Monthly Archives: July 2014

Hurricane Preparedness for Your Business

phh insuranceIs your business prepared in case of a natural disaster?  Here are some tips from IBHS that can help your business be better prepared.

Businesses of any size can suffer a disruption at any time; however, small businesses have it tougher. While large organizations have more financial and physical assets both before and after a disaster, smaller businesses often lack the financial resources for recovery, the ability to spread risk across multiple facilities in different locations, and ready access to alternative suppliers. Yet, Mother Nature, man-made threats and other extreme events are not particular about who they strike, damage or disrupt. Recognizing this reality, one of the keys to survival for small businesses is preparing and planning for potential business disruptions of any kind.

Prepare a business continuity plan. Having an emergency plan in the event of a natural disaster will help your business quickly recover.

  • Verify employee, supplier and vendor contact information so you can check on their well being and communicate next steps for resuming normal business operations. Use the downtime before the storm hits to update your supplier and vendor contact information, as well as other important contacts, such as your bank or insurance carriers.
  • Identify an alternative site for business operations should your facility be unavailable following the storm. Be sure the location is equipped with any special supplies or equipment that will be needed to continue business operations.
  • Secure your vital records and data and be sure all your important information is backed up and accessible should you not have access to your computers or network.

Another measure to being prepared for any disruption from weather is having the proper Connecticut business insurance.  Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance can help you decide which coverage is best for your small business to keep you protected.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job



When A Tornado Is Near: Where Do You Go?

safest place in your home

photo courtesy of

Tornado season is in full swing and even though we don’t live in tornado alley, the Northeast has seen its fair share of tornadoes in the last few years. During yesterday’s storms Wolcott, CT saw a small F-0 tornado causing a decent amount of damage.  Many of the storms that came through last night also had potential for tornadic activity as well.  This is a good reminder to always be alert, as tornadoes can hit the Northeast.

Do you know the safest place to be in your home if a tornado were to hit your area?

Always head for the lowest level in your home, a basement is the safest place.  Stay away from windows as debris can fly threw them causing injury.  Stay away from exterior walls even if there are no windows.  You always want to have as many walls between you and the storm.  If you don’t have a basement, look for a closet or stairwell. A garage is not a safe option to wait out a tornado, as the walls of the garage can collapse inward.

Where to go if you are in a vehicle?

According to NOAA if the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

Do you know the signs a tornado is approaching? Here are some tips from NOAA.

  1. Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
  2. Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
  3. Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  4. Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
  5. Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
  6. Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you here a tornado warning in your area.  Always be sure to be alert, pay attention to your local weather stations and find the safest place to ride out the storm.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Amazing Things You Can Use Google For

google tricks and tipsGoogle for most of us is very important tool in our daily lives.  We use Google for everything it seems.  Well guess what there are even more amazing things you can do with Google that I’m sure many of you didn’t know you could do.  Be sure to give them a try for yourself and see.

Set a timer: You can use Google as a timer by entering the time in the search bar. Enter: set timer for 30 minutes

Tip Calculator: Just ask Google to calculate the tip on dinner…and it will do it. Enter: tip calculator

Movie Releases: Yes you can look up a movie release date, just ask Google. Enter: star wars release date

TV Guide:  Well not exactly but on the same idea.  You can use Google like a TV Guide and look up schedules of all your favorite shows.

Healthy Eating:  Well if you are looking to eat healthier you can pull up information of the food items you are looking to eat to see which the healthier choice is.  Enter: pizza vs. cupcake

Look up songs:  Yes you can look up songs from your favorite artist.

Books:  Looking for a special title or author, just enter their name and you’ll find all their books. Enter: books by Stephen King

Check Your Flight:  Need to know when your flight is leaving or delayed?  Just type in: Flight (your #) and the airline.  You’ll get all the information you need

Sunrise/Sunset:  Want to know when the exact time is for sunrise or sunset in your area?  Just ask Google.  Enter: sunrise Connecticut

Google Retro:  this one is just fun.  Type in Google 1998 to get a retro version of the search engine

Barrel Roll:  another fun one…and we all can use a little entertainment during the day.  Type in do a barrel roll and watch what happens to the screen.

These are some pretty cool tips and tricks you can use with Google.  Hope you enjoyed.  Have a great weekend.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance





Saving Money At The Pump

gas pumpWith vacation season in full swing and traveling at it’s height, we thought we would share this blog from Monaco Ford, they did a great job explaining various ways you can save money at the pump.

Blog originally posted on

When it comes to your car, make sure to set the car tires to the proper inflation. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3 percent.

You will also want to tune up the engine. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency.

Select the narrowest possible tires for your vehicle that will satisfy your driving style and demands. Narrow tires have less frontal area, thus reducing aerodynamic drag. You may also want to choose low-rolling-resistance compound tires. These can increase fuel economy by a few percent.

Check the condition of your engine air filter. A dirty filter will reduce fuel economy, or make the engine stall when idling. You also want to replace the fuel filter according to the car manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

Lightening your load can also help to increase your mileage. Get the lightest car that will serve your needs. If seats that you don’t use can be removed, take them out. If you use your trunk as a storage space for heavy things, find another place for them.

On fuel-injected cars, make sure the oxygen sensors, engine emissions system, and evaporative emissions control systems are in good shape. When getting your oil changed, use a synthetic oil additive to either natural or synthetic oil. This can increase your gas mileage if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended usage.

When you fill up with gas, fill up halfway and try and keep your tank above one quarter full. If your fuel runs low, you could put stress on the fuel pump. Also, 10 gallons adds 60 pounds of weight.

At the gas station, buy quality fuel. No two fuels are the same and the cheaper brands can contain a higher percentage of ethanol, which burns at a faster rate.

Try to avoid using the air conditioner in stop-and-go city driving as it causes the engine to work hard and consume more fuel. However, studies show that at highway speeds cars get somewhat better mileage with the air conditioner on and the windows rolled up.

Monitor how hard your engine is working is key. Air conditioning, acceleration, and speed all affect work but these are not direct indicators. Try monitoring the revolutions per minute your engine is running at.

Some of your driving habits can also impact your gas mileage.

Use cruise control to maintain a constant speed, and slow down. The faster you move, the harder your engine has to work to push through the wind. Speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent.

When accelerating, do it smoothly and with a moderate throttle. You also want to avoid braking wherever possible. Braking wastes energy from fuel that you have already burned, and accelerating after braking consumes more fuel than driving at a constant speed.

Another thing to avoid is excessive idling. Idling a vehicle wastes a significant amount of fuel. Generally, if you can avoid 10 seconds of idling, you will save gas by turning the engine off and restarting.

Find your car’s “sweet speed.” Some cars get better mileage at specific speeds, usually at 50 miles per hour.

If your car has an automatic transmission with overdrive, make sure you enable overdrive except when towing very heavy trailers.

Select a gear ratio that is appropriate to your engine, transmission, and driving conditions. If you travel on the highway often and do not carry heavy loads, try a numerically lower final drive ratio.

Watching and predicting traffic signals can also help. Stop-and-go driving is wasteful. Don’t circle in a parking lot – creeping and accelerating. Look for a spot in the empty half of the parking lot.

Maintaining a safe following distance will also help you increase your gas mileage. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap.

Planning ahead will also help.

If you plan your trips and try to accomplish multiple things with each, it will help. It won’t increase your fuel mileage, but it will help you drive less.

You’ll also want to plan your route carefully. Take the route with the fewest stops, turns, and traffic. Take the highway when possible.
These tips will hopefully help you save a few dollars on gas while traveling this season.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Brush Up On Your Motorcycle Safety

motorcycle safetyIt’s prime riding season, so we wanted to give you a reminder on some good safety points for experienced and new riders.  Read these great tips Safeco.

Be Prepared. Be Protected.

You’re no kid and that’s no 10-speed. To stay safe, you need complete command of your motorcycle and the best safety gear you can get. Next time you’re heading for the highway, keep in mind these helpful motorcycle safety tips.

Use Safety Gear

Your motorcycle insurance policy through Safeco covers up to $3,000 in custom parts and equipment. Any time you buy new leathers or safety equipment or customize your bike, contact your local Safeco agent so we can update your limits.

Wear a Helmet

A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is 40 percent more likely to sustain a fatal head injury in a crash than a rider without a helmet.* A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study reports that “helmets saved 1,483 motorcyclists’ lives in 2009, and that 732 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”* Buy a full-face helmet for the best protection for your head and eyes. Wear other protective gear as well: heavy leather or synthetic gloves, long pants and jacket, and over-the-ankle leather boots.

Be Visible

In a crash, the SUV wins. When cars and motorcycles collide, it’s usually because the driver of the car failed to see the cyclist. With more SUVs on the road, it’s even more critical to take extra steps to become more visible. Use your headlamps—both night and day—and wear yellow, red or orange jackets to make yourself easier to see. Make a point of positioning yourself in your lane for visibility.

Take a Safe Riding Course

One out of four motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 were driving with invalid licenses.* More than 90 percent of riders involved in accidents haven’t taken a formal motorcycle driving course. Get to know your bikes capabilities, like how it performs on a curve or slick roads, and you’ll become a much safer rider. Errors like over-braking, driving too fast and under-cornering are major factors in most solo mishaps.

You can also get discounts on your insurance with a Motorcycle Safety Foundation safe riding course or are active in one of 24 approved groups that promote safe riding. Do both and you could save up to 15 percent.

Ride Sober

Driving impaired is more deadly for cyclers than other drivers. In fact, more than half of all motorcycle deaths occur when the rider has been drinking.

Remember for all your motorcycle insurance needs give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call.

Protecting YOU is our Job

source info: Safeco


Making Your Home or Apartment Eco-Friendly

making your home eco-friendlyWhether you live in an apartment or house there are many ways you can be environmentally-conscious.  Simple affordable changes to your daily routine and living space will make a big difference.  The way you decorate your home or apartment can impact your carbon footprint.

Take a look at these simple tips to turn your home or apartment into a green living space.

Sustainable Materials

Using sustainable materials can both improve the look of your living space as well as bring you closer to your eco-friendly goals.  Recycled materials such as bamboo along with soy-based products can make your home “greener”. Other eco-friendly materials include Teak, 100 percent cotton and wool, which are environmentally friendly. Many times you can find these products at local thrift shops or boutiques right in your home town.


You can illuminate your living space with light fixtures that are energy efficient and made with recycled goods, such as glass bottles.  Upcycling is an awesome trend that’s here to stay.  Taking old materials and transforming them into something new and decorative.


When choosing to paint your home or apartment, look for non-toxic paints.  Look for paints with zero VOC or low VOC on the label. VOC’s are volatile organic compounds that are not safe to breathe in.  Choosing either of these types of paints will ensure you continue to make your home or apartment eco-friendly.


Looking to give a facelift to your kitchen your bathroom?  Consider adding an eco-friendly touch such as bamboo.  A bamboo mat in your bathroom not only looks nice, but is durable and water resistant. Add some color to your space with organic cotton throw pillows.  You could even be creative and make decorative items using wine corks.

Going green will not only guarantee long lasting pieces but it won’t break the bank.

For all your home and apartment insurance needs contact Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance.

Protecting YOU is our Job



3 Main Ways Lightning Enters Homes & Buildings

lightning safety for your homeWith the recent severe weather we’ve had in the last couple days, we thought it would be worth sharing this information from a recent article on the weather channel about Lightning Safety Tips.

A house or other substantial building offers the best protection from lightning. In assessing the safety provided by a particular structure, it is more important to consider what happens if the structure gets struck by lightning, rather than whether the structure will be hit by lightning. For a shelter to provide protection from lightning, it must contain a mechanism for conducting the electrical current from the point of contact to the ground.

These mechanisms may be on the outside of the structure, may be contained within the walls of the structure, or may be a combination of the two. On the outside, lightning can travel along the outer shell of the building or may follow metal gutters and downspouts to the ground. Inside a structure, lightning can follow conductors such as the electrical wiring, plumbing, and telephone lines to the ground.

Avoid unsafe shelters

Unless specifically designed to be lightning safe, small structures do little, if anything, to protect occupants from lightning. Many small open shelters on athletic fields, golf courses, parks, roadside picnic areas, schoolyards and elsewhere are designed to protect people from rain and sun, but not lightning. A shelter that does not contain plumbing or wiring throughout, or some other mechanism for grounding from the roof to ground is not safe. Small wooden, vinyl, or metal sheds offer little or no protection from lightning and should be avoided during thunderstorms.

How lightning enters a house or building

There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

Summary of lightning safety tips for inside the home

  • Avoid contact with corded phones
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

You can read the whole article here from the Weather Channel.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job