Holiday Office Hours

Our agency will be observing the following office hours. On behalf of all of us at James A. Connors Associates, we wish you a happy holiday season.
Tuesday, December 24 – 2 pm closing
Christmas Day – closed
Tuesday, December 31 – 2 pm closing
New Year’s Day – closed

Recent News

Planning on Hosting a New Year's Eve party?

Everyone is excited to attend your New Year’s Eve Party – but are you ready?  Erie Insurance prepared a list of eight tips to help you and your guests have a safe New Year’s Eve event.

  1. Check your liquor liability – you could be held liable for damage caused by a driver who leaves your party.
  2. Designate a driver – encourage your guest to choose a designated driver before they arrive or encourage ridesharing services.
  3. Don’t leave your car overnight – it’s a good idea to leave your care in your drive and don’t forget to lock the doors.  
  4. Serve plenty of food – good selection of food and non-alcoholic beverages will help counter the effects of alcohol.
  5. Plan your activities - to keep a party running smoothly play games to break the ice.
  6. Shelve the fireworks – avoid the temptation to start the new year off with fireworks. They don’t mix well with alcohol.
  7. Charge your phone – getting stuck with a dead battery will make it difficult to reconnect with friends or order a ride home, if needed.

These tips will help you and your guests have a safe holiday.  On behalf of the agency, we wish you all a Happy New Year.

Source:  Erie Insurance/NU Property Casualty 360

Annual List of the 10 Worst Toys of 2019

As you are preparing to finalize your gift-giving, take a look at this list of toys that you should avoid giving according to the 47thannual report by World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH):

  • Nerf Ultra One
  • Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog
  • Bunchems Bunch’n Build
  • Yeti
  • Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime
  • Anstoy electronic toy gun
  • Diecast school bus
  • Pogo Trick Board
  • Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw
  • Viga Pull-along Caterpillar

Several of the toys pose choking hazards as they contain small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, and rigid materials.

Do your research before buying toys to ensure a safe holiday.

 

 

10 Things To Do To Close Out Your Year

As we start to wind down the year, it’s a perfect time to take action on these ten tasks:

  1. Pay Year-End Bonuses
  2. Set compensation for the coming year
  3. Set employee benefit programs for the coming year
  4. Make last minute purchases
  5. Review inventory
  6. Make charitable donations
  7. Hold your annual board meeting
  8. Meet with your CPA
  9. Prep for law changes
  10. Get ready to update the “date”

To read the details for each of these tasks, go to https://amacsmallbiz.com/10-things-to-do-to-close-out-your-year/

Source: SBC

Planning an Employee Holiday Party?

Planning on a holiday party for your employees?  Here are some suggestions from Katie Kuehner-Hebert, courtesy of NU Property Casualty 360.

  • Gift giving – be selective with gifts for employees – don’t base them on either tenure or the level of their contribution to the company.
  • Cash bonuses – relying solely on cash rewards can have a negative impact on your employees. Consider certification programs, seminars, and conferences as a reward.
  • Playing favorites – to avoid favoritism, allow coworkers, rather than management, to decide who gets to receive special recognition within the group.
  • Avoid giving these gifts – according to employees in a survey conducted by Snappy, company logo items, a plaque, stale cookies, melted chocolate, and even a CEO’s son’s little league tickets were listed as gifts employees mentioned negatively.
  • Alcohol at a holiday party – limit the amount of alcohol attendees are allowed to consume and make arrangements for ride services.
  • Best gifts – give the employee the option to choose a holiday gift – such as an iPad, Bluetooth speaker, a tv set, or espresso maker.
  • Consider contributing to the employee’s favorite charity or give a paid volunteer day.
  • Recognize your employees throughout the year.

The bottom line is knowing what is important to your employee and what you can do during the holiday to show your appreciation.

Black Friday Safety Tips

In-store Shopping:

  1. Park near a light. 
  2.  Hide your treasures in the trunk. 
  3.  Use the buddy system. 
  4.  Keep your purse on your body or your wallet in your front pocket. 
  5. Shop with a single credit card. 
  6.  Avoid ATMs. 
  7.  Take precautions in the parking lot. 

Shopping Online:  Or, if you prefer to shop online

  1. Shop on secure sites. Before you make any purchases, be sure the website has a closed padlock in the browser bar or a URL beginning with “https.”
  2. Use one credit card for all online purchases. Then, if a card is compromised, you have only have to make one cancellation call.
  3. Shop familiar brands and steer clear of “too good to be true” deals. Scammers are out in full force during the holiday shopping period. 

Follow these tips for a safe Black Friday buying experience. 

Source: Frankenmuth Insurance 

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day is observed annually on November 15. Get together a soap and hot water filled bucket, disinfectant, a sponge and a garbage bag, and you are ready for the day!

The timing is perfect for this day as Thanksgiving is coming soon. We will need room for all of the upcoming leftovers.  This job may be dreaded by many, but it is an important task none the less.  Due to our hectic and busy lifestyles, the cleaning of the refrigerator gets neglected, hence the creation of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  There may be a surprise or two found at the back of the shelves. Things are often pushed back as new food is put in the front and gets forgotten.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Some suggestions for your refrigeration cleaning are:

  • Empty each shelf.
  • Completely wipe down the inside of the refrigerator.
  • Wash drawers and underneath the drawers.
  • Throw away all expired food.
  • Throw away any moldy food.
  • Get rid of anything that you do not use.
  • Vacuum condenser coils.
  • Vacuum out under the refrigerator.
  • Restock shelves and drawers with good food.
  • Enjoy your nice, clean, organized refrigerator.

Resource: National Calendar Story

Veterans' Day is on the 11th

As we come together as a nation to celebrate Veterans Day, take a moment to remember friends, family members and colleagues who served in our military.  It is thanks to them that we live in the home of the free and the brave. Also, it is a great time to hire a vet.

Daylight Savings Time Ends

Don’t forget: Daylight Savings Time ends for much of the United States at 2AM Sunday November 3rd.

You will need to set your clocks back one-hour Saturday evening to revert to Standard Time.

If you haven’t done so, now is a good time to change your smoke and CO2 alarms with fresh batteries.

Buying Flood Insurance - Questions to Ask

Flooding conditions can continue through the winter months. You might be considering a flood insurance policy but don’t know what questions to ask.  This post from FEMA should be helpful.

  • Does my community participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)? Flood insurance from the NFIP is only available in participating communities, but most communities do participate. Your agent can tell you if your state and community participate, or you can look it up online in the Community Status Book.
  • What flood zone do I live in? What is my property’s flood risk?
  • How long does it take for my flood insurance policy to go into effect? It typically takes 30 days from the day you purchase flood insurance for the policy to go into effect. When purchasing a policy, ask your agent when coverage will start.
  • Is flood insurance mandatory for my property? Will the lender require it?
  • Do I qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP)?
  • Does my community participate in the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS)? If so, does my home qualify for a CRS rating discount?
  • What will and won't be covered?
  • Will the federal government back my flood insurance policy?
  • How much coverage should I get for my building and for my contents?
  • How can I reduce the cost of my flood insurance?
  • Are there additional expenses or agency fees?
  • Will my policy provide Replacement Cost Value or Actual Cash Value — and what’s the difference between the two?
  • Who should I call if I have a flood claim?
  • How can I pay for my policy?
  • How do I renew my policy?

Give us a call at the agency and we will be happy to answer all these questions for you. 

Source: FEMA

Is Your Business Continuity Plan Up to Date?

As the international community celebrated ShakeOut Day to promote earthquake resiliency and preparedness, now is the time to review your established business continuity plans or create an appropriate plan if you don’t have one. 

The four key components of a traditional business continuity plan are: planning, plans, planners, and practice.  By identifying the potential infrastructure basics such as water, energy, and emergency services, your program can address these concerns while also educating your workforce how to handle a crisis. 

Need more help; give us a call at the agency to discuss.

And finally, we can explain earthquake coverage (included and excluded in your policies) and determine if this coverage is right for your business.