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Make your home winter ready

Whether you’re ready for it or not, fall has arrived, and winter is just around the corner. The days are getting shorter and the temperature is starting to drop. So, it’s a good time to get some seasonal maintenance done before the snow and frost comes.  We have compiled a list of 10 things you need to do to protect your home this winter.

  1. Clean your eavestroughs and downspouts. As leaves begin to fall they will undoubtedly fill your eavestroughs and downspouts, blocking water from making it off your roof and away from your house.
  2. Inspect your roof and chimney. Take a look over your roof/chimney, even if it is done from the ground. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles.
  3. Inspect all windows and doors for leaks.
  4. Shut-off and drain outside faucets and in ground sprinkler systems. The faucets you use outside in the summer to wash your car, or water your grass are susceptible to freezing. If proper care is not taken to shut-off and drain these lines before winter, it can lead to pipes and faucets bursting or cracking
  5. Clean and inspect your furnace. If required, hire a professional to perform any necessary maintenances.
  6. Clean and inspect your dryer vent. Make sure there is no excess of lint in the dryer vent. Also, it is important to constantly check the external vent throughout the winter to ensure nothing is blocking it.
  7. Winterize outdoor lawn equipment. Empty the gas tank, disconnect the spark plug, and drain the oil. Please reach out to your manufacture for specific details on winterizing.
  8. Put away your summer furniture. Keep your patio furniture safe from the elements (including rust) by covering your pieces with a heavy tarp. If you have room, it is recommended you store furniture in a shed, garage or basement.
  9. Trim down and remove scrubs, brushes and trees. This prevents them from falling and damaging your home during a winter storm.
  10. Break out your shovels and check your snow blower. Change the oil in your snow blower and replace the spark plug if needed.

Lastly, it is always a good idea to touch base with your insurance company to make sure you have the proper coverage to protect your property this winter. If you have any questions or to review your coverage, please reach out to one of our friendly staff members today at 1.855.726.8627.

 

Halloween safety

With superhero’s, unicorns and a few mandalorians set to visit our homes this evening, we want to remind everyone to be extra careful and safely enjoy a spooktacular Halloween.

Look good and scary out there:

  • Be visible. Wear a light/bright colored costume. Add reflective tape or arm bands to increase visibility.
  • Ensure your costume is made of flame-retardant material.
  • Make sure your costume fits well to avoid ghostly falls or stumbles.
  • Use flashlights and glow sticks; they are great accessories for any costume and can keep kids visible to motorists.
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until an adult can look over them.

Be street smart:

  • Parents/guardians should help plan and be aware of the route that their children will travel for trick-or-treating.
  • Children should be able to recognize places where they can get help: police station, fire station or any other well-known public place.
  • Stay on the sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left-hand side of the street facing traffic.
  • Never enter a house. Only accept treats at the front door.

Be COVID-19 smart:

  • Be respectful of households that are not handing out treats this year, and skip any residence that has a sign on the door.
  • Make sure children wash their hands before they leave home, when they arrive home, and before eating any treats.
  • Avoid activities that pose a high risk for transmission (i.e. bobbing for apples, decorating cookies).

Take extra care if driving:

  • Slow down and be extra cautious. Expect that trick-or-treaters may forget to look both ways before rushing across the street or a driveway in their search for treats.
  • Watch for people using crosswalks.
  • Do not drive impaired.
  • Ensure that your costume does not interfere with the safe operation of the motor vehicle. Costumes should not restrict movement, impede vision or prevent anyone in the vehicle from buckling up.

Have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!

Cyber Security Month

October is cyber security month, and this year the theme is “life happens online”. Whether it be work or fun, the majority of us use the internet every day. The COVID-19 restrictions have highlighted how important the internet is; We use it as a way to connect with other people, share information, entertainment, or socialize.

While there are countless benefits to having the world at our finger tips, there are significant cyber risks. The government of Canada have highlighted the four most common ways people use the internet and how to do so safely

1. Staying in touch – No matter what’s going on around us, the internet keeps us in touch with our favourite people. Staying safe while being social can be done easily when you follow these tips
• Avoid phishing scams, don’t open any emails from people you don’t know. If you are questioning the legitimacy of an email, reach out to the sender to confirm it isn’t spam.
• Keep private information private. Be mindful when you are posting personal information on social media.
• Select a password carefully. When choosing a password, it should be strong, complex, and different from passwords on your other accounts. We recommend enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA).

2. Sharing special moments – We’re not always able to be around for the big things in life, but the internet has made it easier to share in those moments even when we can’t be there in person. From the video of your baby’s first steps to photos of their graduation. Sharing content with friends and family online is one of the biggest benefits of the internet. But we need to ensure that it is done safely and is seen only by the attended person. Installing malware and antivirus software on your computer can protect you while online.
Technology is amazing, until it doesn’t work. So, make sure you back up of photos/files or have a hard copy. If something does happen and your computer becomes corrupt you do not want to lose all your special moments.

3. Working and networking – The internet has allowed many Canadians to work remotely over the past year and a half. While some Canadians might be back in the office this fall, it’s likely many still aren’t— and some might be working from home permanently. It is vital for companies to be protected when having staff working remotely. Make sure your staff is using a secure private network and isn’t using public networks. We also recommend that you teach your staff about Workplace and career-specific cyber threats.

4. Operating businesses remotely – This past year has been a difficult one for many Canadians, and businesses had to face many unique challenges. Small and medium businesses had to shift suddenly from business as usual. The internet allowed countless businesses to shift business models to remain open while keeping their employees safe through the COVID – 19 Pandemic. If your company has moved to offer primarily digital services you need to revaluate your insurance policy to cover the updated cyber risks.

For more information visit https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/en/cyber-security-awareness-month.
For a free cyber insurance review please call us today at 1-855-726-8627.

 

Cruise Control Safety

Cruise control is a feature that is available on the majority of vehicles on the road today. Cruise control, sometimes known as speed control or auto cruise, is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. It allows the driver to maintain the vehicle’s speed without applying or holding pressure to the gas peddle. When used correctly and responsibly, cruise control has many benefits, such as reduced fuel consumption, maintaining a constant speed, and driving below the speed limit.

But, to operate a vehicle safely, there are several procurations that you need to follow when cruise control is activated:

  1. Do not under any circumstance take your eyes off the road.
  2. Ensure that you read the owner’s manual to properly use the cruise control on the make and model of the specific vehicle you are driving.
  3. Evaluate driving conditions – Cruise control is not designed to be used in adverse weather conditions such as snow, ice, rain, fog, etc.
  4. Do not set the cruise control above the posted speed limit.
  5. Do not use cruise control on roads with sharp or frequent turns.
  6. Do not use if you, the driver, are tired or drowsy.
  7. Do not use in high-traffic areas with the potential for stop-and-go traffic.
  8. Ensure you leave adequate spacing between you and the vehicle in front of you. Your reaction time decreases by almost five seconds.

 

For more information on Cruise Control, visit https://tc.canada.ca/en/road-transportation/driver-assistance-technologies/adaptive-cruise-control.

Four Way Stop Instructions

Four Way Stop Instructions

  1. First come, first served.

The first car to arrive at the intersection receives the right of way.

  1. Yield to right.

When two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop simultaneously and are located side-by-side, the car furthest to the right has the right of way. If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed.

  1. Straight over turning.

When two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head, and one of the vehicles intends to turn, and the other intends to go straight, the vehicle going straight has the right of way. Make sure you also use your signals!

  1. Right over left.

When two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head, and one of the vehicles intends to turn right, and the other intends to turn left, the vehicle turning right has the right of way.

Tips for a Properly Fitting Life Jacket

Tips for a Properly Fitting Life Jacket.

A life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device) is made according to a person’s size, weight, gender and boating activity (wakeboarding, skiing, kayaking, etc.). Every life jacket manufacturer has its own sizing system, and it’s crucial to confirm sizing before purchasing any brand of a life jacket. And of course, always try on a vest to be sure it fits before you hit the water.
Below are tips to make sure you have a properly fitting life jacket:

1. Check the life jacket label for the appropriate weight or chest size. The label located on the inside of the like jacket will indicate the size and weight of the intended user. The user must be within the intended range. Note, If you are over 6ft tall, it is recommended that you wear a tall-fitting life jacket.
2. Buckle all straps and tighten or zip up all zippers. Make sure all straps can be buckled, and zippers zipped. If the jacket can not be fully fastened, then you will require a different size or brand.
3. If you can put more than 3 finger-widths in the gap between your shoulders and the shoulder area of the life vest, your life jacket is too big. That jacket will not keep your head above water.
4. Once the jacket “appears” secure, the user should lift their arms overhead. If the jacket rides up to your ears, it is too big.

It is absolutely essential to make sure that everyone on your boat has a life jacket that fits them properly BEFORE you leave the shore.
Happy Boating

Forest Fire Season in Atlantic Canada

It is Forest Fire Season in Atlantic Canada. 

Is there any better feeling than sitting around a campfire on a clear evening with friends and family snacking on a perfectly gooey marshmallow? We’d argue that there is not!

But, before doing so, we need to make sure it is safe to have a fire. Atlantic Canada is full of woods, so it is important to have fire safety top of mind to reduce the risk of forest fires. Last year both NL and NS had over 150 forest fires. Wildfire prevention is a responsibility we all share. Being aware of safe fire practices and understanding the hazards of wildfires is critical in reducing human-caused fires.

Forest Fire Season is in effect for Newfoundland from May 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021.
Forest Fire Season is in effect for Labrador from May 15, 2021, to September 30, 2021.
Forest Fire Season is in effect for Nova Scotia from March 15th-October 15th.

The Fire Hazard map is created by the province to inform the public of the risk of a wildfire occurring. The Fire Hazard is a relative rating of how easy it is to ignite forest vegetation and available fuels, how fast a fire may spread, and how difficult a fire may be to control.
For the Newfoundland and Labrador Fire Hazard Index Map, click here – https://www.gov.nl.ca/ffa/public-education/forestry/forest-fires/fire-hazard-map/.
For the Nova Scotia Fire Hazard Index Map, click here – https://novascotia.ca/burnsafe/.

Tips for opening your cabin for the summer

It’s finally time to open your cabin for the season, but before you enjoy all the perks of having a home away from home, there is some work to be done first.
We have compiled a list of 11 essential tasks to complete when getting your cabin ready for the summer season!

1. You must inspect the interior and exterior of your property upon arriving for the first time of the season.
2. Ensure your seasonal property insurance policy is up to date; This includes ATVs, boats, and other leisure vehicles.
3. Inspect the property for any damages that occurred over the winter; Including sheds and decks.
4. Arrange to have your utilities turned on, such as electricity, cable, phone, or other services.
5. Check the water lines for breakage before turning on the cold water supply and hot water tank.
6. Turn on the septic system and then flush your toilet to make sure it’s running correctly.
7. Make certain the chimney stack is in good condition before lighting a fire.
8. Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
9. Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged and in working order.
10. Make a list of the things you need to bring to the cabin, items that you may have taken out for the winter.
11. Look for signs of insects, rodents, and other animals in cupboards and closets.

By following this checklist, you’ll be sitting by the campfire in no time! If you have any questions about your cabin’s insurance policy, please give us a call today at 1-855-726-8627.

National Road Safety Week 2021

National Road Safety Week 2021

Due to the high potential for injury and death, drivers hold a lot of responsibility when operating an automobile. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to take the necessary steps to keep our roads safe; we can do this by understanding and following all respective rules and regulations.

The Canadian Safety Council has designated May 18-24, 2021 as National Road Safety Week. Accordingly, we have compiled a list of 7 road safety practices to help keep our communities safer.

 #1 Don’t Drive Impaired.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs is dangerous and has severe consequences for you and the people around you.

Between 1,250 and 1,500 people are killed, and more than 63,000 are injured each year in Canada by impairment-related crashes.

Do not drive under the influence. Instead, plan ahead – arrange for a designated driver or call a taxi/ride-sharing service.

 # 2 Obey the “Move Over” Law

The “Move Over” Law is designed to protect those who drive emergency and other designated vehicles.

Upon approaching emergency vehicles, including tow trucks, that are stopped on a highway with their emergency lights on, drivers must slow down and proceed with caution, and move to another lane if it is safe to do so.

#3 Be Careful in Construction Zones

-Watch for construction zones*

-Use caution

-Slow down

-Obey construction zone signs

-Obey traffic-control personnel

*Remember – Fines double in construction zones.

#4 Zipper Merge

The “zipper merge” is a late merge strategy where all available lanes of traffic are used right up to the lane closure, where drivers then alternate into the open lane.

This looks like teeth on a zipper coming together. It’s faster, safer, and will reduce congestion.

Please do not try to merge before the bottleneck.

 

# 5 Obey Posted Speed Limits

Always be aware of the posted speed limit of the road you are driving on, and ensure you are abiding by it.

In fact, 27% of traffic fatalities on Canadian roads are the direct result of speeding.

But remember, posted speed limits are set for ideal driving conditions. Therefore, you will need to reduce your speed in unfavourable conditions, such as rain, fog, or snow.

#6 Watch for Wildlife.

Atlantic Canada has a lot of beautiful wildlife; however, these animals can cause havoc on our roadways. Over 45,000 non-fatal collisions with wildlife occur each year.

Most wildlife collisions occur between dawn and dusk in rural areas. So, be sure to watch your speed and scan the environment ahead.

#7 Establish a Reverse Parking Policy at your Office.

Reverse parking is significantly safer and prevents drivers from having to blindly back out of a parking spot.

Rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of collision, accounting for almost 30% of all crashes.

Make your workplace as safe as it can be by preventing employees from driving head-on into a parking spot.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about road safety tips, please reach out to one of our friendly staff members at 1.855.726.862.

How Condominium Corporations Can Secure Better and More Affordable Insurance Coverage

Canadian Condominium Institute

As a board member for a condominium corporation, you have no doubt recognized that obtaining condominium insurance has become increasingly difficult. One challenge is the rising costs of claims in condominiums generally which have forced insurance companies to reconsider insuring this line of business and caused those still covering condominiums to put forward significant rate increases.

With the frequency and severity of claims that are occurring in condominiums, the number of insurance companies offering condominium coverage will continue to shrink. For those who will continue to insure condominiums, Insurance experts are expecting a 15-20% rate increase in 2021 for this sector with many insurance companies simply exiting this line of business. In fact, premium increases and a reduction in the number of insurance companies willing to offer coverage is common in a hardening insurance market which is the situation we currently face in commercial insurance generally and the condominium market in particular. During a hard market we can expect higher premiums, more stringent underwriting criteria, fewer insurance
companies writing policies, and less competition among carriers.

With less options available it is more important than ever for condominium boards to be prudent in developing a risk management strategy and demonstrating to the insurance companies that they are taking steps to control and mitigate claims.

This is where a risk management strategy which is designed to identify, assess and control risk is crucial for any condominium corporation looking to obtain coverage or renew a policy. As well, implementing Loss prevention programs with procedures, policies and other steps board members can implement to reduce the likelihood of an insurance claim or costly incident will help provide insurance companies with confidence to insure your condominium.

Certainly, you can’t predict a major fire, disaster or accident but with a proper risk prevention strategy in place you should be able to mitigate some claims from occurring. More importantly, you will demonstrate to the insurer that your condominium corporation is an active partner in managing the risk; opening the door to coverage and reasonable rates.

In today’s condominium insurance market you must demonstrate that your board is attempting to reduce both the number and severity of claims being reported. Failure to do this this will most certainly drive your premium or leave the condominium corporation uninsurable.

Strong loss prevention strategies generally contain three components:

  1. A property management policy
  2. Loss prevention checklists that address specific risks to your buildings
  3. Methods for soliciting and responding to unsafe conditions and repairs

Paramount to the success of these strategies is getting residents onboard and buying into these proactive measures. Keeping residents included on what’s being deliberated by its board of directors, especially during tough insurance markets, will further assist in these safety and maintenance initiatives being followed by residents.

An example would be a board proactively deciding to implement a covenant change to eliminate/remove the building unit’s garburators. The insurance companies have data that demonstrate that garburators are known to be a leading cause of significant water damage as they frequently clog and result in water backing up in sinks; spilling into adjacent units and causing significant damage. In fact, garburators are at the top of the list risk as its been determined they are a leading cause of sewer pipe clogs and sewer back flow issues. Insurance companies pay particular attention to common and recurring causes of loss or damage. In fact, water damage, and not fire loss is the biggest single claims concern for the insurance industry relating to condominium insurance coverage. If your condo board is seen to be proactive in managing this risk it will go a long way toward giving insurance companies more confidence to work with you going forward.

A further proactive measure to help mitigate water damage is the installation of backwater valves. Displaying a proactive engagement of loss mitigation strategy is an indication of duediligence and good condominium governance, both of which are going to further reduce the potential for a claim and also put your condominium in a better position when an insurance company is considering renewal terms.

Other measures of good governance would include:

  • Completing an incident report when a claim is established
  • Reviewing semi-annually building and safety codes with residents
  • Having a professional appraisal/accounting assessment completed on the condominium reserve fund every 3-4 years. This is something underwriting is examining these days
  • Collecting certificates of insurance for all third party contractors who are beginning work on the premises
  • Examining your insurable limits on the condominium building to ensure you do not have a coinsurance issue if you should have a major claim
  • Highly recommend insurance coverage for Directors and Officers of the Condominium Corporation

Our mandate at Munn Insurance is to partner with our condominium clients to help develop an approach to ensure they have a loss mitigation strategy and a condominium improvements strategy in place that will put them in the best possible position for competitive and comprehensive insurance premiums. We have a library of condominium guidelines that we share with our clients and stress the importance of annual reviews to be completed. If you would like to speak with someone at Munn Insurance you can contact Blair Campbell, Commercial Manager at (709) 330-5995, Email: [email protected] or Mike Collins, New Business Developer at (709) 690-3153, Email: [email protected]