3 Big Reasons You Need Life Insurance to Protect Your Family

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Before you can get the life insurance coverage you need, you need to understand why you need it. While there are many reasons to buy life insurance, the most common reasons include:

1. Final expenses: Final expenses refer to any expenses related to someone’s passing. This can include a casket, funeral, preparations, memorial service, cremation and more.

Life insurance for final expenses is worth considering—after all, the National Funeral Directors Association reports that the median price of a funeral with a casket is more than $7,000. Funeral directors say families without enough funds are forced to cut back on the service or ask friends and family for donations. A modest term life insurance policy can unburden your loved ones by taking care of these expenses.

2. Income replacement: Your loved ones depend on your income to meet daily needs for food, medical care, utilities, car payments and much more. There are also future costs like a child’s college education or contributions you would have made toward a surviving spouse’s retirement. If you pass away without a means for replacing your income, their standard of living could be in serious jeopardy. If you have young children, there may be child care costs or home upkeep expenses to consider if your spouse needs to return to work.

How much life insurance you need is based on two factors: your salary and the number of years until you retire. An insurance agent will also account for any other factors such as Social Security benefits, your partner’s income and your savings. Always aim to buy the amount you really need—but also remember that something is better than nothing when it comes to life insurance coverage.

3. Paying off a mortgage: A mortgage is often the biggest single line item in a person’s budget. Could your family afford your home’s mortgage without your paycheck in the picture? If not, an already sad situation would be compounded by their possibly losing the house they love. This could also mean your children could no longer attend a school in their current district or maintain the friendships they currently have.

Life insurance can pay off an outstanding mortgage so your family can enjoy the home they love without the burden of outstanding payments.

These are the three most common reasons people purchase life insurance. Yet there are many other reasons for buying life insurance, such as building or leaving an inheritance, saving for retirementprotecting student loan co-signers and more.

Source: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/buy-life-insurance

Infographic: Understanding Your Auto Insurance (Renewal Guide)

It’s not just four wheels and an engine, it’s a prized possession—the car you cherish. You love it. You definitely count on it. Your auto insurance policy needs to be dependable too.

Whether you’re shopping for a new car or your policy is about to renew, now’s the ideal time to take a look at your coverage to be sure you have all the protection and services that you need and you’re not paying more than you should.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about standard and customized coverages and discounts that are available. To learn even more about your policy, contact a trusted insurance advisor like an Erie Insurance agent.

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Read more about auto insurance:

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Auto Insurance

Source: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/understanding-auto-infographic

Insurance Tips for New College Graduates

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In just a few short weeks, college students will put on their caps and gowns and celebrate graduation. For many, graduation will be exciting and scary. Some graduates will start their new jobs right away while others will continue looking for their dream jobs.

Either way, graduation signifies the official start to adulthood. Full time jobs, as well as other responsibilities will become part of everyday life. For parents, it’s time to celebrate the fact that their college student is finally off the payroll!

With all the changes college graduates will experience, figuring out what they need for insurance coverage can be tricky.

If you or someone in your family is graduating from college, here is some information that may help.

Review your state’s auto insurance requirements. Many states mandate a minimum level of liability insurance on an auto insurance policy. Unfortunately, each state may be different and the minimum coverage may not provide you with adequate protection. Talk to an independent insurance agent to learn more about coverages and available limits.

To find your state’s minimum requirements click here.

If you live in Wisconsin, your auto insurance policy must provide the following minimum liability coverage. Again, higher limits may be needed to provide you with adequate protection.

• $25,000 for injury or death of one person;

• $50,000 for injury or death of two or more people; and

• $10,000 for property damage.

Don’t forget to buy renters insurance. Signing a lease for an apartment is the start to independence. However, don’t forget about renters insurance. Most property owner’s insurance covers only the building. Personal property coverage provides protection against loss to your items such as clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, small appliances, sporting equipment, etc. Personal liability comes into play if your actions lead to someone else’s injury. Minimum liability limits start at $100,000 and provide coverage for medical tests, surgeries, prescriptions, and their time off work.

Understand health insurance options. Many employers provide health insurance plans. Talk to your employer about the plans they offer. If they don’t provide a good plan, current law allows children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26. However, based on where you live, it may make sense to purchase your own policy through the insurance exchange. Visit www.healthcare.gov to learn more.

Take advantage of retirement plans early. If you just received your diploma, you might think it doesn’t make sense to invest your hard-earned money in a retirement plan. While I understand you have rent payments and grocery bills, I recommend you start investing right away. There’s never a good time to start investing. However, the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.

 

Source: https://www.thesilverlining.com/westbendcares/blog/insurance-tips-for-new-college-graduates

Is Your Boat Ready to Float?

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Boat safety is one aspect of boating you can’t afford to forget.

In 2016, 701 people lost their lives in boating accidents, according to the United States Coast Guard. Another 2,900 were injured in 4,463 total boating accidents for that year. As concerning as these numbers are, they shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the water. Just remember to follow some important boat safety precautions before you head out.

Follow these boat safety tips to make your next trip out on the water as enjoyable as it is safe.

  • Have your boat inspected. The Vessel Safety Check is a free public service offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteers. Experts will ensure that your boat meets minimum safety standards and that you have the necessary equipment to save lives and summon help in an emergency.
  • Make sure plenty of life jackets are on board. The most important piece of boat safety equipment is the piece you wear on your own body – your life jacket. Ninety percent of drowning victims were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), according to Coast Guard studies. Legally, you do not need to wear your PFD (it only has to be in the boat) but wearing it ensures you’ll be prepared should an accident occur. (In states where no children’s life jacket law is in place, a U.S. Coast Guard interim rule requires children under 13 to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits.)
  • Remember, alcohol and boating don’t mix. Seventeen percent of all recreational boating fatalities have been linked to drinking while boating. While it is not illegal to drink in a boat, excessive drinking jeopardizes boat safety. If drinking will be part of your next boating trip, appoint a designated driver just as you would with a car.
  • Pay attention to the weather. No one would think of taking a boat out in a thunderstorm. Yet boat owners often don’t think twice about other weather conditions that could prove just as dangerous. Avoid boating on exceptionally windy days since waves could capsize a smaller boat or cause passengers to fall out.
  • Keep your boating skills sharp. More than 70 percent of boating accidents each year are linked to operator error. You can improve your boating knowledge by enrolling in educational courses to keep everything fresh in your mind.

The final practical issue you’ll want to consider is boat insurance.

Source: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/boat-safety-best-practices

6 Ways to Save on Car Insurance For Teens

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As a parent, you can expect your car insurance premiums to increase once your teen driver gets behind the wheel.  In fact, adding a teenage driver to your policy can nearly double your premiums. Aside from encouraging your teenage child to take defensive driver lessons, follow these money-saving tips to cut down the cost of car insurance for teenagers.

1. Take advantage of multi-policy discounts

Getting your auto, home and life insurance from one company will not only save you time by having all your bills in one place,  you can also save up to 25% on your policy by bundling your insurance policies.

2. Opt for higher deductibles

Having higher comprehensive and collision deductibles may increase your out-of-pocket expenses, but they can also save you hundreds of dollars by drastically reducing your overall premium. We can help you identify carriers that offer specialized deductible programs that would be a good fit for your family.

3. Reward your child for good grades

If your teen driver is a full-time student with a B average or higher, they may be eligible for a good student discount. If the student is homeschooled, however, they must score in the top 20% of a standardized test such as the SAT.

4. Buy a safe and reliable car

High-end car models are more costly to insure, so opt for a more a practical vehicle equipped with safety features, such as anti-lock brake system (ABS), anti-theft devices and rearview cameras.

5. Get a pre-owned car

Car insurance rates for used cars are usually cheaper than new models, so forget that brand new SUV and drive away with a slightly older vehicle instead.

6. Sign up for Accident Forgiveness

Even the safest drivers can get involved in a car crash, but some companies give you an option to sign up for accident forgiveness, where drivers can avoid a rate increase following their first at-fault car accident.

For a teenager, getting a driver’s license is a step towards independence, but it comes at the cost of higher insurance rates. By following the tips above and practicing safe driving habits, you can lower the cost of car insurance for you teenager.

Stephen Smith Family Fun Run: A Story of Loss & Hope

Join RIG with our friends Frank and Emily Smith on Saturday, April 21st for the Stephen Smith Family Fun Run, a great 5K race with the purpose of giving hope to those who have suffered the loss of an unborn baby.


Check out the video below to hear

Frank & Emily's  hope-filled story!

RACE DETAILS:

The starting line is at the Hilda Walker Intermediate School

19900 S 80th Ave
Tinley Park, IL 60487

•3.1 mile run/walk race on paved bike paths
•Safe course, no busy streets to cross
•Registration from 8:30-9:00 am
•Announcements 9:00 am
•Race begins at 9:30 am
•Awards and Raffles 11:00-11:30 am
•There will be fun outdoor games for the the kids and a massage booth set up after the race ($1 per minute, all proceeds going to Heavenly Brothers)

*Stroller/Wagons = Free
*No Dogs
•Runners/walkers registering after March 23 will not be eligible for a T-Shirt
•Day of race fees will be $35 (onsite only)

•We ask that you email us a name and/or date of anyone you know who has had a miscarriage or stillbirth.

New This Year (2018)
In honor of the 5th Annual Stephen Smith Family Fun Run, we are having long sleeve shirts vs. short sleeves. Please register in time to guarantee your long sleeve shirt!!

Drones, Regulations and Insurance

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If you are thinking about owning a drone, make insurance a part of your pre-flight checklist!

 

Recreational drone regulations

Even for recreational use, the Federal Aviation Administration requires that all drones weighing over 55 pounds must now be registered. If you do not register your drone, you may be subject to criminal and civil penalties.

In addition, drones are prohibited from being flown:

  • Above 400 feet
  • Within five miles of an airport
  • Above crowds or other objects is prohibited

In addition, drone usage near disaster areas (such as wildfires or hurricanes) may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if an FAA temporary flight restriction (TFR) is not in place. Unauthorized drone operators may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations.

In addition to federal regulations, drone operation is often regulated on a local level, so it's best to check with your city or town to ensure you're flying within the legal parameters.

Recreational drones and insurance

Most drone operators start out with little or no aviation experience so, even if you follow the regulations and the laws, you might experience pilot error, or unplanned equipment failure. With some models tipping the scales of up to 55 pounds, rogue drones can pose a significant threat to people and property—and to your personal liability. That's why it’s a smart to add an insurance review to your pre-flight checklist.

When acquiring a drone, call your insurance professional and verify your coverage, including exclusions, policy limits and deductibles. Keep in mind all that there may be more exclusions and conditions that apply as drone technology evolves.

To ensure coverage in any instances, it's important to follow the federal and local drone ordinances, as not doing so may negate your insurance coverage in the event of an incident. In addition, your coverage will be nullified if you’re operating your drone in the commission of illegal activities.

Homeowners and renters insurance and drones

Many drone-related incidents may be covered under your homeowners insurance or a renters policy (renters, it's important to have one—your landlord's policy will not provide you any of the coverages below).

  • Liability – The liability portion of your homeowners or renters policy may cover you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that your drone causes when its operated by you, your family member or by someone who you have given permission to operate it. Your liability may also cover privacy issues—for example if your drone inadvertently takes pictures or videotapes a neighbor, and your neighbor then sues you (it will not cover any intentionalinvasion of privacy). Make sure you have sufficient liability insurance on your policy to adequately protect your financial assets.
  • No-fault medical coverage – Your policy may provide no-fault medical coverage in the event a friend or neighbor is accidentally injured by your drone. This coverage will not pay medical bills for your family members if your drone injures them—the appropriate health insurance will cover that.
  • Theft or loss of a drone – While inexpensive drones are seemingly everywhere, the cost of more elaborate ones with video recording, GPS navigation, etc., can run into the thousands of dollars. Make sure your coverage is sufficient to replace the drone if it is stolen.

Auto insurance and drones

If your drone crash-lands into your car, damage may be covered under your auto insurance if you purchased the optional comprehensive insurance, which covers damage to a car from fallen objects and other disasters. (Damage by your drone to other's property—including cars—would be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance).

Drones for commercial use

Note that commercial—that is, business—use of drones is regulated much more strictly by the FAA than recreational drone usage. Among other rules and qualifications, the FAA requires that the drone operator be licensed.

Commercial drones are not covered by your personal insurance policies. If you are operating a drone for business purposes, contact your insurance broker to make sure that you have the appropriate types and amounts of insurance coverage.

Check rules and insurance frequently

As with many rapidly developing technologies, insurance parameters and legal regulation around drone usage is constantly evolving. If you have any questions, check with your insurance professional or hover on over to the FAA website.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

https://www.iii.org/article/drones-and-insurance

Do You Text and Drive?

Texting isn't just causing more and more traffic accidents and increasing auto insurance premiums... it's causing heartbreak and suffering. Let's care for ourselves and each other and the phone down while we drive. Share with someone you love!

Client Spotlight: Total Roofing and Construction, Inc.

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We're always thankful for the roof over our heads, but this month we're especially thankful for our client and the exceptional team of people at Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. The company history begins with a great story, or more specifically, a play called “By the Sea.” Gregory Cooper, founder and current president, was the superintendent for University of Chicago’s roofing project when he requested for a day off work to attend his daughter’s kindergarten play. When informed that taking a day off was not possible and that he would be fired if absent, Greg quit that afternoon and attended the recital. After attending his daughter’s play he decided to start his own company. In 1986, the company was formed to provide income and the flexibility to raise his family, and now his family is a part of running the business too. Not only do they do excellent work, but they have their values and priorities set straight!

The first office was Greg's quaint house in Dolton, IL. The company phone was his home number and all the roofing equipment was stored near the back of the house. After developing a local reputation and numerous clients he relocated to a retrofitted office building in Thornton, IL. That building was the old Thornton brewery, a famous Al Capone hangout spot. During the late 90’s and early 2000’s to-do projects included: World Music Amphitheater (Now-First Midwest Bank Amphitheater), Alpine Valley Music Amphitheater, Intercontinental Chicago Hotel, Westin Hotel Chicago, and other high raises that required a bigger workforce and warehouse. In 2000, operations moved from the old Thornton Brewery building to an old restaurant in Dolton, IL. The founder grew up one block away from today’s location, but chose it for proximity to service the Chicagoland and the Northwest Indiana region.

Today, the kids are grown up and involved in all aspects of Total Roofing & Construction, Inc. from project managing, administrative assistants, safety, marketing, and sales. Anyone you contact from their operation is as committed to residential and commercial roofing as the president. As the next generation begins transitioning over responsibilities many of their founding principles and workmanship remain the same. If you have any roofing, window, siding or exterior work need for your residential or commercial property, these are they guys to trust!

Read our fun Q & A below with Phillip Cooper, Project Manager:

Q: What is your favorite type of roof and why?
We love the architectural shingle roofs because the many options with different colors and the before/after effect.
Q: What has been one of your favorite projects? 
The World Music Center Theater (now Hollywood Casino Amphitheater) in Tinley Park, IL. That project, although a challenge at the time because it rained practically everyday delaying completion, is one we will always remember.
Q: What has been your proudest moment at Total Roofing? 
Last year our company outing was at Six Flags Great America. It was great to enjoy a day of fun for the workers and their families.
Q: What would you like your clients to know?
We've been installing and servicing roofs since 1986 and during this time, we've come to realize that it's much more economical to be pro-active rather than reactive with home improvements.
Q : What is your favorite type of donut?
The girls in the office are very fond of chocolate frosted cake donuts, but the men in the office are all about maple donuts with a piece of bacon. 

10 Smart Insurance Resolutions for 2018

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Insurance is a financial safety net for when life just doesn’t go your way, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it when things are going well. Here are 10 things you can do in 2018 to strengthen your net and avoid common insurance claims.

1. Make a home inventory

After a fire or natural disaster, you want the insurance claim process to go as smoothly as possible. Making a list of items in your home before a disaster occurs helps guarantee you won’t forget to claim anything, but 48% of homeowners say they don’t have an inventory, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

2. Read your insurance policies

The key to making a claim is understanding your policy. For auto and home insurance, look for the policy’s declarations page. For health insurance, look for the summary of benefits.

Make sure you understand the limits and deductibles of each policy, along with the copayments and coinsurance for health insurance.

3. Quit smoking

If you smoke, your insurers want you to quit. Both health and life insurance typically cost less for nonsmokers, and your health plan might even help by paying for counseling and medication to help you quit.

If you’re shopping for life insurance, you need to be smoke-free for at least a year to get nonsmoking rates, says Robert Wolfe, managing director of United Capital, a financial advising firm.

4. Improve your credit

Bad credit may be having a bigger impact on your car insurance bill than you realize. Credit history can impact your car insurance rates more than your driving record, according to Consumer Reports. Only California, Hawaii and Massachusetts ban the practice.

The worse your credit, “the higher the risk your insurer sees you as,” Wolfe says.

5. Stop leaving the keys in your car

One in eight stolen cars is a “freebie” for the thief, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Auto theft with the keys or an electronic fob inside the car is up 31% since 2013, with a car stolen this way every 6 1/2 minutes.

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage and your car is stolen, you’ll have to buy another car with your own money.

» MORE: What does car insurance cover?

6. Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking

You can help avoid the time loss and frustration of a common insurance claim by staying in the kitchen when you cook.

Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Out of all cooking fires, unattended cooking was by far the leading cause.

7. Find out the real price of life insurance

The biggest reason 64% of consumers with some or no life insurance don’t purchase more is because they think it costs too much, according to industry research group LIMRA.

If someone depends on you financially, consider getting life insurance quotes. A policy might be cheaper than you think.

» MORE: The differences between term and whole life insurance

8. Tell your life insurance beneficiaries about your policy

Letting your life insurance beneficiaries know where to claim money if you die seems simple enough. But $8.8 billion in life insurance benefits are unclaimed nationwide, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Part of the reason is that those who are owed money don’t know about the policies or where to find them. Your beneficiaries don’t need a policy in hand to make a claim; they only need to know which insurer you bought from.

» MORE: How much life insurance do you need?

9. Don’t overexert

If you plan to get in shape after the New Year, ease into your routine slowly. “Unintentional overexertion” is one of the top three causes of injuries that land adults in the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ER visits are rarely cheap, so don’t let getting fit lead to extra bills.

10. Download your insurers’ apps

Currently, 46 states allow drivers to provide electronic proof of car insurance during a traffic stop, according to Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. That means you no longer have to remember where you put your paper insurance card. Some auto insurers will even let you start a claim and see your policies on their apps.

Written by Lacie Glover is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lacie@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LacieWrites.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by USA Today.

Big Life Changes that May Affect Your Insurance

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As we age and reach different milestones in our lives, our insurance needs change. In order to ensure adequate coverage, contact us if you’re affected by any of the following life events:

  • Marriage—When your marital status changes, so do your insurance needs. Marriage typically leads to the combination of households, vehicles and other property, so it is critical to update your insurance policies accordingly. What’s more, life insurance is vital to married couples as it can ease the financial burden in the event of a sudden death of a partner. Ask about discounts on car insurance for married policyholders.
  • Buying a Home— Purchasing a new home is perhaps one of the largest financial commitments that you'll ever make—one that you will want to protect. After purchasing a home, ensure that you have homeowner’s insurance to protect against things like fire, weather damage, theft, vandalism, and accidental damage. This advice also holds true if you are buying a new condo or vacation home. You’ll also want to consider life insurance so that if you or your spouse were to die, the other would have the necessary replacement income to pay the mortgage, keep the home, and maintain a similar lifestyle
  • Home renovations—Once you own a home, you may want to make updates to create a better living space. Be sure to report major home improvements to your insurance company to protect any increased value to your home. 
  • New children—Having or adopting children is not only a huge life change, but it’s also a major financial commitment. As such, it’s important to purchase the right policy to secure your child’s future. Add your child as a beneficiary on any life insurance policies, and make sure your coverage is sufficient.
  • Teenage drivers— Teen drivers often carry the highest risk of auto accidents. While you want your teen driver to remain safe on the road, costly accidents can happen without warning. Consider adding your teen driver to your auto policy, as it is generally cheaper than purchasing a separate policy.
  • Starting or selling a business—If you’re an entrepreneur, there will likely come a time when you will either buy or sell your business. During these times of major change, the proper coverage is crucial.
  • Valuable purchases—A standard homeowner’s policy has limited coverage for highly valuable items. Supplement purchases and gifts that exceed the policy’s limits with a floater—a separate policy that provides additional insurance.
  • Retirement—When it comes time to retire, understand that you will no longer have access to your employer’s coverage. The stakes will also be higher because you want to ensure that if you die, your spouse and family will have adequate financial support, whether from your retirement savings, a life insurance death benefit, or a combination of the two. You also may change residences, so it is a good time to let your insurance provider know where you plan to spend your time.
  • Accepting a pension— Speaking of retirement, if you’re fortunate enough to have a pension plan, you will be faced with the decision of whether to accept the full pension or a reduced spousal benefit. Do not take the spousal benefit before speaking with a life insurance agent. Using a strategy called pension maximization, you might be able to supplement your pension with life insurance and accept the full payout while still providing financial protection for your spouse and family.

Insurance is critical for nearly every stage of life. Seeking coverage should be an active process, and you shouldn’t assume that your insurance needs remain steady over time. We’re here to answer any questions you may have as your needs change, just send us a message.

Client Highlight: Chicago Santa!

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Ho Ho Ho! We here at Region Insurance Group must have been on the good list, because we've gained the one and only Santa Claus as a client! Mike Hickey and his wife Nijole have been in the business of bringing Christmas joy to Chicago and Northwest Indiana for over 3 decades! From small family gatherings to corporate holiday events, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will make appearances and don their suits that were specially tailored in the North Pole, sing holiday carols with music provided by their North Pole boom box, and of course meet with children, naughty or nice! Learn more about Santa in our EXCLUSIVE interview below!

✦ How/why did you get into the Santa business?
I started when I was 17 yrs old... I played football in HS and the football coach lived 7 blocks away from my house. He asked me to play Santa for him & his family since his kids were getting smart and figuring out that Santa was really Daddy. He gave me his suit and I came over and sat with his kids & family on Christmas Eve and had a fun time doing so. The next week or so his wife said she would pay me $35.00 to be Santa at her sorority. I had a lot of fun performing as Santa and I learned that people would pay me to be Santa! That was my AH-HAA moment... I could make money having fun dressed up as Santa Clause. The rest, as they say, is history... I have now been performing as Santa Clause for over 35 years. 

✦ How did you meet Mrs. Clause?    
I met my wife who is Mrs. Clause in 1996 and we have been performing together since we were married in 1998.

✦ What's the best or funniest gift request you've ever received?
 Women that want boyfriends that don't cheat!

✦ Has anyone ever pulled you beard?
Kids & especially babies will inevitably pull on the beard, but I have learned to make sure that the beard is secure to my face.

✦ What's your favorite Christmas song?
My favorite Christmas song is Gene Autry's version of "Here Comes Santa Claus". You can't help being in a happy mood after listening to this classic Christmas Song.

✦What's your favorite Christmas cookie?
My favorite Christmas Cookie is Peanut Butter Nut Cluster Cookies... I am always looking for ways to increase my intake of protein 'cause there is a fairly high amount of protein in peanuts. HO HO HO!!!

Client Highlight: Thoughtful Christmas Gifts from Crete Garden Center!

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Need a thoughtful gift or some tasty stocking stuffers this Christmas? Check out some of the products our good friends over at Crete Garden Center are carrying! They're the only vendor in Illinois for McCutcheon's Products, who tout some of the the tastiest preserves, jellies and jams around. Josh Rietveld, Co-Owner along with his father, is particularly fond of the apple butter and says it's THE BOMB. They also carry products from local vendors such as Pure Honey from Zee's Bees in Chicago Heights and Hull-less Popcorn (which leaves you with more taste and less kernels than regular white and yellow kernels) from Pilot Knob Comforts, a family farm located in Oneida, IL. For the green-thumbed person in your family, they also are selling gorgeous amaryllis plants that easily grow indoors. If all of these sound good, go ahead and purchase one of their ready-made Christmas baskets or ask for them to create a custom one for you! Give them a visit!

Client Spotlight: Verduin Automotive

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We're keeping it in the family for our first client highlight! Jimmy Verduin, Tim's older brother, has always had the mind of a mechanic. Ever since he was a small child, Jimmy was fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together. He continued on his path for mechanic greatness, working in body shops and earning a full scholarship for the trade school he attended after high school. He even has something in common with the founding CEOs of Google, Amazon, Apple and Disney: he started his own company out of his home garage! After several years of working at a couple dealerships, he went off on his own and opened his own shop in 2015. With a brilliant mind and a heart of gold, Jimmy is the most trusted mechanic in Cedar Lake (not that we're biased or anything). Oh, and keep your eye out for Isaiah, Jimmy's 4 year old son who's taking after his prodigal father!

Q & A with Jimmy

 

Jimmy, what is something you would like your clients to know?

The whole reason I got into doing this is when I was a sophomore in high school, was working at a part time job, and had my first car. There was a charging system problem where the battery would intermittently go dead, so I took it to a shop in Lansing and told the guy that's all I want fixed. So he fixed that, but he also changed all the hoses and all the belts. So I had a $350 bill which is a lot of money when you're 16. I had to pay, but I didn't ask him to do any of that work, which I could have done myself at that point. So ever since then I was like, "I'm going to learn how to do this stuff myself." And that's the thing that I'd want my customers to know; I'm never going to charge them for stuff they don't need. 

What is your dream vehicle?

A 1970 Camaro SS     (shown below) 

And for our standard Question, What is your favorite type of doughnut?

Boston Cream!

Community Highlight: Sidelined Chicago

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Happy Friday! On this day Region Insurance Group is very happy to announce a sponsorship of an organization and a young man that we find pretty inspirational: Sidelined Chicago, founded by Cade Pinalto.

We've known Cade, currently a junior at Lane Tech High School, ever since we started attending Edgewater Baptist Church in 2013. From his intelligence, passion and a charisma that allows him to connect with anyone, we've always known there has been something special about Cade. If you need more proof, just look at Sidelined, the non-profit organization that he co-founded and directs with his mother, Christine Pinalto.

Sidelined Chicago exists to reunite permanently sidelined athletes with their passions and inspire them to find a meaningful way forward through resources, connection, and mentorships. Cade, who was a dedicated athlete and basketball player, became sidelined himself during his 7th grade year. He was devestated when he was told he would no longer be able to compete in his sport. Later, when Cade reached high school, the mens varsity basketball coach offered to teach him how to coach. The experience was incredible as Cade was able to participate in his sport through another avenue. Cade was inspired to take his growth and learning through an adverse experience and share it with others, and the idea for Sidelined Chicago was born in April of 2016. 

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Sidelined Chicago has designed a local and national program to engage all permanently sidelined student athletes, regardless of their current stage of the emotional recovery process. The program is three-tiered: Social Support, Coping Resources, and Mentorship. Sidelined Chicago’s end goal is to provide permanently sidelined student athletes with mentorships that re-engage them with the sport they love through alternate avenues. These mentorship avenues include options like coaching, journalism,  photography and athletic training.


POSITIVITY         ADAPTABILITY       PERSEVERANCE

COMMUNITY     MEANINGFUL ACTION      DEVOTION

We love the core values that the organization is based on: they are all an integral part of living a meaningful life through the ups and downs of life that enable us to learn, grow and share our gifts with others. As athletes ourselves, we understand the value of sports and their formative role from childhood to adulthood as well as the passion and excitement they can bring our lives. We therefore also understand the devastation that can be experienced when it is no longer an option to participate. So we're so proud of our young friend and his determination to prove that our worth is not defined by what we can or cannot do, and that we all have a chance to make a difference in a world that so desperately needs it.

Onward, Cade!


If you are interested in learning more about this fantastic organization, participating, becoming a mentor, or even generously lending financial support, please visit their website:

www.sidelinedchicago.org

 

 

 

 

Teen Safety on Halloween

 by Erie Insurance on October 24, 2017

by Erie Insurance on October 24, 2017

As teens head out and about on Halloween to have fun with their friends, they, too, need to have some important reminders about keeping themselves (and others) safe.  

Drive safe: Remind your teen driver that Halloween is a time when it’s especially important to be vigilant while driving at night. That means absolutely no texting and driving, and make sure they budget extra time to get where they’re going, just in case the hordes of trick-or-treaters cause a traffic jam in the neighborhood.

Avoid the tricks: This one is trickier, because it’s not like your teenager is going to let you know if they’re up to some Halloween mischief — midnight pranks, vandalism or trespassing in a cemetery or abandoned house. Have a talk about the consequences and dangers, and consider a curfew.

Host a gathering: If you don’t want to wonder about them, give your teens and their friends a safe place to socialize and hang out and open your home for a Halloween party. You can go all out with decorations, food and costumes, or it can be something more laid-back, like a backyard bonfire with marshmallows and warm drinks. By the way, if you choose the bonfire, don’t use accelerants like gasoline to get the fire going, and keep the flames a safe distance from your house along with other structures. Always keep a bucket of water or hose at the ready, just in case.

Staying on the safe side can help you make sure everyone enjoys this ghoulish time of year. Happy Halloween! 

How to Organize a 'Trunk-or-Treat' Event

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There’s a new way to trick-or-treat that’s been gaining momentum in communities over the past few years. It’s called Trunk-or-Treat. Specific organizations or businesses partner with one another to offer a less-spooky alternative to the typical nighttime trick-or-treating Halloween event. It’s great for younger children and offers a shorter, friendlier Halloween experience.

All you need is a large parking lot, participating vehicles decorated for Halloween, and attendees to enjoy the fun. Here are some tips to help you plan a trunk or treat event:

 

  1. Location: The parking lot should be a decent size (a school parking lot or business parking lot is great). The location will also determine how many participants you can invite to the event. For example, if it’s at a school, will it be just for the school or can other community members and children attend? You’ll want to have enough room.
  2. Date: While it’s an alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating, it’s recommended that you stay away from the actual Halloween holiday. Typically the weekend before Halloween is a good idea or a different day leading up to the holiday will work. Check to see when your community plans to hold trick-or-treating and try to schedule your event a different day.
  3. Cost: Will you charge participants a fee to enjoy the Trunk-or-Treat? Or will the event serve as a fundraiser with donations going to a specific organization or cause?
  4. Find your trunks: If you’re hosting the event at a school, see if the PTO or teachers want to participate. Or, recruit local businesses to participate. Just make sure you allow trunk participants enough time to come up with an idea, decorate their trunk and purchase candy or treats to pass out.
  5. Safety First: On the day of the event, make sure trunk participants arrive at least an hour prior to the event start time. Have them set up, decorate their trunk and get ready for the children. If possible, it’s also a good idea to make sure families can park in a separate area away from the kids walking through the event space.
     

Think you’re ready to take on a trunk-or-treat event? Hopefully this list of tips will help you get started. And for other ways to make sure your Halloween is as safe as it is happy, check out these tips from Eriesense blog:

 

Halloween Safety Checklist
4 Lesser-Known Halloween Safety Tips
How to Prepare Your House for Trick or Treaters

by Jennifer Sonntag on October 6, 2017

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/trunk-or-treat-event