Three ways insurance fraud can hurt your business

Fraud Background Design Criminal Offence Word Cloud ConceptInsurance fraud comes in many forms. But we don’t want you and your business to be a victim. That’s why we wanted you to know about these three increasingly common scams:

Slip-and-fall-scams. Some people take a fall on purpose and not all are acrobats and stuntmen. Restaurateurs in particular can be an easy target, as the fraudster plays heavily on the emotions of onlookers. In another variant of this scheme a patron will claim they took a fall in the restroom, making third-party verification difficult.

Worker’s compensation fraud. Some fraudsters will fake a workman’s compensation claim, accusing an employer of mistreatment on the job. Sometimes there is a kernel of truth to the claim, but the claimant exaggerates the injury or medical condition.

Fake fender-benders. Stunt drivers stage spine-tingling accidents, but they’re not the only ones who execute fake accidents. Insurance fraudsters put time and careful thought into crafting fake accidents.

What’s the best course of action if you suspect insurance fraud? Call your insurance agent!  Here’s more information about the forms of insurance fraud and the steps to reporting this type of crime.

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Evan Perilstein to be honored at Pittsburgh 50 Finest Gala Benefitting Cystic Fibrosis

Pittsburgh 50 Finest

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Avoid these five common car-seat mistakes

When you brought the baby’s new car seat home, did you read the instructions? Twenty percent of drivers transporting young children did not, according to a recent survey. It’s often a life-and-death decision, as car crashes are the leading killer of children from infancy to 12 years of age. When not installed correctly, a car seat may become a death trap for your precious package.

Infant baby girl in car seatAll 50 states have laws requiring children under three years of age be buckled into an approved safety seat. Yet, here’s the rub: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost three out of four car seats have not been installed correctly.

The most common mistakes: Not tightening the seat straps, failing to adhere to the manufacturer’s safety instructions, and using the seat belt incorrectly. What’s more, 20 percent of all drivers transporting child passengers admitted that they did not read the instructions for properly installing their child seat. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infant passengers and 54 percent for toddlers from one to four years old, but the seat must be installed correctly to offer the maximum protection.

Here are some of the most common mistakes caregivers make when installing car seats.

1. Not matching the seat to the child’s weight or age. Make sure you check the label on the car seat to make sure it is appropriate to your child’s age, weight and height. Also, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, to check for recalls and view safety ratings for safety restraints.

2. Incorrectly installing a child restraint. The best way to know if your child safety seat has been properly installed is to shake the seat and see if you can move it more than one inch from side to side, or front to back. If there’s too much play, tighten the straps.

3. Prematurely turning the seat to the forward-facing position. In general, car seats should be in the rear-facing position, until the child is at least a year old, or has reached a weight of between 20 and 30 pounds. Once a child exceeds the maximum weight listed for a car seat, replace it with a booster seat. Children grow very quickly, so stay on top of it.

4. Incorrectly using the safety-seat straps. Simple mistakes can prove deadly. Slipping a seat belt through the wrong harness slot, improper seat belt placement, not ensuring the harness clip is even with the baby’s shoulders or armpits — any one of these can prove fatal to your baby, in the event of a crash.

5. Read the instructions. If it is a used seat, you can find the directions online. If you are having difficulty installing the seat, your local police will inspect a used seat and assist you in understanding how to buckle up your child’s safety seat properly. Lastly, check out this video from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which gives clear instructions on how to protect your precious cargo in a crash. Drive safely!

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The right insurance when your employees are behind the wheel

keys to the car

You’re busy and one of your employees offers to pick up a client coming in on the next flight.

Should they use their own car? Should they drive yours?

Small business owners may not realize the liability exposure they face when an employee drives on business, whether they are driving a company-owned vehicle or their own. That’s why it’s such a good idea to craft a business driving policy, which spells out which vehicle — their own or their company’s —employees should drive. It also should be clear what employees should — and shouldn’t do — behind the wheel. We can help you understand what risks you face when your employees get behind the wheel and the best ways to manage those risks.

It’s also a good idea to review your business auto insurance policy at least once a year. We can help make sure that you have the right type of insurance and enough to protect you and your business.

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Wildfires and insurance: What you need to know

4658880_SIt’s wildfire season. Here’s what you need to know about fire danger and your homeowner’s insurance coverage:

Fires are a covered peril. Homeowner’s insurance generally covers all fires, including wildfires, unless the policy holder intentionally sets their home on fire. Policies vary, but any outbuildings or unattached structures on your property may also be covered up to certain limits.

After a fire, floods often follow. Fire-damaged areas are much more susceptible to flooding because of the lack of vegetation and fire-damaged soil. While fires are covered under homeowner’s policies, flooding is not. You must purchase flood insurance for your home to be covered, and there’s typically a 30-day waiting period for all flood policies.

Firebreaks definitely help. Clear a natural firebreak between your home and surrounding trees, brush and uncut fields and even a neighbor’s unkempt back yard. Here’s some information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on how to protect yourself and your home, before, during and even after, a wildfire.

Preparation is key. Having a home inventory, emergency kit and an emergency plan are key to making any fire less stressful on your family.

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Do home-based businesses need liability insurance?

Golden retriever pet dog sitting isolated on white backgroundHere’s an interesting stat: Half of all small businesses are home-based. For those Mom-and-Pops operating out of a home, the need for liability insurance may be overlooked simply because it’s such a small operation.

Who would sue me? My clients love me!

Yet that line of reasoning can lead to a lot of heartache when life-changing events suddenly occur. Dog bite victims really do retain attorneys and those lawyers may take the issue before the courts.

For Moms or Dads who want to work at home and share parenting responsibilities, remember small businesses can face lawsuits, too. Don’t negate the need for liability coverage because your sales are modest.

This is how a legal disaster often plays out for a micro business. A stay-at-home parent starts a one-person business. The business grows and those $1,000 monthly sales soon blossom into something more than pin money and less than a full-fledged business.

Yet, even though the business is nascent and revenues are modest, the need for a robust liability policy should not be discounted based on the fact that you only have six clients visiting your home business. All it takes is one mishap, like a dog bite, to sour the relationship. A business owner policy, also referred to as a BOP, bundles an assortment of coverages for a small business. It’s an affordable option for a home-based enterprise.

It’s always a good idea to keep pets safely restrained while clients are in your home or business. One accident can sour a long-term relationship. When that friendly customer always brings a doggy treat for your pooch, it’s easy to think the relationship will never sour. But one life-changing dog bite could turn a long-standing relationship into an adversarial one.

Talk with an insurance agent about the special liabilities posed by operating a home business.

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Kelly Strayhorn Theater to Present Full Bloom Summer Dance Party This Weekend!

Full Bloom is this weekend and tickets are going fast!

We’re calling for warm weather, sunny skies and the hottest dance party in the neighborhood. Don’t miss out on the party that’s been voted one of the best of the year by both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tribune Review.

Take to the skies with a spectacular evening of live music, dancing, spellbinding performances, and the best food and drink in the neighborhood.


  • Outdoor Beer Garden and      concert with fan-favorite Vie      Boheme
  • VIP Reception with DJ Lovelife and      an exclusive opera performance by Anqwenique Wingfield & REDMOOSEPRESENTS with Continuum Dance Theatre
  • Live piano and      guitar by Michael      Chapman and Kathleen      Andrews
  • Dance music by TITLETOWN Soul      & Funk Party’s J. Malls      and DJ Vex
  • Aerialist Kelsey Keller and      more!

The proceeds from Full Bloom support East Liberty LIVE!, KST’s summer arts series for audiences who work, live, and play in the East End. From live concerts and daytime dance parties that will spice up your lunch break, to inspiring performances from local and international artists, East Liberty LIVE! brings engaging entertainment to East End families, youth, and neighborhood residents.

Join us and find out why FULL BLOOM has made the Post-Gazette and Tribune Review’s Top-10 lists for “Best Party”.

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Connecting with your family over dinner

22849134_SIs this what your family looks like when spending time together? Smartphones and tablets out, each person focused on their own little techno-infused world?

Eating dinner as a family is a great opportunity to put everything else aside and reconnect. But sometimes it can be hard to get your family — and especially your teens — to open up. That’s why we love this list of 50 Family Dinner Conversation Starters from Six Sisters’ Stuff. If you find yourself with nothing to talk about once dinner is on the table, pull out a few of these and you’re sure to have a great conversation going in no time!

Be sure to check out the full list for more ideas. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • If you could pick your own name, what would it be?
  • Where would you like to go on our next family vacation?
  • What two items would you grab if the house was on fire?
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Protecting one of your most important business tools

Young Business woman speaking mobile phoneWhat would you do without your cellphone? It’s likely you’d feel as lost as a fish out of water. Cellular technology is your umbilical cord to … well, just about everything in your world! Here are some tips for protecting one of your most important day-to-day tools:

Change your password once a month. Protect sensitive data that’s on your phone through a passcode that you change at least once each month —more frequently if you have a mobile wallet or pay with your phone.

Connect your phone to the cloud. Backing up your phone data to the cloud will save you tons of grief should your phone suffer damage or be stolen.

Update your apps frequently. Set up automatic reminders, if you need them. Developers are constantly updating apps to deal with security issues or bugs that may pop up. When you install a new app or update one you already have, choose settings that will alert you when an updated app is available for you to download.

Know your coverage. Is your cell phone covered by insurance? Should you purchase extra coverage to protect it? We can help provide the information you need to make an informed decision!

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Are used car seats safe?

10603993_SCar seats are expensive. That’s why you’re thinking of accepting one from a friend who doesn’t need hers anymore. But should you put your children in a used car seat? Safety experts say you’ll want to ask some important questions before you do:

When was it manufactured? Look on the label for the date it was made. If the seat was made more than six years ago, think twice about using it with your children. It may not meet today’s safety standards.

Has it been recalled? Check with the car seat manufacturer to see if the seat has been subject to any recalls. Some of the most popular brands of car seats have been recalled over the past year. To find out if your child safety seat has been recalled, you can call the Auto Safety Hotline ( 888-DASH-2-DOT ).

Does it have the instructions? You need the instructions to know how to install the car seat. One of the biggest issues with car seats is that they are improperly installed by parents.

Has it been in any type of accident? Don’t use any car seat that’s been in an accident, even a minor one. You also may want to pass on any seats that are showing signs of wear.

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