Eight lives left: Cat covered by Pet Protector

Hanes is a 14-year-old "mouser" – and now a survivor.

"In this photo he looks a little worse for wear," said Rosemary, a SECURA MILE-STONE® policyholder from Columbus, Wis., who sent us this picture and her thanks after nearly losing her beloved cat last November.

"[The accident] happened as I was pulling up in my driveway just after dusk. Usually, Hanes is sitting on the front porch by the door, waiting on his leash. But this night I didn't see him," Rosemary said.

That's because Hanes was on the other side of the driveway, his leash stretched across the asphalt.

As Rosemary pulled up toward the garage, the unthinkable happened. Hanes' leash got caught under the tire and he was pulled into the tire well.

Luckily, Rosemary was able to rush her pet to a nearby emergency veterinarian, where he was treated overnight and released, alive and well.

Weeks later, after paying the $410 vet bill, Rosemary opened a letter from SECURA and noticed our coverage information on Pet ProtectorSM.

"I called my agent to check if I was covered, and miracle of miracles, I was!" exclaimed Rosemary. After her agent from Anton Insurance Agency confirmed coverage and submitted the claim, Rosemary received a call from SECURA's claims representative Ryan Felker.

"She was ecstatic that her Pet Protector coverage would take care of the vet bill at no expense to her," said Ryan, who spoke with Rosemary last month. "We confirmed the facts and issued her a payment right away."

As for Hanes, Rosemary says he is ready to retire. "He's doing well, but I don't think he'll be a mouser anymore."

Kudos to AHM Financial Group

Shock and surprise are two words Rod LeGrand says characterized how he and other senior AHM Financial Group leaders felt when they learned they'd won the Best Practices Insurance Industry award for 2010.

"Our first reaction was a big 'wow' of excitement," explained LeGrand, Senior Vice President and Commercial Lines Manager of the St. Louis, Mo., independent insurance agency. "We wondered, 'what did we do to accomplish this

How about providing exceptional customer service, and showing substantial growth, stability, and strength in financial management? That's the criteria used by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) in selecting the Best Practices awardees. Known as the "Big I," IIABA is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers.

For AHM, those criteria as best practices just seem to come naturally, according to LeGrand.

"In our company's culture it's all about hard work, responsiveness, and a willingness to serve," said LeGrand. "We're proud of this exceptional team and its commitment to being responsive to clients with innovative solutions and resolving problems."

We're proud of AHM, too. More than 1,200 independent agencies were nominated for the Best Practices award, and AHM Financial Group is the sole award recipient in the greater St. Louis area, and one of only four in Missouri.

If you know the folks at AHM, be sure to send along your congrats!

Identity theft: You're not in this alone

Did you know that there are 17 identities stolen every minute in the U.S.? Sheryl Baier knows what it feels like to be a victim of identity fraud. She was getting ready to take her daughters on a vacation when she learned that a thief wiped out their bank accounts.

"We didn't have access to any money, except the small amount they left so that the accounts wouldn't be flagged for being closed," said Sheryl. "It was a really sickening feeling."

The bank was able to recover most of her money within a week, but her identity was still compromised.

Luckily, Sheryl is a SECURA MILE-STONE Gold policyholder and insurance agent with Vaaler Insurance in Bismarck, N.D., and her coverage includes help from SECURA'S Identity Theft 911 Knowledge Center®.

The center assigned a fraud specialist to personally walk Sheryl through the nightmare, and help restore and secure her good name.

Fraud specialists assist identity theft victims with everything from protecting people's accounts and identities to helping them recover from fraud.

Check out the wealth of articles and consumer tips to learn how you can reduce your chance of becoming a victim and protect your Social Security card, mail, checks, passwords, online activities, and much more.

Highly trained fraud specialists are available to limit the damage and resolve problems quickly.

Slip and fall injuries: Protect yourself and others

Slipping and falling is the No. 1 cause of accidents in homes, hotels, restaurants, and public buildings. Slip and fall accidents also are the second-leading cause of injuries in the United States (auto accidents rank first). Icy sidewalks, uneven pavement, a spill on the floor, or even a kink in the carpet can all cause serious injury.

Both you, as a property owner, and as an injured person, can be held to varying degrees of responsibility for an injury.

As business or home owners, we all have a responsibility to reasonably keep property safe. That includes clearing ice from sidewalks or posting signs if we've just mopped the floor. Visitors are responsible for taking care to watch where they are going, as well as realize that things can fall or spill onto walking surfaces.

In order to be compensated for an injury in a lawsuit, an injured person must prove two things

• The owner or manager of the property was responsible for an unsafe condition which caused the fall.

• The owner or manager knew of the situation and failed to warn of or correct it.

Here are some interesting facts about slip-and-fall accidents in the United States:

• 25,000 slip-and-fall injuries require hospital care every day.

• There are more than 9 million slip-and-fall accidents reported every year.

• Most slip-and-fall accidents that happen in the home occur in the bathroom.

• Slip-and-fall accidents account for two-thirds of all accidents among adults over 65, according to an AARP report.