allenadmin No Comments

Weekly Market Update : March 14, 2011

Equity markets declined across the board last week. They were led lower by cyclical stocks and international markets.

Tensions across Africa and the Middle East, oil’s rising cost—to more than $106 per barrel—and questions about inflation and potential policy changes at central banks around the world weighed on investors’ minds. Read more in this week’s Market Summary (PDF, new window).

allenadmin No Comments

Scott Carlson Receives State Insurance License

Scott Carlson

Carlson studied for the state exam through the Allen Insurance and Financial’s in-house education program, passing the exam on the first try. He joined the company in December 2010.

The Allen Insurance and Financial education program is run by Gene McKeever in the company’s Camden office. Staff attend classes on company time as they prepare for their exams. Since the state also requires 30 hours of continuing education over every two-year period for those in the insurance business, Allen Insurance and Financial sponsors those classes, as well.

This kind of investment benefits both Allen Insurance and Financial employees and the company’s customers, said Gil Fifield, company president. “We see payback every day — our people receive support and the most up-to-date information and in turn they offer superior service to our clients,” Fifield said.

The state-issued study guide for insurance licensing is 400+ pages. The state exams are comprised of 150 questions drawn from a pool of 2,400 questions on a complete range of subject areas, including business and personal insurance, workers’ compensation, maritime insurance and Maine insurance law.

Allen Insurance and Financial is an employee-owned insurance, employee benefits, and financial services company with offices in Camden, Rockland, Saco and Southwest Harbor.

For more information call 236-4311, or visit

allenadmin No Comments

Small Gains in Equity Markets, Rising Oil Prices: Weekly Market Summary

Equity markets managed to eke out small gains last week, despite a jump in volatility.

Tensions and violence continued to escalate in Africa and the Middle East. The threat of contagion across the region to larger oil-producing nations, such as Saudi Arabia, has pushed crude oil prices well above $100 per barrel and has many investors seeking to reduce this risk from their portfolios.

Read more in this week’s Market Summary. (PDF, new window)

allenadmin No Comments

Junior Achievement: At Work at Lincolnville Central School

Tom Chester leading a Junior Achievement class at Lincolnville Central School

Who fixes potholes? What are taxes? These were the questions discussed by Lincolnville Central School second graders one Monday recently as part of their hour with Tom Chester of Allen Insurance and Financial, their Junior Achievement curriculum leader, pictured here with some of his students.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Allen Insurance and Financial has been participating with the JA program in Lincolnville for two years.

The program is offered to students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, said Elyzabeth Richards, LCS guidance counselor. Allen Insurance and Financial is one of six area businesses which purchase a JA kit for a classroom and provide an employee to lead the curriculum. Joining Allen Insurance and Financial in this community education commitment are Viking Lumber, Robbins Lumber, Camden National Bank, Bangor Savings Bank and Mathews Brothers.

LCS middle schoolers in grades 6 through 8 build on their JA experience through the school’s career education, said Richards.

“Having business leaders involved in our school is a great gift or our students,” Richards said, noting that JA leaders follow their classes as the move up through the grades, building a mentoring relationship.

Businesses interested in participating in the LCS JA program can call Richards at the school: 763-3366. LCS is the only area school with a JA program; it was established seven years ago with the help of Camden National Bank.

For more information about Junior Achievement in Maine, visit

allenadmin No Comments

Welcoming Scott Carlson

Scott Carlson

Scott Carlson of Camden has joined Allen Insurance and Financial.

Previously, he was a partner and client consultant at Links Online Marketing, a website development and Internet marketing business in Bangor. He has also worked as a division manager and design director at Moss, Inc.

A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Carlson has a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Victoria and a master’s degree in information systems engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University. For his first months at Allen Insurance and Financial, Carlson will be without a specific job title as he participates in the company’s comprehensive in-house insurance education program.

“Scott’s background in design, manufacturing, engineering, project management and technology provides him with a solid foundation for providing creative solutions to challenging problems, as well as effective management of people, projects and more,” said Gilbert Fifield, president of Allen Insurance and Financial. “We are looking forward to Scott’s applying these skills to our work here, providing quality products and services to our customers.”

Carlson and his wife Donna live in Camden with their two young sons. He is a member of the Camden Rotary Club and the MCSA Youth Hockey board. Outside of work, he enjoys sailing, hiking, biking, music and spending time with his family.

allenadmin No Comments

What’s An Ice Dam?

Avoid the costly collision of hot and cold and reduce the risk that ice dams will form and create a soggy mess. When heat from the interior of a building with a sloped roof escapes into the attic space, it warms the underside of the roof. Meanwhile, the roof eave outside the heated space remains at a colder temperature.

As snow accumulates on the rooftop, it melts over the warmer portion of the attic and runs down the roof. When it encounters the cold edge of the roof it refreezes. The refrozen water along the roof edge creates an “ice damming” condition, and consequently, the melted snow running down the roof begins to back up underneath the roof covering.

This water will soak the roof sheathing and leak into the attic unless there is a barrier above the sheathing. An appropriately installed secondary moisture barrier will help prevent the water from entering your property and damaging your structure and its contents.

You can prevent ice dams by ventilating and insulating your attic. But now you need to deal with the problem that exists. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the damage from an ice dam:

• Remove ice and snow from the roof to allow proper drainage. Be careful when performing this task as you can fall, be struck by falling objects or contact electrical lines. Use a snow rake to remove the snow from the ground, if possible.

• If there is an existing ice dam, melt a channel through the ice to the roof surface to create a drain path to relieve water build up.

• An easy way to do this is to fill the leg of panty hose with calcium chloride ice melter and place that on the roof. The long tube can melt a patch through the ice to allow drainage. You can refill or replace the ice melter to keep the channels open. Make sure the channel extends to the roof edge or gutter.

• You can engage the services of your roofing contractor to remove ice build up.

• If you observe water damage, hire a restoration service to dry out the walls, ceiling and structure. Not addressing minor damage can cause rot, decay and more extensive problems.

• Contact your roofer and an insulation company to correct the ventilation and heat transfer issues in your attic. This can prevent future problems.

• When replacing a roof, add an ice and water shield membrane at the edge of the roof and extend it at least five feet up the roof to protect this area against water intrusion.

• If you have suffered damage to your property, contact your Hanover Agent or Hanover Claims at or 1-800-628-0250.

Source: The Hanover Insurance Group, Loss Control Dept. View a PDF of this information, suitable for printing.

allenadmin No Comments

It’s Your Agent’s Job to Ask the Right Questions

Gene McKeeverThe following is a true story. I handle the hull and protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance for an historic tall ship. You would recognize the name of this famous vessel.

Anyway, the president of the non-profit organization that operates the ship was reviewing the insurance coverage with me when he asked if I wrote directors and officers (D&O) liability coverage. I said I did, and that it was a specialty of mine in addition to ocean marine insurance.

I wanted to know why he was asking about D&O coverage. It isn’t something a client will usually ask about.

The gentleman said that his insurance agent was reviewing a renewal questionnaire of his D&O coverage. As they talked, the agent suddenly asked him: “You mean you actually operate your ship? You sail it?” The president of the non-profit group said that they did. The agent replied with a comment that would make the head of any organization cringe: “Oh my gosh, that changes everything. We may have a problem placing coverage.”

It turned out that the insurance agent never knew that the historic ship actually sailed and instead had simply assumed the vessel was simply a relic and was tied to the dock. It most certainly was not, having just returned from an extensive trip.

But there’s more. The president of the non-profit group drives a vehicle owned by the organization. His now ex-insurance agent had insured it as a private vehicle, not a commercially owned one. This meant that the organization head was, without knowing it, driving around without valid insurance. Imagine how he felt about that.

It’s your insurance agent’s job to ask the right questions that will ensure you have the insurance coverage you need for your individual line of work.

Never be afraid to question your agent. You pay dearly for insurance, so make sure your agent is earning the money you pay him. Insist that your agent explain the coverage you’re receiving and make sure he or she uses plain language that you can easily understand.

And never hesitate to ask any question or seek a clarification. Your insurance agent works for you, not the other way around.

This article appeared in the January 2011 issue of WorkBoat magazine, where Gene McKeever, marine insurance specialist, is a monthly columnist.

allenadmin No Comments

Weekly Market Update, Feb. 1, 2011

Treasuries were mixed last week, starting a little higher; rallying midweek with the State of the union address, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement, and the strong 2-year Treasury auction; and selling off late in the week. Read more now (PDF, new window).

allenadmin No Comments

Does Your Business Need a Snow and Ice Log?

Maintaining snow and ice logs can prove to be a valuable defense if your business becomes involved in a lawsuit resulting from a slip and fall accident.

Some of the benefits to keeping proper snow and ice logs include:

  • Serves as written proof of how diligent you are at removing snow and ice from your property;
  • Promotes proper maintenance of your property that may help prevent slip and fall accidents from happening and/or reduce occurrences;
  • Functions as a valuable record-keeping tool, which allows you to match up snow removal bills of sub contractors who maintain your property during the winter months.

Download a Snow and Ice Log, courtesy of Hanover Insurance. (PDF, new window)