Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How to Find the Right Kennel for Your Dog

As a dog parent, you probably hate the thought of leaving your pooch for even one night. Leaving him in the care of strangers might cause some serious anxiety for both of you.  But sometimes it can’t be avoided. If you are going on a family vacation or traveling for work, you may have to board rather than leave them with a trusted friend or relative.  With a little research and a short list of “must haves”, finding the right kennel can be relatively painless.

Choosing a kennel usually comes down to the following criteria:

·         --Price.
·         --Facility’s reputation.
·         --Quality of care.


Most facilities charge a per-night fee, although rates can be calculated in different ways. Depending on the type of kennel you choose (basic, a high-end “doggie hotel or spa”, or something in between), there may be fees for certain services.

Facility’s reputation.

Before you reserve a space, do a little background check on the facilities you’re considering. Stop by and look around if you can before you sign any paperwork or make any type of payment. Look for:

·         -Cleanliness of the facility.
·         -Size of the crates or sleeping areas.
·         -A run with enough room for the dog to run, play, and do its business
·         -A climate-controlled room.
·         -If dogs and cats are housed separately.

Quality of care.

If the facility has boarders, watch them interact with the staff for a few moments. Does the staff seem attentive and caring? Are there veterinary services available on-site if necessary? If your dog has special medical or dietary needs, can the staff accommodate them? Ask if you will need to bring your dog’s food if the staff doesn’t mention this up front (most kennels require owners to bring the pet’s food regardless if they are on a special diet).

The best way to find a reputable kennel is to ask for referrals from fellow dog owners or your veterinarian. (Even if you get a glowing referral from someone you trust, you should still research each place for the reasons mentioned above). If you’re using a kennel for the first time, they will need copies of your dog’s medical records, which your vet can provide.

Have you ever boarded your dog? What other tips would you add? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

If you’re traveling for a few days or a few weeks, contact us to learn more about travel insurance. ETA Benefits Group works with several carriers that offer this type of coverage. Travel insurance can cover trip cancellation or interruption expenses, medical treatment coverage, reimbursement costs for travel delays, and more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Don't Push Your Luck! Why You Need Umbrella Coverage

If you think about it, luck is a big part of our everyday lives. And it’s not all life-changing, lottery-winning kinds of luck—it’s little things.  Scoring a parking spot right near your destination when you’re running late? Luck. Finding a dollar in your pocket when you come up short when paying for your morning coffee? Luck.  Sure, we might push that luck a now and then and buy a lottery ticket or play the slot machines, but sometimes, those lucky little things happen just when we need them most. Unfortunately, many of us push our luck when it comes to our insurance.  We might just purchase the minimum coverage for our home, auto, or toys such as a boat or motorcycle and hope for the best, but in some instances, more protection is better. This is the purpose of an umbrella policy.

Umbrella coverage is meant to protect you from major claims and lawsuits. It takes effect when the liability limits on your homeowners or auto insurance policies have been reached.

For example:
  • Your dog bites your neighbor, a housepainter, requiring a trip to the ER and several stitches. Your neighbor sues you for costs related to the injury and lost wages. His medical bills alone are more than $20,000; lost wages, $10,000. He sues for $100,000; your homeowners’ policy only covers up to $50,000, leaving you responsible for the remaining $50,000.
  • While driving to work you skid on a slick road and T-bone another car.  The other driver and his passenger are injured, and there is extensive damage to the car (well over $50,000). You are sued for $300,000 (which includes car repairs, $50,000 in medical bills from the other driver and passenger, and $100,000 in lost wages for each), but your auto policy only has liability coverage up to $200,000, which means you must pay the other $100,000 out of your own pocket.
Lawsuits are extremely common in our society, and judges have granted huge rewards for damages—rewards that can have devastating financial consequences for the responsible party.

Although umbrella coverage is not required for a home or auto policy, it’s worth purchasing if you do any of the following: 
  •          Own a pool, trampoline, or dog
  •          Are a landlord
  •          Have significant savings or financial assets
  •          Coach youth sports
  •          Participate in extreme sports that could injure someone else
Any of the above could increase your chances of being sued.  Don’t push your luck—consider an umbrella policy so you have the additional protection you need.

Have you ever purchased an umbrella policy? What was your experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Stay Healthy This Winter

It’s been a rough winter, and if you’re like most of us, you probably find it harder to stay active and motivated during these long months—it’s so easy to crash on the couch and see what’s on TV instead of doing something physical. But weeks of little to no activity can impact your health, so even though you’re stuck inside, there are ways to start or maintain your exercise routine so you don’t miss a step once spring finally arrives.

It’s common to overindulge during the holidays, but once the new year rolls around, it’s time to go back to our regular eating habits…or starting healthier ones. Carbs and comfort foods are the go-to during the winter. And of course, snacking, which is the downfall for many of us! But why not try lower-calorie versions of your favorite snacks, or substitute healthier ingredients when you’re cooking? For example, did you know that applesauce is often used instead of eggs, butter, or sugar in many dessert recipes? It takes some experimenting and taste testing to get it right, but that’s part of the fun. It’s the perfect time of year to make some positive lifestyle changes, so why not give it a try? Start small, try a few substitutions in some of your recipes, and see how they turn out.

Winter is tricky if you’re used to walking or jogging outside. With fewer daylight hours, colder temperatures, and unpredictable weather, it can be tough to keep up any kind of workout schedule.  If this sounds like you, the best thing you can do is fit in workouts whenever you can—pile on the layers and fit in a quick walk or jog around the block at lunch, before or after work, or whenever you have a few minutes to spare. You can also move your workouts inside and change them up until the weather improves.  If you’re used to something high-impact like jogging, why not try Pi-yo (pilates and yoga) or kickboxing? There are plenty of workout videos available online, or dust off those DVDs you haven’t watched in months/years to get yourself moving.  If you’re outdoorsy, get on the slopes by skiing or snowboarding—both great ways to stay in shape. Or try cross-country skiing, which goes at a slower pace but is still a good workout. And of course, shoveling snow burns a lot of calories, but you want to pace yourself with this activity—it’s easy to overdo it, which can cause a range of problems or make existing issues (like heart or back conditions) worse. It’s always recommended to check with your physician before starting a physical activity, especially if you’ve been sedentary for some time.

Strength Training
Strength training is another easy way to get moving and stay limber. If you already have health issues, such as back problems, sitting still for long periods of time can just make the problem worse.  Stretch, touch your toes, do leg lifts—anything that will prevent your joints from stiffening up and making it harder to move.  During the next snowstorm or blast of cold weather, do some stretching or toning with light weights instead of sitting in front of the TV. If you’ve never done strength training, again, YouTube is a great resource.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay active during the colder months? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Insurance Careers Month: Q&A with Joe Pilla, Owner and President, ETA Benefits Group

Joe Pilla is the owner and president of ETA Benefits Group. Since 1999, ETA has been proud to serve our local community as independent agents focused primarily on employee benefits. In 2006, Joe officially added the P&C division to the agency, truly becoming a “one-stop shop” for customers’ insurance needs. Joe shares more about his position at ETA, role as active producer, and thoughts on opportunities within the insurance industry below.

Name: Joe Pilla

Title: President

Years in the Industry: 25

Years at ETA: 19

What are some of your main job duties? I’m primarily responsible for new business development. I’m also an active sales producer focusing on group benefits, and overall company management.  

How did you get into this field? Prior employment (my background is in health care administration and physician relations) and interest in sales.

Describe a typical day for you.  No two days are ever the same. On a typical day I might be working with office staff and their needs, responding to clients’ needs, and staying in touch with our carrier partners and clients. I’m always looking at customers’ needs—I like to take a proactive approach and help identify the best solution for their unique situation.

What do you like best about your job? As I said in the previous question, no day is ever the same. I like the variety that comes with my job. I enjoy working with customers, our employees, and the different insurance partners we have contracted with.

Why is insurance a good field to get into? The insurance field provides a wide array of different disciplines that you can go into, whether you are interested in group medical benefits, issues with property/liability, personal lines like home and auto. If you like working with seniors and the over-65 population, Medicare is a good option—there are so many different facets that you can focus on.

What advice would you have for someone new to the insurance industry? To remain in the business long-term, you need to be empathetic and listen to customers’ problems. On the sales side, you must be able to handle rejection and see other people’s points of view. This means you must modify your delivery based on their needs, not necessarily your own.