Ways to Prevent a Cooking Fire

Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and that means cooking in the kitchen for most families.  According to NFIRS and NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.  The following tips from the U.S. Fire Administration are ways you can prevent cooking fires in your home not only on Thanksgiving Day, but throughout the year:

  • Stand by your pan: If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off.
  • Watch what you are cooking: Fires start when the heat is too high.  If you see any smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove: Then no one can bump them or pull them over.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby: Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.  This will put out the fire.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll your sleeves up.

We hope you stay safe in the kitchen and prevent a devastating cooking fire.

Help Change the World by Supporting Socially Responsible Companies


Do you prefer doing business with socially responsible companies who respect their employees and customers, protect the environment and give back in their communities?  If so, we’d like to tell you about B (Benefit) Corporation, an independent, non-profit organization that validates the claims of companies who say they are socially responsible; companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Warby Parker and MAX Insurance.

Today, nearly 2,000 companies world-wide have been certified B Corporations and we are proud to say that MAX Insurance is one of them.  In fact, MAX ranks in the top 10% of B-Corps, and we are the only insurance company of our kind to earn this coveted designation.

MAX earned B Corporation certification because:

  • We help others in need through our Mutual Aid Ministries program,
  • We’re a cooperative that reports to our members not Wall Street, and,
  • We follow other fair, faithful and socially responsible business practices.


Now, as an added value of your MAX membership, we’ll introduce you to other B-Corps.  If you’re interested in their products or services, we invite you to contact them and let them know MAX told you about them.  We receive no compensation or fees of any kind from these companies.  It’s just our way of letting others know about this socially responsible business movement.

This month we’d like you to know about Home Free Baked Treats.  Homefree ®, LLC seeks to make it easier for people with food allergies and most other special dietary needs to enjoy baked treats along with everyone else. Homefree bakes its “treats you can trust” in its own dedicated facility free of gluten and free of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs wheat and dairy, using allergen sourced and tested baking ingredients. Homefree is committed to making inclusive treats that are both delicious and healthful. All are 100% whole grain, non-GMO, and all natural or organic. Homefree is a certified Woman Owned Business with a commitment to environmental and social responsibility.  Learn more at www.HomeFreeTreats.com


Click here for a directory of all the B-Corps across the U.S. and the world.

Thanks again for your support of MAX.  We hope you’ll continue doing business with us and the many other socially responsible businesses who are trying to change the world by doing the right thing for our environment, our communities and our fellow man.

You can find more about MAX as a B-Corp at www.bcorporation.net.

Star Wars and Service Line Coverage

By Kim Bronder, Sales & Service Center Manager

I must have missed something in the movie world because I just realized that a new Star Wars movie is being released December 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  Needless to say, I am ecstatic to see the film when it comes out.  However, I must practice Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi patience until then.

I saw the very first Star Wars film on opening day May 25, 1977.  It was my sister’s birthday but I skipped out to stand in line for two hours with my best friend in order to get tickets and the best seats in the house. The marketing lead up to the film captivated anyone who loved sci-fi movies. We couldn’t wait! The film did not disappoint.  Then in the summer of 2015 that same friend and I purchased online tickets (no waiting in line) to see the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens and again it didn’t disappoint.  I will purchase my online tickets for Rogue One as soon as I am able and I’ll be patient until that time.

So you ask, what does this have to do with Service Line Coverage?  Or as Yoda would say, “Service Line Coverage, hmmm, what is?” Well, honestly, I’m ecstatic and have been patient for this coverage to be available on my home.

My homeowner policy renewal came out this week and I am thrilled because I’ve been waiting for this coverage for a long time! I have been a homeowner for 32 years and this year is the best renewal by far. I witnessed my neighbor who had their water line burst on their side of the street. The city/county didn’t cover the damage, their homeowner insurance didn’t cover the damage, my neighbors covered the damage by way of a second mortgage on their home to pay for the over $6000 cost to dig up the public street, install new pipes and repave the street.  YUP! It was crazy expensive and I suspect they are still paying on that second mortgage.

Service Line Coverage provides protection from an unexpected loss caused by a service line failure which is not a covered loss under most insurance policies. This added coverage extends to damage of underground piping, wiring, valves or attached devices that connect a home to a public utility service provider or to a private system.

Star Wars and Service Line Coverage are both worth the wait. Being a sci-fi fan and an insurance agent can be fun at the same time as well as being a homeowner especially when your company offers new coverages.  If your homeowner policy doesn’t have Service Line Coverage on it, contact us and we can give you a quote!!

KimAbout Kim 

Avid traveler, Mom of three daughters, and Insurance Agent!
Direct Phone – 913-754-3807

Kim has been with MAX for 5 years and has over 12 years of experience in the insurance industry.  When Kim is not at work, she loves to travel, cook and read.  Kim and her husband of 32 years are involved with Retrouvaille, a ministry that helps married couples strengthen and heal their marriages.  She has three grown daughters, one son in law and a precious granddaughter. Kim enjoys the spring and summer months where she can tend to her garden.

The Heart of a Smart Home

By Sam Schoutko, Personal Lines Underwriter

The last blog post I wrote detailed what a smart home is, how you can implement it into your home, and how you really don’t need to be intimidated by it.  Most of it was broad strokes though and I would like to give more specifics in a series of future posts.  I want to start with the most essential piece of any smart home: your router.

Most people don’t have a clue about the internet setup in their home – the people from your internet service provider come and set it up then tell you the Wi-fi password and you are good to go.  90% of the time this suffices for your basic needs as far as connecting your laptop, cell phone, and maybe a smart TV.  When you add more and more devices though it can tax the basic router* they provide you and sometimes you need to upgrade that portion of your home network in order to improve performance and range.

*Quick disclaimer: there are two main parts of any home internet network: the router and the modem.  The modem is what receives the signal from your internet service provider (ISP) and switches it to an ethernet cable you can plug directly into your computer.  Most people take that cable and instead plug it into a router which then broadcasts the internet via Wi-fi throughout your home.  A lot of ISP’s provide the modem and router in one unit.  You can bypass the wireless portion of the combo box and just use it as a modem while you purchase your own router (or you can purchase your own upgraded combo box).  That is the setup I advocate for and do myself.  There are many more details but I don’t want to get too technical.

In my home (just my wife and dog and I) we have 2 cell phones, 1 tablet, and 1 laptop.  This is normal and probably would be fine for even the most basic router.  On top of this I also have connected to the Wi-fi – a thermostat, 3 smart light bulbs, virtual dog walker, Xbox One, 2 smart TVs, Chromecast, dog cell phone, 2 Roku’s, a printer, Wi-fi dog kennel and an external hard drive (a few of those are jokes).  While all that isn’t used simultaneously it is still taxing on a basic router and as such I have upgraded to something that can handle that type of traffic.

It does not matter how new your neat smart home toy is if your router is not up to the task of supporting it.  If you have a sprinkler system and have a Wi-fi controller in your garage for it but you don’t get a signal in your garage you might need to get a new router that is strong enough to punch through the walls and reach it.  Maybe you have all new smart light bulbs in your home or smart outlets and the number of items connecting makes your video streaming lag a great deal.  There are a myriad of problems that can be fixed by simply just investing in a good router.

There are way more technical details about your home network that vary from situation to situation and the point of this blog post isn’t to fix everything or get into the nitty gritty of home networking – it’s to get you thinking about it.  Keep in mind that a good reliable router is the most important part to the start of any smart home and most likely the first thing you need to invest in.  Think of it as a cornerstone to everything you need to build on – with poor speed and range from your router you won’t be able to utilize all the neat items you purchase to make your home more convenient.

In future posts I would like to detail different examples of smart home products but I started with this one because I feel it is the most important.  I hope it helps you on your path to a smarter home!

SamAbout Sam

Sam enjoys spending time with his wife Krista and their Siberian Husky, Ecko, while not at work.  Krista is a wonderful cook and baker so their relationship works well as he is a wonderful eater of the food she cooks and bakes.  They enjoy keeping up to date on the latest movies and traveling to see family.  As new homeowners, there is always a project to tackle around the house as well.

Photo by Sean MacEntee