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TDCI Launches Summer of Safety Consumer Protection Campaign for Tennessee

Agency Highlights Ways Consumers Can Protect Themselves
Friday, June 19, 2020 | 09:22am

NASHVILLE — The arrival of summer means hot days, long afternoons, and time spent with family and friends boating, camping, and cooking out. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, recent severe weather across Tennessee, and the ongoing economic recovery have created new challenges and risks for Tennesseans this summer.

To help Tennessee families remain safe during the summer of 2020, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) announces the Summer of Safety consumer awareness campaign. The Summer of Safety campaign highlights how Tennessee consumers can reduce risk around their homes, plan for their safety in the event of an emergency, and better protect their loved ones from financial fraud and scammers.

“With so many challenges facing Tennesseans, our health, safety, and financial well-being is more important now than ever before,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “While our department is multi-faceted, we all share the common goal of helping protect Tennessee’s citizens. Our Summer of Safety campaign can help give Tennesseans of all ages valuable peace of mind to help them navigate these uncertain times. I urge Tennesseans who have questions to visit our website, share our social media posts, and engage with our team to help them get answers to their questions.”

To kick off the campaign, TDCI is sharing these tips to remember ahead of the official start of summer (June 20) in order to keep safety in mind all summer long.

Camping and Boating Safety

Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas created when fuels (such as kerosene, gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. Carbon monoxide can result from using camping equipment such as barbecue grills, portable generators or other fuel-powered devices.

  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other shelter openings. Lit or smoldering barbecue grills should never be taken inside a home, tent, or RV.
  • Never use a fuel-powered lantern, heater or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper/RV.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

Electric shock drowning occurs when a swimmer unknowingly enters water that has been electrified by a nearby power source such as a boat or a marina. While swimming in the electrified water, the swimmer is paralyzed by the electric current before drowning. Before visiting a dock or marina, remember:

  • Never swim within 100 yards of any dock using electrical power.
  • If you have not electrified your dock or put an air-conditioning system on your boat, weigh the risks carefully before doing so.
  • If you need electricity on your dock, hire a licensed electrician and make sure the wiring meets the requirements. If your dock is already wired, hire an electrician to check that it was done properly. Because docks are exposed to the elements, their electrical systems should be inspected at least once a year. When hiring a licensed contractor, always use verify.tn.gov.
  • Learn how the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office protects Tennessee consumers with our marina inspection program.

Insurance Awareness

With Tennesseans encountering numerous changes this year, there’s never been a more critical time to conduct an annual assessment of your insurance coverage. An assessment can help you determine if you have enough coverage or not.

  • Some insurance companies charge different rates for the same coverage. Shop around to ensure the best coverage for your needs at the best price.
  • Make an inventory of your home’s contents. Take pictures and video of your contents, and update the list when you buy new items. Store the inventory list, pictures, and videos in a secure place like a safe deposit box, a relative’s house, or online.
  • Ensure your dwelling coverage has not dropped below the cost to replace your home.
  • Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster yet typical homeowners’ policies won’t cover the damages from flooding. In 2019 nationally, the average flood insurance claim payment was $53,301 and the average flood insurance premium payment was $674. To learn more about flood insurance coverage and the National Flood Insurance Program, find a flood insurance provider here.

Severe weather has affected thousands of Tennesseans already in 2020. To help Tennesseans better prepare for severe weather, TDCI reminds consumers of the following tips to remember before and after severe weather strikes:

  • Create an emergency kit that includes bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription medications, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and a small amount of cash.
  • Re-evaluate your existing homeowners policy at least once a year to ensure your policy provides adequate protection for your needs. It is important to note that traditional homeowners policies do not cover floods, so if you are at risk, you will need additional flood specific coverage.
  • Please visit TDCIs’ consumer disaster recovery resources page for more storm recovery information.

If you have a dispute with your insurer about the amount or terms of the claim settlement or questions about filing a claim or about your insurance policies, contact our team at (615) 741-2218 or (800) 342-4029. File a complaint online here.

Financial Security 

Scam artists seek to use emergencies and times of uncertainty to prey on investors’ fears. Before making an investment, investors should ask the following questions:

  • Is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk? All investments carry risk that you may potentially lose some or all of your money. Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying. No one can guarantee an investment return.
  • Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment? If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and puts you on the spot, don’t be afraid to walk away. Chances are the offer is not legitimate.
  • Is the person offering the investment, and is the investment itself, properly registered? For the same reasons you would not go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, you should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products. If an investment opportunity appears too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.

Consumers who suspect they might be a victim of securities or insurance fraud should contact the Tennessee Securities Division – Financial Services Investigations Unit at (615) 741-5900. To file a complaint online, visit us here.

Reopening Safely

TDCI is committed to Governor Bill Lee’s plan to help safely reopen Tennessee’s economy and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We urge Tennessee business owners and consumers to take the Tennessee Pledge. When visiting a Tennessee close contact business, remember:

  • Whether you work at a salon or shop or if you are a customer, please wear a face covering and practice recommended social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Remember: “Further is safer.”
  • Every customer should get a temperature check. Customers with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on the premises. Any employee or customer who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, coughing, chills or signs of an infection) should leave the premises immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing.
  • All salon and shop employees should wash hands between serving each customer, and more frequently as necessary. They should also disinfect the work station area in between customers.

If consumers visit a shop and see something that looks unsanitary or is a violation of the reopening standards, they should speak up. Contact our team or your local health department today to report behavior that could compromise the health and safety of others. If you have questions about a cosmetology or barber shop, call (615) 741-2711 or file a complaint online. Looking for disciplinary actions? A full list can be found here.

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