Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tips to Prepare for a Fire Emergency in your home

In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames. By preparing for a fire emergency, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a fire casualty.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend.
  • Plan your escape from fire. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room.
  • Practice fire escape plans several times a year. Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Purchase only collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • Check that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.
  • Make sure everyone in your family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
  • Consider installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.

See the educational video below

Install, Inspect, Protect

Information gathered from


Cell Phones Cause Distracted Driving and Employer Liability

Recently, more attention has been given to distracted driving and the role cell phones play in driver inattention. There have been numerous studies done about the subject, and several regulatory agencies have banned their use.

In January of this year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) banned the use of cell phones in commercial, regulated vehicles unless they are accessed via a hands free device. The driver cannot reach for, dial or hold the cell phone. Only Commercial Driver License holders are subject to these requirements while they are driving a commercial vehicle. Wired or wireless hands free devices are allowed under this requirement.

Another recent development is the National Transportation Safety Board recommending last December that all states ban the use of cell phones while driving, whether using a hands free device or not. This recommendation was made after a review of some large auto, bus and train crashes the last several years where they determined that using the cell phone and being distracted was the main cause of these crashes.

Unfortunately, this has also gained the notice of the trial attorneys. In any major crash where a cell phone may be involved, plaintiffs’ attorneys are going after the cell phone records. They have been successful in using these records to increase jury awards. A Florida family was awarded $21.6M from the employer of a driver that was using their cell phone; an Alabama trucking company was ordered to pay $18M; an Arkansas lumber company paid $16.1M; a paper company paid $5.2M in similar circumstances.

What can an insured do about it?

With the employer being the target in cases like this, insured’s need to have a strict written policy banning the use of cell phones (talking or texting) while driving. Compliance with state and federal regulations should be considered a minimum standard.

With increased accidents surrounding cell phone use while driving you must be sure you have a policy in place to protect yourself and your employees.

Does your company have a policy regarding the use of cell phones?  If not, have you considered putting one in place?

Be safe, use a hands free device while driving.

Penny-Hanley & Howley Insurance

reference  source

Regular Maintenance on your home will help prevent future losses.

Regular Maintenance on your home will help prevent future losses. 

Fall is always a great time to start preparing your home for the colder months ahead.

A few things to keep in mind to help prepare your home.

Check your gutters – clean any debris from them now, so they are able to work properly throughout the season

Check your windows- check to be sure the seal around your windows is still good.  A good seal will save you money throughout the heating season.

Check your roof- see if there are any broken shingles or holes that need repair.  Fix these now before the snow settles in.

These simple maintenance tips can help you save money on heat, as well as help prevent future damage to your home.

Use your voice and cast your vote on November 6, 2012

There are only 60 days left before the November Election.  Regardless of your political affiliation, you should exercise your freedom and right to vote on this day.  Changes can only happen if your voice is heard.

Here is a little history on voting:

Only Free White Men with Property Can Vote

There is no right to vote in the United States Constitution, so each state’s standards have evolved separately unless federal laws were passed that applied to every state. When this country was founded, only white men with property were routinely permitted to vote (although freed African Americans could vote in four states). White working men, almost all women, and all other people of color were denied the franchise.

By the time of the Civil War, most white men were allowed to vote, whether or not they owned property, thanks to the efforts of those who championed the cause of frontiersmen and white immigrants (who had to wait 14 years for citizenship and the right to vote, in some cases). Literacy tests, poll taxes, and even religious tests were used in various places, and most white women, people of color, and Native Americans still could not vote.

African American Men Get the Vote

In 1866, the 14th Amendment to the federal Constitution was passed, guaranteeing citizenship to the former slaves and changing them in the eyes of the law from 3/5 of a person to whole persons. Then, in 1869, the 15th Amendment guaranteed the right to vote to black men, with most women of all races still unable to vote.

1869 also marked the beginning of “Black Codes,” or state laws that restricted the freedoms of African Americans. Among the freedoms restricted was the freedom to exercise the right to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, hiding the locations of the polls, economic pressures, threats of physical violence, and other strategies to suppress the African American vote were either found in the Black Codes or flowed from them.

While strategies such as these are no longer legal, some have argued that the misallocation of voting machines in 2004 so that whites in Republican-leaning districts had short lines and minorities in Democratic-leaning districts were forced to miss work to wait in long lines was equivalent to placing a new poll tax on African American and other minority and poor voters.

Women Get the Vote

Initiatives to promote voting for women have been traced back to the 1770s, but the modern movement for a vote for women traces its beginning to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, when supporters of a Constitutional Amendment to allow women to vote came together. While their movement was slowed during the Civil War years, the two major suffragist organizations united after the war and pushed forward with a movement that culminated, after many difficult years, in the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.

Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos Get the Vote

Some Native Americans became American citizens if they gave up their tribal affiliations in 1887, but many did not become United States citizens until 1924. Many Western states, however, continued to deny the right to vote through property requirements, economic pressures, hiding the polls, and condoning of physical violence against those who voted.

Asian Pacific Americans were considered “aliens ineligible for citizenship” since 1790, and interim changes to naturalization and immigration laws in 1943, 1946, and 1952 give the franchise to some but not all immigrant Asian Pacific Americans. Nevertheless, because citizenship is a precondition of voting, immigrant Asian Pacific Americans did not vote in large numbers until after 1965, when the immigration and naturalization laws were changed.

Asian Pacific Americans born on American soil were American citizens and had the right to vote. When 77,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were put in American concentration camps during World War II, however, their right to vote was not allowed.

For Mexican Americans, those in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas were supposed to get voting rights along with American citizenship in 1848, when the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the Mexican American war. Property requirements and literacy requirements were imposed in those states to keep them from voting, and violence and intimidation were used against anyone who dared to exercise the franchise.

The Sons of America organized in 1921 to fight for equality and the right to vote, but all Mexican Americans did not receive the right to vote until 1975.

If you would like to read more on Voting History check out

Casting your vote on November 6, 2012 is your right and freedom.  Please be sure to vote.



September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

About Life Insurance Awareness Month

Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort that is coordinated by the nonprofit LIFE Foundation. The campaign was created in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. Roughly 95 million adult Americans have no life insurance, and most with coverage have less than most insurance experts recommend. For more information on life insurance, visit LIFE’s website at

Facts from LIMRA

Who’s at risk?
 Three in ten American households (35 million) are
uninsured and half say they need more life insurance.
 More than half of Gen X and Y households – representing
30 million people – need more life insurance.
 The middle market represents the largest segment of
uninsured households, with half (36 million) admitting
they need more life insurance.
 Seven in ten women agree that life insurance is a
necessity and all people should have it (only 62 percent
of men believe this to be true).
 One-third of wives own no life insurance at all – despite
the fact that 7 in 10 households are dual-income
households, and nearly 30 percent of wives earn more
than their husbands.*

Is your life Insurance Policy adequate?  Take this time to review your policy with us.  We will be happy to help you make any changes you need to your policy.

If you don’t have a Life Insurance Policy, give us a call to see what options we have to offer you.

Penny-Hanley & Howley Insurance