Earthquakes on the East Coast? Are We Insured?

Massachusetts and East Coast Experience “rare” Earthquake

What can we do? Are we prepared for earthquakes? Am I insured?

 On August 23, 2011, the east coast of the US experienced something we don’t often feel – an earthquake. Something reserved more often for those living in California, many of us have never felt an earthquake before, and there was quite a buzz surrounding the event.

Having said that, the fact that we lie on fault lines here on the east coast, has been documented. MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) states that Massachusetts is in a “moderate” earthquake zone, and takes the threat of a potentially destructive earthquake in this area very seriously.

Earthquakes are not covered under standard homeowner’s or businessowner’s policies. Please contact us if you would like more information about Earthquake Coverage. In the meanwhile…


Boston Harbor Cruise “Majesty” – a great setting for our company outing

Rain held off, and a lovely night was had by all in attendance last week aboard the Majesty, Boston Harbor Cruise’s  “premier luxury charter vessel”.

Miss Majesty cruised past USS Constitution at sunset to the firing of cannons, which was quite a regal experience!   She halted for a few moments at the precipice of a runway at Logan Airport, and even us close-to-the-airport dwellers had our collective breath taken away at the sight of the bellies of jumbo jets passing right over our heads! 

Many of us from Elliot Whittier Insurance were able to attend on beautiful summer evening.  Here are just a few pictures.

FAQ’s for Massachusetts Tornado Victims

Thanks to some news fresh off the presses from FEMA, I’m happy to share some information we received that recent Massachusetts tornado victims may find helpful!   Some of the questions on people’s mind that can be answered are:

  • I have insurance. Should I wait for my insurance settlement before requesting additional assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency?
  • I already repaired my home. Can I still apply?
  • I got help from the American Red Cross. Can I still register with FEMA if I need assistance?
  • Do I have to meet a minimum amount of damage before I can register with FEMA?
  • Do I have to be turned down by my bank before I can apply for a disaster loan?
  • I don’t really want a loan. Do I still need to fill out the SBA application when I receive it?
  • If I qualify for an SBA loan, do I have to accept it?
  • I rent an apartment. Can I get help to replace my damaged personal property?

For answers to these questions, please see the full context of the press release from FEMA here.

If you are looking for an insurance agent that helps keep YOU up to date on important issues, check out Elliot Whittier Insurance, for home, auto, business & life.

RMV Announces Expanded Branch Hours

MASS DOT LOGO As independent insurance agents, we’re part of MAIA (Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents).  We frequently recieve updates from them that pertain to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (AKA MassDOT) and I will pass them on to you!  This, the latest as the DOT works to improve customer service!

“As part of MassDOT’s focus on customer service, the Registry of Motor Vehicles has expanded service hours at several of its busiest branch locations. The RMV is opening earlier in Lawrence, Worcester, Milford, Brockton and Taunton. These branches now offer license and registration service starting at 8 AM Monday through Friday. The hours for each specific location are:

Lawrence, Worcester, and Brockton branch hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and 8 AM to 6 PM on Thursday. Road tests are offered between 9 AM to 5 PM. Suspension hearings are offered between 9 AM to 5 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and from 10 AM to 5 PM on Thursday in Brockton and Lawrence, and from 9 AM to 5 PM on Thursday in Worcester.

Milford branch hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. Road tests are offered between 9 AM and 5 PM.

Taunton branch hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. Road tests are offered from 9 AM to 5 PM.

The Springfield Branch will offer expanded hours beginning in mid-August, with expanded hours to be introduced in Boston and Watertown in the coming months.

The expanded hours provide an earlier service option to customers, and will reduce wait times throughout the course of the day.”

For more information, please see MassDOT.


Why an independent insurance agent? Why not online?

Watch this video, which explains some of the reasons why consumers want an independent agent. 

Click the image to see why you want to declare your independence

Declare your independence with an insurance that REALLY gives you freedom

These values cannot be obtained from the big, national advertisers, which tout cartoonish characters as a way to attract your business.

RMV announces Plate Lottery!

Elliot Whittier has been advised by the Massachussetts Agent’s Association that the 2011 RMV Plate Lottery was announced on June 15, 2011. Here’s a link to the Plate Lottery Entry Form. The form includes the eligibility requirements and the list of available low number plates in the order in which they will be picked. 

To be eligible, you MUST mail the form to the address listed on the form and it must be postmarked no later than August 8, 2011.

This year there are 161 plates available for the low number plate lottery, including the following types:

  • Numbers only – two digits (e.g. 67)
  • Numbers only – three digits (e.g. 167)
  • Numbers only – four digits (e.g. 1365)
  • Two numbers and one letter (e.g. 15X)
  • One letter and one number (e.g. T7)
  • One letter and two numbers (e.g. B61)

The date, time, and location of the lottery plate drawing will be posted on the RMV website ( Lottery results will also be posted on the RMV website.

Dr. Gene DiStasio Scholarship Awarded



Elliot Whittier is pleased to announce the 2011 recipient of the Dr. Gene DiStasio award to Miss Ariane Seymour.   Miss Seymour is the Salutatorian of the Winthrop High School Class of 2011, and intends to study at Ithaca College.


Elliot Whittier has adopted this scholarship fund to assure that a grant of $500 may be awarded annually to a graduating Senior from Winthrop High School in perpetuity. The scholarship was established in 1998, from proceeds of the Oceanside Big Band & Jazz Fest, in loving memory of jazz trombonist and Winthrop Orthodontist, Dr. Gene DiStasio.

Dr. Gene Distatio in whose memory this award is given

Dr. Gene DiStasio

Dr. Gene encouraged Paul Roy, a principal at Elliot Whittier to produce the first free outdoor concert at Hannaford Park in Winthrop in 1994. Gene played trombone for the Kenny Hadley Big Band that year. He died in 1995.

The recipient is selected by the scholarship committee at the High School with the advice of the Band Parents.

Past recipients include:

              • Michael Caaman 2001
                Kristin Quinn 2002
                Steven Goldberg 2003
                Kerri MacDougal 2004
                Kristina Lessard 2005
                Sadekshya Nepal 2006
                Curtis Manning 2007
                Stephanie Moskal 2008
                Shannon Marie Hagan 2009
                Will Milano 2010
                Ariane Seymour 2011

What to do after a tornado

Recent tornado touch-downs and destruction in the Springfield MA area has me thinking.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tornado, a hurricane, or a severe Nor’easter.  There are certain steps we need to keep at the forefront of our minds in the event of a severe weather event.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Personal safety is the #1 Priority
  • Stay tuned to local weather.   That’s why they say radio with batteries are good to have.  We forget this where we rely so much on web-based information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.  Wait for authorities to tell you it’s safe to return.
  • Have an pre-arranged meeting place for family & loved ones.
  • When it’s safe to be at your home, it’s usually best if it’s possible to make temporary repairs to prevent your home from further damage.  For example, covering holes in roofs or walls with plywood or tarp to prevent water or wind damage.   Consider a professional “damage/restoration” specialist to do the work.  Take pictures and save receipts for insurance claims.  Move wet items to higher ground.
  • Review your insurance policy.  Typically,  damage to walls, roofs, floors, home contents will be covered by most policies in the event of a tornado or other windstorm.  Pay attention to your deductibles as well as special wind deductibles that will apply. 
  • Prepare a well documented list of all damaged property with pictures, receipts, and values as this will help with your insurance claim.  Do not discard any particularly expensive items. 
  • If you can’t live in your home, most policies will pay for additional living expenses for the reasonable time while repairs are being done.  Insure that you hire licensed, bonded, local, well-respected contractors to do the work for you.

Times like these give those of us a chance to be kind to our neighbors, check in on any elderly, and also check our own insurance policies.  Make sure you have enough insurance so that in the event of a catastrophe, you can have peace of mind that you will have your home back.

Update: Winthrop Wedding Expo

The first ever Winthrop-by-the-Sea Wedding Expo was last night at the beautiful and spacious Beacon Photography Studios.  

Exhibiting were a fine array of local vendors.  Some of my favorites, besides my own wedding insurance display, were  Christine Bernstein of Balloon City of Boston with fabulous,  festive and creative balloon decorations, Cindy Levins & Maggie Morris of Luna Boutique with their gorgeous baubly Mariposa ware, and the irresistable Chris Thompson of BlackStrap BBQ / Tasty Plates Catering with his yummy sweet and spicey chicken with fruity salsa on a flatbread bite.  

Many thanks to Kathy Boudreau from Travelers Insurance, who stood in high heels with me the entire night, and explained some of the perils that could happen to spoil the bride and groom’s big day.  Lets face it, a venue that goes bankrupt, a dress that is ruined in a fire, an accident to the bride or groom… all things we worry about and all things that wedding insurance can respond to. 

We agreed that everyone was very interested in finding out just what wedding insurance was, and everyone agreed it was a good idea!

We raffled off an Ellen Tracey rolling luggage piece, and  gift certificates to Luna Boutique and to La Siesta Restaurant.  The winner was Linda Rainville!

The Perfect Wedding Gift … consider this one

A bride & groom’s wedding day is certainly one of the most important day in their lives.  For a unique idea, either for yourselves or a gift, read on

Jack and Pam on their wedding
                 Jack and Pam Jaques

Tremendous amounts of money, planning, not to mention hopes and dreams, goes into making sure the day is absolutely perfect.

The dress of her dreams.  Could the tailor  that is doing the alterations sustain a fire, like the recent one in Swampscott, MA?   According to WHDH news “Authorities say 13 people lived in the building, and besides the café, a tailor with wedding gowns inside, along with a nail salon, hair salon and a construction company.”

Could the Country Club where you are having your reception, suddenly shut it’s doors due to economic hard-times,  like the one in Georgetown?

Could your fiance get called to duty?

Could someone critical to the wedding party, such as a parent, suddenly become too ill to attend, and you want to postpone?

Did you know you can get insurance to help out in these circumstances for as little as $160?   Visit our website for more information, or, come to the following bridal show to learn more about this and other wonderful wedding vendors such as florists, photographers, and more!

RSVP here

Date:  Thursday May 26th
Time:  6-9PM
Place:  Beacon Photography, 185 Winthrop Street, Winthrop, MA  02152 (617)848-8246