Posts made in May, 2015

Falling Trees, Who’s Responsible?

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in News | 0 comments

With the horrible storms that just came through Houston, we’ve been dealing with a lot of falling trees so I thought I would answer this question: Are homeowners responsible for tree care-related accidents on their property? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. It depends on several factors: state law, the circumstances of the accident, and the type of insurance coverage the homeowner and contractor each possess. “Liability is a complicated issue, but even so, there are several steps all homeowners can take to reduce the risk of litigation,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). “Tree work can be dangerous, even for experienced professionals, so homeowners should always take extra precautions to ensure their assets are protected.” Learn from three common mistakes that homeowners make: Homeowner Mistake 1: Forgetting to verify contracts and credentials Not all tree care companies are trustworthy businesses. Before you hire, always ask for current certificates of liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This is a crucial step; if you hire a company without insurance or with inadequate insurance, you may be liable for accidents or injuries, and may have no means for recourse if you property is damaged. Disreputable tree care companies, on the other hand, may not have this documentation. Some may even forge these documents or exaggerate their coverage, so it is always a good idea to contact their insurer directly to verify their claims. Next, insist on a signed contract as to cost, dates when work is to be performed, and exactly what is to be done. Reputable tree care companies will have no issue complying with these requests. Public opinion is also important. Research potential tree care companies on Yelp or the Better Business Bureau to see what past customers have to say. This can provide you with insights that are not always evident on paper. Homeowner Mistake 2: Ignoring obvious hazards Even if all the necessary paperwork is in order, you may still be liable for injuries if you neglect obvious hazards on your property. A loose step on a porch, for example, may cause issues if a contractor suffers injury because of it while the contract is being completed. Routinely inspect your property for such dangers, and make repairs if possible. If you find something temporarily beyond your repair, it is best to warn the contractor of the risks involved. For extra peace of mind, take a look at your homeowner’s insurance coverage. It is a good idea to check the personal liability section of your homeowner’s policy to ensure all the necessary coverage is there. Homeowner Mistake 3: Micro-managing the tree care project It can be tempting to micro-manage tree care projects on your property; as the owner, you have a significant financial and emotional investment in the project, so it is natural that you want to ensure everything goes according to plan. From a legal perspective, however, this may be a mistake. Excessively close monitoring of day-to-day operations can open you up to personal injury liability if a worker is injured on the job. It is always best to monitor from a distance, and let the professionals perform the job you hired them to do. Source:...

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Insurance Planning for Your Home-Based Business

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in News | 0 comments

For many, achieving the American dream comes with the freedom of operating a home-based business. But without proper insurance planning, even the most promising dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. Blurring the lines between home and work can have unexpected and costly impacts on all types of personal insurance, says the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). To avoid costly impacts, the NAIC recommends home-based business owners consider these personal insurance implications: Home – Homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies are rarely adequate for business needs. Owners may want to investigate a business owners’ policy or general liability, business property and business interruption/continuation insurance. Auto – If you own or lease a vehicle almost exclusively for business use, list the business name as the principal insured. Consider also increasing coverage to protect permanently attached items, such as a generator or storage unit. Health – There are a variety of sources for purchasing HMOs, PPOs, EPOs and other popular health insurance plans at group rates. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), business owners and the self-employed who purchase coverage through new health insurance marketplaces may qualify for tax credits. Life – If the home business is a partnership, consider key person life insurance which names each partner in a business as beneficiary on the other partner’s policy. If one partner passes away, the other can use funds to buy out heirs, pay off loans or continue operations....

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Do You Understand what Your Commercial Auto Policy Really Covers?

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Although certain commercial auto coverage elements aren’t necessarily a requirement, it’s very important to know what they are and exactly what they cover. These include: Commercial Auto Liability In case of an event that you or your company’s driver might cause an at fault accident, this element provides property damage and bodily injury coverage to third-parties. Normally businesses carry higher limits of auto liability than most state limits require. These range from state minimum requirements up to $1 million in combination with single limits of liability for property damage and bodily injury. Another coverage that can be added to a policy by endorsement Is called hired and non-owned auto liability and has two triggers: It provides business auto liability coverage for rental cars. It provides excess liability over the employee’s personal auto policy when using their own personal vehicle for business use. Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments Even if the accident is your fault, personal injury protection and medical payments provide you reimbursement for medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages associated with an auto accident. You can always purchase medical payments coverage with limits ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 even if your state doesn’t offer personal injury protection. Uninsured and Under-insured Motorist  For those drivers who don’t have enough insurance to cover the damages caused to you when they are at fault in an auto accident, uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage provides property damage and bodily injury coverage.  Even though these are two separate coverage triggers, only one provides coverage element in a commercial auto policy. In some states, there is a deductible associated with the property damage portion of these coverage’s, with limited ranges for bodily injury and property damage from minimum liability limits to $1 million combined single limits. Physical Damage Comprehensive and collision coverage’s fall under physical damage such as:   fire, theft, flood, hail, vandalism, and colliding with an animal. For any type of collision other than with an animal, collision provides coverage on an actual cash valuation (replacement cost less depreciation) only basis.  There are policies that provide stated amount coverage or agreed value coverage for example:  If you own a high-end vehicle, you should invest in stated amount or agreed value coverage so you are adequately protected. For damage to vehicles you rent under your business name, you will also need hired car physical damage to provide coverage.  The commercial auto policy does not provide coverage to the rental car under the liability section, unlike the personal auto policy, which does provide coverage. In order to have the protection, you must add this coverage to your policy. When your vehicle is disabled due to a covered peril, coverage for renting cars is only available for private passenger vehicles. There are other coverage’s that you can include on your commercial auto policy, contact me today to make sure your business is adequately...

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Tips for Creating a Safety Management Program

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Did you know that on average there are 89 workplace fatalities per week and that employers pay an estimated $1 billion – yes billion – every week in direct workers compensation costs? This is why it’s a good reason to take workplace safety seriously and to have a safety management program in place. Here are Eight Key Components of a Safety Management Program via Travelers Insurance – one of our partner companies: Demonstrate management involvement – Management must lead by example. A visible demonstration that you embrace a safety culture is imperative to its success. Provide the essential time, budget and resources to create and support a safety program. Communicate your safety plan clearly – Your safety plan must be published and available to all employees. Reminders and updates should be timely and effective. Allow employees to contribute their suggestions to making the workplace safer. Get everyone involved – A safety program is likely to be more effective when employees at all levels are involved. Standardized policies should outline responsibilities and accountability for all employees. Safety goals can become part of job descriptions and employee reviews. Safety committees can help ensure that safety practices are understood and reinforced throughout the company. Positive reinforcement of safe behaviors can be an effective way to help build the desired culture. Train your employees to work safely – Safety training should begin from the moment an employee is hired. Ongoing training is also essential to creating a safety culture. Review, revise, improve – A safety program should be dynamic, especially since most business environments continue to evolve.  An effective safety program should be flexible enough to adjust to changes. Regularly review, evaluate and identify risks that could affect safety, and make the changes necessary to keep your workplace safe. Create safety standards – Each department should set safety standards through a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) to make sure every task is done correctly and safely. Recognize good safety performance, and cite and correct unsafe practices. Investigate every incident and accident thoroughly – Properly trained staff with experience in investigation, analysis and evidence collection should conduct an accident analysis as soon as possible after an incident. Report the claim within 24 hours to help ensure prompt response and injury management. Manage every injury – Even with the best safety program, an employee injury can still occur. Planning helps you to react immediately when an employee is injured on the job. Learn about five strategies that can help you put employees on the road back to...

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Link Found Between Workaholism and Reduced Well-Being

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Are you addicted to regularly checking your email and working through evenings, weekends and even on vacations? You might be a workaholic. And, what recent research is revealing is that your health may be suffering because of it. The link between workaholism and reduced mental and physical well-being is becoming more and more prevalent in the United States, as this infographic shows:   Source...

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