipedia

April is a month that welcomes spring with its famous “showers that bring May Flowers”.  With weather that changes from day to day, April is a fickle month with temperatures ranging anywhere from 15º to 80º that always includes the possibility of a late-season snow storm.  In spite of it all, the crocuses and daffodils manage to bloom and remind us that the warmer half of the year is ahead.

One of the infamously less appreciated events in April is the dreaded holiday known to most Americans as “income tax day”.  This year, however, due to the Patriot’s Day holiday, the filing deadline is extended to April 19th.

A short side note: Patriots Day is a celebration of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War between the British and the Colonial Americans which began on April 19, 1775.  Both Massachusetts and Maine celebrate the holiday on the third Monday in April (nearest to the 19th).  As such, a reenactment of the battle is annually held on Lexington Green, with a mid-morning parade in Concord featuring fife and drum bands.  But, if you plan to attend, it’s best to get there early to get a good vantage spot.  And don’t forget to take advantage of the several pancake breakfasts hosted by area churches.

April also offers the Boston Marathon, the oldest marathon in the world – founded in 1897.  It too, is held on the 3rd Monday in April during the Patriots Day holiday. The race begins in Hopkinton and ends at Copley Square in Boston, a total of 26.22 miles.  About 20,000 runners from around the world take part.  The first starters are the wheelchair runners.  Next are the Elite Women, then the Elite Men and then wave after wave of other runners.  The race lasts most of the day, with some runners straggling in after dark.

And, of course, for you fishermen out there, April is the opening of the Cod fishing season in Massachusetts!

Have a great April!

Sandi C.
Andrew G. Gordon, Inc.
Insurance & Risk Management

Be Kind to Yourself: De-Stress Your Life

Cover of "In Praise of Slowness: How A Wo...

Cover via Amazon

Now that we’re beyond the stress of holiday preparations, shopping, and the flurry of social activities and obligations, it may be the perfect time to welcome in 2011 with an evaluation of the demands on our everyday life.

Carl Honore is the author of “In Praise of Slowness” which describes our culture’s addiction to “more—better—faster”.  His response to this is “Be here now.”  He indicates that Americans with full-time jobs and children under 18 years of age are particularly stressed.  Long hours at work are shortchanging families.  One way to change this lifestyle is to add balance.  Cutting down on outside activities or time spent in front of the TV may provide more time that can be spent with the children. 

Key to de-stressing is slowing down and enjoying the minutiae of life, thus improving the quality of our existence.  Discovering activities such as meditation, gardening, bird watching, reading, etc also helps one to slow down and celebrate the small moments.  These can provide calmness, peace and quiet to your life.

The quality of life should be most important to us all and we should enjoy each and every day as well as celebrate all the relationships we share with others.

Donna M. Bellavance
Andrew G. Gordon, Inc.
Insurance & Risk Management

For topical and timely insurance issues, visit  http://www.agordon.com

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!

Bedbug

Image via Wikipedia

You can’t scroll the internet or listen to the news without hearing about  the harsh reality of bedbug infestations in hotels, planes, theatres, campuses, hospitals and office buildings.  This public health issue is quickly becoming a global crisis with sightings of these creepy critters from most U.S. cities  to the far reaches of Mumbai, India.

However, there are several measures you can take to minimize the risk of bedbug bites and infestation. Some include: checking your hotel mattress and keeping luggage away from soft bedding or upholstered furniture so you don’t transport the unwanted guests back home. Yard sale aficionados  need to think twice about snagging upholstered sofas  or chairs left at the curb.  These tips may help to minimize your exposure to bed bug bites and property infestation.

What happens if you do have an infestation? Will insurance pay the costly expense to eradicate the pesky pests? Unfortunately, insurance usually isn’t the answer here.   Most policies exclude insect infestation of any kind and do not include any coverage. “…The cost of getting rid of bedbugs, like other vermin, is considered part of the maintenance associated with owning a home and generally is not covered by standard homeowners’ and renter insurance policies,”  wrote Claire Wilkinson, Vice President for Global Issues at the Insurance Information Institute; “Most standard commercial-property insurance policies also have vermin exclusions for infestation”.

Most seasoned insurance agents will agree that insurance property coverage forms clearly exclude coverage for bedbug treatment; however, liability coverage may be a different  bug story. Ever think what would happen if a guest  is bitten by a bedbug at your home? Or perhaps your child has a sleepover and a young guest is bitten, resulting in infection and ongoing medical treatment. Before you know it,  you are being sued by the parents for negligence as a result of harboring the bloodthirsty buggers.  The good news is most homeowners liability policy forms do not exclude insects so there is probably liability coverage for this kind of lawsuit.. The same is true for commercial policies if the policy form does not specifically exclude insects. In addition, many businesses have coverage under business interruption forms if the need to close their business to properly exterminate the creepy crawlers arises.

Insurers may end up feeling the bite from bedbugs in other ways. New York state legislators became the first state to introduce a bill that would require bed bug coverage as an option for policyholders.  If NY passes this law, look for other states to follow suit.

It will be an interesting few months in the insect and insurance world as the globe grapples to safely avoid a 21st century plague. 

And for more relevant and topical insurance information, visit the A. G. Gordon, Inc. Website.

Linseed Oil is Hot Stuff

Linseed oil

Image via Wikipedia

 

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.  

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.