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Carol Jordan Retires!!

After 31 years of employment with Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman, Carol Jordan has decided it is time to shift gears in her life and pursue activities and lifetime goals outside of the office environment.  We here at RHH will miss her terribly, as will all of the Commercial Customers she has served over the years with her professional, friendly and knowledgeable service.  We wish nothing but the very best for Carol, and congratulate her for her stellar career at RHH as an insurance specialist!  Enjoy your well earned retirement, Carol!!

Carol....then and now

Carol worked directly with Wayne for her entire 31 years at Rossmann Hurt Hoffman!!

Carol worked directly with Wayne for her entire 31 years at Rossmann Hurt Hoffman!!

Carol and her fellow friends and employees in the Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Commercial Lines Department

Carol and her fellow friends and employees in the Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Commercial Lines Department

Is Your Home Energy Efficient?

Is your home energy efficient, or are you wasting money on energy bills and not sure what you can do to reduce them? If you live in Howard County, click here and read this article to find out how to apply for a FREE home energy audit through the Howard County program that began June 14th.

 If you have had a home energy audit done in the past, tell us what suggestions were made to make your home more energy efficient….and did it help lower your energy bills?

NOAA hurricane outlook indicates an above-normal Atlantic season

Did you know that June thru November is the “official” hurricane season in the United States? Oh, and just in case you forgot, we are already into the first week of June! During hurricane Isabella some shingles blew off my roof and water blew in my patio door damaging hardwood floors. Very small potatoes compared to the damage in many areas of Maryland and other states. Do you know that many homeowers policies have a separate “hurricane deductible” which applies to damage solely from hurricanes, and that the deductible can range from one to 5% of a home’s insured value?  What is your experience with hurricanes?  Have you ever had any damage caused by a hurricane or a story about going through one?  Share your story here on our Blog!

The Importance of Contractor’s Insurance

In the course of doing business, contractors such as plumbers and roofers take on several risks of a financial nature as well as being subject to personal injury lawsuits. To lessen this risk, independent contractors may opt to purchase a policy that will cover their costs in the event of being sued for property damage or bodily injury.

Independent contractors provide their services in many of the construction trades, from electrical repair to road construction. Business owners, who already have enough to worry about just keeping the business operating, are going to be far more likely to hire an independent contractor who has a contractor’s insurance policy. To contract for the federal government and some state and local governments, contractor insurance is mandatory.

Contractor insurance policies are generally issued to cover the contractor, the person or company they are providing services to and any person, such as a homeowner, who is directly impacted by the work of a contractor. The policy will cover accidental property or equipment damage as well as protection from medical and legal costs brought on by a third party.

There are two areas that contractor insurance will not provide coverage for. The first is deliberate acts of negligence and the second is acts that occur due to a continued pattern of poor workmanship. However, the insurer would need to prove that such a pattern existed before denying a claim.

The average claim against a contractor often is not made until many years after the event, as faulty construction is often not evident until the finished product has been in use for some time. That is why it is important to understand how long the contractor’s insurance policy will be in place. A contractor’s insurance policy can even provide protection after the contractor has retired.

By purchasing a contractor’s insurance policy, contractors are relieved of the stress and anxiety over accidental damage to property or personal injury to others and can just concentrate on providing the best contracting services possible.

Maryland Weighs Prohibition on Insurers’ Use of Credit Scores

Maryland lawmakers are weighing whether to prohibit insurers from using credit scores to underwrite auto policies- a move insurers say is a bad idea.
The economic matters committee of the House of Delegates recently held an initial hearing on the measure, which would further clamp down on insurers’ use of credit information in a state where it’s already tightly controlled…more
How do you weigh in on whether Maryland lawmakers should prohibit insurance carriers from using credit scores to underwrite auto policies?

Are You Ready For The Spring Flooding Season?

Springtime brings warmer weather, but also brings conditions such as fast melting snow combined with severe storms and heavy rainfall that increase flood risk. Just a steady rainfall can cause rivers, lakes or other bodies of water to overflow their banks, threatening the communities near them. In fact, you don’t even have to be near the water to be at risk! A water-main break can result in a flooding of the surrounding area causing water damage to homes and businesses.

Don’t wait for a water main break in your neighborhood or for local flooding to occur to discover that you are not covered for flood losses.  Remember, it takes 30 days AFTER the purchase for a flood policy to take effect.  Make that call to us today before you find yourself standing in water! (410) 504-1002

10 Reasons Your Insurance May Need a Checkup

Does your insurance need a checkup?

• Have you gotten married or divorced?
• Have you had a baby?
• Did your teenager get a driver’s license?
• Have you switched jobs or experienced a significant change in your income?
• Have you done extensive renovations on your home?
• Have you decided to buy a vacation or potential retirement home?
• Have you acquired any new valuables such as jewelry, electronic equipment, fine art, antiques?
• Have you signed a lease on a house or apartment?
• Have you joined a carpool?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, give us a call to update your policy. (410) 504-1002

How to Deal with Bed Bugs in Your Home or Business

Here are some tips from your friends at RHH Insurance on how to deal with bed bugs. If you find bed bugs in your home or business, it’s important to get rid of them as quickly as possible, as they can breed and spread very quickly. Patience and persistence is the key to ridding your premises of bugs.  Stop bugs from hiding in your bed Double-sided carpet tape attached to the base of bed legs does not allow the bugs to crawl up to you. Also effective is mineral oil or petroleum jelly applied at the base of the bed leg. Don’t forget that crawling up a bed leg is not the only way a bug can end up hiding in a bed. Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs to eliminate many hiding spots. 

Hire a pest management professional (PMP) Hiring a PMP is the best way to get rid of these pesky bugs. Licensed PMPs know what products should be used, and where. If they are affiliated with a state or national association it’s likely that they stay up-to-date on current practices. They also know best how to find bed bugs. Unfortunately, you will need more than one treatment, and potentially several. The PMP will have to come back two weeks after the initial treatment to apply more insecticides to kill any eggs that have hatched. Insecticides do not kill the eggs. In order for the PMP to do the job properly, he will require prep work from you. If the PMP does not require you to do prep work, call the next company on your list.

Cleaning Thoroughly cleaning a room can help to eliminate bed bugs. Scrub infested surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs and use a powerful vacuum to remove the bugs from cracks and crevices. This will not ensure that you’ve got all the eggs, but it will help. When vacuuming, use the smallest attachment to suck the bed bugs out of hiding. Bed bugs in the vacuum bag or canister will still be alive. Put the bag or canister contents in a sealed plastic bag and freeze for two weeks to kill the bugs.

Heat treatments Steamers and heat treatments will kill eggs and adults on contact. It is unclear how deeply the high heat of a steamer will penetrate wood and fabric; therefore, steaming may not kill all the eggs or adult bed bugs. Because steam can carry electricity, stay away from switch plates, electrical outlets, and appliances. In order for heat treatment to work, items must be in a dryer on the hottest setting for 60 minutes. Spraying The pesticides used in the middle of the century, such as DDT, have been removed from the market due to environmental and health concerns. There are sprays that claim to kill and repel bed bugs, but they are not your best defense. You should not apply insecticides on your own. You may cause the bugs to hide in different places, which will make it more difficult for a PMP to exterminate them. “Don’t let the bed bugs bite” is no longer just the rhyme it once was.

House Fires – How to Stay Safe

The National Fire Protection Association indicates house fires are the leading cause of all fire deaths in the United States. According to the NFPA, there were 403,000 residential fires in 2008, resulting in 2,780 deaths and 13,560 injuries. The NFPA acknowledges cooking as the leading cause of house fires in the United States and heating related fires as the second most common cause.
 
Here are some safety tips, brought to you by RHH insurance, to help prevent house fires:
 
Cooking
According to the NFPA, cooking related fires account for approximately 40% of all house fires. Most cooking fires are started when an oven or stove is left unattended or when items are left too close to a heat source. To reduce the risk of a cooking related fire:
- Make sure to never leave your oven or stove unattended while it is on.
- Keep all items at least 3 feet from the heat source, including cookbooks.
- Be sure to keep a properly charged fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.
- Consider an automatic appliance shut-off switch for elderly or disabled persons.
 
Heating
NFPA statistics show most heating related fires occur in December, January and February and the majority of these fires are caused by fixed and portable space heaters. Extreme caution should be taken whenever alternative heating units are used. Kerosene heaters, electric space heaters, wood burning stoves, pellet stoves and fireplaces all provide hazards which could increase the chance of a fire loss. To reduce the risk of a heating related fire, consider the following:
- Kerosene: Kerosene heaters are extremely dangerous and should not be used inside the home. If a kerosene heater is used in the garage or a separate structure, be sure to choose a model that has been UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed. Also, make sure the unit has an automatic starter, a fuel gauge and a safety grill. Use only crystal clear K1 kerosene and make sure to slightly open a window for ventilation.
- Electric space heater: Electric space heaters should not be used in wet places such as bathrooms and should always be used on the floor, rather than on top of furniture. Also, be sure the plug fits snugly into the electrical outlet and avoid using an extension cord.
- Wood-burning/Pellet stoves: Have a certified professional install the woodburning or pellet stove and have a certified chimney sweep annually inspect the vent pipe or chimney. Burn only seasoned hardwood and refrain from using the stove to burn cardboard boxes or trash.
- Fireplace: Hire a certified chimney sweep to annually inspect your chimney for cracks, blockages, leaks and creosote build up. Use a sturdy screen or door to keep embers inside the fireplace and use a metal container for ash removal.
 
Electrical
Electrical related fires are also a leading cause of house fires. The most prevalent types of electrical fires involve the improper use of light bulbs and problems with the home electrical system.
- Light bulbs: Never use a light bulb that exceeds the maximum wattage listed on the manufacturer’s warning label. Also, do not place anything over a lamp, such as a towel, clothing or paper.
- Home electrical systems: Allow only qualified electricians to perform electrical work in your home and have any faulty, inadequate or outdated wiring replaced. Avoid using an extension cord to plug in an appliance.
 
Smoking
The NFPA determined smoking to be the leading cause of fire fatalities in 2008, accounting for nearly 25% of all residential fire deaths. Most smoking fires start when a cigarette, cigar or pipe comes in contact with upholstered furniture, such as a couch or a chair, or when a person falls asleep while smoking in bed. As a precautionary measure, make sure to:
- Never smoke in bed
- Require anyone who smokes, to do so outside.
 
Miscellaneous
- Kitchen oven: Never use a kitchen oven to stay warm.
- Generator: When using a generator, be sure to ventilate properly. A generator should not be kept in a garage but should be kept outside, to prevent gases from seeping into the home.
- Candles: Never leave a lit candle unattended, especially if there are pets or small children in the home. Also, extinguish any decorative candle when it gets down to the last ½ inch, as the glass may crack and allow hot wax to leak out and potentially cause a fire.

Follow these tips and a life could be protected and the risk of suffering a devastating fire loss can be drastically reduced.

ATTENTION DRIVERS!!!

New Maryland traffic ticket process begins January 1, 2011. On January 1, 2011, a new law goes into effect, and drivers who get a payable traffic ticket in Maryland will no longer be given an automatic trial date to appear in court.

Here’s how the new Maryland traffic ticket process works: Drivers have three choices when they get a payable traffic ticket, and they must comply within 30 days or risk having their driver’s license suspended by the Motor Vehicle Administration.

The three choices:

1. Pay the traffic ticket fine.
2. Ask for a waiver hearing instead of a trial. Waiver hearings are for drivers who don’t dispute the ticket, but want to have a judge hear an explanation before being sentenced.
3. Ask for a court date for a trial.

Questions or Comments? Simply fill out the form below. We will get back to you shortly.

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