Category Archives: Property

Fire Protection Tips for Businesses and Residents

As the weather gets colder, it’s likely that we’ll turn up our heat and brace ourselves for the winter ahead. But because the use of heating systems increases during the cold weather months, so does the frequency of residential and business fires. In fact, more than 50,000 heating fires in residential buildings occur each year in the United States, a majority of which happen from November through March, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

It is important that business owners and homeowners alike prepare their employees and families for potential fires, and practice important prevention habits. Grange Insurance, a Columbus, Ohio-based insurance company, offers advice on how to play it safe when it comes to fire.

1. Make sure you’re covered.

Homeowners, renters and business owners should ensure they have the proper insurance coverage in place in case of a fire. Most policies cover fire damage to residences or businesses, as well as personal belongings, but may have some limitations. In addition, most commercial insurance will protect business owners from liability if an employee is injured or loss of life occurs during a fire.

“Review your policy to ensure your personal property is covered, especially expensive items such as machinery or jewelry. It’s also important to understand whether or not your policy provides additional living expense coverage, which can help pay for you to stay in a hotel or temporary housing while your home is rebuilt or repaired,” said Ken Kozek, Vice President of Claims at Grange Insurance. “If you do not already have a homeowner, condo or renter’s policy in place, consider investing in one. As a business owner, it is imperative that you have a proper policy to protect against liability and property damage or loss.”

2. Practice makes perfect.

It only takes minutes for a house or business to become engulfed in flames, making a planned escape route a necessity. Plan an escape route and post it where everyone can easily find it. Practice your route at least twice per year at different times during the day, especially with children or people with disabilities.

Designate a meeting spot a safe distance from your home or business, such as a tree across the street, so you can assure everyone made it out safely. Alert the fire

department if someone is missing or if pets are trapped so they can perform a rescue safely.

3. Fire-proof your home or business.

Stop the fire before it starts by eliminating potential hazards in your home or business. Equip yourself with fire extinguishers, regularly tested smoke alarms and sprinklers. Keep curtains, towels or any items that can easily catch fire at least three feet from heaters. Business owners should also consider posting “No Smoking” signs around machinery and flammable materials to alert employees of potential danger.

It is also important to protect important papers including birth certificates, property inventory and proof of its value, such as receipts, titles and appraisals.

“In the case of a fire, business owners may be required to show proof of property value to ensure full coverage from their insurance policy,” said Kozek. “Make copies of all your important documents, and keep the originals in a bank safe deposit box outside of your business.”

4. Memorize emergency contact information.

Make sure that everyone in your home knows how to dial 9-1-1. Business owners and families should also post emergency phone numbers in a central place such as on the refrigerator or in the break room so they are easily accessible.

Hastings Mutual Insurance Company Recognized Again For Financial Strength

Hastings, Michigan, October 13, 2010: For more than 125 years Hastings Mutual Insurance Company has focused on financial strength and responsible management of its assets. The company’s dedication to excellence has paid off as reflected in their recent results. This year Hastings Mutual Insurance Company is again awarded the highest honors by Weiss Ratings (formerly TheStreet.com) and by Demotech, Inc.

Weiss is an independent research and ratings company that has been in operation since 1971. Melissa Gannon, vice president at Weiss Ratings, states, “Unlike most other rating agencies, Weiss Ratings accepts no compensation of any kind from the companies it rates.” Weiss announced on October 4, 2010, that Hastings Mutual is again rated “A+” based on the company’s strong financial solvency.

The Weiss score is based on the current and future financial stability offered to customers, vendors and employees. Less than 1 percent of financial companies reviewed meet the criteria for this exceptional rating.

This latest honor follows a recent Demotech, Inc. announcement that Hastings Mutual is again a “Super Regional™” carrier. Published in the May 17, 2010 issue of Insurance Journal, Demotech Inc. revealed their list of Super Regional™ P/C insurers. Of the 2,700 companies analyzed, only 165 qualified as a Super Regional™.

Joseph Petrelli, president at Demotech states, “These companies are strong, stable markets that have been working hard for their agents and insureds.”

“This recognition is an honor, and we know that the partnership we share with our agents is integral to our success,” remarked Bill Wallace, president and CEO at Hastings Mutual Insurance Company. “We look forward to our Company’s future and Hastings Mutual’s continued success with our agents.”

About Hastings Mutual Insurance Company

Hastings Mutual is an award winning, A. M. Best: A+ rated, regional Property Casualty insurance company. Hastings Mutual operates in six Midwestern states. The company, based in Hastings, Michigan, has been writing commercial, farm, and personal lines business through independent agents since 1885. For more information about Hastings Mutual and their 125th anniversary, access the company web site: www.hastingsmutual.com.