Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips for 2019

Halloween is a night to get creative with unique costumes and decorations. It can be a fun but busy night for everyone, including our pets. Below are some Halloween safety tips to keep you and your neighbors safe this Halloween.

1. Turn Your Home Security System Off before Trick-or-Treaters Arrive.

We always want to feel safe in our homes, and a home security system is a great way to keep you and your family safe. However, on a night like Halloween, your door will be open and closed often. Don’t forget to disarm your alarm before the trick or treaters arrive to avoid any mishaps with your home security company and to prevent any unintended scares. **Don’t forget to turn it back on at the end of the night as well to ward off those tricksters!

2. Make Sure Pets Are In A Secure Room.

Our pets are family too! We want to make sure they are as comfortable and safe as our spooky guests this night. Pets may want to welcome every visitor, but it may be a good idea to keep them in their own room, especially on a night where people are continually coming to the door. This will keep everyone safe and prevent our fur babies from getting loose.

3. Leave Outdoor Lights On.

Sure, you have to be the spookiest house on the block, but you also don’t want anyone tripping or hurting themselves in the excitement of the potential goodies you have. Keep your house and walkway well lit; this will also let your neighbors know you are welcoming trick-or-treaters.

4. Keep Your Driveway and Walkway Free of Debris.

Cooler weather means falling leaves, acorns, and even branches. Be sure to keep your walkway and driveway free of debris; we wouldn’t want spider man tripping on his way up to the door!

5. No Decorations On The Sidewalks.

The perfectly placed zombie or skeleton makes a huge statement, but these decorations should be looked at and not stepped on. Try placing them off to the side; this keeps the living and the dead safe.

6. Park Your Car In The Garage.

Keep your car safe on Halloween, as the night can be full of tricksters. Take action beforehand by parking your car in your garage or carport. This will keep it out of the way of guests and traffic to prevent any scrapes or dings.

7. Don’t Use Real Candles.

Candles can create a great ambiance, but they are also a fire hazard for you and your guests. Instead, try using LED candles, which will give your decorations the same great effect and are much safer.

8. Take Pictures!

Before trick-or-treaters start for the night, it is a good idea to take pictures of your home and property. We all try to keep our home safe and secure, but sometimes accidents happen. You can even call your home insurance agent to see what is covered.

More Halloween safety tips for trick-or-treaters.

Speaking of your home and pets, do you have a plan for your pets during an emergency? For tips and ideas on how to keep your pet safe during emergencies, you can check out our blog.


Sol Relief St.Pete Community Benefit Concert

Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas over Labor Day weekend. Less than 30 days later, the St. Petersburg community banded together to support the Bahamian people in their most desperate time of need as they begin what will be a long road to recovery.

Sol Relief Brings St. Petersburg Community Together

A free Benefit for the Bahamas concert was held on October 6th at the Jannus Live venue in downtown St. Petersburg. Jannus Live was generous enough to donate its venue, and local bands gave their time by performing throughout the day. All donations collected before and during the concert went directly to Sol Relief as the charitable organization continues its recovery mission in the Bahamas.

Bankers Financial Corporation, the parent of Bankers Insurance Group, served as the lead corporate sponsor of the event. Bankers Financial pledged to match dollar for dollar up to the first $100,000 in donations.

Donation: The Final Numbers are in..


The concert was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who donated and for the overwhelming community support. We are thrilled to announce the final numbers are in, and we were able to raise $35,140.28, which Bankers Financial Corporation will gladly match!

For more information on what Sol Relief is doing for the Bahamian people, you can check out their page here.


Technology allows us to connect anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. No matter where we are in the world, we can shop, control our homes, control our televisions, and more just from our smartphones. Although this technology makes life convenient, it also brings an increased risk of identity theft and internet scams.

Identity Theft & Internet Scams

Cyber awareness is a term we hear a lot nowadays. Cybercriminals are continually coming up with new ways to steal your personal or business information, money, and identity. It’s important to know what methods they are using and how to recognize them.

  • Identity Theft is acquiring and using someone else’s personal information illegally to obtain money or credit. Signs of identity theft include: bills for products or services you did not purchase, suspicious charges on your credit cards, or new accounts opened in your name that you did not authorize.
  • Imposter Scams occur when you receive an email or call from a person claiming to be a government official, family member, or friend requesting personal or financial information. For example, an imposter may contact you claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The imposter will inform you that your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended, and hope you will reveal your SSN or pay to have it reactivated.
  • Debt Collection Scams occur when criminals attempt to collect on a fraudulent debt. Signs the “debt collector” may be a scammer are requests to be paid by wire transfers or credit cards. In 2018 there was a spike in requests for gift cards and reloadable cards as well.

Keep Yourself and Your Business Safe

Anytime you are online; you are vulnerable. Follow these 5 tips to stay safe.

  1. Practice safe web surfing wherever you are by checking for the “green lock” or padlock icon in your browser bar—this signifies a secure connection.
  2. When you find yourself out in the great “wild Wi-Fi West,” avoid free Internet access with no encryption.
  3. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi.
  4. Don’t reveal personally identifiable information such as your bank account number, SSN, or date of birth to unknown sources.
  5. Type website URLs directly into the address bar instead of clicking on links or cutting and pasting from the email.

Victim of Cyber Attack or Fraud?

If you ever find that you or your business has been a victim of cyber-attack or fraud, contact the authorities immediately. Be sure to keep and document all evidence of the situation and its source.

How Can Bankers Help your Small- or Medium-Sized Business?

Approximately 60% of all small- or medium-sized companies go out of business within six months of experiencing a data breach. These companies lack the expertise or resources to address the cyber landscape. Bankers now offers Cyber Liability coverage with a $0 deductible as an addendum to your current or new BOP. Our Cyber Liability program includes cyber awareness training, data handling, breach response training, and more for your staff.

Read more about our Cyber Liability Insurance here. Call 800.627.0000 x 4900 for an agency near you or visit https://bigidinfo.com/.

Don’t forget October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. The NICCS has provided a large number of resources for personal and business use. You can find this information and more on their website here.


Laptop with Cyber Security. Bankers Insurance Corporation Cyber liability insurance

Bankers Insurance Group is pleased to announce we now offer cyber liability insurance at a low-cost, with $0 deductible to help protect businesses against cyber threats. Our Comprehensive Commercial Cyber Service will be an option as an addendum to your current or new BOP.

Approximately 60% of all small- or medium-sized companies go out of business within six months of experiencing a data breach. These companies lack the expertise or resources to address the cyber landscape. Our Comprehensive Commercial Cyber Service will include:

  • Assistance with compliance
  • Protection and Planning
  • A breach or Ransom Response Consulting regarding information protocols and best practices
  • Resolution for consumers
  • Access to certified forensic examiners
  • Post-Resolution Education and Ongoing Protocol Review

Cyber awareness is essential, and so is creating a company culture that is proactive instead of reactive. That’s why cyber security training is included in our Comprehensive Commercial Cyber Service. Our program allows a business to deploy the training platform in a variety of ways; giving your team the knowledge needed to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cyber crime. The cost of a data breach includes legal expenses, lost customers, reputation management, and more. Unfortunately, actual costs extend beyond the dollars spent to address the incident:

  • 31% of breach notification recipients terminate their relationship with the organization
  • 59% of breached companies were involved in subsequent litigation
  • 33% faced potential regulatory fines
  • 32% experienced a decline in share value

Call your local Bankers agent or dial 800.627.0000 x 4900 for an agency near you or visit https://bigidinfo.com/

It’s still hurricane season: here are a few things you need to know to be prepared.


holding a trophy

Christina Seigler, our Operations Supervisor here at Bankers, has been a member of our team for 12 years! Get to know a little more about Christina and why she loves working at Bankers.

What do you like the most about working for Bankers? What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

I love the Bankers family! You spend more time at work than you do at home and you build lifelong relationships with the associates. Bankers has always made you feel special whether it’s the baskets you get every year around the holidays or the fun activities they have each month.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

I coached cheerleading for 16 years, so before I would say coaching. But now I just love relaxing outside by the pool and spending time with my family!

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

I love to travel to the Carolinas and Tennessee! I love to be in the mountains, I feel like that’s the best place to de-stress and enjoy the scenery.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t an Operations Supervisor?

I like to help others, so probably a nurse or something in the medical field.

What are you most proud of?

My children will always be what I am most proud of, but i am also proud of buying my first home at the age of 20. I was raised to never rely on anyone else but yourself to take care of YOU! That way no one can take it away from you!

Where is your favorite place to eat?

ANYTHING Mexican, I love chips and salsa!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I went to the University of Florida to become a Pharmacist. I decided that it wasn’t for me, and that’s when I started at Bankers! #Gatorforlife

We have always loved having Christina as part of our team and we look forward to many more years working together.


Could a PEO Be Right For Your Client?

Many business owners dread the human resources side of business, but it’s a necessary element in keeping companies successful and thriving. Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are designed to provide human resources services to businesses and help lessen the burden of complicated processes that most employers face. NAPEO, the National Association for PEOs, indicates in a study conducted by two independent economists that companies choosing to use a PEO grow up to 9% faster than those that use other services. In addition, those companies experience up to 14% lower turnover and are 50% less likely to go out of business.  For agents, this means more stable and profitable clients now and for years to come.

As a subsidiary of Bankers, DecisionHR is a PEO that serves small and mid-sized businesses nationwide and can help clients grow faster and safer. DecisionHR empowers their clients with industry-leading benefits and human resources so they can focus on what’s truly important: running their businesses. As a PEO, DecisionHR delivers customizable, scalable, practical workforce solutions which enable business owners to reduce costs, increase profits, and attract, develop, and retain engaged, long-term employees.

Aside from helping business owners grow faster and safer, here are a few examples of how companies can help leverage PEO relationships:

Tax Compliance

A PEO takes care of everything related to employment taxes, including withholding and reporting income tax, FICA, and unemployment tax. That means fewer headaches for the business owner.  DecisionHR offers these services in all 50 states.  With thousands of tax law changes each year, this is the largest area for concern among business owners.

Benefits Packages

Sometimes, partnering with a PEO is the only way a small business can afford to offer employees an affordable benefits package. PEOs tend to get better rates than small businesses because their insured groups are larger.  Currently, DecisionHR only offers health insurance in Florida but is looking to expand its offerings.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance is another issue for small businesses that can quickly become costly and difficult to manage. PEOs can often obtain blanket coverage for all co-employed workers at a better rate than individual businesses.  On average, DecisionHR customers are offered rates 20% lower than what they are currently paying.

The PEO model is growing rapidly with small businesses across the country. A co-employment arrangement created when a small business partners with a PEO can be the most important factor that enables the small business to thrive, allowing the owner to focus on their core business.


Spring cleaning for most homeowners is the perfect opportunity to donate unused items, vacuum all corners of your home, and make sure all surfaces are spotless. Although this is a great way to utilize your spring-cleaning time, it’s also important to conduct maintenance in parts of your home that you may not have checked in months or even years.

To ensure you’re ready for the rest of the year and that your home stays in great shape, we’ve compiled a checklist for your Spring maintenance routine!

Indoors

  • Air Conditioning: Check your air-conditioning unit before the hot weather kicks in.
  • Chimney: Give your chimney a good cleaning to remove any extra soot or debris that may be stuck inside.
  • Leaks: Check all faucets, under sinks, exposed pipes along walls, and large appliances such as dishwashers for any leaking, sweating, or water stains.
  • Foundation: Check the foundation of your home by looking for long cracks on the floor in areas such as the garage and basement.
  • Doors and Windows: Check all sills and repaint or replace if needed. Make sure to clean screens, and if there are any holes big enough for bugs to get through, consider replacing or patching them.
  • Water Heater: Get a professional to inspect your water heater regularly.

Exterior

  • Gutter and Downspouts: Clean out any debris, including leaves, moss, sticks, etc. Also, if you run a hose over the roof, you can check for proper drainage.
  • Siding: Use a pressure washer to clean the siding of your home. This will keep your home from growing mold. You should also check all wood surfaces for any possible weathering and paint failure.
  • Caulking: Inspect the caulking of your home. If you see that it has eroded or is deteriorating, you should call a professional house painter to reapply the sealant.
  • Roof: Inspect the surface of the roof and clean out any debris that may have accumulated.
  • Deck or Porch: Check any decks, porches, or railings for any loose parts and/or deterioration.
  • Landscape: Clean out your yard by trimming vegetation and overgrown bushes and remove debris and branches. This can prevent damage to the exterior of your home.
  • Sprinklers: Check to see if your sprinkler system is working properly. If one area of your yard gets more water than other parts, try to identify the problem or call a professional.

While this is not an exhaustive list of spring cleaning tips, it will definitely get you started on making sure your home is safe and clean!


Now that we’re well into the winter months with blustery storms bearing down, it’s a great time to put your feet up and sit by the fire. More than likely, you’ve already been keeping your home warm and cozy with your fireplace for the last few months so let’s make sure it’s performing at peak function to continue keeping you safe and warm.

Let’s start with a few wood-burning fireplace tips:

  • Have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional on a yearly basis. Ash and creosote can build up in your chimney and if not cleaned properly could cause damage to your home.
  • This may seem like an obvious tip, but make sure your damper is open while your fire is burning and until it’s completely burned out.
  • When starting your fire, make sure not to use flammable liquids like lighter fluid. These liquids can release toxic fumes and could even cause an explosion.
  • Make sure to only burn wood or manufactured logs in your fireplace. Different coated papers, greenery, and other materials can produce harmful gases that can spread throughout your home.
  • Use a metal screen or appropriate fireplace cover to keep embers inside the fireplace and out of your living room.
  • Finally, always keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location in case something happens to go awry.

While gas fireplaces are much more low-maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, it’s important to follow these few tips for keeping your home safe:

  • Just like a wood-burning fireplace, schedule yearly maintenance to make sure your fireplace is performing as it should.
  • Make sure you have a safety screen, and that the screen is intact with no cracks or imperfections.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless but is poisonous so it’s important to know right away if you have a leak.
  • Warn members of your household, especially kids, that the glass/screen can get very hot and that they should keep a safe distance.
  • Finally, even though gas fireplaces don’t emit wood embers, it’s important to keep highly flammable materials like fabric, paper, wood, etc. away from the fireplace.

Now, sit down and enjoy your fire, knowing that your home is safe and protected.


Our Homeowners team has been busy with some exciting updates over the last few months. We recently launched two new HO3 products in Texas and Florida (Florida agents, we’re releasing this product in phases so keep an eye out for a communication on when it’ll be available to your agency!) & we received word that we’ve been approved for a new HO program in Louisiana!

Don’t despair Carolina agents, we’re working on a great new product for you too, stay tuned…