News & Press

Introducing Niki Bolduc

Introducing Niki Bolduc

Hi All! I’m so excited to be featured on the first AMSkier Personal Lines Newsletter and share a little bit about myself.

My name is Niki Bolduc and I joined the Skier Family 8 months ago, coming to the agency with over 15 years of experience in Personal Lines Insurance. I am a lifelong resident of Wayne County, born in Honesdale and raised in Lake Ariel. My husband and I met in high-school and he has been by my side for the last 24 years. He is the best man I know – strong, hardworking, kind and loving. He makes me laugh every single day. We recently bought a new house and we are slowly renovating the entire place, one room at a time. Chip and Joanna Gaines, we are not, but it has been the best time working together to create our forever home. We have 2 children. Our daughter is 21, she is pursuing an architectural studies degree at Jefferson University in Philadelphia and currently working to self-publish a book of her poetry. She is a bright light, creative and insightful, with the biggest heart. Our son is 17, he just recently committed to play baseball at Penn State’s Harrisburg campus and will be studying Kinesiology. He is crazy talented and hard-working, intelligent with the quickest wit and the best sense of humor. I am thankful every day for the life I get to share with these amazing human beings.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie. I love creating great meals to feed my family and friends. Our home is constantly filled with people – we host parties all throughout the year to celebrate holidays or special events or just to simply enjoy time together. I love to be creative. I spend hours putting together table settings, candles and flower arrangements so that every dining experience in our home is special. There is no better feeling to me than the people I love most in the world crowded around a beautiful dining table savoring good food and conversation, playing games (my family is usually good for some very heated rounds of Boggle, Yahtzee or Bananagrams) & making lasting memories.

With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to include one of my all-time favorite recipes. These cookies are a holiday staple for my family, the recipe passed down from my great grandma, Helen. When I make them, my entire kitchen smells just like hers did when I was a kid and it reminds me of some of the best moments I ever shared with her. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Grandma Franc’s Sugar Cookies

2 Cups Sugar                                                                                                                                 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Shortening                                                                                                                        1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Eggs                                                                                                                                            4 Cups Flour

Pinch of Salt                                                                                                                                 ½ Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract                                                                                                        Raspberry Jam (I prefer with seeds)

 

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, measure out flour and baking soda and set aside. In another bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, eggs, salt, lemon and vanilla extract. Slowly add in flour/baking soda mixture and milk. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for about an hour. (This will make the cookies easier to roll) On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, cut 2 circles per cookie. Cut a ½ inch hole in the center of half of the cookies. Place the whole cookie on a baking sheet, put 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam in the center and cover with the holed cookie. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Interested in developing a relationship with us at AMSkier? Please contact us here.

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Prevent This: Auto-Accidents

Prevent This: Auto-Accidents

We have seen an increase in frequency every year in auto accidents. Take a look at this chart and learn why auto accidents are happening along with some ideas to prevent them going forward.

prevent work related auto-accidents

So, how can businesses Prevent This?

Here are some tips:

Have staff read, agree to and sign a distracted driving policy. We’ve attached a sample for you here.
Ensure staff downloads an app to block incoming texts and calls. Some apps can send an auto response back, letting the sender know that they are driving and that the recipient will respond when parked. A few of these apps are:
– LifeSaver
– OneTap
– AT&T DriveMode

Keep a list of emergency names and numbers in each vehicle.

Make sure your drivers WANT TO DRIVE. A lazy driver or a fearful driver is an accident waiting to happen.

Train your staff on driver safety. Have staff participate in courses that teach defensive driving, safe driving practices and more essential topics. Stay tuned!

Prevent This, and more.
AMSkier, your Partner in Safety.

Concerned about what your insurance would cover in the case of an accident? Talk to one of our insurance advisers and contact us here.

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Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety TipsKeep Holidays Happy | 11 Safety Tips

Holiday safety is an issue that sparks reason to be concerned at this time of year, as families gather, parties are scheduled and travel booms. Take precautions to ensure your family remains safe, injury-free and happy this holiday season! Here are eleven often over-looked safety tips!

1. Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use. 
Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.

2. Do not overload electrical outlets. 
Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage into each outlet at a time.

3. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. 
More than three strands may not only blow a fuse but can also cause a fire.

4. Keep trees fresh by watering daily.
Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.

5. Hang high lights with a buddy. Every year, more than 500,000 people are injured as a result of falling off of ladders. If you’re hanging holiday lights this year, don’t do it alone. Make sure your ladder is level, don’t overreach, and don’t ascend the ladder with your hands full. Consider accessories like ladder jacks and levelers for additional safety.

6. Use battery-operated candles. 
Candles start almost half of home decoration fires (NFPA).

7. Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources. 
A heat source that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations (NFPA).

8. Protect cords from damage. 
To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.

9. Check decorations for certification label.
Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.

10. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. 
Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires (NFPA).

11. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. 
Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am (NFPA).

Concerned about what your insurance would cover in the case of a holiday accident? Discuss them with one of our insurance advisers and contact us here.

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holiday drinking liability

Holiday Drinking & Social Host Liability

holiday drinking liabilityHOLIDAY DRINKING & SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY

With the holiday season quickly approaching, there will be a number of holiday parties over the next few months hosted by workplaces, family and friends. Did you know when alcohol is involved, the host has specific responsibilities to keep everyone safe called Social Host Liability?

Be a Responsible Party Host When Serving Alcohol
Whether hosting a New Years Eve party, a high school or college reunion after Thanksgiving or possibly a Super Bowl party in your home, if you plan to serve alcohol, it is important to take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you are covered with the proper insurance.

Social host liability is the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest in nearly every jurisdiction and can vary depending on the state. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.

While a social host is generally not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may even be liable for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.

Before planning a party in your home, it is important to speak with your insurance agent or company representative about your homeowner’s coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the policy, which might not be enough.

Most importantly, whether you are hanging out with a small group of friends for cocktails or throwing a big family bash, remember that a good host is a responsible host, and takes steps to ensure guests get home safely if they have been drinking.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Guests
If you plan to serve alcohol at a party, here are some tips from the Insurance Information Institute to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure:

  • Understand your state laws. Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. All states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors or to a visibly intoxicated person (“VIP”).
  • Consider venues other than your home. Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by party-goers. Make sure the bartender has specific training in this area.
  • Promote Designated Driving. Require guests to choose a designated driver who can drive other guests home.
  • Be responsible. As the host or hostess, don’t drink more than you should so you can gauge your guests’ sobriety.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink. Also, don’t rush to refill their glasses when they are empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Know when to stop. The NFL stops serving beer at halftime at football games for a reason. Make sure to have water, coffee or other options available.
  • Make sure guests are safe. If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home. No exceptions!

If you are planning a holiday party this season and want to talk with one of our insurance advisers to see if you’re appropriately covered, contact us here.

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Prevent This: Wildfires

Wildland fires destroy business facilities and land every year across the country.  Fire-safe landscaping helps to create an area of defensible space between your business and flammable vegetation.

Fire-damage itself is not the only wildfire-related threat to businesses, but smoke and air quality also pose a threat. To protect your property and others on your property, take the precautions below.

Wildfire Safety Precautions

  • Have several evacuation plans and make sure they’ve been drilled.
  • Have several viable methods to communicate with key staff during a disaster, when cell towers are down. Consider satellite phones.
  • Repair or replace loose or missing roof shingles or tiles.
  • Protect vented openings to attic and crawl spaces with corrosion resistant metal mesh screening (1/8 inch mesh) to minimize the entry of wind-blown embers.
  • Keep the roof and gutters clear of debris.
  • Store firewood and other fuels at least 20 feet away from structures.
  • Use fire-resistant siding materials.
  • Keep areas under decks and porches clear of belongings.
  • Plant shrubs at least 20 feet from any structures and prune regularly.

It’s especially important to consider the spacing and landscaping surrounding your property. Please take the following precautions within the suggested radius of your structures.

Within 30 Feet of Structures

  • Create a defensible space by thinning trees and brush.
  • Provide at least a 10 to 15-foot separation between islands of shrubs and plant groups.
  • Choose oil, wax, and resin-free plants with a high moisture content.
  • Select fire resistant patio furniture and playsets.
  • Mow and water your lawn regularly.
  • Remove dead vegetation.
  • Use rock, mulch, flower beds and gardens as ground cover for bare space and effective firebreaks.

Within 100 Feet of Structures

  • Prune tree branches to a height of at least 8 to 10 feet off the ground.
  • Create breaks in plant life with driveways, walkways, and lawns.
  • Canopies of tall trees should not touch – remove trees if necessary.
  • Remove dense and woody debris.

After analyzing wildfire records spanning 1992-2012, researchers found that human-ignited wildfires accounted for 84 percent of all wildfires, tripling the length of the average fire season and accounting for nearly half of the total acreage burned. In addition, climate change is making our fields, forests and grasslands drier and hotter for longer periods, creating a greater window of opportunity for human-related ignitions to start wildfires. These findings were published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The annual cost of fighting wildfires in the U.S. has exceeded $2 billion in recent years. There cannot be a fire without a spark, and a fire cannot spread or increase in intensity without fuel.

Let’s educate each other and do what is within our control to minimize wildfires and protect each other from their devastating effects.

Prevent This, and other potential disasters.
AMSkier, your Partner in Safety. 

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