Category Archives: Uncategorized

Back to the Office

As more and more companies bring their people back to the office, managers face the challenge of ensuring that their employees feel safe and comfortable. Although all workers have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, they haven’t all experienced it in the same way. Employees have been going through a wide range of anxiety and suffering, leading to a variety of attitudes toward the pandemic and differences in the precautions people are willing to take to protect themselves and others. What can managers and employees do to manage the transition?


Managers need to accept that their employees may have changed during the pandemic. Although most professionals (55.2%) in one comprehensive survey were anxious about returning to the office, attitudes differed among different age groups. Sixty percent of workers said they would consider leaving their jobs if they could not work from home or were forced to work in the office more than they wanted to. However, a sizable number of 18-to-24-year-olds — 26% — said they might quit if managers cancelled work-related social events. Younger workers tend to gain the most from personal connections at work, whereas older workers who have been employed longer require less supervision and are more at ease with their position in the workplace. Older workers also have more to be nervous about if they’re exposed to Covid-19.

Given such differences, an all-purpose office policy won’t work for everyone. When employees are anxious, it is less likely that they feel safe speaking up about their concerns. Anonymous surveys can help to assess how workers are feeling but some employers are going further to put in place a visual system that allows workers to indicate their level of comfort with physical contact without saying a word. The system involves the use of color-coded wristbands or lanyards. Red means the person wants others to keep their distance and allow for ample personal space; yellow indicates they prefer using fist bumps and elbows to greet colleagues; while green signals that the person is comfortable with hugs and handshakes. The workers can switch colors anytime they want, giving them the flexibility to adjust their preferences according to different circumstances and their changing attitudes. Employers could also have the option to take away the green bands if Covid-19 cases are on the rise. By enabling people to identify each other’s comfort level quickly, this visual scheme helps to create a welcoming office environment where colleagues can express their personal preferences and be mindful of others’ safety concerns. Some workers may be happy to never shake hands or bump fists again, and such a scheme can help create this new reality.

Workers need guidance and flexibility to decrease their anxiety if they decide to return to the office. Managers can also provide regular updates about precautions they are taking and be transparent about the number of Covid-19 infections in the building. Providing a safe environment and allowing employees to feel heard can substantially decrease anxiety. Employees will expect compassion and flexibility from their bosses during this challenging time.


Employees can also take some concrete steps themselves to transition back to in-person work. The first is to monitor your anxiety. Figure out how you actually feel about returning to the office. Do you feel anxiety, nervousness, disappointment, anger, fear, or frustration? Naming the inner dynamic can help you regulate your emotional experience. Second, recognize when your energy is depleted. New procedures and health protocols all eat up mental energy, and being anxious subtracts further from our limited supply. Even if you prefer to prioritize work and to take care of others, now is the time to shift the framework around your own self-care. We can no longer push ourselves to the limit in the name of productivity. Recognize that you are human, irreplaceable, and worthy of rest.

A three-step framework can help reduce your anxiety when it starts to rise. Think about and write down:

  • What you can control: For example, you decide what to eat or drink, when to exercise, and when to rest more.
  • What you can influence: For example, you can ask your coworkers to keep a distance or wear masks at your meetings. You can’t eliminate all risk, but you might be able to mitigate it to feel more comfortable.
  • What is outside your control: For example, you cannot control whether the weather will stay dry during an outside meeting or whether your train will run on time. You can put in place contingencies if needed, but recognize your limits so you can save your energy for items you can control or influence. Try to avoid spending too much mental energy on any items in this category.

Both employees and managers can acknowledge their anxiety as well as some wonderful positives about the return to in-person work. After more than a year of social isolation and confinement in our homes, the social aspect of interacting with colleagues can greatly benefit the mental health and motivation of many, and reinforce a sense of purpose and emotional connection to work. Managers should strive to bring humor and joy to their employees, recognizing the breadth of experiences and loss people have endured over the last 18 months. With proper planning and precautions, as well as patience and flexibility, many can look forward to having the chance to reconnect with their colleagues in a safe and considerate way.

Original article written by by Sunita Sah for the Harvard Business Journal, October 26, 2021

Do You Really Need To Buy The Rental Car Insurance?

You’ve stepped off of the plane, collected your bags and are headed over to the car rental desk. Only a few signatures and a credit card swipe stand between you and the open road.

As you’re sorting through pages of policy acknowledgments, the inevitable question comes from across the desk: Would you like to purchase additional daily rental insurance?  With rental car rates getting steeper by the day, you may be wondering whether it’s really necessary to bump up your bill any higher than it already is.

It goes without saying that purchasing insurance is the responsible and prudent way to minimize unforeseen losses. That’s why, in nearly every scenario, you should jump at the opportunity to buy more coverage. But is there ever a time when more becomes too much?

Rental car insurance is a prime example of overprotection, and paying for coverage that you very likely already have. Paying over $10 a day for rental car insurance may seem like a smart decision, but before you make up your mind, let’s break things down:

Step 1: Before accepting any new coverage from a car rental company, it’s critical that you first review the insurance policies you have. You may not know it, but there’s a high probability you’re already insured if an accident occurs in your rental car.

Personal Auto-Policy: The liability coverage you have on your policy as well as any additional coverage you’ve purchased should be applicable to a rental car if you’re driving it for personal use.

  • Existing liability coverage would help you pay for others’ medical bills, as well as damage to others’ property in an accident where you’re at fault.
  • Existing comprehensive coverage would help to pay for repairs to your rental in the event of theft, fire and natural disasters.
  • Existing collision coverage would help pay for the repairs to a rental car if damaged when crashing into another vehicle or physical object.

Your Credit Card Company: According to the Insurance Information Institute, if you pay for a car rental using a certain credit card, there’s a chance that they will provide “secondary” insurance. This means that anything your primary insurer doesn’t cover from a personal auto-policy will be covered by the credit card company. This may include deductibles and expenses that exceed a coverage limit.

  • Keep in mind, however, that certain rental vehicles are not be covered by most credit cards. These include luxury vehicles, motorhomes, trucks and motorcycles.

Step 2: After reviewing the coverage you already possess, that expensive daily policy offered by rental companies probably isn’t looking appealing. However, there are cases when this insurance may actually be beneficial.

  • Your primary and secondary policy is limited in coverage or has exclusions (ex. it doesn’t have comprehensive or collision coverage, which is offered by the rental company).
  • You’re only insured under a commercial car insurance policy.
  • You’re driving outside of the country (besides Canada, most primary insurers and credit card companies won’t cover you for accidents outside the U.S.).

Step 3: No matter which policy you choose, you’ll never receive coverage for reckless behavior. Always remain extra vigilant when using a rental car – that means avoiding certain surfaces, being aware of its condition (locked, where it’s parked, etc.), and never driving while intoxicated. Safe driving is always in the best interest of your insurers, your passengers, and yourself.

Learn more about car rental insurance through the Insurance Information Institute.

10 Crazy Insurance Policies That Actually Exist.

Betty Grable’s legs were insured by her studio for $1 million as a publicity stunt. Describing her film career, Grable said “I became a star for two reasons, and I’m standing on them.”

As every insurance carrier, broker, and agency knows, risk is unpredictable. But then again, that’s why insurance exists.

While there are some forms of risk that are foreseeable—fire damage, car accidents, catastrophic hurricane damage—there are other types of losses that are far more surprising. And even more surprising – you can get insurance for them!

Here are 10 crazy insurance policies that actually exist (and why they’re not all that crazy).

1. Body Part Insurance

You would expect a NASCAR driver to have life insurance, but did you know that certain celebrities have specific body parts insured for millions of dollars?

  • $2.2 million for Heidi Klum’s legs
  • $27 million for J. Lo’s butt
  • $10 million for America Ferrera’s teeth
  • $6 million for Rod Stewart’s voice
  • $1.6 million for Keith Richard’s middle finger
  • $600,000 for Dolly Parton’s chest
  • $7 million for Tom Jones’ chest hair (You read that right!)
  • $1 million for Gene Simmons’ tongue
  • $393,000 for food critic Egon Ronay’s taste buds

It might seem ridiculous to have your derriere insured for such a whopping amount but it makes sense for celebrities.

If Keith Richards loses his middle finger in an accident, he can’t play guitar anymore. If that food critic can’t taste anything, he has no more career.

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who can have body parts insured, however. Anybody can get a policy on the body part of their choice. (Hand and foot models do this all the time.)

The bad news? It can come at a steep price. One Dutch winemaker who insured his nose for $7.8 million will pay roughly $23,000 a year for the policy.

2. Career Insurance

You can’t always point to a single body part as the one thing keeping your career afloat. That’s where some celebrities have taken out policies against their entire careers.

Abbott and Costello’s $250,000 policy protected them against partnership-ending arguments for five years. And if soccer star David Beckham has a career-ending injury, his insurance carrier will pay him $151 million.

Again, for people whose career paths are their only livelihood, an insurance policy like this makes sense. When the paychecks, endorsements, and speaking engagements end, celebs want to receive compensation.

3. Ghost Insurance

The term “ghost policy” has two definitions in the industry. While a Ghost Policy often refers to a situation where a business tries to cheat its way out of proper workers’ comp coverage, some insurance companies actually have a legitimate “ghost insurance” policy…to cover damage done by actual spirits.

After an alleged ghost sighting on his property, one British hotel owner took out a £1 million policy against death or disability caused by the spirit.

4. Alien Abduction Insurance

Worried about a close encounter of the third kind? Yep. There’s insurance for that too. At least three different insurance agencies sell alien abduction policies and some have even paid out claims!

The plans range from serious to “gag gift,” but if you live in fear of an alien abduction, this might be the perfect policy to set your mind at ease.

5. Falling Sputnik Insurance

When the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, it created a worldwide panic.

In fact, some people were so scared of pending disaster that Lloyd’s of London actually wrote a $22,000 policy (almost $200,000 in today’s money) protecting against accidental death caused by “falling sputnik.”

It should be said, however, that there have never been any recorded incidents of injury or death by a falling satellite.

6.Thailand Riot Insurance

When political unrest began stirring in Thailand back in 2010, the country’s tourism numbers dropped by eight percent.

In an effort to boost the tourism industry, the Thai government offered $10,000 coverage on tourists who were injured as a result of a riot during their visit. Travel delays caused by riots and political demonstrations were reimbursable up to $100 a day.

7. “Cold Feet” Insurance

We’ve all heard about wedding insurance – and trust us, it’s well worth the cost (especially if you’re getting married during hurricane season). But what if your fiancée is the one calling it quits?

One company offers “Change of Heart” insurance if a bride or groom calls off the wedding.

The catch? The bride or groom cannot collect on this, only an “innocent party financier.” So if Melissa calls off the wedding, her parents can get back the cash they shelled out on the dress, venue, and flowers.

8. Multiple Birth Insurance

“Buy One Get One Free” is a great deal at the grocery store, but a little more intimidating when it comes to pregnancy.

Multiple birth insurance would reimburse pregnant mothers for the added costs of an “unexpected” arrival. (Diapers are expensive enough for one baby, let alone two.)

While it is something new in the United States, “twinsurance” is fairly popular in the U.K.

9. Lottery Insurance

Lottery pools are popular in the office, especially when the jackpot reaches the multimillions.

But, have you ever thought about what you would do if your staff were to actually win that jackpot?

This exact scenario really happened in the U.K., where seven office workers became the beneficiaries of £6 million each and handed in their notices the following day.

Lottery Syndicate Insurance protects business owners from the financial loss of having to replace all or most of their staff at once due to a jackpot win.

10. Bed Bug Insurance

Many people think their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is comprehensive, only to be disappointed when they make a “non-covered” claim.

In Florida, you might be aware that flood damage isn’t covered, but did you know that bed bug remediation isn’t either? Treating a bed bug infestation costs the typical homeowner around $1,000-2,000, but if you own an apartment building, those costs could skyrocket.

Bed bug coverage would get your tenants the help they need without bankrupting you.

Protecting Your Life

Though they might sound ridiculous, these crazy insurance policies exist because someone, somewhere, feared losing something valuable.

You might not rely on a perfect sense of smell to do your job and you might not worry about a ghost affecting your business, but odds are, you have gaps in your insurance coverage that are making you financially vulnerable.

At Martin Insurance Agency, our goal is to protect whatever it is you care about. Call us today to see how we can help build a network of protection or request a quote by clicking here.

Original article written by Jason Levine March 26, 2019 by

Roof Insurance – Are You Covered?

Insurance claims concerning your roof can be complicated. That’s why it’s so important to have the right homeowners coverage for your roof.

Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive home projects a homeowner will encounter. According to FORBES, the national average a homeowner will spend on installing a new roof is more than $8,000, with most people spending between $5,500 to $11,000.

While you can save up over months or years to replace an old roof, sudden damage from something like a windstorm or hail doesn’t give you that option. Don’t wait until you need to submit a claim to understand what your policy can – and can’t – pay to replace. Keep reading for general answers to a few common questions. As always, as an independent insurance agency, we can give you more specific information (including a free quote customized just for your home).


Short answer: It depends on your carrier and policy; some offer more coverage than others.

Longer answer: Buying insurance is all about your comfort level with risk. A cheaper policy means you might pay a little less right now, but you could be stuck paying more out of pocket later if you need to file a claim.

With homeowners insurance, there are different ways you can choose to be compensated when you experience a sudden loss that’s covered by your policy. That is known as your “loss settlement option.” Simply put, it’s how your insurance company assesses the cost to rebuild, repair or replace your stuff.

With some carriers, coverage for your roof is factored into the cost to insure your dwelling. Loss settlement options for your dwelling may vary by carrier, so talk to your independent insurance agent to better understand your options.

Common loss settlement options for your roof include:

  • Actual cash value (ACV) which factors in the roof’s age and condition to determine how much it’s worth as-is when you file a claim. That’s known as a depreciation amount. When the bill comes in from the roofers, an ACV policy factors in depreciation and only pays up to the amount your roof is currently worth – even if the cost to repair or replace your roof is higher than that.
  • Replacement cost, which pays to repair the damage to your roof without factoring in depreciation.
  • Functional replacement cost is the amount that it would cost to repair or replace the damaged roof with less costly common construction materials and methods which are functionally equivalent to obsolete, antique or custom construction materials and methods.

Other loss settlement options, such as extended replacement cost and guaranteed replacement cost, are also available (and good to have) with your homeowners policy. These are designed to give you an extra cushion if you experience a total loss of your home. Generally speaking, they’re less likely to kick in if you experience a covered loss of only roof damage.

Not sure which loss settlement option you have? You can find your dwelling amount and policy limits on your declarations page.

So, when it comes to insuring a big investment like your roof – you can see how your loss settlement option can make a big difference in how you can be reimbursed after a loss.


Remember that homeowners insurance is designed to cover the cost of sudden and unexpected damage. Generally, your policy doesn’t cover damage from delayed maintenance or routine wear and tear to an old roof.

If your roof is worn or in poor condition, having a roof covered on an ACV basis could become a big financial burden if you have to file a claim.

For example, let’s say your roof has seen better days. Then, bam! Lightning strikes and your neighbor’s tree falls on your roof. What happens next?

  • If it’s insured on an ACV basis: If your roof is damaged near the end of its life expectancy, you’ll likely see a larger deduction for depreciation… but you’ll still get the same bill for what it costs to repair or replace it. That could leave you stuck paying the difference out-of-pocket.
  • With replacement cost: There is no deduction for depreciation. This means you may pay a little more in premium for that policy (vs. ACV) –but you won’t be hit with out-of-pocket expenses

One way to make a replacement cost policy more affordable is to increase your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket after a claim and before your insurance company pays its part.

Ask your insurance agent to show you the cost difference with different deductibles so you can decide which dollar amount fits best with your budget.


Since each insurance company covers roof damage differently, it pays to understand how your policy works so you don’t run into any surprises after you have to file a claim.

Here are a few factors – known as “provisions” – to look for:

  • Roof payment schedule or a breakdown of how your insurance company would pay for a roof claim based on factors, such as the age of the roof. (At ERIE, roof losses are paid based on the loss settlement that you select for your home.)
  • Mandatory deductible or an amount that you will have to meet before the insurance company will cover your claim. (ERIE allows you to choose your deductible for your home and property based on what’s comfortable for your budget.)
  • Wind or hail deductible or a separate dollar amount that applies to loss caused by wind or hail. Some carriers may require a higher wind or hail deductible without giving you a choice. At ERIE, it is an optional customization that can help lower your premium.


Uncertainty is part of life – but that’s why you have insurance. If you think your roof is damaged and you’re considering filing a claim, here’s what to do:

  • Prevent further damage. Once the scene calms down (such as a hailstorm), take action to prevent any further damage to your home and belongings if it’s safe to do so.
  • Document what happened. Take photos of the damage and list what was affected. (An updated home inventory can be helpful here.) List any date or timeframe that the event occurred.
  • Call your insurance agent. Your agent can explain your options and help you understand if and how to file a claim.
  • Know how to spot a scam. Sometimes, fraudulent or dishonest contractors – known as “storm chasers” – show up after severe weather hits. Storm chasers may point out pre-existing damage, create their own damage, or say that there is damage when there isn’t. Learn the signs to spot hail fraud and tips for hiring a reputable contractor.


If you are unsure what your home insurance can cover – and what it can’t – ask your agent. Or you can request a homeowners insurance quote from us, Martin Insurance Agency.

Then relax and enjoy more of what makes you and your family happy knowing that your home, the investments you made in your home, and the things you value most are protected.

Fastnacht Day

Whether you call it Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Fastnacht Day – tomorrow is the day before the Lent starts and it is a day that’s celebrated in different ways across the globe.

In the UK, pancake races form an important part of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations – an opportunity for large numbers of people, often in fancy dress, to race down streets tossing pancakes.

In Germany, people are donning costumes and celebrating in the streets and at lavish balls for one last day of “Karneval” or “Fasching.” In Rio de Janeiro, by shrove Tuesday, partiers dressed in feathers and sequins will have been dancing and parading in the streets for their 6th straight day. And in New Orleans, bead wearing revelers are downing Beignets and King Cake.

Here is Pennsylvania, the merriment isn’t as intense, but we do have Fastnacht Day. Fastnacht can also be spelled in various ways, such as “fasnacht”, “fassenacht,” or “faschnacht.” In German, the word “fastnacht” means “the night before the fast,” since the doughnuts are eaten the night before Lent, when fasting is usually observed by many Christians until Easter Sunday. Making and eating fastnachts was a way to consume all the rich food kept in your house pantry, such as butter, lard, eggs, and sugar, since these ingredients were seen as lavish and were not supposed to be eaten during the Lenten season.

You may want to try to make your own. There are various recipes out there – some even call for mashed potatoes as an ingrediant. But just about every grocery store and bakery in south central Pennsylvania will be selling them. So come on; what are you waiting for? Keep this Central Pennsylvania tradition going and have a fastnacht tomorrow!

Everyone Needs To Be Vigilant Right Now When It Comes To Cyber Security

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that U.S. citizens, businesses, and organizations at all levels could face cyber threats stemming from “the potential for the Russian government to consider escalating its destabilizing actions” beyond Ukraine.

As part of a website that it is calling, “Shields Up,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is encouraging all businesses, agencies, and other organizations to take proactive steps today to make sure their “most critical digital assets” are protected.

Cyberattacks that involve data breaches can cause logistical headaches as customers deal with the impacts of compromised accounts, data breaches, and even stolen identities. However, cyberattacks can cause problems that go beyond a nuisance to downright chaos. Over the past few years we have seen countless ransomware attacks that have affected our country’s infrastructure.

So what should we be doing right now?

On a personal level, it means you need to make sure your safety software on your home computer is up to date. It also means never ever clicking on a link that is texted or emailed to you. Not even if it supposedly came from Aunt Gladys, the IRS, or that college chum that you just reconnected with on Facebook. If the message has a link, just assume it’s a hacker impersonating someone you trust.

As for businesses and organizations, they now need to think about cyberattacks the same way they would think about natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes. They need to realize that such events will undoubtedly impact their business at some point, analyze their risk, and create disaster recovery plans to mitigate the damage when they do occur to keep their operations running.

Cyber liability insurance should be a major element of that recovery plan and WE CAN HELP YOU WITH THAT. We can help you figure out what coverages will best protect your business. Contact us today for a custom Cyber Liability quote for your business or organization, or give us a call at 717-872-7756 today!

Falling Trees and Property Damage – Who’s Responsible?

Trees can be tricky, but for the most part homeowners are responsible for what falls into their own yard. So if a storm causes your neighbor’s tree to fall in your yard, your homeowners insurance could help cover the cost of removing the tree and remedying the damage it caused on your property, after your deductible.

The same is true in reverse: If a tree on your property falls in your neighbor’s yard, your neighbor should contact their insurance company to determine what type of coverage is available for damage or cleanup in their yard.

In most cases, neighbors are able to work things out without too much trouble. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to file a homeowners insurance claim. Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover the cost of tree cleanup, depending on your policy and the company you work with.

If there’s ever an issue between neighbors, you can rely on your claims adjuster to help straighten everything out.


If a tree falls on your house, the first thing to do, if it’s safe, is to try to prevent further damage to your home and property. Make sure to take some photos to document what happened. Then call your insurance agent, who can explain your options and help you understand if and how to file a claim. When you file a claim, a claims adjuster will come by to evaluate the damage and explain how your homeowners coverage comes into play. It’s recommended that you call your claims adjuster before you contract to have the tree removed.

Sometimes trees fall on cars. If it’s not safe or possible to remove the tree from the car yourself, you should call a professional to remove it. (Again, talk to your insurance agent and a claims adjuster first and take a few photos of the fallen tree on your car.) Depending on the damage and terms of your insurance coverage, the optional comprehensive coverage you may have under your auto policy could provide coverage for the loss.


Preventive measures matter when it comes to trees. Start by looking for signs of distress such as dead limbs, cracks in the trunk or major limbs, leaning to one side and branches that are close to a house or power line. Mushroom growth on the roots or bark can also signal trouble.

Homeowners should be concerned about the health of their trees. It’s possible for you to be held responsible for resulting damage to your neighbor’s house or property, if your tree falls due (in whole or part) to your own neglect. One of the best things to do is to regularly have large trees trimmed. (The Tree Care Industry Association lists accredited tree care professionals.)

Learn more about your options when it comes to homeowners insurance. We’ll be happy to give you a free, no obligation quote. Just give us a call at 717-872-7756 or request a quote through our website by clicking here.

The Africian Insurance Company of Philadelphia 1810

In 1810 The African Insurance Company was created with offices located at 159 Lombard Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It was the first African American-owned insurance company in the United States. The first president was Joseph Randolph while Cyrus Porter was treasurer and William Coleman was its secretary. The establishment of an insurance company by African Americans was a natural progression from beneficial societies that had emerged just after the American Revolution.

Beneficial societies were social and economic safety nets for an impoverished community; in Philadelphia the Free African Society established on April 12, 1787 charged members monthly dues in order to create a pool of money from which to draw if women were widowed, a member fell sick, or to provide a Christian burial for a member who died.  This assurance that one would be taken care of by an organization if any misfortune were to befall them was a powerful motivator to convince people to contribute to the Free African Society.  The Free African Society, however, was far from a non-profit; in 1790 it deposited a sum of $100 into Philadelphia’s Bank of North America. If members stayed healthy and deaths were minimal the Society hoped to accumulate a substantial amount of money that could be used for future payouts and that could reassure existing members that their needs would be properly addressed.

The African Insurance Company was established in 1810 as a for profit business built on the model of the Free African Society.  The company sought to capitalize on the rapidly growing free African American community in Philadelphia which included newcomers who either were not allowed in or did not choose to join the Free African Society but who nonetheless sought the security the society provided its members.

The company, however, lasted only until 1813.  It failed to attract a significant customer base and its three officers were forced to relinquish their Lombard Street office and move the business into the home of William Coleman.  No records exist for the company after 1813.  Nonetheless, this early model provided by the African Insurance Company would eventually be adopted by many successful post-Civil War era black insurance companies.

New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success

Handsome young male business owner looking serious while working on his laptop with a neat and tidy workshop behind him

As a small business owner, you have worked hard to run and grow your business. That means the idea of adding one more thing to your list of year-end to-do’s or strategic planning could seem daunting. That’s why we’re sharing this list of small, achievable goals you can resolve to accomplish in the new year to improve your business and your well-being as a small business owner.

1. Keep Better Track of Expenses

How closely did you manage your cash flow last year? Keeping a sharper eye on your expenses will not only help you know how much money is going out ‒ it will help you reach your financial goals. It also can provide some extra deductions come tax time.

2. Seek Out Networking Opportunities

Any introvert reading this probably just cringed. But, experienced professionals know the value of networking. Look online to see what events may already be scheduled in your area. Some organizations even sponsor virtual events if travel or scheduling are a challenge. Use networking as an opportunity to find a business mentor. This person can share their wisdom and experience to help you make better decisions as you navigate the challenges of being a small business owner.

3. Make Time for Self-Care

As a business owner, it may feel like you don’t have a minute of extra time to take care of yourself because you’re so busy taking care of others. Make it a goal to shift that mindset as you move forward in this new year.

The Harvard Business Review article “Serious” Leaders Need Self-Care, Too recommends that leaders practice the following when it comes to self-care:

  • Individualize your approach. Self-care is not one size fits all. What works for one person may not work for you. Find out what activities recharge you.
  • Make it “micro.” Self-care doesn’t need to be an hours-long endeavor. It can be five meaningful minutes spent doing something like meditating, journaling or taking a walk.
  • Add it to your calendar. When you include self-care in your daily agenda, it helps to put your plan into action.
  • Test it out. Nothing is set in stone with your approach to self-care. Once you’ve practiced your routine for a bit, you can make tweaks (or overhaul it entirely) to get into a rhythm.
  • Set an example and share it with your team. Your employees look up to you as a leader. Let them know that self-care is important, and set the tone for it at your business.

4. Be a Better Manager of Your Time

As a small business owner, you’re pulled in a million different directions. But if your to-do’s seem to continually fall by the wayside, make a resolution to find new ways to manage your time in the new year.

Amazon Business recommends that small business owners try the following:

  • Find a new prioritization method ‒ and start using it. Learn more about time management practices like the ABC Method, the Pareto Principle (you also may know it as 80/20 rule) and the POESC Method. They’re all ways of structuring and prioritizing where you spend your time. Test a few out and find a method that fits you.
  • Delegate. Even if you consider yourself a jack-of-all-trades, you can’t physically do everything. Delegate those things that could easily be handed off to someone else, like administrative tasks or marketing.
  • Reduce distractions to be more productive. Dividing your calendar into blocks of time, also known as time blocking, can help you downplay distractions and interruptions like email pop-ups, social media notifications and more. Consider scheduling three separate time blocks ‒ one in the morning, one around lunchtime and one in the afternoon ‒ to read and respond to emails or other messages. You also can set aside small chunks of time for breaks.

5. Get an Insurance Checkup

Think of it like your business’ annual physical. A lot can change in a year. If you don’t have adequate protection from a business insurance policy, an accident of any kind could be detrimental to the health and well-being of the business you’ve worked so hard to build. So schedule a meeting with your agent to review your policy. Together, you can make sure you have the proper coverage that fits your company’s needs and covers any risks associated with your operations. Find out more about Why You Shouldn’t Cut Corners on Business Insurance.

6. Start Thinking About Succession Planning

Sure, it may not seem like one of the most exciting topics. But a well-crafted succession plan helps ensure you have the right talent, people and roles in your organization. So, when the time comes for the next generation of leaders to step in, the transition will be as seamless as possible. That’s peace of mind that any business owner could use! Get started with 8 Things to Consider When Building Your Business Succession Plan.

7. Try Something New

Resolve to try something that isn’t “business as usual” for the new year. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try a customer loyalty program. Or, if your business has grown, why not explore what it would take to expand and open a second location? Take a look at your business plan for the year, along with your budget, and see what’s in the realm of possibility. Get your team involved, and get creative!


Your business is your life’s work. At Martin Insurance Agency, we’re here to help your business with personalized advice, superb coverage and unrivaled service. In turn, you get the protection you need that reflects your business priorities ‒ and your budget. Talk to us today to get your free quote.

Tips for safely decorating your home for the holidays

After listening to holiday tunes for the bulk of November, many people are in the mood to deck the halls. Before you bust out the holly and start trolling carols, consider the potential hazards you might be placing about your home.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 160 Christmas trees catch fire every year, on average. Among those fires, half were caused by electrical distribution or lighting equipment and nearly 1-in-5 Christmas tree fires were started by decorative lights.

Here are some tips for safely decorating during the holiday season,

  • If you’re putting up an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire resistant before decorating. Additionally, vintage decorations made from lace, paper, and fabric are often flammable, making it critical to display them away from any heat source, including other holiday lights.
  • Open flame candles can be a fire hazard, making more modern battery-operated LED candles a better option. If you decided to be more traditional, be sure to keep candles away from trees, wreaths, or other decorations that can easily catch fire.
  • Don’t connect more than three light strings to an extension cord and be sure to unplug lights when you are not at home or going to sleep.
  • Dried out Christmas trees are a major fire hazard. When picking a life tray, give it a shake, make sure it is sticky to the touch and that minimal needles fall off. Keep life trays at least 3 feet from his sources and be sure to water daily.
  • While it might be tempting to jam as much holiday cheer into your season with an abundance of decorations, be sure not to block any doorways or exits

And let’s not forget the safety tips for cooking that holiday dinner:

  • Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
  • When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
  • Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.