IRMI Risk Tip: Monitor Worker Heat Exposure

The International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) provides these great reminders in taking care of yourself and your workers during the summer heat…

With the hottest months of the year upon us, heat-related illness poses an increased concern on construction projects. As temperatures and humidity levels rise, contractors must take extra precautions to protect workers against illnesses caused by dangerously high body temperatures, including heatstroke. Some common-sense precautions include the following.
• Make water readily available and require workers to drink regularly even if they don’t feel thirsty.
• Provide shaded rest breaks (frequency determined by the heat index).
• Encourage workers to use sunscreen.
• Allow workers to acclimate by limiting their direct sun exposure and building up their tolerance over several days.
• Train workers on how to spot signs of overexposure in themselves and in coworkers and on how to respond.
• To the extent possible, shift work schedules to allow more work to be done during cooler hours, and avoid scheduling the most strenuous activities during the hottest time of day.
To support the effort to reduce heat-related illnesses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced the launch of its Heat Safety Tool mobile app that can help workers and supervisors monitor heat exposure. The app, available in English or Spanish, calculates a heat index for a work site and provides appropriate reminders for protecting against heat-related illnesses. Detailed recommendations for preventing heat-related illnesses at various risk levels (low, moderate, high, very high) can also be found on the OSHA website.

Copyright © 2015 International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI)

Flood Insurance! What Does It Cover? How Do I Get It?

Most Arizonans know the risks and heed the warnings of summer monsoon storms with heavy winds, lightening and flash flooding on roadways. But as many residents experienced in 2014, the lack of flood insurance can be financially devastating when a home or business is exposed to flood waters.

Property damage from flood is not covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Flood insurance must be purchased separately through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

“There is a 30-day waiting period before most policies go into effect. We urge home and business owners to contact their insurance agent or company representative and the NFIP as soon as possible,” says Nicole Farr, Communications Manager of the Arizona Insurance Council (AIC).

According to the NFIP, annual flood insurance premiums start as low as $129 for a home and its contents and $643 for a commercial building and its contents. Compare that to the fact that just two inches of flood water in the average home can create over $10,000 in damages; from 2008 to 2012, the average residential flood claim amounted to almost $42,000.

“Flood insurance covers losses to property where flooding damages structures; furnaces, water heaters and air conditioning units; floor surfaces (carpeting and title); and pays for cleanup of flood debris. You can also buy flood insurance coverage for the contents of your home – regardless if you own or rent – or business to cover furniture and electronics,” says Farr.

The AIC promotes free software for creating an inventory of your home’s contents developed by the Insurance Information Institute. Know Your Stuff® – Home Inventory, makes creating and updating your home inventory easy and efficient. Having a home inventory will be invaluable when making an insurance claim for any covered incident.

To download the free home inventory software and to learn more about property and casualty insurance in Arizona visit the AIC web site at

Please visit or phone the NFIP at 1-888-379-9531 to learn more about flood insurance and how to purchase coverage.

Arizona’s Wildfire Concerns Start Early: Many Homeowners in High Risk Areas

Phoenix, AZ, (March 31st, 2015) – The US Forest Service has declared March 29thth – April 3rd Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week. Earlier than normal high temperatures coupled with a warm, dry winter has created a year round threat of wildfires throughout Arizona and its neighboring states.

“Arizonan’s are advised to make preparations and create defensible space around their homes and owned buildings now,” says Nicole Farr of the Arizona Insurance Council (AIC). “Arizona’s continued drought conditions increase the risk of wildfire reaching more homes and more businesses statewide.” Farr says “Including autos, boats and other personal property, wildfire caused losses could be millions of dollars this year alone.”

Arizona property owners can access wildfire safety and property saving tips on AIC’s website,, Arizona Wildfire & Forest Information.

Arizona Firewise, a cooperative effort of state and federal forest, wildfire and wildlife organizations, has published a booklet – “Living With Wildfire: Homeowner’s Firewise Guide for Arizona.” The book, free online at the AIC website, is a comprehensive review of wildfire behavior, survivable space and Firewise techniques, checklists for various landscaping and housing materials, and emergency guidelines.

Among the tips to protect property from wildfire are:

• If the home is on flat land surrounded by grassland, create a 30-foot defensible space zone around the home. If the home sits on a slope with adjacent vegetation that is dense or has tall brush, create defensible space of at least 200 feet.
• Prune trees near structures and remove excess ground fuels such as fallen needles, cones and branches,
• Pile firewood and other flammables well away from home and other structures,
• Keep access roads free of debris and vegetation to improve access and escape in case of fire,
• Clean debris from roofs and gutters, and
• Consider constructing or renovating with fire resistant building materials.

In addition, the property and casualty insurers of Arizona, represented by AIC, suggest thoroughly reviewing your homeowner’s policy.

“An annual insurance policy check-up is an essential factor in protecting your home and belongings any time of year,” says Farr. “Home and business owners should contact their agent or insurance company to make certain they have the proper level of coverage.”

Key points to go over with your insurance agent or company include:

• Does the policy cover the current costs of rebuilding your house? The increases in cost for lumber, steel, concrete and copper have significantly outpaced other products. Those price increases affect what insurers pay to repair and rebuild homes and the costs of satisfying those claims is shared by all homeowner insurance consumers.
• Does your policy provide coverage for additional living expenses, such as hotel bills and restaurant meals for the time you are evacuated from your home and/or while your home is being rebuilt?
• Is your insurance company or agent aware of any improvements you have made on your home or business? Updating a kitchen, new carpeting or installing a swimming pool adds to the value of your home. The same applies to business improvements.
• Have you upgraded your home electrical system or plumbing system, or installed anti-theft alarms or fire sprinklers? These improvements could help reduce your insurance premium, depending on your insurance company’s business practices.

Media Contact:
Nicole Farr
602 996-7009

These and other safety and insurance tips are available at AIC’s website at

The Arizona Insurance Council is a non-profit organization supported by member companies in the property-casualty insurance business.


2 Near Drownings In West Valley Are A Wake Up Call

The West Valley has seen two near drownings this past week and the Summer swimming season has yet to begin!

Pools, lakes and ponds are very inviting to children. These recent occurrences should serve as a wake up call to secure access to these bodies of water and to NEVER leave your child alone near any type of water be it a bathtub, sink or even a bucket.

The Arizona Insurance Council (AIC) wants you and your family to be safe as we head into Spring and Summer. Keeping pools out of the reach of children should be a priority.

The AIC suggests taking a layered approach to protection between your home and pool. “A pool fence with self-closing, self-latching gates and a door alarm that sounds when a door is opened from inside the home are easy, cost effective additions for greater safety around the pool,” suggests Nicole Farr, communications manager for the AIC.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) there were 89 serious water related incidents in the Phoenix area alone in 2013. Of those were 11 infant deaths due to pool drownings.

A few simple ways to keep children safe around water include:
• Always make sure doors, gates and even pet doors that lead to the pool area are secure.
• Teach children to swim early on, classes are now offered for parents and children as young as one-year old.
• Keep toys away from pool and spa areas and secure spas with childproof covers.
• Parents take the phone with you out by the pool and in case of an emergency dial 911 immediately.

For more safety news and tips please visit

Renting Your Home for The Super Bowl? Insure Yourself First!

Phoenix, AZ – January 8, 2015 — Homeowners looking to make extra money by renting out their homes to visitors in town to watch the Super Bowl are urged to first contact their home insurer.
“Before renting out your home or even a room, tell your insurer about your plans to make sure you’re covered if your property is damaged or if someone is injured in your home,” says Nicole Farr of the Arizona Insurance Council(AIC).
Tourism and demand for accommodations will peak in January and February as the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction (Jan. 10-18, in Scottsdale) and The Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament (Jan. 26-Feb. 1) make their way to the Valley. Meanwhile, in Glendale, the National Football League is playing its Pro Bowl (Jan. 25) and Super Bowl (Feb. 1). Peer-to-peer rental websites such as Airbnb are letting consumers tap into this demand, potentially earning big money, by making their homes available to Arizona’s thousands of winter visitors and sports fans.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, some insurance companies may allow policyholders to use their property as a rental for a one-time, special occasion like the Super Bowl, as long as the insurer is informed about it ahead of time. Other insurers, while allowing this type of arrangement, may insist on other criteria being met, such as the homeowner acquiring additional insurance coverage.
Keep in mind that there are some insurers who will consider any rental of your home to be a business venture, requiring the purchase of a business policy—specifically either a hotel or a bed and breakfast policy—because a standard homeowners insurance policy excludes losses arising from the operation of a business.
“We are in the age in of a sharing economy” said Farr. “It can be an easy way to make extra money but it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure the right insurance and protective measures are in place.”
For more information on peer to peer sharing visit:

More insurance and safety tips are available at
The Arizona Insurance Council is a non-profit organization supported by member companies in the property-casualty insurance business.
The Insurance Information Institute is a non-profit communications organization supported by the insurance industry.

Thanksgiving Holiday Risks and Safety Tips

As planning begins for Thanksgiving gatherings and holiday traditions the Arizona Insurance Council would like to remind people to take precautions for the forgotten dangers of the season.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Along with the NFPA, the Arizona Insurance Council offers the following tips to keep your family safe this holiday season.

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top to keep an eye on the food.
  • Keep all wrappers, dish towels and other flammable materials away from stoves and ovens.
  • Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen. As an alternative, baking soda can be helpful in putting out grease fires.
  • Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen where they could be injured from a hot spill or cause tripping hazards.
  • Never leave kids alone near lit candles or leave matches or lighters lying around within reach of a child.
  • And most importantly, check the batteries in smoke alarms and test them to make sure they are working properly.

Not only do dangers lurk inside the kitchen but outside as well. “The use of gas-fueled fryers is still a popular way to prepare turkey on Thanksgiving but this is can be dangerous,” says Nicole Farr, Communications Manager of the Arizona Insurance Council. “These fryers can heat oil to extremely high temperatures, a small spill can cause serious burns and if the temperature is not controlled the oil can become combustible, vapors can ignite causing even more serious injuries to the cook and possible fire damage to the home.”

Do you really know how vehicle GAP insurance works?

The Insurance Information Institute‘s new Check20 program help’s us learn a little more about what our insurance policies are insuring. Their latest newsletter gives us some insight on GAP insurance. Sign up to received these helpful tips an newsletters in your inbox here.

Mind the Gap (or, “2-4-6-8, Who Do We Depreciate?!”)

“Y’know, as soon as ya drive it off the lot, it’s worth way less than you paid for it …” Everyone who’s ever bought or leased a new car has heard this–either from a well-meaning relative, or that Hater-ade chugging buddy. And they’re right.

Most cars lose 20 percent of their value within one year—some more…a LOT more. Standard auto insurance policies cover the depreciated value of your vehicle—in other words, insurance pays the current market value. Why is this important? Because if you’ve financed your purchase, the amount you still owe may exceed what you’re reimbursed in case of a total loss.

And that’s where gap insurance comes in; it covers the “gap”** between what a vehicle is worth and what you owe on it (meaning the amount of a loan that you still have to pay). But do you really need it? Well, here are a few things to consider when buying or leasing a new car.

“Have I…”:
• Made less than a 20 percent down payment?
• Financed for 60 months or longer?
• Leased the vehicle?
• Purchased a vehicle that depreciates faster than the average?
• Rolled over negative equity from an old car loan into the new loan?
Gap insurance is available from many auto dealerships, but typically costs less when purchased from an Insurance Professional (who can also answer other questions you may have about auto insurance in general).

**“Fun” fact: The “gap” in Gap Insurance is actually an acronym, short for “Guaranteed Auto Protection.”