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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...
Five Insurance Basics for Businesses

Five Insurance Basics for Businesses

Whether you are starting a new business, or your company is well-established, protecting that business should be one of your main concerns. Locked doors, security personnel and a well-padded bank account are all nice things to have, but they can only do so much. Business insurance can be a hassle, but at Hayes Brokers we like to do our best to take the sting out of it. Here are the insurance basics for businesses, whether new or old. 1. General Liability A general liability policy should be at the top of the insurance list for any business owner. This policy can cover the business premises, the business operations off premises, and a host of other issues that may crop up related to advertising injury, products and completed operations and more. General liability insurance can cover both personal injury to customers and property damage to their property. Some might even call this policy “prepaid legal” since it will provide legal representation in the event of a claim or lawsuit related to the business operations. 2. Property Insurance Whether you own a building or just the contents, property insurance is a must. Property insurance is versatile enough to cover not only your structure and your company contents, but also business income or business interruption coverage in the event of a loss that leaves your business unable to operate for a period of time. There are many options available with property policies, such as equipment breakdown (boiler & machinery) coverage, ordinance or law, sinkhole collapse and more. Talk to your broker to find out which options are right for your business. 3....
A Closer Look At Insurance for LLCs

A Closer Look At Insurance for LLCs

As we have previously discussed, LLCs are a great way to protect company assets, but this corporate structure is not a replacement for actual insurance coverage. Insurance for LLCs should still be a consideration. Let’s take a closer look at why. You Can Still Be Sued In an article on Legal Zoom about LLCs, it is noted that forming an LLC makes a company a separate entity from the company owners. In the eyes of the law, the company “can own money and property, have a bank account, make agreements, sue people, and be sued.” While the corporate structure may protect individual owners from legal liability for company activities, it does not protect the company from being sued. Lawsuits cost money. The best prepaid legal option a company can have is a solid commercial general liability policy to protect against both nuisance claims and legitimate lawsuits. There’s an insurance policy for that: General Liability. You Can Still Make Mistakes Many professional businesses such as lawyers and doctors cannot form LLCs in certain states. If your business is formed as an LLC the corporate structure does not protect you or the business from decisions made by professionals within your company that result in damage or loss to your customers. There’s an insurance policy for that: Professional Liability / Errors & Omissions You Can Still Suffer A Property Loss The physical assets of your business such as your equipment, furnishings, and buildings are still vulnerable to damage or loss. Fire, theft, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters won’t stop at your front door due to your corporate structure. There are...
Does My Mobile Cannabis Business Need Insurance?

Does My Mobile Cannabis Business Need Insurance?

It is a fallacy that many mobile cannabis businesses fall into: if I don’t have a retail location, I don’t need insurance.  The truth is, if you have a business of any type, you need insurance to protect yourself and your investors. No Retail Location? You Still Need Insurance. Many only equate the need for insurance with business locations and landlords. However, if you run your business out of your home you still need insurance coverage.  Why? Because both typical and atypical business pursuits are excluded by your homeowners or renters insurance. Personal lines policies exclude any business done in the home or anywhere on the home premises. The policies exclude the work being done, the work product, employees, inventory and business equipment. Some policies may even cancel coverage for homeowners operating businesses out of their homes. If you are storing stock in your garage or in your spare bedroom, there is no coverage for it in the event of a fire, theft or other hazards. Liability coverage under your homeowners policy also will not extend to business pursuits. There will be no coverage for customers on premises, products liability, or personal or advertising injury, as businesses are excluded from the policy. The good news is both of these coverage lines can be written on your business even if you are operating out of your home. No Commercial Auto? You Still Need Insurance We have previously blogged about the need for commercial insurance for delivery services. The exclusions for livery use of personal vehicles applies whether the car is owned by you, your spouse, or an employee.  The only...
The Peril of the Attractive Nuisance

The Peril of the Attractive Nuisance

The pretty fountain you installed to make your property more attractive. The old car you’ve been meaning to have towed away. The swimming pool you worked hard to afford for your family to enjoy.  All of these may be considered “attractive nuisances”. If you think that sounds like a bad thing, you would be right. So what is an attractive nuisance, what are the consequences of having one, and what can you do about it? What Determines An Attractive Nuisance An attractive nuisance is something that may exist on your personal or business property. It is usually an artificial object, and may have gone unnoticed by you because it has become part of the landscape. Children can always spot an attractive nuisance. They look at the world with different eyes, and a hole in the fence may become the gateway to a different world. An abandoned chest freezer may become a rocket ship. A swimming pool looks inviting on a hot day. As a legal definition, the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine has 5 parts: You know there are children around who might trespass on your property. You know children may be at risk of injury if they enter your property. The children are too young to recognize the risks posed by being on your property. You can fix the problem for a reasonable cost. You have done nothing to fix the problem. When these 5 conditions exist, the landowner is considered legally liable for the injury or death of a child on their premises. The state of California did away with the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine in 1970, but replaced it...