Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Autumn on Mill Pond

Long Island Photos by Alida Thorpe
Mill Pond, right here on Long Island.
Long Island has reached its full Autumn color this week.
This photo was taken on Wednesday, October 25th, in Sayville.
Sayville is about half-way between New York City and Montauk.
Click on the photo to see it in a larger size.
I hope the wind this weekend doesn't remove the leaves too quickly!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pet Halloween Costumes

Sorry we couldn't resist posting this picture sent from a friend. What is your pet going to be for Halloween?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mommy, Where Do Insurance Companies Come From?

Aaron Stein, Long Island Insurance BY AARON STEIN

Hi All. Sorry for the long break between posts. I was away for five days at the annual Rotary International Northeastern U.S. conference, and another five wonderful days visiting Mickey and friends in Florida. Nice to get away but somehow life keeps happening behind your back and likes to spring on you when you come home.

In any event, I thought it would be interesting to write a little about the origins of insurance in general, and homeowners insurance in particular. A lot of people tend to think of insurance as one of those pain-in-the-neck things that the State or their bank makes them buy, but the truth is that a lot of the things we like so much, ownership of property being a big one, driving a car another, would be impossible without some mechanism to spread the risk.

A couple of thousand years ago, people lived in mostly small huts that could be rebuilt with a neighbor's help in a couple of days. And if you lived in a big house, you probably had plenty of money, and slaves to do the re-building if there was a fire or other damage. The concept of insuring something of value started with seagoing trade between nations and continents, and so the field of Marine Insurance was born. Marine insurance is the oldest and probably most interesting of all insurance. It continues today both in the Ocean Marine type as well as Inland Marine which is used to write everything from giant cranes and bulldozers to your diamond engagement ring insured on a rider to your homeowners insurance policy.

Back in the early days of shipping trade along the Mediterranean Sea (thing Ancient Greece), ships started to bring gold, spices, silks, and lots of other interesting stuff from foreign ports of call back to sell in their home areas. After a while, the value of the cargoes carried got so high that the ship owner/captain could not afford the risk to the cargo. Although standard shipping rules even in those days did not make the captain responsible for all losses, even if he was not held accountable, he still might lose all the revenue from the sale of a lost cargo, and that could put him out of business and land him in debtor's prison.

So someone came up with the idea that wealthy merchants could absorb all or a part of the loss that might happen from certain agreed-upon perils such as storm loss, stranding, barratry (fraudulent acts of the captain or crew) or other 'perils of the sea'. In return for their promise to pay a certain amount to the owner of the cargo in case of loss, they received a payment from the owner called a 'premium'. This would be done at the local taverns down near the seaports. A captain would post on a board that he was bringing a certain amount of such and such cargo from a named place, and local merchants and others would write their names under the posting including the amount of risk they were willing to accept. This is the direct beginning of the term 'underwriter', and in a broad way is still the way insurance is transacted by Lloyd's of London, the most famous insurer in the world.

For instance, if someone wants to insure the legs of a famous movie star for $10,000,000, it is presented to Lloyd's or another similar company (Lloyds is actually a group of many syndicated made up of people and organizations with money they would like to invest in this type of insurance). One or more syndicates will step forward and offer to accept all or part of the risk for a certain premium that they calculate. The people who calculate what rates to charge for insurance are called actuaries, and are some of the best math and accounting people on the planet. They make or break the success of insurance companies, and the good ones are very highly paid for their efforts. More next time. Meanwhile, for more info visit our site at http://www.nyinsurancewithservice.com/

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The North Fork Farms

Long Island Photos by Alida Thorpe

Pumpkin Farm on the North Fork of Long Island.
It's pumpkin time on Long Island's East End.
This is the time to take a drive out east, along the North Fork, and stop at the farm stands and pumpkin fields, and maybe even a winery.
You can buy some fresh flowers and vegetables, as well as pumpkins and local apples.
Enjoy the autumn weather now... the leaves are just changing colors.
Every season on Long Island is special!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Less Multi Tasking, Less Stress

Have you ever noticed that when you talk on the phone while driving and are done with the conversation, you get a sense that you don’t even recall where you were driving while on the phone? It’s almost like a blackout while being awake. This is because the brain cannot focus on two simultaneous tasks with completely positive results.

Muti tasking is something that many people do every day. And women even more than men because we are better at it. No offense to the men; it’s just how our brains work. I know most of us cannot imagine how we would do all of the things we have to in a day without multi tasking. I am guilty of doing it many times during the day. But I have recently become more conscious of times when I am trying to do too many things at the same time and I have decided to try and put a stop to it.

Why? Well, it’s part of my mission to slow down my life a bit. Why do I have to cram so much into a day? I don’t. And I’m sure I can get everything done that I need to in a day without so much multi tasking. Besides, slowing down reduces stress and makes life feel more calm and balanced. And doesn’t that sound good to you? Instead of rushed, frazzled, stressed—it’s definitely the better choice.

Now I’m not talking about sitting down and waiting for your load of laundry to finish. There are obvious tasks in life that we can accomplish without sitting there and doing nothing else. I’m talking about simple things. Like when you drive, just drive. Try to cut back on the amount of time you are spending on the phone while in the car. I actually enjoy ignoring the phone while driving. The reason why is because I think it is more important than ever to pay attention when we drive. It’s just too risky with the number of people on the road these days to not give it our full attention. And also because when I talk to someone on the phone, I feel they deserve my full attention. How can I conduct business or listen to a friend’s problem and feel good about giving them my all when half of my attention is on the road?

This is an important reason why we need to cut back on multi tasking—full attention. If we give our full attention to tasks that we are doing, not only will we get them done just as quickly as if we are trying to piggyback another task in between but also that we will do a better job in general. Also, it keeps us in the moment if we give our full attention to the task at hand.

I believe that over multi tasking ends up in a similar result as someone who has ADD. Because our mind is here and there and we are jumping from one thing to another. They are definitely similar.

Just take time during the day to notice when you are multi tasking and how it makes you feel. I am sure there are a lot of you who thrive on the feeling of doing it and enjoy that low level of stress it causes. But it can also cause bigger stresses and interfere with a more balanced life. Whenever I catch myself trying to do too much at once, I force myself to slow down. One thing at a time, I remind myself. Because each thing I do deserves my full attention and my best ability in order for me to be the best person I can be. Give it a try and see how it feels to slow down. You might just find that you like it!