Prevent Cooking Fires With These Best Practices

Today marks the start of the National Fire Protection Association’s annual Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is Cooking Safety Starts With You. Pay Attention to Fire Prevention.

To support this national agency’s efforts, we’ve gathered some important cooking tips to remember. While many of these tips may seem like common sense, these helpful reminders can help prevent damage to your home and property and even save lives.

Why It’s Important

According to NFPA, cooking fires accounted for 49% of all home structure fires between 2017 and 2021, by far the biggest cause of both fires and injury.

Additional statistics of note:

And, according to reports by Indianapolis CBS4 and The Washington Post, house fires burn significantly faster today than they did in the past due to higher use of synthetic materials in homebuilding and in items like furniture and carpeting used in the home. That means cooking safety is more important now than ever.

Graph showing leading factors in home cooking fires. Figures below
Top causes of home cooking fires. Additional context provided in next section.

Tips for Fire Safety

With that information in mind, let’s cover some important safety tips that can help reduce risk while cooking.

Other Things to Remember

While the following tips and reminders aren’t directly related to cooking safety, this time of year is a great time to remember and plan for the following:

If you are looking for more cooking & fire safety tips, more information can be found at

[1]: NFPA's Home Structure Fires research, April 2023.
[2]: NFPA's Home Cooking Fires infographic.
[3]: NFPA's Home Cooking Fires research, September 2023.

This content is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. Gregory & Appel is neither a law firm nor a tax advisor; information in all Gregory & Appel materials is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal or tax advice.

Are Your Physicians & Executives Underinsured?

Did you know that the majority of employer-sponsored long-term disability (LTD) plans aren’t designed with higher salaries in mind? This is why many HR professionals and leadership teams are not aware of how underinsured their top talent is in the event of a disability.

Your executives and physicians aren’t able to get adequate long-term disability underwriting concessions on their own so providing this coverage can be a great recruiting tool! Most physicians are already familiar with supplemental LTD policies as medical schools often instruct their students to buy additional policies to ensure their disability protection keeps up with their growing income.

Now, let’s break down the difference between a standard LTD plan and an executive and physician LTD program.

The average LTD policy covers up to 60 percent of an employee’s income, depending, of course, on the designated maximum amount. It’s not uncommon for high-wage earners to be covered at less than 40 percent of their income should they become disabled.

This gap in coverage could be devastating for a highly-compensated employee, which is why we recommend that organizations provide a supplemental executive and physician LTD policy. The additional layer of coverage helps businesses protect their key employees and offer a more competitive benefits package to potential hires.

An executive and physician LTD program can provide up to 75 percent of current pre-tax income. This coverage can be offered on a voluntary or employer-paid basis and as individual policies, executives and physicians would own the policy and can take it with them if they leave or retire. Many insurance carriers will offer deep discounts on executive and physician disability premiums and the policies can be guaranteed issue, which means there are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions and no invasive medical exams required.

This additional coverage would also apply to other types of compensation like bonuses and commissions while still providing inflationary safeguards. Keep in mind that most group policies have specific limitations on key conditions, such as mental health and substance abuse so be sure to discuss the specifics of your disability program with a benefits professional.

Want to know how your organization’s disability coverage stacks up?

Contact a member of G&A’s Employee Benefits team for an evaluation of your life and disability coverage.

Best Practices for Purchasing and Protecting Your Fine Art

By Leslie Appel Maher and Natasha Mecklenburg —

It’s complex, but simple.  You collect, we insure.

Everyone has a collection – from fine art to used wine corks and Tupperware without matching lids.  If you have fine art, we have some important advice.

We recently hosted an event focused on fine arts & collections with Chubb Insurance. Here are some of the highlights:

Investing in art is on the rise.  In fact, global sales in the art market reached $67.4 billion in 2018 – a 6% increase over 2017. We are seeing new buying trends in the market when it comes to art. Many more people are buying online. When buying online, there are many things that should be considered.

  1. Be sure to get a full condition report of the item prior to purchase.
  2. Be aware of the provenance of the piece you are purchasing.
  3. Only use a reputable company that specializes in transporting valuable pieces. Be sure to add the piece to your insurance policy before the item ships.

Once you have purchased a new piece, it’s important that you properly protect your fine art investment. Things that you should keep in mind include location of the piece, how it’s displayed, and steps to take to reduce chances of damage and accidental breakage.

  1. Avoid placing the piece in high traffic areas and keep materials that can face out of direct sunlight.
  2. Avoid placing art underneath a bathroom, HVAC vent or sprinkler head.
  3. Do not store artwork in your basement due to high risk of water damage.
  4. Hire a professional installer to hang your works of art and always be sure to use hardware that’s appropriate for the size and weight of the piece.  

Being certain you have adequate coverage to protect your special possessions is important. Insurance plays a big part in the safekeep of your art and collections as well as giving you peace of mind. Below are some key points to look for when insuring your valuables:

  1. Be sure to consult a team of insurance professionals with training, industry experience and knowledge of diverse collections.
  2. There is usually limited coverage for valuable articles on a standard homeowner’s policy, be aware of what coverage you have. Consider scheduling your valuable articles on a separate policy to add coverage like breakage and mysterious disappearance.
  3. The value of jewelry and fine art can fluctuate greatly over the years, having accurate appraisals based on market values will allow you to obtain adequate insurance coverage. If you do not have recent appraisals, some policies will only pay up to 150% of the amount itemized on your policy to account for inflation.
  4. Art collectors, dealers and gallerists face significant financial loss if major works are damaged, stolen or lost.  Be sure to have global coverage, coverage at a permanent location, in transit or while being loaned to others.

Generally, if you can collect it, we can insure it (the list of what we provide coverage for is a lot longer than what we don’t).  Just reach out and ask the Gregory & Appel Private Client Team for advice.

Electric Bikes: Just a Fad or the Future of Transportation?

There’s a new commuting trend picking up speed over urban and suburban areas across the globe that shows no signs of slowing down. Fortune Business Insights estimated sales for electric bikes (commonly known as “e-bikes”) went up 145% from 2019 to 2020 and they're predicting a big bump in global sales, reaching around $92.19 billion by 2029.

With higher-than-average gas prices and a rising inflation rate, it’s no surprise that so many consumers are leaning into this convenient and more-affordable transportation option. But before you go out and join the e-cycling club, be sure to consider all of the facts.

Although e-bikes are almost identical to regular bicycles (minus the motor, of course), some states view them as “motorized vehicles” with regulations similar to motorcycles or scooters. States like Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Mexico require a special license or registration in order to operate the vehicle while others simply have age restrictions and helmet requirements. People for Bikes has a handy state-by-state tracker of the current laws on electric bikes.

The varying state regulations also influence the insurance options available to e-bike owners. For instance, depending on your state’s laws, accidents, damage or theft involving your electric bike may not be covered under your standard homeowner’s policy. In many cases, you would need an additional policy if you wanted coverage for liability and/or physical damage. It’s also important to note that any modifications made to the motor would most likely void any coverage in place.

It’s never a bad idea to regularly check your state’s laws for more information. With the cost of most e-bikes starting at $1,000, you'll want to ask your insurance agent for more guidance on the options available in your state to make sure that you're adequately covered. Keep in mind that more and more insurance carriers are changing their policies on e-bikes as their popularity continues to rise so your coverage may also fluctuate.

Stay safe and happy riding!

This content is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. Gregory & Appel is neither a law firm nor a tax advisor; information in all Gregory & Appel materials is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal or tax advice.