Helping You Prepare for the Fall and Winter Virus Season

Virus Season

Virus SeasonFall and winter are when viruses that cause respiratory disease usually circulate more heavily. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were the main causes of severe respiratory disease during these times of year. Although some people have mild symptoms when they catch the flu or RSV, others get sick enough to be hospitalized. Some seasons are more severe than others based on strains of the viruses circulating and immunity to these viruses.

Respiratory disease season lasts from October through May in the United States, peaking between December and February. The timing and duration of virus activity have been unpredictable since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports early increases in some viruses, employers can plan to prepare for peak activity. Furthermore, the CDC predicts a possible increase in hospitalizations due to new COVID-19 variants or a severe flu season paired with waves of COVID-19 and RSV cases.

With respiratory infections likely in the fall and winter seasons, it’s important for employers to consider ways to mitigate or address illness among employees to help keep workers healthy and productive. This article highlights best practices for employers during the 2023-24 virus season.

Employer Guidance

While the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health emergency have officially ended, the coronavirus still has the potential to disrupt workplaces for the foreseeable future. As other respiratory viruses and infections spread during the fall and winter, employers should do their due diligence and continue incorporating employee health and safety in current workplace plans, policies and benefits.

Consider the following best practices for addressing employee health and safety during the 2023-24 respiratory virus season:

  • Review organizational risks. Even though there are no longer any federal, state or local mandates related to COVID-19, employers can independently assess exposures and determine how to respond. Employers could identify the hazards and risks for their on-site workplaces and implement controls (e.g., personal protective equipment and administrative or engineering controls).
  • Establish remote work policies. If the workforce is primarily on-site, employers can consider having a backup plan to allow employees to work from home when dealing with virus-related symptoms. Some respiratory illnesses may not be debilitating in all cases, so employees can still work but remain isolated to reduce the chances of others getting infected.
  • Review paid time off and leave policies. Expanding leave policies, including allowing negative balances in paid time off banks and leave donation or sharing programs, could be helpful to employees battling illness in these seasons. Policies may also accommodate employees to take time off when they or their family members are sick.
  • Encourage healthy employee behaviors. Employee education is critical for healthy employee behavior changes. Vaccinations have been shown to reduce hospitalizations, so employers can encourage employees to get vaccinated. This fall, vaccines for the flu, RSV and COVID-19 are available. Aside from vaccinations, people need to get a good night’s sleep, stay active and drink plenty of water to keep their immune systems strong. Employers could also encourage workers to eat a nutritious diet of healthy grains, fruits, vegetables and fiber. Employee benefits could support these aspects of personal health and wellness or even incentivize healthy behaviors.
  • Keep cleaning supplies on hand. If employees are working on-site, it can be beneficial to have hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies available for employee use. Businesses can encourage good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene to help prevent the spread of illnesses.
  • Foster open communication. Employers can encourage employees to talk to their managers if they’re experiencing any health issues, including long-lasting ones that may impact their performance. Training for managers could also help them respond appropriately to such conversations, which could properly address employee concerns, strengthen employee well-being and reduce legal risks.

In general, employers must stay agile and accommodating while adapting to the post-pandemic workplace. Without local, state or federal COVID-19-related mandates, employers have more ownership of how they address the respiratory season while protecting and supporting their workforces.

For More Information

Along with the flu and RSV, COVID-19 has become a part of the respiratory virus season. As infections and hospitalizations are expected, employers can review workplace policies and consider ways to protect and support employees who may catch a respiratory infection this season.

For the latest updates about the current respiratory disease season, visit the CDC’s website. Contact us today for additional workplace strategy guidance.

Helping You Understand the Different Parts of a Homeowners Insurance Policy

Homeowners Insurance Policy

Homeowners insurance is one of the most frequently purchased forms of coverage among U.S. residents. As their name suggests, these policies provide critical financial protection for your home, family and belongings. However, homeowners insurance coverage can also be a complicated subject. Although these policies may be common, they can vary significantly in their details and capabilities. As such, it’s critical to conduct your due diligence and ensure you thoroughly understand your homeowners insurance policy and the coverage it provides.

Different Types of Homeowners Insurance Policies

There are many types of homeowners insurance policies for you to choose from. The form you select plays a significant role in determining the financial assistance available to you following losses. Some policies may only provide coverage for the physical structure of your home, while others may provide more extensive coverage. Similarly, some types of homeowners insurance can render financial assistance in response to a wider variety of perils than others. This article focuses primarily on HO-3 homeowners insurance policies.

An Overview of HO-3 Homeowners Insurance

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, HO-3 homeowners insurance policies are the most common type of homeowners coverage. This form of insurance casts a wide safety net across many risks and exposures that may affect your home while also providing coverage for many aspects of your life. Generally, HO-3 policies are composed of the following primary components:

  • Dwelling coverage—Your HO-3 homeowners insurance can provide financial assistance if the physical structure of your home is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. This may include its roof, walls, floors, foundations and attached appliances.
  • Other structures coverage—This includes coverage for additional structures on your property other than your primary residence, such as detached garages, tool sheds, gazebos, guest houses and fences.
  • Contents coverage—This coverage can provide financial assistance for losses related to your personal belongings, including furniture, clothing and electronics.
  • Loss-of-use coverage—If a covered event damages your home or makes it uninhabitable temporarily, this part of your HO-3 insurance policy can help pay for resulting expenses, including dining at restaurants or staying in hotels. This coverage may also compensate you for lost income if you rent out part of your home but are unable to collect rent due to property damage.
  • Liability coverage—Your insurance can provide financial assistance if you or your family (including pets) are at fault for another party’s losses. This may include bodily injury and property damage costs, such as the affected party’s medical bills or lost wages. This coverage also provides financial assistance for legal expenses arising from such incidents.

Common Endorsements or Additional Coverages for HO-3 Homeowners Insurance

Although the core components of HO-3 homeowners coverages can provide ample financial protection in many situations, you should also work with a qualified insurance professional to identify any remaining coverage gaps. Certain perils and incidents may be excluded from standard HO-3 policies, meaning you would have to pay out of pocket for resulting losses.

Fortunately, you can augment your homeowners insurance with additional coverage by purchasing endorsements. These investments can prove invaluable, as they enhance your HO-3 policy to cover losses that might not otherwise qualify. Common endorsements to consider include the following:

  • Water/sewer backup coverage—If your plumbing or sewer line backs up and causes water damage, this endorsement can help recoup your losses.
  • Scheduled property coverage—Although the contents coverage generally included in standard HO-3 policies can protect some of your belongings, particularly valuable items, such as jewelry, art and collectibles, may require this endorsement to be fully covered.
  • Service line coverage—If your phone, power lines, sewer, gas lines or water pipes are damaged on your personal property, this endorsement can help cover the cost of repairs or replacements.
  • Flood coverage—Property damage from external water entering your home (i.e., due to flooding) is not generally covered under a standard policy. Check with your agent to determine if you can add flood coverage to your policy via a policy endorsement, which is the case in some areas of the country. However, most often, you’ll need to purchase a stand-alone flood insurance policy, which your agent should be able to assist you with.
  • Earthquake coverage—Losses caused by earthquakes are typically excluded from HO-3 policies. To ensure coverage for these perils, consider adding an endorsement to your homeowners insurance or acquiring a separate earthquake insurance policy.
  • Windstorm coverage—In many cases, such as if you live in areas prone to tornados and hurricanes, coverage for losses arising from severe windstorms may not be covered. As such, you may need to add a windstorm endorsement, if available where you live, or talk to your agent about purchasing a windstorm insurance policy to gain appropriate coverage.

Acquire Optimal Coverage

Without fully understanding your homeowners insurance policy, it’s impossible to ensure your coverage is adequate. With that in mind, working with a qualified insurance professional to assess your circumstances, explore your options and assemble ideal homeowners coverage is necessary. Contact Rinehart, Walters & Danner for more information.

The Importance of Cyber Security for Your Small Business

cyber security

cyber securityHigh-profile cyber attacks on companies such as Target and Sears have raised awareness of the growing threat of cyber crime. Recent surveys conducted by the Small Business Authority, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab and the National Cybersecurity Alliance suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.

The statistics of these studies are grim; the vast majority of U.S. small businesses lack a formal internet security policy for employees, and only about half have even rudimentary cyber security measures in place. Furthermore, only about a quarter of small business owners have had an outside party test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker proof, and nearly 40% do not have their data backed up in more than one location.

Don’t Equate Small with Safe

Despite significant cyber security exposures, 85% of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach. This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks.

In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Symantec’s study found that 43% of attacks are against organizations with fewer than 250 employees.

Outside sources like hackers aren’t the only way your company can be attacked—often, smaller companies have a family-like atmosphere and put too much trust in their employees. This can lead to complacency, which is exactly what a disgruntled or recently fired employee needs to execute an attack on the business.

Attacks Could Destroy Your Business

As large companies continue to get serious about data security, small businesses are becoming increasingly attractive targets—and the results are often devastating for small business owners.

According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, the average annual cost of cyber attacks for small and medium-sized businesses is over $2 million. Most small businesses don’t have that kind of money lying around, and as a result, nearly 60% of small businesses victimized by a cyber attack close permanently within six months of the attack. Many of these businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cyber security protocols until it was too late because they feared the costs would be prohibitive.

10 Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks

Even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple, economical steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly cyber attack:

  1. Train employees in cyber security principles.
  2. Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
  3. Use a firewall for your internet connection.
  4. Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
  5. Make backup copies of important business data and information.
  6. Control physical access to your computers and network components.
  7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.
  8. Require individual user accounts for each employee.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
  10. Regularly change passwords.

In addition to the listed tips, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a tool for small businesses that can create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns. It can be found at

Your Emerging Technology Partner

A data breach could cripple your small business, costing you thousands or millions of dollars in lost sales and/or damages. We have the tools necessary to ensure you have the proper coverage to protect your company against losses from cyber attacks. Contact us today to for additional cyber risk management guidance and insurance solutions.

Do You Understand The Benefits Offered By Your Job?

Benefits Offered By Your Job

Benefits Offered By Your JobMany employers recognize the hard work their employees do every day. In addition to a pay check, many employers will offer additional benefits to compensate their employees. Whether you are a new employee of the company, or an existing employee that has never enrolled in the benefits, understanding everything an employer has to offer can be difficult. We break this all down and help you understand the benefits offered by your job.

Common Benefits Offered By Employers

When it comes to benefits offered by employers, there is no set guideline to use. As a result, employers build their own benefits packages and can pick and choose what they want to offer. Some of the most common options include:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)

Click here to learn more about employee benefits.

Employer-paid vs Voluntary benefits

Depending on the size of the company you work for, there may be several packages available. Some may be employer-paid, some may be voluntary and some may be in the middle where you and the employer split the cost. There could be several options for benefits offered by your job.

  • Employer-paid benefits are those that the employer pays 100% of the cost. This typically includes life insurance and disability insurance.
  • Voluntary benefits are those you the employee can choose to elect or not. You will pay 100% of the premium. This typically includes dental and vision insurance
  • Contributory benefits are those that you and the employer both pay for. The employer picks how much they will pay and then you pay the remainder. One example would be medical insurance. The employer may pay 80% of the premium, you pay the remaining 20%

What Coverages Are Included In The Benefits Offered By Employers?

This will vary for each company. They will be able to provide you with a summary of benefits that will show you basic plan information. Deductibles, copay’s, coinsurance and maximum out of pocket is standard on each summary. Employers have HR departments or an insurance agent they work with. They will be able to explain everything to you and help you enroll.

Understanding benefits offered by employers can be overwhelming. Take time to review the information provided to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every individual’s situation is different however employers have specific plans in place to help you.

Have questions? Contact us today, we can help.

Tips on How To Maintain A Healthy Social Well-being

Social well-being

Social well-beingMaintaining a healthy level of social well-being benefits your overall health and relationships around you. Social well-being is the sharing, developing and sustaining meaningful connections with others. Benefits of social well-being can include being comfortable where you are in social situations, increased self-esteem, the ability to create healthy boundaries and helping build emotional resilience.

Without awareness of your social well-being, you risk becoming socially isolated. Social isolation is the withdrawal from human relationships and can lead to feelings of fear and loneliness.

Loneliness can negatively affect your health, including behaviors, mental health, physical health and mortality risk. A sense of belonging is crucial to the way humans function and correlates with feelings of loneliness if someone doesn’t feel they belong.

Building the foundation for healthy social well-being can be difficult, especially when it’s not something you’re used to.

Tips for Managing Social Well-being

Here are some best practices to maintain social well-being. 

Make connections.

You can make connections at any phase of life. Whether you just started a new job, moved to a new state or switched communities, you can work through creating new relationships. A large part of making new connections is getting involved in any social events in your communities, whether at work or in your personal life.

Get involved.

Find new events or groups to be a part of in your community, whether through a volunteer opportunity at work or a local event. If you’re unsure how to get involved, think of your hobbies. Research events related to your hobbies in the area or try learning something new. If your neighborhood has events, get involved. Helping others can reduce loneliness, so finding volunteer opportunities can also benefit our social well-being as we make new connections.

Bond with your loved ones.

Strong relationships are essential no matter your phase of life. Before building new connections, you are protecting and caring for your current contacts is necessary. Spend time with your loved ones without distractions. Unplug and stay engaged.

Invest in yourself.

Taking care of yourself before anyone else is crucial when discussing social well-being. If you’re at your best, you can be at your best for your friends, colleagues and loved ones alike. You are caring for others’ needs before yours consistently can lead to increased stress. Be sure to balance your time wisely.


It’s become more accessible than ever to connect, but it’s also easier to isolate. Socially connecting in person with loved ones and properly caring for your own needs can help you care for your social well-being. For more information on social well-being, contact us today.

Important Insurance Tips For Your College Student

Insurance tips for your college student

Insurance tips for your college student

High School is over and it’s time for the next big step, college. The new students schedule is done, books are purchased and the day is approaching fast for the big move. New furniture, décor and electronics are all packed and ready to go. Before your college student can begin their next adventure you have one last item to complete on your check list. Talking with your insurance agent. While that may seem like an odd item to have on your checklist, it is probably one of the most important. Your insurance agent will have important insurance tips for your college student. When your child leaves home and takes up a new residence at college, that can affect how their belongings are covered. Below are a few questions you may have when it comes to insurance and your college student.

Will my college student’s belongings be covered by my homeowners policy?

Does your child lives in a campus dorm? There is usually a small amount of coverage that would be extended from your homeowners policy. If your child has expensive items, or a lot of items, you may need to consider purchasing additional coverage. Does your child lives in off campus housing? Their belongings may not be covered at all.

Is renters insurance really necessary?

Yes. Chances are your child’s belongings will exceed the amount provided by your homeowners policy, if they are even covered at all. Renters insurance will cover the possessions in your child’s housing at a small cost. You can purchase renters insurance for as little as $15 per month. This will not only give you the extra coverage, but peace of mind that that expensive new laptop or TV will be protected in the event of fire, theft, or other disaster.

In addition to your college students belongings, the move to college can affect your auto coverage and health coverage.

Will your child move more than 100 miles away from home?

If this answer is yes and they do not keep a vehicle at school, your insurance premiums could decrease by as much as 30%. If they are taking a car with them, be sure to review your auto coverage with your agent. Make sure you have the appropriate coverage and your child understands how it works in the event of a claim.

Does my child need to purchase health insurance?

In the state of Ohio, many health insurance carriers are now required to coverage children up to age 26. This rule applies regardless of full time student status. Be sure to review your health coverage to verify the dependent age limit on your plan. Also, make sure your child has an ID card with them if they should need to see a Dr or get a Prescription. They should also understand how the coverage works and if there is any copay they will be responsible for if they should have to use the coverage.

Sending a child to college can be a scary yet exciting time for everyone. When you add your insurance agent to your list of people to talk to during this transition, it can help give you peace of mind for you and your child’s future insurance needs. Remember, your agent is a great source for insurance tips for your college student.

Did you find this information helpful? Please share this information.

You Need To Know These 4 School Bus Safety Tips

School Bus Safety

School Bus SafetySummer is almost over and our local schools are gearing up for the new school year. With school back in session, that also means school buses will be back on the road. Chances are you’ve gone over some school bus safety tips with your kids and what they need to know as riders. But have you reviewed the school bus safety tips you need to remember as a driver? Or gone over them with your new teen drivers? 

School Bus Safety

Being extra cautious around buses are critical. After all, they carrier the most precious cargo. In the next few weeks when you start seeing buses on the road, keep in mind these 4 tips. 

  1. Be prepared to stop when you see the bus driver turn on the flashing red lights and raise the stop sign; a passenger is getting off.
  2. Never pass a stopped school bus that is unloading students.
  3. Remember that buses stop at railroad tracks so keep your distance as you approach them.
  4. Obey speed limits in school zones and give school buses the right-of-way

Start the new school year off on the right foot. While the increased traffic is a little of on inconvenience, everyone’s safety should be the #1 concern this year.

From your friends at Rinehart-Walters-Danner Insurance, have a great 2021-2022 school year! 

Business Interruption Insurance And How To Safeguard Against Unexpected Disruptions

business interruption insurance

business interruption insuranceSmall businesses regularly face several risks that could necessitate a temporary shutdown or reduction of operations, both of which can have devastating effects on a business. One way businesses can protect themselves from the financial impacts of these occurrences is by securing business interruption insurance. This type of coverage can offer valuable assistance following a covered event. This article provides more information about business interruption insurance, including what it is and how small businesses can obtain it.

What Is Business Interruption Insurance?

Business interruption insurance, also known as business income insurance, provides a financial safeguard against temporary revenue losses and extra expenses that result from covered business shutdowns or reductions of operations. For example, if a fire or a vandal damages a company’s building and lead to a temporary closure, business interruption insurance can provide financial assistance while the building is shuttered for repairs.

Policies may also offer coverage if a civil authority (e.g., a local, state or federal governmental entity) forbids access to the business’s premises. This may happen following a natural disaster, even if the business’s property is not damaged. Each policy is unique, and businesses should work with their agent or broker to fully understand the scope of their coverage.

Why Do Small Businesses Need Business Interruption Insurance?

Small business shutdowns created by unforeseen events can have significant financial ramifications. In these circumstances, business interruption insurance can provide coverage for the following:

  • Lost income. Business interruption insurance can help replace the revenue a business would have generated if it did not need to close temporarily.
  • Continued operating expenses. Business interruption insurance can also provide financial assistance to cover standard, ongoing operating expenses such as salaries, taxes, utilities and mortgage, lease or rent payments that are due during the impacted period.
  • Relocation costs. Business interruption insurance coverage can also offer financial assistance for moving expenses if a business needs to relocate to a temporary office.

Additionally, a specialized form of business interruption insurance known as contingent business interruption insurance offers coverage if disruptions in the supply chains create losses. For example, if property damage to a third-party vendor impacts a business’s capability to continue its operations, this type of coverage may be able to mitigate the resulting financial impact. It can typically be added as an endorsement to a standard business interruption policy.

How Do Small Businesses Obtain Business Interruption Insurance?

For small businesses, business interruption insurance is typically bundled with commercial property and liability coverage in a business owners policy (BOP). Businesses with 100 or fewer employees and revenue of $5 million or less may be eligible for a BOP that includes business interruption insurance. For businesses that are not eligible for a BOP, business interruption insurance may be available as a standalone policy or added to a commercial property policy. It is essential for businesses to review their existing coverage to determine if business interruption insurance is included.


Business interruption insurance can provide crucial financial assistance for small businesses if they need to temporarily shut down or reduce operations. Contact us today for more information on this type of insurance and risk management planning.

6 Tips For Driving In The Rain and Thunderstorms

Driving In The Rain

Driving In The RainDriving in the rain or during a thunderstorm can be pretty nerve-wracking for most people. Worrying about having an accident or being stuck on the side of the road can be very overwhelming. It can also be very dangerous. However, a few tips and adjustments can take away some of the anxiety and help you stay calm during your commute.

Driving in the rain and thunderstorms

If you happen to get caught driving in the rain or thunderstorm, don’t panic . There a extra precautions you can take to make your trip a safe one.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Turn on your headlights, wipers and defroster to increase visibility.
  2. Drive in the tracks of vehicles ahead of you and reduce your speed.
  3. Allow for increased space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  4. If you hydroplane, hold the steering wheel straight and remove your foot from the gas.
  5. Do not use cruse control during inclimate weather.
  6. Pull off the road in an open area away from trees to avoid a lightning strike.

Helping you to avoid claims is just one of the many value-added services we provide. In the unfortunate event you do have an accident, we will help you through the process. Give us a call during business hours or click here to view our after hours claim contacts. 

What You Need To Know About Boat Insurance When You Buy A Boat

Boat Insurance

Boat InsuranceIf your new boat is a canoe or an un-motorized boat, there’s a chance that it’s covered under the personal property portion of your Homeowners Insurance policy. However if it is anything larger, you need a separate boat insurance policy. A Bout Insurance policy is there to ensure you and your boat are protected. After all, I’m sure you purchased your boat with long term plans in mind.

Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover My Boat? 

Theft to watercraft, including furnishings, equipment and outboard motors, is typically excluded if the theft occurs outside your residential premises. To cover your boat and its accessories, you need a separate boat insurance policy.

What is Boat Insurance? 

A typical boat insurance policy will protect your boat, motor, equipment and passengers. Coverages will usually include:

  • Theft, loss or damage to the boat and attached equipment
  • Bodily injury coverage, if someone else is injured
  • Damage caused to someone else’s property by your boat or watercraft
  • Liability coverage for your passengers, which would include family and guests
  • Medical payment coverage for injuries to the occupants of the boat

Physical Damage Coverage

Physical damage coverage insures your boat, motor, boat trailer, boating equipment and other personal property against accidental loss or damages. 

Liability Coverage

A Boat Insurance policy will include two principal liability coverages.

  •  Personal liability coverage provides protection for legal liability. It pays up to the limit of your policy, the legal obligations imposed upon you due to an accident resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of your watercraft, including bodily injury, property damage and legal defense. 
  • Medical payments coverage pays medical expenses up to the limits in the policy, including the insured’s boating-related medical expenses from an accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance and use of the boat. Expenses include hospital, medical and ambulance. 

Additional Coverage Options

Along with the basics some extra coverage to consider include:

  • Reasonable Repairs. Covers repairs done to protect covered property from further damage
  • Emergency Services. Pays for reasonable costs that you incur 4resulting from specified emergency service to your boat, motor or boat trailer. 
  • Wreck Removal. Pays the reasonable expenses you incur for any attempted or actual raising, removal or destruction for the wreck of your watercraft when damage is caused by an insured loss and remove or destruction required by law. 
  • Umbrella Liability. Provides additional boat insurance coverage across the board for home, auto and watercraft. 

Whether your boat is big or small, it’s still an investment. As a result, we want to make sure your are protected and familiar with your coverage. Call us at 419-522-9892 to review your policy or get a quote today.