McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Ban on Cellphone Use??

The National Transportation Safety Board has just called for a ban on all cellphone use by drivers, including the use of hands-free devices. It is the most far-reaching such recommendation to date, based on years of studies into distracted driving accidents. There's also the concern that smart phones may give drivers even more reasons to look away from the road.

Two major dangers associated with cell phone use are:
1) drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel when using cell phones
2) drivers become so absorbed in the conversation or other phone uses that their ability to concentrate on driving is severely impaired.

There are many sources of distraction while driving; it's easy to question whether a complete ban on the use of cell phones would be enforceable or effective.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Peerless Insurance Company Loss Prevention Department has released a new and improved presentation based on the feedback and requests from its business customers. The latest release is a Distracted Driving safety short and covers the different types of distracted driving, the impact on the ability of the driver to react, as well as a means to help prevent it from occurring in the first place.

This video is targeted toward drivers who operate commercial vehicles and takes just 6 minutes to review. Click on the link and learn more!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pool Safety

  • Always watch children when they are in or around the pool.
  • Teach children basic water safety tips: no running around the pool, no roughhousing, etc.
  • Keep children away from pipes, filters, tubes and drains to avoid hair or clothing from becoming entangled.
  • Know how to shut off pool equipment quickly in case of emergency. Post instructions for others.
  • Never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use. They can make tempting targets for toddlers.
  • Teach your children to swim and be sure you know how to swim as well.
  • Learn how to do CPR on children and adults and update these skills regularly.
  • Keep the pool area free from electrical devices, glass and other hazards.
  • Never let anyone swim alone.
  • Limit alcohol use around the pool area. The CDC reports that alcohol is a factor in many adolescent and adult deaths related to water recreation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Protecting Customers by Shredding Documents

Identify theft is one of the most organized and costly crimes today. With the number of claims increasing every year, it can happen to anyone at anytime. Identify theft occurs when thieves acquire personal information to create fraudulent accounts and make financial transactions at the victim’s expense. The most common way to acquire such important information is by searching through trash for documents with names, social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc. Although identity theft cannot be completely prevented, there are many easy ways to minimize risk.

Paper shredding is a simple, but very important part of protecting customers and employees of a business. Shredding valuable documents is essential to our customer’s security at The McCurdy Group. Destroying these documents eliminates the risk of thieves searching through dumpsters or discovering our customers’ precious information. Before shredding, all paper documents are kept in a locked room and out of reach. After shredding, the paper is recycled and the private information remains protected.

Other tips to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Bring in your mail daily from the mailbox
  • Immediately report lost/stolen credit cards
  • Safely store social security cards, birth certificates, and other valuable documents
  • Be careful what information you send in emails/post on the internet
  • Monitor your bank accounts and credit card usage

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Copper is the New Gold

With copper prices on the rise, the theft of residential scrap copper is an alarming development. Thieves look for scrap copper in the wiring of electrical units, air conditioners, refrigerators, plumbing pipes, and street lights. These desperate thieves sell to junk dealers for a fraction of the cost it will take to you to repair the damages. Unfortunately, there is little to no record- keeping for junk dealers and sellers so it is extremely difficult to track down thieves.

Make sure to protect your home with proper security and keep an eye on entrances to your property. Hot spots for copper theft are in vacant homes and buildings, but many thefts do occur in occupied homes.

There are a couple ways to prevent copper theft including a few different alarm systems which are attached onto refrigerant lines. This makes it more difficult to remove and quickly steal the copper components. If they are removed, an alarm will sound to scare off your copper thief. So be aware and alert to this new theft target.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Dangers of the Unattended Lit Candle

Maybe you need a little ambiance or possibly a pleasant fragrance, so you light a candle in your room. A few hours go by and it is getting late and you are getting sleepy. As you sleep, a small drip of hot wax from the unattended candle catches your curtains, igniting them. The flame leaps from your curtains, to your bed sheets, to your clothes, to your body! Now you remember that nice, vanilla-scented candle you just had to light -- but it is now going to take a visit from the fire department to put it out. Accidents can happen at any moment. Don’t let something like this happen to you!

Candles are the number one cause of household fires. They cause hundreds of deaths and injuries a year and millions of dollars in property damages. Leaving a candle unattended is a danger to yourself, your children, your neighbors, pets, and the firefighters called to the scene.

Some Interesting Candle Facts:

  • December is the peak month for candle fires and Christmas is the peak day (A dry Christmas tree and a flaming candle don’t mix.)
  • Most candle fires begin in the bedroom between midnight and 6 am. (Zzz…You won’t always smell smoke when you’re asleep.)
  • Young children have the highest death risk from candle fires. (Teach your children fire safety!)
  • Many candle fires start because the candle is too close to a combustible material. (It’s as simple as being careful and aware with a very dangerous household object.)
  • It’s a good idea to extinguish your candles before that second Margarita…

If you do use candles, ensure they are in a sturdy container, out of reach of children and pets, and extinguished after use. Always blow out your candles before leaving the room, leaving the house, or going to sleep. Leaving a lit candle unattended can lead to very serious and dire consequences.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Groundwater Problems & Your Homeowners Policy

What your Homeowners Policy Doesn't Cover

The basic homeowners policy does not cover damage from water entering at or below the surface of the ground. Examples include sewer water that backs up into your home through the basement floor drain or water that seeps through your foundation from heavy rains. To be short and sweet: when water comes into a home at or below ground level, the resulting damage is NOT covered.

How to Protect Yourself

You can try to control the problem by installing a sump pump. You can also buy a battery backup for your pump which can be critical if there is a power outage or a large volume of water for your pump to handle.

From an insurance standpoint, you can purchase an endorsement to be added to your homeowners policy called Sewer Backup Coverage.

You can also consider Federal Flood Insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more information on this program. Be aware that Flood Insurance has a 30-day waiting period after it is purchased before a flood will be covered so plan ahead. Also personal property in a basement or area where all four walls are below ground is NOT covered by a flood policy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's a home inventory and why should I take one?

After tornados hit Massachusetts on June 1, 2011, many folks are in the process of rebuilding their homes and more importantly, their lives. And when dealing their insurance companies, they're asked to identify all those items that need to be replaced.

How can someone remember all the possessions they've amassed over the years and place values on them?

For those of us who have not had to deal with this problem first-hand as yet, we can learn a lesson from this: create a home inventory.

Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Count up each type of clothing item (pants, shirts, dresses, shoes, etc.) and make note of any valuable items. Gather up all receipts, appraisals and contracts you may have. Record the serial numbers for appliances and electronic equipment.

In addition to your list, you can take pictures of items, your closets and cupboards - or take the time to make a dvd while walking through your house or apartment.

We at McCurdy Insurance can also perform the inventory for you and store it at a different location. No matter which way you record all your possessions, be sure to store your lists, receipts and photos or dvds in a different location, whether a safety deposit box, a relative's home or at your workplace.

Monday, April 25, 2011

High Limits for Young Drivers

When we recommend healthy liability limits to young drivers, we often hear comments like “I don’t own anything“, “I have no assets”, or “What can they take from me?” Aside from the moral issue of doing the right thing and having adequate insurance coverage should you injure someone, it is important to note that if you are involved in a serious accident, you could jeopardize your entire financial future. In the case of a court judgment, you could have your wages garnished for the rest of your life; future assets can also be attached. A judgment in Massachusetts can be enforced for up to 20 years – plus interest.

Let’s be real: I was young once and I know what you are up to and what can happen even to the best drivers. Do you want to jeopardize your future for the sake of a few hundred dollars a year? Remember, if insurance rates are high, it is only because claim exposure is high.

This is not something to take lightly; get good coverage. And the value of your car has nothing to do with the damage you can cause. You can injure someone severely with a new Mercedes or a ten-year-old Toyota.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fiction: The least expensive insurance policy is usually the best

Fact: Choosing an insurance policy based on price alone is a big mistake. It's important to read through the policy details and understand what's covered. Otherwise, you could end up paying a large portion of the claim if the maximum payout amount doesn't fulfill your needs. A low price may also land you an insurer that fights every claim and delays payments. Making price the key factor in your decision could cost you more money and hassle in the long run.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Disaster in Japan

The earthquake and tsunami that wreaked havoc in Japan is a calamity. But, let's learn something from it. If a developed country like Japan is having difficulty coping with the aftermath of such a disaster, how would we fare if confronted with a similar situation??

One of the most basic ideas to consider is putting together some emergency supplies. The following list has been prepared by the US Government. This and other survival information is available at

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Consider Rental Reimbursement Coverage

Under the best circumstances, having an auto accident is really annoying. It can be equally disturbing to realize you didn't buy rental car coverage on your auto insurance policy. So you could be faced with having no car while it's being repaired, paying the $500 deductible and another $300 to $500 for the rental car. If you've got the money, fine; but if you don't, rental coverage could be something you'd like to consider.

People may say "Hey, if the accident isn't my fault, I can collect from the other person's insurance carrier." That's true -- as long as the other person was at fault, they have insurance, and you get their name, plate number, license number, etc. If they don't have insurance, lots of luck taking them to small claims court for the rental car money.

I find that most of the time, it's better to take care of Number One and get the extra coverage. The cost is reasonable, ranging from $40 to around $100.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Alert!

The snow load on your roof could be approaching a dangerous level. For your safety, remove snow from your roof as soon as possible. The is especially critical if you have a flat roof or one with a minimal pitch.

The potential for roof collapse or structural damage increases as the weight of the accumulated snow and ice exceeds the snow load capacity of the roof. Also, the likelihood of developing ice dams and the resulting water damage to the interior of the house increases with the amount of snow remaining on your roof.

Rain falling on accumulated snow is especially dangerous because snow-covered roofs do not drain well and the weight of the snow increases.

It may be prudent to hire someone to remove snow from your roof before the next storm hits the area. You can call a local roofer or contractor to see if they can help.