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Things We Take for Granted

August 29, 2014
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner – Founders Insurance Group

After many years of hard work, my wife and I were able to purchase a little place down south in hopes of retiring there someday. Even though it’s in the south, we try to use it year round whenever possible. So after some difficult weather and an airline without a pilot available to pilot our plane, which by the way, I would prefer rather than flying without one, we finally arrived way past dinner time as we had planned. Actually, we arrived past our bedtime too. Anyone that travels knows that it can be hectic and tiring and both my wife and I were ready to settle into bed as soon as possible.

Now, I don’t have to tell you that it’s hot in the south during the summertime. And it’s not that cool, “dry” heat we hear folks in Arizona talk so fondly about. So after a quick stop at midnight for staples like bread and milk, our southern home was truly beckoning us.  With great anticipation, my wife unlocked the front door and we were greeted by a force of steaming hot air that can only come from a sealed house in the south in the summertime. Did we forget to turn on the air conditioning? I didn’t think so. So after turning on some lights and messing around with our thermostat, no cool air was to be found. Being the handy guy I am, I signed onto the internet looking for a troubleshootingDog on block of ice fix that my wife might be able to do. I am very handy at the internet, but not so handy with actual tools. My patient wife has excepted this fact about me many years ago. Anyway, after several trips to the outside unit, I professionally concluded that we had a serious problem! By now it was nearly 2am. I went back into the house and it was unbearable. The thermostat in our living room read 94 degrees!

I soon stepped outside, and walked our street. I noticed, not in a peeping Tom sort of way mind you, that all of my neighbors were tucked quietly into their beds and their air conditioning units were all making a wonderful, melodic hum in the night. They hadn’t a care in the world while tucked into their cozy little beds. Yet just a few feet away, I was living in an inferno. I texted one of my retired friends that I knew would be awake back in New England. His words of wisdom went something like this; “Well Chris, if it were 10 degrees outside, you could keep adding blankets and overcoats until you got reasonably warm, but with heat like that, there isn’t anything you can do past naked.” Yeah, he was filled with wisdom!

I finally returned to the house to make a few calls to repair people and face my destiny of a miserable night’s sleep. Now finding someone to fix an air conditioning unit in the middle of a southern summer is like trying to find a furnace man in the dead of winter during a harsh New England cold snap. Finally I was able to find one that might be willing to do the work right away, but I had to be prepared to offer up a pound of Vanilla pipe tobacco on top of the normal bill. His promise was to have it up and running within the day. He kept his promise and now I’m left looking for a pound of pipe tobacco with my nearly empty wallet. But as I said, I’m handy with the internet and with it now 69 degrees in the house, the task is an easy one.

 The moral of this little story is that the little things we take for granted are often big things when they are suddenly gone. The second moral is that I had the foresight to take out a warranty on the house when I bought it, making the several thousand dollar repair not feel quite so badly. Sometimes it pays to pay the little extra for piece of mind!


Have a great day!


Chris Garlasco

What’s your Insurance IQ? – Be careful, we might offer you a job!

August 19, 2014

With the advent of on-line shopping, huge insurance call centers and a personal insurance marketplace that has never been more competitive than it is today, it’s more important than ever to have a basic understanding of what the insurance product is all about because knowledge is power. I thought it might be fun to set up a basic insurance IQ test to test your insurance knowledge.

So let’s begin!


Human brain

1. Your cherished pet dog, Lester, bites a young girl selling Girl Scout Cookies.

A. It is covered under your home insurance policy

B. It is covered under your auto policy

C. There is no coverage for dog bites

D. Lester gets a special treat for chasing away a pestering Girl ScouT

2. An Umbrella policy

A. Is a policy that adds more property coverage to your home insurance policy.

B. Is a policy that adds additional liability coverage to your Auto Insurance policy.

C. Is a policy that adds additional liability coverage to your Auto and Home policy.

D. Is a policy that protects you in a severe rain storm

3. In Connecticut, the minimum liability limit required on an auto policy per person is:

A. $10,000

B. $50,000

C. $20,000

D. There is no state minimum liability limit

4. “Gap” coverage is:

A. Designed to cover the difference between the book value of your car and the amount of the amount of your loan if the balance of the loan owed is higher than  the book value.

B. Designed to cover the difference between the book value of your car and the cost of replacing the car.

C. Designed to protect you from paying full price on a new pair of jeans.

D. Designed to cover your medical bills after forgetting to “mind the gap” while exiting a subway car.

5. Flood Insurance can only be purchased by those living in a dangerous flood zone.

A. True

B. False

6. Special coverage, called a “Schedule” (aka rider) should be added to a home insurance policy for:

A. A very expensive ring

B. A very expensive piece of artworkDiamond Ring wedding gift isolated

C. A very expensive new Viking stove

D. A&B

E. B&C

F. None of the above

7. Every insurance company has a different profit margin. With that in mind, and before investment, a profitable Auto Insurance Company typically will make this amount for each dollar of premium collected. Pick the number that you feel comes the closest to the average:

A. 28 cents

B. 6 cents

C. 47 cents

D. 62 cents

8. Pick the item(s) below that would not be covered on a typical home insurance policy.

A. A hole in the roof from a tree branch

B. A lightning strikePeeling paint background

C. A rotted out gutter

D. Smoke damage from a furnace puff back

E. Peeling paint

F. B&D

G. C&E

H. All of the above is covered

9. Your dream car that has been your baby is damaged in an accident. You must pick an auto body shop that is on your insurance company’s preferred list.

A. True

B. False

10. Buying insurance from an agent is almost always more expensive than buying direct.

A. True

B. False

11. Your next door neighbor’s insurance company is cheaper than yours. Switching your insurance to your neighbor’s insurance company will likely be:

A. Cheaper than your current company

B. More expensive than your current company

C. About same amount as your current company

D. Any of the above

12. When comparing insurance companies, if company “A” has the exact same coverage as company “B” than the most important factor is the price.

A. True

B. False


That wraps up today’s insurance IQ quiz. See the answers below. If you got all twelve correct, we have a job opening for you! If you got 10 or 11 answers correct, you are a prodigy or a total nerd, take your pick! If you were able to get 8 or 9 answers correct, you are a well-informed consumer! If you got 6 or 7 correct, you are an “Average Joe” or “Average Jane” whichever applies. If you got 5 or less correct, I think that we need to talk!


Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group



Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

Owner & Managing Partner – Founders Insurance Group


founders answers.png_Page_1

Zombie Apocalypse – well, it could happen – couldn’t it?

August 7, 2014

Bryan Johnson

Most homes have an emergency kit for when the power goes out, or bad storms hit. Basic kits include flashlight, batteries, radio, first-aid tools, candles and maybe some bottled water. If you are a Doomsday Prepper – you might even have an underground bunker!

Businesses aren’t often as prepared for disaster – yet having a solid emergency preparedness plan can be the difference between staying in business or shutting doors for good.

Here are some tips for making sure your business can survive the Zombie Apocalypse – or even the next big storm:

  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! The best way to avoid disaster is to try and prevent it – start with the obvious – theft and fire. Make sure your security systems, sprinklers, alarms and extinguishers are up to par.  Do routine internal audits of your financial records to insure employee theft isn’t happening.
  • Evacuation Plan This is especially important in disaster prone areas where hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and floods happen.  Again, don’t forget about fire or unfortunately a terrorist threat or a  crazy person entering  your office threatening your employees!  How will they all get out safely?  The Hartford Insurance suggests : Designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits for your employees. Make sure that routes and exits are well lit, clearly markediStock_000020858428Small and easily accessible. Create an evacuation plan in advance and designate an outside meeting place where everyone can gather and be accounted for as they evacuate. Include individuals in need of assistance in your emergency preparedness guide.
  • Be like a Mom – have your emergency contact numbers readily available!. Yes, the obvious – fire, ambulance and even FEMA. Don’t forget all of your client’s contact info, vendors, suppliers, haulers – anyone that you come in contact with that would be affected!
  • Be a doomsday prepper – have an emergency kit! We don’t think the Zombie Apocalypse is coming anytime soon, but pretend it is. Have a first aid kit, batteries, flashlight, bottled water –the same stuff you would have at home.
  • Where are your vital records? If they must remain on-site – keep them in a waterproof, fireproof, theft-proof safe. We strongly suggest having copies elsewhere – yes they won’t be originals but it is better than a pile of ashes.
  • Backup your stuff! This one always makes us nervous. We live in a digital world.  If your data was lost – what would you do?  Don’t forget one of the biggest threats now is Cyber Breach and Cyber Security! Cloud back up is best, but if you aren’t there yet, make sure your back up is kept OFF SITE!  If the building burns down having you back up in the owner’s bottom left hand drawer isn’t going to help
  • Know your insurance coverage This may seem like a shameless plug, but we are being very serious. Are you properly covered?  If your building burned down tomorrow – could you open up shop that afternoon elsewhere?  Could your business survive?  If you aren’t properly insured the answer will be no.  Lastly – make sure you keep your insurance agent’s information and your carrier’s claim phone number handy.  Report a loss immediately if you can – after everyone is safe.

Working closely with your Independent Insurance Agent at Founders Insurance Group, talking about your risk and understanding your situation will help protect your business against a really bad day at the office.  Give us a call  860-482-3506.


Bryan Johnson

P&C Operations Manager

Founders Insurance Group, Inc


Managing your risk – in the office!

July 28, 2014

Bryan Johnson 


When we think of dangerous work zones, we often think construction sites, roofers or manufacturing – but we see a fair share of workers’ compensation claims coming from office workers.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, back strains, tendonitis, and shoulder/elbow issues were the cause of one-third of employee absenteeism (2011 US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

That is an astounding number of days lost at work! Think of the cost for any company large or small – workers  compensation claims, missed production, and, maybe most importantly, employee morale.

What is the solution?  Ergonomics.

Ergonomics is a fancy term that really means designing a work environment that best fits the worker – for comfort, safety, and proficiency.

Here are instances where an ergonomic intervention is needed:

Do your employees have any of these factors?

  • Repetitive tasks – doing the same thing over and over again.  This can include sitting at a desk and typing all day.  OUCH!
  • Classic back and shoulder strain points:  Lifting things above shoulders, squatting, lifting, leaning, twisting and picking up heavy objects
  • Holding the same position for a long period of time.  Do you have team members that have to stand in one spot for hours?  Lower back strains are common here.
  • Exerting extreme force to lift, pull, or shove heavy things.  Think mail rooms, stock rooms.


Take a look around your office – do an assessment!

OSHA has some great tools to get you started, and to get you thinking.  The best tools are your eyes and ears. We strongly suggest having an open dialogue with yourBusinessman with back and neck pain team.  Are there common complaints?  Do you see employees wincing or rubbing their necks at their desks?  Are you going through asprin by the cases?  Are your workers compensation claims up?

Take Action

After you’ve identified the issues and have done your homework – it’s time to take action.  Have a series of safety workshops for your team.   Topics such as:

  • Correct posture, monitor height and chair height
  • Proper lifting techniques
  • Encourage breaks from repetitive tasks – get up and move around
  • Teach stretching techniques
  • Make sure your team has ample leg room and work space

Give them the right tools

  • Make sure your team has the right safety equipment, as well as ergonomically correct chairs, keyboards, and other computer equipment.
  • Give them step stools; perhaps create shelving that is at a lower – or higher – height to avoid strain from lifting or squatting.
  • Make sure the lighting is correct for their job tasks – avoiding eye strain and headaches
  • Temperature control – is it too hot or too cold?


It’s always nice to have a process, but you have to make sure it is being followed.  Have regular team meetings to reinforce your ergonomic rules and safety regulations!

Need help?  Just ask!

At Founders, our job is to make sure your team is protected and your company remains financially sound.  An increase in workers compensation claims can really hurt both!  We have a myriad of tools that can help with loss control measures – you just have to ask!

Bryan Johnson

P&C Operations Manager

5 Reasons your Business should have Cyber Liability Coverage

July 14, 2014
Cindy Donaldson Director of Marketing & Sales

Cindy Donaldson
Director of Marketing & Sales



I recently read an article by the New York Times stating the  Chinese possibly hacked into US Federal Government Personnel files. According to the Times, “They appeared to be targeting the files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances.” WHAT???  (Read the article here)

Now, it hasn’t been confirmed that any data was stolen – but will we ever really know?  Maybe not.  The point is, if the Federal Government’s fire walls and top shelf security systems can be breached don’t you think your business might be at risk?



Before you say that your data isn’t nearly as juicy as top secret spies, think again.  Your data will be a lot easier to get to and I guarantee if you have employees, take down any type of personal information from clients – including just their dates of birth or drivers license numbers – hackers can make a buck off of you.

Here is the scary part – you can be held liable for that data and yes, you can get sued.  Beyond that you will be responsible for notifying clients and employees that their data MAY have been compromised.  Note I stressed “MAY”.  Each state, and country, has different laws on what companies are responsible to do in case of a breach.  It is important to know the law.

Here are the 5 reasons:

1.  It is not IF, but WHEN you will have a data breach and/or compromise.  As we rely more and more on technology it is simply a numbers game.

2.  The cost for notification is in excess of $200 per record!  Health Care Providers take a deep breath – yes, that can add up pretty quickly.

3. Your business could come to a halt – you need a back up plan and funds to keep you going.

4. Often times it is employee human error that results in a breach – clicking on a phishing link in an email, sending private data unsecured, not shredding private data

5. Because businesses are mobile and we tend to want everything at our finger tips. You got it:  Hackers will steal phones, tablets and laptops.  And no, having a password to get it won’t stop them.



Do you have to wait until your policy renews to endorse your current policy or get a stand alone policy?  NO!

Is it expensive?  It depends on your limits of coverage and the size of your risk.  Each policy is customized to what you need and may have several layers – there is no standard pricing.

I don’t take credit cards, do I really need it?  Yes, Cyber Liability Insurance will also cover your business if you computer system gets hacked into and you cannot conduct business. Don’t forget if you have employees, you have social security numbers that can be stolen!

What are the CT laws?  This is from the CT Attorney General’s Office  READ HERE


It’s complicated and overwhelming. That’s why it is important to have an in depth conversation with your Founders Account Executives and Managers about your specific risks!

Give us a call today,  860-482-3506 don’t wait until your company shows up in the NY Times – and not in a good way!

Cindy Donaldson


You want to insure what???

July 3, 2014
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner – Founders Insurance Group

For most sane people, insurance simply isn’t all that interesting. However, every once in a while the insurance world intersects with the unusual, odd, or even downright crazy risk that requires some form of coverage.

During the course of our lifetime, the vast majority of us will only come in contact with “normal” insurance like auto, home, life or business insurance.But if there is a risk of loss and a correct premium can be assigned, just about anything can be insured. It isn’t all that strange for us to hear the news of a famous dancer insuring her legs or a famous piano player insuring his fingers. But there are lots of other unique situations where insurance coverage is required that just might elevate insurance in stature to the point of, dare I say it…. “interesting”!

Back in the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, hijacking an airliner was fairly commonplace. In 1968 alone there were more than twenty-two skyjackings. A high percentage of skyjackers were on a misguided mission to seek asylum in Cuba! Little did they know that the only part of Cuba they would ever see is the inside of a Cuban prison or hard labor in a sugar cane field.  Interestingly, fearing the loss of customers and high profits, many airlines resisted advancing airport security. While unimaginable today, many airlines went with the strategy of simply allowing the skyjacker to commandeer the flight to Cuba. The passengers on board were met with the longest flight delay known to man, complete with a free night in a “fine Cuban hotel,” (is that an oxymoron?).  So, for a short period of years, airline passengers could purchase “skyjack” insurance that among other things, compensated each traveler for up to $500 per day, quite a bit of money at the time, for their inconvenience.

Most avid golfers would consider a hole in one the shot of a lifetime. It is so rare that even the PGA tour, with some of the most talented golfers in the world, seldom ever sees a hole in one. As a result, many local charity golf events offer a new car for any golfer fortunate enough to stroke a hole in one. The problem is that the cost of a new car would likely wipe out all of the proceeds (and maybe more) from the event. So for a very low cost, event organizers can purchase “Hole in One” insurance. Here at Founders, we have sold several of these policies through the years.

Many of us have heard of wedding insurance, and that is a policy that we offer here through the Travelers. But Wedding Insurance doesn’t cover getting cold feet.Yorkshire Terrier Holding Holding a Sign Fear not! Firemen’s Fund has offered to cover the cost of a “change of heart!” The high cost associated with many of today’s weddings, makes this an attractive option for many people seeking to marry the “Runaway Bride.”

Pet insurance is becoming more popular with many dog and cat owners, especially with the rising cost of veterinarian bills. So what do you do if you have a pet that isn’t a dog or cat? Well there’s no need to worry, private insurance is available for everything from chickens to hamsters!

Last year, I think I saw a UFO. I am not crazy and until then, I had a healthy skepticism of the extra-terrestrial. Had I known that it is possible to purchase “Alien Abduction Insurance” I might not have been so frightened that night and been able to get better photos! Of course, there must be actual proof of the abduction! No kidding!

Are you a fantasy football fanatic? It seems to be a craze that is taking the country by storm even with cable sports networks dedicating shows to the hobby. If you are concerned about your fantasy football team, Fantasy Player Protect has the policy for you.  Personally as a business owner that doesn’t play fantasy football, I would prefer “productivity insurance” be provided instead for the amount of business production lost in offices each year due to this obsession.

Having a baby is a life changing event. For many couples it is also an expensive one. So what happens when the stork drops off unexpected twins or triplets? There is no need to worry as “Multiple Birth Insurance” is your solution. However, it’s important to point out that if you are utilizing fertility drugs, coverage is excluded. If you are dealing with the opposite problem, many states compel companies to cover infertility treatment.

Of course we can’t forget Lloyds of London, known for insuring things like the tongue of a restaurant critic or food taster. Of course there is mustache coverage that was offered to a famous cricket player for his trademark mustache. And….we have all heard of coverage for the hands of famous musicians, but how about a world champion Yo-Yo player?

Believe it or not, this list of available insurance coverage only scratches the surface of the exciting world of insurance. So, if you have been abducted by aliens, worried about triplets or you are a professional Yo-Yo player, we here at Founders would love to help you out!

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco




How to change the image of the Manufacturing Industry

June 27, 2014

Sarah Bourdeau, CIC, AIC Account Executive – Founders Insurance Group, Inc.


There’s a quote/photo circulating on Linked In that says, “If you smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.”   At the CBIA’s Manufacturing Summit (think State of the Union), I was definitely in the right room.  It was a pleasure to spend the morning with many innovative manufacturing executives and the affiliated professionals who support them.

The challenges facing the manufacturing industry today are many.  The cost of business is ever increasing, the work force is aging, new employees are expensive to train and hard to find.  Add the cost of development, technology requirements, not knowing what components OEMs will need and it could feel downright overwhelming.

Listening to the presentations at the Summit, I did my share of head nodding.  I relate to the uphill battle facing our manufacturing clients because it’s very similar to the topics we discuss in the insurance industry: How do we change the image of our industry:

  • How do we accurately portray our industries to draw students, their parents and individuals interested in changing industries?
  • How do we attract the much needed young workers?  How do we provide them with the appropriate education and training?
  • How do we pass on the wealth of knowledge from our experienced technicians have before they retire?
  • What are the cultural implications of a changing workforce?  How do we address employment issues as we diversify and change?
  • How can our organizations invest in technology to increase efficiency, stay competitive and grow our businesses?

That’s quite a list.

We have such a strong culture of manufacturing in Connecticut.  The individuals who are tasked with “fixing” these challenges are experienced, they are bright and they are committed.  Ultimately, the solutions will come from PEOPLE.  We are fortunate to have some of the smartest, most dedicated people together working to make manufacturing a vibrant economic driver for our state.

Sarah Bourdeau, CIC, AIC



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