Almond Harvest Time Is Here: It’s a Great Time to Review Your Crop Insurance

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Actor and humorist Will Rogers once said, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” It’s true, farming can seem like a gamble that depends a lot on the weather, consumer tastes, and other variables. With your family’s livelihood at stake, it just makes sense to take a few extra – and very important – steps to protect your crops, your equipment, and your financial future. That’s where crop insurance comes in. At Basi Insurance Services, we work closely with growers throughout the Oakdale, California, region to create policies that cover their specific needs, no matter how unique or complex they may be. With almond harvest season just around the corner, now’s a great time to review your policy.

What does crop insurance cover?

Crop insurance is designed to provide full coverage protection for agricultural businesses, and depending on your operation and your needs, several policy types are available, including:

  • Whole farm revenue protection: This crop insurance plan provides a safety net for all your crops and commodities, making it an ideal choice for growers with multiple types of crops, including specialty crops. Whole farm revenue protection policies protects against a loss of earnings as well as a loss of anticipated earnings that wind up being lost due to crop damage or other disasters. Plus, if you grow or produce two or more types of crops or commodities, you may qualify for a subsidy equal to as much as 80% of your premiums, making this an especially affordable type of crop insurance.
  • Actual production history (APH): APH insurance has been around for a long time – in fact, it’s the oldest type of federal crop insurance plan available today. APH policies policies guarantee a yield based on your production history, and they provide protection against production losses due to virtually every type of unavoidable, natural event.
  • Actual revenue history (ARH): ARH policies are based on your revenue history. Losses occur when the current year’s revenue falls below the guaranteed revenue under the policy. Right now, ARH policies are only available for cherry growers.

Whether your specialty is almond crops, vegetables, livestock, or another crop or product, our agents can help you find a policy that’s ideal for your needs.

Have your crop insurance policy reviewed today.

Just as your crop and income can change from year to year, so can your insurance needs. That means to stay protected against devastating financial losses, you need to have your crop insurance reviewed every year to make sure you have the right type and right amount of insurance based on your evolving needs and financial goals. Having your policy reviewed is simple: Just call our office at 877-590-4826 and one of our representatives will be happy to help you.

5 Pool Safety Tips for a More Relaxing Summer

There’s nothing quite so relaxing and refreshing on a hot summer day as a nice, long dip in the pool, especially when that pool is just a few short steps from the back door. Still, as nice as it can be to have a swimming pool in your own back yard, it’s not without risks. And knowing a few simple pool safety tips can make that after-work dip all the more relaxing.

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Pool Safety Tip #1: Set some rules, especially for kids. Pool decks are slippery, no matter what they’re made of. Make sure kids (and adults) know running and horseplay is not allowed – no pushing people into the pool and no dunking. Backyard diving boards aren’t a good idea either. And never let a child swim alone.

Pool Safety Tip #2: Know the codes. Most municipalities have codes regarding swimming pools, including the erection of fencing of a specific height to keep young kids and pets from falling in and drowning. Make sure your pool meets local codes to avoid both fines and accidents. Even if your municipality doesn’t require a fence, it’s still a good idea. Make sure it has locks or other features that prevent pets and kids from wandering in. Some gates even come with alarms.

Pool Safety Tip #3: Check your insurance. While a standard homeowner’s policy offers some liability protection, if you have a pool, you might want to increase your coverage or even add an umbrella policy. It’s a surprisingly affordable way to make sure you have plenty of protection if an accident does occur.

Pool Safety Tip #4: Skip the extension cords. Stringing a long cord all the way from the side of your home to your pool filter is just asking for trouble. Why? It’s a tripping hazard (not to mention a possible code violation and electrical hazard to boot). Instead, have an electrician run electricity to the pump so you can plug in nearby. And make sure the outlet is grounded and protected from water and prying fingers.

Pool Safety Tip #5: Watch the chemicals. No one wants to float around in a pool full of green algae, but going overboard with the chemicals can cause eye irritation and even burns. If you must “shock” your pool with a large dose of chlorine or other chemicals, keep people out of the water until the levels “adjust” themselves so there’s no risk of irritation.

Pools and summer just go together, and they’re a great way to spend lots of relaxing, quality time with family and friends. Using a little common sense and following a few simple pool safety rules means you can focus more on fun and less on worry.

Protect Outdoor Workers With These 6 Safety Tips

Summer is here, and for plenty of people, that means lots of opportunities for enjoying the beautiful San Joaquin Valley and the surrounding natural areas. But if you have to be outside working day after day, that gorgeous sunshine can be a major safety risk, exposing workers to heat exhaustion and even life-threatening heat stroke.

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If your business has outdoor workers, here are some safety tips you can follow to keep them safe:

  • Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most dangerous of the heat-related illnesses, and it can cause unconsciousness, permanent disability and death very rapidly. The most common signs of heat stroke are hot, dry skin, lack of perspiration, nausea and vomiting, throbbing headache, dizziness and confusion, and you don’t have to show all of these symptoms to be in trouble. If a worker exhibits any of these signs, place them in shady area and cool them down with a hose, cool compresses or a tub of cool water and call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Keep lots of cool water on hand. Workers should drink from 2-4 cups of water every hour during work time to stay hydrated. Proper hydration is an important safety tip, enabling the body to cool itself off.
  • Make sure workers take plenty of breaks – in the shade. If there’s no natural shade, use artificial shade sources like canopies or lots of large umbrellas.
  • Provide workers with light-colored uniforms or make sure they wear their own light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect the sun instead of absorbing the heat. Keep fabrics lightweight for better airflow and to enable the body to stay cool.
  • Don’t forget hats. A lightweight, sturdy hat provides safety protection for the head and brain, not to mention preventing sunburn on the neck, face and scalp. Plus, a brimmed hat cuts down on accident-causing glare.
  • Try to schedule work during the early morning hours and late afternoon and evening. These are the times when the sun’s heat is less intense and the rays of the sun are less direct. That doesn’t mean the risk of heat stroke is eliminated, but it can be minimized during these times.

One more tip: Be sure your workers comp insurance policy is up to date. Heat-related illnesses and other workplace illnesses and injuries can be devastating for your workers, and for your business as well. Having adequate workers comp insurance provides peace of mind for employees and employers, and making sure you have ample coverage takes just a few minutes. To make sure your business has the workers comp coverage it needs, call Basi Insurance today at 877-590-4826 and have your policy reviewed.

Planning to Travel During Summer Vacation? Read These 5 Important Tips First

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Summer is the biggest travel season in the U.S. and abroad, with singles, families and couples all taking advantage of milder, sunnier weather to enjoy new sights and shake off the stresses of the working world. As fun as summer vacation can be, travel does take some careful planning to make sure you have complete peace of mind while you’re out and about. Here are a few important steps you can take ahead of time to ensure your travel plans are hassle-free and designed for ultimate enjoyment.

  • Don’t post about your summer vacation plans on social media, and discuss them with as few people as possible. It doesn’t take much to alert would-be thieves that your home will be sitting empty, and that’s like an invitation to break in and steal. Wait until after you get home to post your pics and travel stories.
  • Invest in some “smart” timers to control your lights and even your TV while you’re away from home. Turning lights on and off at different times makes it look like someone’s home and can play a big role in deterring burglars.
  • Don’t forget to have your mail held, and if you’re planning a long trip, have your lawn mowed as well. If you have a landline, turn the ringer off. Ask a trusted neighbor to remove flyers from your door and keep outside flower pots watered.
  • Install a smart doorbell. These doorbells feature small cameras, and they can alert you via your smartphone when someone rings the bell. A built-in speaker lets you respond so you can make it seem like you’re home, but just too busy to answer the bell.
  • Consider installing a home security system. Prices have dropped substantially in recent years, and there are some systems you can even install yourself. Before choosing a system, call your insurance company to see if the system you’re considering qualifies you for a policy discount.
  • When renting a car, think carefully before purchasing insurance at the rental counter. In many cases, your homeowner’s or car insurance policy may provide enough coverage without the need to purchase additional policies. Some premium credit cards also offer rental car coverage. If you plan on renting a car during your summer vacation, call Basi Insurance first and check with your credit card company to see if additional coverage makes sense or if you already have enough protection in place. If your policy doesn’t include rental coverage, ask about adding it. It’s very affordable.

Travel is one of the biggest pleasures of summer, especially for families with school-age kids. Taking a few simple precautions before hitting the road for your summer vacation adventure can help you maximize your fun while leaving all your worries behind.

Gear Up for a Responsible and Fun Boating Season

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We live in one the best areas of California for boating. The Delta, mountain lakes or a local reservoir – pick a direction and find the perfect spot for you and your family.

May 20 – 26 is National Safe Boating Week. As our customers and friends, we wanted to share with you a few, online tips and resources from the National Weather Service and National Safe Boating Council. Before you go out on the water:

  1. Check the marine forecast at your local NWS coastal office.
  2. Look up the latest buoy observations.
  3. Make sure your boat has essential (and usually required) safety equipment:
  • Life Jackets
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Emergency distress signals, sound-producing devices and location equipment, such as Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacons (PLB).
  • Cell or satellite phone, weather radio and other communication devices for ANY weather condition or location.
  1. Pack plenty of sunscreen, water and first-aid supplies.
  2. Consider a safe boating course and a vessel safety check.

Add to the list, a review of your insurance coverage. Whatever you get behind for summer fun – boat, RV, all-terrain, or specialty car – we can double-check that your policies have kept pace with your current needs and will continue to protect you and your family. Call Basi Insurance Services at 209-847-3065.

Have a safe and memory-making summer!

Cybersecurity Business Protection for Small Businesses

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Small employers often don’t consider themselves targets for cyberattacks. They may believe that because of their size they have nothing worth stealing. However, with growing sophistication, cybercriminals are more and more attracted to small businesses for the valuable information they do possess: employee and customer data, bank account information, and a business’ financial and intellectual property.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers valuable tips to help businesses protect themselves. In addition, owners and entrepreneurs may want to consider adding a Cyber Liability insurance policy. Despite the danger it poses, cyber crime is usually excluded from most traditional commercial plans.

As a full service, independent agency, Basi Insurance represents multiple commercial carriers. Through our Cyber Liability insurance programs, we offer a selection of coverages that can help protect against:

  • Cyber breach or intrusion.
  • Unauthorized release of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Personal Health Information (PHI), and other privacy breaches.
  • Regulatory claims and legal defense needs.
  • Business income and digital asset restoration losses.

As a local and small business ourselves, Basi Insurance is committed to helping clients find policies that best fits their needs. Our focus remains on providing personalized attention with exceptional customer service. Call for more information at 209-847-3065.

Top Ten Cybersecurity Tips1

  1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
    Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.

 

  1. Secure your networks
    Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information.  If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

 

  1. Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information
    Establish policies on how employees should handle and protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data.  Clearly outline the consequences of violating your business’s cybersecurity policies.

 

  1. Educate employees about cyberthreats and hold them accountable
    Educate your employees about online threats and how to protect your business’s data, including safe use of social networking sites.  Depending on the nature of your business, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be informed about how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses.  Hold employees accountable to the business’s Internet security policies and procedures.

 

  1. Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often
    Consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.

 

  1. Employ best practices on payment cards.
    Work with your banks or card processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.

 

  1. Make backup copies of important business data and information
    Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

 

  1. Control physical access to computers and network components
    Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

 

  1. Create a mobile device action plan
    Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

 

  1. Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages

1Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/cybersecurity/top-ten-cybersecurity-tips. Accessed: April 28, 2017.

Does Your Home-Based Business Have the Coverage It Needs?

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Millions of men and women work from home or have home-based businesses, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, a trend that’s been steadily increasing in recent years. Small businesses are a huge growth sector in the U.S. as well, accounting for more than half of all U.S. businesses, says the Small Business Administration. Still, despite the prevalence and popularity of the home-based business model, many business owners don’t have adequate insurance to cover their losses or their potential liability issues, and that means those owners are taking a huge financial risk every day.

Unfortunately, many men and women who operate a home-based business incorrectly assume their homeowner’s insurance policy provides more than enough coverage for their needs. But the fact is, they couldn’t be more wrong. Homeowner’s policies are designed to protect personal assets and the home itself, but they don’t have important coverage for business equipment or inventory, nor do they provide critical liability coverage that can protect you if a client, customer or employee becomes injured while conducting business in your home. That means if a client trips on your front steps or falls down the stairs, you’ll be responsible for any resulting medical costs or other related expenses.

So what type of insurance should you have to protect yourself, your business and your finances? For most home-based business owners, one of these two options usually suffices:

  • Some very small home-based businesses can get by with a rider on their existing homeowner’s policy. A rider provides additional coverage for items or activities not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. Depending on your insurance provider, you might be able to obtain additional coverage for certain types of business equipment or limited liability claims. In most cases, a rider is only a good option for business owners who have no other employees and who don’t have clients or customers coming to their homes.
  • Most home-based business owners will benefit from the added protection provided by a business owner’s policy or BOP. A BOP offers protection against damage or losses of equipment, business interruptions, liability and professional malpractice claims. Any business that has costly equipment or inventory or one that conducts business inside and outside of the home typically can benefit from these higher and more comprehensive levels of coverage.

The type of coverage your home-based business needs depends on lots of factors. Basi Insurance Services is a leading provider of insurance policies for home-based business owners in and around Oakdale, Calif., because we understand the unique risks these businesses face, and we also take the time to review every client’s needs to ensure they get the right amount of coverage at a price they can afford. To find out how insurance can help protect your home-based business, call Basi Insurance Services today at 877-590-4826.