Wednesday, November 7, 2018

‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not’ in …Rhode Island Anymore

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Tornadoes in our state? Keep these safety tips in mind

Tornadoes in Rhode Island are so rare that it is justifiably hard to compare it to other naturally occurring events. With various reports indicating that tornados did in fact touch down in Lincoln and other neighboring communities last month, and with some researchers saying the Northeast will experience more tornadoes in the coming years, many families may be wondering what they should do if another tornado touches down in our small state. To help families know what steps to take the next time a tornado warning is issued, Blais Insurance would like to share a tornado tips crash course that may help keep your family safe.

Believe it or not, Rhode Island has seen about a dozen tornadoes touch down in the state over the course of American history. To put that into perspective, the center of the United States, also known as Tornado Alley, has seen hundreds of tornadoes in 2018 alone.

It is important to consider that tornadoes in Rhode Island have the potential to greatly exceed the damage caused by a similar tornado in the Great Plains. The reason is because properties and people are more densely populated when compared to some Midwestern regions. Another reason is because people from that region have likely participated in tornado safety drills either at school or at work.

Since most longtime Rhode Islanders have not taken part in any tornado drills, Blais Insurance would like to share some tornado preparedness tips to help families stay safe the next time a tornado comes roaring through our backyard. These tips will be essential in keeping your family safe, especially if a tornado appears without warning like the one we recently experienced.

Stay Away from Windows

Strong winds will throw debris strong enough to break a window. Families should stay from windows to avoid being cut from flying glass.

Do Not Try to Outrun a Tornado
Tornadoes can appear without warning and begin to cause destruction immediately. As easy as it may seem to drive away from a tornado, experts who study these vortexes say that motorists should pull over and seek secure shelter instead to avoid an injury or an automobile accident.

Every Second Counts So Head Indoors, and Underground

Flying debris can become dangerous projectiles that can harm you.  It is important that people, whether they are at home or outside, head to a basement or lowest floor with few to no windows to avoid injury.  

Cover Your Head

When you find a safe place to hide, use your hands and arms to protect your head. It is also encouraged to use blankets to cover yourself if they are available.

Keep A Radio Handy

For families that are fortunate enough to have a battery –powered radio available, tune in to a local broadcast to find out when it is safe to go outside.

Tell Your Friends and Family You Are Safe

Once the tornado has passed, call or text your loved ones to tell them you are safe. This will prevent emergency lines from being jammed when others need immediate medical assistance.

Property and other valuable belongings can easily be replaced. Blais Insurance is always here to help protect you and your family from all types of losses, but we would like to remind you to heed our safety tips because loved ones are irreplaceable. Call us at 401-725-0070 to learn about our insurance products and services, and to learn why families have trusted us with their insurance needs for over 100 years.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Insurance Policies can be Tailored to Meet the Needs of Emerging Businesses

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

New and improving technology have changed the business landscape in multiple ways. Besides the advent of streaming and ridesharing services, advancements in technology have also allowed more people to take charge of their lives by empowering them to become entrepreneurs. As individuals carve out new methods to deliver a service, Blais Insurance encourages entrepreneurs to consider working with an independent agent that can tailor a business owner’s policy (BOP) to meet your specific needs.
It wasn’t long ago when the average entrepreneur solely owned a convenience store or sold merchandise online. Nowadays, accurately guessing their line of work can be a complete coin toss. Through the aid of software that can be purchased at a local department store or in the digital marketplace, motivated individuals can give consulting services, provide fitness instructions, or deliver various types of care services that were not possible within the last decade. More importantly, each of these ‘gigs’ carry different risks that can significantly stunt any dreams of being a successful entrepreneur.
Traditional BOP insurance packages have not yet adapted to the changing business landscape. The reason is because BOP insurance was originally designed with the thought that business owners would remain fixed to one location, and that typically meant that they could also rest assured knowing that their property was completely protected. This protection would also extend to bodily injury claims directly connected to an owner’s establishment.
Problems with this approach are immediately apparent if you examine the types of businesses people have launched in recent years. For example, fitness trainers who provide lessons at multiple locations have different insurance needs than individuals who own a gym. Another example might include individuals who are managing a fleet of drivers through an app like Uber or Lyft.

Some insurance professionals might recommend that these individuals acquire a traditional BOP insurance package, but doing so might result in having policyholders pay for more coverage than they need and for protection with clear gaps in coverage. It is easier to understand this dilemma if you could imagine a scenario where a yoga instructor is sued after a client is injured during a routine exercise. These kinds of claims can be covered by tailoring and complementing a business owner’s policy to create an insurance package that is customized for the individual.