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FEMA Wireless Emergency Alerts

Today the The Ready Campaign and the Ad Council released a new Public Service Announcement to help Americans Prepare for Severe Weather with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). There are many things that can save your life, and now your phone could be one of them. For more information visit www.Ready.gov/alerts.

You do not need to register to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts notifications. You will automatically receive alerts if you have WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program. To find out if your mobile device is capable of receiving WEA alerts, contact your mobile device carrier or visit this CTIA Customer Info Page

JK

Insurance Brokers Aren’t Just “Quote Messengers”

Yesterday I arranged an OSHA compliance assessment for a client of mine who has employees frequently working on rooftops to clean solar panels. This client is concerned about employees falling off the rooftops or ladders and asked for guidance on how to help prevent this from happening. They were very concerned about staying compliant with OSHA regulations too. So, we coordinated a meeting with a safety consultant to perform an OSHA compliance assessment (mock OSHA Audit). Here are a few action shots:

A lot of people have a misconception that insurance brokers are simply “quote messengers” and it drives me crazy. “Oh, I need insurance so I am going to call a handful of brokers, give them a few details, let them plug them into a computer and we’ll take the lowest price provided.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get multiple opinions and cover all the bases, but insurance brokers can and should provide a lot more value than this. In writing insurance for your business, finding the best policy for your needs is the first step, but what about all the other risks your business is exposed to?

Think about it….loss control and safety, human resources services, claims management, employee handbooks, etc. Who do you call when you need help with this stuff? I hope my clients are calling ME!

I have working relationships with highly trained safety consultants, HR professionals, payroll representatives, bookkeepers, etc. The list goes on. By starting with the basics, you can control those drivers that affect your insurance costs. When it comes to your business insurance, be proactive, not reactive when deciding on the right coverage for your protection.

Trust me, if you try to wing some policy together which you know nothing about, you’re going to pay a lot more than you ever would if you had an insurance partner do it right for you from the beginning. Don’t look for a quote messenger, look for a broker who’s going to be your partner and advocate in protecting your business.

-JK

Small Business Insurance with The Hartford

Working as a broker, I work with a lot of different carriers on behalf of my clients to place their business insurance. One of the major carriers that I work with is The Hartford, an AM Best A (Excellent) XV ($2B or Greater Financial Size) rated carrier. The Hartford’s a great carrier to work with if you have a small business.

Interested in what they have to offer? Contact me anytime to discuss. Maybe we can find you something competitive backed by great coverage.

Here’s a new  video featuring their focus on small businesses insurance.

-JK

Office Waterfall

I can across this picture on Reddit today of an office getting pounded by water from a pipe burst in the ceiling:

Looking at this picture, I’ll guarantee you this business didn’t expect Niagara Falls to be suddenly pouring through their ceiling on this day.

Which leads me to the topic of insurance.

Insurance is intended to cover sudden and unexpected losses like burst pipes and fires among other things.

I talk to all different types of businesses on a weekly basis about their insurance. From offices to stores, manufacturers to distributors, and everything in between. A common  sentiment I get when discussing coverage’s is, “I don’t need that, it’ll never happen to me.”

Let’s hope this business didn’t skimp out on insurance to save money thinking this would never happen to them. Not only is there a major property loss, but what about the downtime and all the intangibles you don’t even think about that result from a loss. What if you’re the business located downstairs?

The point is, a loss can happen to anyone, anytime. Be prepared. Be proactive, not reactive. A loss to this magnitude can put you out of business for good if your don’t have the proper risk management tools in place. Don’t wait to learn the hard way.

-JK

Business Income Insurance – Coverage to Help Keep a Business Running

When disaster happens, a business may need to close temporarily. And when closed, that means loss of income.

Loss of income is one of the main reasons most businesses don’t reopen after a serious loss. Expenses don’t suddenly go away. In fact, they may spike significantly. Without revenue, it can be difficult for a business to survive.

Business Income insurance helps keep the capital flowing when a businesses doors are shut  temporarily and indefinitely after a loss.

With business income insurance, you are reimbursed for revenues lost during downtime when your property is damaged by fire, theft, vandalism or a natural disaster. Business income will also reimburse for expenses incurred to minimize the suspension of business operations, such as rent paid for a temporary office while the damaged property is being repaired.

What’s more, options might include coverage for business interruption resulting from:

  • Loss of off-premises utility services, including water, communication or power
  • Loss to a dependent property, such as a major supplier or customer
  • Electronic vandalism for business conducted over the Internet
  • Food contamination in restaurants and food service businesses

Business income coverage is usually included under a property insurance policy, but you should double-check that you have this and understand what the terms of the policy form are. If you have a Businessowners insurance policy, business income insurance will most definitely be included under the policy.

Source: The Hartford

Nasty Water Damage Loss; Insurance Claim

Upon returning to my office last Thursday morning after the July 4th “holiday”, we received a call from a client who returned to their office after the day off, only to find every square inch of their floor covered by 2-3 inches of water.

At first glance, they weren’t overly concerned about what they saw, but as they entered the building, they realized this was a severe loss for them. It turned out the sink in the break room had been building up pressure which caused the faucet head to shoot like a rocket across the room knocking a 5-inch wide hole through a wall and sprayed water like a fountain throughout the office for over a day.

The phones had been knocked out, employees couldn’t enter the building, and the entire office was under water. They needed help, fast.

We immediately called the claim in to the carrier and contacted a damage restoration company to get in there to begin cleaning up the mess. The restoration service company ended up spending the entire day Thursday sucking up the thousands of gallons of water.

On Friday morning, I visited my client’s premises to check it out and meet with the carrier claims adjuster, plumbers, contractors, and my client.

Here are some pictures of the damage:

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The good news is insurance coverage is in place to help with this loss. Not only are the repairs being made, but there is business interruption coverage and the carrier found a temporary office to relocate our insured while their office is being repaired. In a conversation I had with our client, they told me they see the value of their insurance more now than they ever had. Unfortunately, there are many businesses out there who don’t see the value of carrying insurance, thinking issues like this will never happen to them. And when it does, they learn the hard way. With a six-figure loss like this, would your business survive without insurance?

Car Flies Off Ramp Into A Local Nail Salon

I was in the office Friday just before the lunch hour when I saw a Twitter news feed, “#BREAKINGNEWS: Car crashed into nail salon in Rolling Hills Estates along Deep Valley Drive – 5 minor injuries reported.” Seeing this was no more than a couple of miles from the office, I took a drive up the hill to check out what was going on, and I brought the camera with me. Here’s what I found:

It turns out an elderly woman driving up a ramp in the Rolling Hills Estates parking lot, crashed through a guard rail and went airborne before plunging into this nail salon. The 2001 Infiniti landed completely inside the Peninsula Center business. Somehow, the woman’s gray Infiniti missed hitting four other people as it embedded itself inside the building. .

From seeing the premises first-hand, it’s remarkable that nobody was seriously injured or even killed!

The crash crushed furniture and demolished tables inside. City building inspectors were expected to check the salon for structural damage. Here are a few still photos:

Looking at this video and pictures, it’s evident that this salon will be out of commission for some time. However, if the business is adequately insured, the business owner shouldn’t have to worry much. The following coverages should keep the business alive:

  • Building and Business Personal Property: Coverage to help pay for the cost to repair or replace property, including inventory, office furniture or fixtures damaged by the accident. Not only is the business covering their own contents, but think about the building owner carrying a policy to cover the building itself.
  • Business Income and Extra Expense Insurance (AKA – Business Interruption Insurance): Coverage that reimburses a business owner for lost profits and continuing fixed expenses during the time that a business must stay closed while the premises are being restored because of physical damage from a covered peril, such as a fire. It also may cover financial losses that may occur if civil authorities limit access to an area after a disaster and their actions prevent customers from reaching the business premises.

On the flip side of the coin, let’s hope the driver of the car carried an appropriate amount of liability insurance as you can bet the insurance company for the nail salon and the building owner will be looking to subrogate their losses as a result of the drivers negligence (The legal process by which an insurance company, after paying a loss, seeks to recover the amount of the loss from another party who is legally liable for it).

As with any other insured, do you think this business owner ever thought this would happen to them? If you own a business, don’t think it can’t happen to you. Don’t wait to carry business insurance coverage. Cover your business now and always expect the unexpected.

JK

Insurance Claims Tips for Retailers

Unfortunately, even the best-run retail stores can experience accidents, thefts or other losses. While an insurance policy provides important protection in case of a covered loss, retailers can take some simple steps to protect their business before and during the claim process.

Have Important Information Ready

  • Inspect and inventory your property. As a matter of standard business practice, take a full inventory of all your property — both stock and other business property.
  • Take photos or videos to supplement your written records. Being able to verify ownership of your inventory and other property is key to any property claim.
  • Inspect your property regularly to document conditions both inside and out, and document your findings. Maintain a file of original purchase invoices.
  • Keep insurance information handy. Keep your insurance policy number and contact information for your insurance carrier’s Claims Department in an easily accessible place, both at your business and somewhere off premises.

If You Need to Make a Claim

File the Claim. Claims professionals are experienced in helping businesses recover from a loss. They can provide helpful advice and guide you through the claims process.

In the Event of a Theft

  • If your business should experience a theft, taking note of the details can make your claim a much smoother process.
  • Notify the police. Be sure to obtain the case or complaint number and the precinct or department information.
  • Gather alarm company information. If you have an alarm company, obtain the contact information and note the make and model of their system.
  • Gather surveillance information. If you have surveillance camera tapes or videos, retrieve the tapes as soon as possible.
  • Make a list of claimed items. List stolen property and their values. Locate support documentation and original purchase invoices.
  • Assign a spokesperson. Determine who is the most knowledgeable insured to discuss this loss with the insurance company, make sure they have or can get the needed information and can act as the contact person for your business.
  • Secure the premises. Protect your premises from further intrusion by boarding up broken glass, repairing locks, etc.

In Case of a Medical Accident

  • Get medical help. If there is a medical emergency, get immediate medical help for any injured person. If there is doubt whether medical help is necessary, err on the side of caution.
  • Collect information. Obtain contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident to share with the proper authorities. Show genuine concern, but never discuss liability or fault. Take the time to observe the scene of the accident.
  • Take a picture. Pictures of possible defects or other property damage can sometimes make a big difference in adjusting a claim. Take a picture or make a video of the place where the incident occurred. Note possible contributing factors, such as weather conditions.
  • Protect the scene. Secure the scene of the incident to prevent people from entering the area. Redirect people away from affected walkways or parking areas.
  • Secure a defective product. If a defective product is involved in the claim, protect it so that it can be examined later. Make sure no one can use, remove, tamper with or alter it.

No business expects to have to make an insurance claim. But by being prepared — both before and after the unexpected happens — you can help to protect your retail store and make your claims process as easy and straightforward as it can be.

Source: The Hartford Loss Control Services

These details are provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a subsitute for individual legal counsel or advice on issues discussed here. Readers seeking resolution of specific legal issues or business concerns related to the topic should consult their attorney and/or insurance representative.

-JK

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