Boston Late Night Service

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While “open” signs and an endless stream of taxis make New York the “city that never sleeps,” at 3 a.m. in Boston, businesses are locked away while the occasional cab creeps down deserted streets.   boston nighttime

In an effort to reverse the popular view of Boston as a sleepy city, Mayor Marty Walsh has proposed his plan to keep the city open later: “an international business hub needs a truly cosmopolitan culture,” he said at the Boston Municipal Research Bureau annual meeting earlier this month. For Walsh, fostering this cosmopolitan culture includes establishing an attractive and vibrant city nightlife.

First steps towards transforming Boston’s nightlife include the creation of a Late Night Task Force. The task force will be comprised of restaurant and bar owners, community leaders, and young professionals and will work with the state on legal barriers to explore how to “foster a safe and vibrant nightlife culture.” One goal of this Task Force is to examine the possibility of allowing bars and eateries to remain open as late as 3:30 a.m. – two hours later than current closing time. Last call – which generally is around 1 a.m. for bars – would be pushed to 2:30 a.m.

As Marty Walsh leads the initiative to make Boston a worldlier city, he seeks to create incentives for the many international students studying at Boston universities “to stay here, start their business, and tell their friends back home that Boston is the place to be.”

The push for globalizing Boston coincides with recent efforts to extend the weekend operating hours of the MBTA’s subways and buses. As part of a one year pilot program, beginning on March 28 select bus routes began operating for an additional 90 minutes and the last MBTA trains now leave downtown Boston at approximately 2:30 a.m.

The first weekend of late night service, according to T officials, “went smoothly, with no arrests, and plenty of riders.”

As if extending the T’s operating hours wasn’t enough, food trucks are also getting behind the wheel of ‘globalizing’ Boston’s nightlife culture. Food truck patrons will soon be able to satisfy that midnight craving now that a select list of trucks will be participating in a pilot program that allows them to serve food until midnight.

Walsh credits revamping Boston’s nightlife to the fact that “our economy is changing and our work force is changing, and… it’s something we need to look at,”  he said in an interview with Boston Magazine.

The task force and extended operating hours for the T and food trucks will undoubtedly change the landscape of Boston’s nightlife scene.

Currently, the 1 a.m. last call pushes patrons into the city streets in a mass scramble to secure a cab. Extending bar and T operating hours will give night owls more options, both in terms of when and how they get home.

However, later bar hours could increase the disruption already felt in some Boston neighborhoods when patrons exit onto the street.

There are pros and cons to Walsh’s ‘global vision’ for Boston.

But whether you’re supportive of the initiatives or not, as Walsh’s Chief of Staff Dan Koh said: “if [we] truly want to make Boston an international city, [we] need to look at all things that will make the city attractive…and that includes things like late-night options.”

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 a Rock Star

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We’ve heard rumblings that some folks out there might underestimate the pure excitement factor of the Plymouth Rock… Given that our company was named after that handsome piece of granodiorite, we’d like to set the record straight.

“Boring?” We don’t think so. The Plymouth Rock is crazy, party fun!

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Congratulations to High School Hero, Rufus Rushins of Lynn, MA!

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Rufus Rushins, a junior at Bishop Fenwick High School, is our newest High School Hero. He joins a distinguished group of Massachusetts student-athletes who have been recognized for their commitment in and out of the classroom.

From left to right, Chris Prince of Plymouth Rock, Ray Rushins, Rufus Rushins and Steve Tarpey of Tarpey Insurance Group.

From left to right, Chris Prince of Plymouth Rock, Ray Rushins, Rufus Rushins and Steve Tarpey of Tarpey Insurance Group.

An eleven year veteran, Rufus is no stranger to the football field. Last year alone, the running back ran for three touchdowns on 15 carries at the 2013 Division 5 Super Bowl, shutting out Northbridge 28-0 for the title.

Rufus and the Bishop Fenwick Crusaders had an impressive season leading up to the 2013 super bowl win, including the school’s first Catholic Central Large title in over a decade.

Although football takes up a large part of Rufus’ time, this student-athlete stays on top of his schoolwork – his favorite classes are science and history.

When Rufus isn’t on the football field or in the classroom, he likes to spend time with his brother. For this star athlete, staying involved in his brother’s life is a priority.

Looking ahead, Rufus plans to play football in college and in the NFL. With strong determination and a super bowl title under his belt, Rufus has great potential to achieve these goals.

On behalf of everyone at Plymouth Rock, we wish you luck on your journey!

Plymouth Rock has teamed up with 98.5 The Sports Hub to find and honor High School Heroes across Massachusetts. The program will identify seven high school students who demonstrate exemplary work in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community. All seven winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship and be recognized at the Massachusetts High School Football Championships at Gillette Stadium this December. Learn more about the contest – and nominate a High School Hero that you know – on The Sports Hub website.

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.

War on Distracted Driving: Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

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We live in a society addicted to connectedness. With cellphones acting as our fifth limb, computers as our best friends and tablets as our travel companions, we are in constant communication with one another – even while driving.moving traffic

Any driver should know that handling a car requires complete focus. Regardless, over 3,300 people died from distracted driving-related car accidents in the U.S. in 2012 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website, distraction.gov. Since studies show that you’re twice as likely to get into a wreck when you’re texting, it’s no surprise distracted driving has become a hot topic in Washington.

Last month, Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, met with business executives from the auto and technology industries on Capitol Hill to voice his concerns about distracted driving. As chairman of a committee which is responsible for ensuring laws are in place to keep the highways safe, Rockefeller criticized these industries for perpetuating this issue by making products that distract drivers.

While politicians push for legislation against distracted driving, the  DOT and NHTSA are waging their own war: fighting technology with technology.

After concluding a pilot study of 3,000 cars in 2012, the NHTSA has announced its plans to move forward with enabling vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light cars. These technologies, the NHTSA believes, will fight distracted driving by significantly decreasing the number of car accidents.

Although we’re not quite ready for time-travelling, flying cars, V2V technology allows cars to ”talk” to each other by sending and receiving basic safety data like speed, location and direction of travel. This information establishes a 360-degree situational awareness by identifying risks and warning drivers to avoid common crash types such as lane changes, rear ends and intersection crashes. These warnings are intended to give drivers enough time to take their foot off the gas pedal.

According to David Friedman, Acting Administrator for the NHSTA, V2V technology has “game-changing potential” to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths on the roads. Friedman believes this time will be remembered as the point when the “historical arc of transportation” changed “for the better.” He sees V2V on the same innovative level as seatbelts and airbags.

Seatbelts and airbags undoubtedly changed the world of car safety, but will V2V boast the same effect?

The benefits of email were obvious when a few people had computers with accounts, but email didn’t change the world until they became ubiquitous. V2V works the same way: even if every new car was equipped with it tomorrow, it would take a decade for a majority of cars on the road to have the technology. To have widespread effect on the roads, V2V requires a large amount of cars “talking” to each other.

Here’s why: If your car is equipped with V2V and you are following behind a car without it, you must still be alert. You might be lucky and have forward collision warning, but if not, and the driver ahead hits the brakes, your V2V won’t receive a message and consequently fail to provide a warning as quickly as it would’ve had the first car been equipped with V2V technology.

However, if both cars are equipped with V2V, your car will sense the other driver braking in real time, giving you a warning to slow down. The more cars with V2V mean more informational exchanges and heightened driver awareness.

Although the NHTSA hasn’t yet issued a mandate for V2V technology in all new cars, it plans to release a report for public feedback. The report will cover issues such as cost, technical feasibility, and security and privacy. From there the NHTSA will begin working on a regulatory proposal.

The timetable for widespread implementation will be based on “comments we receive on our research report and additional information we receive as we pursue a regulation,” the DOT said.

If the administration does move forward with a formal V2V mandate, we could see cars equipped with the technology coming off the production line as early as 2019.

Maybe we aren’t so far from the flying cars after all.

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.

Congratulations to our newest High School Hero, Amy Nickerson!

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Amy Nickerson, a junior at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, has been recognized for her exceptional commitment to academics, extracurricular activities and her community.

An avid performer, Amy is a member of multiple musical groups including the Young Opera Company of New England and the Handel and Haydn Society Young Women’s Chorus. Her commitment to music is evident as she will be performing Vivaldi’s Gloria at Symphony Hall in Boston with the Handel and Haydn Society chorus this March.

Amy Nickerson receiving her scholarship from Henry Risman of Risman Insurance Agency and Chris Prince of Plymouth Rock.

Amy Nickerson receiving her scholarship from Henry Risman of Risman Insurance Agency and Chris Prince of Plymouth Rock.

When Amy is not practicing music, the International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate and her Girl Scout troop are volunteering with senior citizens and supporting veterans within the Melrose community.

Balancing academics with extracurricular activities can be challenging, but this High School Hero plans accordingly and maintains an organized schedule. Amy also attributes having a healthy diet to her success.

For now Amy is focusing on her academics and music and eventually plans to major in Vocal Performance with a concentration in Baroque music. Ultimately she hopes to teach classical music to children, just as her mother did.

We wish you all the luck on your future endeavors, Amy! Break a leg!

About the High School Heroes Program

Plymouth Rock has teamed up with 98.5 The Sports Hub to find and honor High School Heroes across Massachusetts. The program will identify seven high school students who demonstrate exemplary work in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community. All seven winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship and be recognized at the Massachusetts High School Football Championships at Gillette Stadium this December. Learn more about the contest – and nominate a High School Hero that you know – on The Sports Hub website.

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.

Fun Ways to Fight the Winter Blues in Boston

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Last week’s stretch of winter storms – with another one on the way – is a reminder that it’s not quite time to bust out your bathing suit and flip-flops just yet. Last weekend, Groundhog Phil saw his shadow which means we’re locked into another five weeks of scraping ice off cars, shoveling driveways and that omnipresent fear of slipping on black ice.

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and the Boston skyline in winter.

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and the Boston skyline in winter.

All that said there’s no reason we need to mimic our woodland friends and hibernate until warmer days! As exciting as Boston is in the spring and summer, sometimes we forget how great it can be in the winter, too.

Time Out Boston provided a list of activities to do in Boston this winter. Here’s a summary of a couple of fun and unique things to do around the city to battle those winter blues.

  1. Laughter is the best medicine. Looking for a unique alternative to the classic dinner and a movie night out? Why not check out a comedy club and sit back and relax while local comedians dole out their best material. Live entertainment is a fun and engaging way to spend a night out. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired and become the next great local talent!
  2. Bowl a strike! Bowling is a fun way for you to get out of the house with friends without breaking the bank. Satisfy your inner competitor by strapping on those clown shoes, grabbing some friends and heading to any of the bowling alleys located throughout Boston.
  3. Get in touch with your inner Picasso. Have you ever wanted to learn a new craft? Winter is the perfect time to start an indoor hobby if you aren’t looking to venture out into the cold much. Why not test your creativity and craftsmanship by taking a glassblowing or pottery class? Getting your hands dirty could be a muddy good time!
  4. Liquid dessert. Swing into one of the two L.A. Burdick locations for a taste of heaven in a cup. Any snowy day can be supplemented by the rich blends of Drinking Chocolate – L.A. Burdick’s European-inspired shaved chocolate liquid that will put any household powdered cocoa to shame. Still need to get your Valentine a gift? Kill two birds with one stone by grabbing some other goodies after you’ve indulged in the Drinking Chocolate. 
  5. Diamond in the rough. With five floors of antiques spanning from vintage furniture to jewelry, the Cambridge Antique Market is sure to have something for you. Wander through aisles of glassware, light fixtures, and clothes as you search for the perfect knick knack. Don’t want to spend a lot of money? No problem. The Cambridge Antique Market is stocked with reasonably priced items for the cost-conscious consumer. 
  6. Get rockin’! But not in the musical sense — in the test-your-physical-strength-and-problem-solving-skills sense. It’s easy to grow slothful during the winter so fight that urge to hibernate on the couch and head to an indoor rock climbing facility! Indoor rock climbing kills two birds with one stone: both your mind and body get a workout!
  7. Flowers in winter. The Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum is the physical manifestation of a woman’s legacy of travel, entertaining, and adventure. The Venetian-inspired museum houses Isabella’s private collection of artwork that she accumulated on her worldwide travels. If the timelessness of the museum isn’t alluring enough, the flower-filled courtyard gives visitors the illusion of a spring day.
  8. A Boston winter classic. Skating at Frog Pond in the middle of Boston’s iconic Commons is a must during the cold months. Bring your own skates (or rent some) and enjoy the beauty of skating in the heart of America’s oldest public park! Whether you’re on a date or with your family, it’s a great way to get some exercise while having fun!

For more fun and unique ideas, visit Time Out Boston’s list of things to do around the city 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.

References to any specific businesses in this blog do not imply any endorsement of the businesses by Plymouth Rock or any endorsement of Plymouth Rock by those businesses and any such inference is hereby expressly disclaimed.

Congratulations to our High School Hero, Domenik Fabrizio!

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A big congratulations to Domenik Fabrizio on joining the esteemed list of High School Heroes!

The High School Heroes program honors student-athletes who consistently show exemplary work in the classroom, on the athletic field and within the community.

High School Hero Domenik Fabrizio receives his scholarship from Marc Duffy of Duffy Insurance.

High School Hero Domenik Fabrizio receives his scholarship from Marc Duffy of Duffy Insurance.

A senior at Mystic Valley High School, Domenik is a member of both the football and track and field teams. From his perspective, the best part of being a student-athlete is the “camaraderie behind it all.”

But it’s not just about sports for Domenik, who proved his commitment to academics by receiving the Magna Cum Laude award on the National Latin Exam. Additionally, Domenik volunteers at the Student Action Service Club for kids in grades K-6 while maintaining a part-time job at Target.

So, how does this High School Hero do it all?

Domenik has mastered the challenge of being a student-athlete through his admirable time management skills. Domenik does his homework in the hours before and after practice and during his three study halls each week. His advice to other student-athletes? “Try your best and stick to what you enjoy.”

Well said, Domenik.

Congratulations from everyone at Plymouth Rock! We hope you continue to do your best and we wish you luck with your future endeavors!

About the High School Heroes Program

Plymouth Rock has teamed up with 98.5 The Sports Hub to find and honor High School Heroes across Massachusetts. The program will identify seven high school students who demonstrate exemplary work in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community. All seven winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship and be recognized at the Massachusetts High School Football Championships at Gillette Stadium this December. Learn more about the contest – and nominate a High School Hero that you know – on The Sports Hub website.

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.

 

March’s ‘Lion’ Came Early: Helpful tips on how to safely weather winter storms

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As the saying goes, March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Here in New England, we’re already feeling that beast as February has graciously decided to dump snow on us in its first week. With today’s storm in full force and the potential for another this weekend, it’s important to stay safe on the roads and in your homes. Below are a few winter weather reminders as you prepare for yet another snowy week in New England. snowstorm photo

Road safety

  • Check your tire pressure – tire pressure drops about one pound for every 10 degree decrease in temperature, and low tires make handling your car difficult.
  • Play it safe and make sure you always have enough fuel by keeping your gas tank filled above the halfway mark.
  • Check your windshield wipers and top off your windshield washer fluid, too.
  • Keep your vehicle completely clear of ice and snow, including your headlights and roof. It’s safer for you and other drivers, and you’ll get better gas mileage.
  • Remember that salt build-up on your headlights can substantially reduce your nighttime vision, so make sure that you clean your headlights regularly.
  • Slow down! Even if you stay in control of your car, not everyone else around you will. Leave plenty of distance between you and other cars.
  • Distracted driving is dangerous – don’t talk on the phone or text while behind the wheel. Especially when roads are snowy or icy!

Stay safe at home, too…
Watch out for tree limbs and wires

  • Before the storm hits, scan your yard for tree branches that hang close to wires. If they hang over the wires, have them trimmed  to avoid entanglement and power outages.
  • Call a tree or yard company to handle damaged trees and limbs — don’t try to do this yourself, especially if power lines are down.
  • Call your electric company immediately if there are downed wires in your neighborhood.

Power outages increase the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning

  • If you use a generator, make sure it vents outside and be careful when fueling. Plug in carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home.
  • If you use a woodstove or fireplace for heat, please monitor them closely.
  • Candles pose a major risk of fire. Don’t leave them unattended. Flashlights are a much safer source of light. Be sure to have extra batteries.
  • Please remember that gas grills are for outdoor use only.
  • Seek shelter if you need it. The American Red Cross and local media can provide a list of the shelters near you.

Find additional safety information at:

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. 

Congratulations to Jack Dion on Becoming a High School Hero!

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Congratulations to Jack Dion, a senior at Catholic Memorial High School, who was named a Plymouth Rock Assurance and 98.5 The Sports Hub “High School Hero.”

Jack Dion receives his High School Heroes scholarship from Steven Salhaney of Salhaney Insurance and Chris Price of Plymouth Rock.

Jack Dion receives his High School Heroes scholarship from Steven Salhaney of Salhaney Insurance and Chris Prince of Plymouth Rock.

A Canton native, Jack demonstrated his commitment to academics and athletics by consistently performing at exemplary levels. He achieved First Honors or higher on each report card since freshman year while playing baseball, basketball, golf and running cross country.

Jack also remains an active member in his community by teaching Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) to Canton Public School students.

What qualities should a High School Hero possess? For Jack, “leadership skills and humility” are essential. As vice president of Catholic Memorial’s National Honor Society (NHS) chapter, Jack certainly lives up to this conviction.

For the time-being, Jack is focusing on getting into college where he hopes to play golf. In the future, he plans to pursue a Master’s degree and hopes to participate in triathlons recreationally.

Jack’s advice to other student-athletes is plain and simple: “always keep your eyes on the prize.”

On behalf of everyone at Plymouth Rock, congratulations on being selected as a High School Hero, Jack!

We wish you luck on achieving your goals! Keep up the good work.

About the High School Heroes Program

Plymouth Rock has teamed up with 98.5 The Sports Hub to find and honor High School Heroes across Massachusetts. The program will identify seven high school students who demonstrate exemplary work in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community. All seven winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship and be recognized at the Massachusetts High School Football Championships at Gillette Stadium this December. Learn more about the contest – and nominate a High School Hero that you know – on The Sports Hub website.

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.

Tips for Car Buying in 2014

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Buying a car is a big commitment and whether you’ve been around the dealership block or you are a first-time buyer, it is a decision that requires research and deliberation. If you are thinking of buying a car this year, here are some helIt looks like it's in great shape...pful considerations from a few popular sites across the internet:

1.    Know your budget. Be smart about what you can afford. Generally you should be spending no more than 20% of your monthly household income on all auto-related expenses (car loan payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.) Sites like Bankrate have tools to help calculate your monthly home budget.

2.    Old and affordable or new and reliable? Considering the pros and cons of both new and used cars within your budget is important. New cars can offer a period without repair costs and generally have lower loan interest rates. On the other hand, used cars usually cost less, allowing you to get a more expensive model for your money, but may have more immediate repair costs.

3.    Narrow and assess. There is a myriad selection of cars on the road so do yourself a favor and narrow it down to only a handful of models. Once you are satisfied with your list, calculate ownership costs for each vehicle using tools offered by independent auto information websites like Edmunds.com, Consumer Reports or Kelley Blue Book.

4.    Get interested in interest rates. Since only about 10% of car buyers actually qualify for those hard to believe zero-percent rates offered by dealerships, you should do your research to find out if you can get better financing elsewhere.

5.    Invoice prices are important. If you are looking for a new car, be sure to note the invoice price along with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). If you are considering a used car, be aware of both its wholesale value and the dealership’s asking price. These are good places to start your negotiation. Both Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com are helpful places to find suggested pricing.

6.    Take note of discounts and incentives. Sometimes dealerships will offer “cash-back” rewards on certain vehicles. Additionally, dealers might discount the price based on the buyer, for example students or members of the military. Websites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com are also helpful tools for researching current incentives being offered to dealerships by manufacturers.

7.    It’s not a race. Don’t fall victim to instant gratification by purchasing a car without a thorough test drive. Make sure you’ve explored all areas of the vehicle before signing the dotted line. How comfortable are the seats? Is there enough legroom in the back? How big is the trunk? Although these might not be your most important criteria, they are worthy of consideration given the big role (and investment) your car will undoubtedly play in your life.

 A conscientious consumer is a happy consumer. Happy shopping!

For more information on car buying, check out Boston.com’s “Tips for Buying the Right Car in 2014.”

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.