Monthly Archives: May 2013

In the swim: Basic water safety tips for summer

Swimming lessonsSummertime calls for plenty of pool and beach time, along the lake or at the ocean. Keep yourself and your family safe with these water safety tips:

1)    Never swim alone, or without lifeguard supervision. Remember the opening scene in Jaws? Don’t swim at night or anyplace without a lifeguard or swim buddy (and that’s only if you’re a strong swimmer). Always play it safe and have someone watching your back in case anything happens.

2)    It’s never too soon (or too late) to learn how to swim. Teach your little ones to swim as soon as possible; most qualified swim instruction programs start at the 4- to 5-year old level. Make sure your children know the basics: treading water, holding their breath under water, and basic strokes. Never let your kids swim without you; get in the water and enjoy your time with them.

What about you? Do you know how to swim? If not, you’re not alone. According to Swimmunity, a website for new adult swimmers, as many as 50-65 percent of American adults don’t know how to swim, a statistic we find pretty shocking. Visit http://www.swimlessons.com/ or the U.S. Masters Swimming site http://www.usms.org/placswim/ for resources in your area. Make it a goal to learn to swim this year. It could save your life.

3)    “When in doubt, don’t go out.” Stay out of the water if you’re too tired/cold/sunburned/overheated/not feeling up to it. Are your kids’ lips turning blue? Take ‘em out of the pool.

4)    Don’t let it rip. Riptides aren’t really tides at all; it’s more accurate to call them rip currents or undertows. Look for sandbars before you go for a swim—they are usually an indication of a strong undertow. These unpredictable currents can be deadly for even the strongest swimmers, so pay attention to beach signs and warnings from lifeguards.

You’ve probably heard about how Heidi Klum saved her 7-year old son and two nannies from a powerful undertow in Hawai’i this past March. If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t panic: it’ll cause you to sink instead of float. Tread water, float on your back and wave for help as you float or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim to safety, out of the grip of the current. Remember, do not attempt to swim against the current (you will just get tired and you won’t get anywhere).

5)    Boaters/Water Craft: Don’t drink while operating any water craft, ever. Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices. Kids must wear them at all times; adults if you don’t, at least have them handy so you can put them on quickly in an emergency.

Sources/useful links:

2 comprehensive MUST READS for all-around water safety:

Rip currents:

Swimmunity’s 10 Facts Every Adult Swimmer Should Know: http://swimmunity.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/stuck-in-the-process-of-learning-how-to-swim-dont-stop-ten-facts-every-adult-should-know/

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.

The Thrill of the Grill: safety tips to go with your steak tips

GrillingTime to get creative and throw some steaks, tips, corn on the cob, burgers, chicken, shrimp and calamari (yes, squid) on the barbie…along with some Portobello mushrooms and some zucchini strips for the vegetarians among us. You name it; you can grill it…except for beans. I just read something about someone grilling lettuce – I’m not sure how good that is, but why not?

Ready to fire it up? You pulled the cover off the BBQ and peered inside. Now what? Stop and take a few minutes do some quick grill maintenance before you start cooking:

  • Check the tray underneath your grill. Get rid of that old replaceable spill tray from last year, and make sure you always use a clean one before you cook. Too much grease can start a fire under your grill and get out of control quickly.
  • Check the hoses to and from your fuel source. If your grill is powered by natural gas or propane, make sure fuel hoses are attached properly and don’t leak. Not sure? Have a licensed plumber check things out. Remember to always put your fuel line in the “off,” locked or closed position when you turn off your grill burners.
  • If your grill runs on charcoal or wood, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully on how to best proceed. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Clean your grill grates. Use a wire grill brush to get rid of old cooking residue (ew). Let the grill heat up and cook off a bit before you use it.
  • Give it some space. Don’t put your grill too close to your house or on a fire escape. Keep a safe distance–usually at least 10 feet–from wooden and other structures. Check with your local fire department and read the rules for your building association before grilling on a balcony or other small space.

Read more grilling tips on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Gas Grill Fact Sheet: http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/137858/GasGrill_factsheet_2013.pdf

Simple, classic 5-minute Italian marinade: Mix extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage and any other herbs from your garden in a bowl. Use separate bowls for meat, poultry, fish and veggies.

Let everything sit and marinade in the oil and herbs for as long as you like, then throw the marinated food (not the oil!) on the grill. Veggies go last. Always stay near the grill and watch what’s going on. Flip as needed.

Have an ice cold drink (Tip: try a half-and-half by mixing lemonade and ice tea over a big glass with ice and some fresh mint) while you wait.

Once your food is done, garnish with a little drizzle of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and some more fresh chopped parsley. Mangia!

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.

Save It Up: Discount Madness up on the Hill

Why Pay More If You Don’t Have To?

We love to save money too. Here’s a list of potential Bunker Hill discounts that you might be able to take advantage of—it’s painless and it’s easy. Speak with a Bunker Hill agent to see what discounts you may be eligible for, and how you can reduce your spending and start saving today. Yay!

Save big…piggy bank

Companion policy: Home & Auto, better together. If you insure your car with our affiliate, Plymouth Rock Assurance, and your home with Bunker Hill, you could save up to 10% on your car insurance AND up to 20% on your home insurance—it really adds up.

Newer homes built up to 15 years ago get lower rates – up to 20% off your premium.

Protective devices like smoke and fire detectors, burglar alarms, fire alarms or automatic sprinklers can save you up to 28%.

No claims? If you haven’t had a claim within the last three or more years, you could save up to 13%. Not bad!

Save small (it all adds up)…

eDocuments. Go electronic: get your policy and billing documents delivered to your inbox and save up to 3% when you sign up for eDocuments.

Paid in Full. Pay your policy premium up front in one chunk and get a discount of up to 3%.

Policy renewals with your Bunker Hill agent: Loyalty pays. Renew your home, condo or renter’s policy for at least 3 years in a row with the same agent immediately prior to moving your policy to Bunker Hill, and save up to 5%.

Advanced Issue…New Bunker Hill policies issued at least 7 days prior to the policy’s effective date save up to 5% for the policy’s first year.

New Roof…If your home has a roof that’s less than 10 years old, let your Bunker Hill agent know. You could save up to 5% in your policy’s first year.

Safe Property…no guns, no dogs, no pools, no boats >15 feet & 10 hp = no problem. Save up to 3%.

Hurricane Loss Prevention. Batten down the hatches: window shutters and other protective measures you install can save you up to 5%.

Find out more…To learn what you could be saving on your insurance, talk to a local independent Bunker Hill agent for details. They’ve done the comparison shopping for you—and they’re close by. Why not take advantage of their hard work and reap some decent discounts?

Bunker Hill Insurance offers home insurance policies. Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation, a separate company, offers auto insurance policies. Each of these companies is financially responsible only for its own insurance products. Actual coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued by each company.

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.

Stop Hackers in their Tracks with Identity Theft 911®

identity-theftIdentity theft, the unauthorized use of your financial or personal information to commit fraud, is the fastest growing white collar crime in the US, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Every year, approximately 8.6 million Americans, or 7 percent of US households, are hit by ID fraud, with an average loss of $4,930.

Our growing digital trails—thanks to online banking, shopping, social media posts and countless other web-based transactions and interactions—mean we’re even more vulnerable now to attack than ever.

Sunny States for Shady Swindlers: Top 5 States for ID Theft

Victims per 100,000 people

  1. Arizona – 149
  2. California – 139
  3. Florida – 133
  4. Texas – 130
  5. Nevada – 126

Source: USA Today

It doesn’t take much…Thieves don’t need much information to ruin your credit and cost you hundreds of hours of aggravation. All it takes in most cases is your name, birth date, and Social Security number, which can be simple enough to get if you don’t change your passwords frequently or shred your documents…and even then you’re not completely safe.

The past year has seen a sharp jump in tax return fraud, when thieves file bogus tax returns using stolen Social Security numbers and as medical records get digitized and go online, the potential exists for new, more vicious types of identity theft, ones that could cause incorrect diagnoses and treatments.

Did you know? As a Bunker Hill customer, your policy includes protection for you and your household family members with Identity Theft 911®’s identity management and fraud education services. Check out Bunker Hill’s Identity Protection Resource Center to find out how you can prevent identity theft before it happens.

Act fast. If you think you might be a victim of identity theft, call us right away at 888-472-5246. We’ll transfer your call to a fraud specialist who can help guide you through the resolution process. You don’t have to file a claim.

The Back Story

Want to find out more about this topic? Here are some additional links to longer reads on identity theft and what you can do to prevent it:

Identity Theft 911 services are not an insurance product. These services can assist you in preventing identity theft from occurring and to recover from identity theft, but they do not provide reimbursement for losses or out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with identity theft.

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.