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The Best Way to Shop Your Insurance

The Best Way to Shop Your Insurance

If you’re like many businesses, you are looking for ways to cut your expenses. That can mean anything from changing the brand of pens you use to laying off staff. Sometimes the most noticeable increase in expenses comes when your insurance renewal shows up with an increase. The best way to decrease insurance premiums is by shopping your coverage. There are many bad ways to do this, and a really good one. Don’t Shop Online Many insurance companies offer websites where you can complete an online application and receive an instant quote. These may seem like a great idea, but are you getting what you need, or just what you pay for? Sure, shopping your business insurance online at 3 am while eating leftover pizza in your pajamas sounds great now. After completing the fourth online application and receiving a fourth wildly different quote, you may start to feel like this is more trouble that it is worth. In addition, are you really getting the insurance that your business needs? One-size-fits-all insurance coverage is a myth. Every business has different needs and there are probably things your business needs coverage for that the online application isn’t asking about. That is the stuff that won’t be covered. Don’t Go Everywhere Another seemingly good idea is to get a whole bunch of different insurance brokers or insurance companies working on your insurance quotes at the same time. This can also be a lot of work. You may be making a lot of phone calls or insurance agency visits, completing more applications, and fielding a lot more questions and quotes. The good...

June 2019 Cannabis Update: To Shroom or Not To Shroom?

In the last month, two cities have decriminalized magic mushrooms and certain other natural psychedelics. The first to cross the threshold was Denver, in May passing the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative by a narrow margin. This doesn’t make mushrooms legal in that city but deprioritizes criminal penalties imposed by the City of Denver for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.The second city was Oakland, CA, which took things a step further. The city decriminalized several entheogenic plants, including magic mushrooms and peyote.Expanding into natural psychedelics would seem to be a natural next step for those who own cannabis-related businesses. However, it should be noted first that decriminalization does not legalize these substances, and second that there is likely no coverage under your current insurance policies for these substances.Your business insurance coverage likely contains an “Other Plants and Products Exclusion” that excludes coverage for plants other than cannabis or cannabis related products. The endorsement will look something like this: Please note that the exclusion applies to both the Commercial General Liability coverage form and the Products/Completed Operations Liability coverage parts of the policy.What Are The Consequences?It is important to note that while possession or usage of magic mushrooms and/or other natural hallucinogenics has been decriminalized, they have not been legalized. Dispensaries or other retail establishments may be subject to legal action even within those cities where decriminalization has occurred.In addition, you may lose your insurance coverage. Insurance carriers who discover their insured producing, stocking or selling these substances may choose to cancel your policies outright or nonrenew them upon expiration. Since these substances are still illegal it would be impossible to place coverage with another carrier.Don’t lose your livelihood....
Who Is An Insured?

Who Is An Insured?

When purchasing insurance for your business, the application will ask for the name of your company. Typically what you will put there is the company’s corporate name, as well as any “Doing Business As” (dba). That determines the “insured” party on the policy. Did you know that on many policies the “insured” can be more than just the business? In fact, coverage may extend further than you think. It Depends on Your Corporate Structure The typical Commercial General Liability Coverage Form (CG 00 01) reads as follows: In every instance, the company is covered, as well as the decision makers within the company, depending on the structure. However, they are covered only as it relates to their duties and/or conduct within the operations of the business that is being insured. But Wait, There’s More The CGL policy goes on to state: As with directors, officers and the like, conduct of employees and volunteers must be related to the business in ordered to be covered. In addition, bodily injury or personal advertising injury caused by these individuals to owners, managers, directors, other employees or volunteers is not covered. Any property damage to company owned property by these individuals is also not covered. Anything Else? Actually, yes, there is more. The policy also extends coverage to newly acquired or formed organizations as named insureds, except for these types: A partnership.A joint venture.A limited liability company. These types of companies must be added to the policy right away.  Any other organization will have automatic coverage for up to 90 days from the date it was formed or acquired. No coverage is offered...
Your Guide to Property Claims

Your Guide to Property Claims

We hope it never happens to you, but property claims do happen. Whether it is a break-in, a tornado, or a fire, we’ve got you covered.  If it’s your first claim, you may not know what to do. Luckily your policy gives you a good idea of what your next steps should be, in a section usually titled “Duties In The Event Of Loss Or Damage”. First Things First The first question you need to ask yourself is: “Was a law broken?”  If so, you should immediately contact the police. Whether this was a burglary or a robbery, the police should always be the first call. If no law has been broken, you can move on to the next step. Timing Is Everything As per the Building and Personal Property Coverage Form (CP 00 10): Property damage may be compounded over time due to weather and other factors, so reporting damage in a timely fashion is important. As soon as you are aware of loss or damage to your building or contents, you should notify your broker or your insurance company. The company will need a description of the damage, including how and when it occurred to be sure that the damaged property is covered under your policy. Failure to report property damage or loss in a timely manner could result in reduced claim payments. Then What? Once you have reported the damage or loss to the insurance company, your duties are still not over. The policy states that upon reporting you must: You must protect the property from further damage or loss. Be sure to keep records of...
Your Guide to Liability Claims

Your Guide to Liability Claims

After years of faithfully paying your insurance premium, the day has finally come: you’ve got your first claim. This is why you have insurance! However, you’re not sure what to do next. Luckily your policy gives you a good idea of what happens next, in a section usually titled “Duties In The Event Of Occurrence, Offense, Claim Or Suit”. Timing Is Everything The first thing the policy tells you is that the insurance company expects to be notified “as soon as possible of an offense or ‘occurrence’ that may result in a claim”. Even if the injured party hasn’t filed a lawsuit or made a formal claim, if you expect some sort of a claim from the occurrence, you should notify the insurance company right away. Notice is particularly important if you have a claims-made policy, such as directors & officers coverage. You could wait until you receive a demand letter or lawsuit, but depending on the timeliness of the notice, the carrier may be within their rights to refuse to defend the claim. What To Report So what does the insurance company need to know in order to open a claim file?  The policy is very specific about this, as well. The Commercial General Liability Coverage Form (CG 00 01) reads as follows: (Property claims are handled a bit differently and will be discussed in another blog post.) All of the above needs to happen in the event of an occurrence that may become a claim. Should you receive a claim letter, a letter of representation or a lawsuit, the policy advises you to do the following: It...
What Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover

What Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover

As most everyone knows, flood insurance is not covered by the typical homeowners or business insurance property policy. The solution for getting flood insurance is usually to obtain a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP attempted to fill a significant gap in coverage for property owners when property insurance carriers began to exclude flood coverage. Unfortunately, NFIP doesn’t cover everything. It Doesn’t Cover All Flooding NFIP has a specific defintion of a flood. It is as follows: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (one of which is your property) from: a. Overflow of inland or tidal waters b. Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source c. Mudflow. Per this definition, if your bathtub or toilet overflows and makes a mess of your house, there is no coverage under your flood insurance policy. If your washing machine floods the garage while you’re out running errands there is no coverage. This type of water damage may be covered under your homeowners policy, but it depends on the type of damage and how it occurred. Talk to your broker about what types of water damage may be covered by your policy. It Doesn’t Cover Everything You Own The NFIP policies do limit the amount of coverage you can purchase for your home or business. These limits are as follows: TypeBuilding LimitContents LimitOne to Four Family Residential$250,000$100,000Other Residential (Non-Condo)$500,000$100,000Non-Residential Business$500,000$500,000 It is important to note that if the replacement cost of the structure is less...