Ten Steps to Prepare for a Windstorm

Ten Steps to Prepare for a Windstorm

Whether it be hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones or another type of windstorm – contractors never know when they’ll hit. When the worst happens, small business owners can be in a world of hurt.

Windstorms can have a disastrous effect on company offices or jobsites. Small business owners have a lot to lose when damaging storms come through. Property damage and business interruption are typically covered by insurance coverage, but time out of business can hurt the company’s reputation, which can lead to a loss of market share.

Every business needs to be ready. Here are 10 steps to prepare for a windstorm.


1. CREATE A PLAN

Write down exactly what needs to happen if a windstorm does hinder the business. Detail exactly who in the organization is responsible for what. Assemble any emergency supplies that could be required. Then put together a list of contractors, vendors and other services that could come in handy during an emergency.


2. SECURE THE PERIMETER

Make sure the outside of the building is prepared for a storm. Fasten down any and all loose equipment. Move items indoors if needed. Remove any large trees or limbs that could damage any buildings in the area during a windstorm.


3. TAKE CARE OF THE ROOF

Inspect the roof and make sure no repairs are needed. A roof can take a lot of damage during a windstorm so make sure it is in excellent shape.


4. FUEL UP

Before the storm hits, fill up gas tanks of fire pumps, generators, equipment or company-owned vehicles so they don’t run out of gas during a time of emergency.


5. PROTECT WINDOWS AND GLASS

Any window or door that has glass must be protected. Find these areas and attach pre-fitted windstorm shutters. This will seal the perimeter, which ensures no broken glass.


6. PROTECT ELECTRONICS

Computers, machinery and all electronics will be damaged if water reaches them. Right before the storm, try to cover all electronics with a plastic tarp and move things to a safe location. Backing up data is also essential.


7. WATCH FOR CHEMICALS

Are there chemicals on hand? If so, make sure they are properly and safely stored. If not, a storm could cause such chemicals to react in a violent manner if they come together accidentally.


8. PREPARE FOR THE FLOOD

Vulnerable openings around buildings should be covered with sandbags. Electronics should be moved to a higher elevation and covered with a plastic tarp. Turn off the electricity in the building once the storm and flood are nearing.


9. TURN IT ALL OFF

If the storm is nearing, turn everything off. From electricity to gas lines to all flammable sources – make sure everything is off.


10. UNDERSTAND INSURANCE

After the storm has hit, check the insurance policy, including type and level of coverage. Different events can be insured in different manners in certain locations. This includes landslides, tree damage, flash flooding and more. Small business owners have a duty to ensure their business is properly covered by any threat, especially windstorms.


Anthony Kammas is a Partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc. He serves as the secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) of N.Y., is a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council. With over a decade of property and casualty experience, Anthony is an industry leader specializing in real estate and construction insurance. In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion. Anthony and Skyline Risk Management procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015. 


THE SKYLINE DIFFERENCE

Other brokerages take a cookie cutter approach to insurance and outfit their customers with generic coverage.  Skyline is different.  We believe insurance should be built on innovation and experience. We appreciate the fact that every engagement is unique and understand proper coverage requires a deep understanding of the underlying business and individual.

"The opportunity to safeguard your concerns is a privilege we never take for granted."

Understanding Coverages and Exclusions of Contractor’s Professional Liability Insurance

Understanding Coverages and Exclusions of Contractor’s Professional Liability Insurance

Contractor's professional liability insurance is a facet of the construction industry that continues to blossom. This growth is good news in many ways. It provides the opportunity for more thorough coverages, more competition and an ability to obtain better overall coverage than ever before. 

However, the growth of contractor’s liability insurance also highlights some common pitfalls that its owners can be subject to if they are not careful. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) regulates contractor’s liability insurance for the entire industry. Even so, each policy can be different. Each insurance carrier has different standards, provisions and exclusions that can take a loss that is entirely covered by one policy and make it into one that is not covered at all under another policy.

MISUNDERSTOOD COVERAGE

One of the most important areas things to watch out for is a gap in coverage. Assuming that one coverage covers all of a contractor’s insurance risks is a dangerous mistake to make. The purpose of contractor’s professional liability coverage is to protect the contractor against any design flaws caused by them or a third party. It is a critical coverage by all means, but does not always provide for every type of unexpected incident that might occur on the job site.

A coverage that can be essential in bridging that coverage gap is pollution coverage. The purpose of pollution coverage is to protect against damages incurred from pollutants in the course of construction. Damages can include injury to a person, damage to property and even cleanup. Sometimes pollution coverage is included in a contractor’s professional liability policy, but other times it is not and has to be purchased as a separate policy. Knowing whether or not the policy contains coverage for pollution introduces us to another area in which to be cautious.

POLICY LANGUAGE

There is nothing more essential in the process of making sure that the business has the coverage it needs than knowing the specifics of the coverage it has. An understanding of what each coverage includes, as well as ensuring that it is fully comprehended how each coverage works in the event of a claim, is imperative to making sure the policy properly covers needs. Policy language can include lots of jargon and unclear terms, so stay informed by asking the agent for clarification on anything that is not understood.

Along with ambiguous language, word definitions can be another trip-up. Some insurance terms can have different definitions from carrier to carrier. Placing a different meaning behind the same insurance term can lead to entirely different coverage than expected in the event of a claim. A perfect example of this is auto insurance, where many people use the term “full coverage” loosely. Some use the term to mean physical damage coverage and to others it implies that policy includes every single coverage available. Pay attention to any words that may have a vague meaning.

EXCLUSIONS

Exclusions to the policy can be a big game-changer regarding whether or not the company is covered. Knowing the specifics of any policy exclusion on the contractor’s professional liability insurance policy creates more awareness of possible coverage pitfalls. Not only can exclusions render coverage useless in certain situations, but violations of some exclusion can also result in insurance fraud.

The best step toward ensuring that a policy covers everything it needs to do is to make sure that it is clearly understood what the policy covers and what it does not. If questions remain, contact the company’s insurance agent.


Anthony Kammas is a Partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc. He serves as the secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) of N.Y., is a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council. With over a decade of property and casualty experience, Anthony is an industry leader specializing in real estate and construction insurance. In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion. Anthony and Skyline Risk Management procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015.

Mitigate the Risk of Subcontractor Default With a Surety Bond

Mitigate the Risk of Subcontractor Default With a Surety Bond

By Yannis Legakis

By Yannis Legakis

The construction industry has been an ever-changing environment during the last decade as it adapts to the rise and fall of the market. Project owner demands and requirements have increased.

With all these changes in play, it becomes a fair question whether bonding subcontractors is still an important part of the business. The answer is a resounding yes. As the construction industry changes, so do risks.

The primary purpose of a surety is to financially protect the obligee (in this case, the general contractor) if the principal (subcontractor or supplier) does not fulfill contractual obligations. With the changes in the market, there are new reasons that this promise is so vital for contractors.


TOUGHER COMPETITION

Increased competition in the marketplace presents more than one factor to the changing construction climate. During the recession, construction was one of the hardest hit industries. Although still recovering, the industry has yet to see conditions equivalent to what they were before the fall of the market. Demands of owners have changed and become surprisingly stringent. More responsibility than ever falls on the heads of contractors from the expectation to finish uncompleted designs to the need to lower overhead costs significantly to stay competitive. With increased responsibility comes an increased opportunity for risk.


ENORMOUS RISK

The likelihood of subcontractor default is a scary, but relevant, factor in construction. A recent risk study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and FMI places subcontractor default as one of the three highest risks in construction. Other major risks include highly detailed and onerous contract language and a shortage of skilled laborers.

Some subcontractors have not adjusted to today’s market and as a result may not have the skilled labor needed for the job or the ability to bid competitively. That may leave the remaining subcontractors with more work than they can handle, leaving them open to default.


SURETY BENEFITS

A surety bond can help combat these risk factors. The surety will prequalify the subcontractor and protect the contractor from financial loss if the subcontractor fails to live up to its contract. Before a subcontractor can be bonded, it must undergo scrutiny of its financial condition, ability to perform the work and experience.

Contractors are in many ways in a more precarious position than they were 10 years ago, with more liability risks being tossed to them every day. However, the risks are manageable. With proper management of these risks, contractors can know that they are protecting their business. One of the best ways to mitigate subcontractor risk is with a surety bond.


Yannis Legakis is a Partner at Skyline Risk Management, located in Queens, NY. Skyline is an Insurance, Surety and Risk Management agency, with a specialty in construction, whose clients range from 3MM to 200MM in annual sales.

Mr. Legakis has more than 15 years in the construction insurance and bonding space, with three of those years working as a controller for a construction company, which gave him an invaluable overall view from both the agency side and the contractor side. He has authored several nationally published articles on the topic of Prevailing Wage Fringe Benefit Programs and Accounting. Mr. Legakis graduated from Penn State University in 1996, with a BA in Health Policy Administration. 


For more information about mitigating the risk of subcontractor default with a surety bond contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600.

What project, transaction, market trend or product has had the greatest impact on your industry this year?

What project, transaction, market trend or product has had the greatest impact on your industry this year?

The continued existence of the Scaffold Law (NYS Labor Law sections 240/241) which imposes “absolute liability” for elevation-related injuries on contractors and property owners in N.Y. This unique to N.Y. law continues to hurt the construction insurance market and every year including this one, more carriers leave the market because of the massive risk it subjects them to. This in turn drives up construction costs and makes it very difficult to procure proper coverage for N.Y. construction.

Insurance Industry Sees Challenges with New York City Crawler Crane Requirements

Insurance Industry Sees Challenges with New York City Crawler Crane Requirements

The Department of Buildings of the City of New York’s (DOB) recent move to better regulate crawler crane operations in New York City has led to concern for some in the insurance industry that a stricter regulatory environment could make a difficult coverage area even more challenging for insurers, according to several industry participants.

The new requirements resulted in an ongoing lawsuit filed last month against the DOB and its commissioner, Rick D. Chandler, claiming they are too burdensome for crane manufacturers and operators – a criticism echoed by some in the insurance industry.

“With this new regulation, claims could theoretically improve, therefore improving underwriting, but administrative costs will go up as well. I do not personally believe insurers will hustle back into New York due to these new regulations,” said Jeffrey Haynes, senior vice president and crane and rigging practice leader at USI Insurance Services. “This will not be a positive thing for insurers to want to jump back into writing cranes.” - Jeffrey Haynes

The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York by the Building Trades Employers’ Association on behalf of its members, comes after the DOB issued a June 2016 Commissioner’s Order containing new requirements for crawler cranes.

The order was issued in response to a February crane collapse in New York which killed one person. Following the crane collapse, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio formed a new working group, the Crane Safety Technical Working Group, to recommend policies to improve crane safety.

“The City’s crane rules are there to protect people’s lives,” a DOB spokesperson said in an emailed statement to InsuranceJournal. “We look forward to reviewing this action and are confident we will prevail.”


Challenges for Carriers

Several insurance industry participants have expressed concern, however, that higher costs associated with regulatory compliance and recordkeeping, coupled with an already present risk for insurers of construction projects involving cranes in New York City, could push insurance carriers out of this coverage area.

Anthony Kammas

Anthony Kammas

“The market of carriers available to cover projects that involve cranes in New York is already very small,” said Anthony Kammas, Professional Insurance Agents of New York (PIANY) secretary and principal at Skyline Risk Management. “This regulation is putting more burden on the crane manufacturers and operators, which in turn adds additional cost to their underlying insurance. The premiums are going sky high, and a lot of the carriers are putting crane exclusions on their policies because they don’t want to deal with anything that involves cranes. If that continues, there will be a tremendous increase in premiums.”

New York is an already risky place for construction projects due to its density, and a stricter regulatory environment could negatively impact the risk/reward profile for insurers of construction projects involving cranes, according to Allen Wolff, shareholder at Anderson Kill.

“It’s a big question mark right now, and a lot of people in the industry are legitimately concerned they may face this increased expense but see no significant decrease in accidents,” he said. “At that point, regulations are burdensome and impose additional cost with no real reward. New York has always been a place where insurance is expensive and difficult to obtain, and there are some insurance companies that are probably disinclined to take that risk in this environment, whereas they might be more inclined to take that risk in a different environment.”


Push for Flexibility

One aspect of the order that many in the industry view as particularly burdensome is a one-size-fits-all approach, according to Wolff.

He pointed to one example in the lawsuit highlighting a rule in the Commissioner’s Order, which restricts crane operations in winds of 30 mph or greater. Although this DOB rule has been in place since 1968, it has rarely been enforced, according to the court document.

“Crawler cranes come in all shapes and sizes – they can be small enough to reach a three- or four-story building or tall enough to go up to a 15- or 20-story building,” Wolff said. “To apply the same standard across the board doesn’t seem, at face value, the most prudent way to go about it.” - Allen Wolff

Enforcement of the 30 mph rule could significantly increase construction costs without providing much corresponding benefit, since frequently returning cranes to non-operational mode can be risky, according to the Building Trades Employers’ Association in its court filing.

“High winds can cause a crane payload to act like a sail and move unexpectedly, imperiling the lives of workers and the public,” the DOB spokesperson outlined in an email regarding the rule.


Beyond Cost

Although some are calling for a more flexible approach to regulating crawler crane operations in New York, it is too early to tell if the current regulations will raise premiums, Haynes said. That said, any move to improve the safety of crawler crane operations in New York should look beyond cost, Kammas added.

“Obviously, regulations can be good, because no one wants to go out there and put anybody’s lives in jeopardy,” he said. “No one wants anyone to get hurt, and when the situation arises, you can’t think of dollars and cents. You need to think of how to get it resolved as safely as possible.”

One benefit that could be seen if fewer insurance companies begin entering the marketplace is unexpected upside while the industry adjusts to regulatory changes, Wolff said.

“If fewer insurance companies are coming in to underwrite the risk, it may turn out that there is such a need in the industry and such a market opportunity in underwriting, that with a few tweaks, exclusions or modifications, insurers can re-enter the marketplace,” he said. “Some insurance companies may have a really great upside.”

Although it is too early to predict any potential outcome, the best way for the insurance industry to determine how to move forward is to watch what happens with the regulations as a result of the current lawsuit, Wolff explained.

“It is possible that one of the by-products of this will be a renewed effort to have discussions and meaningful engagement around this topic,” he said. “If it gets city administrators and the DOB directly in contact with industry participants, it could lead to some modifications to these regulations that make them more palatable to the industry and yet satisfy the concerns of regulators following the accident. No one wants to see injury or catastrophe – not the industry or the city – but there has to be a balance.”

The Queens Tribune 2016 Real Estate Market Place Awards

The Queens Tribune 2016 Real Estate Market Place Awards

Skyline Risk Management Partner: Anthony Kammas receiving his award from the Queens Tribune 2016 Real Estate Market Place Awards.

Skyline Risk Management Partner: Anthony Kammas receiving his award from the Queens Tribune 2016 Real Estate Market Place Awards.

Anthony Kammas is a partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc. He also serves as the secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) of New York, a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council. 

With over a decade of property & Casualty experience, Anthony is an industry leader specializing in real estate and construction insurance. In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion. Anthony and Skyline Risk Management, Inc. procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015. 

Top Five Reasons for Contractors to Consider Environmental Insurance

Top Five Reasons for Contractors to Consider Environmental Insurance

 
 
 

Most construction contractors are acutely aware of their need for general liability, workers’ compensation and inland marine insurance.

Construction contractors rarely consider that their company may end up in court for performing work that damaged the environment, but it happens more frequently than imagined.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that construction contractors have a significantly high potential for contributing to environmental damages. The EPA considers general contractors, subcontractors, engineers and architects as suspect when it comes to environmental pollution and the resulting damages pollution causes. Unfortunately, some contractors may not recognize the significant risk of environmental claims.

CASE STUDY

A small family-owned grading contractor was hired to excavate some trenches on the perimeter of a construction project. The soil that was excavated was temporarily piled up on a nearby vacant industrial property. When the excavated trenches were backfilled by the contractor, the excess soil was spread across the construction site and used for grading purposes.

Shortly after the completion of the construction project, dioxin was found in other soil at the industrial site where the excavated soil was temporarily stored. After further testing, dioxin was also found in the soil that was spread around the construction project. After EPA testing had been completed, it was determined that the contamination had also seeped from the surface into a water supply.

A number of parties to the project were found liable for the pollution, which included the grading contractor, which became responsible for a multi-million-dollar cleanup. The grading contractor, a family-owned business that had survived for three generations, no longer exists.

IMPORTANT REASONS FOR CONSIDERATION

Certainly, a typical environmental pollution case should motivate contractors to consider environmental insurance, but if not, consider that:

  1. most general liability and professional liability policies exclude coverage for pollution claims;
  2. spills of toxic chemicals that are stored and used at jobsites such as solvents, finishers and fuel can lead to a pollution claim;
  3. exposure results from hazardous materials such as fiberglass, asbestos, lead paint and mercury that is not properly disposed of;
  4. due to lack of a safe drainage strategy, stormwater runoff from project sites may occur; and
  5. inadvertently puncturing an underground pipeline or storage tank may result in the release of hazardous materials.

All of the episodes listed above can affect general contractors and subcontractors as well. Any contractor or subcontractor that becomes a party to a project can be held directly or indirectly responsible for a pollution claim and the significant costs of remediation.

ENVIRONMENTAL INSURANCE COVERAGE

Fortunately for construction-related contractors, there is a standalone environmental insurance product that can provide financial protection for defense costs, settlement agreements and judgments awarded by the court.

Typically, there are several coverage options for environmental insurance coverage.

  • It can be purchased on a claims-made or occurrence basis.
  • It provides coverage for third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage and environmental damage that results in remediation costs.
  • It can be site-specific for properties owned by the contractor.
  • It provides coverage for storage and staging of equipment used at a covered job site.
  • It has the ability to expand the definition of pollution conditions.

Construction is a highly regulated and litigious industry. General contractors and subcontractors should take steps to transfer the risk of polluting the environment and the costs associated with cleaning up environmental damages.


Anthony Kammas is a Partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc. He serves as the secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) of N.Y., is a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council. With over a decade of property and casualty experience, Anthony is an industry leader specializing in real estate and construction insurance. In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion. Anthony and Skyline Risk Management procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015. 

Who's News

Who's News

Anthony Kammas, President of Skyline Risk Management, Inc., has been elected secretary of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York Inc. An active member of the PIANY, Kammas serves as chairperson of the Government Affairs Committee. He also is a member of the Company/Industry Relations Committee and the National Flood Insurance Program subcommittee. Kammas also is an ex-officio member of the associations NEw York City. 

Construction Concerns–When The Lines Get Blurry

Construction Concerns–When The Lines Get Blurry

By Anthony Kammas, Partner, Skyline Risk Management

Things are changing all the time. In the past when a traditional construction project was being formulated, three important and well-defined steps took place: design, bid and build. Under this method, an engineer or architect provided the design services, a project management company took care of bidding out the project, and the construction contractor built the project. Each party had their own responsibilities and the risks that would accompany them.

But today, those roles and the responsibilities are changing. Because newer projects are more complex and design responsibilities are becoming more fragmented, the parties to a construction contract do not have the defined line between them that used to exist.

As these lines of responsibility between design firms and contractors become blurred, many contractors assume unusual risks that their normal contractor's coverage may not address. Contractors are now assuming risks that need to be mitigated with Professional Liability Insurance.


Construction Management Risks

Contractors today are likely to perform construction management services as an agent of the owner or hold separate contracts with subcontractors. In either situation, the contractor now takes on the responsibility for supervising the subs, scheduling and cost estimating. These types of activities create a specialized standard of care and a corresponding professional liability risk. The contractor no longer acts just as the builder of the project but is now responsible for design recommendations and project management. In the past, this was a three-part process done by three different firms.

Which Coverage for Which Risk?

We know that the general liability policy will provide coverage for losses caused by ordinary construction means and methods as long as there is resulting bodily injury or property damage arising from the occurrence. However, the professional liability policy will provide coverage for damages that result from rendering or failure to render professional services.

Circumstances such as project delays, cost overruns or having to reinforce a faulty structure wouldn't be covered under the commercial general liability but would be covered under a professional liability policy if it was caused by professional negligence.

The Contractor's Solution

Many insurance companies that specialize in the construction industry now make available the Contractor's Professional Liability Policy. This policy is a good solution for contractors that are involved with project design and construction management. Although policies differ by the carrier, most will provide the following coverage:

  • Broad professional services definition
  • Pollution Liability
  • Blanket additional insured coverage for clients of the "Named Insured" for pollution claims
  • Coverage for joint ventures
  • Prior firm coverage
  • Supplemental coverage for insured expense reimbursement
  • Coverage for innocent insureds
  • Automatic extended reporting period
  • Optional three-year extended reporting period
  • Claims-made coverage with circumstance reporting provision
  • 25,000 claims mediation credit
  • No lead or asbestos exclusion
  • Excess limits on specific projects
  • Coverage can be primary or excess
  • Subsidiary coverage
  • Worldwide coverage


Once a contracting firm gets involved with the design, bid or management of a project, the gate to professional liability risks are flung wide open and a standard Commercial General Liability policy falls short on many levels. If you perform any of these design or project management functions you should inquire as to whether a professional liability policy should be part of your overall insurance plan.

Anthony Kammas is a partner at Skyline Risk Management, a New York-based insurance company that specializes in construction and real estate insurance.

Anthony Kammas, Partner
Skyline Risk Management
30-50 Whitestone Expressway, Suite 402
Flushing, New York 11354
Phone: +1.718.267.6600
Direct Phone Line: +1.347.577.9887
Fax: +1.718.224.5511
Akammas@skylinerm.com
www.skylineriskmanagement.com

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Skyline Risk Management President Anthony Kammas Elected PIANY Secretary

Skyline Risk Management President Anthony Kammas Elected PIANY Secretary


Anthony Kammas, president of Skyline Risk Management Inc., a New York based insurance company that specializes in construction and real estate insurance, was recently elected secretary of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York Inc., at a meeting of the association's board of directors at PIANY's headquarters in Glenmont, N.Y.

An active member of PIANY, Kammas serves as chairperson of the Government Affairs Committee. He also is a member of the Company/Industry Relations Committee and the National Flood Insurance Program subcommittee. Kammas also is an ex-officio member of the associations New York City Advisory Council. PIANY is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.

"It is an honor to be part of this organization, and I look forward to contributing to its growth in the years to come," said Kammas. "The PIA has opened many doors, helping us take our business to the next level."

Skyline Risk Management, based in Flushing, New York,  is licensed in nine states and territories including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Florida.  During 2015 in New York City new construction costs for residential projects grew to an all time high of $18-billion, almost double from the $10-billion in 2014 of which Skyline procured insurance for almost $1-billion of the cost in 2015.

PIANY members meet with their congressional representatives

PIANY members meet with their congressional representatives

(L-R) Holender, Rep. Collins and Kubera. (L-R) Bartow, Rep. Rice and Kammas. 

(L-R) Holender, Rep. Collins and Kubera. (L-R) Bartow, Rep. Rice and Kammas. 

Professional Insurance Agents:

PIANY Vice President Fred Holender, CLU, CPCU, ChFC, MSFS, and PIANY immediate past President Anthony A. Kubera, CIC, met with Rep. Chris Collins, R-27; and PIANY Director Anthony Kammas and PIANY-YIP President Jason Bartow met with Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-4. The PIANY members met with their district representatives as part of PIA National’s Advocacy Month program, which encourages PIA members to meet with their lawmakers in their district offices during the month of August. 

Anthony Kammas & Skyline Speak at Queens Chamber of Commerce Real Estate Expo

Anthony Kammas & Skyline Speak at Queens Chamber of Commerce Real Estate Expo


Skyline Risk Management's Anthony Kammas Speaks at Queens Chamber of Commerce Real Estate Expo

Skyline Risk Management Inc. Founder Anthony Kammas was one of several invited speakers at the Queens Chamber of Commerce's Real Estate Expo 2016 at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows, Queens, along with special guest, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. 

Other panelists included: Chuck Merritt, president at Merritt Environmental Consulting Corp; John O'Connor, senior vice president and loan officer in the Commercial Real Estate Lending Department of Flushing Bank and Swain Weiner, president and founder of Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties.

Kammas spoke on one of several panels on a wide variety of current real estate topics, including environmental contamination and how it affects real estate: "If Contamination is Discovered Can Your Deal be Salvaged?

"When purchasing real estate, an insurance broker is crucial for helping to protect an investment from the risks associated from environmental and pollution liability," advised Kammas."The potential impact of this type of risk may be minimized through the purchase of environmental liability insurance."

According to Kammas, property owners and their lenders are exposed to a series of risks associated with the environment. "Protecting their interests requires an accurate assessment from a trusted and knowledgeable insurance broker," added Kammas who advised the group that an environmental liability policy will protect an owner on a claims made basis. 

NYREJ: Executive of the Month

NYREJ: Executive of the Month

Executive of the Month: Kammas co-founder of Skyline Risk Management: Brings unparalleled years of experience and knowledge to industry


Anthony Kammas, Skyline Risk Management, Inc.

Anthony Kammas, Skyline Risk Management, Inc.

New York, NY Construction is booming in New York City. In 2015, construction more than quadrupled to 88 million s/f, up from 21 million in 2009. It is a phenomenon that is familiar to many New Yorkers who on a daily-basis must weave their way through scaffolds and wait patiently as trucks bearing heavy equipment cross their paths.

The construction boom, however, has cost a lot. Accidents have nearly doubled since 2009, with regulations and requirements putting more responsibility on general and subcontractors for injuries to employees and passers-by. The result has been an astronomical increase in insurance costs, driving up the construction costs. Today approximately 10% to 20% of a development project’s budget goes toward insurance. Construction companies and subcontractors report skyrocketing premiums that in certain cases have even tripled. 

This situation has created a new breed of insurance broker who specializes in construction and real estate insurance. Skyline Risk Management was founded in 2012 by Anthony Kammas and three partners with a combined 45 years of experience helping both builders and real estate professionals understand their unique insurance needs.

Today, the New York-based Skyline Risk Management, a major construction insurance agency, is licensed in nine states and territories including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Florida. 

Shown (from left) are: Skyline's Partners George Menexas, Anthony Kammas, Yannis Legakis and Antonia Sellis

Shown (from left) are: Skyline's Partners George Menexas, Anthony Kammas, Yannis Legakis and Antonia Sellis

 

“Skyline Risk Management knows the demands of today’s business world and provides the expertise necessary to give contractors and developers a much-needed edge in the marketplace,” said Kammas, who runs Skyline, along with partner George Menexas; surety partner Yannis Legakis and benefits partner Antonia Sellis. Manoli Kalamotousakis serves as vice president and general counsel.

Kammas and the team at Skyline bring unparalleled years of experience and knowledge of the industry and community they serve. Kammas was recently named secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) New York chapter, and serves on the boards of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic American Leadership Council.

  In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all time high of $18 billion, almost double the $10 billion spent in 2014. “Skyline procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015,” said Kammas. “Unfortunately, many development projects – over 30 percent of them – are not properly insured.” 

Kammas cautions companies to find out if their insurance coverage is adequate before something happens that will test it. “Disaster can strike at any time,” said Kammas, a native New Yorker, who now lives with his family in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

As an active player on the national insurance scene, Kammas recently spent two days in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill meeting with U.S. senator Chuck Schumer ofNew York and other key legislators to urge elected officials to support bills which would open the flood insurance market to private carriers.

“The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market,” said Kammas, who is a board member of the PIA of New York and chair of the PIA’s governmental affairs committee.  “The goal is to provide private flood market insurance and competition so the government is the carrier of last resort. That will help with the pricing of such coverage.”

According to Kammas, Skyline Risk Management omits needless coverages and costs for clients. ”We treat the relationship as more of a partnership,” said Kammas, who says the company methodically reviews each client’s organization, its current coverage and operations, including five-year plans, to manage and customize insurance plans by means of risk identification, risk analysis, insurance plan design, implementation and review. 

 While most construction coverage offers only property casualty, Kammas says Skyline Risk Management customizes insurance programs through the use of various alternative risk products and services such as: captive formation, owner controlled insurance programs (OCIP) and contractor controlled insurance programs (CCIP), often referred to as “wraps,” self-funded plans, safety services, bonding and surety, subcontractor default, professional liability, pollution liability, owner’s and contractor’s protective liability (OCP), railroad protective liability (RRP), builder’s risk insurance and equipment floaters to insure against stolen equipment.

“We help clients procure proper coverage at a competitive price.  When creating an insurance plan, we take into account all of our client’s goals including optimizing employee retention and increasing bonding limits,” adds Kammas who grew up in Astoria, Queens and attended Iona College in New Rochelle where he received a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Economics from St. John’s University.

Many companies have seen the effects of claims, a lot of them huge, by injured workers and bystanders.  As a result of this pressure and others, insurance premiums have risen in New York in recent years. “Companies have found that going to a company like Skyline Risk Management has helped them get the best value for their insurance premium dollar,” said Kammas.

In today’s world, legal action by a client or customer at some point is almost inevitable. “Whether there was an error committed by the company or not, most often these claims are not covered under a standard liability policy,” said Kammas.  

Lawsuits, he said, can happen at any time, without warning, so it is imperative to take the necessary steps to prepare for such an event because, even if the company has done nothing wrong, defending oneself costs precious time and money. The right insurance can mitigate these risks.

“We‘ve paved the way for completely personalized insurance programs that cover every aspect of a company’s current and future needs,” said Kammas. “With every client we have the chance to help build something remarkable and never take that opportunity for granted.”

Insurers call on government to open flood market to private carriers

Insurers call on government to open flood market to private carriers

Real estate owners in New York and around the country may be in line for much-needed relief in obtaining lender required flood insurance, according to Anthony Kammas, partner at New York-based Skyline Risk Management, a major construction insurance agency.

Kammas, Secretary-Elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) New York Chapter, recently spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and other key legislators to urge elected officials to support the House of Representative Bill (HR2901) and Senate Bill (#1679) which would open the flood market to private carriers.

“The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market,” said Kammas, who is currently a board member of the PIA of New York and chair of the PIA’s governmental affairs committee.

“The goal is to provide private flood market insurance and competition so the government is the carrier of last resort. That will help with the pricing of such coverage.”

According to Kammas, the government flood program is reauthorized annually, but the PIA wants to get it authorized for 10 years so that there is a sense of stability within the marketplace.

The House vote is set for this week and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee is set to debate the bill for consideration this summer.
“Senator Schumer is very supportive of flood insurance and we are waiting to see what he and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey are going to do,” added Kammas, who said the US government lost nearly $24 billion because it set flood insurance premiums too low and did not collect enough premium to cover claims.

“Now with new actuarial rates, private carriers see some money can be made,” added Kammas, who explained that even if the bill passes, the NFIP will still be able to offer flood insurance, but they will no longer be the primary provider of flood insurance.
Kammas is a partner at Skyline Risk Management, a New York-based insurance company that specializes in construction and real estate insurance.

During 2015, New York City new construction costs for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion, almost double from the $10 billion in 2014 of which Skyline procured insurance for almost $1billion of that total cost in 2015.

On his trip to D.C., Kammas joined with hundreds of his fellow agents from across the country as part of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents’ 2016 Federal Legislative Summit.

“PIA is an aggressive, activist organization that is never afraid to speak up and speak out on behalf of our members and clients,” added Kammas.

Source: Real Estate Weekly

Kammas of Skyline Risk Management lobbies U.S. lawmakers on flood insurance protection

Kammas of Skyline Risk Management lobbies U.S. lawmakers on flood insurance protection

May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016

New York, NY Real estate owners in New York and around the country may be in line for much needed relief in obtaining lender required flood insurance, according to Anthony Kammas, partner at New York-based Skyline Risk Management, a major construction insurance agency.

 Kammas, secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) New York Chapter, recently spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and other key legislators to urge elected officials to support the House of Representative Bill (HR2901) and Senate Bill (#1679) which would open the flood market to private carriers.

“The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market,” said Kammas, who is currently a board member of the PIA of New York and chair of the PIA’s governmental affairs committee. “The goal is to provide private flood market insurance and competition so the government is the carrier of last resort. That will help with the pricing of such coverage.”

 According to Kammas, the government flood program is reauthorized annually, but the PIA wants to get it authorized for 10 years so that there is a sense of stability within the marketplace. The House vote is set for this week and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee is set to debate the bill for consideration this summer.

 “Senator Schumer is very supportive of flood insurance and we are waiting to see what he and U.S. senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey are going to do,” said Kammas, who said the U.S. government lost nearly $24 billion because it set flood insurance premiums too low and did not collect enough premium to cover claims.

“Now with new actuarial rates, private carriers see some money can be made,” said Kammas, who explained that even if the bill passes, the NFIP will still be able to offer flood insurance, but they will no longer be the primary provider of flood insurance.

 Kammas is a partner at Skyline Risk Management, a New York-based insurance company that specializes in construction and real estate insurance. During 2015, new construction costs for residential projects grew to an all time high of $18-billion, almost double from the $10-billion in 2014 of which Skyline procured insurance for almost $1-billion of that total cost in 2015.

The company is licensed in nine states and territories including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Florida.

 On his recent trip to D.C., Kammas joined with hundreds of his fellow agents from across the country as part of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents’ 2016 Federal Legislative Summit. “PIA is an aggressive, activist organization that is never afraid to speak up and speak out on behalf of our members and clients,” said Kammas.

Source: New York Real Estate Journal (NYREJ)

Two Bills Seek to Expand Flood Insurance Policy Writing to Private Carriers

Two Bills Seek to Expand Flood Insurance Policy Writing to Private Carriers

Building Designs + Construction - Legislation:

May 11, 2016 - John Caulfield, Senior Editor

Thanks to new floodplain maps, this market, previously the sole province of a federal program, looks more profitable. 

Flooding in Hoboken, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy in late 2012. New legislation would allow private carriers to offer flood insurance. Image: Jean-Paul Picard/Fund for a Better Waterfront.org

Flooding in Hoboken, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy in late 2012. New legislation would allow private carriers to offer flood insurance. Image: Jean-Paul Picard/Fund for a Better Waterfront.org

AEC firms and their developer clients should be watching the progress of two bills wending their way through Congress that, if passed, could become important first steps toward opening the writing of flood insurance policies to private-sector carriers.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act of 2015, on a vote of 419-0. The U.S. Senate is currently reviewing similar legislation, SB 1679, on which it is expected to vote this summer.

The bills expand upon the controversial Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which clarified the intent of Congress to get the private insurance sector to develop flood-insurance products that could compete with taxpayer-subsidized policies offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

That program is more than $23 billion in debt and has more than $1.1 trillion in total property exposure. NFIP’s main problem has been that it hasn’t been charging policyholders enough for flood coverage, explains Anthony Kammas, a partner with New York-based Skyline Risk Management, surety and insurance brokerage, who is also Secretary-Elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA).

Biggert-Waters called for the phasing out of subsidies and discounts on flood insurance premiums, and pushing more risk onto private-sector insurers and policyholders. Under Biggert-Waters, 5% of policyholders—including owners of non-primary private residences, business properties, and “severe repetitive loss properties” that are subject to redrawn floodplain maps—would have incurred 25% per year rate increases “until the true risk premium is reached.” Another 10% of policies would retain their NFIP subsidy until the owners sell their houses or let their policies lapse.

Policyholders screamed about those premium hikes, especially since the new maps put a lot more real estate within floodplains.

“It became clear that flood insurance needed to be repriced,” says Kammas. By the government agreeing ultimately to more gradual premium increases that would be priced using actuarial models, “private carriers started to think that they could make money on a primary basis.” Kammas adds that reinsurers are looking for places where they can put investors’ dollars to work.

Last month, PIA and a contingent of members spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, to urge them to support the bills that would open up the flood market to private carriers.

Kammas says the association’s goal is not to eliminate NFIP—“it will never disappear,” he says—but to make it the carrier of last resort. Kammas acknowledges that NFIP would be needed to provide flood insurance in flood-prone areas for which private carriers are less likely to offer policies. PIA also wants Congress to reauthorize the government flood program for 10 years, instead of annually, which the association believes would lend more stability to the marketplace.

Under NFIP’s “write your own” program, private carriers are allowed to service coverage that’s written by NFIP (Skyline does this). If the Senate passes SB 1679, the next step, says Kammas, would be to get private insurers engaged in offering their own flood-insurance products. (He could not provide names, but Kammas says a number of private insurers have policies that are ready to go.) The terms and conditions of such policies still need to be worked out, however, including their pricing.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, because there’s no historical information in place,” says Kammas.

He says AEC firms and developers need to be paying attention to how floodplains have been rezoned, and to make sure their policies are in compliance with their lenders’ requirements. They should also make sure that, in the event they choose to switch coverage to a private carrier, their current policies provide a continuity of coverage. And lastly, given how there’s no competitive pricing currently, policyholders would need to price-shop carefully to make sure they are getting the coverage that matches their needs at the lowest price.

Source: Building Design + Construction

A Step Toward Disaster-Recovery Sanity

A Step Toward Disaster-Recovery Sanity

Congress can open the door to private flood insurance

The U.S. House of Representatives edged U.S. flood insurance policy—and with it, risk financing needed to rebuild after losses from flooding—closer to rationality with a unanimous vote April 28. It approved H.R. 2901, which opened the path to more participation of private insurers. Right now, flood insurance is available primarily via a subsidized federal flood insurance program and is generally excluded as a risk in privately purchased property coverage.

The federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has accumulated a roughly $24-billion debt, says Anthony Kammas, a partner in insurance broker Skyline Risk Management in New York City, because the U.S. government set premiums below actual risks and failed to collect enough to cover claims.

The NFIP legislation in 1968 allowed policies to be written prior to flood insurance rate maps, primarily for property owners in high-risk areas, says Insurance Journal, and now about one out of five NFIP policies has subsidized rates. In essence, U.S. taxpayers finance the risk of property owners in flood-prone areas.

Private insurers aren’t asking to take over yet. The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, for example, doesn’t support immediate shifting all flood insurance to the private sector. Kammas, who is active in the association’s New York chapter, says that with real underwriting of flood insurance rates and the continuation of federally subsidized rates, the federal government should gradually become the flood insurer of last resort rather than the only choice.

Meanwhile, the private flood insurance industry is awaiting new, more realistic flood maps to be completed—as well as a multiyear reauthorization of NFIP.

Although private-sector insurers aren’t always regarded with the same warm respect that is enjoyed by other sectors of the business world, they inject a necessary discipline. That discipline will be needed in an age of violent, unpredictable weather. Significantly, disaster insurance reform has united a coalition of anti-tax advocates, insurers and environmentalists.

Some collaboration is already taking place. Policy website SmarterSafer.org (formerly Americans for a Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy), for example, counts among its members the Natural Resources Defense Council, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and insurers Chubb Corp. and Allianz. Its encouragement of policies that don’t incentivize living in hurricane- and flood-prone areas and of NFIP reform that includes accurate maps, risk-based rates and a focus on mitigation seems to represent one sensible approach.

Meanwhile, the broad coalition of industries and associations that supported the bill passed by the House will be needed to push the Senate to adopt its version. There are good reasons for supporting it.

Source: Engineering News-Record

NEW YORK CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE EXECUTIVE LOBBIES U.S. LAWMAKERS ON  FLOOD INSURANCE PROTECTION

NEW YORK CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE EXECUTIVE LOBBIES U.S. LAWMAKERS ON FLOOD INSURANCE PROTECTION

Anthony Kammas, Partner in Skyline Risk Management,

Meets with Senators Schumer and Menendez in Washington D.C.

New York, NY – April 28, 2016 –Real estate owners in New York and around the country may be in line for much needed relief in obtaining lender required flood insurance, according to Anthony Kammas, partner at New York-based Skyline Risk Management, a major construction insurance agency.

Kammas, Secretary-Elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) New York Chapter, recently spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of  New York and other key legislators to urge elected officials to support the House of Representative Bill (HR2901) and Senate Bill (#1679) which would open the flood market to private carriers.

“The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market,” said Kammas, who is currently a board member of the PIA of New York and chair of the PIA’s governmental affairs committee.  “The goal is to provide private flood market insurance and competition so the government is the carrier of last resort. That will help with the pricing of such coverage.”

According to Kammas, the government flood program is reauthorized annually, but the PIA wants to get it authorized for 10 years so that there is a sense of stability within the marketplace. The House vote is set for this week and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee is set to debate the bill for consideration this summer.

“Senator Schumer is very supportive of flood insurance and we are waiting to see what he and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey are going to do,” added Kammas, who said the US government lost nearly $24 billion because it set flood insurance premiums too low and did not collect enough premium to cover claims. 

“Now with new actuarial rates, private carriers see some money can be made,” added Kammas, who explained that even if the bill passes, the NFIP will still be able to offer flood insurance, but they will no longer be the primary provider of flood insurance.

Kammas is a partner at Skyline Risk Management, a New York-based insurance company that specializes in construction and real estate insurance. During 2015, New York City new construction costs for residential projects grew to an all time high of $18-billion, almost double from the $10-billion in 2014 of which Skyline procured insurance for almost $1-billion of that total cost in 2015. 

The company is licensed in nine states and territories including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Florida. 

On his recent trip to D.C., Kammas joined with hundreds of his fellow agents from across the country as part of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents’ 2016 Federal Legislative Summit. “PIA is an aggressive, activist organization that is never afraid to speak up and speak out on behalf of our members and clients,” added Kammas.