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You’re Invited … and it’s FREE

Mark your calendars for these fun, free events.  Join us and meet the staff.

hff-adSaturday Oct 29, 2016 from 10am – 2pm.  Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume.  We are participating in the business communities annual Halloween Fun Fest here in the Clarkson Village.  Stop by at 987 Clarkson Rd S and say hello to the staff.  We will be shelling out and have joined forces with Wonder Women.  Together we will be collecting new or gently used comic books for the children in local hospitals.  Wonder Women and few of her crime fighting friends deliver the comic books in person.  The business community will be out in full force on Oct 29th.  There will be rides for kids, games and lots of shelling out.  Don’t miss out.  Come and join in the fun.


November 5- 6, 2016

Ontario Sailing invites you to come and learn more about how you can GET OUT ON THE WATER!

The Ontario Sailing Club Expo will feature displays and representatives from various sailing schools, sailing clubs, experts on marine wear, and more, all looking to share their knowledge with new boaters.
Kids can have a free sailing lesson from a Sail Canada Instructor on our one-of-a-kind Sailing Simulator from a Sail Canada instructor!

This will be an event you do not want to miss!  We will be hosting a kiosk and sharing more about Marine Insurance.  Plus lots of goodies for those who attend.

Admission is free to the public

Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre
3063 South Service Road
Burlington, ON L7N 3E9


November 24, 2016: The Clarkson Business Community will be hosting their annual Tree Lighting event.  Watch for more details.  Always a no miss event, so mark your calendars.



Starting November 25th, we will collecting new unwrapped toys for the annual Toy Drive

December 11, 2016: Uncle Neil and Friends Annual Toy Drive.  All the toys we collected will be dropped off.  But that’s not all Uncle Neil hosts a huge event to thank everyone who gives so join in the fun and help bring a smile to child this Christmas.  Visit: http://uncleneilandfriends.com/ to learn more.

We hope you will consider anyone of these awesome events.  We are proud to be active in our community and can’t wait to see you again!

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How to buy winter tires to save on insurance

When buying winter tires, here are some helpful tips

  1.   Look for tires marked with a logo of a peaked mountain with a snowflake
    2.  Install winter tires in sets of four
    3.  Do not mix tires with different tread patterns or size
    4.  Change tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators
    5.  Check the tires’ air pressure at least once a month

It is now mandatory for all insurance companies to offer a discount if you have installed winter tires on your personal vehicles.  The criteria may vary with each company.  Speak to your insurance representative to find out how to obtain this discount.


Don’t wait for the first snowfall to think about purchasing your winter tires.

Please remember, having winter tires installed does not negate you from driving cautiously during the winter months.

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Fall Clean Up


Summer has come and gone and it is time to gear up for the cooler weather before the snow starts falling.

Here are some helpful hints to help you get your house in order while the weather is still bearable.

A well maintained home reduces the risk of damage that may or may not be covered under your home insurance policy.


  • Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the condenser coils.  For bottom-mounted coils, use a long narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.
  • Check and empty the central vacuum’s collection area
  • Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Consult the manual for specific product recommendations.
  • Clean or replace humidifier elements before the heating season begins.
  • Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks or splits. Replace them every other year.
  • Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds nests.  Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.
  • Schedule fall furnace inspection now.  Don’t wait for the first cold night.
  • Buy a winters supply of furnace filters.  Change the filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort.
  • Drain sediment from hot water heaters.  Check for damage or rust.  Read our helpful blog about water heaters.
  • Inspect your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are operational.  Change the battery when the clocks fall back if applicable.  Also make sure they are not outdated. They do have an expiry date, check the label on side. If there is no expiry date label, it is likely outdated.


  • Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas and children’s toys.  Avoid piling up in front of entrances of garages or sheds
  • Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks.  Secure loose boards on decks.
  • Check caulk around windows and doors.  Follow manufacturer’s recommendations to re-caulk if necessary.
  • Inspect external doors and garage doors.  Install weather-stripping if needed.
  • Wash exterior windows.
  • Drain and store water hoses.  Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. Shut off exterior water and drain
  • Drain the pool if applicable.  Consider hiring a professional to avoid damage when re-opening the pool next season.
  • Check gutters and downspout.  Clear any debris if necessary.  Check for leaks and any wear and tear and fix now before it snows or freezes over.
  • Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.
  • If you have bags of birdseed to feed the birds in the fall and over winter, make sure the bags are in covered containers. The mice will find them otherwise and camp out in your storage area.
  • Inspect handrails if applicable to ensure they are secure to the wall or posts
  • Check tree branches and lightly trim any that are close to the house or hire a professional. Too much trimming at this time of year can damage a tree, so just do enough to keep the branches out of reach over winter
  • Clear falling leaves from sidewalks and outdoor stairs to avoid a slip and fall.  Return all tools to a safe location to avoid accidentally stepping on.

You will find all kinds of helpful hints online.  Above are a few suggestions to keeping your home well maintained.

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Water Heater Failures – Not a Matter of If, But When

Most homeowners take their hot water heaters for granted as long as the hot water is flowing; they are often installed and forgotten. However, a hot water heater, just like any other plumbing and heating system within a home, requires proper maintenance. In fact, most water heater failures occur when the tank begins to rust and corrode, which can occur without any outward signs of a problem.


A study of homeowners’ insurance claims resulting from water heater failures conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) found:

  • Water heater failures are one of the top five sources of residential water damage
  • 69% of all water heater failures result from a slow leak or a sudden burst
  • The rate of failure resulting in a water leak increases dramatically after the hot water heater reaches 5 years of age
  • The average age of a failed water heater is 10.7 years, and by the time a hot water heater reaches 12 years of age, nearly 3 in 4 have failed.

What can be done to reduce the risk? With proper maintenance, you can help minimize the chances you’ll be hit with a damaging leak, unanticipated repair bills and an unwanted cold shower. Here are some tips to help keep your hot water flowing without incident:

  • Conduct regular visual inspections of the water heater. Check for signs of corrosion around pipe connections or standing water at the base that may indicate that the hot water heater has reached its life expectancy.
  • Flush the tank annually to remove buildup of sediment within the tank. This is done by attaching a hose to the valve at the base of the water heater. In areas with hard water, more frequent flushing may be required. This procedure should be initiated when a water heater is new and should not be done on an older water heater that has never been drained.
  • Check your water heater’s age. The manufacturing date of a water heater can usually be determined by deciphering its rating plate. For example, the first photo shows a tank that was manufactured in the 17th week of 1998 – the first 4 digits of the serial number tell the year and week of manufacture. The second photo shows a tank that was manufactured in December 1991 (1291). If you are uncertain how to determine the age of your water heater from the rating plate, contact the manufacturer for guidance.
  • Consider replacing the tank as it reaches the end of its stated useful life, even if it is not yet leaking. Once a hot water heater has reached or exceeded its life expectancy, the risk of a slow leak or sudden burst increases dramatically. This proactive measure may save you from having to deal with an expensive and damaging leak.
  • Consider the location of the hot water heater. If the hot water heater is located above or adjacent to a living area, the potential for severe water damage to your property exists and a proactive maintenance and replacement schedule should be followed.
  • Have a certified plumber inspect your water heater annually; include all pipe connections, the anode rod and the shut-off valve.
  • Secure it. In areas that are prone to earthquakes, ensure that the water heater is properly secured with approved earthquake strapping.

Contents credited to Matt Hunter.

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Automobile Insurance Has Changed effective June 1st, 2016

In 2014, the provincial government passed the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act to fight fraud and abuse within the system. In 2015, changes to Ontario’s auto insurance product were outlined in the Ontario Budget. Measures were put in place not only to combat fraud, but to provide greater choice for consumers and help achieve the Ontario governments’ promised rate reduction targets.

In a nutshell, new regulations include lower accident benefit limits in standard insurance policies, new options to increase coverage, new procedures for payment, increase Comprehensive Deductible and a mandatory Winter Tire Discount (up to 5%) offered by insurance companies across Ontario.

Auto reform changes come into effect this year: the winter tire discount is effective as of January 1, 2016 while most changes come into effect June 1, 2016


Why does any of this matter?

Car insurance can sometimes come with negative connotation – monthly expenses could be used elsewhere (for that vacation you need, for example). It’s perhaps only at renewal when you might think about the greater issues at play: insurance as a safety net, protecting against risk; insurance as a critical factor in individual and collective welfare. If you, a friend or loved one is involved in an accident, it’s at that point your outlook changes to one of appreciation. What would have happened if a policy hadn’t been in place?

The opportunity with this new set of measures is to step back and reflect on what you really need. Does your employer provide a Group Insurance Plan? Look into what your policy covers… most benefit packages are limited to $500/year per practitioner, which can be exhausted quickly even in cases of minor accidents. If you have children or elderly parents that depend on you, who would care for them if you were injured? If you had to hire someone to carry out household responsibilities, how would you subsidize the expense?

Standard policies are just that – standard. They don’t include benefits like dependent care, which reimburses additional expenses to care for your dependents. While auto insurance products are becoming more affordable for consumers, gaps might exist depending on your lifestyle. The good news is there’s opportunity to fill those gaps by increasing coverage or adding options to cover specific areas of your life. Purchasing appropriate coverage is an investment in your family, your children, your parents… ultimately it’s an investment in your lifestyle. What could be more important?

Watch for awareness mailers from your insurance company, and make sure to talk to your insurance representative to ensure you have the best possible coverage based on your lifestyle