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7 Tips for Managing Certificates of Insurance

7 Tips for Managing Certificates of Insurance

For those who do not know, a certificate of insurance ("COIs") is a document, which summarizes an insured’s coverage as it pertains to a particular risk. More often than not, COIs are issued to third parties who require evidence that proper coverage is in place. If handled irresponsibly, Certificates of Insurance COIs can be a cumbersome issue for your business. Here are 7 tips for managing certificates of insurance:


1. Get it from the broker:

Did you know an insured is prohibited by law to issue its own COI? In order for a COI to legally be issued it needs to come from a licensed insurance broker. To avoid any issues, ask an insured’s broker for a COI directly.

2. Set specific and concise requirements for EVERY risk:

There is no such thing as a universal insurance policy for every risk you encounter, determine the specific coverages necessary to ask for in the COI. Developing insurance guidelines specific to each risk you manage is the best way to ensure proper coverage. 

3. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns:

At the end of the day, you are responsible for protecting the well-being of your business. If you sense or recognize an insured’s COI is not compliant with your requirements say something. Even if you are wrong, developing the habit of questioning and understanding the coverages listed in a COI will pay dividends for you in the future.

4. Create a system for managing COIs:

This may not be the most exciting part of your day but it will save you from misery in the future. Creating an internal system for managing and overseeing COI is a great way to reduce the risk of improper coverage.

5. Don’t Jump The Gun:

No matter how urgent it is to begin working a job, it is not worth risking the livelihood of your business. All too often businesses permit vendors to begin working on a job without reviewing and approving their COIs. You may get away with this once or twice, however, this bad habit can and will lead to issues moving forward. 

6. Record and Respect the Expiration Date:

One of the first pieces of data to extract from a COI is the expiration date of the policies listed. Ask yourself, what if the insured’s coverage expires in the middle of the project? Record and monitor the expiration dates for all policies listed on the COIs and make sure to follow-up for renewals. 

7. Outsourcing:

Depending on the size of your business, you may not be able to handle a comprehensive system for managing COIs internally. A common alternative is to outsource the responsibility of managing your COIs to your insurance broker. Skyline Risk Management, Inc. can oversee and manage your COIs for you. 

If you have specific questions about how you can manage your COIs, contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 for more information. 


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 Flood Insurance in 2017

Understanding Flood Insurance in 2017

After flying through the House, many believed the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act would zip through the Senate, too. The Act was thought to become law sooner than later. However, things didn't go as smoothly as planned in the Senate.

The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) and their officials continue to work to get the bill through the Senate. They continue to work to get this Act into law.


Understanding the Act

Why is the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act of such importance for NAPSLO? For a variety of reasons, but one seems to stand out: the bill clarifies the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12).

The new Act defines the ability of privately issue flood insurance when meeting a lenders' purchasing requirements. Initially, the Act required lenders to accept private flood insurance for mandatory purchase. Then language was added before the bill was passed that created confusion. Lenders who were evaluating policies for the purpose of complying with mandatory flood insurance requirements became confused.

Now, the Flood Insurance and Market Parity and Modernization Act clearly defines a private flood insurance policy as:

"A policy issued by a company licensed, admitted or otherwise approved by the state."

According to Brady Kelly, the Executive Director of the NAPSLO, the bill strives to clarify a number of items, including the surplus lines market:

"All we're doing in this legislation is clarifying that the Surplus Lines market is, in fact, an eligible market from which to accept a private Flood insurance policy. I say that because Surplus Lines insurers have long written Flood insurance policies — this isn't a new opportunity.

Before BW-12 was signed, our market has always served as a supplement to the NFIP There are a number of homes and commercial properties that don't fit within the terms and conditions of the NFIP policy.

So we've oftentimes served as an excess option, or an option when the NFIP policy doesn't do the trick. From that perspective, the primary goal is to preserve the types of solutions the market was already providing."


No Smooth Sailing

While the bill is hung up at the Senate now, the House was no issue. In April of last year, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act flew through the House with a vote of 419-0.

While the victory seemed like smooth sailing, many have noted the result stemmed from a lot of hard work. The NAPSLO began educating legislators on the bill and the surplus lines marketplace at the start of 2014. These efforts were in preparation for the day the bill reached the House.

According to NAPSLO higher-up Keri Kish, the surplus line marketplace is:

 "It's not something everyone just knows about and understands. Our education really helped them understand how the Surplus Lines market functions as part of the private insurance market — how we developed and why it's important to maintain our ability to provide those options."

Luckily, many believe the failure in the Senate was more due to timing than legitimate concern over surplus lines. The election took a lot of time and energy for those in Washington. Many Senators were in heated state races and didn't have time or concern to hear about flooding.

Once the elections have passed, many surmise the bill will get more focus in the Senate. Not only will the election be over, but increased interest in flood issue will be coming up next year, as the National Flood Insurance Program is being reauthorized.


Optimism in 2017

Many NAPSLO members are excited and optimistic about the idea of the bill passing the Senate in 2017. Kish certainly is:

"I'm confident it will pass this year. There's no reason not to do it now. Ultimately, this is giving consumers choices. I can see no policy concerns in passing it this year."

While optimism is good, we'll have to wait and see if the bill goes through. If issues arise, the potential impact on the surplus line marketplace will certainly be noticed. The bill needs to be passed if the private market is to be a viable alternative to the NFIP.


It Finally Happened! 421-A Gets Extended

It Finally Happened! 421-A Gets Extended

It took months upon months. There was a lot of hand-wringing. Developers threatend to stop a number of multifamily developments if there was no tax abatement in place.

Luckily, that disaster was avoided. Finally, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York came to an agreement. The extension of the lapsed 421-A program that offers tax exemption has been extended.


What It Means?

So what was all the fuss about? The 421-A extension means that eligible buildings in Manhattan must pay an average hourly wage of at least $60 – including all wages and benefits. Other buildings in Queens and Brooklyn are required to pay at least $45 per hour when all wages and benefits are taken into account.

The 421-A extension obligations only apply to buildings in certain areas that meet specific criteria. Only buildings in Manhattan south of 96th street qualify. In Brooklyn and Queens, only buildings in Community Boards 1 and 2 around one mile from the closest waterfront bulkhead qualify.

As well, only buildings with over 300 rental units are obligated to the pay stipulations. Buildings that have 50% or more of affordable housing units are also excluded from the obligations in 421-A.

If a project began before the effective date of the new 421-A agreement, then the project can choose to opt-in to the program if they want to. Of course, these projects must meet eligibility criteria, too.


Understanding the Benefits of 421-A

While the details are important, the reasoning behind the agreement shouldn't be overlooked. Many important people are thrilled with the agreement, especially regarding benefits for low-income New Yorkers. Governor Andrew Cuomo is one of them:

"The deal reached today between these parties provides more affordability for tenants and fairer wages for workers than under the original proposal. While I would prefer even more affordability in the 421-a program, this agreement marks a major step forward for New Yorkers.

The agreement extends affordability for projects created with 421-a for an additional five years–bringing affordability for these units to 40 years. It also allows lower-income individuals to qualify as it lowers the percentage of area median income needed to apply.

Additionally, this agreement rightly delivers fair wages for working men and women – providing a rate of $60 per hour in Manhattan and $45 for certain projects in Brooklyn and Queens. Most importantly until this agreement is finalized, the State Legislature has refused to release $2 billion in state affordable housing funds. I urge the Legislature to come back to Albany to pass desperately needed affordable housing and to sign the MOU to release these funds. We simply cannot allow the lack of resolution to stall affordable housing production for years to come. There is no excuse not to act."


More Info on 421-A

Governor Andrew Cuomo is excited about 421-A for a number of reasons, including:

1. Traditional Worker Standards: Many applaud the amendment for continuing to give construction workers the rights they deserve in New York City. The standards and benefits provided in 421-A go a long way towards keeping workers taken care of.

2. Affordable Housing: The 421-A amendment allows for the development of affordable housing for low-income individuals. This is critical in a city like New York City, which features some of the most expensive housing costs in the world. The 421-A program allows buildings complying with the regulations to stay in the program for 35 years with a property tax exemption. This incentive should keep units with income limitations in the program.


Finally Done!

Overall, the passing of 421-A is set to benefit a number of New Yorkers. The amendment ensures quality wages and benefits for construction workers. It also ensures affordable housing units are created in some of New York's most popular neighborhoods and areas. 

For more information about NYC insurance laws contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600.

Diving into the Dynamic Behind Self-Funding and Voluntary Benefits

Diving into the Dynamic Behind Self-Funding and Voluntary Benefits

Employers have changed how they view health care plans. With all the reforms and high costs, companies struggle to cope with the ever-changing landscape. Employers create benefit plans with employee retention and cost control on their minds. However, many forget about a little helper called voluntary benefits.

Nearly every employer looks to achieve these goals with health care. Offer great benefits to employees without breaking the bank. Many companies achieve this noble goal by using a self funding approach that features a high-deductible. Often, these companies are larger. Recently, smaller companies have taken this approach, too.


The Self-Funding and Voluntary Benefits Dynamic

When paired with voluntary benefits, employers reduce costs greatly while still giving their employees the type of insurance they need. Plus, employees can tailor their coverage with a variety of options.

So why have employers started going the self-funded route? That's simple. Health care costs are rising. By using self-funded services, a company can keep medical expenses down.


What Does Self-Funding Offer?

Self-funding may sound nice in theory, but it's important to understand what self-funding allows employers to do. Overall, an employer can:

1. Control Costs: Self-funding allows employers to control costs, with funding amounts that are pre-determined. This ensures the profit margin of the insurance company is cut down.

2. Protect the Plan: Using stop-loss insurance as an employer can ensure no catastrophic claims exceed the pre-determined amount in their self-funded plan.

3. Only Pay Actual Claims: Instead of paying the margin created by an underwriter, a self-funded plan allows the company only to pay medical claims that actually happen.

4. Keep Track: A self-funded plan ensures an employer can keep track of the plan and accounts. By keeping statistics year after year, an employer can plan for the future management of their self-funded program.

5. Further Savings: Certain self-funded plans save even more money by utilizing a predictive analysis to determine health and wellness. A third-party administrator usually administers this.

Lastly, many companies prefer self-funded plans because they may not be subjected to Obamacare regulations. Since they do not have to follow all the regulations of the Affordable Care Act, the company can tailor plans to the needs of specific employees and groups.


Adding Voluntary Benefits to Self-Funding

Once an employer has a self-funded benefits plan, they can begin to allow voluntary benefits. Voluntary benefits complement the plan and allow employees to meet their every need – without adding unnecessary costs to the plan.

By combining these two options, employers allow their employee the ability to customize the benefits to their unique needs. The benefits of this methodology are vast and allow companies and employees to account for expenses in a detailed manner.


Always Be Communicating

No matter how a company offers health insurance, communication is key. The majority of employees are tired of spending so much money on health care. As well, most have concerns about how the changing health insurance market and reform will impact their families and pocketbooks.

Studies have shown that 95% of employees need an individual to talk to them about benefits information. This means your employees need to speak with an administrator. They want to keep communication lines open when they have questions and want access to resources.

Communication is especially needed when a company offers a self-funded plan with voluntary benefits. The variety of options and costs can be confusing – so being able to communicate with an administrator is key.


A Winning Combination

Employees want great benefits and lower costs. Most companies want similar things in regards to health insurance. As such, many have found self-funded plans combined with a myriad of voluntary benefits options to be a dynamic insurance duo.

For more information about self-funding contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600. 

Actual Cash Value (ACV) Vs. Replacement Cost Value (RCV)

Actual Cash Value (ACV) Vs. Replacement Cost Value (RCV)

Buying items is simple. Selling things is a little more difficult, but still fairly straightforward. As long as humans have been around, we’ve been giving value to certain items, whether it be monetarily or otherwise. “How much does it cost?” isn’t that complex of a question – until it is.

So when it pricing complex? Pricing becomes a problem when claims adjusters get involved. Finding a definitive price for an item not on the market, after depreciation, and so forth is an art form. Well, more like a science. So how do claims adjusters find the true or definitive price of an item?


The Basics

Enter actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost value (RCV). Actual cash value is the cost to replace an item minus depreciation. Replacement cost value is the cost to replace the asset at the full present value.

While these concepts may seem straightforward, things can get complex quickly. Adjusters not only need to decide on the value of an item, but there are also numerous local and state laws that can impact how ACV and RCV are calculated.


Diving Into Differences

Each state tends to handle ACV and RCV a bit differently. For instance, California includes an interesting tidbit in their legislation regarding these issues. In California:

“Actual cash value is the amount it would cost the insured to repair, rebuild, or replace the item lost or injured less a fair and reasonable deduction for physical depreciation based on its condition at the time of the loss.”

While seemingly fair, this leaves pre-loss condition in a tough situation. Many adjusters have found themselves between a rock and a hard place due to this law. Often, it can be difficult to determine what an item actually is – much less its exact condition at the time of the loss.


Unique or Obsolete

Furthering confusing things, an adjuster has to work with obsolete and unique items. Not even item loss will be easily purchased on Amazon.com. No, there will be a variety of items that hold a unique value for the owner. Many of these items will be tough to find pricing for.

 This Honus Wagner baseball card sold for 2.1 Million in 2013

This Honus Wagner baseball card sold for 2.1 Million in 2013

As an adjuster, understanding that one man’s trash could equate to another’s treasure is paramount when dealing with these unique cases. When dealing with these cases, communication is key. The adjuster must work to understand the insured and what he or she places value on. You need to understand the insured and the item before placing a value on it.

When dealing with these items, begin by understanding what exactly the item is, how it was used, and if the insured still values it. Many times, an adjuster will need to dig deep and do some research before giving value to a unique or obsolete item.

If an adjuster is struggling to price an item properly, try:

  • Consulting experts in the field. Look for a certified consultant who can help you give value to a unique, obsolete, or high-priced item. Always verify these individuals’ credentials.
  • Use the Internet. While Internet pricing isn’t the most accurate, you’ll often be able to gather a working knowledge of the item and its value by going online.

Overall, the best way to determine value for an obsolete or unique item is to find a similar item already on the market. Finding a similar kind and like item can ensure fair pricing and valuation for both parties.


Understanding Antiques

Antique items open a whole other bag of worms for adjusters. Not every item that is older is considered a valuable antique. Most items are required to be a certain age and origin to qualify. A minimum of 100 years old is required for an item to be “antique” from an insurance perspective. Adjusters should handle antique items in a similar manner to obsolete and unique items.


Actual Cash Value Vs. Replacement Cost Value

Overall, understanding the actual cash value versus the replacement cost value isn’t that complex. Most homeowners will benefit from RCV more than ACV when an adjuster is looking into their claim. How a state handles these cases and individual policies will go a long way in determining how the claim is calculated.

For more information about Actual Cash Value (ACV) vs. Replacement Cast Value (RCV) contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600

Additional Insured Coverage Confirmed Limited to Contractual Privity in New York

Additional Insured Coverage Confirmed Limited to Contractual Privity in New York

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department decided that additional insured endorsement only provided additional insured coverage to an entity in direct contractual privity with the named insured. The decision reinforces the New York law, which controls policy language entitlement to added insured coverage.


Why the Confirmation?

The New York Supreme Court was forced to confirm this law due to a recent case. Brought to heed on Sept. 15, 2016, the case involved the Dormitory Authority of New York (DASNY), Gilbane Building Co. /TDX Construction Corp (a joint venture, or JV)., and Sampson Construction Company.

The contract between DASNY and the JV stated that all prime contractors retained by DASNY were to name the construction manager as an additional insured under the liability policies. This was a requirement.

Next, DASNY contracted with Sampson to retain its services as a prime contractor in all foundation and excavation labor. In this contract, Sampson agreed to name the construction manager as an additional insured on its commercial general liability policy. The company then purchases a commercial general liability insurance plan from Liberty Insurance.

The policy Sampson procured from Liberty contained the following information about additional insured endorsements:

WHO IS AN INSURED: (Section II) is amended to include as an insured any person or organization with whom you have agreed to add as an additional insured by written contract, but only with respect to liability arising out of your operations or premises owned by or rented to you.

Moving forward – the work Sampson did on the job site allegedly created property damage to the building adjacent. Thus, DASNY filed suit against Sampson and the architect. Then the architect bought a suit against the JV, too. The JV then sought coverage under the Liberty policy that Sampson procured for the DASNY contract as additional insured.

Liberty denied coverage. So the defendants opened a declaratory judgment action against Liberty. Then Liberty made a play for a summary judgment, claiming that additional summary judgment would require some direct contractual privity with the named insured, Sampson.

The court then denied Liberty’s motion on the basis that the policy only required a written contract in which Sampson is a party. This requirement was satisfied when DASNY and Sampson entered a contract. However, this was overturned on appeal based on the additional insured endorsement.

While the Sampson and DASNY contract was evidence that Sampson agreed to provide coverage, the court ruled that this has no impact on the coverage Liberty agreed to provide them. This opened the door for the JV to pursue Sampson on a breach of contract clause, as a third-party beneficiary.


Nothing Has Changed

The concept that New York courts read closely regarding additional insured endorsements determined whether privity was required is nothing new. The Gilbane Court relied on numerous prior decisions with similar language, including:

AB Green Gansevoort, LLC v. Peter Scalamandre & Sons, Inc., 102 A.D.3d 425, 961 N.Y.S.2d 3 (1st Dep’t 2013) (requiring contractual privity where additional insured endorsement stated that “an organization is added as an additional insured ‘when you and such organization have agreed in writing in a contract or agreement that such organization be added as an additional insured on your policy.’”); Linarello v. City Univ. of New York, 6 A.D.3d 192, 774 N.Y.S.2d 517 (1st Dep’t 2004) (same). See also Zoological Soc. of Buffalo, Inc. v. Carvedrock, LLC, No. 10-CV-35-A, 2014 WL 3748545 (W.D.N.Y. July 29, 2014) (requiring contractual privity where additional insured endorsement afforded coverage to “[a]ny person or organization with whom you have agreed, in a written contract, that such person or organization should be added as an insured on your policy, provided such written contract is fully executed prior to the ‘occurrence’ in which coverage is sought under this policy.”)

The JV and courts attempted to distinguish the language in each policy, but the Gilbane Court clearly stated that privity between named insured and additional insured is required. 

For more information about Additional Insured Coverage, contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600

Replacing Obamacare Will Be Harder Than Any Republicans Thought

Replacing Obamacare Will Be Harder Than Any Republicans Thought

President-elect Donald Trump has made many promises as he campaigned for the Presidential election. While no one knows which promises he'll keep and if he'll be able to accomplish many of them, repealing the Affordable Care Act will be difficult. Here's why:


The Repeal

It took President Obama several years to create and complete Obamacare. The system is vast and complex. Plus, it took years just to approve the legislation before any implementation could be completed. Repealing the system is not going to happen overnight.

Millions of people utilize Obamacare. And many Republicans agree that instantly repealing the system could cause a shock to the industry – and not in a good way. No matter what happens, most predict change is inevitable.

Trump could sign a repeal of Obamacare in his first days in office. Then ensure it doesn't go into effect for some time. This would allow Republicans to draft complex plans and policy for the replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Everyone in Congress is confident that repealing the act will be much easier than replacing it.

For example, certain provisions will be included in the new health care laws and mandates. Many Republicans, including Trump, like the age provisions that allows young adults to stay on their parent's insurance plan. Other Republicans are found of provisions that offer guaranteed coverage to all.


Health Insurers & ACA

Health insurance companies are essentially playing a waiting game at this point. The Affordable Care Act was a complete and utter shock to the industry. Many insurers struggled to cope with the various regulations and costs. However, now that the act is in place, things seem to be running smoothly.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare will be anything but smooth. Many health insurance companies are crossing their fingers in hopes of a minor disruption. Most people in the industry don't want to see the shock and chaos that implementing Obamacare brought just a few years back – again!


Getting Into the Details

Obamacare, repealing, and new replacement legislation is going to get tricky. For instance, most believe that guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions is an important piece of legislation. However, many argue that the mandate requiring all Americans to have health coverage is unjust.

Alternatives to the mandate have been discussed. However, most agree that the financial penalties found in the mandate ensure more Americans get coverage. Without the financial penalties, there would be many people who wouldn't buy coverage

Many Republicans, like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have proposed similar legislation to Obamacare. He'd like certain people to receive tax incentives to help people afford the type of coverage they need. He's also interested in protecting people from rising rates for illness – when they maintain continuous health insurance coverage.


Breaking Records

While Obamacare has taken certain hits here and there, the people of the United States have hit a record low of uninsured. More people have coverage in the United States than nearly ever before. In this way, the Affordable Care Act was a success.

Not every aspect of Obamacare has been successful, though. Major insurance companies like Aetna and UnitedHealth Group both withdrew from the program. Premiums have skyrocketed, too. Plus, many Obamacare plans feature high deductible – ensuring many couldn't afford care if they got ill.  


The Reality of Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act will be repealed. With Trump as the President and a Republican House and Senate, the legislation doesn't stand a chance. The reality of the situation is this:

Once the bill is repealed, Republicans and Democrats will have to work together to replace the parts of Obamacare that everyone agrees on. It will take time, a lot of time – as that's just how things work in Washington. Hopefully, the time and change won't have too negative of an effect on the health insurance industry and the American public. 

For more information about health insurance contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. - (718) 267-600.

Everything You Need to Know About Condominium Associations and Insurance

Everything You Need to Know About Condominium Associations and Insurance

Condominiums are popping up all over the United States – and the world. From high-rise buildings in urban areas to townhomes in the suburbs – it's hard to miss these new development efforts. Typically, every condominium offers a few distinctive features:

Common Areas: Places that all residents use like stairs, elevators, and hallways are jointly owned by the unit owners. Each owner's interest is proportionate to the value of his or her unit.

Dwelling Units: The housing unit that is individually owned by the person who bought it.

Administrative Framework: Often, a condominium has an association. This is usually made up by a board of managers, who typically own a unit. The organization manages the common areas and assets. They also set the rights and obligations of the unit owners.


What Condo Owners Need to Know

With the basics out of the way, it's time to talk about insuring condominiums associations. Here are a few items potential condo owners must understand before buying a condominium and having to work with an association:

1. Responsible Associations:

The condo association is only responsible for insuring the common areas of the complex. The interior of the individual units is the responsibility of the owners. Nearly every state requires the association to have insurance for all common elements and bare walls. When insuring a condominium, you'll be quoting for mostly, “walls –in” coverage; unless your condo’s association’s Master Insurance Policy says otherwise.


2. Important Documents:

Before gathering coverage for a condominium association, you'll need some important documents. These sets of documents offer the information needed to see the scope and full extent of coverage required.

  • The declaration of the condominium, which is subjected to a condominium act.
  • The condominium property act that is in effect in the association's state. This defines the boundaries of coverage and responsibilities.
  • To further understand the scope of coverage, you'll need bylaws and various instruments that clarify what is permitted under the act.

Once you have these documents, you'll find condo coverage becomes a lot easier. It'll be simple to itemize and identify which areas will be covered. Then you'll be able to add limits and subject items to coverage.


3. Personal Property:

Condo associations do not offer coverage for personal property. Common items that condo associations like to cover include:

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Fire extinguishing items
  • Appliances
  • Floor coverings

…And more!


4. Errors & Omissions:

No one is perfect. The board of directions for a condo association is no different. Condo association insurance does not cover errors and omissions of board members in a standard policy. For this reason, most associations choose to purchase Errors & Omissions Liability Insurance.

Certain states require the coverage, but some do not. Other states limit the liability of errors & omissions, but many do not.


5. Safe Volunteers:

The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 does not cover volunteers within the condo association, as the act does not defend volunteers against lawsuits. The act protects against tort liability stemming from acts of bodily injury and property damage.

When liability for criminal misconduct, gross negligence, flagrant indifference or safety of others is brought to attention, the act does not cover anything. In these situations, general liability insurance often comes in handy.

It's important to note that certain states have opted out of the Volunteer Protection Act and created provisions concerning these issues within their legislation. Often, a state's legislation will limit the personal liability of volunteers within the condo association.

For more information about insuring a condominium association contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600

5 Ways to Mitigate Risks During Holiday Parties

5 Ways to Mitigate Risks During Holiday Parties

The holidays are here. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and more are some of the best times of the year. They are also some of the most dangerous from an insurance and risk perspective.

See, millions of Americans host family and friends for days and night of joyous celebration during these times. These parties and events often require days upon days of planning, coordination, and more.

Due to the nature of holiday parties, many risks rear their ugly heads during this beautiful time of the year. Many hosts chose to hire vendors to help with the parties and mitigate these risks. This can open a whole other can of worms when your personal liability exposure is taken into account.


5 Ways to Mitigate Risks During Holiday Parties

While thinking about personal liability isn't how to put one in the holiday spirit, there's hope. Here are five easy ways to mitigate risks during holiday parties and limit your exposure:

1. Focus on the Basics

Hosting a large holiday party will require hiring vendors and coordinating the event. However, every single vendor you hire will bring on added risks. To mitigate these risks, you'll need to focus on one fundamental issue. You must make sure every single vendor you work with is bonded, licensed, and insured.

Once you have confirmed these facts, you'll need to understand the details of their insurance coverage. Find out information like:

  • Their carrier
  • Adequate coverage for you event
  • Policy limits
  • References

While you won't be able to talk about a vendor's insurance coverage with a reference, you may get a glimpse into how the vendor responds to a crisis – especially important around the holidays.


2. Get a Contract

Once you found a great vendor to work with, you'll need a signed contract that clearly states the services and functions your selected vendor will provide at the party.

Make sure the contract clearly details dates of services and exact times. Also, it's vital that a contract has a hold harmless clause include. The provision ensures that hosts are not held responsible for damages related to a vendor-related injury or accident.


3. Be Careful with Booze

Holiday parties and booze go hand in hand. “Many a great story” only happened because a holiday party got out of control after the booze started to flow. Still, you need to take a few precautions if you're serving alcohol at your holiday party.

First and foremost – you should only hire a bartending or catering service that insures its staff against any and all booze-related liabilities. This is of the utmost importance.

Next, you need to understand personal liability. It's imperative that you let the bartenders do what they do best – serve drinks. Do not get involved with the pouring of drinks. Bartenders need to card anyone they suspect to be under a certain age during the event. This is the law and will ensure you're not held liable for any underage drinking issues.


4. Pay Attention to Parking

Parking can play a huge role in your holiday party, especially as an event gets larger and larger. Hiring parking attendants or a professional valet service can ensure smooth sailing on the roads during your event. You'll avoid blocking roads, minimize collisions, and ensure the safety of your guests.

As always, you'll need to work with a properly licensed valet company and get a contract in place. Once this is done, you can begin working on a parking plan with the company.


5. Slip & Fall

Finally, you need to pay attention to the weather during your event. With snow, sleet, and ice common in the winter months, you'll need to have a plan in place that gets guests from parking to the party in safety.

To do so - you'll need to prevent slips and falls. Start by removing all ice and snow from any walkway or staircase. Make sure you have salt or sand on hand during the event.

Next, add some additional lighting on walkways to ensure black ice won't sneak up on anyone. Then you'll want to post signage warning guests to pay attention and watch their steps. 

For more information on how to mitigate risk during the holidays contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. (718) 267-6600

What is Long-term Care Insurance?

What is Long-term Care Insurance?

There are roughly 76 million baby boomers in the United States with an approximate average age of 60 years old. It is no secret, as people age, they may require assistance for activities of daily living. Understanding this concept and considering the large population of aging baby boomers, insurance carriers have created a product to help reduce the costs of long-term care. This product is called long-term care insurance (LTCI) and this article well help educate anyone who is considering purchasing this product. 


What is Long-term Care Insurance (LTCI)?

Long-term Care Insurance (LTCI) is an insurance product, which helps to cover the expenses associated with long-term care beyond a predetermined period of time. People who require long-term care are those who have an inability to preform two or more basic activities of daily living.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL):

1. Mobility - ability to "transfer" your body. For example, a persons ability to walk or get out of bed. 

2. Bathing & Showering - the ability to shower yourself

3. Dressing - the ability to dress yourself

4. Feeding - the ability to feed yourself

5. Personal hygiene - the ability to brush your teeth, comb your hair, and other grooming practices. 

6. Bathroom - the ability to use the bathroom independently. This includes being able to get to the toilet and your ability to get up off the toilet. 

If a person is unable to complete two or more of these activities of daily living (ADL) then they are eligible and would certainly benefit from long-term care. 


Who does Long-term care insurance (LTCI) benefit?

Long-term care insurance has many benefits for various people. A common misconception is that long-term care insurance is a benefit only for the person in which the policy is meant to insure.

This is not the case!

Actually, the family members of the insured are the ones who benefit the most. In many cases, long-term care is expensive so when a loved one is no longer able to perform two or more actives of daily living the responsibility of caring for this person often falls to family members. Depending on their financial situation, some families cannot assume this responsibility and cannot afford to hire professional help. 

By purchasing LTCI a person is not only protecting themselves but also the financial well-being of their loved ones.


What does Long-term care insurance (LTCI) cover?

Long-term care insurance covers certain expenses for those who participate in any of the following care facilities:

  • Home Care - this allows a person who requires help with ADL to receive aid right in their own home.
  • Adult Daycare - this is a non-residential facility, which caters to adults who require help with ADL.
  • Hospice care - this services provides care to support people with advanced or terminal illnesses. 
  • Nursing homes - private institutions, which provide aid for elderly people and/or people who require help with ADL.
  • Assisted Living  - provides housing for elderly people and/or people who require help with ADL.
  • Respite Care  - temporary care for a person who requires aid with ADL.

Does my health insurance and/or medicare cover long-term care insurance?

No, traditional health insurance and medicare does not cover you for long-term care. Although under certain financial circumstances medicare may cover a portion of long-term care, an individual will still have to cover the costs of the majority of long-term care expenses themselves.


There is a price associated with everything. The important thing to remember is that if you require long-term care this could really become a financial burden to yourself and your loved ones. Be prepare, be protected and please do not underestimate the impact of long-term care insurance. 

For more information contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600.

Areas Of Caution In Contractor’s Professional Liability Insurance

Areas Of Caution In 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 your 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 you have the coverage you need than knowing the specifics of the coverage you have. An understanding of what each coverage includes for as well as ensuring that you comprehend fully how each coverage works in the event of a claim is imperative to making sure the policy properly covers your needs.  Policy language can include lots of jargon and unclear terms so getting clarification on anything that you do not understand from your agent is a good way to stay informed.

Language.jpg

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 you having entirely different coverage than you expected in the event of a claim. A perfect example of this can be related to 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 you are covered Know the specifics of any policy exclusion on your contractor's professional liability insurance policy. In doing so, you can be more aware of possible coverage pitfalls. Not only can exclusions render your coverage useless in certain situations, but violations of some exclusion can also cause you to commit insurance fraud.

The best step that you can take toward ensuring that your policy is covering everything that you want it to, is to make sure that you are taking the time to understand what your policy covers and what it does not. If you have more questions about Contractor’s professional liability insurance consultant your insurance agent today. 

For more information contact: Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600

9 Real Risks When Using Drones

9 Real Risks When Using Drones

Drones have quickly become a huge industry. Nowadays, you will find drones flying over your head often. These unmanned aircraft systems are piloted from the ground using a control station and offer simple solutions for many a dangerous task.

The drone industry is booming, and most predict it will be a multibillion-dollar sector within years. Industries like industrial inspection, border patrol, photography, fire fighting, and more have all adopted the technology with great success.

Drones & Insurance

Even insurance companies have gotten in on the drone craze. Using drones to survey damage after a disaster has become common practice for insurers. As such, insurance companies know exactly how much risk can be associated with using a drone.

Drones are not cheap, either. Thus, all drone owners should understand and evaluate their insurance options. So here are nine real risks every drone user faces:

1. Crash & Collision

If you are piloting a drone and you cannot see another aircraft, there could be a disaster coming. Mid-air collisions can happen when using a drone. Typically, these accidents will occur with:

1.       Other drones

2.       Helicopters

3.       Agricultural aircraft

4.       Commercial aircraft landing or departing


2. Malicious Attacks

Drones can be used for evil, too. There have been reports of drones being used to target infrastructure, and many have concerns about a drone attacking a large crowd at a stadium or concert.

3. Losing Control

No new technology is perfect. It is common to lose control of a drone. This happens if the device flies out of range, if the frequency is interrupted, or a system failure occurs. There have already been numerous reports of such incidents, including major injuries.

4. Spoof Alert

Spoofing occurs when someone attempts to take control of a drone by hacking the signal and commanding the aircraft from a different control station. This is a huge risk. Cyber attacks can result in a drone being stolen out of mid-air.

5. No Regulations

Using a drone still has a bit of the wild, wild west feel. There are very few regulations regarding drone use throughout the world. This could become a real problem, especially when sharing airspace with military operations.

6. Problems with Privacy

Many are concerned with the ability of drones to spy and invade privacy. Drones can be used to invade privacy, trespass, and more. Soon, the Federal Aviation Administration will provide drone owners with a set of guidelines dedicated to privacy.

7. Skill of Operator

Many drone owners are novice hobbyists looking to have fun and mess around with new technology. These pilots are rarely skilled and can provide a large risk to public safety when playing with their unmanned aircraft.

8. Crazy Growth

Any industry that is predicted to see such growth as drones are will have some risks. Drone use is expected to triple by 2020. This will lead to a lot more bad pilots out there and more problems.

9. Insuring Drones

Ultimately, insuring drones will be a difficult endeavor. Many hobbyists will not want to insure their drones. Many businesses will require full coverage. An underwriter will have to look at the aviation risks of an unmanned aircraft in a different manner to manned aviation.  

Condo Associations and Insurance

Condo Associations and Insurance

Everywhere you turn, you will see new residential construction. However, the construction occurring is no longer all single family houses, each with a white picket fence and a porch swing. In an effort to keep up with the concept that less is more, new construction now includes condominiums. The concept of a condo has been around for decades, and began as a great way to allow for home ownership and saving space in larger cities. However, it has spread to the suburbs as an opportunity for individuals to purchase rental properties or even downsize as their children move on with life. The difference between a condo and an apartment is that in condos, each unit is individually owned. Then, there is an association of individuals who help manage the common grounds and issues.

Who Is Responsible?

Condominiums have become desirable for people because of the minimal risk in comparison to single family homes. Certain large-ticket repairs are the responsibility of the condominium association as opposed to the unit owner. The unit owner is responsible for his or her own personal property, such as clothing, interior appliances, electronics, interior furniture, and interior fixtures. Furthermore, their homeowner’s insurance will cover any injuries that occur inside of their property. Repairs such as interior painting, interior door replacements, new carpets, and cabinets lay on the unit owners’ shoulders. And that is where their responsibility ends. Exterior issues, such as roof repair, broken windows, exterior door repairs, and even patio furniture issues, as well as holes in the walls, ceiling repairs, and bare floor issues or foundation problems are the responsibility of the homeowners’ association. Even issues appearing in common stairwells, elevators, or walkways must fall on the association’s shoulders. The association itself must maintain an insurance policy to cover damage to the exterior and common grounds of the entire property, this is more times than not, referred to as the Master Policy.

The Responsible Party

Since the condo association has a large portion of responsibility, there is often a board of directors for the association. These may be individuals paid by the unit owners or volunteers who want to ensure their properties are always safe and in great condition. Either way, this group is responsible for maintenance and repair of the exterior and common area. Sometimes issues may arise simply because people are fallible and make mistakes. Furthermore, when with the board is comprised of volunteers, oftentimes managing the association is only one of the many tasks they will handle. However, a typical condo association liability policy will not cover the errors or omissions of the people managing the association. A separate policy must be purchased to cover officers and directors. Additionally, another policy strictly for volunteers must be purchased to ensure all people involved in managing the association and property are covered in the event of any issues.

The Proper Coverage

Like most insurance-related issues, the proper coverage and the mandated coverage are not uniform from state to state. Each state has its own set of rules that may or may not be similar to another state’s. However, the goal should not be to do what is required, but to do what is the best practice. Insurance is not designed to keep you legal. It is designed to protect you. Therefore, a person can sue for perceived injury, whether you are required to have insurance coverage or not, and if they win, the money must come from somewhere. Therefore, do not rely on the state to tell you the amount of coverage you need and what must be covered. Rely on the facts. It is a fact that a person whose interior is damaged as the result of a faulty exterior issue will file a lawsuit to cover the damage to their property. A person who is financially wronged by another’s misrepresentation or omission will sue to recover losses. As a result, it is important to fully cover your condo association for any issues which may occur, no matter the likelihood, to protect your association from going bankrupt and folding, leaving the condominiums unable to sell.

Unjust Enrichment Claim Upheld by Past New York Law

Unjust Enrichment Claim Upheld by Past New York Law

In the case of MCM Products USA, Inc. v. Aliusta Design, the court addressed the issue of whether a subcontractor could make an unjust enrichment claim against a property owner when the contract is between the general contractor (GC) and the subcontractors. This case occurred due to the GC’s insolvency and the resulting situation in which subcontractors were not paid for work that they did on the project. This led them to try to get paid through the owners of the property instead, who had paid the GC rather than the subcontractors.

How Did This Case Start?

It all started when MCM leased a space for their luggage and accessories store in Manhattan. They hired a general contractor and signed a $1.4 million contract to renovate the leased property in June 2014. This GC hired subcontractors to do the construction, but there was not a contractual relationship between MCM and any of the subcontractors that actually did the majority of the work.

On March 2015, the GC filed a mechanic’s lien against the property and some subcontractors did as well. The lease that MCM had signed with the landlord required that MCM discharge any mechanic’s liens against the property promptly. MCM filed a lawsuit in May 2015 seeking a judgment, declaring that they did not owe the subcontractors any money. Counterclaims for unjust enrichment were filed against MCM by several subcontractors, saying that the leased property unjustly benefitted from the work done for which payment was not made, and that MCM should be responsible for payment. MCM moved for dismissal of the counterclaims.

A Decision Came Down

When the court came to a decision, they dismissed the unjust enrichment counterclaims made by the subcontractors. The court followed previous case law to hold that a claim of unjust enrichment is not able to be supported simply because a company benefited from the work done by the subcontractor. If there is an express contract between a GC and subcontractor, the law is very clear that the owner is not liable, unless the owner has agreed to pay the subcontractor themselves. The consent of the owner to allow the subcontractor to work on the property is not enough. The owner has to take action that would show clear indication that they were going to pay the subcontractor themselves, rather than the GC doing so. The court did not address the validity of the mechanic’s liens in this decision at all.

Final Thoughts

To reach their decision, the court used existing New York law to bar the unjust enrichment case, simply because there was no evidence that the owner (MCM) had indicated any intention to pay the subcontractors. In some cases, however, a subcontractor could have a valid unjust enrichment claim if they can show that an owner had direct dealings with the subcontractor, even if there was not a contractual relationship. Included in this are situations in which the owner pays the subcontractor director or indicates that they will pay the subcontractor. This backed up existing law in New York. 

The Ins and Outs of Homeowners’ Insurance

The Ins and Outs of Homeowners’ Insurance

What your homeowners’ insurance policy covers, what it doesn’t, and how to protect your home.

Insurance policies can be hard to understand, and most of us don’t want to spend time delving into complicated documents to find out exactly what is covered under our various insurance policies. Although it can take some work, knowing what your insurance covers is a very important part of owning your own home.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies have similar standard policy coverages, but it’s important to know what these coverages are. Knowing what your base rate of insurance coverage is can help you determine whether or not to buy additional insurance.


Standard homeowners’ insurance

A standard homeowners’ insurance policy will typically cover damage to your home and the things inside your home. Homeowners’ insurance may also cover some legal liability for certain situations that are specified by the insurance policy. If you are unable to live in your home for reasons such as a disaster that is covered by your insurance policy, like a fire, you could be reimbursed for those expenses.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies have additional policy offerings that go above and beyond common household injuries or damages. Some policies could cover a child’s belongings under the parents’ homeowners’ insurance if they are away at college and living in a dormitory. Some restrictions apply, but for individuals with children in college, checking into this part of your policy could be beneficial.

A standard homeowners’ insurance policy may cover falling objects; random accidents involving falling objects could have a major impact on your home, and regardless of origin, an insurance policy could cover an event like this under a “covered peril” clause.

Most people don’t realize that their insurance policy could cover them during power outages. If your refrigerator or freezer loses power because of an outage or a storm and your food spoils, you may be able to be reimbursed for the food that was lost. Your insurance policy would detail the amount of money you could get back from a situation like this, and it could be a great financial help if your policy covers that type of loss.


Detailing your insurance policy

One important aspect of a homeowners’ insurance policy that most people neglect is the legal liability clauses. Legal liability for your home is very important when it comes to keeping you, your family, and others who come into your home safe. Legal liability can protect you if there are lawsuits filed against you for injuries or accidents that occurred in your home or on your property. Damage to your home or belongings, or injuries to a third party, could also come under the legal liability portion of your homeowners’ insurance policy.

Homeowners’ insurance policies generally do not cover flood or earthquake damage, or damage from general wear and tear on your home and your belongings. To determine whether you require any additional coverage options, it will be helpful to start by knowing what your current basic homeowners’ policy covers and discussing it with an insurance agent. Knowing all the details of what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers will put you in a place to better understand under what situations you are covered and where your insurance policies may not offer you adequate protection.

Has it been a while since you've shopped your homeowners' policy? Contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 to voice your concerns. 

What is a Certificate of Insurance?

What is a Certificate of Insurance?

If you have ever purchased a home or vehicle, you may have been asked to obtain a certificate of insurance. A Certificate of Insurance, or COI, is a document that shows that your insurance policy covers the vehicle or the property in question, without having to produce a copy of the entire policy contract. It lists essential policy details, such as the vehicle/property insured, the coverages, and any third party interests that the insurance policy names.


What makes a COI unique

A Certificate of Insurance differs from an ID card in that an ID card is typically used only for vehicle policies and is far less detailed than a COI. Certificates of Insurance are also different from a copy of your policy in that the policy is much more thorough than a COI. Certificates of Insurance are typically a more convenient size than your insurance policy, the size of a single page or smaller, and can be more easily produced. Certificates of Insurance are a happy medium between the ID cards and a copy of the policy in regard to the amount of information provided, but another significant difference is that most of the time they do not come directly from your insurance carrier. Insurance agents are authorized to issue COIs on behalf of the insurance carrier manually, and are often required to do so.


Purpose of a COI

Most often, a third party who wants to ensure that you have the coverage that you say you do will request a Certificate of Insurance. If you have a lienholder or additional insured on the policy, the document will list their names as well as yours. For those third parties with an interest in your property or vehicle, it is a way for them to quickly verify that your policy aligns with their requirements. A Certificate of Insurance may seem like a better alternative than relying on the numerous pages of your insurance policy to show your coverage. However, there is a caveat to its convenience.


COI Cautions

A Certificate of Insurance is meant to be informational only. It is not a legally binding document and does not guarantee what an insurance policy will or will not cover. Another downside to Certificates of Insurance is that individuals can easily fabricate them. Human error also plays a factor since the COIs are often manually created by an agent.

While a Certificate of Insurance is a fantastic tool when it comes to providing proof of your coverage, you should never rely on them as the sole method by which you review the specifics of your insurance policy. Instead, if you want to ensure that your coverage matches your needs, review your insurance policy first. If you have a good understanding of insurance, you should be able to find the information you are looking for just by reading your copy of the policy. If you can't locate the answer you're looking for, or don't understand the answer that you find, contact your Agent. They are licensed in insurance for that very reason and can clarify any questions you have about your policy. Don't let a lack of understanding keep you from the coverage that you need.

Not sure if you have a COI? Don't know how where your COI is? Call Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 for help obtaining your COI. 

Keep Your Business Protected With Active Shooter Insurance

Keep Your Business Protected With Active Shooter Insurance

Sadly, we see it all the time. There are active shooter situations happening more and more frequently these days. Social media shows us new ones nearly every week. While this is sad for society, you have a business to run. So you have a responsibility to stay prepared and protect your hard work.

Enter active shooter insurance. As a business owner, your clients’ depend on you to provide them with a safe environment and to keep them protected from risks they could face at your business at any given moment. This means preparing your customers for active shooter situations.

The easiest way to do just that is by educating customers on the perils of these scenarios outside of the obvious – tragedy. Businesses need to realize that the fallout from these chaotic events can cost companies a lot of money.


Shooter Scenarios Rising

Over the past 10 years, we've seen the three most deadly shootings in United States history. These shootings were all active shooter situations. Scenarios where someone enters a confined or populated area with the intent to kill people, usually with the use of a firearm.

Typically, these attacks occurred at work or school. They stems from the fact that these shooters often relate their pain and anger to these places combined with the fact that many people can be found at these places, and a lot of damage can be inflicted quickly.

The United States has become a hotbed of active shooter situations. Over the last four decades, the U.S. has seen nearly 31% of mass public shootings throughout the world, but we only have 5% of the world's population.


How to Prepare

While getting an active shooter insurance policy can protect a business financially, most companies also feel a certain amount of responsibility for keeping their employees, students and customers safe while at these places. In legal terms, this is referred to as "duty of care" by most.

In addition, a business owner could be held liable if certain precautions are not in place before a situation like what was stated above were to occur. Insurance companies should work with business owners and organizations to stress the importance of implementing training regarding these types of situations. Another major key is to make sure emergency exits are easily accessed during open hours.

If you have a high traffic company, then hiring a well-trained security staff could be crucial in keeping your organization safe at all times. While this will cost resources, you'll find an increased customer safety and trust does benefit the bottom line.


Active Shooter Insurance For All

Active shooter policies are not an end all, be all. Nothing can eliminate the risk of an active shooter attacking a school or business. And nothing can prepare us for the potential that could result from such actions.

Still, businesses can mitigate these risks as much as possible by following the tips found here. Get an active shooter insurance policy. Train your staff, students, etc. to be prepared for the potential of an attack. Then focus on allocating any available resources to hiring a well-trained security staff.

Having an experience with an active shooter can be traumatizing to say the least. The effects of such an experience can stay with a person throughout their lifetime. Limit your risk and protect yourself. For more information about active shooter insurance, contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 to voice your concerns. 

9 Emergency Storm Preparation Tips

9 Emergency Storm Preparation Tips

You may have to worry about tornados in the Midwest. If you live in Louisiana, then floods are always on your mind. Earthquakes are no strangers to Californians. Florida sees its fair share of hurricanes. No matter where you run your business from, there's a chance disaster could strike.

If a disaster does occur and you're face-to-face with a catastrophic event, you need to be prepared. You need to have a plan in place. You need to be able to get your business back up and going as quickly as possible.


Always Be Prepared

The easiest way to assess how fast your business could react is to pay attention to your exposures. When doing so, ask yourself these questions:

1. What needs to happen? After a catastrophic event, there will be certain parts of your business that need to be up and running as soon as possible. Other areas of your business aren't as important. Decide what must happen immediately after a disaster and come up with a plan to get essential activities going again quickly.


2. Can you continue to provide value? If a catastrophe were to strike tomorrow, would your company be able to continue to provide value and service to your customers? If not, you need to look into how you operate and find ways to continue to be there for your customers no matter what.


3. Whose help would you need to get back on your feet? Many times, companies need help from insurance agencies, contractors, and more to get them back to work. Think about which individuals you would need help from to restart operations.


4. How can you help your customers? Even if you could not provide the full scope of services and value to your clients right away, you need to think of ways you could continue offering some of your services. A little effort goes a long way, especially when dealing with a disaster and your loyal customers.


5. Do you know your community? You should be aware of all of your local emergency resources and be able to communicate with them immediately if a catastrophe were to occur. Don't forget about your local connections!


6. Do you have other protections in place? Have you fully insured your company in every possible way? Did you pay extra for some preventative measures when building your organization? Focus on finding and cultivating ways to protect your business if something terrible were to happen.


7. Did you protect your vital documents? Did you guard your legal documents—files, tax returns, and such—properly? This is absolutely vital before a disaster strikes. You need to back up everything.


8. Would you still have access to your vital records? Did you backup everything? You want to make sure all of your documents are readily available as you try to recover your business after a storm.


9. Did you do it all? After going through these tips, take a second to step back and consider if you did everything you could. Often, business owners will take numerous preventative measures, but forget to cover some of the basics. With a little introspection, you should be able to avoid any such fate.


SKYLINE

You cannot predict when that storm will hit, but you can always be prepared for it. With a little foresight, you'll have your company back up and churning in dollars before you know it. Use these tips and questions to ensure you're always ready. 

Concerned about how your business or home would hold up against a storm? Contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. (718) 267-6600 to voice your concerns. 


What is Product Liability Insurance?

What is Product Liability Insurance?


Businesses on the fence about product liability insurance need only to search the internet for information about product claims and recalls for clear evidence that this is a "must have" for protection from the various regulatory commissions that will seek remedies for consumers.

With online information at their fingertips, consumers have become liability-savvy when it comes to products they purchase. Law firms are ready and able to represent plaintiffs on a contingency basis and bombard consumers with promises of financial windfalls. When it comes to actions regarding product liability, businesses need to consider the following five points:


1. Frequency: Currently product recalls are average two per day. The frequency can be attributed to the regulatory authority given to organizations like the Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Administration. You should also include national law firms that have the resources to haunt manufacturers with class action suits

2. Oversight: Since governmental oversight of products and their distribution has increased standards that manufacturers must comply with, increased civil and criminal penalties are a risk that businesses must mitigate. The FDA not only regulates products in the marketplace, but now they have the power to regulate how food is grown, harvested, and even processed.

3. Human ErrorAs long as humans are involved in production, it is impossible to guarantee that errors won't happen. Even with the most stringent safety protocols, errors happen that can result in a consumer injury or even death. When it comes to food products, the damage is not always limited to a particular product. For example, if a particular brand of food is recalled, over-zealous retailers may pull the entire brand from the shelf resulting in a massive financial hit to the manufacturer and distributor who must credit the retailer for the returned product. The act of regaining lost shelf space in a large retailer may be impossible without available resources. In this circumstance, a product liability policy will be invaluable for the business to be able to come out on the other side of a recall.

4. The Cost of a Product Liability ActionAlthough every case is different and most cases eventually settle, the cost of a product liability action is likely to put an uninsured manufacturer or distributor out of business. Damages that are taken into consideration regarding a settlement are as follows:

  • Level of harm
  • Lost Wages and loss of future income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

 

5. Low Cost of MitigationWith any foreseeable risk, typically the most affordable method of mitigation is to transfer the risk to an insurance carrier. Even with the amount of settlements that have been paid historically, product liability insurance and product recall coverage remain an affordable means of financial protection. Knowing that just one action could result in financial devastation, it is incumbent upon business owners to transfer this risk to an insurer.


Skyline Perspective

If your business provides any product to consumers, your company needs product liability coverage. In some cases, this coverage may be available as part of the General Liability or Business Owners' policy, but is important for you to confirm this with your insurance professional and not make any assumptions. The premium for this coverage will typically be based on the type of product, the sales volume, and the part your company plays in providing the product to consumers.

For more information and details about Product Liability and Product Recall Coverage, contact an insurance professional at Skyline Risk Management(718) 267-6600 for free and confidential consultation.