The National Death Index: The Ways We Die

The National Death Index: The Ways We Die

It is probably not something to ponder about on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, but are you aware there is an actual National Death Index? It is a compilation of data about death and its causes. It is actually a function of the U.S. Government and is published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). It is connected with the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The National Death Index is used by colleges and universities, medical facilities and governmental agencies when researching death related data. Just what is in this National Death Index, where does its information come from, and what does it indicate about how we may die?

The National Death Index contains almost 100 million records from across all 50 states. Its information comes from death records and certificates, studies regarding mortality and other research about death.

The National Death Index data is not available to just anyone. There is an application process for full access to its information. Only about 100 organizations apply to have access each year and the approval process can take two to three months.

The National Death Index contains some intriguing data.

  • Survival time of patients with like diseases
  • Occupational related mortality risks
  • Effective rates of certain surgeries
  • The impact of dietary intake in regard to death
  • The correlation between death rates and the costs of health and end-of-life care
  • Mortality risks of vulnerable populations like children and developmentally disabled.

The most frequent cause of death in the United States? Heart and heart related diseases.

A lot of this information is not different from that that goes into determining your life insurance premiums. Factors like age, gender, physical condition and personal health care habits will have an impact on your life insurance rates.

The bottom line is that the best, most affordable time to secure health insurance is when you are young and healthy, so don’t take that for granted.

You may be surprised at just how affordable life insurance can be. Contact one of our independent insurance agents to find out. There’s no obligation, and you may discover you can afford much more life insurance than you imagined. Contact us today to get started.

Notable Car Racing Themed Movies

Notable Car Racing Themed Movies

Racing movies range from the thrilling and exciting to the hilarious and poignant. They have featured some of our greatest stars and even cartoon characters. While some are targeted for a very specific audience others appeal to a broad range of movie-goers. Here is a look back at some memorable car racing themed movies.

The Speed Kings – 1913

Racing movies date back to the early days of the automobile. This is the first recorded film about racing, an eight-minute movie starring Fatty Arbuckle.

Kid Auto Races at Venice – 1914

Another early cinematic effort involving auto racing was also another comedy. This film stars the legendary Charlie Chaplin who plays a racing spectator who keeps getting in the way.

Burning Up – 1930

The first “talkie” to involve auto racing was this 1930 drama. That had a minimal impact on both movies and racing.

Johnny Dark – 1954

Tony Curtis plays an engineer in this long-distance racing film about a race from Canada to Mexico.

Thunder in Carolina – 1960

Before he played the Skipper in Gilligan’s Island, Alan Hale Jr. played a role in this movie about rivals in the Southern 500. Two years later, Hale would act in another racing film called “The Iron Maiden”, a racing comedy.

Viva Las Vegas – 1964

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret team up in this racing musical. Yes, racing musical.

The Great Race – 1965

This was one of the first big budget racing films that starred Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in a long-distance race.

Fireball 500 – 1966

Campy 1960s racing films hit their stride in this :classic” starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

LeMans – 1971

After a series of silly racing films in the mid to late 1960s, Steve McQueen brought some realism back to racing films in this 1971 drama.

Herbie Rides Again – 1974

This sequel to The Love Bug takes Herbie from the world of demolition derbies to that of auto racing. Herbie would go to LeMans three years later and onto a series of other adventures following that.

Days of Thunder – 1990

NASCAR came to the masses in this blockbuster that starred Tom Cruise. The film is said to be loosely based on Tim Richmond.

Talladega Nights – 2006

Will Ferrell stars as a larger than life NASCAR driver in this 2006 film. The film gave birth to the character of Ricky Bobby.

Cars – 2006

This animated film started the Cars franchise and gave birth to Lightning McQueen, a race car who learns humility in Radiator Springs.

Racing films have starred legendary actors like James Cagney, Jimmy Stewart, Mickey Rooney, Abbot and Costello and more. They tend to reflect our own interests in cars and racing at the time.

Are you paying too much for automobile insurance? How would you know unless you compare? We can do that for you with one call. Contact us to get a no-obligation quote on your auto insurance. We look forward to assisting you.

Seven Dishes College Students Must Know How to Make

Seven Dishes College Students Must Know How to Make

If you or a child will be heading to college soon, they shouldn’t leave your home without some kitchen skills. They may not be the next Master Chef, but they certainly can learn to make enough meals to keep themselves fed. Here are a week’s worth of meals every college student should know how to make on their own.

Ramen Noodles

It may be hard to find a college dorm room without a package or twelve of Ramen noodles. They are cheap, easy to make, come in a variety of flavors and have a salty goodness college students appreciate. If you can boil water you can understand why this is a staple of the college student’s diet. Don’t know how to make Ramen noodles? Don’t leave the house.

Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t enjoy a good macaroni and cheese dish? Even if it comes out of an oblong box, it can still fill the belly and hit the spot. It is just about as easy to make as Ramen noodles unless you decide to add some milk for an extra creamy texture.

Hot Dogs

Whether you boil them, steam them, grill them, fry them or microwave them, hot dogs are an easy way to get protein into the college diet without having to wash too many dishes. They can even be cut into slices an added to a can of baked beans for an exotic taste sensation.

Spaghetti

The great part about spaghetti is your recipe will improve as your skills grow. Start with a simple jar of sauce and spaghetti noodles and eventually add your own ground beef, green peppers, onions, sliced carrots and more. Add a garlic bread stick, some lettuce and salad dressing, and you practically have a date night meal.

Grilled Cheese

Two slices of bread buttered on one side and a couple of slices of cheese between them, and you are on your way. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a perfectly grilled sandwich. Add some different cheeses if you are feeling bold. This pairs well with tomato soup.

Sloppy Joe’s

A can of sloppy Joe mix and a pound of fried ground beef mixed together and served on hamburger buns could serve a few college buddies. Add your own fresh chopped green peppers, onions or even some jalapenos and give it your own flare.

Eggs

Eggs are inexpensive, full of protein and come in a handy little oval package. The hardest part about preparing eggs is getting them out of those shells. Eggs can be pan fried, boiled, scrambled, microwaved or even poached.

If you or your student are heading to college, it’s never too early to get started cooking, and these basic dishes are a good place to start.

You should also make sure that renters’ insurance is on your list of things to equip your student with. Renters insurance is inexpensive and can help protect your students property and minimize their liability while away at school. Contact one of our independent insurance agents to get a no obligation quote today.

How Some Companies Built Brand Loyalty

How Some Companies Built Brand Loyalty

Do you remember Cracker Jack snacks and getting a toy in every box? This was just one way that consumer focused companies used to build loyalty for their products. Today, consumers are more likely to be awarded digital points or cash back than physical rewards, but in the past, companies used a variety to marketing tools to attract and keep customers. Here are a few.

Cigarettes

Early packs of cigarettes contained trading cards of sports figures to attract smokers. Some of these are extremely valuable today. Later, many packs contained points smokers could collect for valuable prizes.

Bubble Gum

Packs and pieces of bubble gum contained small comics and that sometime carried point values that could be redeemed for prizes. Oddly enough for years, Topps Trading cards contained a flat stick of bubble gum that served as their premium.

Soft Drinks

If you are old enough, you may recall that many soft drink companies placed a point value on bottle caps or created collectable bottle cap liners. These plastic liners could be dug out of a bottle cap and secured to a collectors sheet for redemption.

Petroleum Companies

Gas stations were noted for encouraging customer loyalty by offering a glass, dish or piece of dinnerware with every fill-up. Gas stations were also known for an almost constant array of contests that included license plates listings, game pieces and more.

Cereal Companies

Breakfast cereal companies competed for business by offering a variety of toys and trinkets in each box (usually at the bottom of the box.) Box tops often carried point values that consumers could collect. Many schools conducted campaigns to collect box tops from their students to earn rewards for their schools.

Laundry Soaps

The box tops from dry laundry detergent were also used as a way to build brand loyalty. Consumers had to purchase laundry detergent anyway, so many found collecting box tops and points an easy way to earn a return on their loyalty.

Jellies and Jams

Many jelly companies found they could build loyalty by packing their product in reusable juice glasses. These glasses became even more coveted when they contained the images of favorite cartoon characters.

Today, consumers are more likely to earn points digitally when shopping or buying gas than being awarded a physical incentive. In some form or another, incentives are likely to remain a way in which companies will build loyalty.

Surprising Product Origins

Surprising Product Origins

Some of the most popular products we use today were the result of accidents, coincidence and other odd and weird origins. Here are a few that you may not have known about.

Frisbee

These “flying discs” trace their origin to New Haven, Connecticut and the use of simple pie pans that were thrown and caught. They eventually developed into the “Pluto-Platter” until the Wham-O Corporation bought the rights to sell the discs in 1957. The “Frisbee” was bon and has been a beach staple ever since.

Alka Seltzer

In 1934, when the owner of Dr. Miles Medical Company was visited by a newspaper during a flu epidemic, he asked the newspaper editor how his staff remained healthy when there was so much sickness around. He was told the answer was simple aspirin washed down with baking soda and water. The Miles Medical Lab chemist was called in to create an easy-to-use formula of the concoction and Alka Seltzer was created.

Wheaties

The iconic cereal was actually created by accident when an employee of the company that would become General Mills spilled a wheat mixture on a hot stove. Two years later Wheaties was introduced and the “Breakfast of Champions” took its place in cereal history.

Play-Doh

This children’s clay like toy actually got its start as a wallpaper cleaning product named Kutol. The cleaning compound was shipped to a teacher friend of the company’s owner who was looking for an easy to use, and clean up after, clay for his students to use. The kids loved it, even though it only came in an ugly off-white. Bright coloring was added and packaging was made to appeal to children. Play-Doh has remained largely unchanged since.

ChapStick

The lip balm was invented by a Virginia doctor in th mid-1800s, with the waxy substance sold in tinfoil wrapped packaging. The physician continued with his company, but it struggled, and in 1912, the doctor sold the recipe to John Morton for $5. Morton and his wife made batches of the stuff in a bathtub, and it sold well. Sales really took off when Frank Wright Jr. was commissioned to create the iconic ChapStick logo that is still used today.

It has been said that sometimes the success of a product is part inspiration and perspiration. Sometimes it is luck. Don’t rely on luck to protect your small business. Talk to us about a small business insurance plan to protect your company. Contact us for your free quote today.

Mathematics, Statistics, Odds and Life Insurance

Mathematics, Statistics, Odds and Life Insurance

Life is a series of circumstances, odds, and coincidences. Statistics can project the chances of just about anything happening. For example, statisticians estimate the odds of winning a Mega Millions or Powerball lottery jackpots at about one in 300 million. While those odds seem astronomical, if every adult in the country had one ticket, the odds would be about the same for us all.

We can also view odds in comparison with the likelihood of another event happening. The chances of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million, far greater than winning the lottery. If you’ve heard the odds of getting struck by lightning are greater than winning the lottery, that is correct. The chances of getting struck by lightning are about one in 700,000, some 43 times greater than winning the lottery.

Part of what makes life so interesting is the fact that it is full of both certainties and uncertainties. We know, for example, we are going to die but yet we don’t know when. In the life insurance industry, actuarial tables are used to help determine premiums. These tables take in a variety of factors to “predict” life expectancy. What factors are included in these tables?

  • This is pretty straight forward: Women live longer than men. This qualifies them for lower life insurance rates than men.
  • It makes sense that the longer we live, the less time we would have. This is why life insurance rates are less expensive when one is younger.
  • Your health and physical condition has a huge impact on your lifespan. Being overweight or having a history of heart problems will likely cost you in terms of life insurance premiums.
  • Your lifestyle, including eating, smoking and exercise habits will also impact how long you will live and therefore affect life insurance premiums. Even lifestyle activities like mountain climbing, parasailing, sky jumping and dangerous professions like being a race car driver will cause rates to climb.

The choices we make every day have some impact on our lives. So do the choices we don’t make. If you choose to ignore your need for life insurance, odds are it will only become more expensive as time moves forward, and you may become uninsurable or have increased rates due to a health condition that could materialize. Make an educated decision when it comes to life insurance by getting a free, no obligation quote today. Contact us to get started.

Wow! I Wonder What THAT Costs?

Wow! I Wonder What THAT Costs?

Have you ever driven down the road and seen an Italian sports car and asked yourself “I wonder what THAT costs?” Perhaps you’ve had the same thought about a large luxury recreational vehicle, limousine or even a fire truck or construction vehicle. If so, here are some answers.

I wonder what THAT cost?

Fire Truck

Who can place a value on safety right? Well, every year cities, towns, and municipalities are faced with that choice when purchasing new fire trucks. So, what can taxpayers expect to pay for a shiny red truck with polished chrome bumpers, hoses, hydraulics, pumps and a myriad of other gear? Well, a basic pump fire truck will probably cost $400,000 or more while a ladder truck can range from $800,000 to $1 million. No wonder why they polish them so much.

Cement Truck

They are giant concrete mixers on wheels. These huge trucks with their rotating, tumbling barrels can be intimidating. They look…well, heavy and would seem almost impossible to stop if you got in their way. It is relatively rare to spot a shiny new one out in the field. Even 20-year-old cement mixer trucks will sell for $20,000 to $30,000. New? They can go for $150,000 and more, depending on size, features and options.

Ambulance

It may or may not be surprising to know that the equipment inside an ambulance can cost at least as much as the vehicle itself. Vehicles starting at about $130,000 a fully outfitted ambulance can easily exceed over $300,000.

Limousine

Limousines are not manufactured from the factory but are created by after-market companies who specialize in extending the length, comfort and convenience of a base vehicle. Traditionally, Lincolns and Cadillacs have served the limo industry well, but SUVs have been a popular addition to limo fleets as well. It may surprise you to learn that a used limousine can be purchased for about the price of a new luxury car, in the $30,000-$50,000 range. A new limousine, however, will likely set you back $90,000 or more.

Luxury Recreational Vehicles

Did you ever wonder what people pay for those large, bus-like recreational vehicles that almost always seem to be towing a car? These homes on wheels start at about $250,000 and go skyward from there. They may be expensive but at least they get poor gas mileage.

Italian Sports Car

You’ve heard the names. Ferrari, Lamborghini. Maserati. But what does a new Italian sports car cost? A 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo will set you back a cool $275,000…plus options.

You may not drive a limo, Italian sports car or a cement mixer, but whatever you do drive you want to make sure it is insured properly. Contact us for an automobile insurance review and price quote. Let us do the shopping for you!

Most Common At-Home Accidents

Most Common At-Home Accidents

We generally think of household accidents as minor. In 2019 however, over 131,000 people died due what are called “preventable accidents” in the home. This is three times as many people who on average, die in auto accidents each year. It seems some of us are more prone to household accidents than others, but what are the most common accidents that occur at home?

  1. Drowning 

The most common causes of drowning include lack of swimming skills, , lack of barriers, lack of supervision and alcohol use. If you have a pool, make sure access is limited and children are never left unsupervised when enjoying it.

  1. Burns

Burns can occur from a variety of causes. They can occur from open flames, hot liquids, steam, a cooktop or oven. Burns are measured in terms of severity, with fourth degree being the most severe, followed by third, second and first degree burns. Even mild burns can cause a great deal of pain and infection is always a risk with severe burns.

  1. Poisoning

Poisoning is particularly problematic when small children or the elderly are in a home. Poisonings can come from ingesting household products, cleaning fluids or the wrong medicine.  Estimates place poisoning deaths at over 60,000 annually.

  1. Cuts

While cuts are the second most commonly occurring household accident injury, they are seldom fatal. Of course, most cuts occur in the kitchen, but they can also occur in the garage or when performing yard work.

  1. Falls

Falls are the most common cause of injuries around the house, specifically for young children and older Americans. One in four Americans over the age of 65 will be injured in a fall in any year and one in five will sustain an injury like a broken bone or head injury. Homes can be made safer for older persons through walk-in showers, taller toilets, handrails and other steps to create easy access living.

Homeowners may not be fully aware that they can be held responsible should a friend, relative, worker or delivery person suffer an injury in their home or on their property, especially if the injury could have been preventable.

This is just one of the reasons homeowners’ insurance is so valuable. Homeowners’ insurance can cover the legal and judgement or settlement costs associated with an injury accident that occurs on your property. Contact one of our independent insurance agents to learn more and to obtain a free quote. We look forward to assisting you.

South America 101-: Interesting and Little Known Facts

South America 101-: Interesting and Little Known Facts

South America is full of surprises, not the least of which is its location. Many of us believe South America is directly South of North America and the United States, when in fact it is further to the Southeast. Most, for example, don’t realize that Cleveland, Ohio is further west than most of South America. That’s just the start of some interesting and little known facts about South America.

  • South Americas major exports aren’t manufactured products but primary commodities like fuel, plants and food.
  • Brazil is the 8th largest auto producing country in the world.
  • The two most spoken languages in Brazil are Portuguese and German.
  • South America consists of twelve countries with Portuguese and Spanish being the primary languages.
  • In Paraguay visitors don’t knock on doors or ring door-bells. Instead, they announce their arrivals by clapping hands.
  • South Africa’s Andes mountain range is the world’s longest at over 4,300 miles.
  • Bolivia is home to the world’s largest salt flat.
  • Charles Darwin was only 26 years old when he first visited the Galapagos Islands.
  • Every country in South America borders Brazil with the two exceptions being Chili and Ecuador.
  • The highest point in South America is in Argentina in the Andes Mountain.
  • There are still indigenous ethnic groups in South America that have no contact with civilization.
  • At almost 12,000 feet, La Paz, Bolivia is one of the highest elevated cities in the world and is the world’s highest capital city.
  • About 70% of South Americans have smartphones with that number expected to increase to 80% by 2025.
  • Venezuela is the largest oil-producing country in South America and one of the largest producers of petroleum on the planet.
  • About 76% of all South Americans have access to the internet. That compares to about 54% of those across the globe.
  • Argentina was one of the first countries in the world to have radio broadcasting. It also has had two female presidents.
  • The southernmost point of South America is known as Cape Horn, and is noted for its unpredictable and dangerous weather and waters.

With over 300 languages spoken, South America is a large and diverse continent that has some of the planet’s driest areas, the tallest mountains, the largest rain forests and the longest river. It is worth knowing more about.

Incredibly Successful Businesses Started by Women

Incredibly Successful Businesses Started by Women

It is estimated that there are over 11.5 million businesses in America that have been started by women, creating about $1.7 trillion in sales. Here are some of the most successful businesses that have been started by women.

Rent the Runway

This company was started after one of the founder’s sisters paid over $2,000 for a dress to be in a wedding. Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss started the huge fashion dress rental company in 2009 as an alternative to buying expensive formal gowns. Today it is estimated to be valued over $1 billion.

Bumble

This dating app company was started in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd. Her story is unique in that she was a co-founder and VP of marketing at Tinder, but sued the company for sexual amassment and was forced to leave. Bumble is estimated to be worth in excess of $1 billion.

23andMe

Who would have thought this genetic testing company would turn into a $2.5 billion company?

The idea was launched by Anne Wojcicki as a way to determine a person’s risks to contract certain diseases. Today it reunites long-lost or unknown relatives and even has been responsible for solving crimes.

Eventbrite

Julia Hartz and her husband started the meeting planning in 2006, and it is now estimated to be worth in excess of $2.5 billion. They got a nice boost by selling some 60,000 tickets to a Black Eyed Peas concert in Central Park. They continue to promote and sell tickets to a wide variety of events.

Along with the many successful businesses started by women, women have lead and continue to lead some of America’s largest and most successful companies including Regal Cinemas, General Dynamics, Hershey Company and General Motors.

If you are a woman starting a small business, even from home, we can help protect your efforts and your assets with a small business insurance program to fit your budget. Getting started is as simple as contacting one of our independent business insurance specialists and having a conversation about your company. They can help design a program to fit your company, your goals and your budget. Contact us for a no obligation quote today.