Monthly Archives: August 2014

Small Business Tips: Back to school lessons to help your business

back to school lessons for your businessAs children go back to school, what they do is a reminder for us and our business. Consider all of the things that we remind our children to do, that you might overlook in your business.

The start of the school year is a time to reconnect with friends. You may have lost touch with them over the summer. The same holds true for your customers. Reconnect and reach out to your customers.  Start by asking how their summer was.  Ask them if there is anything you can help them with.  You can do this through a simple email or phone call.

Learning and Discovery

You can always learn something new, provided you keep an open mind.  As our children head back to school, they too will learn new things.  This is our chance as a business to take the step to learn something new, whether it is from our customers or from our network of business relationships. Learning and discovering new things can only help you and your business.

Be available to help

As our children will struggle with certain aspects of their learning in school, we are there to coach and help them when needed.  Do the same with your customers and business networks.  Do you have a skill you can share and help someone else with?  Be open to sharing your skills with others.  You will build better relationships.

Next Steps

Always embrace the opportunity to learn and grow.  When you encounter challenges, recognize where you need help and ask.  And as we do for our children, a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, can always make for a good start to your day.

 And Now You?

What ideas from back to school can help you in your business?

How Can we Help You with your Small Business needs? 

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job




How do we Protect Our Children from Online Scams

Are your children using Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media website?   How do we keep our children safe from scams and protect our families?   As a parent who did not grow up with social media and who is learning right along with my children, it is very difficult to monitor or even understand what our children our doing.


Beware of a scam on Instagram that we should all be discussing with our children.  Scammers are having our children load money on a Vanilla Reload card and telling our children that they will double their money.  All they have to do is go put money on the card and give them the pin number on the back.   Within minutes the money did not double but instead completely disappeared from the acccount.   For more information from NBC CT on this scam click on the link :


Instagram Scam


For more information on how to protect our children and ourselves, please visit



There is  information for parents and children, teens, young adults, adults and older adults.


In regards to the Pre-Paid Card Scams, the  Wants you to Know


A prepaid card is a plastic card that you can use to pay for things. You buy a card with money “loaded” on it. Then you can use the card to spend up to that amount. Once you spend the money on the card, you do not owe a bill, since you are using money you already have.

A prepaid card is also called a prepaid debit card, or a stored-value card. You can buy prepaid cards at many local stores and online. Shop carefully for your prepaid card. Many come with fees and charges that will be deducted from the amount of money you can spend.

Scammers are using prepaid cards as a new way to steal your money. They may call or email you and tell you that to win a prize or pay an overdue bill, you have to go buy a prepaid card. The scammer will tell you how much money to put on the card. Then the scammer will ask you for the serial number on the back of the card. This number allows the scammer to transfer the money from your card onto one of his cards.

Why scammers use prepaid cards

  • Prepaid cards are hard to trace
  • No photo identification is needed to collect or spend money loaded on a prepaid card
  • One card can be loaded with thousands of dollars
  • Transactions are quick


And What to Do.

Prepaid cards can be a useful way to pay for things. But treat them carefully so a scammer doesn’t get access to your money.

How to protect your prepaid cards

  • Never give anyone the serial number
  • Do not send prepaid cards in the mail

  • Never give another person the receipt from something you bought with your prepaid card

  • If an online seller tells you to pay with a certain prepaid card, make sure that the seller is approved by the card company. For example, green dot MoneyPak is one prepaid card that seems to be popular with scammers. If you are told by an online seller that you must pay with a “green dot” card, you can check online to see if that seller is approved by the green dot company. The stores that accept the green dot card are listed on the company’s website at Other prepaid cards also list their approved partners on their websites.

  • If a caller tells you that you have an unpaid bill that you must pay with a prepaid card, it is a scam. Hang up and call the company directly. You can confirm that your account is okay. You can also let the company know about the scam.

If you receive phone calls or emails from scammers asking you to buy a prepaid card, tell the Department of Consumer Protection. Give us as much information as you can. You can email us at

Always remember Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance is here to keep you protected  .

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


If you haven’t already done so, be sure to go check out our APP.  This APP keeps your insurance needs right at your fingertips.

  • Pay your bill online
  • File a claim
  • Get a quote
  • Accident check list
  • Voice record incidents
  • After loss services
  • Weather Updates
  • Town Happenings
  • Social networking integration and so much more


Apple App store   Google play store

Sales Tax Free Week

tax free week ct

Sales Tax Week

Sales Tax Week is back in Connecticut August 17th through August 23th.    With three children, I will definitely be shopping this week. The school supply list alone will be a great savings not even mentioning the new school clothes  that need to be bought.  Kids grow way too fast.


The Tax Free Week includes all clothing and footwear costing less than $300 per item.  Goods that are not covered under the Tax Free Week include items that solely intended for use in sporting activities and accessories such as jewelry, watches, handbags etc.  To see the full list you can visit  CT.Gov


The National Retail Federation said parents will spend an average of $101 on school supplies, $231 on clothing and $124 on shoes. They are numbers that have increased since last year.


School will be back in full swing in the next few weeks. This is a great time to head out for school shopping and save on the sales tax this week.  With cost of everything rising, gas, utility cost and just the cost of living why not save some money when school shopping.


So why not take advantage of the Tax Free Week and get all your back to school shopping done and the money you save on taxes this week could get used for gas or other back to school needs your children might need.

And for more cost saving tips for back to school check out our blog Saving money on back-to-school shopping.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

Saving Money On Back To School Shopping

back to school shoppingBack to school shopping is here and we all know the children want the best of everything that’s out there.  This can get tough on a family in this economy.  We as parents have to find creative ways to shop on a budget for school and still make the children happy.  Here are a few tips and tricks that might help you save some money when headed out for school shopping this year.

Hold off till school starts before buying your children the “trendy” gear.  Why, because what they like right now will change as soon as they see what their friends have.  Don’t waste your money now, as you’ll just have to buy it again.

End-of-Summer Sales

This is great time to hit the sales every store is already having.  You can save a ton on clothing this way, and lets face it they won’t be wearing winter clothing just yet.  So why not save money and grab some of their school clothing during these great sales.

Stick to the list

You know that daunting list you get from the teacher’s with the supplies needed?  Stick to it, because even though there is a ton of other cute supplies the children might like, more than likely they won’t use them.  So only get what’s on the list and save yourself some money.

Online Sites

There are a ton of online sell, trade and barter groups on Facebook.  Check these sites out and see if there is anything your children could use.  Not only do you save a ton of money, but you’re helping another parent by getting it off their hands. Also give craigslist a try under “Baby and Kids”.  You’ll find a variety of options to choose from.

Raid your cabinets

You’ll be surprised what you just might find.  All those office supplies you’ve been stocking up.  See if anything you have might already be on the teacher’s list.  Make a game out of it with the children.  Give them the list and let them raid your cabinet to see how many items they can find.

Back to school shopping doesn’t have to break the bank with these simple tips and tricks.  Hopefully you will find a few of these useful.  Happy Shopping!!!!

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance


College: Managing Your Money

college debt

photo courtesy of

With college back in session shortly we thought this article from would be helpful in educating your college students the proper ways to manage their money and credit.  College debt ads up quickly, so here are some great tips to help you manage that debt and start college out on the right step.

Originally posted on
In these difficult economic times, many of today’s college students are turning to credit cards to finance their college education, using them for everything from everyday necessities to books and tuition. Unfortunately, this can result in an excessive amount of debt.
Young people are frequently unaware that their bill paying habits will affect their credit history. Many graduates do not think they need to worry about their credit score until they apply for a mortgage to buy a house. So it can come as a shock when they find out that potential landlords, employers and even utilities companies routinely access credit scores as part of their application process.
Learning how to manage student loans, credit cards and other debt is essential for college students. Establishing financial skills early on and working to build a good credit standing will affect their lives both now and in the future.
A person’s credit history begins with their first credit card. And good credit can help savvy college graduates save money in the following situations:
  • Applying for a Job. Potential employers now routinely check people’s credit history as part of the hiring process. With so many applicants vying for positions in today’s tough economy, a solid credit history may provide a competitive advantage in the job market.
  • Renting an Apartment. Landlords often rent to the applicant with the best credit history. In many urban areas, available housing is at a premium. Those with a good credit history will more easily find an apartment to rent and may avoid a larger security deposit and/or the need to have the lease co-signed by a guarantor, such as a parent or an employer.
  • Signing Up for Utilities. Local phone, cable, electric and gas companies will on occasion waive cash deposits for customers with solid, established credit histories.
  • Securing Loans. Having a better credit history makes it easier to get a car loan or mortgage, often at a more competitive interest rate.
  • Insuring a Car or Home. Having good credit can ultimately save consumers money on auto and homeowners or renters insurance, through a stronger credit-based insurance score.

For more tips and to read the whole article from go here

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job



Back To School Tips

back to schoolWell it’s a sign that summer is coming to an end when you see all the back to school supplies filling the store shelves.  For many children they will be heading back to school within the next two or so weeks. So to help make heading back to school a smooth transition we thought we would share some good back to school tips from AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).

First Day Butterflies

  • Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school.  They will see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh their positive memories about previous years, when they may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because they had a good time.

Backpack Safety


  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.

School Bus Safety


  • Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
  • Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Make sure your child walks where she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see her, too).
  • Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.

These are just a few of the tips they offer for a safe, fun and smooth transition back to school. To see all the great tips from AAP go here.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job











When is the last time you changed your password?

identity theft insurance

google image

A recent article from NBCNEWS discusses the recent breach from a Russian crime ring, where they have stolen 1.2 billion username and password combos and more than 500 million email addresses.  These numbers are staggering, which likely means you could be one of them on this list.

Given the scope, it’s a smart decision to change your passwords on your accounts immediately to limit the potential impact of the breach affecting you. Experts state that is time to take more steps to keep you protected with big data breaches more common.  They suggest the following steps to keep you better protected.

Pick a better password: one that is not hard for you to remember but not easy for others to guess. Attorney Parry Aftab suggests, picking a sentence that can be boiled down to a string of letters, numbers and symbols. Example given:  “On Jason’s fourth birthday, he ate cake!,” which might boil down to “OJ4thbh8c!”

Beef up authentication:  Places like Gmail and Twitter, offer two-step verification. This requires users that log in from a new device to enter a code that gets sent to your mobile phone linked to your account.

Password Protect:  Make sure your phone, computer and tablet are password protected.  Attorney Aftab says not to set sites to automatically log in or save passwords.

Scan your computer:  According to experts, “Malware steals much more data than that each year. If there’s malware on your personal or work devices, other password protections won’t help at all. It will just grab the updated passwords.” Be sure to install software to help scan for viruses, spyware and other issues to keep your computer safe and be sure to scan regularly.

Insurance: Another simple solution is to purchase identity theft protection that can be added to your connecticut homeowners insurance policy.  For about $25.00 a year you have that added protection.  Depending on the company you can get coverage around $15,000-$25,000 which will cover expenses to get back your identity, such as lost time at work, lawyers and more.

With data breaches happening more often these days it’s better to take the necessary precautions to stay safe and protect your identity from being stolen.  Give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call to help you with adding on identity theft protection to your connecticut homeowners policy and have the peace of mind that you are protected.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

source info: NBCNEWS