Need to Report an Accident? There’s an App. for That

Earlier this month, an iPhone “app.” was created for accident and injury victims. The app. is free with a complete checklist as well as special features needed to gather the necessary information to report an insurance claim and any legal actions. The app. guides drivers through the proper steps on how to handle the incident. Valuable tools walk the individual through the process in a way that is easy to understand.

To download the FREE app., go to iTunes or the App. Store and search for “iWrecked accident app.”

App. features include:

  • Accident checklist (tells you everything you need to do after an accident)
  • Captures all the auto accident information
  • Dials 911 instantly to get help as soon as possible
  • Flashlight feature helps you see at night
  • Locate AND call a taxi as well as a tow truck immediately using your phone’s GPS
  • Request the completed police report
  • Take and save photographs of any vehicle damage at the scene of the accident
  • Record witness statements with your “smart phone”
  • Gather all insurance information 
  • Document all insurance claims
  • Gather your medical information

For further information on accident apps., visit insurancenewsnet.com.

Although the accident app. is extremely useful and convenient, you may also report any insurance claims with the Wolpert Insurance claims department by calling 508.459.4763 or via our website.

Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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As a Safe Measure, Always Check Your Tire Pressure

Beginning June 2, 2011, the US Department of Transportation has encouraged all drivers to thoroughly inspect their tires to ensure they have the proper inflation while looking for signs of worn treads. The consumer advisory is part of National Tire Safety Week, June 5-11. With the fast approaching summer season, the amount of driving will increase; taking extra precautions is a must.

As the weather warms up, it’s especially important for drivers to ensure their tires are properly inflated…for your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation.

-Secretary Ray LaHood

Current data shows that between 2005 to 2009, there were approximately 3400 deaths and 116,000 injuries caused by tire-related crashes.

While it’s true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long trips…under-inflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster.

-NHTSA Administrator David Strickland

Properly inflated tires can actually improve a vehicle’s fuel economy. According to the Department of Energy’s fueleconomy.gov website, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by .3 percent for every 1 PSI (pound per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tires. With gas prices on the rise, taking a few minutes to check your tires to ensure safe travels is a no brainer.

 

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Put Your Distractions Away and Drive Safe. Okay?

Recently, the US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood announced that the number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest levels since 1949, despite the increase in miles traveled during the year.

Last year’s drop in traffic fatalities is [great]news[;] it proves that we can make a difference…Still, too many of our friends and neighbors are killed in [avoidable] roadway tragedies every day. We will continue doing everything possible to make cars safer, increase belt use, put a stop to drunk driving and distracted driving to encourage drivers to put safety first.

-US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood

It has been reported that the number of traffic fatalities dropped 3% between 2009 and 2010, from 33,808 to 32,788. Since 2005, fatalities have dropped 25% from the 43,510 deaths during that year.

The greatest drop in fatalities exist in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, with a 12% decrease. Arizona, California and Hawaii also had one of the steepest declines at nearly 11%.Drive safe

However, for all you New England drivers out there, you are included in one of the only regions that has an INCREASE in fatal car crashes, with an 18% climb.

In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign, along with a dedicated website, to provide the public with a detailed source of information on distracted driving.

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has also been encouraging the use of Safety Edge technology–which reduces drivers’ risk of running off the road by shaping pavement edges on new roads and highway projects. FHWA has also promoted the use of ‘rumble strips’ and cable median drivers to separate opposing directions of traffic to reduce the incidence of head-on collisions.

To view NHTSA’s latest statistical projections of traffic fatalities in 2010, click here.

Wolpert supports careful drivers of personal automobiles and fleet motor carriers alike. Whether you’re looking to insure your personal vehicle, obtain a quote on your limo insurance company or are interested in learning more about our fleet truck insurance policies, please visit www.wolpert.com or contact an agent today!

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wolpert- Supporting Breast Cancer, One Mile at a Time.

Approximately 178,480 women and 2030 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; there are over 2 million breast cancer survivors in the United States who have been treated.

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. Cancer occurs as a results of mutations/abnormal changes in the genes responsible for regulating the growth cells and keeping them healthy.

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is one the largest fundraising programs in the country. Last year, the city of Boston raised over $2.5 million, supplying state grants to support breast cancer awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services and scientific research. Avon Breast Cancer Logo

This year, TEAM WOLPERT would like to support those affected everyday by breast cancer by participating in the Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk; May 14-15, 2011 to complete this 39 mile journey to raise money for the cure.

Individuals can make general donations to the team up until April, 25th, 2011 at which time the team donation option closes and all funds are split equally amongst all registered walkers. If people want to make a more personal donation to a specific team member they can do so by searching for that team members name. Donations may also be mailed to the agency; 18 John Street Place, Worcester, MA 01609.

If you would like to start your own “team” or make this a personal goal, please visit www.avonwalk.org/boston .

Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Necessary Steps to Staying Warm and Fuzzy this Winter…

By September 30, 2011, homeowners must upgrade their home heating system equipment in order to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to the furnace. Making this relatively small investment now will prevent a much greater expense in the future.

Massachusetts has a new law to address oil leaks from home heating systems; this law has two major specifications that require:

  • the installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices;
  • insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil.

Most homeowner policies do not currently include such coverage, leaving many to pay for costly cleanups out of their own pocket. Although it has been mandatory since July 2010 that insurance companies make such coverages available, it still remains an optional purchase.

Who must take action?

Owners of one to four unit residences that are heated with oil MUST already have or will be installing an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with a protective sleeve. Heating oil systems installed on or after January 1990 are most likely, already in compliance because state fire codes required such installations at that time.

Who is exempt?

Homeowners are exempt from said prevention steps if:

  • the oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank;
  • an oil safety valve or supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 2010;
  • those changes are in compliance with the oil burning equipment regulations (a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance).

Why comply?

Not only is compliance required, but it also makes good financial and environmental sense. Taking these preventative measures can avoid the disruption and expense caused by heating oil leaks. A leak may result in exposure to petroleum vapors in your home; if such leak reaches soil and other contents of the underground, be prepared to have a cleanup performed in order to restore the property to environmental standards. However, if the leak affects neighbor’s property or the public water supply, further complications could result, increasing the overall expense.

 

The typical cost of installing an oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve ranges from $150 – $350, including labor, parts and local permit fees. If this seems expensive for an out-of-pocket expense, consider the alternatives: digging up an additional $15,000 for a “simple” leak cleanup or $250, 000 for the more extensive, deep clean feeling.

To continue getting that warm and fuzzy feeling this winter, contact an agent at your local Worcester insurance agency to learn about the insurance options available and what steps to take next.

You may also visit www.mass.gov/dev/cleanup/laws/hhsl.html for more information.

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

So…Your vinyl siding is melting, but the neighbor’s house isn’t on fire. What’s the deal?

In the November 2010 edition of MAIA’s Tech Talk, author Irene Morrill, Vice President of Technical Affairs, discusses an “interesting property claim” involving vinyl siding. Unfortunately, such claims have been reported right here in Worcester, as well as other neighboring towns.

So, as you’re looking at the side of your house, scratching your head and wondering what happened, here are a few things to consider:

Photo courtesy of Irene Morrill and Tech Talk, 2010

Your neighbor’s new energy-efficient windows; great for keeping their energy costs down, not so great at keeping your vinyl siding up. Although these windows do meet building code requirements,

“these windows can also warp inward and act like a magnifying glass, concentrating too much heat on nearby homes or business buildings”.

The heat which is caused by these windows can reach temperatures over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the siding to melt. ‘Low E’ glass reflects 70% of the sun’s heat, which can easily melt vinyl siding when the distance between houses/buildings is 15 to 20 feet.

Another cause of melting vinyl siding can be neighboring roofs when the heat of dark roofs re-radiate, deforming adjacent siding.

The sun’s energy strikes the roof and the heat is re-radiated and absorbed by the siding, causing it to warp. This might happen when you have a sloping, dark-colored roof that intersects a vertical wall close to a window. In effect, the building could melt itself or a close neighboring premises.

Other variables that can contribute to distorting siding:

Photo courtesy of Irene Morrill and Tech Talk, 2010

  • outdoor temps and wind speed
  • proximity of other heat sources, i.e. ac compressors
  • color and solar absorption of the siding (darker colors absorb more heat)
  • angle of the sun and orientation of the glass relative to the siding

Unfortunately, if your home/business insurance coverage is a “named peril policy”, such instances would not be covered.

If you have vinyl siding and are curious about other insurance options available to you, please visit our website, Wolpert.com.

Published in: on December 5, 2010 at 12:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Insurers: What to do When an Insured Fights for Their Right to an At-Fault Determination Reversal

On November 16, 2010, Joseph G. Murphy, Commissioner of Insurance, posted a bulletin explaining the necessary steps insurers must take if their at-fault determination gets reversed by the Board of Appeals (BOA), a clerk magistrate or judge.

If a reversal is issued and the operator is not a policyholder, or no longer a policyholder, of the insurer that made the at-fault determination, the operator bears the responsibility of informing his current insurer of such reversal if the operator seeks a premium adjustment.  The BOA will inform the operator of this obligation in the notice of reversal it sends to the operator.  The operator must send this notice of reversal to the insurer within 45 days of its issuance.  An operator is not entitled to a premium adjustment if the insurer did not factor the at-fault determination into its premium calculation.

An insurer shall adjust the premium associated with an at-fault determination within 30 days after receiving notice of a reversal of that determination.  The premium shall be calculated in accordance with the insurer’s rates and rules in effect when the at-fault determination was made.  If the operator is a policyholder of the insurer at the time of the reversal and at the time of the request for an adjustment, the insurer shall refund or credit any difference in premium associated with the at-fault determination to the operator.  Any premium owed to an operator that is no longer insured by the insurer when it receives such reversal notification shall be sent to the address identified by the operator in connection with his request for a premium adjustment.

An insurer must also report to the Merit Rating Board, as well as all collection agencies previously notified of an original at-fault determination, within 15 days of the reversal notification from the BOA, judge, etc.

For more updates on Massachusetts Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation, check out mass.gov.

Published in: on November 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Criminal History Questions To Be Removed From Mass Job Applications

A new law in Massachusetts banning most employers from asking about criminal history on an initial job application took effect November 4th. The idea is that by making it easier for those with criminal records to find employment the cases of repeat offenders will decrease. Whether you agree with this or not it’s time to reprint your applications.

If you have stacks of applications you’d rather not throw away you do have a couple of options. First is to place a sticker over the area of the application asking about criminal offenses. Second is to clearly indicate somewhere on the application that they are not to fill out that portion. Employers are still allowed to ask about criminal records within the bounds of current law, but only after the initial application has been filed. In addition, those employers who are not allowed by law to employ persons with criminal records can continue asking during the initial application as usual.

For any more questions leave us a comment or head to Wolpert.com.

Published in: on November 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mass Workers To Receive $653K In Training Money

Money has been awarded to 62 organizations across Massachusetts to fund safety training for upwards of 11,000 workers. According to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), who oversee the Mass Workers’ Comp system, this funding will go directly to education for such activities as lifeguard training and lead paint removal.

We’ve begun offering our own training as a service to our Wolpert Insurance clients as well. It’s easy to charge you less for insurance when you work safely. Get in touch if you don’t already know more.

Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

MassDOT One Year Anniversary

On November 1st MassDOT celebrates it’s one year anniversary. That seems like a worthwhile time to list just a few of the things they’ve accomplished.

From the Commonwealth Conversations Transportation blog:

There are simply too many achievements this year to list here. To highlight just a few, we have:

  • Invested over $1.5 billion into our infrastructure in every corner of the state;
  • funded dozens of airport projects;
  • made important improvements in MBTA and regional bus services;
  • launched a nationally recognized open data initiative that gives people real-time information on subway and bus service;
  • adopted an award-winning environmental sustainability policy;
  • significantly increased transparency and community outreach;
  • begun safety committees with our unions;
  • started a roundtable forum to open up communication with DOT leadership;
  • adopted Massachusetts transportation’s first-ever strategic plan;
  • used our website and social media to better serve our customers in unprecedented ways;
  • reduced wait times and improved customer service at our RMV branches;
  • improved our focus on worker and public safety in every aspect of our organization

They say to keep expecting more in the future and we’ll be doing just that at Wolpert.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment