Marrs Insurance Brokers

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Marrs Insurance Brokers is a trading name of The Not Too Boring Company Ltd. Registered in England & Wales, Registered No. 09026225.

Marrs Insurance Brokers is an appointed representative of TEn Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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AUTUMN 2014 - Avoid a Winter of Discontent

As my nearest and dearest depart for a Halloween disco appropriately dressed as Monster High’s Draculaura and zombie sidekick I muse on how much our modern civilisation hijacks the rites of our ancestors and turns them into commercial enterprises.

Halloween has to be one of my all-time irritations – finish a tough day, put your feet up and relax with a glass of wine and last Sunday’s Downton, only to be disturbed by a continuous stream of feral and dubiously attired children accompanied by dewy-eyed Mothers and bored Fathers demanding sweets with menaces; the kids’ sugar rush increasing in proportion to the distance travelled between their house and yours and the amount of goodies consumed in the interim. I thought child obesity was an increasing issue? Here’s an idea – stop stuffing them with sweets…

Allhallowtide is actually part of a triduum, or 3-day festival, probably dating back to pagan times and was held to remember the souls of the departed, not mini Snickers. Curiously (or not, when you start to work out the connection) Mexico’s Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead is also part of a 3-day festival, spanning exactly the same dates as our All Hallows' Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls' Day but here’s the thing, their festival dates back to the Aztecs or even before when celebrations lasted for a month or more (Please no!).

Christmas conveniently mirrors the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia which ran from 17th – 23rd December.

Then we have the Feast of Juul which was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honour of the Scandinavian god Thor or as we know him, Chris Hemsworth.

A piece of the log (presumably now extinguished, hence the expression to log out) was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log. In England, Germany, France and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night and kept as medicine or as a charm. Lovely! Wanted a bracelet, got a box of ash…

French peasants believed that if the ashes were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning. The present-day custom of lighting a Yule log at Christmas is believed to have originated in the bonfires associated with the feast of Juul.

How quaint, how dangerous! Clearly the French peasants either had numerous brimming chamber pots on hand to douse any flames arising from the ashes or an excellent Insurance market at their disposal. A timber recycling plant along the A414 towards Hemel Hempstead caught fire in November 2012 and burned for over 3 months despite the best efforts of numerous fire brigades to put it out so note to clients; hanging on to recently burnt wood is NOT a good idea – avoid!

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the former colonies and apparently started around 1607 when the early European settlers of the New World began earmarking a day of thanks to the almighty for keeping them safe in a pre-Health & Safety environment.

By 1619, the pilgrim equivalent of the local council in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia had drawn up a charter to make it mandatory for everyone to be grateful for their continued survival, which worthy date occurred around 4th December. Everyone was to be legally happy and feuds and arguments forgotten. Sadly this laudable practice lasted a mere 3 years, then most of the settlers got wiped out by a tribe of Powhatan Indians who clearly hadn’t read the script.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln then changed Thanksgiving to Thursday November 26th and in the US at least, it has remained the 4th Thursday in November ever since. Lincoln also wrote his Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address in the same year, despite his country being in the middle of a civil war. An overachiever if ever there was one.

Claims for burglaries increase dramatically at this time of year: Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas. Seems obvious, but when leaving the house to celebrate these, keep your doors and windows locked and set the alarm if you have one, without fail! Many insurance policies make this a condition of any successful claim for theft. If going for ultra-safety, buy a number of timer plugs and have a series of lights going on and off in the house to persuade would-be burglars someone is still at home.

Pilgrim, pagan or party animal, be safe over the coming weeks; thieves target homes this time of year and in a cold snap unlagged pipes in unattended homes can burst, turning kitchens into ponds.

There’s been an increase in ‘fishing’ claims too: Thieves helping themselves to house and car keys by pushing fishing rods through letter boxes and unhooking them from nearby racks. Change the location of any of these to a site far away from the letterbox - I’ve recently had a client lose credit cards, cheque book, her car and also bank statements when thieves dragged her handbag up to the front door and hooked out the keys to her home. It could have been a lot worse if the thieves hadn’t been disturbed while they were in the doorway…

I know I sound like the voice of doom but if we didn’t have calamities we wouldn’t need insurance -then where would I be?

Recent Coffer’s Corners…

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