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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The Jewish National Fund on May 8 will present James Wagner with its Guardian of Israel Award

The Jewish National Fund on May 8 will present James Wagner with its Guardian of  Israel Award…

Read more:
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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The four types of insurance most businesses need


Small- and medium-size businesses have a lot of options when it comes to insurance. But there are four basic types of insurance policies that most businesses need to have, even if they’re the smallest of companies:

Property insurance. This type of insurance covers buildings as well as personal property such as office furniture, inventory, computers and machinery.

Liability insurance. Having enough liability coverage is important for a growing company. Any  business can be sued. A client could sue after a fall in your office. A customer could file a lawsuit claiming a product is defective. Liability insurance can help a business prevent a financial disaster in the event of a lawsuit.

Auto insurance. Cars driven for your business should be covered under a separate, commercial auto insurance policy.

Workers compensation insurance. Nearly all states require businesses that meet certain size thresholds to have workers compensation insurance in the event an employee is injured or dies on the job.

Questions? We would be glad to review your company’s insurance needs.

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Make this the year to get prepared


Each year, millions of families are impacted by disaster. Yet many of us are still unprepared. So why not make this the year you finally make being prepared a priority?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to make it easier to get prepared for a wide range of emergencies and disasters. Through the Resolve to Be Ready campaign sponsored by and FEMA, you can learn what it takes to prepare your family for natural disasters, power outages and other unpredictable events. Many families have taken few steps to get prepared because the process seems so time-consuming and costly. But in reality, even small steps that cost little or nothing at all can make a huge difference when disaster hits.

Want to learn more? Check out the Resolve to Be Ready web site. Your insurance provider can be a valuable partner in any preparedness effort. Give us a call today!

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