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Disability Insurance for Individuals

When it comes to insurance, most people understand the basics: you need to protect your property and your vehicles, as well as obtain liability insurance “just in case”. Most also understand the need for health insurance if you get sick or life insurance if you die. But what happens if illness or injury affects your ability to provide for your family? Disability insurance should be there for those times when you’re unable to work due to illness or injury. However, most people don’t understand the need for disability insurance, the purpose of it, or how to get it. We hope to answer some of your questions here. What Is Disability Insurance? Disability insurance, also known as disability income insurance, is a policy that pays an injured person over a short or long-term period of time if that person is unable to work due to illness or injury. Payments can be used to pay bills, mortgage, and other expenses incurred during the time of injury or illness while the injured party is unable to work and receive income from his or her job. Why Is Disability Insurance Important? A 2008 study by the National Safety Council found that a disabling injury occurs in the US every 1 second. The majority of these disabling incidents are attributed to back injuries and illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. Disability is often overlooked because many people think that they would be covered by their employer’s workers compensation policy. However, coverage through workers compensation is only available to employees who contract an illness or are injured on-the-job. According to the same 2008 National...

How To Obtain High-Risk Fire Insurance

As fire season continues to rage, lawmakers in Western states are discussing changes that would restrict building or rebuilding in areas that are prone to fire risk. The numbers would seem to back up this plan: in 2017 in California alone there were over 15,000 structures damaged or destroyed and 45 people killed. While state governments grapple with how to mitigate losses in fire-prone areas, insurance carriers are already doing what they think is best: canceling policies for those areas where they are seeing numerous and repetitive fire claims. Other companies are restricting the number of policies they write in these areas or refusing to write them at all. If you own a home or business in areas where fires are common, what can you do? Have You Been Nonrenewed? If you already own property in these areas, you may see your insurance premium skyrocket, or you may be nonrenewed if your insurance carrier decides to of the area. What do you do if you get a nonrenewal notice? Call your current broker or insurance company to get a loss history on your current policy. The loss history should be at least three (3) years, but five (5) years is better. Call Hayes Brokers to discuss your options. If your premium has increased tremendously, call Hayes Brokers to find out what other insurance carriers and premium options are available to you. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute Insurance companies are required to give at least 30 days written notice of nonrenewal, though most states require them to give at least 90 days notice. This allows the policyholder sufficient time...

Contractor’s Guide to Aggregates

Insurance can be a confusing business. Policy language can make little or no sense, especially when you’ve got jobs piling up, subcontractors to deal with and project owners to appease. What is all this “aggregate” business on Commercial General Liability Insurance policies and certificates? Which ones should be checked on your insurance certificate? Which one should your subs be checking? Does it really matter? Yes, it matters. Here is the certificate we are referring to: What’s An Aggregate? The first thing we need to define is what is an aggregate?  A policy has several limits including Each Occurrence and General Aggregate. The General Aggregate limit is often referred to as the policy limit. This is the most that the policy will pay out on all claims over the life of the policy. Policy Aggregate The first checkbox on the certificate indicates that the General Aggregate Limit Applies per POLICY. What does that mean? In the picture above the GENERAL AGGREGATE limit is $2,000,000. The top limit is an Each Occurrence Limit of $1,000,000. So in any one occurrence, the policy will pay out $1,000,000. The General Aggregate or policy limit is $2,000,000. There can be any number of claims on a policy, but the policy limit will be $2,000,000. Once that is exhausted there will be no more claims paid. If the POLICY box is checked on the certificate, that means the policy aggregate limit is $2,000,000. What does that mean to you? It means that if you have a claim against this policy, the dollar value of all claims against the policy will be limited by the amount...

Three Overlooked Policies Business Owners Need

When you start your own business, the main focus is getting things started. That often means going without necessary items in order to make sure the business gets a strong push out of the gate. New (and even some seasoned) business owners will often go without to make sure their hard work isn’t for nothing. One area where it is easy to cut corners is insurance. The policies entrepreneurs often leave on the table are the very ones that could be most helpful. Here are three overlooked policies every business owner needs: 1. Workers Compensation If you have a small business or even a large one with a lot of payroll, it can be tempting to file an exemption or waiver with the state, and leave yourself without workers compensation coverage in the event of an accident. This is not the best decision. As a sole proprietor or new business owner you may be the only employee your company has or you may be one of the hardest-working employees. What happens to your company if your hardest-working employee is unable to work due to a work-related injury? If you think your health insurance will cover you, think again. Many health or medical insurance policies will exclude coverage for on-the-job injuries. If you are injured on the job and unable to work for any length of time, will your business survive? Will your family suffer financially? Solution: Add yourself to the worker’s compensation policy. In most states there is a cap on owner/officer payroll (find out more here), so the premium investment won’t be as much as you think. You...

Assigned Risk Auto: What You Need to Know

In most states, Auto Insurance is mandatory. You cannot register a vehicle without it and if you have it and then lose it, you can lose your drivers license. For businesses, you can also lose important contracts if you do not have auto insurance coverage. For those individuals and businesses that have multiple claims or bad driving records, an Assigned Risk auto insurance policy may be the only option available besides self-insurance (which is another article altogether). Here is what you need to know: Low Cost = Low Coverage Assigned Risk auto insurance plans such as the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) often bill themselves as “low cost” auto insurers, designed for both high-risk drivers and vehicles and those who cannot afford coverage on the open market. The fact is you get what you pay for. For instance, CAARP offers personal auto limits of $15,000 bodily injury per person; $30,000 bodily injury per accident; and $5,000 property damage (15/30/5) which is the minimum mandatory insurance limits in California. While these limits will satisfy the state, this coverage will most likely not be adequate in the event of an accident. For commercial vehicles, the coverage limit is dependent on the filing requirements for that business. If your business has contracts with general contractors, government agencies or municipalities, higher coverage is usually required, typically $1,000,0000 or more. The assigned risk limit would not be enough. It’s Liability Only Assigned risk coverage typically only covers your personal auto or business needs for liability. Should you require other coverage, you would need to go to an outside market. There is no coverage...

FAIR Plan: What You Need To Know

In the insurance industry, there are two types of risks that can be difficult to insure: those businesses or homeowners that are inherently high risk, and those that become hard-to-place over time due to claims or payment issues. At times, businesses with many claims may end up with an insurer of last resort: the California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan. While this plan can be a godsend to some insureds, it is not without its problems. Is the FAIR Plan right for you? What are the risks of being insured under the FAIR Plan? Read on to find out more. It’s A Last Resort The web page for the FAIR Plan makes it very clear that they are an insurer of last resort: What this means is that you can only get a FAIR Plan policy if your insurance broker has exhausted all other options and been declined. This would include insurance companies in both the admitted markets and non admitted markets. If you receive any other quote from an insurance company, even if it is higher in premium than the FAIR Plan, you must accept the higher quote.   How Did You End Up in the FAIR Plan? There are a few ways your home or business may have ended up in the FAIR Plan: The homeowner had too many claims. If there were multiple break-ins or fires, the open market may have been uninterested in insuring the home, so it was moved to the FAIR Plan. If you have been in the Plan for several years with no claims, you may be eligible once again...

Contractors: Time for an Insurance Checkup

As Spring begins to bloom, many contractors come out of hibernation. It’s time now for potential customers to start building, trimming, cleaning, mowing, moving, etc. The phone is about to start ringing again. If your business is just starting to gear up again after a long winter’s nap, now is the time to review your business and your insurance coverage. Are you ready for Spring? Has Your Coverage Lapsed? During the lean months of winter, some contractors find their income from the heavy months wasn’t able to sustain times of no work. If you failed to pay your insurance premium, your policy may have lapsed, meaning you have no insurance at this time. Lack of general liability or workers compensation insurance could put you in jeopardy with general contractors, municipalities, and state agencies that require coverage to get, keep and use your business license. Lack of auto liability insurance could risk your driver’s license. Pull out your policies, dust them off, and call your insurance broker to make sure coverage is still in place and valid. When you make that call, go ahead and schedule an appointment for a risk management analysis to review current coverage and see if there is anything else you might need. Check Your Equipment We know you’d never leave for a job site without the proper tools for the job. Have you purchased any new equipment? Are you planning to lease any equipment over the next several months? Review the scheduled equipment on your inland marine policy and compare it to your current tools on hand to be sure they match. If items need...

Protect Yours: Wrecking Room Insurance

The world these days is steeped in stress. If essential oils and meditation don’t work, perhaps it’s time for a Wrecking Room? These rooms are popping up all over the country and go by many names including wrecking room, rage room, and demolition room. The premise is simple: grab a tool and take out your stress, rage, anger and/or frustration on everything from old cars to computers. These rooms have been somewhat difficult to insure, since the concept is new (and a little strange). However, Hayes Brokers now has a national program aimed at insuring these businesses. Even if your wrecking room is located in an office building, a standard office policy isn’t going to work for you. Here are some things to know about wrecking room insurance: Premises Liability Insurance Waivers are no guarantee that you won’t be sued in the event of an accident on your premises, but you should require waivers from all participants using your tools and equipment. General liability insurance for your premises is the most important coverage you should purchase for your business. General Liability insurance protects against slip-and-fall injuries on premises, as well as advertising injuries, products and completed operations claims and more. Be sure that your broker is properly insuring your business. If you are purchasing an office package policy for this type of business, you may find yourself without liability coverage in the event of a claim. Most general liability policies may have a classification limitation that excludes coverage for any activities that are not specified in the policy. Property Insurance While much of the property your business owns may...

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Employment Practices Liability Insurance Frequently Asked Questions Employees are typically the single largest expense to a business year after year. Salary, benefits, and training all contribute to the cost per employee. Employees and potential employees can cost your business in other ways. Harassment lawsuits, racial or sexual discrimination and other employment-related causes of action can cost your business money in legal fees and claims payouts. The best way to protect your business is to purchase Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). Here are some frequently asked questions about this coverage: Isn’t EPLI included in my Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policy? This coverage is NOT usually included in your CGL policy. It would need to be added as part of a package policy or purchased as a stand-alone coverage. If you are unsure, check your policy and then talk to your broker. What does EPLI cover? EPLI policies are tailored to fit your business and may include coverage for harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract, failure to employ, failure to promote, violation of civil rights laws and more. See our document titled “SUMMARY OF EPLI (EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY INS.) RISKS” for a more comprehensive list. Does my business need EPLI? Any company that has employees or plans to hire employees needs EPLI coverage. Even if you only employ family members, or you haven’t hired your first employee yet, you should have this coverage in place. Allegations of misconduct or discrimination can come from anyone at any time, even during the interview or hiring process. EPLI claims and lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming. Even with little or no indemnity...

Homeowners Insurance: Up in Flames?

As every homeowner knows, “wildfire season” can happen at any time of year. As long as it’s dry enough and there is enough tinder around, sparks may fly. There are many resources out there that explain how to protect your property from a wildfire, but they don’t always work. If you’re out of town or unaware of a fire nearby, you can get caught without proper protection. One seemingly sure thing is to purchase homeowners or renters insurance for your property. Once you purchase a policy you’ll be covered in the event of a fire, right? Well, maybe not. Here are some ways to protect your property with insurance during wildfire season. Don’t Set It And Forget It An automatic insurance renewal every year can take the hassle out of shopping insurance or guarantee you have coverage. You just continue to pay the premiums and if something goes wrong you’ll have coverage. Ask yourself these questions: In the event of a catastrophe: Will you have the right insurance coverage? Will you have enough insurance coverage? There are a couple of ways you can find out the answers to these questions: hope for the best when a claim occurs, or review your policies at the next available opportunity and talk to your insurance broker. We vote that you talk to your insurance broker! Your insurance broker can review your coverage and review your home, personal property and financial situation with you to determine whether the coverage you have is the right kind of coverage and enough coverage to replace your property should the unthinkable happen. Document, Document, Document In a...

Get Your Cannabis Surety Bonds & Letters of Intent Here!

Breaking News! After nearly 2 months on the books, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) has finalized regulations that would allow for the issuance of licenses under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Among the hold-ups was the requirement that licensees have a $5,000 bond. It was unclear what type of bond this should be, and how to apply for one. Good news! Hayes Brokers is now able to secure these surety bonds for those wishing to be licensed with BCC in the State of California. These surety bonds must be a minimum of $5,000. The cost of this bond varies depending on credit, so those wishing to be licensed will need to complete an application and underwriting to get this bond. Hayes Brokers has the application and the forms you need to secure this surety bond. In addition to surety bonds, prospective licensees may be required to provide a Letter of Intent from an insurance broker or insurer to prove that he or she can comply with the insurance requirements of the Act. Hayes Brokers has been and will continue to provide Letters of Intent for licensees as necessary. Hayes Brokers can provide insurance services to every facet of the cannabis industry in all states where cannabis is legal. Whether it is medicinal or recreational or both, we have insurance markets available for everything from distributors to growers to dispensaries and more. Whether you need cannabis surety bonds, a Letter of Intent or insurance coverage for your business, we can help. Call Hayes Brokers today at  (800) 869-8643....

Case Study: Cyber Liability Third-Party Data Storage

When it comes to your customer and business data, who can you trust?  There is no question that it is safer to store data offsite than keeping it on your premises. Most businesses lack the capital to privately store data at an alternate location, so they depend on third-party data storage companies. A cannabis dispensary found out the hard way that third-party data storage isn’t always the safest bet. The dispensary contracted their data storage needs through MJ Freeway, a compliance solutions provider that offers point of sale and data storage. Here’s What Happened In November 2016, MJ Freeway experienced several outages. In January 2017, a cyber attack was discovered, and the ensuing investigation into the attack revealed that confidential client data had been breached November 2016. In November 2017, MJ Freeway notified customers via email and an online press release that the data breach had occurred. It took MJ Freeway nearly a year to notify their customers of this breach. In that time, the data may have been disseminated to other parties, though it is unclear whether that has occurred. Why This Is A Problem In the event of a data breach, most states and the federal government require that consumers be notified “as soon as possible” of a data breach, and usually no more than 60 days after the discovery of said breach.  Regulations may also stipulate that if a breach is in excess of $250,000 or exceeds 500,000 customers, website posting and media notification may be used. So this begs the question: was the data breach that large, or was the notification of customers made too...

Trump Administration Reigniting War On Cannabis?

The high times, they are a-changin’. Or perhaps not. In 2014, then-President Obama quietly “ended the war on marijuana” by instructing federal officials to stand down from raiding cannabis operations in those states that had voted for legalization. In December 2015, he also signed a budget bill that included language that all but legalized medical marijuana on the federal level, specifically prohibiting the banning of federal funds being used by veterans for medical marijuana treatment in state-approved programs. That all may be changing. It has recently been reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to reverse the previous directive, granting the federal government the right to reignite the war on cannabis. Will this have an effect on your business and the cannabis insurance industry? Probably not. Here’s why. States Aren’t Going To Take It In those states where marijuana has been legalized, the industry is big business, creating significant income for business owners and tax coffers. Those states won’t take federal interference lightly. In fact, California Attorney General Xavier Beccera has vowed to “vigorously enforce our state’s laws and protect our state’s interests.” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (now a candidate for governor) made similar statements. Also of note: 12-year-old Alexis Bortell is taking on Mr. Sessions. The preteen will have her day in court February 14, suing the federal government for her right to continue to access cannabis treatment for a seizure disorder. Money Talks It was widely reported after the Sessions memo came to light that cannabis industry investors were running scared. Forbes said just the opposite, quoting investors who noted that the directive didn’t really change...

Commercial Lines Insurance Checkup

No matter when your annual insurance policies begin or end, the new calendar year is always a good time for an insurance checkup. Pull out your policies, get your broker on speed dial, and consider these questions: Did You Hire Any New Employees? New employees can affect your insurance policies in many different ways: Workers compensation payroll may be increased, resulting in an increase in premium at audit. Auto insurance: while most new employees don’t affect your insurance premium, a new driver with a questionable or bad driving record could increase your premium or put your coverage in jeopardy. All new employees should be added as drivers to your policy upon hire, even if you don’t think they will be driving. General Liability: more employees means more work completed, which could result in more revenue. This could increase your premium at audit. Did You Move? If your office moved, did you inform your broker or insurance company? A larger or smaller premises may affect your liability insurance premium. The materials and construction of your office structure have an effect on your insurance premium, so it is important to inform your broker if you have moved. Real property coverage is not transferable so if the wrong location address is on your property insurance policy you may be paying for coverage on a building and business personal property that will not be valid in the event of a claim. Flood insurance is also not transferable, so you will need to cancel your old policy and purchase new coverage on the current location. Other types of nontransferrable coverage include boiler and machinery...

Personal Lines Insurance Checkup

It’s that time of year again when we review how far we’ve come in life and try to determine what the next year will bring. Now is a good time to do an personal lines insurance checkup. Many things may have changed in the past year that could affect your coverage. Here are some questions you should ask yourself: Did You Move? If you were fortunate enough to buy a new home or move to a larger place in the past year, did you remember to bring your insurance coverage with you? Continuing to pay premiums on a policy for a home where you no longer live doesn’t make good financial sense, and will be disappointing in the event of a claim. Check your policies to make sure that they have the right location address and that the amounts of coverage are sufficient to cover both your new home and your personal property. If you purchased new furnishings to go in your new place, will you have enough coverage in the event of a fire or other disaster? While you’re checking, make sure you have flood insurance as part of your portfolio. If you don’t have this coverage, now is the time to call your broker and get it in place. There is a 30-day wait before coverage begins, so don’t delay. Did You Remodel? If you didn’t move, you may have done renovations on your home. That new kitchen, bathroom or den not only looks amazing, but it increases the value of your home. Underinsuring your property can result in coinsurance penalties in the event of a claim....

Can You Get Sexual Harassment Insurance?

It is one of the hottest issues of this news cycle: inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Sports stars, journalists, pastors, actors, directors, producers, government officials and more are being accused on a daily basis of sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct. The question is, can you get sexual harassment insurance to protect your business from these claims? The answer is yes. It’s Called EPLI Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is the type of coverage that protects employers who may find themselves in the midst of sexual harassment allegations, among other things. This coverage is typically purchased as either a stand-alone policy or included with general liability or directors & officers liability packages. EPLI policies can be written to cover a number of potential problem areas including sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, mental anguish, wrongful termination, negligence, whistleblower retaliation and more. It’s Pre-Paid Legal When you read about workplace sexual harassment claims, the legal settlements usually aren’t that large, with many settlements under $100,000. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that in Fiscal Year 2016 there were 9,566 claims settled without litigation, resulting in $40,700,000 in claims payments. That’s an average claim payment of just $4,254.65. What that figure doesn’t take into account are those claims that were litigated. Legal fees can dramatically increase the cost of a sexual harassment claim, as well as increase the amount of time involved in fighting a suit. Litigated claims can often also increase the amount of settlement beyond $100,000, in addition to those legal fees. EPLI insurers offer legal representation to their policyholders, in addition to indemnity payouts for settlements or judgments....

California Newly Updated Cannabis Regulations

Recreational cannabis use (also known as adult use) went into effect in California on January 1, 2018. State lawmakers and insurance regulators are still working to hammer out the details of how distribution will be regulated and what insurance will be required. Here is what you need to know with regard to the insurance side at this time (please note that these regulations could change at any time): Bonds An applicant for a distributor license will be required to show proof of surety bond in the amount of at least $5,000 payable to the State of California. This bond is to ensure payment for the destruction of any cannabis goods that may be necessitated by a violation of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act or any regulations adopted thereunder. At this time there is no paperwork associated with this bond requirement or the type of bond required (other than surety). We will advise as soon as this requirement has been finalized. Insurance Per the Bureau of Cannabis Control Emergency Regulation Text, the following insurance will be required for distributor licenses: General Liability: A distributor licensee must maintain at all times a commercial general liability insurance policy in an amount no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the aggregate. The State of California MUST be named as an additional insured on this policy. The State requires a 10-day notice of cancellation provision. A canceled policy will result in license revocation. Auto Insurance: Any distributor who will be or is distributing cannabis goods must provide to the Bureau of Cannabis Control proof of insurance for each vehicle and trailer...

Hayes Brokers Featured at Cannabis Conference

Left to right: Galen Hayes, Camille Dixon, Susan Etter, Cassia Furman On August 10, 2017, Insurance Business America hosted Cannabis Cover 2017. This conference was dedicated to helping insurance agents, lawmakers and others understand the needs of cannabis businesses as California shifts from medical marijuana to allow for recreational marijuana use in 2018. Galen Hayes of Hayes Brokers spoke at the 9 AM Conference “Cannabis Cover: Current Needs and Future Opportunities.”  Mr. Hayes was asked to discuss current coverage critical needs for insurance in the California cannabis industry before an audience of over 100 attendees. This included insurance agents and brokers, lawmakers, representatives from the California Department of Insurance, lawyers, insurance company owners and representatives. “We believe that this was an opportunity to afford major change to the insurance industry for cannabis businesses in the coming years,” said Mr. Hayes. Other topics discussed included what obstacles there currently are to insuring cannabis operations, as well as the future of insurance and insurers in the coming years, admitted vs. non-admitted markets, and the hopes for the cannabis insurance industry in the future. Hayes wrote the book on insuring cannabis facilities and operations. With more than 20 years experience, you can trust Hayes to help insure your...

Hayes Speaks at El Sobrante Rotary Meeting

Galen Hayes was honored to speak (in costume, this is NOT his normal look) at the monthly meeting of The Rotary Club of El Sobrante – District 5160 on October 31, 2017. Galen spoke on a few of his favorite topics with regard to insurance, including flood insurance, earthquake insurance and fire insurance for homeowners. Flood insurance has been a hot topic this year due to flooding from the recent hurricanes, as well as inclement weather across the country. Recent hurricane losses in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, though much of it is either uninsured or underinsured. The topic of earthquake insurance touched on the California Earthquake Authority and the lack of insured homes for this coverage.   Fire and homeowners insurance were also discussed, including proper insurance valuation and the possibility that many homes are uninsured.It is estimated that in the recent Napa fires nearly 30% of the 9,000 homes burned were not insured. Galen Hayes is available to speak on a wide variety of insurance topics for both homeowners and business owners. If your organization is looking for an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker, call our office to book Mr. Hayes for your next meeting....

Admitted Insurance Carrier Now Available for California Cannabis Businesses

Admitted Insurance Carrier Now Available for California Cannabis Businesses By: Cindy Ponce November 9, 2017 El Sobrante, CA – For the first time, California cannabis business owners now have an admitted carrier to choose from when insuring their businesses. Golden Bear Insurance Company (AM Best Rating: A-, Excellent) was approved last week by the California Department of Insurance to begin insuring cannabis businesses throughout the state. Golden Bear Insurance Company enters the marketplace as large surplus lines carriers such as Lloyds of London have stopped writing coverage for the cannabis industry. The insurance carrier is now available to insure many types of cannabis enterprises including: Dispensaries/Collectives/Cooperatives Grow Facilities Manufacturers of: Edibles, Creams, Tinctures and Commercial Kitchens Distributors Coverage for businesses will include property, general liability (including assault & battery), products liability, special events, and crime. Cannabis business owners seeking coverage should contact Hayes Insurance Agency to obtain information, applications and quotes. “We are excited to finally be able to offer an admitted carrier to our California cannabis portfolio of clients,” said Galen Hayes, president of Hayes Insurance Agency. Hayes Insurance has been writing insurance for the cannabis industry since 1996. They offer all lines of coverage for recreational and medical marijuana operations in those states where it is legal. Hayes has access to all markets that offer cannabis coverage nationwide. Coverage is available for all types of businesses including delivery services, testing laboratories, doctors and more. Contact To learn more about insurance for the cannabis industry, please contact Galen Hayes (ghayes@hayesbrokers.com) or Cindy Ponce (chodge@hayesbrokers.com) 3550 San Pablo Dam Rd., #C, El Sobrante, CA 94803 Office: (510) 222-8643 Fax:...

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