Is your car ready for winter?

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The last of the leaves have fallen and as we bid farewell to yet another autumn, we look forward with the hopes of a mild winter. But weather in New England is unpredictable at best and the chances of a temperate winter are slim. Therefore, as any responsible New Englander should know, the best way to get through the December to March (and sometimes April!) stretch is to be prepared.

The cold weather can affect your car just as easily as it can affect your mood. To keep your car running smoothly over the next few months, consider the following:

Snow tires. If you live in an area with regular snowfall, it might be a good idea to invest in a set of snow tires (also known as winter tires).Unlike all-season tires, snow tires are made with a special rubber compound that keeps them flexible and soft in cold temperatures. When snow and ice cover the roads, the tires need to be able to bend and stretch with the uneven surface. Also, snow tires have deep tread patterns that help with gripping slippery surfaces – like an icy road.Traffic sign - Snow ahead

Engine antifreeze. As winter approaches, make sure your engine antifreeze (coolant) to water ratio is appropriate for cold temperatures. Typically a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water is appropriate but you should check with your vehicle’s manufacturer for the precise ratio. If you need to test the coolant mixture, test kits should be available at most auto-parts retailers.

Engine oil. Outside temperatures will determine which type of engine oil you should use. For example, in the winter it’s a good idea to switch to thinner oil so that it won’t freeze as easily as thick oil will – which is better for the warmer months. Refer to your owner’s manual to identify which viscosity works best for your car this time of year.

Battery life. Just as cold temperatures can affect your car’s tires and engine, they also impact your battery. Before winter’s onset, consider testing your car’s battery for replacement … the last thing you want is to find yourself stranded on account of a dead battery.

Emergency kit. Your car winterizing isn’t complete without putting together a list of tools and items to keep handy in your trunk. A tire jack, spare tire, jumper cables, flares, windshield scraper, small folding shovel, blankets, nonperishable food, water and a first-aid kit are some of the essentials. Check out ConsumerReports.org for a list of more roadside emergency kit materials.

We hope that with the right preparation, both you and your car will get through the winter months safe and sound.

Want to learn more about winter preparation? Our affiliate, Bunker Hill, wrote a helpful article that’s filled with information on how to winterize your home. Check it out here.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Employees reflect on working at Plymouth Rock: Part 2

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Here’s what our second blogger wrote as part of our ongoing Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work employee blog series:

My name is Benjamin Davidson and I have been working at Plymouth Rock Assurance for about eight months.  This being my first job in the corporate world, I was unsure about what to expect on my first day of work.  I was worried that because I was a younger employee, it would be hard to connect with my fellow coworkers.  The workplace that I encountered was a great surprise, and certainly presented no cause for concern.  My fellow coworkers, regardless of their time with the company, welcomed me from the first day that I started.  One of my fellow coworkers even made it a point to buy me lunch on my first day.  This same attitude continued throughout my training period and was instrumental in helping me feel like a part of the team from the beginning.BenDavidson

This is when I started to discover a real sense of community at Plymouth Rock Assurance.  Our employees are always willing to go the extra mile to help one another, which distinguishes Plymouth Rock from my former workplaces.  There is an underlying theme in our workplace that the best way to do things is to work together to accomplish a goal, as opposed to relying on one particular employee’s strengths.  This truly creates an atmosphere where it does not matter what the problem is or how it is going to get solved, just that we are going to work together towards a smart and efficient solution.

To summarize, I love my job because of the relationships that I have developed within the workplace.  For example, one of my team leaders found out that my roommates and I didn’t have enough furniture in our living room.  She willingly offered up a chair from her house that she was getting rid of, and even dropped it off at our house.  This exemplifies the kind of coworker that I am blessed to have here at Plymouth Rock Assurance, one who is willing to help another no matter what the cause.

-Ben Davidson, Customer Service Representative, Plymouth Rock Assurance

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Employees reflect on working at Plymouth Rock: Part 1

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Plymouth Rock was recently named one of the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work in Massachusetts. As one of only two auto insurance providers in the state to make the list, we are very proud and fortunate to have such a hardworking, talented team.

Before the Top Places announcement was made, we asked several employees from various departments to reflect on why they believe Plymouth Rock is a special place to work.

We thought having them write without knowing why would yield more genuine, candid thoughts about what working at Plymouth Rock is really like. Here’s what our first employee blogger wrote:

Working for an insurance company? Boring? Not to me! After almost twenty years of working for Plymouth Rock, I still find a challenge every day and am always learning something new. As with life in general, it’s the people that you surround yourself with that make a difference. I work with friendly, professional, intelligent and caring people. Plymouth Rock has grown a lot in the years that I have been a part of the company, but the culture of a warm, caring atmosphere remains. We work very hard, but we know how to laugh and have fun as well.

Mellon_Patricia

I am very fortunate in my role with the company to work not only with our internal staff from all departments, but I also have the pleasure of working directly with our insurance agents. Our agents and their staffs are, in my opinion, the best in the industry. They are great business companions who work tirelessly to keep their customers informed, well-covered and cared for. Their representation of our product and service is what keeps us in business. It is always my goal to be sure our agents feel comfortable that they are dealing with a great insurance company that will take care of them and their clients.

As an employee, I have been well cared for over the years. Plymouth Rock’s benefits package is second to none. It is of utmost importance to me that I work for a place that values their employees and through the challenges I have faced, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do. My favorite benefit has always been the charitable gift matching program. Every time I write a check to support a cause, Plymouth Rock either matches or double matches my donation. This year, though, I have a new favorite benefit. It is the wellness program where we can log daily exercise and upload data from various fitness devices to compete in various health challenges with co-workers and others and earn rewards. It is a great program to keep employees active and motivated to stick to fitness goals.

In the Massachusetts auto insurance industry, there have been a lot of changes in the past few years. I am proud to work for a company that knows how to adapt and thrive in a changing, fast-paced environment. Being from a small town, well north of Boston, the excitement and opportunity of working for a company that is in the heart of the city is second to none. Thanks Plymouth Rock. Here’s hoping for many productive years to come!

-Patty Mellon, Senior Marketing Representative, Plymouth Rock Assurance

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

 

Turkeys, tolls and trots: Thanksgiving with Plymouth Rock

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Thanksgiving is always an exciting time at Plymouth Rock and this year was no different! To celebrate one of our favorite holidays, Plymouth Rock  proudly participated in a number of festive activities across the Bay State – from marching in America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration in Plymouth to sponsoring a snowy 5K in Holden. We at Plymouth Rock have a lot to be thankful for, so why not show our appreciation with our local communities?

Otto marching in paradeOtto’s journey home. Since there’s no place like home for the holidays, it was only right to send Otto to Plymouth, MA for America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration! With hundreds of thousands of people flocking to Plymouth’s Historic District, the streets were overflowing with festive energy. This year, Otto was able to flaunt his hometown pride while marching in the parade!

#TollGiving. On the morning before Thanksgiving, we teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts for our Third SONY DSCAnnual Thanksgiving Toll Sponsorship at the Allston/Brighton Toll Plaza. Drivers who passed through the tolls between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. were greeted by Otto and Cuppy, the Dunkin’ Donuts mascot, and had their tolls paid by Plymouth Rock as our way of saying Happy Thanksgiving. Toll booth workers surprised all drivers who paid with cash by handing them a Plymouth Rock oven mitt and a $3 gift card from Dunkin’ in addition to the free toll. Drivers’ honking, waving and general positive reactions made Otto’s early morning wake-up well worth it.

The trot will go on. Not even the snow could stop runners from taking their mark at the 2014 Holden Road Race on Thanksgiving morning. As a platinum sponsor with our friends at SG&D Agencies, Otto and team went with the WROR Rockstars Next Door truck to cheer on runners as they worked up an appetite on the snowy 5K course. The Holden Road Race is a Thanksgiving tradition that celebrates athleticism, supports local charities and fosters community – Plymouth Rock was thankful to be involved.

From all of us at Plymouth Rock, we hope you and your families had a happy and restful Thanksgiving!

Now, onto the December holidays…

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Ready, set, trot: Thanksgiving travel tips

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Anyone who’s had the pleasure of driving – or traveling in general – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving can testify to it being one headache of a travel day. Getting stuck in traffic is never an enjoyable situation, especially when you know it’s all that stands between you and a turkey feast. And with gas prices being the lowest in four years, officials are warning that holiday travel this year could be worse than usual.

To help ease commuters’ travel concerns and keep road rage at bay, Google used its mapping technology to analyze and make sense of Thanksgiving traffic conditions over the last two years. Based on their collected data, Google wrote out a few tips on its blog to help guide commuters safely and quickly all the way to the dinner table:Traffic jam

  • This may not come as too big of a surprise, but for most cities, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the worst traffic day. Therefore, try to avoid traveling on that day. Instead, consider traveling on Thanksgiving since it’s typically the lightest traffic day of the entire holiday week. If you have to travel on Wednesday, be mindful that you’ll likely see the heaviest traffic flow between 3-5 p.m
  • Why not give your stomach more time to settle and return home on Sunday? In some cities, traffic can be up to 40% worse on Saturday than Sunday. So, kick back, relax and extend your holiday another day.
  • Ham, pies and liquor were the top three Google Maps grocery trends the day before Thanksgiving. So, for you last minute shoppers, do yourself a favor and run your errands early this year.

Helpful tip for our Massachusetts drivers: the Westbound Mass Turnpike from downtown Boston to I-84 in Sturbridge comes in at a hot second on the list of most congested roads in the country. If your travel route permits avoiding the pike, save yourself a headache and stick to back roads. But if that’s not an option and you’re passing through the Mass Turnpike Allston/Brighton toll plaza between 7-8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, your toll fare is on us – along with other festive surprises!

Tip for all Northeast divers: There’s a winter storm watch in place for a large part of the Northeast this Wednesday. Be sure to check for weather updates regularly from places like the National Weather Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to ensure you’re prepared to drive in whatever conditions Mother Nature throws at us.

For more Thanksgiving travel tips, check out Google’s blog and other online travel resources. With some planning, patience and luck, your Thanksgiving travel should go smoothly. And when all else fails and you find yourself in gridlocked traffic, just remember how worth it it’ll be when you get to feast on that turkey dinner.

From all of us at Plymouth Rock, we wish you a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

 

 

Plymouth Rock is one of the Top Places to Work in Massachusetts!

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Yesterday was a proud day at Plymouth Rock Assurance because we were officially named to the Boston Globe’s list of Top Places to Work in Massachusetts. It’s our first year participating in the Globe’s annual employee survey and we’re so pleased to have made the list of top employers in the state.

We’re grateful to our team of amazing employees, both for taking the time to complete the employee survey and more importantly, for making Plymouth Rock such a fantastic place to work.Top Places

At Plymouth Rock, we try to get better at what we do every day. And that includes our senior team who will look closely at the survey results to find ways that we can improve. We’re very glad to have made the list but we’re always looking for ways to make Plymouth Rock an even better place to work.

Plymouth Rock was founded on a commitment to hiring great people and giving them a challenging but rewarding place to work. If you talk to the people who work here, I think you’ll find that nearly all of them will tell you how unique our culture is compared to any other place they’ve worked.

But don’t take my word for it. In the blogs to follow you’ll hear directly from five of our employees why they believe Plymouth Rock is so special and what makes them love working here.

And if you’re interested in learning more about building a career at Plymouth Rock Assurance, we encourage you to visit our careers page and follow us on LinkedIn.

Mary Sprong is Chief Human Resources Officer at Plymouth Rock Assurance.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Small Business Owners: From offline to online part 2

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In the previous post, we discussed the proper steps to help improve your business’ online presence. We identified the importance of a value-add, establishing an online goal and considering what channels your customers use to find you.

Now that you’ve accomplished these three steps, you’re ready to execute your online plan. For customers who prefer reading user reviews, creating business pages on sites like Yelp and Google+ can be helpful. You can expand to other channels and reach customers who value business credentials by creating a LinkedIn page. On each of these sites, remember to include your business’ value-add and other basic information, like business hours and areas of operation. For other tips and best practices, check out Google’s video.ny ecommerce_ streckad

When your online presence is established and you’re feeling comfortable, focus on differentiating your business from the competition. When customers are perusing the internet, it’s likely they will have common questions about your business. For example, if you’re an independent insurance agent, customers might wonder which carriers you offer or how long you’ve been in business. Your online content should focus on answering these types of questions.

In the case of the insurance agent, you could also post links to the carriers you offer or share customer testimonials. You could even go a step further and get creative by uploading videos that discuss helpful insurance buying tips. No matter how you choose to address these questions, your website content should reinforce your business’ value-add, convincing customers that your products and services are the best selection.

It’s important to have a cohesive and holistic presence across all of your online channels. Customers should be able to travel seamlessly from one of your business pages to another, all of which convey a consistent message. To achieve this, be sure to integrate related links in each of your pages. For example, your Google+ page could direct customers to your Yelp page to find reviews. To learn more about how to create a holistic experience for your customer, check out Google Webmasters’ explanation.

If in your business, the majority of your interaction with customers is in person or over the phone, you may want to encourage happy customers to visit your pages at review sites like Yelp and Google+ to post their comments and feedback. Reviews can be very powerful, so let your customers know that you value their feedback. For tips on how to obtain – and curate – online reviews, check out this article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Small Business Owners: Offline to online part 1

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Recently, the Google Webmaster Central Blog wrote a helpful post for small business owners to help them get up and running on the web. Considering that many consumers search for products and services online with devices other than just computers, building a web-presence can be challenging. With various ways to get online, business owners need to be accessible via computers, tablets, and smartphones. Gone are the days when people simply typed a question into a search engine to get information. Now, more people rely on review sites, social and professional network sites, and even map applications to browse businesses online. Given the variety of sources customers can use to learn about a business, being “online” means a lot more today than just having a website.eBusiness

However, fear not business owners! Whether you’re an independent insurance agent or a jewelry store owner, understanding the basics and following a few simple steps will help get you reaching potential customers at work, home and on-the-go in no time. Although the steps are straightforward, we’ve broken them up into two segments for the sake of keeping things short and sweet.

Many businesses have an online presence, so before you begin planning your online strategy, it’s important to think about what makes your business special. Why should a customer choose your product over another? Highlighting your business’ ethos or specialty – your “value-add” – helps customers parsing through the competition narrow down their search. For real life examples of a value-add and how to use it online, check out this video from Google Webmasters.

Of equal importance to your unique value-add is your internet goal. Is your goal to increase revenue? Or maybe it’s to improve customer satisfaction. Whatever it is, your goal will help shape your online strategy. For example, if you’re trying to increase revenue, simply making your contact information available online will make your business more accessible, thus ideally increasing inquiries from customers. As you become more internet savvy, your goals may shift and your online plan could become more sophisticated. Check out the same video as above for more examples on setting internet goals for your business.

Another factor to consider before implementing your online strategy is how customers are finding your business. Customer journeys could begin by a word-of-mouth referral or a visit to a review site. Whatever their journey is, remember to consider the various avenues a customer will take to find your business. For example, for those customers dependent on personal referrals, creating a business page on social networking sites like Facebook would be helpful.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog, where we’ll cover what comes next: now that you’ve identified your business’ value-add and established your online goal, you’re ready for implementation.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

 

Who ya gonna call?

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Although we like to keep the tone light in these blog posts, it’s no secret that the period following a car accident is anything but. There’s a lot to think about and it can quickly turn into a stressful situation: Who do you call? Are you covered? How do you file a claim? How do you collect payment for a claim?

In these situations, your claims adjuster, more commonly known as “claim representative,” will be your point person – he or she will assist you through the process of resolving your insurance claim.claims_adjuster

The claims adjuster’s job is to determine coverage, liability and damages based on objective information they obtain through their investigation of the claim. Throughout the claim process, the claims adjuster may be assisted by other specialists who will inspect the vehicle or vehicles involved in the claim, and meet with people who were involved in the accident to obtain in-person information. The claims adjuster will collect information from people who were involved in the accident and from witnesses to the accident as part of their investigation.

If your claim is covered, your claims adjuster will issue payment to you or the registered body shop you choose to repair your vehicle, at your direction. Your claims adjuster is available to you if you have any questions regarding “What happens next?” at any time during the claim process.

FYI, here are some other claims-related terms defined:

Coverage –  whether, and if so to what extent, the insurance policy may provide payment for the accident or loss

Liability – often called “fault,” this is the determination of who (and there may be multiple “whos”) bears what portion of responsibility for the accident or loss

Damages – the cost to repair or replace property, the cost of medical treatment and in some instances, the monetary value of other elements of loss

Visit our online dictionary of auto insurance terms and definitions for more information on just how important a claims adjuster is when you’re in a car accident.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

SR-22? Shame on you!

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If you’ve never heard of an SR-22, congratulations – you’re probably a safe and responsible driver! An SR-22 is a document that demonstrates proof of sufficient auto insurance coverage.

Drivers convicted of certain traffic violations are required to carry this document.SR-22

For example, someone convicted of a DUI would likely be required to obtain an SR-22 before he or she is allowed to drive again. Or, as our video suggests, a police bird who catches a bear buzzin’ on too much honey might mandate an SR-22. Watch this video before you think we’re completely crazy.

For more information on how to file an SR-22 and any associated filing costs, visit our Resource Center.

As always, for those insurance enthusiasts out there, remember to watch and share our animated auto insurance terms and definitions with your friends and family.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.