Keep pests out of your home this fall

During fall and winter your home can serve as a warm place for pests like termites, flies, mice and squirrels to nest. When pests invade they can cause property damage and even make you feel uncomfortable in your own home.

To keep your home pest-free, keep a few of the following tips in mind:
Have a pest control service treat the home with a pesticide spray at regular intervals.
Keep entryways—like doors, windows and fireplace flues—closed when you aren’t using them.
Locate and fill in cracks or other holes in your home’s foundation and structure. Remember, even if a crack is only visible on the inside of your home, that doesn’t mean a pest can’t get in.
Use traps or poisons to catch and kill larger pests like mice or rats. Humane traps are also available.
Clean your trash cans and other storage bins regularly to wash away grime.
Check the seals around your doors, windows, gas lines, appliance hookups, plumbing lines, foundation and eaves for damage.
Regularly clean and sanitize your home. Pests might invade your home to locate a source of nourishment, like improperly stored, discarded or spoiled food. Other sources of food for pests include live plants, trash, human waste and cooking residue.
Flush your plumbing periodically to clear away grime and clogs that can serve as breeding grounds for larvae growth.


The Increasing Threat to Businesses and Organizations

In today’s digital age, cyber threats have become a growing concern for businesses and organizations. Among the most notorious forms of malware is ransomware, which can render an organization’s files and systems unusable. Such incidents have become increasingly prevalent and severe, impacting even critical infrastructure organizations and governments. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the current state of ransomware attacks, the tactics used by malicious actors, and the costly consequences of these incidents.

Ransomware is a type of malware that is designed to encrypt files on a device, making them inaccessible to users. Typically, cybercriminals demand a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. However, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that the data will be restored to its former state. With the rise of digital payments, ransomware attacks have become a profitable business for cybercriminals, leading to an increasing number of incidents each year.

The impact of ransomware attacks can be devastating for businesses and organizations. Not only can they disrupt daily operations, but they can also result in the loss of critical data and damage to the organization’s reputation. In recent years, ransom demands have increased, with some attacks demanding more than a million dollars. That’s a significant amount of money for any organization to lose, not to mention the cost of downtime and recovery.

Cybercriminals have developed new tactics to optimize ransomware attacks. They exploit vulnerabilities in organizations’ security systems and use social engineering tactics to trick employees into downloading malware. For example, they use phishing emails that look like legitimate messages from a reputable source but contain links to malicious software. Once an unwitting employee clicks on the link, the malware infects the system and begins encrypting files.

In many cases, cybercriminals use ransomware attacks as a way to extort money from their victims. They threaten to release sensitive data or publicly shame the organization if the ransom is not paid. They may also delete system backups, making recovery nearly impossible. Some cybercriminals are even using double extortion tactics, where they not only demand money for decryption but also threaten to sell sensitive data on the dark web.

Ransomware attacks continue to pose a significant threat to businesses and organizations of all sizes. As these attacks become more frequent and sophisticated, it’s essential to take measures to protect against them. This includes implementing security measures such as firewalls, anti-virus software, and up-to-date patches to keep systems secure. Organizations must also provide cybersecurity training to employees and establish incident response plans to mitigate the impact of an attack.

The best defense against ransomware is to have a data backup strategy in place. This means that all critical data should be backed up regularly and stored offsite in a secure location. With the right backup solutions, you can quickly restore data and get back to business as usual. Ultimately, the key to protecting your organization from ransomware attacks is staying vigilant and proactive about security measures. By taking precautions, you can minimize the risk of a ransomware attack and keep your organization safe. 

Call Mindi McKinley Insurance agents for information on coverage.

Protect Your Small Business with Effective Cyber Security Measures

Small businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, and it’s important for business owners to take the necessary steps to protect their companies. With the growing number of cyber criminals and the advancement of technologies, cyber security is more important now than ever before. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing why cyber security is important for small businesses and the measures that you can take to protect your company and your employees.


The risks of cyber attacks for small businesses

Small businesses are particularly attractive targets for cyber criminals because they often have fewer resources and less comprehensive security measures in place. Attacks can range from ransomware and malware infections to phishing scams and data breaches, all of which can result in the loss of sensitive information or the disruption of business operations. The consequences can be severe, including financial losses, damage to your reputation, and legal liability.


Steps to effective cyber security

The first step to effective cyber security is to develop a comprehensive plan that takes into account the specific needs and vulnerabilities of your business. This may include establishing policies and procedures around data handling, network security, and access controls. You should also invest in robust security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and data encryption tools. It’s also important to keep your software and systems up to date and to regularly monitor your network for any suspicious activity.


Ensuring employee awareness and participation

Your employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats, so it’s important to ensure that they are aware of the risks and are following best practices. This may include providing training on how to identify and avoid phishing scams, using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and practicing safe browsing habits. You should also consider implementing policies around the use of personal devices and social media, as these can be potential sources of security breaches.


The benefits of effective cyber security

Investing in effective cyber security measures can not only help protect your business and your customers’ sensitive information, but it can also provide a competitive advantage. By demonstrating your commitment to security, you can build trust with your customers and partners and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Effective cyber security measures can also reduce the overall risk associated with doing business online, allowing you to focus on growth and innovation.


Seeking professional support for cyber security

If you’re uncertain about the best way to protect your business against cyber threats, or if you don’t have the resources to implement a comprehensive security plan on your own, consider seeking professional support. There are many security firms and consultants that specialize in helping small businesses with cyber security, and they can provide guidance on the best practices and tools for your specific needs.

Effective cyber security measures are essential for small businesses in today’s digital landscape. 

By understanding the risks and taking the necessary steps to protect your company, you can avoid the significant financial and reputational harm that can result from cyber attacks. Whether you’re developing a comprehensive security plan on your own or seeking the support of a professional consultant, taking action to improve your cyber security is a critical investment in the future success of your business.

Stained Glass Preservation for Religious Organizations

Stained glass is a treasured object for religious organizations, as these windows may be historically and spiritually relevant. However, they are also costly to replace. While damage to stained glass installations may be covered under property policies, the glass must receive proper care and maintenance to ensure longevity. Review the following guidance for risks and mitigation tips on properly caring for stained glass.

Potential Risks

Dirt, grit, and other unwelcome mineral deposits can come from various sources on both the inside and outside of the window. The window’s natural deterioration over time can cause bowing and sagging and will eventually lead to the window’s collapse. Proper maintenance can extend the life of these windows another 100 years, even after the window has sustained damage. However, cleaning these windows comes with certain risks and is often best left to professionals. The following are common concerns with stained glass:
  • Environmental factors—Rainwater can leave deposits of limestone, mortar, render and rust on the glass. These deposits attract and hold water to the window’s surface and may grow algae and lichens, damaging the window by keeping it damp. Organic growth also has acidic properties, which can corrode metal and paint.  Bird droppings are also a common annoyance. In addition to being unappealing, there are several serious diseases caused by exposure to bird droppings. Removal of bird excrement should only be attempted by a trained professional.
  • Internal surface—Decades of candle-burning inside the church can darken the inside of windows with soot accumulation. 
  • Deterioration—Stained glass windows consist of many pieces held together by lead caming. Over time, the lead and putty holding the windows together will decay, causing the structure to weaken. Poorly ventilated exterior coverings can cause the pieces to expand and contract, leading to sagging and bowing. If these issues aren’t addressed, the glass will crack or fall out of the caming until the window eventually collapses. 
  • Cleaning—The height and positioning of stained glass windows make cleaning risky. Cleaning chemicals may also cause more harm than good if they’re used without the direct supervision of a professional. Even the motion of the cleaning can cause damage. Therefore, it is often best to leave these tasks to a professional.


Prevention is often the best technique to ensure the window remains in good condition. Proper restoration techniques may also be needed with any of the aforementioned risks. Although regular cleaning is not required, the condition of the stained glass should be assessed by an accredited conservator to avoid unintentional damage. The following are risk mitigation measures:
  • Cleaning—Proper cleaning can improve the clarity and splendor of stained glass windows. When done correctly, cleaning can also increase the lifespan of these windows.
  • Preventive maintenance—Windows should be inspected every 20 years, and general maintenance should be performed regularly. This may include cleaning, removal, weatherproofing with putty or documentation of window condition.
  • Restoration—When repairs are needed, glass typically has to be removed, disassembled and taken to a professional studio. In cases where deterioration is more severe, the glass may need to be releaded. Lead-work is another reason why restoration should be done by professionals, as it involves both safety and environmental concerns.
Unlike most building repairs, stained glass repair and restoration don’t have to be done all at once. Instead, a maintenance program can be stretched out over multiple years with smaller on-site repairs. However, postponing maintenance may allow the materials to deteriorate further, leading to more costly repairs overall.


Even with proper maintenance and care, costly damages can still occur. Stained glass repairs and maintenance should be budgeted for, and the risks should be understood. For more information on how to mitigate risk in your religious organization, contact Mindi McKinley Insurance Services today.

March is National Nutrition Month March is Nutrition Month. Every year, this national campaign focuses on educating Americans on making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits.

Tips for Eating a Well-Balanced Diet

A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to work effectively. Without a healthy diet, you’re more likely to get sick, feel fatigued and experience lower performance levels. Here are some tips for maintaining a well-balanced diet: Read Full Article.

Four Important Facts about Performance Bonds and Construction Bonds

There are no guarantees in life or business, but in construction we have the performance bond. A performance bond, also known as a contract bond is a surety bond issued by an insurance company or bank to guarantee completion of a project by the contractor. Most government or private sector projects require performance bonds in order to protect tax payer’s investments in the case the contractor is unable to deliver the project as contracted.

Here are four facts you should know:

  1. Who is covered in a performance bond?
    In the construction industry, the payment bond is usually issued along with the performance bond. The payment bond forms a three-way contract between the Owner, the contractor and the insurance company or bank, to make sure that all subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers will be paid leaving the project lien free.
  2. How is a performance bond issued?
    A performance bond is issued to one party of a contract (contractor) as a guarantee against the failure of the contractor to meet the obligations of the contract. A performance bond is usually issued by a bank or an insurance company.
  3. How much does a performance bond cost?
    The cost of a performance bond is usually less than 1% of the contract price; however, if the contract is under $1 million, the premium may run between 1% and 2%. Your credit-worthiness will play a part in the overall costs. You will more than likely need a labor and material payment bonds as well.
  4. How long do I need to get a performance bond?
    It is important that you start the application process early. Performance bonds can take a few weeks to file and process so it is important that you don’t wait until the last minute. Mindi McKinley Insurance Company can help you get through the process quickly and swiftly, call today for more information.

Defensive Driving Tips

Defensive Driving Tips

Although getting behind the wheel may seem like a simple, everyday task, it could be one of the most dangerous things you do all day long. As a defensive driver, you can help avoid motorized crashes and lower your risk of costly insurance claims. By utilizing defensive driving measures, you can help keep yourself and other motorists safe on the road. 

Next time you get behind the wheel, implement these tips:

Eliminate distractions

Your sole focus should be the road. Avoid using your cellphone, adjusting the radio, eating and drinking behind the wheel.

Remain Alert

Check your mirrors often, and try to scan road conditions up to 30 seconds ahead of you.

Follow the rules of the road

Uphold standard protocols such as wearing a seat belt, obeying speed limits, using turn signals and approaching intersections with caution.

Don’t depend on other drivers

Never assume another driver is going to move out of the way or allow you to merge. Plan your movements to anticipate the worst-case scenario.

Why should I hire a licensed contractor?

It’s home repair and update season in Texas. Before you put on that new roof or start renovating your kitchen, take a moment to think about who you will hire to do the work.

Everyone wants to save money, sometimes this means choosing a lower-budget option by handling repairs yourself or hiring an unlicensed contractor. However, your home is important to you and it’s maintenance deserves better than the cheapest route, which could quite possibly turn in to the riskiest route. It’s important you don’t unintentionally put your home or family at risk. Hiring a licensed contractor may cost you a bit more, but it is a long-term investment that will eventually save you time and trouble. Here are a few good points to consider when it comes to working with a licensed contractor for your home construction and repair needs:

A contractor who is licensed is experienced and most importantly insured

Licensed contractors have gained experience and knowledge through the proper training and legal processes. They have taken the time to obtain licenses and permits from authorized government offices, after passing their licensure test of course.

A licensed contractor will have the proper insurance

A licensed contractor will offer liability and worker comp insurance to protect your home, your family, and you. These insurance policies offer protection from personal and bodily injury and property damage that could occur during your renovation. For example, if a visitor is injured upon entering the construction site, or a worker hurts themselves at your property, the insurance protection will cover medical fees that could arise.

City and federal government requirements

A licensed contractor understands how to meet all requirements set by the city and federal government. They will schedule inspections and make sure you’re repair meets quality requirements and passes all safety examinations. This is important when the time comes to sell your home. A potential buyer may ask if the required permits were pulled for the project for any major renovation you have had done.
The best thing about a licensed contractor is that they will take responsibility for needed repairs if they come up afterwards, or if something goes wrong during renovation since ignoring or dodging you when a problem arises, can result in the loss of their licensure. A trusted licensed contractor will stay with you long after the repair is completed.
Mindi McKinley Insurance Services is here for you when it comes to questions and concerns about your contractor. If you need referrals or information please contact us today. 817.200.7491 or email us at

Co-Insurance penalties…be sure to have the proper commercial property coverage

Co-Insurance sure to have the proper Commercial property coverage

Most property insurance policies contain a coinsurance provision. A coinsurance provision requires the insured to insure the covered property to a specified percentage of it’s full value, typically 80, 90 or 100%. If a loss occurs, and it is determined the limits purchased are less than what is required by the coinsurance clause, the loss recovery will be limited to that same percentage of loss as the ratio of insurance amount carried to the insurance amount.

Coinsurance in a commercial property policy does not come into play until a loss occurs. When this event/loss happens, the replacement cost is assessed at the time of the loss to determine the limit of insurance that should be in place. Depending on the coinsurance percentage selected in the policy, an insured may only have to cover up to a certain amount to avoid a coinsurance penalty.

Example below:

Business Interruption Coverage

Don’t suffer a total loss if your business is forced to close temporarily

A core element to your business owners policy (BOP) is Business Interruption Insurance, or also known as business income insurance. This policy helps you pay bills, replace lost income and cover payroll in the event your business is forced to close temporarily.

Calculating how much business interruption insurance coverage you will need is based on several factors. Not only considering the “worst-case” scenario, such as a fire or total building loss, consider calculating loss of profits and costs to rebuild or relocate. Other things to consider include:
  • How much your business would’ve grown in that time
  • Costs to move or relocate
  • Inventory replacement
  • Costs associated with being in a temporary location, signage, advertising, communication
  • Costs to keep your employees during a downtime or transition
Determining how much coverage you will need is important and what you need covered. Coverage can include:
  • Loss of profits
  • Mortgage or rent replacement
  • Cost of utilities, taxes and advertising
  • Payroll expenses
  • Relocation fees

Business interruption insurance works along side your commercial property insurance providing more than just physical damage coverage. 

Fire isn’t the only “worst-case” scenario, in Texas we are subject to winds, flooding, tornados, vandalism and more. 

It is important you review your policy every year, that you are always covered to the limits you need to keep your business up and running. The professionals at MMIS are ready to help.