Contractors need liability insurance

Independent contractors are increasingly working at all types of businesses. From plumbing to consulting, companies are seeing the benefits of hiring so-called 1099ers.

Because of their status as contractors, they don’t receive many of the benefits that employers usually provide. One of those benefits is liability insurance. If anything goes wrong while on the job, the insurance can cover it.

According to Insureon, those reasons include:

– Covering lawyer fees and damages if the employer sues over the work provided by the contractor

– Making sure that the employer doesn’t have to pay the costs if the contractor is sued

– Being compliant with statutory requirements

The type and how much insurance is needed varies based on a contractor’s responsibilities. For example, those in construction, or others who work with heavy machinery and tools, may need insurance for bodily injury and property damage.

Those who are contracted to provide advice, such as accountants, financial planners, interior designers and landscape architects, need to be concerned about liability risks, according to Trusted Choice. The company, which works with small businesses on insurance matters, says these contractors need to be covered for losses their clients may have as a result of the contractor’s recommendations.

Contractors who work as caterers should consider insurance for product and liquor liabilities. Trusted Choice notes this covers them if they serve food and alcohol at functions where guests could be injured because of food poisoning, for example.

Contractors who are unsure what kind of insurance to buy should consult with a licensed agent.

First woman to run the Boston Marathon, April 19, 1967

Katherine Switzer became the first woman to run as a numbered participant in the Boston Marathon, April 19, 1967.

Switzer registered for the race as K.V. Switzer and was given a number, even though women were not invited to run.

When the error was discovered, one official tried to physically force her off the course. But Switzer’s boyfriend, also running, clobbered the official, sending him flying and they continued.

An unofficial woman runner, Bobbi Gibb, beat Switzer’s time by an hour.

Women were not officially welcome to the marathon until 1972. Interestingly, the official who pushed Switzer in 1967 was instrumental in making women part of the event in 1972.

Distracted phone users drive up insurance prices

Car insurance rates are going up and you can blame the smartphone.

Insurers expect rates to rise by 8 to 11 percent in 2017 as auto accidents rise along with distracted driving.

Auto insurers say distracted driving is so bad that they are beginning to see many auto accidents with no skid marks, according to the Wall Street Journal. The drivers literally never saw it coming.

Experts expected accidents to drop and rates to lower as car-makers adopted higher tech protections, but that has not happened.

According to Allstate Corp., the striking correlation between smartphone ownership and accidents is because people do more than talk on the phone when they are driving. Maybe talking was bad enough, but now drivers are making videos, texting and using the Internet.

Don’t drink, drive and Snapchat

The worst possible New Year’s decisions probably don’t seem so terrible at the time.

Drinking and driving — the safety scourge of New Year — gets a lot of press for good reason. That one decision can change your life or even end it.

However, a new spike in traffic related deaths tells experts something else is going on in cars these days. Something deadly: Technology.

In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths rose 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now,” Mark R. Rosekind, the head of the agency, told the New York Times.

Safety officials aren’t alone in their concern. The insurance industry is also convinced that using phones and apps on phones, tablets or laptops, is the biggest cause of the rise in road fatalities,

Robert Gordon, a senior vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said in an interview with the New York Times.

When the first examples of tech-distracted driving became obvious a decade ago, the problem was driving while trying to make phone calls or text on a phone.

Response to this problem was to make new cars Bluetooth friendly so that drivers would not have to take their hands off the wheel. Instead, their phones would work right from their cars.

And that has worked well. So well, that now there are a host of apps that also work very well through the car. Result? More Internet use than ever and, possibly, more distraction than ever, as drivers concentrate on podcasts, social media, navigation, and more.

The magical Rockefeller Center: symbol of hope

Christmas in the US officially begins Nov. 30 when the 45,000 energy-saving LED lights on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree burst into a dazzling display.

The American event began in 1951 when only 9 percent of Americans owned a television. By the end of the decade 90 percent of Americans owned a television and the New York City Christmas celebration became a holiday tradition.

When NBC broadcasts the one-hour tree-lighting special every year, the cameras emphasize the tree, ice skating rink, and surrounding magical decorations. They don’t reveal the marvel of the Center itself.

Rockefeller Center itself is a complex of 19 commercial buildings, themselves icons soaring up on legendary streets with names such as Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue, and 30 Rockefeller Plaza, headquarters of NBC. The buildings take up 22 acres in Midtown Manhattan and they were part of the largest private building project of all times, a project of glamor wrought in gloomy times.

In 1928, John D. Rockefeller Jr., had already leased land from Columbia University to build a new facility for the Metropolitan Opera when the stock market crashed in 1929. With a global depression underway, the Opera board backed out of its commitment. Other financing fell through. Rockefeller knew if the Art Deco ‘city within a city’ would be built, he would have to finance it himself.

And he did. Although Rockefeller suffered losses himself on Black Tuesday, he pressed ahead with the project that became a symbol of success and hope for the future, a public space where New Yorkers could appreciate art, and a commercial boon for the city.

Gifts for the ungiftable

Weird ice
Molds for ice are big. Ice molds come in shapes like round, skull, geometric, slanted, giant, tiny, Star Wars, golf ball, hand grenade, heart, bullet. A variation on the theme is rocks that keep your glass cool. Pair the perfect ice mold with a suitable bottle of refreshment.

Free passes:
You can get passes for parks, museums, movies, car washes, even railroad trips.

Breakfast food:
Try Zabars.com for breakfast baskets (and much more, of course). You can get a crate full of bagels, cream cheese, coffee, orange juice, and pastry. Can be pricey, though.
For the bacon lover, try the Sir Francis Bacon sampler pack. For $30, you get a selection of bacon peanut brittle, back chocolate, and bacon toffee. Check it out on Amazon, where you will find other bacon gifts too.

Subscription boxes:
You can order subscriptions to snack boxes, cosmetics, projects for kids, coffees, dog treats, dinners to make, strange food, and anything else possible to ship.

Crazy candles:
Lots to choose from here: Some candles melt away to reveal a bronze sculpture. A pretty, swirled candle gives 60 hours of fragrance. See uncommongoods.com

Crafty stuff
A 3-D pen that oozes out a plastic that hardens within seconds. Your crafty friend will not just draw but sculpt, too. See it at hammacher.com.
You can also buy 3-D puzzles.

Funny stuff:
How about a custom bobble head? Upload your photo at 1minime.com and you can get your friend or loved one’s head on a variety of bodies.
Or, go all the way and put your loved one’s face on ancient art. Be Napoleon at society6.com.

Millennials fall for online scams, study says

The most tech-savvy group in the world are the most likely to have lost money in scams, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Millennials fell for scams for online purchases, employment, and debt collection.

In fact, this 25 to 34-year old group was more likely to fall for online scams than 75-year-olds. About 30 percent of the younger group surveyed by the BBB admitted to losing money in scams. But only 5 percent of the older group lost money.

 

Houston Area Homes and Flood Insurance

The city of Cypress, like the entirety of the Houston area, is prone to flooding. Houston lies on a great coastal plain that slopes evenly down into the Gulf of Mexico, and there is simply no high ground for miles around. The Texas countryside is particularly prone to flash flooding, which means that there may be less time for preparation than many people would expect. The Houston area can go from a drought to a flood in a day, and the Cypress Creek watershed can fill up with such rapidity that it can actually endanger unwary people. A Cypress homeowner can wake up to blue skies and find an inch of floodwater in their living room before dinner.

Large tracts of land in the Dry Creek watershed and other parts of town are built on the AE Zone. This means that there was a calculation that showed about a 1% chance of flooding every year for homes in that area. Flood insurance is especially critical in that area. Insurers may request that the homeowner have their property surveyed and issued an elevation certificate before issuing a policy for their home. Because of these risks, Cypress participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Also known as the NFIP, this government program regulates and promotes private businesses that provide flood insurance.

People who own recreational vehicles in Cypress should consider obtaining insurance for their RVs. Most types of RV insurance offered by InsureUS cover water damage to the vehicle, so long as the damage is sudden and accidental. A flash flood event would certainly qualify. However, if the vehicle is not properly maintained or promptly seen to after the flood, then the insurance may not pay for the damage.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons Your Home Insurance Can Help You Feel Secure

You can’t stop terrible things from happening, no matter how fancy your alarm system is or how many times you double check the weather reports. Home insurance may not help you sleep at night right now, but it might if you start thinking about the many ways it keeps you safe in Cypress, TX. 

1. Protecting Your Property 

You’ve already invested in not just the land and structure of your home, but also all of the things that you’ve managed to acquire in a lifetime. Whether it’s an antique sewing machine or a brand-new painting by an up-and-coming artist, home insurance can help you recover some of what’s gone if it’s all lost to a natural disaster or theft. 

2. Giving You a Friendly Place to Turn 

When something goes wrong, there are a lot of negative emotions that flying through the air. Having someone to call that you know is going to be unbiased and caring can help you put an event in perspective. For those who choose cut-throat carriers, they’re sacrificing comfort and security during what are often the worst times in people’s lives. It’s not worth it when the cards are on the table. 

3. You Can’t Predict the Future 

Just because you’ve had years and years without something going wrong, doesn’t mean that you can continue to count on that kind of good fortune. Having the right insurance means having a net that can catch you when it all falls down. InsureUS serves Cypress, TX and has years of experience helping those who go through events that could never be planned for. If you’re looking for a quote, we’re here to make sure you know all of your options. We can help you figure out where to go when you’re dealing with the unknown. Call us to find out more about how we can help you feel more secure during every season. 

 

Want to be smarter, more creative, more motivated? Get enough sleep!

Have you heard them bragging about it? Managers, workers and business people of all stripes are telling about their 16-hour days. They try to make it sound like a way to get ahead.

Inc. Magazine’s Jason Fried thinks this message is one of the most harmful in all business. He says sustained exhaustion is a mark of stupidity. Scientists agree, saying IQ scores decline on each successive day you sleep less than you naturally would.

People pulling 16-hour days are exhausted. They’re too tired to notice that their work has suffered because of it, and their sleep debt compromises their health and creativity. And it affects people around them. The sleep deprived are ruder, less tolerant, less understanding, and they can’t concentrate for sustained periods of time.

New workers and managers say when just getting started, they have to give it all they’ve got. But Fried says that the problem is that once started, they get in the habit and don’t stop working that way. Even though they have seen many entrepreneurs and managers burn out following this pattern, they may continue to do it.

When you get plenty of sleep, you’ll think better and be a better colleague and boss.

One reason: your brain is still active at night. It works through matters you can’t address during the day. You can wake up with new solutions to problems.

In the long run, work is not more important than sleep. If you don’t believe it, Fried says to consider this: You’ll die faster without sleep than you will without food.

Nearly everything can wait until morning when you’ll be well rested and able to be a creative problem solver.