Contractors Insurance No Comments

Why Won’t Your Insurer Issue an Unendorsed CGL Policy?

Do you know the difference between an endorsed Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy and an unendorsed CGL policy? If you don’t, you may find that your coverage will not have the support it needs to protect you when your need is dire. An unendorsed CGL policy is designed to cover claims if the insured is legally liable for certain types of injury or damage. The policy doesn’t restrict coverage to certain locations or types of operations and it does what it’s supposed to do; protect you. That is, as long as the applicant hasn’t misrepresented what he does (that’s called fraud), coverage applies to any type of work he may do.

Understanding the Ins-and-Outs of an Unendorsed CGL Policy

The problem is that many insurers don’t issue an unendorsed CGL policy. Why? Because it means they have to cover more, and more coverage is just bad business for insurance companies. So, they add endorsements designed to specifically exclude certain locations or operations or to restrict coverage to locations and operations that they consider risky (which could leave you exposed and vulnerable). Listed below are some of the most common exclusions that you’ll find when you don’t have an unendorsed CGL policy.

  • Residential work
  • Work in certain states (New York is a commonly excluded state)
  • Work on projects higher than certain number of stories
  • Bridge work
  • Lead and Asbestos Abatement
  • PEX Piping
  • Roofing

Other policies take a different approach. Rather than listing the type of work not covered, they  instead restrict coverage to operations and list a class code on the policy through the addition of a Designated Classification Limitation endorsement. It’s a much safer approach for both parties, but it’s still not foolproof. The problem with these endorsements is that a contractor cannot always tell whether a job he is considering is covered by a described classification. Descriptions are often general; Carpentry, for example, can include a variety of types of work.

It is important to review your policies for any type of endorsement that restricts the type of work that is covered. It is equally important to be honest about the type of work you are doing, have done in the past, and plan to do during the policy term. Honesty on both sides will help create a much stronger relationship and should help your insurance company find the protection that you need. An unendorsed CGL may be out of reach for some but that doesn’t mean you need to accept subpar insurance.



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Contractors Insurance No Comments

A Guide to Commercial General Liability Insurance

A slip, a fall, one misstep on the ladder. That’s all it takes. All it takes for one lawsuit to rob you of all of your earnings and efforts to get your small construction business off the ground. How? Because when someone is visiting your work site (or is on your work site) and they end up injured they can hold you liable for their injuries. And all of those medical bills can pile up fast. Luckily, there is a way to prevent litigation and other repercussions from accidents that may occur on your work site and it comes in the form of commercial general liability insurance. Here’s what you need to know.

Commercial General Liability Insurance – Who Needs It?

The short answer is… pretty much everyone. Commercial general liability is required by law in most states and, when it’s not, it’s typically included in the contractors’ contract. Why the inclusion? Because when you work as a contractor you are working in a high risk industry which means it doesn’t take much to go wrong if an untrained person has entered your work site. So, to reduce the possibility of someone injuring themselves (while you’re working) and then trying to sue you we highly recommend you looking into a commercial general liability insurance policy.

There are also some general liability perks that contractors get to enjoy that others (like small business owners and freelancers) may not get to enjoy. Primarily, contractors can avoid the extra coverage that a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) may include. Of course you can still get a BOP if you so choose, as the amount of coverage you need may vary from contractor to contractor (a roofer will probably need more coverage than a plumber).

How do you get Commercial General Liability Insurance?

The key to getting a commercial general liability policy that is right for you is to first find an insurance agent that will advocate for your needs. We would suggest that you find an independent insurance agent as they will be able to provide you with a greater variety of policies (as they represent multiple insurance companies) ensuring that you will get the best coverage for the lowest price.

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Contractors Insurance No Comments

High Risk Truck Insurance: Your One Stop Shop to Protect Your Tow Truck

For the past few years I have relied on the services of a Long Island Towing company to transport and resurrect my aging Jeep Cherokee. But, those times have come and gone and the car that has been driving my family around for the past sixteen years will be making its’ last journey later this month. It has seen over 250,000 miles worth of wear. It has seen the entire Eastern seaboard of the coastal United States. Traveled as far West as the Great Plains and even served as a temporary home for some of my family members (even me) at times. So, when our Cherokee’s engine goes to rest for the final time it will be time to reminisce about all of the memories that we had in our car. Memories that would have never been made possible without the help of a towing company dedicated to keeping my car on the road.

Unfortunately, not everyone may be as appreciative of your services as my family and I have been. Disgruntled customers and minor accidents can turn into major obstacles for your towing business if you are not adequately insured. To avoid such a cataclysm we have included some of the policies that you may want to consider acquiring (under high risk truck insurance) to cover your business. Read more

Collin McGorty No Comments

How to Defend Against Construction Defect Claims

Construction Defect Claim

According to IRMI, construction defect is defined as, “a deficiency in the design or construction of a building or structure resulting from a failure to design or construct in a reasonably workmanlike manner, and/or in accordance with a buyer’s reasonable expectation. The most dangerous defects have the capacity to fail, resulting in physical injury or damage to people or property. However, many defects present no increased risk of injury or damage to other property but nevertheless cause harm to the property owner in the form of loss of use, diminution in value, and extra expenses incurred while defects are corrected.”  When someone is injured as a result of a construction defect, they can make a claim against the construction company responsible for performing the work.

There is only one surefire effective way to protect yourself from a claim.  Only by maintaining and organizing complete records of the construction project can you protect yourself from insurance claims against your organization.  One of the most important records in this effort would be schedules and cost estimates.  By keeping track of quality control documents, procedures, and field activity you can establish a list which will be beneficial in your defense.  Other documents to be included are change orders, meeting minutes, field diaries, inspection reports, e-mails, and product cut sheets.

The more details you can provide the stronger your defense will be.  Also keep track of any issues that arise, conversations you have with property owners about the various issues, and a list of which employees worked on said problem.  We know that construction Defect Claims are a real part of doing business and as a construction contractor it is your duty to learn and understand what you can do to protect your business and its longevity.

Collin McGorty No Comments

Reevaluating NY Building Code & Requirements

NY Building Code

In a response to hurricane sandy, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies called for a revision in the NY building code.  The task force oversaw recovery effects from Sandy and has since suggested that our nation adopt a stronger building code that promote stronger and safer construction.  This effort would decrease the total damage by a hurricane and prevent such a crisis in future years to come.

In a statement by Jimi Grande, the senior vice president for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) it was stated that, “The best time to protect your home from extreme weather events is long before they happen, and a safe building code have been repeatedly shown to be the best and most efficient means of preventing damage and loss.”  The truth of the matter is that if the building code is stronger and safer, then the houses will be able to withstand harsher weather.

In the strategy proposed by NAMIC, the taskforce is recommending that states adopt the latest version of the International Residential Code and that programs like the Insurance Institute for Business and Home safety Fortified home program.  NAMIC is a huge supporter for these programs, and others, and has tried to pass legislation in the form of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act.  This act would provide post-disaster aid for states which adopt it, and is currently before congress.

“The Safe Building Code Incentive Act rewards those states that act responsibly to reduce their exposure to extreme weather, without adding any significant additional costs to the taxpayers,” Grande said.  In an extensive study, it was shown that each dollar spent by the government on mitigation would save 4 in losses – long term.  If the codes had been in place during sandy it has been proposed that savings would be in the billions.  Wind damage alone would have been reduced by 8 Billion in Louisiana and 3 billion in Mississippi.

“The simple fact is that mitigation is the best way to reduce the costs of extreme weather,” Grande said. “With this report, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force joins NAMIC and a chorus of other building experts, engineers, communities, and emergency responders who want to see their communities built stronger and safer.”

Whether the laws get passed nationally or only in a few states, it is a step in the right direction.  Any legislation that can save tax dollars and improve the quality of life for those effected is one that should be heavily considered.