The holidays have arrived!

For those with one or more four-legged friends in the house, it’s time to go over some safety tips. After all, you want all of your family members to enjoy the festivities – even the furry ones.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which operates the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, takes calls year-round about pets being exposed to potentially hazardous yet common household items. With the house filled with guests, presents, and decorations during the holidays, the risks multiply.

Here are some things to remember and consider from Thanksgiving through New Year’s to help keep Fluffy or Fido healthy, happy and safe:

Make sure everyone keeps medicine bottles or pill cases safely tucked away – actually that applies to everyone in your household, both permanent residents and visitors. And, just in case a probing pet gets into some medications, always make sure the containers are labeled with the contents and potency so you know what was ingested.

Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without sharing in feasts and treats with family and friends. Just make sure that doesn’t extend to your pets. After all, some things on the holiday dinner table, such as alcohol and chocolate, are toxic for pets.

And, because all of the seasonal commotions may become too much for your pets, be sure they have a quiet place to which they can retreat. Let others know your pets shouldn’t be disturbed when they are in their quiet spot, whether it’s a bed, a cozy blanket, or a kennel.

Those beautifully wrapped presents under the tree or covering the fireplace mantel can also be harmful to your oh-so-curious felines and canines – especially if a present contains treats for them or food for humans. Animals have a keen sense of smell and, once they sense that food is nearby, they’ll be more than happy to unwrap and eat both the outer and inner contents of the gift. Those ribbons and bows that you worked so hard on perfecting may end up wreaking havoc on your pet’s digestive tract.

Besides the obvious precautions of making sure wires, batteries and poisonous/toxic plants (such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias) are all out of paw’s reach, make sure that plastic and glass ornaments are far away as well. If chewed or eaten, these items can cause electrical shock, acid burns, dermatitis, and mouth abrasions.

You should also remember that, as beautiful and fun as they are, snow globes contain ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance to all pets. Another substance that you may not think of as harmful to pets is salt, and homemade play dough is loaded with it. Watch pets while your children are playing with them or around ornaments made with them. The dough can cause life-threatening electrolyte imbalances.

Scented candles may also be a holiday staple, but they may be enticing to our pets, which are at risk for serious burns and other injuries. Best to keep those candles completely out of reach.

Finally, make sure you have the phone number of your local emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA hotline on hand for emergencies.

With these tips in mind, you can help keep your four-legged family member safe during the holidays – and all year round. We here at Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors wish you a very happy holiday season!

Looking for pet health insurance? Call our office today for a quote.

What’s not covered?

At Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors, your full protection against insurable loss is our number one goal.

Knowing what’s NOT covered under your commercial insurance policy can be just as important as knowing what is covered.

Some of the most common Exclusions found in many policies include the following:

  1. Water – includes flood, surface water, tides, overflow of any body of water including mudslides, water that backs up from a sewer or drain except as provided under the Back Up of Sewer & Drain coverage extension, and water underground flowing or seeping through foundations, walls, floors, basements, windows doors or other openings.
  2. Earth Movement – any earth movement such as earthquake, mine subsidence, or earth sinking, rising, or shifting.
  3. Employment Practices Liability – any employment-related claims such as wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination or failure to hire or promote.
  4. Cyber Liability and Ransomware – legal liability for breach of protected personally identifiable information as well as theft of computer data, security breaches, and damage from a computer virus.
  5. Professional Liability – liability resulting from damages caused by your actions, failures, or omissions within the scope of your work as a professional.
  6. Crime – in the event of loss due to burglary, robbery, fraud, and/or employee dishonesty.

Insurance coverage varies from state to state and policy to policy, so it is important to work with your insurance agent to make sure you understand exactly what is and is not covered by your policy. Knowing what’s covered and what isn’t can save you a lot of money and heartache down the line.

Summer is in full swing, which means you are likely to see more motorcycles on the road. And the key word here is “see.” People driving cars and trucks often fail to notice the motorcyclists around them, partly because they’re not accustomed to looking for them.

It’s obvious yet bears repeating: Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than car and truck drivers and passengers. Not only are there many more cars and trucks on the road, but there’s no such thing as a “fender bender” for a motorcyclist. Even a low-speed collision can seriously injure a rider, not to mention total the bike, so it’s important to always give motorcycles extra space and an extra look.

Below are six tips to help you safely share the road with motorcyclists.

Objects in mirror. The object in your mirror may be closer than it appears — especially if it’s a motorcycle. Due to its size, it can be harder to determine how close a motorcycle is and how fast it’s moving. When turning into traffic, always estimate a bike to be closer than it appears to avoid forcing a rider to quickly hit the brakes — or worse.

Watch those left turns. One of the most common motorcycle accidents involves a car making a left turn directly in front of a bike at an intersection. Give yourself an extra moment to look specifically for motorcycles coming toward you when turning into traffic.

Double-check your blind spot. Carefully checking your blind spot before changing lanes is always a good idea. When it comes to motorcycles, it’s critical. A bike can be easily obscured in the blind spot, hidden behind your car’s roof pillars, or blend in with cars in other lanes, so make a habit of checking carefully before changing lanes. Plus, always use your turn signal.

Don’t tailgate. This is another general rule for all drivers, but it’s especially important when following a motorcycle. Be aware that many riders decrease speed by downshifting or easing off the throttle, so you won’t see any brake lights even though they are slowing down. Following at least three seconds behind the bike should give you enough time and space to safely slow down or stop when necessary.

Stay in your lane. Obviously, motorcycles don’t take up an entire lane the way cars or trucks do. But that doesn’t mean you can cozy up and share a lane with a bike. Just because the rider may be hugging one side of the lane doesn’t mean you can move into that space. Riders are likely doing this to avoid debris, oil on the road, or a pothole, so a bit of mild swerving within the lane can be expected. Do not crowd into the lane with a bike.

Think about motorcycles. Making a habit of always checking for bikes when you drive will make the above tips second nature and make you a better driver. To personalize it, think about your friends and family members who ride bikes and then drive as if they are on the road with you. Motorcyclists — and everyone else — will thank you.

Workers’ Compensation coverage pays for medical care and physical rehabilitation of employees injured at work and helps to replace lost wages while they are unable to work. Additionally, this coverage protects an employer from being sued by an injured worker in most cases.

Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors can help your business find complete solutions to your unique Workers Compensation insurance needs. We’ll find solutions that create safer and more productive workplaces, more confident and secure workers, and overall savings you’ll see on the bottom line.

Coverage for office workers using their own vehicles on company business is often needed, as well. If you have employees, it is critical that you consider this Workers Compensation coverage.

Some Workers’ Compensation coverage can include:

• Innovative payment systems
• Medical disability case managers
• Utilization management nurses
• Certified life care planning nurses
• Vocational rehabilitation consultants
• Physician consulting services
• Legal staff
• Contracts with medical network providers
• Managed prescription drug program

To find out more about this product and other products and services, contact our Business Insurance Specialist, Michael Hartman today.

Michael Hartman


Trees are pretty amazing things. They produce oxygen. They serve as natural air conditioners, both by blocking sunlight and through evaporation. And they even absorb sounds, helping to keep things peaceful.

These benefits, along with countless others, are great reasons to keep the trees on your property in good shape. Looking for another? Unhealthy trees can actually pose a great danger to your home and property, as well as to your family and other people.

With these tips from the National Arbor Day Foundation, you can help prevent tree trouble – and potentially save yourself from a home insurance claim:

1. Inspect trees frequently. The size, color, and condition of leaves, and overall leaf cover, are good indicators of a tree’s health. Cavities or disfiguration can be a warning sign, although they don’t always mean a tree is a hazard. Just keep a close eye on it. Dead branches are a big risk because they can fall easily. Those that cross or rub can create weak spots.

2. Plant in an appropriate space. Putting in a tree that will grow to be large? Don’t put it near power or sewer lines, or close to your home. And avoid brittle trees – their limbs are weak and more likely to break and fall. Examples include Silver Maples and Willows.

3. Prune correctly. Cut outside the branch collar, and prune regularly as trees age. Don’t allow a tree to be topped.

4. Leave it to an expert. Once a year, have a qualified arborist thoroughly evaluate the trees on your property. An arborist can identify ones that need to come down immediately, as well as those to watch. In particular, trees that have been topped, or that have lost large limbs unexpectedly, could cause trouble. Taking down trees can be very dangerous, so leave it to a professional.

5. Remember, you’re responsible. Property owners are generally responsible when their hazardous trees cause damage or injury to others. So keep your trees healthy, your space beautiful and your liability low!

When a tree does fall, you may or may not have coverage through your homeowners policy for any damage it may cause. If you’d like to discuss your coverage, please give us a call today. It may be a good time to think about adding extra liability coverage to your insurance portfolio with an umbrella policy.

Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

We are pleased to share that we have entered into an agreement to become part of Risk Strategies, a leading national specialty insurance brokerage, and risk management advisory company.

This is exciting news, and we strongly believe that it will be a win-win for you and for us. Becoming part of Risk Strategies greatly expands our capabilities and access to virtually all aspects of property and casualty insurance offerings.

Risk Strategies is a top national broker that enjoys local relationships and focuses on long-term client relationships. With that said, the leadership team and the employees at Joyce Jackman & Bell Insurors will remain unchanged and more than ever, are committed to a singular focus of providing world-class support and service that you have come to expect from us over the last 33 years.

Your account team will now have access to other specialty practice and industry areas around the country, to better serve your evolving needs. You will have access to greater resources and expertise with more than 100 offices across the country and specialty practices spanning everything from Fine Art, private client personal lines, non-profits, real estate, health care, employee benefits, financial services, and private equity, among others, Risk Strategies has the expertise, market access and insight that can help simplify the risk complexities you may face in any facet of your life or business.

Our respective teams have been hard at work integrating systems and people. You will see for accounting and processing purposes, invoicing and policy binder statements will change to RSC Insurance Brokerage, Inc. This will ensure your premium payments and policy documents are properly handled in our merged systems.

Thank you again for your business and for allowing us the privilege of working with you. We are excited about what the future holds. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Promotion Announcements

insurance agency Pittston, PennsylvaniaJoyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors is pleased to announce that Adria Gaughan has been promoted to the Personal Lines Manager position.

She has proven to be a dedicated & talented insurance professional.  Adria is a 2003 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Business Management and Marketing degree. She joined Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors in 2014 and attained her Property & Casualty license in 2016. Adria has been working alongside Kelly Dolphin in Personal Lines providing support in managing our personal accounts and providing our clients with the highest standards of customer satisfaction.  Adria is committed to ensuring her clients are fully protected. She has the training, experience & insurance knowledge to ensure our clients will continue to receive the service that they need and expect from our agency.


insurance agency Pittston, PennsylvaniaKelly Dolphin is taking on a new role in Commercial Lines as an Account Manager.  

Kelly is responsible for working closely with our clients, fulfilling their needs, and providing the highest standards of customer satisfaction. She will serve as the key daily contact to her clients as she actively manages their accounts. Her responsibilities will include: identifying, evaluating, and recommending appropriate markets for various coverages and completing annual renewal applications/specifications.

Please join us in congratulating Adria & Kelly on their new roles here at Joyce, jackman & Bell Insurors.

Do you have enough coverage to rebuild your home?

home insurance Pittston PAImagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance.

Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away! Read more…



insurance agency Pittston PABe sure to call and notify us of your new lease or purchase. Even if the car dealership advises they will call, it’s always best to follow up with your agent.


Michael is a Business Insurance Specialist. He is licensed in Life, Accident & Health, and Property & Casualty Insurance.

Before joining Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors, Michael worked at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Wilkes Barre, PA as a Sales Support Analyst in Client Implementations. He was responsible for the overall administration and oversight of activities for the sales office.

Michael is a graduate of Old Forge High School and the University of Scranton with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing. Michael resides in Old Forge, PA with his wife, Alicia, and their two children, Michael and Maddie.


What our clients have to say!

“Always very approachable! Also if you leave a message, they always get back to you promptly!”

-John C., customer since 2002

“JJB is very attentive to our requests and needs, even those on a whim. I know that when I send an email to Janice Waleski, I will hear back from her usually by the close of business that day, and if my request is later in the day, I know that I will hear back early the next day.”

-Brian R., customer since 2000

“Someone is always there for us when we need it most. You instill the qualities of kindness, patience, and a feeling that we are a part of a larger family.”

-Dr. S., customer since 2009

Newsletter pdf

Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance.

Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away!

What is insurance to value?

Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss

Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?

A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area. It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value

Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?

New-home builders typically build many homes at once and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.

How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance?

Work with your agent to provide detailed information at the time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote.
Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available.
Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent.
Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home.

Maybe you’ve been here before. You’ve just come off the plane, picked up your baggage, and gone to the rental car counter. You’re tired from the flight, about to begin an ambitious vacation or a challenging business project. And, this is the point at which you’re asked,

“Do you want insurance with that?”

Most travelers, facing that question from the rental representative, have the vague notion that they don’t really need to buy rental car insurance – which somehow is covered already. With just enough doubt in their minds, and the need to make a quick decision, perhaps they buy it just to be safe.

So, which is it?

Do you need to buy rental car insurance or not? Truth be told, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. However, you can likely reach a conclusion you’re comfortable with by considering these three questions.

1. What Types of Rental Car Insurance Are Available?
Typically, car rental agencies will offer you four types of insurance to purchase:
Collision damage waiver – The rental car company won’t charge you for a damaged or stolen vehicle when you buy this.
Supplemental liability protection – Electing this will ensure you’re covered for costs to others if you cause an accident in the rental.
Personal accident insurance – This coverage will pay for injuries or death of the driver and passengers of your rental car.
Personal effects coverage – Reimburses you for stolen personal items while renting the car.

2. What Rental Car Coverage Might I Already Have?
Start with your personal auto insurance. It’s likely that your policy will provide the same level of coverage for your rental as it does for your own car. That usually includes liability insurance, and, depending on the policy you purchased, may include collision, comprehensive and medical payments, too. There are exclusions, however. Some insurers won’t cover rentals in a foreign country or rentals that are being used for business. Get in touch with your independent insurance agent to verify your coverages.

Next, there’s your credit card. Most cards offer some degree of coverage, but it varies widely. Coverage is usually secondary, designed to step in and pick up where your auto insurance leaves off, and it tends to be mostly confined to collision, damage, and theft. For coverage to apply, most cards require that you decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver and pay for the car in full with the card that provides the protection. Again, contact your card company to find out exactly what is covered.

Then, consider your health and life insurance, too. If you’re in an accident involving a rental car and you have these policies, you likely have coverage for your own costs. Plus, with your homeowners insurance, you may have personal property coverage to help repair or replace valuable belongings that are lost, damaged, or stolen while you’re in a rental. Your deductible and policy limits will apply, and the same goes for renters insurance or condo insurance.

3. What Rental Coverage Might I Be Missing?
In the event something does happen to the rental car, you may be looking at loss of use and diminished value fees, and your regular policy may not cover them. Loss of use is the income that the rental agency loses due to the vehicle being in the shop for repairs, and diminished value is the calculated reduction in a vehicle’s resale value as the result of an accident. Credit cards sometimes cover these but be aware that they may require documentation that rental agencies can be reluctant to provide.

So, before you make that next trip, give us a call and check with your credit card company. That way you’ll be ready to make an informed decision when you get to the rental car counter.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.


Do you have a teen starting college? Maybe you’ve purchased them a brand new laptop and printer for school. Are you wondering if these valuable electronics would be insured from theft, vandalism, or a fire?

If your child continues to live in your household, his or her belongings are covered under your policy.

If your child stays in a dorm room on campus and you, the parents, have renters or homeowners insurance for your home, your insurance policy will extend to cover their belongings. Most carriers generally provide up to a 10% limit on your personal property coverage. That means, if your renters or homeowners policy has a limit of $200,000 for personal property, there will be coverage for up to $20,000 for your child’s belongings. Keep in mind that coverage is subject to your renters or homeowner’s policy deductible, usually $500 – $1,000. Check with us to make sure the personal property limit on your homeowner’s policy is adequate. You might need additional coverage to insure expensive items like jewelry, musical instruments, or certain sports equipment.

If your college student lives in his or her own place off-campus or shares an off-campus house or apartment with friends, things get a little trickier. You might have to set up a separate renters policy for your student. That will not only cover his or her “stuff”, but also provide liability coverage in case somebody gets hurt in their place. In addition, many landlords have made renter’s insurance a requirement of the lease. Renters Insurance policies are usually quite affordable, generally less than $15 per month.

Will your child return home or travel abroad for longer periods of time as part of their college experience? If they leave their belongings behind in a dorm or fraternity/sorority house for more than 45 days, your homeowners policy will no longer cover those belongings. In that situation, it’s important to either ship the belongings home during extended absences or temporarily store the items in a commercial storage facility.

I’ve had a few clients reach out to me regarding this very question in the past few weeks.  So, I’m sharing this article by our Insurance Partner, Nationwide, that discusses this very topic.

It’s important to purchase homeowners insurance to protect not just the home you live in, but all your personal belongings, too. When it’s time to move from one place to the next, though, do you know whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the move?

Read more here…Is the moving process covered by your homeowners insurance?

As always, feel free to contact our office to review your insurance carrier’s home policy coverages.