Monthly Archives: May 2014

Outlook for Hurricane Season Below Normal

hurricane outlook

Source: NOAA

The NOAA Atlantic outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.

NOAA said the main driver of this year’s outlook is the anticipated development of El Niño this summer. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.

This is great news to hear for sure, after previous hurricane seasons.  But, never let your guard down, as we know anything is possible with weather.  It’s always better to be prepared than not prepared.

Even though hurricane season may be below normal this year, there is always chance for extreme weather during the spring and summer months. Whether it is the threat of severe thunderstorms, flooding or even tornadoes extreme weather is dangerous and you should always take the proper precautions to stay safe.  Here are some tips to make sure you’re always prepared for extreme weather conditions.

  • If you can hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm.  Go indoors
  • When indoors, never touch anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet
  • Keep away from outside windows and doors
  • In cases of flooding, leave areas subject to flooding and get to higher ground
  • Don’t go into a basement or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets
  • Have an emergency kit ready and make a family communication plan

Being prepared is the best defense to staying safe during extreme weather. Having the proper home insurance to protect your home is another way to be prepared for extreme weather.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Insuring Personal Watercraft

watercraft insurancePersonal watercraft are not generally covered by homeowners or auto insurance, and where they are, the coverage limits can be fairly low. You may need to purchase a specifically designed policy in order to insure these vessels. The personal watercraft policy covers:
  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Guest passenger liability
  • Medical payments
  • Theft
Typical policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft and $1,000 for medical payments, although these may vary from company to company.
Consider buying an umbrella policy which will provide more liability protection. One million dollars in extra coverage costs about $200- $300 a year and would extend to your home and auto insurance policies.If you have several personal watercraft, you may qualify for a multi-boat discount on your insurance. Additional coverage can also be purchased for trailers and other accessories.

Personal Watercraft Safety
To safely enjoy your personal watercraft, following these suggestions:
  • Never follow directly behind another personal watercraft. Stay at least 100 yards behind the vessel in front, and no less than 50 yards to one side. Because these vessels can travel at a very high rate of speed, each rider must be able to react to sudden changes in order to avoid a collision. Eighty percent of all injuries and fatalities occur when two vessels collide with one another.
  • Don’t jump the wake of a passing boat. You could misjudge its speed and cause a collision. Or you might end up in the path of traffic coming from the other direction.
  • Stay alert! Be aware of what is going on around you. Steer clear of other watercraft, swimmers, divers, water skiers and fishermen.

For more information on watercraft coverage, give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call.  We are here to help provide you with the proper insurance coverage for all your needs.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Source info:



Memorial Day Weekend Traveling

don't drink and driveMemorial Day weekend has finally arrived, the unofficial start to summer.  This is the start to vacations for many of us.  As with any holiday weekend, traffic will be a lot heavier and more congested.  AAA projects an increase in Memorial Day weekend traveling maybe due to the long cold winter we had.

We’ve all got a little cabin fever and really need to just get away.  AAA projects that 1.6 million people from Connecticut and other New England states will be hitting the road and traveling at least 50 plus miles from home this holiday weekend.   AAA also states that holiday travelers can expect to pay on average $3.92 per gallon, almost 14 cents more than last year.   Gas Watcher’s Guide contains tips for conserving fuel, saving money and protecting the environment.  You can pick this up at any of your local AAA offices.

Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind this weekend is the DUI Checkpoints in CT.  With a holiday weekend these checkpoints will be all over the state.  Connecticut has introduced their involvement in the National C.A.R.E program over this holiday weekend.  C.A.R.E stands for Combined Accident Reduction Effort.

Connecticut State Troopers are joining all New England State Police Departments concentrating on enforcement of DUI and safety belt laws during the entire holiday weekend.  The two things they want you to remember is “Don’t Drink and Drive” and “Buckle up and stay off the cell phone, it’s the law.”

Here are some of the Checkpoints & Roving Patrols in the Eastern part of the state:

  • 05/23/14: Roving Patrols – Interstate 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in towns of Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • 05/23/14: Roving Patrols – Routes 6, 12, 14, 44, 97, 169, 197, 198 and Interstate 395  in towns of  Killingly , Brooklyn, Thompson, Woodstock, Chaplin, Hampton, Eastford, Sterling, Putnam and Pomfret
  • 05/23/14:Roving Patrols – Route 2, 6, 11, 32, 82, 203, 207, 85, 66, 316, 354 and 149  in the towns of Bozrah, Colchester, Franklin, Lebanon, Bolton, Columbia, East Haddam, Hebron and Marlborough.
  • 05/24/14: Roving Patrols – Interstate 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in towns of Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • 05/25/14: Roving Patrols – Interstate 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in towns of Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • 05/26/14: DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – Route 2 / 164 in Preston. This will be in conjunction with the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit.

We want everyone to have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  Remember to stay off those cell phones will driving and be drink responsibly.  Never drink and drive.

Happy Memorial Day

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance



National Dog Bite Prevention Week

phh insuranceNational Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 18-24, 2014), is an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue. We thought we would share parts of the recent press release from the Insurance Information Institute.

Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2013, costing more than $483 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm.

Even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. However, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place. The most dangerous dogs are those that fall victim to human shortcomings such as poor training, irresponsible ownership and breeding practices that foster viciousness.

To reduce the chances of your dog biting someone, consider taking the following steps:

  • Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household and neighborhood.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with an infant or toddler. A dog with a history of aggression is inappropriate in a household with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful of or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
  • Socialize your dog so it knows how to act with other people and animals.
  • Discourage children from disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping.
  • Play non-aggressive games with your dog, such as “go fetch.” Playing aggressive games like tug-of-war” can encourage inappropriate behavior.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response.
  • Never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening.
  • Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders if your dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

Source info:

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Tips For Your New Graduates

graduationWith college graduations happening and high school graduation in the near future, our new graduates have a lot to think about.  This is an exciting by scary time in their lives.  Many students have their next steps planned out, but others may not.  There is so much to consider after graduation.

For those graduating high school many are deciding whether they will be commuting to college or staying on campus. For several reasons both parents and students may decide that commuting to college makes better financial sense. With the continued rise in college tuition, the added expense to living on campus may not be in reach for many families. Students headed to college in the fall will want to consider a few options this summer.  A part-time job to earn extra money can help to offset book costs at the beginning of the school year.  Another option for students is to consider a internship working in the field you will be studying at school.  This will give hands on experience in your field, giving you a jump start on learning your chosen field of study.

College graduates have similar decisions to make after graduation.  Now they need to consider where they too will be living.  If they were living on campus during school, now they must consider looking for an apartment.  This can be a daunting task for a young graduate, as they may have only held a part-time job during college.  Consider sharing the expenses with a few friends for a couple years. One thing is sure, parents should consider getting renters insurance for their students new apartment to make sure they and their belongings are covered.

Other college graduates may decide to continue their education and move on to graduate school.  Finding an internship in the area of your college during the summer can also help with improving your graduate studies in the future.

Both high school and college graduates have a lot to consider, but you should take some time for yourself as well.  Be proud of the accomplishments your have made thus far.  Don’t obsess over all the details just yet.  Give yourself a some downtime this summer and enjoy life.  Consider teaching yourself some new skills over the summer, read for pleasure or just try a new hobby. There is no script to life.  Live your life and enjoy it.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance want to wish all the best to all the new graduates this year.  Congratulations on a job well done.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Is Your Business Prepared for a Data Breach?

data breachWith all the talk in the news over the last several months on data breaches, we obviously are a bit nervous about the safety of our information.  As a small business you need to make sure that your customer’s information is safe at all times.  A data breach for a business can tarnish your reputation and relationships.  Is your business prepared to deal with a breach if it were to happen?  Most businesses are not.  Here are a few case examples from small businesses that experienced a data breach and the cost.

  • A burglar broke into an accountant’s office and stole a computer with the tax records of 800 clients. The accountant’s clients were in four states and the owner needed assistance complying with the variances of state notification requirements.  Clients were urged to contact their banks and place fraud alerts on their credit files.  Cost to company for notification and services: $28,000
  • A box of rental applications with the name, address and social security numbers of 2,600 individuals was stolen from an apartment building office.  Cost to business for notification and services: $91,000
  • Three external  back-up hard drives with private personal records for 300 patients were stolen from a local physician’s office. Cost to business for notification and services: $10,500.

These are just a few examples how a data breach can affect your business.  But what can you do as a small business to help prevent a potential data breach?  Here are a few guidelines from Travelers to help keep your business protected.

  • Set up an incident response team to create a plan that outlines how your company will address any data breaches; establish clear roles and responsibilities for team members.
  • Be sure your anti-virus protection is installed and kept up to date. Designate a limited few within your company who will be responsible for downloading and installing programs. Only download programs from trusted sources, and instruct all employees to stay away from software ads or links on email or pop-up ads.
  • Email is the most prevalent way of spreading computer viruses. Inform employees to never to open an email that looks suspicious or contains odd spellings or characters. They should only open emails from people they know or with whom they have communicated in the past. Explain phishing and hacking techniques. Have them fully shut down their computers at the end of the business day.

Read the full article here from Travelers.

Having the proper business insurance is important as well.  Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance can help decide which business insurance is best for you.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job





May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

motorcycle awareness monthMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, designed to encourage all drivers and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other. Motorcyclist fatalities increased in 2012 to 4,957, accounting for 15 percent of total fatali­ties for the year. This increase in motorcycle fatalities continues a tragic trend over the last 15 years, which only saw a one-year decline in 2009. Crash-related motorcycle injuries also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012. Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.

  • Road users should never drive, bike, or walk while distracted.  Doing so can result in tragic consequences for everyone on the road, including motorcyclists.
  • A motorcyclist has the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as any other motorist on the roadway.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Do not share the lane: a motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
  • Because motorcycles are smaller than most vehicles, they can be difficult to see. Their size can also cause other drivers to misjudge their speed and distance.
  • Size also counts against motorcycles when it comes to blind spots. Motorcyclists can be easily hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—it may not be self-canceling and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
  • Allow more distance – three or four seconds – when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.

For more information regarding motorcycle insurance give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call at 860-684-2721.

Protecting You is our Job

Article courtesy of Traffic Safety Marketing