Looking at almost two consecutive years of rising costs, the September 2018 IHS Markit PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index report revealed an index reading of 62.1, up 3.2 points from August.
The survey’s creators expect overall costs to continue to rise over the next six months, reaching a reading of 79.8, the highest it’s been since 2012.
Contributing to rising costs is damage from hurricanes Florence and Michael, which are expected to put even more demand on construction services while materials and labor remain limited. Although the work will keep contractors busy, homeowners and businesses will have to be patient during the recovery process.
The 25 percent steel tariffs could have a significant impact on construction costs as well. In fact, a Northern Utah wastewater treatment plant saw its price tag increase by $25 million after the tariffs. With steel prices jumping by 31 percent since January, developers may rethink future large-scale projects.
FATIGUE: A JOB SITE HAZARD
A recent survey by the National Safety Council found that 69 percent of workers feel fatigued at work, exposing themselves to on-the-job accidents and injuries.
The workers facing the most risk of fatigue-related accidents are those who do shift work, particularly in industries like construction. In fact, 100 percent of construction workers surveyed reported experiencing at least one fatigue risk factor.
The survey also unveiled a disconnect between employers and employees. Ninety percent of employers recognized fatigue as a safety concern, compared to only 72 percent of employees.
HELP WORKERS FIGHT FATIGUE
It is important for employers in safety-critical industries to make sure their workers understand the risks of fatigue. In order to keep workers safe, encourage them to take the following precautions:
It is also critical to train supervisors to recognize the symptoms of worker fatigue so they can intervene and assign alternate, safer job duties when applicable.
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help them have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
ALL DRESSED UP:
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
HALLOWEEN AND FOOD ALLERGIES:
PUMPKIN PATCHES & FAMILY FALL FESTIVALS
Pumpkin Fest, Field of Screams at P-6 Farms
Visitors to P-6 Farms are in for a whole lot of treats this year; check out the fall festival every weekend, October 6 - November 10, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM on Saturdays, and noon - 6:00 PM on Sundays. The Fall Festival is a wealth of fun with the corn maze, cow train, candy cannon, hay rides, vintage park, jumping pillow, apple blasters, a hay maze and more! Plus, after dark enter the Field of Screams if you dare! Opening at dark, try to survive the haunted corn maze and the petrifying pallet maze. Ticket prices for all this and more information available on their website https://www.p-6farms.com/
P-6 Farms is located at 963 Poole's Road, Montgomery 77356. Contact them at 936 597-6062.
OAK RIDGE NORTH FALL FESTIVAL
The City of Oak Ridge North will host the fourth Annual Fall Festival on Saturday, October 6 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Along with vendor booths, the free event will feature great food, face painting, balloons, photo booth, pumpkin patch, bounce houses, trackless train, old fashion carnival games, prize giveaways and much more! The festival will be held in Marilyn Edgar Park located at 26531 Hillside Drive in Oak Ridge North. Contact Sarah McClure at email@example.com or 832 381-3215 for more information.
FALL COSTUME & TREAT TRAIL @ THE CAROUSEL
Chick-fil-A at The Woodlands Mall invites everyone young and old to come in costume to The Carousel at The Woodlands Mall on Friday, October 19 from 10:00 - 11:00 AM. Spend time with the Chick-fil-A cows, ridge the carousel, enjoy treats and more! For more information, contact Chick-fil-A The Woodlands at 281 364-0475. The Carousel is located upstairs, near the food court at The Woodlands Mall; 1201 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands 77380.
PUMPKIN FEST @ FAITH UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Enjoy a day of family fun at Pumpkin Fest! Pumpkin Fest includes scarecrows, a bounce house, games, a petting zoo, and more, and of course there are photo opportunities for all ages. The Pumpkin Fest hours are 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Saturday, October 20, 2018. Also going on at Faith United Methodist Church is their annual Pumpkin Patch. The Pumpkin Patch is open daily, October 1 - 31, Monday - Friday, October 1 - 12 from noon - dark; October 13 - 31 weekdays and weekends 9:30 AM until dark. Faith United Methodist Church is located at 2403 Rayford Road, Spring 77386. If you would like to have a booth at our Pumpkin Fest, please call Frances Planchard at 281 543-0169.
THE WOODLANDS FALL MARKET & FAIR @ CHRIST CHURCH UNITED METHODIST
Do your Christmas shopping early; bring the kids for fun free festival activities; bring your appetite for a Texas BBQ meal; participate in a silent auction; satisfy your sweet tooth at the bake sale; and get your pumpkins all at the same time! The Woodlands Fall Market & Fair at Christ Church United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 20 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM includes multiple vendors selling their wares, a bake sale, children's activities and a pumpkin patch - plus a fantastic meal! Christ Church United Methodist is located at 6363 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands 77381. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 ACRE WOOD - THRILL AT THE MILL - CONROE
The 18th Annual Free Thrill at The Mill and Vendor Market will be held at 7 Acre Wood (4401 N. Frazier, Conroe 77303) on Saturday, October 27, from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Free Admission into park and vendor show, candy, and more. Tickets will be sold for extra rides and activities.
Vendors can apply online for a booth space. Call 936 890-2326 or email email@example.com for more information.
WOODLANDS CHURCH - FALL FESTIVAL
Celebrate community at The Woodlands Church's annual Fall Festival, held after each service Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28; service times are 6:00 PM Saturday, and 9:00, 9:30, and 11:30 AM on Sunday. Bring out the whole family in your favorite costumes and experience the fun-filled festivities! And with the family all together, don't forget to grab some fun, family photos at the Fall photo areas. The Fall Festival includes a pumpkin patch, princesses and your favorite characters to interact with, a hay maze & ride, carnival games, inflatables, and delicious food! Woodlands Church is located at One Fellowship Drive, The Woodlands 77384; if you have questions please contact Hunter, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did You Know?
One of the most common homeowners insurance claims is completely preventable. It’s not fires or theft; it’s water damage. This is not damage due to flooding, heavy rainstorms or snow on the roof – rather, it’s due to simple maintenance tasks that are often ignored or go unnoticed.
Use these tips to help prevent water damage:
How does water damage occur? It’s simple: homeowners fail to check the connection between the water line and their washing machine or other similar appliances. Eventually, the connection fails, and water leaks into the home until someone discovers the mess.
Do a quick check of all your water lines from time to time, especially in low-traffic areas of the home. If you notice anything suspicious, contact a licensed professional to come take a look immediately.
Recently, researchers at Talos—a cyber intelligence unit of Cisco—warned consumers of malware (malicious software) that specifically targets networking devices. The malware, which is known as VPNFilter, impacts an estimated 500,000 routers worldwide, particularly targeting devices from the following manufacturers:
VPNFilter Could Collect Your Information Without Your Knowledge
Once on your equipment, the malware could stop your router from working, collect information from any systems that run through it and even block network traffic. Experts are concerned over the scope of the attack, as anyone owning a router from the affected manufacturers could be at risk, including businesses and individuals.
Agencies like the FBI have also expressed concern over VPNFilter, as this particular brand of malware can be used in espionage attacks on military, security and other government organizations.
Reduce Your Risk by Resetting Your Router
Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to tell if your router is infected. To protect yourself, it is recommended that you:
For help performing any of the above steps, contact your router manufacturer or click the links provided in this News Brief.
If you’ve had a fire, water damage or another unfortunate event in your home, don’t fret. We have all the information that you need to get your claim underway so you can get your life back to normal.
When you have a homeowners insurance claim, your actions can make all the difference. Here’s how to maneuver through the claims process with ease:
Let us help you throughout the process—contact TWFG Insurance Spring / The Woodlands if you have questions or concerns.
As a means to reduce rising health care costs, innovative solutions are rising to the surface. One such solution is known as direct primary care (DPC).
What is DPC?
In this model, physicians, pediatricians and internists charge a monthly membership fee that covers most of what the average patient needs, including visits and drugs at lower prices, instead of accepting insurance for routine visits. As a result, DPC can provide substantial savings to patients. Consider the following:
Because they don’t operate under the typical fee-for-service model, many DPC providers are able to spend more time with their patients. Research shows that patients who have a good relationship with their doctor receive better care and are happier with the care they receive.
Does DPC replace the need for health insurance?
No, in fact, DPC providers recommend that their patients have some form of insurance to protect themselves in the event of an emergency. Remember, DPC is for primary care. It will not take care of catastrophic injuries, surgeries or trips to the emergency room.
How popular is DPC?
DPC is emerging as a way to combat rising health care costs and maintain a high quality of care. Those who partner with the right providers may find great success with this type of health care model. While DPC has grown steadily in the past few years, the market is still slow. Despite this, DPC providers and supporters are optimistic about its future.
As health care costs continue to climb and the prevalence of expensive chronic conditions increases, the importance of choosing the right doctor and type of care is exemplified. DPC presents a way for employees to receive more personalized health care while containing their health care costs. Moreover, DPC can be an attractive option for employees with high deductible health plans and health savings accounts, as it would provide them with the option of receiving care without paying high out-of-pocket costs.
It may be worth it for you to further investigate this model and evaluate if it’s right for your organization. For more information on DPC, please contact us today.
Fun in the sun is even better when you have a swimming pool in your backyard to stay cool on hot, summer days. Despite all the entertainment that a swimming pool offers, there are also homeowner liabilities. To help you minimize your risk, we’ve gathered some safety tips to keep you in the know as you swim.
To Minimize Drowning Risks:
As the homeowner, you are liable for the safety of all swimmers. To ensure that you can adequately protect people on your property, consider taking life-guarding, CPR and first aid courses so you know what to do in an emergency.
Chances are you are under insured and could benefit from umbrella coverage if you:
Liability comes in many forms. Here are a few of the ways you may be responsible for damages beyond what your current home and auto policies cover.
It’s no secret that distracted driving accidents, fatalities, and the resulting medical care costs are on the rise, making higher limits more important than ever. Even relatively minor accidents can incur substantial medical bills. If an accident involves disability or death, the costs can be hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. Those with teenage drivers incur greater risk as teens are more likely to have a serious crash.
Do you have children?
Those with children, teen and adult children living with them can benefit from an umbrella policy, as you could be liable for injuries to others’ children during carpooling, a playdate or babysitting. Even if your child attends a party where there is an injury or death, you can be sued, even if your child did nothing wrong.
Do you entertain at home?
If so, you could be liable for everything from trip/fall hazards, to food poisoning, to someone drinking alcohol at your house and getting in a car accident on their way home. A homeowner’s policy worth $300,000 won’t go very far if the courts award a $500,000 judgement against you.
What about pets?
While dog bites only comprise a third of all homeowner’s liability, according to the Insurance Information Institute, even friendly dogs can frighten or knock down elderly or youthful guests and cause injury.
Personal injury and personal offense liability.
Gossip can be hurtful. It can also result in painful lawsuits. People can be sued for embellishing an embarrassing story about someone, writing a bad review of a business, re-posting material subject to copyright laws, or even a rant on social media. In short, anyone can sue another person for any reason, frivolous or not. Regardless of the validity of the suit, you must respond.
Drop down protection. Do you travel overseas?
You may be at risk without realizing it. For instance, if you rent a car and have an accident, your home or auto policy probably won’t cover it. Likewise, if you rent a boat while on vacation, you are likely without protection. But an umbrella policy may provide primary liability in both situations. Further, if you are sued personally, the umbrella may cover your legal defense. A good attorney starts at $250 an hour, but with personal umbrella insurance, you could receive extended protection for less than a dollar a day.
You don’t have to be rich to be sued like it.
Some people assume that since they aren’t rich, they can’t get sued since they don’t have the money to pay. However, the courts disagree. If a person is held responsible, or even partially responsible, for an accident, their wages can be garnished, their savings taken, and in some states their home and other assets seized. While financial responsibility rules vary from state to state, not having umbrella insurance exposes you to a lot of risk.
A personal umbrella policy is an inexpensive hedge against such risks. Many times, umbrella insurance is available for around a dollar a day. In short, bad things happen to good people. The key is to do a thorough interview with your agent about your family, your lifestyle, and hobbies. He or she can use that information to determine if your risk is tangible so you can make a more informed decision about liability and umbrella insurance.
Article from 2/26/18 Insurance Journal - insider-tips-for-increasing-umbrella-sales
Written by Brook McGuire is the Strategy Lead for Specialty Products at Safeco Insurance.
Workers on a shift schedule tend to have poor eating habits and lack regular exercise, which can contribute to sleep problems, fatigue and stress. Read this article to learn how shift workers can fight fatigue.
Minding Your Mental Health
For some, work can be a major source of stress due to heavy workloads, pressure to perform at a high level, job insecurity, long work hours, excessive travel and conflicts with co-workers. Read on to learn when you should consider speaking to your manager about your mental health.
For shift workers, unconventional schedules can take a toll on health and safety. In fact, research shows that people who sleep during the day often struggle with getting an adequate amount of rest.
What’s more, workers on a shift schedule tend to have poor eating habits and lack regular exercise, which can contribute to fatigue and stress. To combat these adverse health factors, shift workers should consider doing the following:
It’s important to be mindful about your scheduling, and avoid permanent or consecutive night shifts whenever possible. In addition, employees should be allowed to gradually change from night shifts to normal shifts, as this gives the body time to recover and adapt to a new schedule.
Fatigue due to poor quality or lack of sleep can affect every aspect of an individual’s life, and can severely hamper one’s ability to perform at work. Speak to a doctor if you are concerned about the quality of your sleep or want more general health tips.
For some, work can be a major source of stress due to heavy workloads, pressure to perform at a high level, job insecurity, long work hours, excessive travel and conflicts with co-workers.
Over time, this level of stress can lead to insomnia, anxiety, depression, low morale and drastic mood swings. Overcoming these symptoms isn’t always easy, but knowing when to step back and evaluate your mental health can help.
Evaluating your mental health is incredibly useful when it comes to decompressing and alleviating stress caused by workplace factors.
While mental health and workplace stress can vary on an individual basis, the following are some examples of when speaking with a manager can help reduce workplace stress:
TWFG Insurance Spring / The Woodlands | Our Policy is Caring! | (281) 466-1310