Before the wind blows; protect your home and auto from severe weather.

     by Brad Smith   TruePoint Insurance Group, LLC      www.insuringky.com
The first signs of spring

Spring is knocking at the door and with it the rising risk of insurance claims. The number and severity of storms in Kentucky have grown at an alarming rate. The average number of tornadoes in Kentucky over the last five years is 28.7. The annual average going back to 1950 at 14.6 tornadoes per year is roughly one half of the current experience.

Is Kentucky part of Tornado Alley?

Kentucky’s weather is so out of hand.  Some have even suggested that we are now part of the infamous Tornado Alley. A 2018 report by LEX18 News said just that.

In 2018 Kentucky was hit by 604 wind and hail storms. Of these, 41 were tornadoes. That is up 43% from the previous five years and an even more alarming 181% from the period 1950 through 2018.

US Government HARP project is commonly considered to be experimenting with weather control
US Government HARP project is commonly considered to be experimenting with weather control

While we cannot change the weather, we can reduce Kentucky home and auto owner’s exposure to it. Insurance is not a commodity. There are some that would like for you to think it is. Good insurance agents recognize the importance of providing clients with the proper protection. That includes responding to ever changing risks.

Storm Alert: Auto insurance awareness

Hail damaged car

Protecting your car from damages related to storms is simple. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage checked. It provides coverage for vehicles damaged by wind, hail or falling objects.

Every auto on the road must have liability insurance. But the wheels of many high-value and antique cars may never touch the road. Do these vehicles need liability insurance? Maybe not, and they may not need collision coverage either. Let’s stop and think about the next move. Removing comprehensive coverage may not be the smartest move. When insurance is dropped on cars that are not driven, owners are still exposed to Mother Nature. Fire, wind, hail and other risk can still damage the vehicle even when it’s garaged. These risks are compounded during the spring.

Comprehensive coverage is relatively inexpensive. Relative to the potential loss, this coverage can be very cost effective.

Storm Alert: Home insurance Awareness

Each client’s unique needs determine the coverages required. However, there are several considerations that may have severe impact on anyone.

While tornadoes take center stage, it’s the hail storms that lead the way when it comes to losses. While this statement may seem insignificant it has major ramifications on insurance. Total loss or partial loss. Tornado versus hail storm. A good insurance policy needs to work well regardless.


 What types of losses will your policy cover? This is critical. If it is available to you, a special peril or all-risk policy is what you want. As opposed to a basic form or broad form, the special option provides superior protection.

You will have the option for Replacement Cost coverage or Actual Cash Value (ACV). All other things being equal, you will receive a higher payment if your policy pays Replacement cost.

Deductibles may seem a bit dull when compared to other areas. You choose $500 or $1,000, big deal.

Not so fast!

Many insurance companies have been forced to alter risk sharing practices. Beware, as some are no longer asking for a set dollar deductible. Instead, you may find that your policy has a deductible that is 1 or 2%. At first blush, it sounds like a pretty good deal for the home team. Again, beware! This 1 or 2% of the total and it’s not the total value of the loss. Your deductible is based on the total value of your home. For example:

A homeowner has wind damaged roof

§ Estimates for the repair work come in at $1,500

§ The home is valued at $600,000

§ There is a 2% wind/hail deductible

The $1,500 loss will be shared by:

§ The homeowner paying $1,200

§ And the insurance company $300

 Spring storms bring more than just wind and hail. Heavy rains can lead to various forms of water damage. Be sure to discuss flood insurance and water backup coverage with your insurance broker. Neither of these will be covered by a standard homeowner’s policy.

Spring! It’s a wonderful season and our springs in Kentucky are certainly hard to beat. I think about how much I loved spring as a child. It was by far my favorite season.

As an adult the grandeur has diminished. How wonderful it would be to experience spring through the eyes of child again.

What is keeping me from doing it? 

Could it be as simple as the aided stresses of being an adult?

If so, then we should all take the time to review our insurance coverages before the wind starts to blow. This should go a long way in reducing stress.

Take care of the insurance and you’re half way home. Of course the other biggie is your income taxes and there you’re on your own. Have fun!

Call (502) 410-5089 or use the link below to learn more about TruePoint: TruePoint Insurance, we are insuringky.com

Insurance

Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 2

In this part we discuss an important legal responsibility created for homeowners by the winter season.

Creating A Clear LiabilityAvoid this insurance claim. Slipping on Sidewalk

Snow doesn’t show favoritism. Instead of conveniently falling onto unused areas, it covers homes, sidewalks, and driveways. As a responsible homeowner, you should arrange to make travel across your property safe. This calls for clearing your walkways of snow and ice. It is also important to clear your property of items such as rakes, shovels, tools, toys and similar items. Remember that it takes only a small amount of snow to hide items that, during clear conditions, are easily seen and avoided. So take time to move such property and make repairs to uneven or cracked pavement.

Keep in mind that clearing walkways (including stairs) is an invitation for pedestrians to use the path. So, once you clear an area, it has to be kept clear and safe, especially from ice. Also, avoid creating piles of snow that can block either a driver’s or a pedestrian’s view. Finally, be sure that your property is safe for children who are enjoying winter. Don’t allow children to slide around without being aware of pedestrians or motorized traffic and don’t let anyone throw snow or ice balls at cars (you could be sued for any accident caused by careless play) related from the use of your property or premises.

Don’t forget the inside of your home. Visitors should be kept safe from harm. Be sure to keep interior stairs and floors clear of the watery remains of melted snow. Keep things dry and consider using mats that provide good traction and an area where folks can clear snow and ice from their shoes or boots.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

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Innkeepers Legal Liability Insurance

Motel Insurance

Innkeepers Legal Liability

At times most of us leave personal belongs under the temporary control or custody of others. These individuals or entities are referred to as a Bailee. Cleaners, jewelers, and parking valets are good examples of Bailees.

Hotel insurance needs in some ways are similar to most other businesses. Commercial Property, Business Auto, Commercial General Liability and Workers Compensation coverages are likely to be somewhat comparable to most others.Hotel Insurance

Insurance for motels and hotels must also address some more unique exposures. When traveling, we may leave property in the care, custody, and control of lodging or other hospitality-related organizations. Hotels, motels, and B&B’s are required by law to have in place coverage for customer belongs. Insurance for the lodging guest can be acquired via an Innkeepers Legal Liability or similar coverage.

Contractor’s E&O Insurance

Closing insurance gapsIf your business has never had to turn in an insurance claim many will tell you to consider yourself lucky. Others may tell you to give yourself a pat on the back. At TruePoint, we will tell you that it is highly likely that both are true.
No one enjoys turning in an insurance claim. Once we get past the fact that no one is injured, an explosion of thoughts race through our minds. How much is this going to cost? What’s my deductible? How much will my insurance premium go up? Will I get canceled?
The one thought that is seldom considered is, “will my insurance company deny the claim?” Most small businesses seldom consider needing anything more than a General Liability policy. If you are a contractor that has had a past claim denied, then you most likely know where we are headed.
General Liability Insurance or GL covers a boatload. Even if you are not liable, it will pay claims made against you by a third party. Most legal fees, settlement costs, damages to property, bodily injury and more are covered. Your general liability policy should also pay claims related to slander or libel. It will also pay for some construction-related claims as long as they fall under the completed products coverage.
Most claims not covered by the general liability coverage policy are logical. First off we can exclude every claim not related to damages that we’ve caused to others. Buildings and other property must be covered by a property form. Some liability related losses are not covered by the commercial general liability (CGL) policy. The following are some of the most obvious examples:
•      Property Damage and Body Injury resulting while operating a vehicle Commercial Auto         Policy
•      Injuries to employees while at work Workers Compensation
•      Liability coverage for Doctors, Lawyers, etc. Professional Liability
Professional liability insurance is sometimes referred to as errors and omissions insurance or E&O. Warning to the wise, take care to review all policies. Professional Liability and Errors & Omission coverages differ. While E&O is more applicable to most contractors, it’s crucial that you make sure that the product you are buying provides the coverages you need.
Why is it that certain professions need E&O insurance and other need General Liability?
First of all, I don’t think this is a simple as flipping a switch. Up for GL and down for E&O. The two are entirely different and independent coverages, and many businesses are apt to need both to be adequately insured.
We mentioned earlier that General Liability insurance doesn’t cover certain losses. We already identified a couple of the more obvious types. You should also be aware that negligence, failure to offer a service, failure to act in good faith, misrepresentation are a few additional examples of exposures not covered by a CGL policy.
Do the gaps in General Liability coverages mean that contractors and other construction-related industries need Errors and Omission coverage? Possibly, each case is different. But if you’re not considering it, then you may need to find an agent that will work through the issues and provide enough insight into the question for you to make the right decision.
Most contractors have enough exposure that they could benefit by adding E&O coverage to their existing policy. The approach TruePoint takes in exploring whether Errors and Omissions should be added is no different than the way we treat any other coverage that is required. We start defining the types of risk that are being considered. In the case of contractors E&O we would ask questions similar to those below:
1.      Does your General Liability insurance protect you against claims for faulty work?
o      You’re correct if you answered NO! Advance to #2.
o      General Liability does not provide coverage for defective work. Call (502) 410-5089 or go to www.insuringky.com to learn more if you answered question 1 in the affirmative.
2.      Does your General Liability cover your work and products?
o      Again you are correct if you answered NO! Advance to #3.
o      General Liability does not cover your work or products. If you answered YES visit our site www.insuringky.com to learn more about TruePoint Insurance.
Contractors can have significant gaps in coverage that can be eliminated or reduced by adding Contractors’ E&O. The next step that we advise is to determine your exposure. We begin by developing a risk profile which at a very basic level answers the following:
•      your potential loss exposure (both a median or average potential loss as well as a max loss)
•      the expected frequency of the type loss being considered
The final step is to help you decide if the cost of the added coverage is reasonable relative to the reduced exposure:
•      We determine the cost to transfer the risk (in this case, how much will you pay for the E&O Policy)
•      And we then compare the cost to insure versus the exposures identified in the risk profile.
TruePoint works with commercial accounts in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to help them better understand their business insurance needs. Our focus is on how we can help you to most effectively develop and execute a strategy for your commercial insurance needs.

Functionally Valuing Older Business Property

Businesses that have been successful for decades are usually ones that also consistently take care of their property. While maximizing the use of every asset, it also raises a coverage issue. Aging equipment may have reached the point where it:

  • Is functionally obsoleteOld movie theatre, functional use
  • May be a type of equipment that is no longer made and/or
  • Has been replaced with more effective, technologically advanced equivalents.

Such property can be difficult to insure since a typical commercial property policy considers obsolete items to be worthless. However, a commercial property policy can be modified with a form that may make coverage more practical. One form, called “Functional Personal Property Valuation,” changes a policy so that the regular policy conditions on valuing a loss and coinsurance don’t apply.

Functional valuation recognizes that the insured firm’s priority is to repair damaged, older equipment or to find an equivalent substitute. A policy with a functional valuation provision is likely to offer the additional option of paying an amount equal to the damaged or destroyed property’s market value that it held just before their loss. Other features are requirements that any repairs be done quickly and that any replacement property is at the same site and for the same use of the property that was lost or destroyed. A coverage modification is also likely to add terms with special definitions, such as “replacement” or “functional equivalent,” or “market value.”

A policy that has been altered in order to use a functional settlement basis should result in smoother claims handling and a better loss to post-loss transition. Arranging for such coverage may also spur a buyer to identify possible sources for replacing his vulnerable, older property.

If your concern is one that may be dependent on older equipment, it may be past the time that you discuss your particular coverage need with a knowledgeable insurance professional.

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Covering Funeral Directors

insurance for funeral homesWe’re born, we live and we die, and how we’re treated in death is surrounded by ritual and ceremony. For those who have suffered a loss, emotions rule and there’s a tremendous reliance on others to help commemorate the passing of a loved one. Funeral directors and morticians have a critical role and, because of their position, are vulnerable to lawsuits should plans go Insurance for Funeral Diectorswrong.

Like any other businessperson, funeral directors and morticians need to have general liability protection to handle losses related to routine circumstances that could happen as easily at a gas station, grocery store, dance studio or tax office. But “general” coverage does NOT handle losses that are directly connected to their professional duties. Professional Liability coverage will differ according to the insurance company providing the protection because coverage is not standardized. Regardless, most policies will likely handle the following:

Bodily Injury – Coverage applies for any professional malpractice error or mistake in the embalming, handling, disposition, burial, disinterment or removal of any deceased human body or any conduct of any memorial service by the insured. Injuries involving burial rights as well as mental anguish are also covered.

Property Damage – may cover damage to or destruction of urns, caskets, linings or fittings, casket eases, crypts, mausoleums or similar facilities. Protection is also available for claims connected to loss of damage to property that is in the care (possession) of a funeral director and staff, such as a body as well as personal effects.

Defense – provides protection for the costs of providing a legal defense against claims and lawsuits. Care has to be taken about this insuring funeral home directorscoverage. It makes a huge difference whether these costs are provided as separate protection or if payments are deducted from the amount of policy limits purchased.

Exclusions – typically, such policies will not protect against intentional acts (fraud, misrepresentation and deliberately violating laws or regulations), contractual liability, losses involving motorized or animal-drawn vehicles, losses to property owned by the funeral operation, losses involving medical wastes and chemicals and other sources of loss that are meant to be covered by other types of policies.

Funeral directors and the people who work for them have many, important responsibilities, including the need to contact an insurance professional to make sure they have protection for mistakes that they may make.

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COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.2017

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Commercial Insurance-Vacant Buildings

Vacant Commercial BuildingVacancy Provision

Under a commercial property policy, coverage is significantly different for buildings that are vacant for extended periods. Usually, certain types of coverage are completely eliminated during the vacancy. Insurance companies are interested in protecting ongoing businesses and premiums are based upon active occupancy. Continued, full coverage may be provided, but that is only at the insurance company’s discretion. If a vacant risk is accepted, it usually means paying more premium.

Definitions

Before any coverage restrictions can be imposed, the insurance company must define exactly what they mean by vacancy and the definition is affected by the type of occupancy:

Tenant – When the insured is a tenant and the policy covers that insured’s property interest, the definition of building is the unit or suite Business Space for Lease in Lawrenceburg, KY that has been rented or leased to the tenant. That building is considered vacant when it no longer contains enough business personal property to conduct the customary operations of the insured tenant.

Building Owner Or General Lessee – When the insured is a building owner or general lessee, building is defined as the entire building. The building is considered vacant UNLESS a specified percentage of the total square footage is rented to a lessee or sub-lessee and used by the lessee or sub-lessee to conduct its customary operations OR is used by the building owner to conduct customary operations.

Buildings Under Construction – Buildings that are under construction or renovation are not considered to be vacant.

Vacancy Provisions

Now that vacancy has been defined, the vacancy condition can be stated. If the building where loss or damage occurs has been vacant (see definition above) for more than 60 consecutive days before the loss:

  • the insurance company will pay NOTHING if the loss was caused by vandalism, sprinkler leakage, glass breakage, water damage, or theft (including damage from attempted theft).
  • the insurance company will reduce any loss amount by 15% if the claim is due to any Covered Cause of Loss not listed above.

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When vacancy does occur, many companies, for an additional premium, will add a provision (sometimes called a Vacancy Permit). This form changes the policy wording so that it provides coverage for the property during specific time periods when the applicable premises are vacant.

 

 

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Insurance Companies Working Behind the Scenes Making the World a Safer Place

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The Greatest Tragedy of our GenerationThe Greatest Generation.  Triumph over adversity

I’ve heard that tragedy defines us.  I disagree with that; it is how we as a group rise and address adversity that defines us.  An excellent example is my grandfather’s generation.  They’ve been referred to as the Greatest Generation, a fitting accolade to the group that defended our freedom and won WW II.

What is the great tragedy of our generation?  Is it global warming?  It could be the rise of terrorism!  While I can’t answer the question, I do know that school shootings and other active shooter related incidents have to be somewhere in the mix.

Tragedy is often the precursor of innovation.  It certainly was during WW II.  It also drives changes and the creation of new products in the insurance industry.  The insurance sector exists because individuals, businesses and other entities have a need to transfer risks to another party.  Increasing active shooter incidents in recent years and the corresponding legal actions have created demand for products that can provide financial protection.

The insurance industry is actively working to develop products that will protect businesses, schools and other government entities from gaps in current insurance policies.  Professional liability policies were not designed to protect against active shooter risk or anything similar to that.

So what can be done and how do we do it?  Products have been created and will continue to improve that will offer financial protection to entities that have been accused of failing to adequately prepare.  But there is more.

Insurance companies seldom get the respect that they deserve; however, behind the scenes they are making a difference.  The insurance industry is much more than a financial risk transfer vehicle, insurance companies are the leaders in making our world a safer place to leave.  While most of us will never understand the significance, the insurance industry will lead America’s efforts as we deal with the risk of loss of life, mental trauma, and financial loss associated with active shooter incidents.

How?  Who understands risk as well as the insurance industry?  The better we understand risk exposures, the better we can prepare.  The insurance No!  Stop!! Now!!!industry will over time and after numerous assessments develop standards that when deployed will ward off many would be active shooters.  They work for insurance companies will also work to reduce the after effects and of course provide financial relief.

The insurance industry is working to make our world safer.  If you are interested in learning more about the insurance industries role in managing active shooter risk you are more than welcome to contact us:

 

by phone (502) 410-5089

 

by email: info@truepointgroup.com

 

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Employee or Independent Contractor? – Part 2

w-2 or 1099In part one of this article, we discussed the situation of properly classifying workers. In this part, we discuss a method for making that distinction.

In the U.S., common law helps determine worker status. Some confusion is created by improper focus on a given work relationship. Instead of a narrow focus, proper worker classification is a result of looking at the total work situation in which an individual performs a job. Essentially, classification is a matter of control. Specifically, consider the following areas:

Behavioral – Who has primary control over how work is done, the business or the worker?

Financial – Who controls how a worker is paid, how are expenses handled, who is responsible for supplies and tools that are needed for work?

Relationship – What defines the work relationship, manner of pay, what benefits are in place, does worker have paid vacation and what is the nature of the relationship?

It’s important that all the above factors be considered when evaluating a worker classification.

Evaluation should be performed on a simple scale. The greater the control by a given party determines how to make a classification. If a business exerts the greater overall control, the worker is an employee. If the individual worker exerts the greater overall control, the worker is an independent contractor.

Practically speaking, areas of control involve the level of freedom a worker has in getting tasks done, but Tax Law Rulesanother element is the nature of the work. Some businesses want to minimize both their tax liability and legal liability (and related payroll costs) by use of independent contractors. However, the situation can’t be a façade. If workers have an ongoing relationship with the applicable business because the work is normal for that business, likely the work involves employees. When the work is unusual for the given business and lasts for a short period, especially when it involves specialize labor or skills not existing in that business, the work likely involves independent contractors.

If a business or a worker is unclear over a classification, help is available from the IRS. Specifically, a work situation description can be submitted to the IRS to get its interpretation. Having that department’s help (and documentation) for a situation could be quite helpful in dealing with both tax and insurance matters.

 

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Active Shooter Risk – Part 2

As we mentioned in part one of this discussion, a strategy for dealing with this exposure involves a significant amount of pre- and post-incident activity. Active shooter programs commonly involve the following:

Non-Insurance Services

Pre-event

Risk Assessment

Employee Crisis Training

During Event

Crisis Management

Second (Event) Responders (those who supplement initial, emergency action of fire, medical and police [first responders] and handle return services and site clean-up.)

Post-event

Counseling Services

Psychiatric Care

Public Relations Disaster Team

Investigation Assistance Funds (Rewards)

Expenses for additional, temporary security measures

Insurance Services

Liability Coverage for Lawsuits due to loss created by active shooting incident

Limits vary from $250,000/$500,000 up to multi-million dollar maximum

Business Income and Extra Expense

Limits vary from $1 million up to $100 million

Emergency medical care

Rehabilitation Expenses

Funeral and Burial Expenses

Marketing for the product targets those who are most vulnerable to this exposure such as Educational institutions, Entertainment organizations, Hotels, Healthcare providers, Religious institutions, Retail organizations, Shows (ex. Fairs, Trade Shows and Rodeos.)

 

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All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.