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Commercial Insurance Blog

What happens if I get diesel fuel by mistake?

Posted by Jane Logan on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 @ 04:45 PM

Fuel from a gas station damaged my engine who pays for the damage? 

What are the signs of diesel fuel in a gas engine?

  • Engine misfire

  • Sputtering

  • Stalling

What are the signs of gas fuel in a diesel engine?

  • Sluggish performance

  • Engine stops running

  • catalytic convertor overheating

Gas pumps for gas and diesel are different sizes and colors, however if the gas delivery tanker delivers fuel to the wrong underground storage tank you won’t know you’re getting the wrong fuel!

If the wrong type of fuel is added to your tank and you notice right away (at gas station) don’t operate the vehicle, notify the gas station, get the complete name of the person that you report the incident to, ask for a receipt for your purchase and try to get the name of their insurance company or agent then:

  • Have the vehicle towed to a mechanic

  • Contact the gas station insurance company or agent to submit a claim for the damage to your vehicle as well as any other expenses such as towing, rental while your vehicle is in the shop.

Getting a receipt is critical if you paid cash for the gas to document you purchased gas at the station.  Bad gas from a gas station usually results in many claims so the insurance company may be aware the station sold bad gas, however you still need to prove your claim, having a receipt will be key inrecovering your damages from the gas station

Whenever you pay cash for gas, always get a receipt – it could save you thousands of dollars in engine repairs if you get the wrong type or bad fuel.

Tags: car damage, fuel, gasoline, gas station, bad fuel, diesel

Liability Tips for Information Technology Professionals

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

Network Administrators and managed services providers help businesses function at the speed of light.  But other businesses are out there testing how to penetrate firewalls or otherwise gain access to valuable information that can be readily resold on the dark web.

If a penetration is successful, and ransom ware is installed, or accounts compromised, or worst of all, private data released to the public, will the client hold the service provider responsible?

It depends on the amount of damages for one.  Professional services by IT professionals are similar to other professionals: if an error or omission causes the client harm and they sue, well there's insurance for that. Liability tips for Information Technology Professionals

A hot area of insurance today is cyber liability, the insurance that protects the company for the financial expense of a hack.  As outlined above, it should include protection for ransom ware, data theft, release of 'personally identifiable data', and may include regulatory fines such as those called for in 201 CMR-17 here in Massachusetts.

For IT professionals who watch over these business systems, professional liability and cyber liability really are one and the same.

Fortunately, custom insurance products have been developed that recognize this crossover of threats, interests and damages. 

What's an IT company to do to keep the professional liability insurance costs low?

To keep the cost of professional liability insurance low, begin with a good service contract.  This is part of a broad risk control technique known as 'Contractual Risk Transfer" (video).  Contractual risk transfer is a fancy way of saying we're transferring the risk back to the client, and enforcing this with a contract.

Another step is to have documented steps for all service personnel: this facilitates billing the customer (if hourly based), and provides an added measure of defense in case it's alleged that someone simply skipped an important task.

Finally, good communication with the client, both written and expressed verbally throughout the contract, that services imply no guarantee of safety from the powerful forces trying to steal information from servers you protect.   The best defense could in fact be recommending that every customer with data of any value, consider their own liability insurance. Because even if you do have insurance, you don't want to be the only party in the room who does.

 

Get a Quote

Tags: IT, insurance, liability, Cyber Liability, personal information protection

Yikes did someone draw outside the lines with the crayons?

Posted by Paula McDarby on Thu, Dec 29, 2016 @ 01:30 PM

What is professional liability for? Is it just for guys who wear suits?

NO!! If you are in the business of performing a service or providing advice you better be 100% right 100% of the time, never gonna happen right? You are going to need Professional Insurance.

We live in a “lawsuit happy world" so if and when you get slapped with one because something you designed or said went terribly wrong or due to your negligence, you are going to need this in your back pocket.

I’m not sure if you are aware of how much a typical lawsuit runs these days but they are usually looking for a whole pile of cha-ching$$$. Most of us don’t have extra millions lying around for these incidents however a professional liability policy will respond to the sharks!

court.jpg

 

So who needs this?

Lawyers, Engineers, Architects, Realtors, IT Consultants, Insurance Agencies (yes, even we make mistakes) Accountants, Medical Field, Hairdressers & many more. 

What does a Professional Policy Cover?

Alleged or actual negligence

Misrepresentation

Inaccurate advice

Defense Costs

Personal Inury

Copyright infringement

Claims & Damages

 

If you would like to discuss your potential for this exposure, let’s talk.

Tags: commercial insurance, coverage, professional liability, lawsuits

A rock hit my windshield, who pays for repair?

Posted by Jane Logan on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

Truck on road.jpg

When you’re driving down the road and a vehicle in front of you kicks up a rock or other debris, do they have to pay for the damage to your vehicle?

Rocks and other types of road debris break windshields, damage vehicles and injure people every day.  An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports over a period of four years road debris caused over 200,000 accidents resulting in 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries with 2/3 of the accidents caused by debris falling off vehicles and 1/3 of accidents caused by debris kicked up from the road.

  • When another vehicle kicks up debris, the other driver isn’t at fault – for example, the truck in front of you drives over a rock and it hits your windshield, they’re not responsible for the damage.

  • When another vehicle drops debris (gravel, trash, tools etc.) it’s transporting the other driver is at fault – for example a contractor drops a ladder off their truck, they’re responsible for the damage.

Since road debris and falling objects cause so many accidents:

  • Follow other vehicles at a safe distance

  • Avoid vehicles with unsafe loads

  • If you can’t safely avoid road debris slow down to reduce impact-that may be safer than suddenly changing lanes at high speed and hitting something bigger while going faster

  • If your vehicle is damaged by road debris, you don’t want to be in the position where you’re trying to chase down the responsible vehicle to get their plate number or company name so you can try to get them to pay for the damage. Not only is chasing after a vehicle dangerous, it’s difficult to prove the other vehicle caused the damage and therefore difficult to get them or their insurance company to pay for the damage.

To reduce your financial loss from debris hitting your vehicle, purchase Collision and Comprehensive (physical damage other than from a collision) coverage. Comprehensive coverage includes glass coverage and in many States you have the option for no or a lower deductible for glass damage than other damage covered by comprehensive.

Tags: commercial claims, insurance coverage, roadways, repairs, debris

Do I have coverage for my Drone?

Posted by Paula McDarby on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 @ 03:00 PM

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Technology is moving so fast the laws & insurance industry cannot keep up. This creates a huge exposure that needs to be addressed.

What is a Drone? Something that flies without a person!

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines an unmanned aircraft as “an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.”

(Sec. 331(8) of Public Law 112‐95)

How can they be useful?

  • Construction

  • Engineering

  • Insurance assessments

  • Mapping / geophysical survey

  • Parcel delivery

  • Photography / videography

  • Realty

Regulations in the past only addressed a manned aircraft with passengers & cargo planes or hobby aircraft for recreational purposes.

Congress needed to come up with a fresh plan for these new bad boys, finally in 2015 the FAA authorized approval for the use of drones for commercial or business use which took effect August 29, 2016 where by small unmanned aircrafts could be operated in commercial operations. However, that came with a long list of do’s & don’ts regarding speed, height, transporting stuff etc.

Of course new laws had to be mandated with further restrictions, which are not a bad thing when you think of some ways in which they may do more harm than good.

Drones are prohibited in

  • Hunting or locating animals as game

  • Operating weapons

  • Voyeurism & violating ones privacy

  • Interfering with aircrafts

As it stands now here is how a Commercial General Liability responds to drones:

Two coverage parts

Coverage A – Bodily injury/property damage liability

Coverage B – Personal and advertising injury

Standard CGL includes aircraft and watercraft exclusion for Coverage A -  Removes coverage for liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of aircraft or watercraft that is owned, operated by, rented to, or loaned to an insured.

Coverage B has no specific aircraft exclusion.

So pretty much there is no liability coverage & you it might get the $1000 back that you paid for the actual drone if the drone gets destroyed or damaged. It is likely that your deductible is $1,000.

 

What if my neighbor flies his drone over my house while im sunbathing in the back yard?

Federal lawsuit: Boggs v. Merideth, No. 3:16‐cv‐6‐DJH (W.D. Ky. Filed Jan. 4, 2016

A guy shoots down a drone as it hovers over his teenage daughter while she is sunbathing, seems like a normal reaction right? Not so fast, according to the law the air space above your land is considered national airspace which is federal jurisdiction. In other words it might be my back yard but it's not my space.

The law suit continues as the legal system, federal laws & the FAA try to figure out how they can address all these issues.  If they can’t figure it out and establish laws the insurance companies cannot establish the appropriate coverage to protect ourselves & our business entities.

So the moral of the story is that we don’t know what we don’t know….technology is moving way too fast for us to keep up not to mind trying to foresee what are the ramifications of said technology. 

Tags: commercial insurance, liability, technology, drone, drone coverage

Marijuana in the Workplace

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 @ 10:51 AM

Massachusetts voters recently voted to decriminalize marijuana cultivation, possession and sale for limited amounts. Does this create a problem for employers in Massachusetts?

Pot Cannabis Leaf.pngThe short answer is, of course introducing a longstanding illegal 'controlled substance' into society at large and workplaces in particular will create challenges for businesses.  The good news for employers is they hold a 'hole card': pot is still illegal under federal law. This provides powerful cover for employers when developing workplace rules. 

Some examples for employers' latitude include:

  • Random drug testing can continue such that even weekend use may be prohibited.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act does not overrule federal law on marijuana so an employer may, as a condition of continued employment, prohibit even prescribed medical use by employees.

The most important point today is that employers should review or develop their drug use policy right away.  As with other employment policies, having written and clearly communicated workplace rules guidance is always better than having no rules or unwritten rules, which are subject to interpretation and discrimination.  When developing workplace standards, remember one of the greatest employment practices risk is treating different employees differently because no rules, or unclear rules exist.

So how does an employer develop a drug use policy?  First, assess and analyze the overall workplace rules from the risk angle. Companies with a transportation element face risk every time a driver gets behind the wheel; a no tolerance policy makes sense in these cases.   Same with machine operators, where the risk may be to employees themselves, to co-workers, (workplace safety) or to a production line.  Conversely, a creative or sales organization may not care what employees do on their own time as long as they perform when at work.

What about random drug testing?  An old truth in business is that you get not what is expected, but what is inspected.  If you are going to be serious about a no tolerance drug policy, you have to test for use:  randomly, and consistently.

As with all things in business, there are tradeoffs. One trade-off is with your specific labor pool.  Businesses have different labor needs: certain businesses may draw from a labor pool with higher than median recreational marijuana use.  Call me crazy, but might recreational drug use be higher in creative urban industries than say, insurance or accounting?  If a drug-free policy limits your labor pool for qualified talent, consider whether recreational off-hours drug use is relevant to the functioning of the business.  If it isn't relevant to getting the job done, should the business really care? 

To this last point, as with many employment policies, the overriding factor should be, does off hours recreational marijuana use affect the business that gets done each day?   Or could it affect the safety of your employees, which has a direct effect on costs? (See this article about workers compensation) If it does not, the best approach may be with consistent with alcohol use: on your own time, but never, ever at work.

To discuss this and other employment risk factors affectin gyoru business, let us know;

Business Risk Inquiry

 

Legal & technical disclaimer:  Any advice provided here is not legal advice.  Statements or advice are based on our experience in risk control, mitigation, and transfer, and is believed to be effective and valid when provided.  All legal or contractual wording, including any suggestions offered in a legal context should be reviewed by qualified legal counsel. 

Tags: employment safety, workplace rules, marijuana in the workplace in MA

500 Million Yahoo users hacked - What to do?

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 @ 10:41 AM

Yahoo recently announced that 500 million Yahoo accounts were hacked.  Cyber criminals are already taking advantage of Yahoo accounts, and these guys are very good at what they do,   Here are a few suggestions on steps to protect yourself.

If you are a Yahoo user,yahoo_accounts_hacked-662163-edited.jpg

  • go to Yahoo in your browser (chrome or Internet Explorer) directly. Do not follow a link in any email. Reset your password and make it a strong, complex password with letters, numbers and symbols, or a pass-phrase.
  • If you were using that same password on multiple websites, change them, Using the same password all over the place is an invitation to get hacked.  If you did use your Yahoo password on other sites, change the password there too.
  • Also, change the security questions and make the answer something non-obvious.
  • Add 2-step verification: any changes to your account, including access from an unexpected computer requires sending a text or getting a call to your phone.

For non-Yahoo users:

  • Watch out for any phishing emails that relate to Yahoo in any way.
  • Be suspicious of Yahoo related emails, including emails that look like they're from people you know who use Yahoo! email accounts.  It might NOT actually be your friend.

This is a major breach in security and should makeus all cognizant of information held on line.

Tags: cyber, Cyber Liability

What is a Package Policy?

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Mon, Aug 08, 2016 @ 04:33 PM

Success_Starts_Here_Freeway_Style_Desert_Landscape.jpgA package policy is a type of insurance policy that usually includes more than one kind of insurance policy. The most common package policy brings property coverage, such as for buildings or business contents, together with liability, such as premises liability or product liability.

One advantage to packaging coverages is the cost. When a single company can provide coverage for several lines of business, such as property, liability, business income, and so forth, they can offer pricing considerations.

A business owner's policy is the most common type of package policy, but other package policies comprise the majority of commercial insurance programs when more than one line of insurance is written by the same insurance company.

For example, a company with no property except a marine and liability exposure could have a package policy covering those two lines. A package policy may be used when the business doesn't qualify for the broadest form, a business owners policy.

Two coverages included in a business owner's policy that might need to be priced specifically are business income and product liability. For example, many restaurants use a package policy because the product liability - food poisoning or choking – needs to be specifically rated.

Similarly some businesses have such large business income and extra expense needs that that coverage also needs to be rated specifically. 

The advantage to a non-business owner package policy is that companies only buy coverages specifically asked for. A business owner's policy includes many many coverages that maybe not necessary but also some that may be necessary but reflect unanticipated needs.

Certain lines are very rarely included under a package policy, most commonly Worker's Compensation, and automobile or fleet insurance.  These generally stay as separate policies because of the combination of the highly regulated nature of these lines and disparate underwriting considerations.

To find out more about what which package policy is right for you, CALL US at (781) 659-2262, Get a Quote, or follow us on any of our social media pages.

 

Tags: commercial, BOP, insurance, business owner policy, commercial package policy, CPP, package policy

What is a BOP?

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 @ 01:52 PM

A BOP is an acronym for Business Owner’s Policy and is a good simple solution for many small businesses’ core property and liability insurance needs.

A typical BOP has three primary sections:

  1. Property coverage for your business property such as furniture, stock and inventory.

  2. Liability coverage in case you are sued or your product hurts somebody.

  3. And business income coverage if your business is damaged such that it cannot operate for a period of time. This coverage will cover lost income including payroll and profits.

 

A business owner’s policy is the insurance industry's answer to small businesses inspired by the homeowners policy that most people have to insure their homes. With a homeowners policy is considerred a “package” of disparate coverages.  The homeowner gets financial protection for their house, their contents (their stuff), liability coverage including defense, and a rental to live in if their house cannot be occupied. The BOP works the same way, but for businesses.   It is also a package of a variety of protections, to include business property: furnishings, stock, and inventory, plus liability and defense coverage.  You can include the building when owned by the same owner too.  Instead of rental coverage included in the homeowners policy, a commercial enterprise needs to cover ongoing business expenses: to pay bills, include paroll and owners’ profit.

It includes these core features, plus a variety of different coverages that some businesses need.  These are usually included automatically.  It is more cost effective for insurance companies to offer a broad array of coverage that most small businesses need, rather than customize and price each policy a la carte.   Thus some coverages in a BOP won’t aply to your business; when cmparing, focus only on those that matter to your operations.

The BOP is good buy it does not do everything.  A risk important for businesses today includes employment practices liability Insurance which is excluded under regular liability coverages as well as most BOPs.  Given the growth in claims for discrimination and wrongful termination, this coverage can either be added to a bop or by buying separate coverage. Similarly liability arising out of a data breach or other cyber attacks are normally not included in a bop. Separate coverage is appropriate.

Naturally the BOP does not include many specialty coverage as such as pollution, directors and officers and other specific needs. A BOP should be written in concert with Worker's Compensation, which protects employees when they are hurt on the job, or business fleet or auto insurance, also always handled separately.

But by itself and when eligible the BOP is a well priced and broad solution for many businesses.

Larger businesses have more complicated needs, and coverages are more appropriately obtained on an à la carte basis. It is common to package or combine the property and liability coverages along with business income protection, in a non-bop policy, but nor is it unusual to use separate policies for all of these needs.

Think the BOP is right for you? Get a Quote today! Or call us at (800) 649-3252

 
 

Geoff.jpg

To find out more about what we can do for you, CALL US at (781) 659-2262, Get a Quote,
Or follow us on any of our social media pages.

Tags: commercial, owners, policy, insurance, Business

What If a Contractor Takes Money but Doesn’t do the Work?

Posted by Jane Logan on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 @ 04:39 PM

what if a contractor takes money but doesn’t do the work

After an insurance claim you’ll probably need to hire a contractor to repair or rebuild your home or commercial building.  

When hiring a contractor you want to be sure they’re insured in case they injure someone or cause property damage while working.  At the very minimum, the contractor should provide you with a Certificate of Insurance showing they have General Liability and Auto Liability along with Workers Compensation coverage.  The Certificate of Insurance should have a current date in the top right of the form and your name in the Certificate Holder area in the bottom left of the form.

 

But what protects you from a contractor who takes your money but doesn’t start or starts but doesn’t finish the job?

Contractor Bonds are a financial guarantee that a contractor will perform as agreed to in a construction contract.  For example, you pay a contractor a $25,000 deposit on a $100,000 job, the contractor takes your money but doesn’t do the work.  If the contractor had provided a Bond naming you as the Obligee (protected person) you’d file a claim with Bond company, they pay you the $25,000 you’re owed by the contractor.

Bonds and insurance are completely different:

  • Insurance pays on behalf of and protects the contractor from having to pay if they accidentally cause injury or property damage to others. The insurance company doesn’t expect the contractor to reimburse them for the claim paid other than the Deductible, if any, applicable.

  • Bonds pay instead of the contractor – the Bond Company pays you but they do expect the contractor to reimburse them for the Bond claim paid.

Because Bonds cover events not accidental or outside the control the contractor, applying for a Bond is more like applying for a loan than applying for insurance.  Bond companies want to know if they pay a claim the contractor has the ability to pay them back.  Even if the contractor asks you to cover the cost of the Bond, it will be money well spent to guarantee you won’t lose your money to a contractor who won’t or can’t complete the work.

For more information on hiring a contractor and the Massachusetts Contractor Guarantee Fund:

http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/home-improvement-contract

http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/home-improvement-contract/guaranty-fund/guaranty-fund.html

Tags: Certificate of Insurance, insurance, insurance claim, bonds, contractor

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