Keene Pumpkin Fest vs Highwood Pumpkin Fest

Keene Pumpkin Festival is getting some extra media attention from the national cable channel HGTV. Drew Scott from the hit show Property Brothers will be traveling to Keene, NH for The Keene Pumpkin Festival, while his twin brother Jonathan Scott will be traveling to Highwood, Illinois for The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival.

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New Mass Law Bans Mulch Next to Wood or Vinyl Sided Buildings

A new law took effect in Massachusetts this week banning landscape Mulch from surrounding buildings that have wood or vinyl siding. All landscape mulch needs to be at least 18 inches from the base of these buildings. Small residential buildings, with fewer that 6 units, are except from this law but still should consider following this new safety recommendation. Pea stone or crushed rock is considered a safe alternative that is readily accessible.

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I Am Vermont Strong License Plate- Released and Approved for Use

The state of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles has approved the use of the “I Am Vermont Strong” license plate for Vermonters. The plate may be displayed over your current Vermont registration on the front bumper of your vehicle through June 30th 2014. You may pre-order your one of 10,000 license plates for $25, for shipment on 2/1/2012. More license plates may be created if there is a strong demand, but pre-ordering will get you on the list for the first edition.

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Keene Pumpkin Fest vs Highwood Pumpkin Fest

Posted by on Oct 18, 2012 in Downey Insurance

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Keene Pumpkin Fest 2012 to Compete with Highwood Pumpkin Fest after Highwood Falsely Claims World Record in 2011

Keene Pumpkin Festival is getting some extra media attention from the national cable channel HGTV.  Drew Scott from the hit show Property Brothers will be traveling to Keene, NH for The Keene Pumpkin Festival, while his twin brother Jonathan Scott will be traveling to Highwood, Illinois for The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival

Each brother will be trying to help their respective town reach their goal of setting the Guinness World Record for The Most Lit JackOLanterns In One Location.  This competition dubbed Pumpkin Wars will be broadcast on October 31st on HGTV at 9pm.

This competition must be a bit of a sore spot for Highwood, Illinois.  In 2011 it was widely reported in Illinois news, and even nationally, that they broke the world record at the Highland Pumpkin Fest.  Unfortunately according to the Guinness Book of World Records this was not the case.  I contacted Guinness World Records regarding the current record and this was their response:

“Hi Cate, thanks for the question. The current record is:


The record for the most lit Jack-o’-lanterns on display is 30,128 in an event organised by Camp Sunshine at the Life is good Pumpkin Festival in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on 21 October 2006.

Highwood may have had a large number of pumpkins displayed last year, but we have not received a suitable claim for this, so the 2006 record stands. Prior to the current record, Keene held it 5 times beginning in 1996.”

So it is questionable how many pumpkins The Highland Pumpkin Fest 2011 did display but there is no doubt that it was a close call.   Last year, The Keene Pumpkin Fest 2011 was only able to display 16,186 pumpkins.  They would need to almost double their participation in order to beat the the current record of 30,128 pumpkins.

The Keene Pumpkin Fest has been a local favorite for the past 20 years in Keene, NH and was almost lost due to a lack of resources.  It was saved by the creation of a non-profit organization, Let it Shine, Inc. Their one and only purpose is to continue the magical pumpkin tradition for Keene, NH. 

Sterling Design and Communications has been tasked to manage this years hyped up festival.  The additional pressure of competing on a national stage and the addition of new events has not kept them preparing for a fantastic show.  They have done an exceptional job and and we should expect one of the grandest Pumpkin Fests to date.

This year’s Keene Pumpkin Fest has a busy schedule and is adding may new events such as The Great Pumpkin Mile Race that will run through the pumpkin lined streets of Keene.  Also a children’s costume contest, pumpkin bowling, food and craft vendors, and the Pumpkin Dump Derby a race to clean up all the pumpkins with competing cleanup teams.

This is for sure an exciting time for the Keene Community.  I can’t wait to see how many pumpkins they can crank out this year!  Don’t miss Pumpkin Wars that will air on HGTV on Halloween, October 31st at 9pm. 

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New Mass Law Bans Mulch Next to Wood or Vinyl Sided Buildings

Posted by on Sep 2, 2012 in Downey Insurance

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A new law took effect in Massachusetts this week banning landscape Mulch from surrounding buildings that have wood or vinyl siding.  All landscape mulch needs to be at least 18 inches from the base of these buildings.  Small residential buildings, with fewer that 6 units, are except from this law but still should consider following this new safety recommendation.  Pea stone or crushed rock is considered a safe alternative that is readily accessible.

 

Massachusetts State Fire Marchall Steven Coan states that this new law is in response to the many mulch fires in MA that spread to buildings, and have unfortunately caused tremendous damage.  One example is the 2008 apartment complex fire in Peabody, due to a cigarette that was discarded in mulch next to the building, that cause 7 Million dollars of damage.

 

This type of fire is preventable and should be taken very seriously.  At Downey Insurance we have seen the devastation that a building fire can cause, and the disruption to your business that may follow.  Most business insurance policies have an endorsement available called business interruption that will help cover you in the event of this type of tragedy.

 

To request for a professional insurance review please visit our website at www.downeyinsurance.com or call us at 888-875-7539.

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2013 NCCI Primary/Excess Split Point Rating Makes Big Changes to Workers Comensation

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Business Insurance

 

The NCCI, the National Council on Compensation Insurance, recently released their plan to change the Primary/Excess Split Point Rating System for Workers Compensation Insurance in the United States. This new system is slated to take effect January 2013 in most states, and is planned to be fully implemented over the next 3 years. Some states such as Massachusetts have an independent rating bureau that most likely will be implementing a similar system. This new system will change the way Experience Modifications Factors are calculated for every Workers Compensation Policy.

 

How It Works

In the process of experience rating, each loss is divided into a primary and excess portion, depending the the amount of the loss. Currently, the split point is $5,000. So for any one claim, the amount under $5,000 would be considered primary, and the remainder over $5,000 would be considered the excess portion. So using the current rates, a $20,000 loss would have a $5,000 primary loss, and $15,000 in excess loss. Any loss under the $5,000 split point would only be considered primary.

 

All primary losses are given full weight in the experience rating process, and excess losses are given a reduced factor. The rational for this type of rating is as follows… When an organization has a large primary loss history, it is usually the result of many small claims indicating a larger frequency of losses, which signifies an increased risk of future losses. One severe excess loss is not nessasrly equivalent to the same risk level for future losses, as the frequency of primairy losses.

 

For example, if a company has 1 large loss due to a non-frequent injury or accident, this will be given less weight dollar for dollar over the split point rating figure than a company that had 6 consecutive smaller losses. The frequency of the 6 losses is considered more of a risk factor for a major or castistrofic loss down the road. So the primary loss figures reflects the frequesncy of losses, and the excess loss figures reflects severity.

 

The New Plan would increase this split point gradually over 3 years from $5,000 to 15,000. Year 1 would be the largest increase to $10,000, year 2 would increase to $13.500, then year three would take it to the full $15,000.

 

Why Is This Change Being Made?

This change is being made to bring the rating system up to date with the crrent claim environment, to account for claims inflation. The last change that was made to this system was two decades ago. Since this change, the average cost per Workers Compensation insurance claim has tripled. So this has reduced the effectiveness of this type of split point rating. The system has move more toward an all-risk average, instead of reflecting the insureds actual claims experience.

 

So Will the Price of My Policy Go Up or Down?

That depends on your prior loss history. If you have small losses under the current $5,000 limit you may see a reduction in your experience rating. If you have losses that fall between the current $5,000 and the proposed $15,000 eventual limit, or above, you may see an increase. It is difficult to say without exact underwriting and rating figures.

 

 

If you have any questions regarding your current Workers Compensation Policy, or if you would like us to take a look at your insurance program, please visit our website www.downeyinsurance.com for details.

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