Roads are still dangerous after a snowstorm

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snow covered carsThough the first blizzard of 2015 is behind us, road conditions are still unfavorable for drivers. Claims data shows that accidents are much more likely to occur after a big snowstorm than during it. One of the challenges drivers face after a large snowstorm is the excessive height of snowbanks lining the roads. Although piles of snow typically indicate that roads have been plowed, their size poses a threat to drivers due to decreased visibility. Therefore, while the snowbanks remain high, it’s important to drive with heightened caution and care.

  • Remember to drive more cautiously and leave ample space between you and the car in front of you. Since the snowbanks cover the shoulders of roads, there is little or no room for quick, evasive maneuvers. So, you’ll need more time to react in the event you have to swerve or pull over.
  • When merging onto the highway (or any road, for that matter) it’s important to do so slowly and cautiously since snowbanks can block your ability to see traffic – and for traffic to see you.
  • When making a turn at a stop sign, be sure to come to a complete stop and look both ways twice. Be sure you can see beyond the snowbank to make sure there are no oncoming cars or pedestrians.
    • Side note: if you’re a pedestrian, take extra care and try to stay on the sidewalk. Don’t walk with headphones on as they can distract you.

Other general winter driving tips include:

  • Before you get in the car, check the forecast to determine if it’s safe to drive. If conditions seem questionable, it might be best to avoid driving all together… better safe than sorry.
  • Plan your trip accordingly by considering that you’ll be driving at reduced speeds.
  • Since cars can take a beating in wintry weather, remember to regularly inspect your car’s tires, brakes, fluids, wiper blades, lights and battery.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.

Whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, remember to remain alert at all times while out on the roads this winter!

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 4

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Part four of our Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work employee blog series features an executive assistant from our technology branch:

What makes any company a great place to work? Each person would have their own reasons, but for me, Plymouth Rock has the right mix of ingredients. The location in Boston, awesome co-workers and the solid history of Plymouth Rock are all contributing factors. Aside from being a leader in the insurance industry, creating an environment for people to grow careers and ensuring we are challenged every day, Plymouth Rock makes certain this is isn’t just a boring job and coordinates fun events throughout the year. Our summer outing was spectacular – a day out on the Boston Harbor with a lobster bake. Additionally, since June, there has been a wellness program that has become an obsession for many! The list goes on, but all these little perks and attention to detail make Plymouth Rock a place not only to work but also to build friendships.MichellePaquette

I’ve been working since I was fourteen – sometimes more than one job at a time! From shoe sales to college recruiting to a letter carrier for the USPS – I’ve run the gamut. I worked for my previous employer for ten years, starting while I was still in college. I feel like those experiences have given me a great amount of perspective now that I work at Plymouth Rock. I see all that Plymouth Rock does for its employees and can appreciate it all. It is also a size where you don’t feel lost, but always have the opportunity to meet new people. It is a company that takes business seriously, but still knows how to have a good time.

I love my job because I feel like I do valuable work and make a difference. Plymouth Rock has a great program where anyone can send recognition to a co-worker for a job well done. I’ve earned two in six months, and I certainly feel like a “RockStar!” This program pushes people to not only shine in front of their supervisor, but with each person they interact with. It is easy to see why so many have made Plymouth Rock their employer for so long. I consider myself very lucky to be working for such an exciting, supportive company.

-Michelle Paquette, Executive Assistant, Shared Technology Services Group, A Plymouth Rock Company

Headquartered in Boston, Shared Technology Services Group Inc. provides technology services to The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Plymouth Rock Employee wins “Marketing Representative of the Year”

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Congratulations to Plymouth Rock employee Patty Mellon, who was recently awarded “Marketing Representative of the Year” by Foy Insurance, a Plymouth Rock independent agent with locations in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Patty Mellon photographed with Jeff Foy of Foy Insurance.

Patty Mellon photographed with Jeff Foy of Foy Insurance.

For almost 20 years, Patty has traveled around Massachusetts visiting Plymouth Rock’s independent agents in her role as a Marketing Representative. Among other things, Patty acts as a liaison and advocate for the agents she works with, providing them with marketing and tactical support on behalf of Plymouth Rock. To learn more about Patty’s experience as a Marketing Representative, check out her recent blog entry explaining why she loves working at Plymouth Rock.

Employees at Foy Insurance selected Patty from a pool of Marketing Representatives from each of the agency’s carriers.

We’re excited to hear about Patty’s recognition and wish her the best of luck moving forward in 2015. Congrats, Patty!

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.

Time is Precious: Take advantage of what’s left of winter break

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Although the holidays are behind us, many college students across the Bay State are still on winter break for a few more weeks. Before classes resume and you’re back to the books, take advantage of these precious few weeks and get out! Don’t let the weather discourage you (we’re looking at you, snow).Whether you’re still at home or have been hunkered down in your off-campus pad, we at Plymouth Rock want you to have a safe, fun, and stress-free rest of winter break. To make planning your last few weeks easier, we’ve compiled a list of some spots to check out in the Greater Boston area!Mike's Blog Photo

  1. Get Creative!—Try a group paint class with friends as an alternative to the usual movie and dinner! Follow along to the instructions of a seasoned artist and paint a masterpiece! Take your art home and wow your friends and family with your newly acquired skills.
  2. Immerse Yourself in Culture—Boston is home to some of the most beautiful museums and works of art imaginable. Keeping in mind Boston’s robust student population, some museums offer discount or free admission at certain times during the week! For example, head to the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesdays to see classic works from some of history’s most famous names. For a modern feel, consider the Institute of Contemporary Art’s free exhibits on Thursdays featuring an ever changing lineup of galleries.
  3. Skate through history—Located in the picturesque Boston Common, the Frog Pond skating rink welcomes novice skaters and Olympic –gold aspirers alike from mid-November to mid-March. Don’t forget that Tuesday is college night where admission with a valid college ID is $2. This iconic location is accessible from the Park Street T Station. And if you’re starved after a go around the rink, kick off your ice skate rentals and enjoy homemade mac and cheese at the onsite café.  If it couldn’t get any better, the 360 degree views of the city aren’t hard on the eyes either!
  4. Laugh off some stress—Visit one of Boston’s many comedy clubs and cure whatever winter blues are ailing you! From the Improv Asylum to Laugh Boston and Dick Doherty’s Beantown Comedy Den, shows are offered most nights of the week. Head out and see some local acts; maybe even become part of the show! For more ideas about places to check out, click here!
  5. Hit the slopes—New England is home to countless mountains, which means countless outdoor opportunities. For many of them, you don’t even have to leave the state. Go skiing, night-tubing, snowboarding, zip lining, hiking, and so much more! For a quick day trip, try Nashoba Valley, home of New England’s largest mountain-side tubing park with an unprecedented 18 lanes of fun, serviced by 4 lifts!
  6. Rise to the top—take advantage of Boston’s stunning and snow-covered skyline with a trip to the Top of the Hub or Skywalk Observatory. While you’re up there, snap a few photos, grab a cup of cocoa, or splurge and get some dinner before venturing back down into the chilly urban streets.
  7. Jazz things up—Relax with some smooth music at one of Boston’s many local jazz joints such as the South End’s Beehive. This underground spot is famous for showcasing up and coming jazz performers as well as having an amazing menu. If you’re looking for some blues and soul, head on over to Wally’s, also located in the South End, just remember to bring your dancing shoes as this place is known for getting down!

For a complete list of even more exciting activities to do during your time off this winter break, head over to Boston.com for their list of the 25 best ways to spend this winter for under $25.

Written by Michael Capolino, contributing blogger. 

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 3

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In part three of our Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work employee blog series, our CFO shares his thoughts:

Plymouth Rock is a great place to work because of the people.  It is a family-like culture unlike anything I have experienced previously in my career.  It’s not just about putting in your time, getting the job done and heading home.  Everyone takes the time to get to know their colleagues on a personal level, enabling the company to perform more effectively and with less stress in the face of the inevitable business challenges. b_hartranft

Plymouth Rock is different than other places I have worked in that office politics are seemingly non-existent.  At prior employers, a considerable amount of intellectual energy had to be diverted to figuring out how to navigate the political landscape to achieve certain outcomes.  Plymouth Rock is an objective merit-based organization where well-considered ideas that are supported by data get attention and action.

I love my job because of the people, the culture and the ability to make an impact.  I encounter a wide variety of both interesting and challenging business issues that allow me to use my problem-solving and communication skills to influence outcomes.  It is personally enriching, and it is even more gratifying to be able to do it with such great teammates in a supportive environment.

-Bill Hartranft, Vice President & CFO, 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.

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.