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Archive for August, 2011

Insurance For Events

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

As we approach September, I am reminded of the Oklahoma State Fair.  It has been held in September as long as I can remember, and it has always rained during the fair’s time here.  This year we have suffered a horrible drought and heat wave, so I will not be complaining.  However, it does make me think about all the other events held throughout the year and what Event Insurance policies have been purchased.  There is an unwritten rule that where large numbers of people are gathered, there is always risk of bodily injury or property damage.  Risks are many times not fault of the event’s organizer but of weather.  An example of this is the recent tragedy of a stage collapsing in Indiana due to high wind.

 

But there are other types of exposures to be considered.  Event coordinators or even the venue itself becomes legally liable alone due to contractual language of a signed lease.  Also these events may suffer a monetary loss due to cancellation of the planned event.   Purchases for weather insurance, or other unforeseen risk such as fire and earthquake rendering the venue unusable may be made.  Other exposures may include liquor liability, rides, and petting zoos for which an insurance policy may be purchased.  If you are planning an event, talk with your insurance agent regarding possible exposures or one of ours to be assured of obtaining proper coverage.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

Directors & Officers Or Public Official Liability

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Most public and private officers and directors policies are written as a D&O policy.  But there is another to be considered.  It is the POL or public official liability.  This policy is usually written for municipalities, it can also be written for other governmental agencies.  It may be used for many public organizations as long as the organization can be considered “an entity”.  Both policies cover wrongful conduct, but wording within the policies may differ greatly. 

 

The definitions of “wrongful conduct” are specifically named within the D&O policy, but not so in the POL.  Also the reference within the policies to “any act” or “negligent act” is to be of a major consideration.  As a general rule, the more restrictive definition, the smaller the premium which also equates to more constrictive claim payments.  The reverse is also true.  The broader definition within a policy, the more premium will be paid, to equal larger claim payments.  If you have questions regarding your coverage need, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

Bed Bugs And General Liability Insurance

Monday, August 29th, 2011

When growing up in a small, rural, Southern Plains town, my grandmother would come for a visit in the summer.  She had a strange saying to us when it was time for us to go to bed.  It was “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite” and she would chuckle.  I suppose because I did not know what that meant.  As I got older and putting my own children in bed I would always remember that phrase even though I never said it.  Today, however, because these critters are in the news, I now know what she really meant. 

 

Bed bugs were essentially extinct while I was growing up, but because of more extensive travel both in the U.S. and abroad, there is a resurgence of infestation even in the most exclusive locations.  Now the reason I am speaking of this is insurance companies are in a quandary as to how they should respond to the claims against the Commercial General Liability policy rising out of this hazard.   Regarding a 1st party (our insured ) claim, the policy specifically excludes damages to property from an infestation of insects or rodents.  However, the liability to a 3rd party is not so clear.  There is a duty to defend and maybe indemnify a 3rd party and there have been some very sizable awards from the courts. 

 

I recently watched a documentary about dogs being trained to sniff out these little creatures, and properly trained, are quite successful.  But this takes time, and training is expensive.  In the meantime, insurance companies are looking for ways to help insureds contain exposure.  If you have questions regarding your coverage, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

 

Insurance As A Bedtime Story

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Insurance policies are meant to be bedtime stories for adults.  When a policy is purchased insurance agents should be educating the new client of its’ value to them.  In other words educating the client as how the policy coverage pertains to the business risks of that client.  Most people view insurance as a necessary evil but also know they cannot handle a potential loss of any magnitude on their own.  However, most people are unaware of how the policy works and when it pays so instead of being educated about the purchase, they obtain experience after a loss.

 

In my 30 years experience, most people simply want to know what insurance will cost for their particular business.  However, the purchase should be made upon answers relating to questions regarding a particular business risk.  Agents who pursue asking more questions about a business than necessary just to obtain a price are building a relationship which reflects a genuine interest in protecting the client’s financial assets.  By complete understanding of risk potential an agent’s advice can avoid unresolved claim issues later.  Therefore, purchasing the proper insurance coverage allow the business customer to sleep at night.  If you have questions regarding your coverage, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

Catastrophe Claims

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

The insurance industry, as a whole learned a great number of lessons from Katrina and believe we are much better prepared to handle catastrophe claims.  When these occur, most insurance companies do not employ the number of staff adjusters and look to outside adjusting agencies.  Many of the agencies employ what is called “storm troopers”.  They are adjusters, usually independent adjusters, who are called upon to enter a storm ravaged area to settle claims for a particular company quickly and efficiently on an overflow basis.  Obviously every company would prefer to handle claims themselves, but due to number and severity of claims, it sometimes is not possible so outside claims adjusting companies are called in to bid on these jobs.

 

The bidding is where some adjusting agencies took a beating in Katrina.  To obtain the contract these companies may have over estimated their ability and skills of staff.  To fill numbers of adjusters, many were employed without sufficient claim experience.  Even today, insurance companies find themselves re-opening claims closed over 5 years due to inadequate estimates.  In addition, insurance companies sometimes failed to adequately project the possible number of potential claims, adding to the problem.

 

Today, companies have the technology in place and foresight to project the possibility in numbers of potential claims, and have the ability to forecast several scenarios.  Adjusting workloads, training programs, level of experience are also programs put into place and managed.  Systems have been implemented to aid immediate claims response.  These programs are all designed with customer service in mind.  If you have questions about you insurance policy, please ask your local agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

Tornado Outbreak With Hurricane Irene

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Continuing with Hurricane Irene preparedness, I want to remind our Atlantic coastal friends about possible tornados which may accompany Irene.  It is quite common for a significant number to form and create havoc causing much of the damage as the hurricane itself.  These usually begin with the thunderstorms created with the hurricane and often produce large hail, damaging winds, and possible tornados.  Being from Oklahoma, we are well acquainted with tornados and their destruction.

 

Most generally tornados begin as transparent, whirling wind until they pick up debris.  Oklahoma has an excellent warning system in place and is home to the National Weather Center in Norman, Ok. located on The University of Oklahoma’s campus.  The watch and warning systems in place are critical in reducing loss of life and property.  With this hurricane approaching, citizens especially within the band width area of Irene need to be watchful and aware of how quickly these tornados may occur.  The number one thing to remember is to know where shelters are located in your community and number two is decide if you have enough warning time to get there.  After that decision, do not second guess it and never try to outrun a tornado.  If it appears standing still, it is coming directly to you.  Seek shelter immediately.  Listen to the storm’s approach on TV or a NOAA weather radio and take precautions advised.  If in a building, go to the lowest level available.  If a lower level does not exist, move to an interior room or hallway and cover your head and body as much as possible to avoid flying debris.  I have used bicycle and football helmets for my children.  Stay away from windows and doors.  Mobile homes and small steel buildings should be abandoned.  If driving, get out and seek the closest, lowest level for shelter watching out for rising creeks and culverts.   Your insurance policy should cover damage to your property, but if you have questions, please ask your agent or one of ours.

Hurricane Preparation

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The U.S. is looking at the first landfall hurricane of the 2011 season and many cities, municipalities are advising to prepare for this disaster.  For inexperienced people, they are having to learn what this means.  In simplistic terms, it means making plans.  Without delay, the decision to leave or stay must be made.  If leaving, know where to go.  This means buying gasoline for the vehicle, and making arrangements with friends, relatives, or hotels out of the hurricane’s range of destruction and leave early enough to avoid congestion of traffic.  Secure property and take valuable and personal information with you, such as prescriptions, identification papers, bank information and insurance policies with contact numbers.  Be sure your cell phone is fully charged.

 

If staying, secure your property early.  Stores quickly run out of plywood, generators, water and food the closer a storm approaches.  Be sure to have batteries and a NOAA weather radio on hand.  Choose a long distance relative or friend as a contact to be responsible for notifying your other relatives and friends of your conditions after the storm passes since many communication lines will be down or for emergency use only.  Have on hand enough food and water to last 3-7 days and mostly be consumable without need to cook.  Don’t forget a hand or battery operated can opener and paper utensils.  With personal information mentioned above, place in a water-tight container.  Stock a first-aid kit, have extra cash on hand, preferably small bills, as ATM’s and credit card machines may not be working.  Again, be sure to fill up tanks for your vehicles, as it may take some time for gasoline pumps to be working.  Keep a small set of basic, non-electric tools handy and make arrangements for pets.  If power outage does occur, have plenty of books, games and toys on hand that do not require electricity.  If you have questions regarding your insurance, please contact your agent or ask one of ours. 

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

Small Business Professional Liability

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Many small business owners have typically not worried about professional liability claims.  However, due to the past few years economy, those worries are now increasing.  We are seeing small business sued who in particular rely on web services.  As our technology increases, so do our exposures.  Most business owners are turning to automation to increase their productivity and expand their marketing for business development.  However in doing so, there are increased risks often overlooked.

 

The risks of which I speak include hackers, viruses and other cyber attacks.  Failing to prevent these attacks are costly and time consuming for the business, but also expose their customers to breach of private information.  Business owners are now turning to insurers to help recover some of the money lost due to these conditions only to find it not to be a covered cause of loss under the Business Owner Package policy.  Many professional liability insurance companies exclude certain items also so each policy must be examined closely.  If you have questions regarding your insurance policy, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

 Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

 

Hotel Insurance

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Last week we talked about the travel industry’s rebound within the economy.  Even though it has been slow it has been a steady increase.  Hotels in particular are a good indicator of that increase.  However, the past couple of years has caused owners and directors to take a look at the bottom line of revenue sheets and reconsider expenses.  Insurance policies for these entities are not immune in cost cutting decisions.  However, in the Commercial General Liability policy there are some areas each hotel must consider when looking for ways to decrease insurance costs.

 

Some of the most crucial coverages to be considered are guest discrimination coverage, valet parking services, employee dishonesty, and “green” building coverage.  Other coverage to be considered with resort amenities and spas are health care professionals as employees, abuse and molestation, and pollution exclusion give back.  Pollution buy back is important for pool chemicals and golf course pesticides.  Resorts with spas are vulnerable to abuse and molestation claims as well as claims against the spa’s health professional.  If you have questions regarding your travel industry’s General Liability insurance policy, please contact your agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

 

Heavy Construction Insurance

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

One might believe heavy construction has come to a standstill due to the economy, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Infrastructure is still being maintained and advanced.  Funding is still there for many government projects and private projects.  However bidding for those contracts may have changed.  There are a lot of joint ventures now bidding and sharing payroll, equipment and materials due to streamlining job costs.

 

There are inherent risks with this type bidding, construction risks, and insured’s contractual obligations of which the client should be aware.  Along with insurance, these contractors are facing smaller profit margins, rising costs of materials and more conservative financing.  Even so, the outlook for heavy construction is good.  Insurance is being re-evaluated though.  Some are reconsidering umbrella limits, and moving from guaranteed cost programs to loss-sensitive.  Many are taking advantage of risk management services.  If you have questions regarding your Heavy Construction insurance needs, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.