Life Insurance Choices

Protecting your family with the right amount and right type of life insurance is an important responsibility. The first step is to determine how much life insurance you need to fully protect your loved ones. Once you know how much you need, the next step is to decide what type of coverage is right for you.

There are two basic types of life insurance to choose from:

  • Permanent insurance offers lifetime protection, which means that your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit no matter how long you live. Whole life insurance is one type of permanent coverage that also accumulates guaranteed cash value which can be used to help address life’s opportunities and challenges. For example, people may buy homes because they need places to live. However, during the latter part of their lives, the equity in their homes may help them address other financial needs, such as helping to pay for their children’s college educations or providing additional funds for retirement.
  • Term insurance provides temporary coverage for a specific period of time and only offers death benefit protection. Consequently, the initial premiums for term insurance may be lower than for a comparable amount of permanent coverage. In addition, there is no cash value component with term life insurance.

Many people find that a combination of both permanent and term coverage helps provide the protection and accumulation they need, at a price they can afford.

Douglas W. Greene CFP® CLU®
101 Federal Street, Suite 800 | Boston, MA 02110
Phone 617-305-0360 | Cell 781-640-5718 | Fax 617-723-7275

The Importance of Resistance Training

Many Americans are aware that about two hours and 30 minutes of exercise each week is necessary to stay healthy, and many of those individuals choose an aerobic activity, such as running or biking. however, recent research has shown that splitting your two hours and 30 minutes of exercise between varied activities—aerobic and muscle-strengthening—improves health the most.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should aim to do muscle-strengthening activities, such as weightlifting, at least two times a week. Right now, only about 1 out of every 3 adults meets this goal.

A common misconception that many people have is that muscle-strengthening activities are more suited for men, which may stem from the misguided belief that women will “bulk up” too much from that type of exercise. However, women generally do not have the same level of anabolic hormones, which is what
causes men to build larger muscles more easily.

In fact, muscle-strengthening activities are extremely important for women to engage in because they are more likely to develop problems with their bones and joints as they age. Increasing muscle strength—through weightlifting or other resistance training—can help prevent those problems.

Resistance training can also help with the following:

  • Increasing flexibility and balance, which decreases the number and severity of falls a person may experience as he or she ages.
  • Maintaining proper weight, as people who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolism—sometimes up to 15 percent higher

Before beginning a new exercise routine or changing up an old one, speak to a medical professional to ensure you are healthy enough. And remember that commitment to a regular physical activity program is more important than the intensity of your workouts, so be sure to choose muscle-strengthening exercises you enjoy.

At Cleary, we know how important a comprehensive benefits package can be to your continued success. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700 and we will work with you to create a plan that meets your business objectives, takes into account state and federal laws, and capitalizes on incentives and innovative solutions now being offered.

From Rags to Ruins

As the weather gets warmer across much of the United States, the winter snow starts to melt, crocuses bloom and many homeowners are reinvigorated to tackle spring cleaning and home improvement projects. Yet oily rags and other items left at a worksite can quickly lead to spontaneous combustion—a cause of major fire losses each year. Fortunately, these losses are easy to prevent.

Picture this:
A contractor is hired to power wash and refinish a wood deck. Oily rags are left in a pile at the end of the workday for use the next morning. Within minutes, the stain-soaked rags spontaneously combust in the warm spring sun, igniting the deck and engulfing the home in flames.

What’s wrong with this picture?
Rags, drop cloths, towels and paintbrushes used during deck staining and other home improvement projects are highly combustible—even under normal weather conditions.  Spontaneous combustion is the outbreak of fire without application of heat. This happens when a flammable material like oil or stain comes into contact with a combustible object. The object slowly heats to its ignition temperature through a reaction with oxygen in the air, until fire starts.

Many house fires are caused by a third party working in the home
Although spontaneous combustion isn’t a common occurrence, it happens more often than you might think, and the results can be disastrous. Homeowners are often unaware of the added risk associated with hiring contractors and household staff.

  • Consider the scenario below:
    • After priming walls with oil-based paint, a painter stacks wet drop cloths in the garage.
    • A carpenter leaves newly stained hardwood floors to dry for the night, along with a heap of stain soaked towels.

Rags and other items should never be piled up around a house or construction site.  Instead, homeowners and their contractors and staff should store and dispose of them properly in a metal container of water with an airtight lid, especially at the end of each workday.

Other causes of house fires
Additional scenarios that are likely to happen during spring cleaning and can also result in the rapid outbreak of fire include:

  • After sweeping the fireplace, a housekeeper dumps ashes into a plastic bucket on the porch.
  • A landscaper disposes of cigarette butts in the kitchen trash.

Situations such as these are easily avoidable. Dispose of fireplace ashes and other flammable items in a sealed metal container kept outside the home and away from flammable items. Enforce a “no smoking” policy on the property, and be sure fireplace extinguishers are easily accessible.

Educate yourself before a loss
Now is the perfect time to get educated about spontaneous combustion and other fire risks during spring-cleaning and home-improvement projects. Click on this Chubb link for Home Tips and Tools.

Concerned about your personal insurance coverage? At Cleary, our experienced Personal Lines department will work with you to evaluate your insurance needs, identify exposures, and create a customized insurance portfolio. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700.

Executive Order # 13473- Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

Presented by Al Corvigo

While the majority of federal contractors follow the rules, every year tens of thousands of American workers are denied overtime wages, not hired or paid fairly because of their gender or age, or have their health and safety put at risk by corporations contracting with the federal government. Your taxpayer dollars should not reward corporations that break the law. In July of 2014 President Obama signed Executive Order 13473 to ensure that all hardworking Americans get the fair pay and safe workplaces they deserve.

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order will govern new federal procurement contracts valued at more than $500,000, providing information on companies’ compliance with federal labor laws for agencies. The Order is expected to impact approximately 24,000 large and small employers with federal contacts, employing about 28 million workers.

The eight key provisions of the Order are as follows:

  1. Hold Corporations Accountable
  2. Crack Down on Repeat Violators
  3. Promote Efficient Federal Contracting
  4. Protect Responsible Contractors
  5. Focus on Helping Companies Improve
  6. Give Employees a Day in Court
  7. Give Employees Information About their Paychecks
  8. Streamline Implementation and Overall Contractor Reporting

While this Order is meant to eliminate unfair practices, it is ambiguous and does not have a fixed timetable.

One example of the ambiguity is as follows:
The Executive Order directs the secretary of Labor to develop guidelines as to what types of violations will be judged to impact a contractor’s responsibility. In the absence of these yet-to-be developed guidelines, contractors are apprehensive. Contractors routinely settle minor violations; but how will these be treated under forthcoming regulations?

There is also concern at the Labor Relations Committee of the Professional Services Council regarding violations toward a contractor. If a Contracting Officer makes a mistake, which is subsequently investigated and resolved by the DOL in favor of the SCA employees, what impact will it have on the Contractor? What constitutes a serious violation? How will consistency be achieved across government agencies? These questions along with many more remain unanswered by the Order.

To read Executive Order 13473 in its entirety please click here.

At Cleary, we know how important a comprehensive benefits package can be to your continued success. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700 and we will work with you to create a plan that meets your fringe-benefit obligations and provides your employees with valuable benefits.

Plan Before a Disaster to Stay in Business After

Disaster can strike a business in many ways. Fires, explosions, and vandalism can impact a specific location or regional events such as a hurricane, blizzard, or terrorist event can impact an entire region. After a catastrophic event, it is essential to evaluate the damage to the facilities quickly and accurately. This enables the business to settle its insurance claim and get back into operation as soon as possible.

A lot of the important work must be done before the disaster occurs:

  • Identifying the facilities and equipment at risk is the first step. This may be simple for a small business with one or two locations. Larger businesses with operations in many states and localities will have to study the question more deeply. Each location faces its own unique risks. Businesses should imagine the worst-case scenario for any one event and plan around that.
  • Businesses should also create a disaster response team. After a disaster, some members of the group may not be able to access the business location and therefore the list should include several names with multiple people able to fill each role.
  • The business should also have a written communications plan for reaching members of the group. All members should have each others’ phone numbers (both land lines and cellular), e-mail addresses, and emergency contact information.
  • Collect as much information about each property as possible. Assemble multiple copies of architectural drawings, appraisals, inspection reports, and maintenance records. The business should store documents in several locations and media so that backups will be available. Members of the disaster recovery team should survey each location, identifying special features, key processes, characteristics that increase the building’s vulnerability to a particular threat, and equipment that will be difficult to replace.

After a disaster occurs, the disaster team coordinator should contact each member of the group and arrange for inspection of the facility when it is safe and law enforcement allows.

When the group can inspect, they should:

  • Identify emergency measures necessary to protect the facility from further damage
  • Assess the extent of the damage
  • Identify areas that are unsafe to enter
  • Evaluate the condition of the areas where critical processes occur.

After the inspection, the group should prepare reports on each damaged facility. These reports may be required by local authorities and government agencies that provide disaster assistance.

Many insurance companies have sample disaster plans available to use as a guide. There are numerous other resources available through federal and state agencies.

The following are links to several different resources:

http://www.ready.gov/business
https://www.sba.gov/content/disaster-preparedness
https://www.travelers.com/prepare-prevent/protect-your-business/business-continuity/create-plan.aspx
http://www.thehartford.com/business/disaster-planning-for-businesses

To a large extent, a business owner has control over how the business will cope with a disaster. With careful planning, the business will survive it and thrive.

At Cleary, we will evaluate your business exposures and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan to safeguard your business. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700.