PA$$WORD: Protect your data


Protect your personal data by upping your PA$$word game!

Now days with all of our information accessible on the internet, it is easier for hackers to get into our information. If you are like me, I have a hard time remembering different passwords for each of my hundreds of accounts that I have. This includes, but is not limited to bank accounts, retail store accounts, email accounts, etc. I end up using 3 or 4 passwords for all of my accounts, but THIS IS VERY BAD! If someone gets one password that is used on multiple accounts, there is a possibility that the hacker could get even more information about you.

Step Up Your PA$$WORD Game!

  1. Use a longer password. Passwords that are longer and have more components to them are harder for hackers to get. Try to have your passwords 12-16 characters long. I know this seems really long, but I promise it is worth the extra millisecond it takes for you to type those last few characters.

  2. Use special characters. Special characters, numbers and capitalization all help to make your passwords stronger. The more you use, the better off your passwords are.

  3. 1 password for 1 account. Use each password only once.

  4. No personal connection. Your passwords should have no personal connection to you. For example, you should not use the last 4 digits of your social security number, your phone number, pet names, family member names, etc.

  5. Change your passwords regularly. It is best to change your password every 3 months or so. The more frequent that you change your passwords, the safer your personal data is.

  6. Store your passwords in a secure location. If you can memorize all of your passwords, good for you! That is the safest place for your passwords. There are good password management tools online that will keep your passwords in a secure location. For example: Last Pass, Dash Lane, Sticky Password, etc.

Here are a few examples (do not use these passwords as your own):

Good Passwords:




Bad Passwords:




Increasing Car Insurance Premiums in Minnesota

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If your auto insurance policy has recently renewed, you’re probably paying more than you did at this time last year.  Most auto insurance companies across the nation are following this trend.   And, Minnesota car insurance premiums aren’t the only ones on the rise. In fact, auto premiums have generally been increasing since 2012 across the United States. 

No matter if you have a clean driving record, obey all traffic signs, and are a Minnesota Nice driver on the roads, your auto insurance premium may still be increasing.  Here’s why:


More Distractions

  • ·Distracted driving claims are huge factors in auto rates:

o   60% of teen crashes involve distracted driving according to AAA.

o   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every day, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

More Fatalities

  • An upward trend in fatal car accidents is expected once all the data for 2016 is processed.  The National Safety Council expects fatal accident to have risen by some 6% year in 2016; the highest number of total of fatalities since 2007.

More Data

  • Costs of repairs to diverse types of vehicles, how well vehicles stand up to accidents, rates of accidents in various parts of the country, etc. are all monitored closely by insurance companies.

More Severe Weather

  • Weather affects more than just homeowner’s insurance. Disasters such as hail storms, floods, tornadoes, etc. ends up costing millions in car damages which auto insurers cover through comprehensive insurance.
  • Even though we may have had a mild weather year in Minnesota, if your insurance company has policies and claims in other states, the expense gets spread around to all policy holders.
  • The insurance companies are indeed paying out (and losing) more for comprehensive claims than they have in over a decade. The hurricanes in the southern states have been a significant factor in the recent increases.


Looking forward, we need to hope for a mild storm season across the United States. Hurricane Matthew cost the insurers billions in 2016, and the hurricanes that hit Texas (Harvey) and Florida (Irma) this year are not helping the insurers out very much.

Calmer weather isn’t the only thing that needs to happen to keep auto rates in check.  There is also going to need to be a reduction in the amount of accidents on the roads.


The list above may make you feel as if your auto premiums are completely out of your control.  But, there are some things you can do:

  • Keep your eyes on the road.  Keep your mind on driving.  Keep your hands on the wheel.

o   Turn off your phone or notifications when in the car

o   Place your phone in the backseat or in a spot that you cannot reach while you’re at the wheel.

  • Reduce or eliminate other distractions while driving

o   If a child needs your attention, pull over before handing them their snack.

o   Don’t eat or drink while driving.


·         If you’re 55+ years of age – take a Driver Improvement Course and save 10% on your auto insurance.  Visit the Minnesota Safety Center to learn more and enroll today. 

·         New driver in the household?  Consider the Teen Crash Prevention Skills course for them.


Casazza, Craig. “Why Are Car Insurance Rates Still Going Up?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23    May 2017,          going-up/2/#74474d1d347a.