Archive by Author | Jon Olson

Power Outage Food Safety

Food Safety Picture

On the heels of the last weekend’s storms and wide power outages in and around #KansasCity, here are some food safety tips from Duane Daugherty (MrDoggity, the Safety guy)

Most modern refrigerators will hold temp in a power outage for about four to six hours if the door isn’t opened. Nearly all refrigerated foods will withstand a few hours out of range. However, if your power is out more than six to eight hours, even with a high efficiency rating, and nobody opening the door, you’ll need to toss some stuff – but NOT everything!

Here’s a handy guide:
Foods to Pitch:
Soups, Stews, Casseroles, any Pre-cooked leftovers
Meat, Poultry, and Seafood: Cooked, uncooked, or any other foods like casseroles that contain these things
Cheese: cream cheese, shredded soft cheese or anything “low-fat”
Dairy: Milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, canned whipped cream
Soy and Nut Milks or products made from these oils (tofu, hummus)
Eggs: Cooked, uncooked, and any foods containing eggs
Fruit: Cut fruit
Condiments: Fish sauce, oyster sauce, creamy dressings, spaghetti sauce, salsa, mayonnaise (if 8 hours or more)
Breads: Refrigerator biscuits, any unbaked canned dough, cookie dough
Pasta: Cooked pasta, salads
Sweets: Cheesecake, cream or custard pies, cream-filled pastries and pies
Vegetables: Pre-washed greens, cooked vegetables, vegetable juice, garlic in oil, anything made with cooked beans.

Foods to Keep:
Cheese: Hard, processed, grated hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano, wrapped block cheeses (may require trimming), processed cheeses like “American singles” or “Velveeta”
Dairy: Butter and margarine
Fruit: Fruit juice, canned fruit, fresh whole (uncut) fruits, dried fruits
Condiments: Peanut butter, jams, jellies, ketchup, olives, pickles, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, relish, vinegar-based dressings, Worcestershire, soy sauce, hoisin sauce
Breads: Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas, bagels, waffles, pancakes
Sweets: Fruit pies
Vegetables: Raw
Herbs: dried or unwilted

Freezers will usually keep food safely frozen for 24 to 48 hours. The more food you have in the freezer, the longer it will keep. Check your ice tray and your ground meats. If your ice tray has loose ice to the bottom and your ground meat is solid, you’re fine. Any meats that have some “give” to them in the freezer should be cooked within a few days, and can be refrozen once cooked. NEVER refreeze raw meats that have begun to thaw.

RULE OF THUMB: IF YOU’RE IN DOUBT – PITCH IT OUT!
I am an environmentalist, too, and I don’t believe in wasting food. But nothing is worth making yourself or your family sick.

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If you’re a homeowner and think you have damage from a storm, be sure to remember these tips–

 
» Call your insurance company as soon as possible if you see or suspect damage.
 
» When considering contractors, do your research and get multiple bids.
 
» Be EXTREMELY cautious of door-to-door solicitors offering free inspections. Some might be reliable local companies, but be sure to check online reviews.
 
» NEVER pay a contractor in cash or before work is completed.
 
»Keep a record of transactions, including bid proposals (revisions) from contractors and conversations with the insurance claims representatives.

#StormDamage #InsuranceTips #HomeownersInsurance #InsuranceKC

Summertime=HOT! Make sure your employees are protected.

Hot summer weather can lead to heat stroke for employees working outdoors
It’s getting hot outside!
Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions according to OSHA.

There are a range of heat illnesses that can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.
If your commercial policyholders have employees working in extreme heat and high temperatures, a heat illness prevention program should be established.
 OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Heat page explains what employers can do to keep workers safe. The page also includes resources for specific industries and OSHA workplace standards.
Business Insurance customers should educate workers and supervisors about the hazards of heat exposure and their prevention.
Topics should include:
  • How to recognize common signs and symptoms.
  • Heat-related illness prevention procedures.
  • Drinking small quantities of water often.
  • Importance of acclimatization.
  • Immediate reporting and responding to signs or symptoms.
Policyholders can also have vital safety information immediately available with the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool.  This App allows them to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers.
to download the app.
Already a Farmers Insurance Business Client?  Enhance your Safety Program? Register at www.MySafetyPoint.com

May Home Maintenance Tips

Things are starting to heat up in Kansas City! Is your home ready for the warm weather? We’ve got the top 6 things to put on your to-do list this month.

1. CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS 

Clean and inspect your gutters. Use a garden hose to flush your gutter out and make sure that your downspouts are directing water at least three feet away from your foundation. A clogged gutter can cause water issues that are potentially not covered under your home policy so it’s best to be proactive.

2. GET YOUR POOL READY

It’s time to get your pool ready for summer. Be sure to schedule your appointment with your preferred pool company, so you don’t get stuck with your first pool party and a pool that isn’t ready!

3. PEST CONTROL 

Pests love warm months. Now is the time to check for signs of pests. You want to especially pay attention to any signs of burrowing in wood. Keep cobwebs clear, make sure you don’t have any standing-water issues in or outside of your home. If you have a pest problem, have an expert check it out before it becomes an out-of-control problem. Treating a small problem is always better then waiting until it becomes a large problem.

3. PRESSURE-WASH YOUR HOME, DECK, AND WALKWAYS

Pressure washing not only gives your home a nice clean look, but it also protects it! Want to get rid of spider eggs? Pressure washing will take care of that. Dirt, mold, mildew, soot, airborne pollutants & other contaminants can also cause damage to the surface of your home if it’s not taken care of.

4. DUST CEILING FANS

Dust ceiling fan blades and reverses the blade rotation. In warm weather they should rotate counterclockwise.

5. PICK UP YOUR GARAGE

Garages tend to be neglected in the winter and spring. Keeping it clean will extend it’s life and help you use it for what it’s intended for. If you have run out of room, consider garage storage solutions or having a garage sale to declutter.

6. GET READY FOR MOVIES AND ENTERTAINING

Nothing says summer like blockbuster movies and outdoor entertainment! Are you ready to take your home audio or outdoor patio to the next level? Get it ready now.  If you have metal patio furniture, coat them in auto polish before setting them out to protect them. Be ready to host an impromptu party or invite your family and friends over for a Memorial Day gathering!

 

What to do in the event of a water loss

 Whether the water loss is a result of a broken pipe, a broken water heater, or flooding, there are actions you can take to prevent further damage to your home or business.

1. Stop the Water and Turn Off the Utilities. Shut off the water main valve immediately if the water is a result of something broken inside your home or business.  It is a good idea to make sure everyone in the household or designated employees within the business knows where the shutoff valve is located.  In case of a major water event, turning off the power or natural gas might be necessary to ensure the safety of yourself and your family or employees. Turning off the power will ensure the prevention of electrocution of any appliances that may be in the affected area. If the water event is minor, there may not be a need to shut off any utilities.

2. Get the Water Out Quickly and Use Fans to Circulate Air

Quickly cleaning up of as much water as possible can prevent further damage.  This can be done by mopping or using any available towels to wipe up the water.  If fans are available, strategically place them to circulate the area to assist in drying. This is extremely important immediately following the loss and within the first 24-48 hours.  A reputable restoration company can also assist in the extraction and drying of water damage. Call us for a referral.

3. Get Property to a Dry Location and Don’t Throw Anything Out

If possible, remove any area rugs to prevent any possible staining of the floor and move contents to a dry area. Put furniture on blocks or slide a square of aluminum foil under furniture legs to prevent any further damage to the furniture or the flooring that the furniture is sitting on.  This would be a good time to conduct an inventory of the damaged property.  Do not throw anything out until the claims adjuster has had an opportunity to inspect the scene.  Photos are also recommended.

4. Call us ASAP.

We are your liaison between yourself and Farmers. We will be able to give you advise on coverage as well as the claims process, including your deductible.  If it’s in your best interest to file the claim, we will help you submit the claim ASAP.  The claims team will provide you further direction as to what your next steps will be.

 

Business Owner with Commercial Autos?

Here are a couple of quick tips for your commercial auto insurance, your employees and your business:

**When you hire drivers, make sure that you hire safe ones. Remember that your drivers represent your business when they are on the road. Once they are on board, you may want to train your drivers regarding best practices, such as the ones described below.

**It’s best to focus all of your attention on the road. Did you know that engaging in visual-manual sub tasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increases the risk of getting into a crash? Avoid anything that can distract you while driving.

**Maintain safe equipment. Well-maintained vehicles are not only safer, they can help you save money.

**Always, always wear your seat belt. Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths. It is sad to hear of accidents that injured people who might have otherwise been protected had they been wearing seat belts.

As always if you have a question on a commercial policy or would like more info on policies that Farmers Insurance offers, give us a call at 816-795-5977, email at jolson3@farmersagent.com. or just fill out this form.

 

Looking to start a new career in 2017?

Customer Service and Sales Position at our insurance office in
INDEPENDENCE, MO – FARMERS INSURANCE

 Office Assistant

Position: Full Time – Customer Service
$9-$12 per hour DOE + commissions and bonus!

Responsibilities: Provide amazing customer service to our existing customers through the following; answer phones, take payments, assist customers in making changing to insurance policies, assisting in filing claims, advise customers on insurance products, sending proof of insurance to banks and clients, and anything else our customers requests to wow and amaze them!

Ideal candidate will have a minimum of 1 year office experience, be a quick learner, fast on computers and phones, multi tasking, dependable, and extreme attention to detail. No prior insurance experience required, but a positive attitude is a must!

 

Job Purpose: This is a small insurance business environment that is very fast-paced and requires an Inside Sales / Customer Service Rep. who is creative, a self-starter, and a hard worker. Must be able to be punctual, multi-task, and work well under pressure with great customer service skills. This can be a career rewarding opportunity for you to grow with us!

Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm

Responsibilities includes (but not limited to):
1) Provide prompt, accurate, and friendly service by responding to inquiries from existing policyholders and the general public regarding insurance, policy changes, billing clarification, and payment plans.

2) Timely and courteous follow up with prospective and current clients regarding current insurance policies as well as additional insurance policies.

3) Provide service in a pleasant and courteous manner.

4) Meet customer service goals and assist with marketing goals as directed by the upper management.

5) Perform other related duties as assigned by the upper management.

Qualifications:

-High School Diploma minimum. 4 year college degree preferred.
-Technological Savvy: Computer experience with Word, Excel, and Outlook is mandatory
-Experience in Social Media-Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest
-Communication Skills: Strong listening, oral, and written communication skills
-Initiative and Self-Reliance: Make decisions on a timely basis and take necessary actions without directions from others
-Problem solving ability: Apply and balance conceptual and analytical thinking by breaking down complex problems, evaluating alternative sources of action and their likely outcomes, and selecting the best alternative.
-Goal oriented:  Highly motivated and resourceful to achieve results
-Truthfulness & Respect: Proven track record of trustworthiness, dependability and ethical behavior with the ability to learn and apply product and customer knowledge to professionally service policy holders
-Experience in service, sales, and/or retail sales is desirable.
Must be able to pass a background check and be able to pass 2 tests for insurance licenses with 60 days of hire (this includes Property/Casualty and Life/Health).

Please email your resume at careers@olsoninsurancekc.com if you would like to set up an interview.

 

Insurance Tip-Act NOW!

INSURANCE TIP__
Just a reminder to disconnect your garden hoses if you haven’t already! The Weather Service predicts lows in the single digits so to prevent freeze damage to your hose spigot, disconnect the garden hose so the spigot can drain properly. If the spigot does freeze and burst the pipe, you may not be aware of it until next spring when you use the hose again. A ruptured pipe can do significant damage in a very short period of time. An ounce of prevention can save thousands of gallons of water in your basement! We want you to keep your deductible and not spend it on home repairs!
Regards and stay warm!

–How to avoid freezing pipes–

Unoccupied buildings are susceptible to damage especially when Mother Nature sends an unpredictable wave of frigid air across the country.
freezing-pipes-2We usually associate freezing pipes with cold climate states, but temperatures low enough to freeze or damage pipes can happen anywhere in the country.  The water damage can be more severe when pipes burst in areas considered to be “warm” because proper precautions and action plans are not in place.

Here are some tips to aid policyholders in protecting their properties:

  • Turn on the heat to keep the entire building warm.
  • Confirm cracks or wall penetrations are sealed, and doors and windows are securely closed.
  • Install devices to shut off water in the event a pipe leaks and water is flowing.
  • Inspect/replace appliances and water supply lines as recommended by the manufacturer, and when damage is observed.
  • Insulate or apply heat tape to water pipes, including wet sprinkler system pipes.
  • Install a monitoring system for building temperature.
  • Heat sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms with UL approved devices.
  • Develop a plan and locate all water shut-off valves so quick action can be taken for a leak.
  • Use a qualified service or individual for interior inspections during weather events or any extended unoccupied periods to confirm the security of the property.

When small problems go undetected, they become big problems.  Business and rental property owners should prepare for events or seasons when buildings may go unoccupied for a planned or unplanned period of time.

freezing-pipes-3

For your auto and home insurance coverage, should you go through an agent or online?

online-insurance-2

For many people, the convenience of buying insurance online from the provider or from an 800 number is appealing; but when a CRISIS hits, it is in YOUR BEST INTEREST to have an agent who is LOCAL, whom you know personally and can serve as a liaison between yourself and the insurance carrier. It is always most beneficial to have your auto-home-life insurance, all with the same company.

At our agency, we know YOU personally, you never have to confirm your name, address, or give a policy number when you call. We take the time to meet and sit down with our clients and to do a review of all their policies. If you talk with an “800 Insurance Company” you’ll never speak to the same person twice and they have no idea who you are as a person and what coverage you need. If there is a serious claim, it’s doubtful that you could ever find the employee of the “800 Insurance Company” to ask them why they sold you the coverage that they did.

In times of trouble, our agency goes to bat for you. We help file the claim, we can speak the adjusters, and help out with any unforeseen situations related to the claim. This is especially important, especially with weather-related incidents where there can be quite a large area off affected clients. We’re here to be an advocate YOU, if something is not being addressed promptly or if there is a communication issue, we’ll help you resolve it quickly and get you back where you belong.

Another great attribute of having Farmers Insurance is that we only work with our own adjusters, meaning  the adjuster inspecting the damage is someone who is knowledgeable with Farmers Insurance policies. Many online insurers (as well as independent insurance agencies) use independent adjusters, who may not be as familiar with each insurer’s claims. This can cause larges delays as well as unfavorable outcomes when you have a claim.

For a review of your coverage, give us a call anytime 816-795-5977.