Flooding threatens Homes and Businesses in New Hampshire

Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in Business Insurance, Downey Insurance, Flood Insurance, Insurance, Personal Insurance

Flooding is becoming an annual nuisance in New Hampshire. The threat of damage to many homes and businesses is very real. As you may know your standard Homeowners policy and Business policy will not cover damage caused by flood.

If you fall within certain flood lines your mortgage company will most likely require you to carry flood insurance. Even if you are not required to carry flood insurance it is still a very good idea. The thought of your home or business being destroyed by flood is unimaginable to most. At Downey Insurance we have the resources to assess and protect your flood risk, as well as your home.

WMUR in New Hampshire said today:

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. Heavy rain in the southern part of the state led to flooding issues Monday, while more than a foot of snow fell in northern areas.

Residents on Beauregard Street along the Sugar River in Claremont were evacuated when the river overflowed and left the road under more than 4 feet of water. Homes in the area are above that level and weren’t flooded, but officials said there was no way to get in and out of the homes because of the road flooding.

In Newport, a couple was rescued by boat from their home on a private road. Emergency workers said they crossed about 500 feet of water that was about 4 feet deep to get to the home.

In Hooksett, a Kmart on Londonderry Turnpike was closed because of flooding. Police said water was going into the store.

The rain sent chunks of ice floating down some rivers, forming ice dams that sent water spilling onto roads. Old Sharon Road in Peterborough was flooded for about a mile when ice wedged under a bridge.

The Department of Transportation sent in an excavator to break up the ice in what safety officials called a delicately timed operation. “Just a little bit at a time so we don’t have a big rush of water going into the downtown area,” said Fire Chief Joe Lenox.

The heavy rains Sunday and overnight created torrents of rushing water on the Contoocock River. Complicating things for public works crews, there was more than one ice dam to deal with in Peterborough alone.

John Kaufhold owns a business by the river and said he has been through this before.

“(In 2007), we had about 2 feet of water where we’re standing,” he said.

Kaufhold said ice jams Monday could spell trouble again.

“By the dam in north Peterborough, we could get an ice jam and really clog things up,” he said. “The water level will rise fast behind the dam.”

In Wilton, officials monitored an ice jam on Stoney Brook. They said water started to rise Monday morning near the downtown area, but the jam broke up, and water began to flow freely again.

North of the White Mountains, a foot or more of snow fell since Sunday afternoon. Residents said they were running out of places to put the snow after all the storms this winter.

Power outages were also reported across the state, especially in western areas and the Upper Valley.

Public Service of New Hampshire reported about 3,400. New Hampshire Electric Coop reported about 3,200, while Unitil reported no outages.

Several ski areas were also closed because of the weather. Officials at Cannon Mountain said it’s closed because of some electrical issues caused by the storm. Cranmore and Dartmouth Skiway were closed because of poor conditions.

To read the full article click here.

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Socially Conscious Business Insurance from Travelers Insurance

Posted by on Mar 2, 2011 in Business Insurance, Downey Insurance, Insurance

How do you decide which vendors to use, who you do business with, and what you want associated with your business? Whether you are a small business or a large business you are probably thinking a little bit more about your purchasing power and business reputation when you decide who you do business with. Does moral consciousness play a role in your decision? There has been a large shift in the way business professionals are making these decisions. The drive to align themselves with like minded businesses is becoming stronger. Take The International Association of Conscious Professionals for example, they are a network of like-minded entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals, who are positive, passionate, and inspired to create businesses that give back to the world.

As an independent insurance agency Downey Insurance has the ability to decide which insurance companies we represent, looking only to do business with the best of the best and like minded companies for the benefit of our clients. After doing some research. we sought out a contract with Travelers Insurance. We now often recommend Travelers Business Insurance to our socially conscious clients which has been a win win for all. This practice has made us the number one Producing Agent for 2010 for newly appointed agents in Massachusetts. Travelers Insurance has been one of the thought leaders in social responsibility under CEO Jay Fishman, and when it comes to insurance companies and we are proud to do business with them. Here is an excerpt from an interview from Forbes Magazine with Jay Fishman CEO of Travelers Ins:

“The man has nothing to hide. In fact, his is a remarkable tale of straight-talking his way to success. This is a guy who was once a protégé of Sandy Weill’s and walked away from a big job at Citigroup; who preemptively said no thanks to any bailout from then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, even as his peers were taking handouts; who warns his investors that his company’s returns might be lower from one year to the next; who frets that, left unchecked, the government debt crisis will turn into a death spiral; who expresses misgivings about his own abilities; who takes a very long view of his custodianship. “I don’t want to be [just] a caretaker,” he says during a rare couple of interviews. “I want to leave something behind that was better than what I got.”

You’d expect that from the head of the Nature Conservancy. But from a Wall Street mogul?”

You can read the whole article from Forbes Magazine Here.

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Massachusetts Health Insurance open enrollment begins April 1st, 2011 do you have the right coverage for your business?

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Business Insurance, Downey Insurance, Insurance

Are you sure your business is getting the best value for it’s Heath Insurance dollars? Do you want to make sure you employee’s are getting the right coverage for their needs? Do you know the advantages and disadvantages to the many different types of plan’s? At Downey Insurance we can help sort through all your health insurance questions and find the right coverage for you and your business.

We have access to the major carriers though the largest broker in MA including: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Fallon Community Health Plan, HNE Health New England, Tufts Health Plan, United Healthcare, and Neighborhood Health Plan.

Open enrollment begins April 1st, 2011 call us today at 508-485-0130 to review your current plan or to discuss your options. Or visit our website to request more information at www.downeyinsurance.com.

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New Insurance Group Discount for the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association

Posted by on Feb 22, 2011 in Business Insurance, Farm Insurance, Insurance, Personal Insurance

Co-Op Insurance has just announced a new Group Discount Program for the New Hampshire Maple Producers AssociationThis discount can be applied your current Co-Op policy, or we can help you start a new policy if you would like to take advantage of this program. If you are a maple producer in NH and you are not a member the Maple Producers Association you can fill out an application on their website linked here: http://www.nhmapleproducers.com/application.html

NHMPA members will receive 10% off of Farm, Home and Auto insurance with CO-OP!   This is essentially the same group discount that the Vermont Maple Producers Association has enjoyed for years.  Thanks Co-Op for making this available to the great peopleof NH!  Visit our website www.downeyinsurance.com or call us for additional information at 603-439-2022 or stop by our office in Keene, NH at 45 Summer Street.

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5 Steps to Protect Your Organization From Cyber Liability

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in Business Insurance, Downey Insurance, Insurance

At Downey Insurance Group we are always on the look out for new products to cover new and very real exposures. Cyber Liability is one of those coverages that is becoming necessary in this new on-line world we live in today.  The internet is the new Wild, Wild, West of this country and the world so make sure your business exposure and your valued clients are protected.  Call us today for a comprehensive look at your business insurance needs 508-485-0130.   The Insurance Journal agrees that cyber liability is a huge threat to the business world, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself courtesy of The Insurance Journal:

Because cyber crime has developed into a problem with potentially catastrophic consequences, cyber risk is arguably one of the single greatest threats facing companies today. The 2009 Computer Crime and Security Survey conducted by the Computer Security Institute found that 43 percent of U.S. businesses experienced some kind of cyber security incident last year.

In the face of these threats, formal protection efforts are inconsistent at best: The World Wide Web is global and borderless, and laws that govern the protection and disclosure of confidential consumer information vary considerably from state to state and country to country.

All organizations are at risk for some type of data exposure. After all, the use of interconnected networks and cloud computing is nearly unavoidable in today’s business world and can provide innumerable benefits.

Companies need to be investing in technologies and establishing policies that safeguard data and lessen the risk of a breach, which could cause a company to incur sizable direct cleanup expenses while severely damaging customer trust and loyalty.

There are five crucial steps a company can take to protect itself from the surge of cyber crime:

1. Enlist the CFO in the fight against cyber crime.The responsibility for preventing network security and privacy exposures extends well beyond the information technology department. Rather, the chief financial officer should lead the company’s efforts and develop a holistic, enterprise-wide approach. With a visible, senior-level executive directing the cyber risk management initiative, people at all levels of the organization are more likely to fully understand the financial risks involved and work to manage them.

2. Uncover the cyber crime vulnerability, and quantify it.To comply with corporate governance best practices, an organization should hire a third-party expert to evaluate the organization’s cyber risk and the potential financial impact of a breach. Questions to consider:

  • Is our organization retaining any private data about clients, vendors or employees?
  • What’s the best way for us to evaluate the costs and benefits of additional IT loss-prevention expenditures?
  • Should we purchase cyber risk insurance?

3. Add a cyber risk expert to the company’s board of directors.Awareness and visibility begin at the top. By having a board member who is familiar with cyber crime and understands the level of risk and the loss potential, an organization can ensure this issue remains a priority. Additionally, a board member with a deep understanding of cyber liability can guarantee a holistic approach to risk management within the company and can oversee the adoption of formal procedures to control data security.

4. Consider risk transfer solutions.Now is the time to consider an insurance solution for cyber exposure. Because security breaches typically occur in areas of the organization generally considered to have adequate security protocols — or in unanticipated areas — insurance makes good sense. Fortunately, the overall property & casualty insurance market remains favorable, and numerous insurers are committed to this field. While there’s no replacement for sound risk management practices, a comprehensive insurance policy can be a solid last line of defense.

5. Involve the HR team. Internet security must be part of organizational processes at every level and in all parts of the business. As the driver of company culture, HR can help support and strengthen information security campaigns and procedures. Because the lines between employees’ personal conduct and their business conduct — during business hours — can sometimes become blurred, HR must clearly define and communicate the company privacy policy, as well as all rules and requirements regarding employees’ use of the Internet. In addition, HR should continuously monitor employees’ use of social networking sites and remind employees that the Internet is very much a public forum.
The number of data security breaches within companies is growing exponentially as they rely more heavily on technology and the Internet. Every organization must protect its priceless data and develop ways to prevent costly breaches.

Article Courtesy of  http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2011/02/14/186007.htm

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Farmers Watch Harsh Winter Crush Their Livelihoods

Posted by on Feb 9, 2011 in Business Insurance, Downey Insurance, Farm Insurance, Insurance, Personal Insurance

For Northeastern farmers long used to coping with all sorts of cold-weather problems, this winter presents a new one: snow and ice that’s bringing down outbuildings, requiring costly repairs, killing livestock and destroying supplies.

Farmers in Connecticut alone have lost at least 136 barns, greenhouses, sheds and other structures as snow measured in feet, not inches, accumulated while January passed without a thaw.

“We’ve had other challenges,” said Joe Greenbacker, a partner at Brookfield Farm in Durham, where a fabric-covered “hoop house” caved in and killed a calf. “But this is the most snow I can remember on the ground and the biggest problem with roof issues I can remember.”

Losses still are being totaled by the state Agriculture Department. Commissioner Steven Reviczkysays no one can remember a more destructive winter.

The Northeast is suffering through one of its most brutal winters in years, with cities all along the seaboard reporting snow piling up at a record-setting pace. Connecticut has been especially hard-hit, with Hartford reporting 81 inches since Dec. 1, compared with an average of 46 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

A huge storm that swept in from the Plains this week proved to be a tipping point, dropping heavy ice and sopping rain that coated or soaked into snow piled on rooftops. Houses and commercial buildings crumbled, along with farm buildings, which tend be older or less sturdy.

In the Northeast’s short season for growing, winter woes are no stranger to farmers. They’re used to having to, say, turn on sprinklers to beat back a late frost on their strawberries.

“That happens every now and again,” Reviczky said. “But this is a situation where buildings are coming down. This is way outside the box of what is a normal challenge.”

No human deaths have been reported, but animals haven’t been so lucky. In Northumberland, N.Y., 25 cows were killed and 200 rescued when one side of a barn’s 400-foot-long peaked roof collapsed Wednesday night.

In Connecticut, 85,000 chickens were killed when a coop collapsed and 14 dairy cows and the Brookfield calf were killed, including seven cows lost when two buildings collapsed at a farm in Ellington, Reviczky said.

In Somers, two horses at Lindy Farm were euthanized after being trapped in rubble from an overnight barn collapse caused by heavy snowfall Jan. 27. International trotting star Moni Maker survived along with 12 other horses.

A wing that was not damaged housed 15 pregnant mares ready to deliver in a month, said John Belskie, a manager at Lindy Farm.

He could not explain why the barn, which was built in 2000, collapsed while older barns remained standing. But he noted that it could have been worse — a few hours later employees would have been inside, feeding the horses.

Besides the loss of structures and animals, the contents of many buildings — seed, fertilizer and other supplies — have been ruined, Reviczky said.

Greenbacker and other farmers have not yet begun to turn to their insurance policies to determine what’s covered and what isn’t.

“We haven’t got that far yet,” Greenbacker said. “Right now we’re in the mode of keeping things together and making sure we don’t have further problems.”

Hoop houses — typically a half-cylinder of fabric or plastic supported by a metal skeleton — are moneysaving alternatives to traditional barns and fared well in previous winters because snow melted between storms.

But they’re typically covered by material that won’t rip, transferring the weight to the structural supports, said John Bartok, a retired greenhouse and nursery engineering professor at the University of Connecticut. Engineers recommend two-by-fours propping up the skeleton in strategic spots.

A 1978 blizzard rivaled this winter’s storms, possibly bringing down more greenhouses, he said.

But Brookfield Farm, established in Connecticut in 1723, hasn’t seen anything like this winter since moving to Durham in 1983. It has weathered drought, floods, pests and other problems well known to farmers.

“Now,” Greenbacker said, “it’s a storm every few days.”

Article courtesy of Insurance Journal.

At Downey Insurance we provide insurance for many farms in New England through Co-Op Insurance of Vermont and our other markets.  If you have any questions regarding your farm policy or if you need help filing a claim please call us at 508-485-0130 or visit our website at www.Downeyinsurance.com.

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