Auto Body Shops Are Going “Green”…What Does That Mean?

Companies worldwide are doing whatever it takes to make their products and services more environmentally friendly, cost-effective and safe for consumers. The hybrid vehicle, for example uses less gasoline due to its ability to be re-charged after every trip, saving money for the consumer and minimizing the amount of pollutants emitted into the air. The overall concept of the hybrid vehicle is brilliant, but during production, the environmentally friendly form of transportation is receiving numerous coats of toxic automotive paint. Did you know there is an environmental impact each time a vehicle gets a coat of paint?

Many vehicles’ glossy, shiny paint colors consist of a solvent-based and toxic Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paint. If this sounds pretty serious to you, it is. VOC paint includes a variety of chemicals, some of which could potentially cause short and long-term negative health issues, especially to those who work in an auto body shop. As the paint hardens, the vapors become admitted throughout the body shop, only to be covered up by the additional toxins in paint strippers and cleaning solvents. However, it is important to know that there are alternatives to VOC paint, which can help minimize the effect of toxins from us as individuals and throughout the world.

The safer alternative to the VOC paint is a Water Borne paint. Water Borne paint is environmentally friendly because it is not solvent based. In addition to reducing VOC emissions during application, water-borne coatings reduce the risk of fire, are easier to clean up (creating less hazardous debris) and minimize worker exposure to organic vapors.

If and when you need to contact an auto body shop and you prefer the environmentally friendly method of paint repair, make sure that the shop you choose has the proper equipment, materials and technological brains to be a “green” service and repair center. Green means the solvents are not getting put into the atmosphere and affecting the ozone layer.

Many “Mom and Pop” shops might not be equipped to handle the water-borne paints, so you may need to look at the larger garages and/or dealerships while exploring options. For garage owners to obtain the appropriate tools and materials can be quite costly as well as a major investment.

Ask the auto body shops and/or dealerships that you are considering if they are a green facility and why they chose to go that route.

If you are a “green” auto body shop in Massachusetts or any other New England state, give us a call today to speak with an agent and receive a free commercial garage insurance quote!

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Leave Your Children Where They Are If You Think You Might Leave Them in the Car

With summer just around the corner, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), reminds parents the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car, especially on hot summer days.

Research shows the risk of a serious and/potential deadly injury is increased for children left in vehicles during hot summer days. In fact, hyperthermia (heat-stroke) is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of fourteen. There is an estimated 27 reported deaths every year.

The following are safety tips to prevent hyperthermia:

  • NEVER leave infants/children alone in a vehicle-even if the windows are partially open or the AC is running.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle-front and back-before locking the door and walking away.
  • Write yourself a note and place it where you’ll see it when you leave your car.
  • Place your purse, briefcase, etc. in the back seat so you’ll be sure to recognize that there is, in fact, a child in the vehicle.
  • Call 911/your local emergency number IMMEDIATELY if you see a child alone in a vehicle. When children are in distress, especially due to heat, remove them from the vehicle AS QUICKLY as possible! Warning signs of hyperthermia include: red, hot, damp or dry skin, no sweating, strong rapid pulse of a slow weak pulse, nausea or acting unusual. If any of these signs are present, COOL THE CHILD QUICKLY!!!

For additional safety tips and information on how to keep children safe in and around vehicles, visit

Now, some of you may be thinking, “How could a parent leave their child in the vehicle?!”; sadly, some parents DO forget they have their child(ren) in the car, especially if they have a “hectic schedule”. Still, leaving a child in an unattended vehicle is inexcusable. If there is any inclination that a child could be forgotten in the vehicle, leave the child at home with a responsible caretaker while running errands, going to appointments, etc.

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 1:22 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 for more information.

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

‘Tis the Season for Snow Removal

Helping to keep roads safe this Winter? Due to the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling, here are some tips to keep in mind to help reduce your liability as you plow your way through the snowy season:

These measures will limit or eliminate your duty to constantly monitor each site; the intent is to keep key snow-removal decisions in the hands of the owner.

Contract TIPS:

  • Specify that the work will be performed on an “on-call” basis, rather than an “as necessary” or “after two inches of snowfallbasis.
  • Make measurable statements. If the owner will not consent to an “on-call” agreement, arrange the contract to specify wording such as, “Parking lots will be plowed prior to 9:00 am” or “…when snowfall exceeds two inches, unless otherwise advised by owner”.
  • If there is a contract to perform snow plowing after a certain depth of snowfall, state that the owner must specifically request all additional work to be done (i.e. salting, sanding, etc.).

If plowing is part of your snowy season and Worcester MA Auto Insurance policy, and you would like more information, visit our website,

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Safety Features Mandated to Prevent Fatalities and Injuries in Low-Speed Back-Up Accidents

On December 3, 2010, The US Department of Transportation proposed a new safety regulation to help diminish blind spots behind vehicles that can prevent drivers from seeing pedestrians, especially young children and the elderly.child behind car in reverse

This proposal would expand the required range of view for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles so that the drivers can see directly behind them while in reverse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes automobile manufacturers will begin to install video cameras and interior video displays to meet these proposed standards. In order to meet said requirements, ten percent of new vehicles must comply by September 2012, forty percent by September 2013 and one-hundred percent by September 2014.

The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly and other pedestrians…And while these changes will make a difference, drivers must remember that NO technology can, or should replace full attention and [caution] when backing up…- NHTSA Admin. David Strickland

So, you may now be asking yourself, “How much will these upgrades cost and how will it affect my insurance coverage?” Although newer vehicles will most likely cost more to insure than your older car, you may be able to get auto and car insurance discounts if your new vehicle includes certain safety features. If your car is equipped with a backup camera safety feature, you may be able to receive ADDITIONAL discounts. Make sure to tell your insurance agent about all safety features that have been installed after vehicle purchase.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 11:18 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,

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

From MassDOT: New Web Service, Branch Kiosks

MassDOT’s Registry of Motor Vehicles has introduced two initiatives to eliminate the need to wait in line and make it easier for customers to cancel and return their license plates.

An average 45,000 customers each month visit a branch to cancel vehicle registrations. Previously, they had to wait in line to turn in their plates and receive proof of cancellation. Now, customers have two new options to cancel old license plates:

Visit the RMV’s online branch at to verify plate cancellation. Customers are instructed to destroy or recycle their license plates and need not visit a branch to return them.
A pilot program available in the Watertown branch and expanded to Wilmington, Brockton and Plymouth by the end of the month, allows customers to return their plates using a touch-screen kiosk in the branch lobby without waiting in line, as demonstrated by Registrar Rachel Kaprielian. Customers will use the touch-screen kiosk to print their own cancellation notices and deposit their canceled plates into the kiosk.
The RMV is investigating the potential to add other simple registry services to the self-help kiosks, such as paying citations.

Over the last 18 months, the RMV has also added a new interactive licensing service and a dozen transactions to, which has increased online customer service by 39% and made the online branch the busiest.

Customers who apply for a new license or want to convert an out-of-state license can now perform most of the paperwork online and be fully prepared and save time to complete the transaction in a branch. Online services include license and registration renewals, ordering a Fast Lane transponder, driving record and crash police report, reviewing a registration, title, or lien, and signing up to be an organ and tissue donor.

Visit our online branch and join the new electronic reminder service for license renewals.

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