Oegema, Nicholson & Associates Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Should you wish to obtain information on a series of helpful insurance tips we have assembled, please click on the links shown below. For further information regarding the insurance coverage we provide, our staff is available to assist you at your convenience.


Auto | Business | Home

Auto:

Vehicle Theft Protection

Although you can never ensure that your vehicle will not be stolen, there are several preventative measures you can adopt to protect your vehicle and its contents.

  1.  Always lock your vehicle
  2.  Remove the keys from the vehicle
  3.  Turn off your ignition whenever you leave your car
  4.  Avoid parking on the street
  5.  When leaving your vehicle take steps to conceal its contents. Place contents in the trunk and refrain from leaving money or compact disks in view
  6.  Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a well-lit, well-guarded, highly visible area. You can also ask your neighbours to watch out for your vehicle when you are not present
  7.  Install an anti-theft device such as a car alarm or an ignition disabler

To obtain more preventative measures for the potential theft of your vehicle and its contents, you may contact the appropriate industry organization in the area.

Vehicle Safety and Maintenance

  1.  Read your vehicle’s owner’s manual to understand its maintenance needs
  2.  To extend the life of your vehicle and to prevent potential mechanical issues, ensure that you maintain your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule
  3.  Have your vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic whenever you notice a change in braking or handling
  4.  Consider enrolling in a recognized driver safety course

Brakes

Your brakes are one of the most important components on your automobile. Proper care and regular maintenance is essential to protect both yourself and others from the potential harm caused by faulty brakes. Some signs that your brakes may be failing or require immediate maintenance include:

  1.  The brakes of your vehicle squeal, grind, or bang when applied
  2.  The car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes
  3.  The brakes grab when lightly applied. This could be caused by loose or broken brake parts
  4.  The brakes need a lot of pressure to engage or the pedal needs to be near the floor before the brakes function. This may be a sign that your brakes are worn and replacement is necessary
  5.  The brake pedal, steering wheel, or entire vehicle vibrates when you step on the brakes

Child Safety Restraints

It is important to install a child’s restraint seat properly in order for it to be effective. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions thoroughly. Should you need assistance many police departments have programs to help with proper installation.

For additional tips and information regarding child seat safety please contact the following organizations:

Road Safety

For statistics and information regarding road safety and its impact on social and medical costs, please contact:

Airbags and Seatbelts

For information and guidelines on vehicle air bags and seat belts, please contact the following organizations:

Drinking and Driving

The following organizations can provide statistics and information on drinking and driving:

Cell Phones and Safety

It has been established that the use of cell phones while driving can be a major distraction, and many jurisdictions are considering restrictions on cell phone use while driving. In Ontario, the law states that persons shall drive a motor vehicle while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages. For safety’s sake, don’t use your cell phone while driving. If you need to make a call, stop your car safely away from traffic before picking up the phone.

For more information on cell phones and safety, please contact:

Preparations for Winter Driving

The following organizations can provide tips and information to help you prepare yourself and your vehicle for safe winter driving:

Vehicle Accident Procedures

To help you protect both yourself and your interests, we have provided some basic hints should you find yourself involved in an accident:

  1.  Call the police immediately, and if necessary, an ambulance
  2.  Do not admit liability
  3.  Record all details of the accident including the date, time, location, accident description, injuries, and any charges that may have been laid
  4.  Record details of the other party including the vehicle owner’s name, address, phone number; along with the vehicle year, make, and model
  5.  Obtain the insurance information of the other driver, including the name of his or her insurance company, policy number, and the name of the insurance broker or agent
  6.  Obtain a copy of the police report showing the accident report number from the attending officer at the accident scene
  7.  As the above suggestions may not fit all vehicle accident situations, be sure to contact your insurance broker for more information

Safe Driving Quiz

In order to determine your safe driving knowledge you may wish to take one of the Safe Driving Quizzes provided by the Canada Safety Council.

Business:

General Commercial Crime Prevention

  1.  Ensure that all exterior doors have deadbolt locks with a minimum one inch bolt into the strike plate
  2.  Secure exposed exterior door hinge pins to prevent their removal
  3.  Protect all ground floor glass through the use of bars, metal screens, or burglary resistant glazing materials
  4.  Install a burglar alarm system that is monitored offsite. We recommend that the system be certified by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC)
  5.  Continually check for unsafe work conditions and practices, and take prompt corrective action
  6.  Provide a complement of serviced, multi-purpose fire extinguishers on your premises and instruct all staff in their proper use

Computer Equipment Protection

  1.  Clamp or lock PCs to desks/work stations. Security kits are available at nominal cost
  2.  Back up data and programs on a regular basis and store them offsite in a secure location
  3.  Laptop computers are portable and easy targets for theft. Do not leave them unsecured or unattended
  4.  Maintain records of serial numbers for all of your computer equipment

Business Interruption Prevention

To prevent costly interruptions to your business operations, you may consider employing the services of a professional accountant to:

  1. Prepare financial statements
  2. Perform an annual audit of your books
  3. Maintain a list of secondary suppliers should your primary supplier suffer a loss
  4. Be prepared with a plan of action in order that you may continue to service your clientele while your premises are being repaired after a loss
  5. Consider investigating the availability of temporary premises that will allow you to maintain your business in the event your business facilities are compromised
  6. Take steps to reduce the physical and moral hazards of your business
  7. In case of damages to your business premises, duplicate your business records and store them off-site

Contractors Loss Prevention

  1. Focus on pre-job and pre-task planning – planning the work and working the plan should be followed
  2. When not in use, all tools and equipment should be kept in a locked area at all times
  3. All tools should be stamped with an identification number to assist in their recovery should they be lost or stolen. To further help in their identification, tools could be painted with bright, easily recognizable colours
  4. Onsite materials should be maintained in a secure storage area and only brought to the work site when needed
  5. Warning signs should be posted for limited access and stating that safety equipment that must be used to gain entry
  6. All electrical cords that pass through pedestrian areas should be secured to avoid accidents
  7. All mud or water on public traffic areas should be cleaned regularly
  8. Should there be a need for excavation, all necessary local utilities should be contacted to locate underground services
  9. All flammable liquids should be stored in approved safety containers
  10. Combustibles should be removed at least 11 metres from any hot work. Should the recommended space be unavailable, non-combustible shields should be used. A fire watch should also be implemented for at least one half-hour after the hot work has been completed. In addition, all hot work permit regulations should be followed
  11. All on-site combustible refuse should be cleaned up regularly. Oily rags should be separated and stored in metal containers with tight fitting lids
  12. The appropriate fire extinguishers should be on hand at all times
  13. Certificates of liability should be obtained from all sub-contractors in order to ensure they maintain adequate liability coverage
  14. All new equipment should be tested and inspected when the work is completed. Customers should sign-off on the particular job once complete
  15. Ensure that the project complies with all applicable codes and standards
  16. Records of all jobs including plans, testing documents, and approvals should be maintained

Office Loss Prevention

  1.  Avoid overloading of electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings that are equipped with fuses as opposed to circuit breakers
  2.  If the existing electrical service is inadequate, ensure that any required electrical modifications are undertaken by a certified electrician
  3.  Ensure that life and safety features including fire alarms, exit signs, and emergency lights are operational and regularly serviced according to applicable fire code specifications
  4.  Clean all spills or wet floors immediately, post signs warning of wet or damp floors, and check floor surfaces for potential hazards on a regular basis
  5.  Non-slip rugs should be used during the winter months

Commercial Vehicle Loss Prevention

Be vigilant when hiring drivers for your vehicles by obtaining pre-employment checks on all employees. Your vehicles should be suitable for the type of work you do and the relative experience of your drivers. A safety conscious driver, with a clean driving and operating record, is the key to reducing the risk of personal injury to the driver and passengers as well as any damage or injury to others.

  1.  Drivers should never pick up hitchhikers or allow anyone who is not authorized by the owner to ride in the vehicle
  2.  Drivers should never expose the contents of their vehicles, loads, destination or leave loads unattended
  3.  Proper vehicle maintenance improves road safety and should be completed by experienced and qualified mechanics
  4.  Regular maintenance schedules and records should be kept to prevent accidents caused by unexpected mechanical failures
  5.  Following a standardized check list, your vehicles should be inspected on a daily basis
  6.  Keep your vehicles equipped with a flashlight, spare tire, jack, and flares in the event of an emergency
  7.  Drive on well-maintained and well-traveled roads
  8.  Do not travel at speeds in excess of posted speed limits
  9.  Improper loading or overloading leads to load shift and (or) upset or rollover
  10.  Each vehicle should always be used for its intended purpose
  11.  Always lock your vehicle and take the keys with you
  12.  Never leave the engine running while your vehicle is unattended
  13.  Safeguard your keys – never keep your vehicle keys or business keys on the same key ring, and refrain from attaching identification tags to your keys
  14.  Signatures should be obtained for all deliveries
  15.  Parking in well-lit areas is important for personal safety and for the protection of your vehicle and cargo
  16.  Keep your vehicle in a locked garage or protected location when not in use
  17.  Select the most appropriate anti-theft device best suited to protect your vehicle and cargo

Garage Repair Loss Prevention

  1.  Establish, post, and enforce a rule forbidding customers from entering the service bay area. By establishing a clean, safe waiting area for customers, you will significantly reduce the possibility of “slip and fall” types of losses
  2.  Ensure receipt of signed customer work orders authorizing the required repairs
  3.  When preparing a customer’s work order, completed repairs should be listed including those recommended repairs that have been declined by the customer. Including a list of declined recommendations could protect you from a potential liability loss
  4.  Make sure that the front, rear, and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business
  5.  When storing a customer’s vehicle overnight, wherever possible the vehicle should be stored indoors. Should it be necessary to use outside storage on a regular basis, ensure that the area is well lit and adequately fenced and padlocked
  6.  Establish a key control procedure to limit access to customers’ keys. Keys should be locked up within your office premises
  7.  Limit the amount of cash in your register by using a safe. Make regular bank deposits and vary deposit times and routes
  8.  Ensure that you maintain accurate inventory records for all stock, including tools, automobile parts, and miscellaneous retail items. In the event of a theft loss, accurate records will make it easier for the insurance adjuster to settle your claim fairly, quickly and equitably
  9.  Obtain driver abstracts and guidelines for all employees on a regular basis to help you to determine which of your employees should be test-driving customers’ vehicles.
  10.  Ensure that test drives follow a predetermined route, and in areas that have relatively light vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This can significantly reduce your chance of suffering a loss with a customer’s vehicle

Retail Loss Prevention

  1.  Never store combustible material, such as cardboard or paper, near heaters or electrical equipment; and remove combustible waste on a regular basis
  2.  In buildings equipped with sprinkler systems, ensure that your stock is maintained over 18 inches below the sprinkler heads, to maintain the system’s effectiveness should there be a fire
  3.  Avoid overloading of electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses
  4.  Keep all of your stock off the floor, and stored on skids, shelves, or racks
  5.  Make sure the front, rear, and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business
  6.  Arrange the interior layout of the store so that the cash register area is clearly visible from the exterior of the building
  7.  Limit the amount of cash in your register by using a safe
  8.  If your store is open over extended periods of time, consider the installation of closed circuit television cameras, and alarm systems
  9.  Make regular bank deposits, while varying the timing of the deposits and the route
  10.  Install anti-shoplifting devices and surveillance equipment, or keep high-priced merchandise under lock and key in display cases
  11.  Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs, and emergency lights are operational and serviced per fire code specifications
  12.  Do not block exits with stock or equipment, and ensure all exit doors are unlocked during store hours

Slip-and-Fall Loss Prevention

  1.  Inspect both the interior and exterior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to losses that could be caused by a slip and fall
  2.  Maintain a daily log of inspections, time of inspection, the conditions noted, and the corrective action applied
  3.  Floors should be kept clean and in good repair at all times
  4.  Ensure that aisles are kept clear and free of fallen merchandise
  5.  During periods of inclement weather, proper mats or rugs should be placed in all entrances
  6.  Where appropriate, non-slip wax should be used on floor surfaces
  7.  Water and other spills should be mopped up immediately, and a “Wet Floor” sign should be posted
  8.  For surfaces that are consistently slippery, specialized non-slip epoxy coatings or non-skid flooring materials should be used
  9.  For spills involving oil or other industrial materials, absorbent non-combustible cleaning materials should be used
  10.  Ensure that all entrance ways and aisles are clear of obstructions and (or) promotional displays
  11.  Any damage to stairs, sidewalks, and (or) pavement should be clearly marked and (or) cordoned off from patrons and the public, and repaired expediently
  12.  Implement a snow and ice removal program
  13.  Ensure that the appropriate equipment, tools, and materials are readily available for use by your staff in the event of a weather-related emergency
  14.  Professional snow removal contractors should be contracted to plow, sand, and salt your parking and walkway facilities. Ensure that the contractor keeps a comprehensive log of the work performed
  15.  Clean gutters and downspouts to direct melt water away from sidewalks and walkways
  16.  Check that exterior lighting is adequate and maintained on a regular basis
  17.  Implement a daily garbage removal program, and ensure that debris is immediately removed from your walkways

Home:

Crime Prevention

  1.  Studies have shown that most burglars attack during the daytime when dense bushes and trees can protect them from being detected, and the building appears unoccupied
  2.  One-third of burglars enter from the basement
  3.  One-third of burglars force entry through a window or door
  4.  One-third of burglars gain access from an unlocked/open door or window

Inside the Home

If you take a few simple and inexpensive steps to make sure your home is not an attractive target, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Overall you’ll want to secure your premises, and to make it appear occupied at all times.

  1.  Close blinds and curtains at night
  2.  Lock all doors and windows upon vacating the premises
  3.  Lock windows so that they cannot be opened from the outside. If your windows cannot be locked, pin them by drilling a hole through both window frames and insert a bolt or metal pin. Ensure that the pin you install is easily removable in the event of an emergency
  4.  Install a home alarm system, yet do not neglect other potential security measures available to you
  5.  Make your home appear occupied at all times
  6.  Use timers to maintain normal lighting patterns
  7.  Leave a radio on when you are away from your home for short periods of time
  8.  You may consider engraving your valuables with your driver’s license or social insurance number
  9.  Videotape and (or) photograph an inventory of your home
  10.  Keep jewelry and negotiables in a safety deposit box or in some non-traditional location

Outside Your Home

  1.  Keep shrubbery appropriately trimmed to prevent your windows and doors from being blocked/hidden
  2.  Secure window air conditioners from the inside
  3.  Illuminate as much of your property as possible
  4.  Exterior doors should be solid, not hollow. Metal doors provide the best protection against forced entry
  5.  Build a style of fence that would not promote invasive activities (rule of thumb: if you can’t see out, others can’t see in)
  6.  Secure any glass that is less than 40′ from a door lock. To strengthen exterior glass it can be coated with an acrylic or polycarbonate, or you can replace your existing glass with laminated or tempered glass
  7.  Outside door hinges should have a non-removable tamper-proof center pin
  8.  Install deadbolt locks
  9.  The potential presence of dogs are known to be an effective deterrent to burglars; and a strategically placed “Beware of Dog” sticker could be an option
  10.  Place hinged security bars over basement windows while remembering to keep the key readily accessible for emergency exits
  11.  Pin sliding patio doors together when closed. You can also drill a hole in the upper track and insert a screw that extends out into the runner to prevent the door from being lifted up and out of its track
  12.  Avoid leaving a ladder outside your home, and take any necessary steps to ensure that that your roof is not accessible from trees

What NOT to Do

  1.  Do not install a nameplate outside of your house with your full name. Your phone number could easily be found and a call could be placed to determine whether you are home
  2.  Do not leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend, family member, or delivery person that you are not home
  3.  Do not leave any spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under the front door mat
  4.  Do not leave cash and handbags in view in your home
  5.  Do not leave any doors unlocked if you are occupied within another level of your home or when you may be outside

A Vacation Away from Home

If you are going on vacation it is important to make your home appear inhabited. To fully protect your home, ask for the help of trusted neighbours, family, and friends. Here are just some of the steps you can take to protect your home while you are away.

  1.  Stop all mail delivery
  2.  Arrange for a neighbour to cut the grass or shovel snow
  3.  Cancel all deliveries
  4.  Maintain normal lighting patterns by using electronic timers
  5.  Ask a neighbour to put one of their garbage bags in front of your house on collection day
  6.  Leave a radio on, with a timer if necessary
  7.  Ask a neighbour to park their vehicle in your driveway
  8.  Arrange for a neighbor to pick up any flyers
  9.  Do not talk about your vacation plans with strangers or service people
  10.  Use your work address on your luggage tags
  11.  If possible, remove valuables from your home. Some valuables could be stored in a safety deposit box
  12.  Lock your garage door

In addition, before you leave on vacation tell someone you trust:

  1.  The length of time you will be gone
  2.  Whether you will have a house sitter while you’re away
  3.  The telephone number where you can be reached

Testimonials

  • “I’ve been dealing with ONA for over 20 years with my personal insurance, as well as our commercial insurance, and I know I can rely on them for great customer service, and prompt responses. I feel confident not only referring them to my employees, but to our customers as well.”

    -Charlene Brunet, President, Dan Murphy Ford

  • “ONA helps me with my personal insurance and my business insurance . They are my one stop shop when it comes to insurance and group benefits. I know I’m covered in all areas. Great friendly service and knowledgeable staff!”

    -James Carriveau, President, Exact Interlock and Exact Properties

  • “It’s always a pleasure to deal with Oegema, Nicholson & Associates, and I can depend on them for all my insurance needs. I have been a client for several years and whether it’s regarding my personal insurance, or anything to do with our employee benefits or commercial needs, I know I’m taken care of.”

    -Rhonda, Capital Dodge

  • “I know all my insurance needs are covered with Oegema, Nicholson & Associates. I have been a loyal client for the last 15 years, and I can count of them for my commercial insurance, employee benefits, as well as my personal insurance and finances. Jeff Richer always goes above and beyond to help me with my insurance needs.”

    – Omkar Atwal, Owner, Leitrim Home Hardware

  • “One call to Oegema, Nicholson Associates is all it took. After our basement flooded, within a day or two they had a crew cleaning everything up, taking down the drywall and itemizing everything to be cleaned, thrown out or restored. They had everything in place for us in a timely manner and were extremely patient with me as they talked me through the process and waited for me to make decisions.”

    – Jennifer Parks, Stittsville, Ontario