Thursday, July 9, 2020

Summertime Pool Safety

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Having a pool in your backyard is refreshing for those hot weekends and summer block parties. If you have recently installed a pool at your home and are ready to enjoy the water, remember to consider insurance and water safety.

Fortunately, a pool is considered separate from your dwelling and is therefore covered under the “other structures” section of your homeowner’s policy, similarly to sheds, detached garages and gazebos. 

However, if you have a number of detached structures, or if your pool was on the expensive side, the standard coverage may not be enough. If this is the case, you may want to consider adding a higher amount of coverage for your specific structures.

While evaluating your insurance coverage, you should keep in mind that, no matter the type of policy, insurance will not cover damage done to your pool by freezing, thawing, pressure, or weight of ice or water. This is why it is so important to “winterize” your pool if you live in cold climates.

Not only should you think about the insurance coverage for your pool, but also take a moment to consider liability coverage. Installing a pool increases your chances of liability if someone is injured or killed as a result of using your pool. If you are a homeowner with a pool, we strongly recommend you consider increasing your liability coverage or purchasing an personal umbrella liability policy. 

Remember, it is always best to set up some pool safety rules to decrease your potential liability exposure.

If you have any additional questions regarding insurance coverages for your pool, please contact Blais Insurance at 401- 725 -0070.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Listening to Protesters’ Message about Race in America

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC
President, Blais Insurance

 

 

Things have started to return to ‘normal’ in recent weeks, but not everything has 
been positive. 

In response to the death of George Floyd while in police custody, protests have 
erupted not just across the country, but overseas as well. In the United States, 
there have been protests in at least 140 cities as of June 9. These protests reflect 
an unfortunate reality: Floyd’s death is no isolated incident. Instead, his death is a 
symptom of systemic racism that that has yet to be eradicated, despite the efforts 
of the Black Lives Matter movement to highlight police brutality and racial 
disparities in law enforcement in recent years. 

This time it feels different though. From the local to the state and federal level, 
there seems to be an appetite for true reform through legislation. However, before 
we can truly find a lasting solution we need to better understand the issue. All of 
us need to heed the message of these protests. Our fellow citizens are telling us 
that they do not feel safe. They say they are being unfairly and unjustly targeted 
by the system. Their lives matter as well as their voices. Now’s the time to listen 
to them and take their message to heart.

 

Friday, April 17, 2020

A Message to Our Customers During These Difficult Times


As we enter our second month of lockdown, we encourage everyone to stay safe. As of this writing, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 30,000 Americans, including 118 Rhode Islanders. The state’s current data modeling shows that we have yet to reach the peak in the Ocean State. During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever that we continue to follow the rules. Avoid going out in public as much as possible. If you must, wear a mask and practice social distancing, staying six feet away from other people.

This is also a time to remember our connections with others. Although we must adhere to social distancing guidelines, there are still ways we can support each other and help fight the pandemic. The Rhode Island Department of Health has a website here explaining how you can help. Some of your neighbors, especially the elderly, may need help with errands and other things at these times. You can find out who in your area may need assistance by creating an account on Nextdoor.com. Finally, this Providence Journal news story lists other volunteer opportunities. We encourage everyone to be that American who goes the extra mile for their neighbor during these times.

Remember, the better we all follow the rules, the sooner we can get back to normal. We look forward to seeing you all in person hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, be safe and stay healthy.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Protect Yourself from a New Cyber Threat: Social Engineering Attacks

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC
President, Blais Insurance

 
In today’s world, some of the most serious security threats that businesses face come in the form of cyber attacks. We tend to imagine cyber attacks as hacks into our software systems. But cyber attacks can also involve ‘hacking’ human psychology and these can be just as deadly as the first kind. 

Known as “social engineering attacks,” these exploit vulnerabilities among the employees working in an organization. For example, someone might send you an email that looks as if it appears from PayPal. The emails says there has been unusual activity on your account and it asks you for your login credentials. It looks like the real deal, but it turns out it’s just a scam to steal your information—and, potentially, your money. (This kind of a social engineering attack is known as a fishing scam.) 

Here are five types of social engineering attacks you need to look out for. 

1. Phishing scams. In these attacks, cyber criminals steal usernames, passwords, and other important information by posing as someone else you trust, like your bank, your email provider, a bill collector, or another organization you would trust. Most phishing emails are sent to multiple people. But one type of phishing scam, known as spear phishing, is targeted to individuals. According to ABA Insurance Services, this scam uses information from a recent transaction, business trip, or other personal information to trick you into providing more information.  

2. Pretexting. Another social engineering attack uses a fake scenario to steal valuable information. For example, the hacker might claim to be an auditor, soliciting confidential information, according to Tripwire. “Whereas phishing attacks mainly use fear and urgency to their advantage, pretexting attacks rely on building a false sense of trust with the victim,” Tripwire says. 

3. Baiting. This is a cyber attack that aims to exploit people’s curiosity, according to Infosec. One such attack occurred in 2018 when state and local government agencies received a Chinese postmarked letter with a CD inside it. The attackers hoped some recipients would be curious enough to install the CDs in their computers, infecting them with malware, according to Tripwire. 

4. Smishing. The idea is the same as phishing, but, instead of using emails, it relies on SMS, or text messages. Smishing texts often contain links to websites, email address, or attachments. Clicking on the link could cause malicious malware to be downloaded onto your phone or other device.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Surprising your special someone with jewelry this Valentine’s Day?

Make sure it is properly protected 

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC
President, Blais Insurance


Your friends at Blais Insurance would like to wish you and those you love an extra-special Valentine’s Day. Just as we do all year long, we would also like to take the time to remind you of how best to protect your baubles and bangles from loss.

If you are considering a jewelry purchase for your special someone, we urge you to call our office today to inquire about how to properly protect it. Many people falsely believe that jewelry is automatically insured to value and for all possible exposures to loss on an existing policy, but that is not always the case. Luckily however, adding jewelry to an existing homeowners, renters or condo insurance policy is usually an easy and surprisingly inexpensive process.

Oftentimes, coverage depends on the value of the jewelry as well as the type of loss incurred (fire, theft, etc.). The best way to ensure total protection is to “schedule” the item or as it is commonly referred to, “add a jewelry rider” to your policy.

Coverage under a schedule normally deletes any deductible provision paying instead in the event of a covered loss from dollar one, and typically extends to the following:

  • Theft
  • Damage
  • Loss

This type of insurance is very affordable and can be purchased for around 1% - 2% of the total value of the jewelry. To find out how inexpensive peace of mind can be, call Blais Insurance today at 725.0070. 

(With data provided in part by Progressive Insurance) 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Having a Good Credit Score Critical to Buying a Car AND Buying Insurance

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC
President, Blais Insurance

Having a good credit score is essential to getting a loan to buy a new car. 

Most buyers understand the general importance of having a good credit record in order to get a loan. Having a proven track record of paying your bills on time is essential to having a healthy credit score. That tells lenders that you will be able to pay back their loan. That’s obviously a pretty important perquisite for convincing them to approve your application for financing. 

For example, just 38.3 percent of loans in the third quarter of 2018 were granted to borrowers who had credit scores of 660 or less. The average score for car loans was 661, according to an Experian report cited by Credit Karma

But even if you are lucky enough to beat the odds and get a loan, your bad credit can still cause harm. The same Experian data shows that lower credit-score buyers have to pay higher interest rates—7.52 to 14.41 percent for new cars and 10.34 to 19.98 for used ones. That comparable rates for buyers with good credit were: 3.68 percent to 4.56 percent and 4.34 percent to 5.97 percent. 

Those percentage differences will add up to thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 

Plus, it’s not just the loan payments. Your credit score also impacts how much you have to pay on car insurance. A company called FICO has broken down the different ways your credit affects your insurance score, according to Credit Karma

  • Payment history (roughly 40%)
  • Total debt (roughly 30%)
  • Length of credit history (roughly 15%)
  • Pursuit of new credit (roughly 10%)
  • Mix of credit (roughly 5%)


Your credit history can be helpful in one particular area of importance to insurance companies: predicting the likelihood of accidents and future claims. According to statistics, people with higher credit scores typically experience fewer accidents than those with lower credit scores, which saves the insurance company money.

The bottom line: it pays to pay your bills on time. And, in the case of car insurance, good credit benefits you twice—not just in getting a loan, but also in obtaining good insurance rates. For more insurance on auto loans call Blais Insurance at 401-725-0070 to receive a fast and hassle-free quote.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Take a Moment to Reflect on This Year’s Blessings


By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC
President, Blais Insurance
 
Blais Insurance wishes you a happy holiday season. 
Another year has come and gone, and there are many reasons to be thankful during the holidays. While you prepare for the festivities ahead, Blais Insurance would like to encourage you to be mindful of others who are less fortunate.

A simple gift and thoughtful heart-felt message can give hope, and inspire others to spread kindness. Here are a few ways you can give back, and help make our community a better place.

·      Volunteer at a food bank
·      Make a charitable donation to a local non-profit
·      Donate toys to a children’s hospital

From the bottom of our hearts, the staff at Blais Insurance wish you and your family a Happy Holiday season.


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