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Antiques


It’s likely that some of your possessions qualify as antiques. Most policies do not define this term, so we have to rely on a reasonable person’s understanding; in other words a dictionary definition. Let’s look at a definition found in the American Heritage Dictionary.

Antique - 1. Of or belonging to ancient times, 2. Belonging to, made in, or typical of an earlier period and 3. Old-fashioned - An object having special value because of its age, especially a work of art or handicraft that is more than 100 years old.

Regardless the definition, basic property insurance policies are designed to handle commonplace property. Special property coverage is either excluded or severely limited. To protect such property, it is important to either modify a policy by adding additional coverage or to purchase a special, separate policy.

Before arranging for coverage, it is important to establish the value of the property. In many instances an inexpensive source such as a price guide or list may be available to determine value. Other methods may be to have the value determined by a professional appraiser or to use current receipts or sales bills. Provenance is also important. Provenance is just a fancy term for documents that prove an item’s history, particularly when there are facts that affect value such as documenting an early year of manufacture, relationship to some historical event or even previous ownership by a famous person. Once a current value is determined, adequate insurance should then be purchased.

Properly describing and setting policy limits to protect uncommon and high-priced items eliminates problems at the time of loss. It reduces the chance of coverage being denied and more clearly defines what is covered and for how much. If you wonder whether you have the right coverage as well as the right amount of coverage, contact an insurance professional to discuss your situation. Perhaps you’ll both develop a greater appreciation for arts and antiques.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

Insuring Jewelry – Part 2


Please see part 1 of this article on insuring and document the value of jewelry.

 

Handle With Care

Once you're certain about the value of your jewelry and the adequacy of its insurance coverage, you need to properly handle your jewelry. After all, who wants to actually file a claim? If you own a significant amount of expensive jewelry you may want to look into other precautions such as:

  • Get new appraisals every two or three years, sending a copy to your insurer
  • Take photos of your jewelry from several angles; again, share copies with your agent or insurance company
  • Consider a quality in-home security system that includes cameras and a central alarm
  • Store jewelry in a quality storage area such as a secure safe or vault.
  • Take care on where and when your jewelry is worn to try to avoid becoming a theft target
  • When applicable, use hotel storage for safekeeping jewelry
  • Do not publically share pictures or information on social media regarding jewelry ownership or purchases
  • Consider hiding jewelry in unusual spots around the home, including hollow-out books, or false furniture areas, etc.
  • Don’t share information about vacations or extended time away from your residence
  • Keep original receipts and all appraisals, especially if they demonstrate that the jewelry's value is appreciating
  • Ask your jeweler whether they have access to "Gemprint," or a similar jewelry identification system that documents a jewel's distinctive markings much in the manner of fingerprinting.
  • Consider storing jewelry that is rarely worn in a bank or saving institution’s vault. (Note that such special storage often qualifies for an insurance premium discount)

Again, your first step is to talk to an insurance professional since he or she shares your concern that you have the protection you need at a price you can afford.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

Insuring Jewelry – Part 1


Most homeowner policies provide very limited coverage for jewelry. The reason? Jewelry is high-valued (especially in relation to its size), is easily lost or destroyed and is vulnerable to theft (as well as fraud). If you only own a modest amount of jewelry (say just a few hundred dollars), perhaps the limited coverage provided by a basic policy is adequate. However, when high values are involved, consider buying special insurance coverage. A few options are available such as buying supplemental insurance that is attached to your homeowners or tenant's policy or purchasing a separate jewelry policy.

Discussing what is needed and expected from separate coverage is very important. Does the coverage consider jewelry values that increase over time? Does it cover mysterious disappearance (when you know the property is gone, but can't pinpoint when and how the property was lost) and other causes of loss, or just fire and theft? Discussing the coverage also helps you understand the steps you must take to make sure that you keep the maximum coverage in force and whether the coverage you receive is worth the additional price.

Documenting The Jewelry's Value

If the jewelry has just been purchased, a store receipt or certificate should establish the insured value. However, as time passes or circumstances change, the insured value must be reevaluated, perhaps by seeking an appraisal (expert opinion).

The retailer where you purchased the jewelry may be the easiest source for documenting the property’s value. Initially by providing a detailed receipt. Many retailers provide appraisals, some for free. However, it is important to verify the expertise of the service, especially as, sometimes, there could be a conflict of interest regarding valuations.

 

Getting an appraisal that affirms your jewelry's current value from an independent source may be the best way to assure that your property is properly insured. Of course, make certain that you work with a competent appraiser (check their credentials and number of years of experience). It is also helpful to talk to a potential appraiser. Does she seem to have the necessary expertise? How willing and able is she to explain her work? There are several professional jewelry and appraisal associations that can give you information on appraisers and appraising methods. All of these items are important, especially since you have to pay a fee for an appraiser's services.

 

Please see part 2 or this article regarding handling and security.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

 

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DEDUCTIBLES


Whether we insure our car, our home, our boat, our personal property or our business, there is a basic premise of insurance that underlies them all…..sharing in losses that occur to them. A more common term for loss-sharing is deductible. A deductible is the amount which must first be subtracted from the total damage that occurs and the remaining amount is the financial responsibility of the insurance company (at least up to the policy limit).

Deductibles serve a couple of very important objectives. First, deductibles allow insurance companies to save money by not having to respond to frequently occurring, minor losses. In other words, a million one-dollar losses still add up to a million dollars. Second, deductibles create an incentive for insurance consumers to make the effort to eliminate or mitigate losses. Deductibles, as used in property insurance, can come in different forms such as the following:

Disappearing Deductible – A disappearing deductible is a dollar amount deducted from the amount of loss which is reduced as the size of losses increase, finally disappearing entirely when a loss reaches a certain, specified figure.

Flat deductible – A set dollar amount that will be subtracted from each claim or loss. The given amount appears in the policy and it does not vary with each loss.

Franchise deductible - A provision that no loss is paid by the insurance company when the loss amount is less than an agreed amount called the franchise; but if the damage equals or exceeds the franchise, the company pays the entire amount.

Straight deductible – Another term for flat deductible.

Aggregate deductible - Under this deductible provision, an insured qualifies for an insurance payment only after all eligible, incurred losses during the policy year exceed the established deductible amount.

Percentage deductible – Also known as a participating deductible, it is a stated proportion of any loss that occurs, such as 5% or 10%.

Waiting Period – A given amount of time (usually in hours or days) that must pass after a covered loss occurs before any coverage takes effect.

Although not called a deductible, a coinsurance clause qualifies as one. The clause requires a property owner to maintain insurance at least equal to a stipulated percentage of the property’s full (replacement) value at the time of loss. A formula is used to determine the amount of coverage the property owner is due when a loss occurs.

Regardless the form, deductibles are a valuable tool in keeping insurance both affordable and available.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2013

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

 

New Ways for Old Policies


The only thing that remains constant over time is change. All forms of insurance policies have to deal with change. Most of them have to deal with how coverage is provided, including responding to developments from significant court cases and changes needed by parties covered by policies. But now, in the U.S., policy forms are facing changes in format and language and these are reflected by actions in various U.S. states. Specifically, different states are providing rules and laws regarding policies being offered in an electronic format and/or in other languages, typically Spanish.

Increasingly, the world is decreasing the use of paper in favor of electronic documents. This change results in greater accessibility, affordability and portability. This change is also motivated by a higher concern to be “green” by reducing use of resources and waste (no discarded paper). 

So far, states that allow insurance companies to provide policies electronically must comply with provisions such as the following:

·         Insurer must make policies (as well as endorsements and promotional materials) in popular computer formats

·         Insurer must exclude any data that makes it possible to identify a policyholder

·         The policyholder must be notified when materials are available on-line

·         The materials must be accessible throughout the time the information is in effect

·         Such materials must be in a format that is approved by a given state

·         Policyholders must have a free method of printing such materials

Different states may have other requirements, but the above represents core items.

With regard to providing forms in a different language, states again take the lead in setting parameters. The incentive for using policies in other languages is spurred by a desire to offer forms that are more readily understood. Those with little or no proficiency in English are at a serious disadvantage with policies that only appear in that language. Having a policy, as well as endorsements, brochures, etc., available in another language greatly aids the ability to evaluate different coverage options, buy insurance and understand loss situations.

States do have to deal with a particularly important and related issue. How are such polcies handled when a loss occurs? Policy wording in English may have significantly different meanings when translated and issued in other languages. Many terms and phrases have special meanings that are recognized by courts. Translated insurance form language may include significantly different interpretations.

For the time being, states and courts handle the above situation by defaulting on the use of the original, English version of a given form when they are subject to claims or lawsuits. While this may be confusing, this combined treatment allows non-English speaking policyholders to have a better understanding of their coverage, but still make them subject to the same handling in the courts as is faced by English-speaking policyholders.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2013

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RESILIENCY


Sometimes the concepts of insurance and risk management can become clouded and confused. Something is often lost among the mechanics of arranging for coverage, what should be covered, how it should be covered and what costs are involved. Many fail to appreciate the real value of these concepts and may get to the point where they are considered merely expenses and barriers to other, more important objectives.

However, there is a way to view these concepts that lets you maintain a correct focus on what is involved and that is “resiliency,” the ability to recover or rebound to your original state or condition after experiencing adversity.

Our lives and our success in living them are so heavily dependent upon our ability to recover after loss and destruction. The value in assessing threats to loss that we face in our personal and business lives is in the power we gain by being able to recognize dangers. Once recognized, we also need to secure ways to eliminate, avoid or minimize these dangers.

Our embracing the concepts of risk management and one of its most effective tools, insurance, gives us a greater chance to meet our responsibilities to those who depend upon us. The reward we achieve is the creation of stronger individuals, families, businesses and economies. Economic survival is a good thing, but with the attitude of doing what we must to be resilient, we achieve great things.

We all win when we adopt the attitude to survive and then to thrive. Insurance and risk management give us options to rebound from adversity. Use them and appreciate their value.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2013

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

 

Guaranty Funds


Each state has a guaranty fund. Their purpose is to minimize the loss to their citizen policyholders when an insurance company becomes financially impaired or insolvent. Various studies reveal that the following are among the most common reasons for insurance company failure:

  • Fraud (including falsified reports, concealing or altering key information, etc.)
  • Uncontrolled (rapid) expansion
  • Improper assignment of underwriting authority
  • Inadequate pricing
  • Lack of management expertise (especially with new or different lines of business)
  • Improper reserving
  • Insider activity
  • Inadequate or improper Reinsurance Agreements/Reinsurer Failure

Guaranty funds are, typically, mandated by various state laws and they usually focus on helping persons who are considered to be the most vulnerable to insurance carrier instability (such as auto, homeowners and small-sized commercial business).

Guaranty Funds collect assessments from participating insurers (all other insurers operating in a given state) whenever a need for funds is caused by an insurer’s fatal, financial impairment. The collected funds are used to handle claims suffered by policyholders of a failed insurer as well as pay the creditors and other parties owed money by the failed company. The fund is reimbursed by taking over and liquidating assets that are held by the insolvent insurer.

A state fund is usually called upon to handle payments once that state’s insurance commissioner formally declares that a given insurer is insolvent. Once that declaration is made, the state takes over operations and management of the company. 

Most state insurance regulators have a detailed program for monitoring the insurance companies that operate in their state. They require regular financial reporting and use a variety of tools that allow them to ascertain a given insurer’s financial state. If done properly, a vulnerable company should be identified and steps be taken to address the situation. Typically, a well-established set of financial tests are available to assist in evaluating an insurer.

Sometimes an alternative to the use of guaranty funds is used, called a run off. Under a run off, a company is kept in active operation, but it no longer processes new business or renewals. The goal is to dispose of business in an orderly fashion, without triggering guaranty funds reimbursements or assessments. Run offs are being used more often in handling impaired insurers.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc., 2013

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

 

Insurance Surveys


Life consists of actions….activities, in both one’s personal and business worlds. Making products, selling goods, owning property, transporting goods, storing property; regardless the type of activities, they all create the possibility of losses.

Insurance is one of the ways to handle the, often, serious financial consequences of losses. However, it’s ineffective unless it is the right insurance. Depending upon your circumstances, it may be difficult to be confident that you have identified your exposures to loss accurately enough to select the insurance you need.

There is an excellent tool for ferreting out loss exposures, called insurance surveys. Surveys may range from simple, one-page versions to complex versions. Surveys, essentially, are a list of questions about your personal and business circumstances that are designed to discover as many significant sources of loss as possible. The survey answers then act as a guide for assembling a proper insurance program. At a minimum, surveys create a greater awareness of the loss exposures faced and, even if not handled by insurance, still provide valuable information that can help in seeking other methods of minimizing the possibility of loss.

Personal surveys can become more detailed as the assets owned by an individual rises. High income households have more property to protect and also tend to have a greater risk of being sued for damage or injury that arises from their activities. With regard to businesses, surveys become more detailed due to both an operation’s size as well as its type. For instance a small office survey would not be as detailed as one for a large office. However, any size retailer survey would likely be more complex than one for any size office.

Surveys are invaluable tools for getting crucial information to help protect one’s self or one’s business from the world of losses. Contact an insurance professional and arrange to complete one.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2014

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

 

Takaful Insurance – Part 1


As it is in Western Culture, insurance coverage in the non-western world has roots in its cultural and economic history. That is certainly the case with takaful insurance which, in various forms, is used in a number of countries that follow Islamic (or Shari’ah) law.

Conventional Insurance vs. Takaful

Conventional insurance coverage, while still offering the basic option of mutual protection from pooled funds from contributors, most commonly exists in an expanded form that seeks to maximize financial benefits. Rather than restrict its goal to protecting against eligible losses, conventional insurance often maximizes its income potential by aggressively seeking opportunities via activities such as the following:

  • use of selection and pricing practices to create underwriting profit
  • redeploying collected premium into various investments
  • recovering funds it has paid in losses from other parties that bear legal responsibility for such losses (subrogation)

Transversely, takaful arrangements reflect a desire to provide pure protection against certain forms of accidental loss. Due to the requirement of Shari’ah, it is forbidden to pursue certain financial activity that is commonplace in Non-Islamic countries. Islamic financial practices are indivisible from religious practice, so they share the following objections concerning conventional insurance:

  • Maeser – Gambling
  • Gharar – High Uncertainty
  • Riba - Interest

Therefore, takaful coverage must avoid any elements of speculation (gambling) or profit-taking, so the focus is upon achieving a fund pooling arrangement that focuses on providing mutual protection and maintaining that pure level of protection. 

Takaful Operator Models

Islamic practices and interpretations of law and permitted activities can vary significantly among countries. Therefore, there are different models of takaful operations. The main ones are:

  • Mudaraba (Partnership with Profit Sharing)
  • Wakala (Agency with Fees)
  • Hybrid (Profitsharing/Fees)

 

Please see part 2 of this article which discusses the Takaful Market and a role played by traditional insurers.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

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Takaful Insurance – Part 2


Please see part 1 of this article which discusses the background on Takaful Insurance.

Takaful Market

While there is significant growth in the global takaful market, the current level of coverage it provides as a percent of the total insurance market is still negligible. That was the case in countries that, currently, comprise the largest markets for takaful coverage. Specifically, the following:

  • Bahrain
  • Indonesia 
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates 

One recent study by a conventional global insurer which has also entered the takaful market found that there are significant issues with takaful operations and product availability among the countries that provide takaful coverage. One issue is that there is a lack of product diversity and too little development has occurred on the commercial and retakaful market. The study suggests that these factors are a cause of the low level of market penetration common to all of the countries studied. Some greater market impact may come from Africa which, particularly via Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia, is becoming an important emerging area in traditional insurance, microinsurance and, now takaful coverage. Another area of development is the interest of consumers who operate in traditional insurance markets. Some commercial operations have an increasing concern over transparency, sustainable coverage and social consciousness and there is interest in using takafulcoverage as a way to avoid possible entanglements with how corporate funds are used. There is some belief that conventional problems could be avoided if a more straightforward form of insurance coverage, such as takaful, is used.

Involvement of Traditional Insurers

Much of the drive for takaful growth, ironically, is coming from traditional insurers. Global insurance growth is assisted by achieving greater development and penetration of global markets. Some of the world’s largest insurers have begun embracing less traditional activities in order to reach out to underserved insurance markets, which are in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Services that have a more realistic chance for growth are microinsurance, takaful and retakaful (Islamic version of reinsurance).


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

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Internet Liability - Part 1


Each day more people decide to create their own Websites, blogs or otherwise participate in social media activities. The reasons for having a Website or blog vary, or other activities range from frivolity to earnestness. Personal Websites and blogs commonly describe the host, his or her family and interests such as a particular hobby, sports, profession, humor, etc. Whatever the reason for creating a Website or blog, they, along with social network activity can represent an additional source of loss that may require additional insurance. The loss potential is directly related to the purpose and content found on the Website.

New Opportunity For Old Losses

Website liability is an extension of the ages old accountability for what you say or write. Such responsibility extends to household members; so it's important to be aware of what a family's little E-wizard may be doing. The types of losses that may be created by a Website, blog, or social media activity include:

  • Libel - knowingly publishing false information that harms a person's reputation.
  • Invasion of Privacy - disclosing information that interferes with another party's peace of mind.
  • Infringement - violating or interfering with another's property rights or the right to pursue business

Oops, You May Not Be Covered

Most homeowner policies protect against liability for tangible injury to another person or for actual damage to another party's property. Liability created by publishing or broadcasting content typically involves personal (or non-physical) injury that is not covered by a typical homeowner policy. While individuals may be able to add protection (such as add-ons to a homeowner policy or umbrella coverage), certain losses may still be uncovered because they involve intended acts or business activity.

Can You Protect Yourself?

The good news is you can take steps to eliminate or, at least, minimize the possibility of facing electronic publishing-related loss. The first step is to identify areas of concern. The key to understanding and addressing any possible Website liability is to focus upon:

  • the nature of the Website or activity
  • the Website or account’s contents
  • who may be harmed by the site or activity
  • how a party may be harmed

It is important that you think hard about these issues and approach the job objectively. Your building a site, blogging or using social media just for "fun" could end with you explaining the punch line in court. Two people can interpret information in radically different ways. Use a method of examining your Website that helps you view it through "fresh" eyes that won't gloss over important facts. Asking the help of others could be a big plus.

See Part 2 for important considerations about Web activity.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

 

Internet Liability - Part 2


Considerations For Your Web Site, Blog or Social Networking

If you or someone in your household operates or is building a Website, or is active with social media, you need to be aware that the site (or activity) could open you to legal situations. Here are some questions you should consider:

Who created the site or page?

Key consideration: depending upon the circumstances, a private party that created the site for you may share (or even own) the responsibility for damages caused by the site.

What is the purpose of your site or activity?

Key consideration: Is there ANY business activity or purpose? If so, you may have an immediate need to secure appropriate protection.

What content is found at your site or page?

Key consideration: Not only do you have to think about YOUR message, but you must think of other parties that appear at your site such as friends, companion businesses or even miscellaneous links.

Who do you intend to attract to the site and how do visitors use your page?

Key consideration: There's a big difference in the type of people you're targeting, such as inviting:

  • relatives to see baby pictures or family newsletters
  • customers to request product/service information or to place orders
  • hobbyists to distribute or solicit stories or advice
  • strangers to a forum for discussing sports, political or other topics

Is there anyone you would not want to see the site or page? Why?

Key consideration: Answering this question honestly is critical. It can identify prime sources for possible legal action against you. It may also suggest what precautions you may take, including the easiest action such as eliminating the reference to a person, group or organization.

Please see part 3 on precautions to take regarding operating a website.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

 

Internet Liability - Part 3


Does Your Site or Activity Create An Insurance Need?

After examining the key concerns about your Website, you should be prepared to take precautions which may include:

  • adding security features to your Website
  • changing the content
  • adding waivers or disclaimers about links or certain pages that appear on your site
  • adding user agreements to your site
  • creating guidelines on maintaining current and future content at the site
  • changing your homeowner coverage
  • buying additional or special personal or business liability insurance
  • adding or eliminating a guest book (if you have a guest book, pay close attention to what visitors say)
  • eliminating the Website

Once you've carefully examined your situation, a discussion with an insurance professional could be an excellent step to identify coverage needs which may include having to buy commercial coverage. The instant and widespread access represented by the Internet creates new perils for individuals. Don't hesitate to seek the help of an insurance professional or even competent legal advice.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.


Covering Funeral Directors


We’re born, we live and we die, and how we’re treated in death is surrounded by ritual and ceremony. For those who have suffered a loss, emotions rule and there’s a tremendous reliance on others to help commemorate the passing of a loved one. Funeral directors and morticians have a critical role and, because of their position, are vulnerable to lawsuits should plans go wrong.

Like any other businessperson, funeral directors and morticians need to have general liability protection to handle losses related to routine circumstances that could happen as easily at a gas station, grocery store, dance studio or tax office. But “general” coverage does NOT handle losses that are directly connected to their professional duties. Professional Liability coverage will differ according to the insurance company providing the protection because coverage is not standardized. Regardless, most policies will likely handle the following:

  • Bodily Injury - Coverage applies for any professional malpractice error or mistake in the embalming, handling, disposition, burial, disinterment or removal of any deceased human body or any conduct of any memorial service by the insured. Injuries involving burial rights as well as mental anguish are also covered.
  • Property Damage - may cover damage to or destruction of urns, caskets, linings or fittings, casket eases, crypts, mausoleums or similar facilities. Protection is also available for claims connected to loss of damage to property that is in the care (possession) of a funeral director and staff, such as a body as well as personal effects.
  • Defense - provides protection for the costs of providing a legal defense against claims and lawsuits. Care has to be taken about this coverage. It makes a huge difference whether these costs are provided as separate protection or if payments are deducted from the amount of policy limits purchased.
  • Exclusions – typically, such policies will not protect against intentional acts (fraud, misrepresentation and deliberately violating laws or regulations), contractual liability, losses involving motorized or animal drawn vehicles, losses to property owned by the funeral operation, losses involving medical wastes and chemicals and other sources of loss that are meant to be covered by other types of policies.

Funeral directors and the people who work for them have many, important responsibilities, including the need to contact an insurance professional to make sure they have protection for mistakes that they may make.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

Educators’ Legal Liability Coverage

 

Educators’ Legal Liability Insurance handles loss that is directly involved with the academic activities of private or public colleges, universities, high schools or even trade schools. An Educators’ Legal Liability Policy protects against damages from actual or alleged “wrongful acts,” meaning any act, error or omission by any person the policy identifies as being covered. Acts the policy insures include discrimination, failure to educate, libel, slander, wrongful termination, denial of tenure, and breach of contract.

The entity or organization that is protected by an Educator’s Legal Liability Policy is specifically listed. However, since policies offered by different companies vary, it is important to make certain that the following persons are also protected under the policy:

  • ·Directors and officers of the institution’s governing body
  • ·Members of boards, commissions, councils and committees
  • ·Elected or appointed officials, trustees, directors or superintendents
  • ·Employees, including student teachers, teaching assistants and substitute teachers
  • ·Authorized volunteers, including students
  • ·An institution’s students while participating in internship programs

An Educators' Legal Liability form will not cover certain losses, such as those involving deliberate acts, acts that are fraudulent, crimes, violations of certain Federal Acts, or for providing (or failing to provide) services that are considered professional in nature (such as accounting, law or medicine). The premiums charged for Educators’ Legal Liability coverage is usually based on the number of full and part-time students served by a school as well as the number of faculty.

Organizations that need this special coverage would do well to put on their thinking caps and contact an insurance professional for lessons on finding the right policy.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 


Title Defects

Title insurance protects a new property owner against the financial consequences of receiving a flawed property title. These flaws, or defects, are situations that affect the marketability of a title, complicating the goal of assuring that a real property transaction includes a title with clear, legal ownership and without third party claims. Identifying problems is critical to a title search. Here is a list of some instances that are considered defects

  • Adverse Claim Issues–Problems arising from claims by third parties, usually about unpaid work or services.
  • Estate Administration Errors–defects caused by issues that affect a deceased party’s property
  • Forged Instruments–invalid deeds, mortgages, etc.
  • Fraudulent or Illegal Actions–usually involving fraudulently acquiring property
  • Incompetent or Improper Parties–transactions where one of the parties does not qualify as legally competent
  • Incomplete/Pending Judicial Proceeding–These defects are caused by court-related proceedings that may not be resolved/addressed at the time a transaction takes place.
  • Lack of Full Disclosure–material information about property that was not disclosed to the prospective buyer:
  • Miscellaneous Errors and Situations
  • Records Errors–defects involving mistakes with documents or similar issues
  • Tax/Assessment Administration Errors–defects that are directly related to tax and/or assessments problems
  • Unauthorized Parties–transactions involving parties that act outside their implied or explicit scope of authority

Curing Defects

Unfortunately, handling defects can often be expensive, time-consuming and complicated. Methods for curing defects/clearing titles vary according to the type of defect involved. Methods may include filing a title lawsuit, arranging property transfers or paying outstanding liens.

In any case, it is prudent to secure the help of an expert, such as attorneys with expertise in real estate or tax law to assist with curing defects.

Please see parts one and two of this article for information on title insurance and title searches.

 

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

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Title Search

 

A title search has to occur before a title insurance policy can be issued. Title search companies conduct direct searches in order to determine ownership and encumbrances on a given parcel of land or property. Completed title searches are then subject to title examination and underwriting.

Direct Search

Under this method, the searching party is hired by the prospective land purchaser to study county records (grantor-grantee index or tract index) or title records.

Title Plant Examination

This method is a form of direct search where a title agent or insurer reviews the information available in its own title plant. A title plant consists of copies of county and other public records that affect land and property ownership. The records are organized to display all items affecting a given parcel in one spot.

Title Examination

Once all records and transactions applicable to an identified parcel of property are found, the information is sent to a title office. Typically the packet of information includes relevant sales documents, name searches, tax searches, lien placements, etc.

The title officer’s duty is to review all of the material and write an opinion on who validly owns the property, whether any defects affect that ownership and what steps should be taken to rid the property of any identified defects.

Title Underwriting

After the title examination is completed, an underwriter reviews the information and decides whether it is appropriate to accept or reject the property for title insurance.

When no defects are identified, a decision to provide coverage is clear. When defects are found, the underwriter is responsible for deciding whether the defect(s) is/are serious enough to bar issuing title insurance.

Please see part three of this article for information on title defects. Part one of this article discussed title insurance coverage..


 

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

Title Insurance

Purchasing real estate requires sellers to provide buyers with a valid property title (proof of ownership) at closing. If a buyer takes out a mortgage, the lender will require evidence of a clear title. It’s provided in the form of a title insurance policy purchased by the buyer. Title insurers in the United States search public records to determine who owns the title and what other interests exist.

Title insurance guarantees that the title for newly purchased or newly financed property is free from the problems of hidden liens and claims. It is different from other types of insurance because it protects against possible past occurrences rather than future events. When problems are found with the property title, the defects must be fixed (cleared) before the property can be legally transferred to a new owner. If later there is a lawsuit over ownership of the property because the title search was faulty, the title insurer pays the legal fees and any settlement amount.

There are three types of title insurance:

1. A Lenders’ Policy (issued only to mortgage lenders). This type of policy does not cover the owner’s interest in the property. The initial policy limit is the amount of the mortgage. This limit decreases each year, and disappears when the loan balance is paid off.

2. An Owner’s Policy which protects the owner’s interest for the full purchase price of the property. Most sellers pay for this policy as part of their obligation to deliver a clean title to the buyer. The owner’s policy insures:

  • That the title is free from all defects, liens and encumbrances except those listed as exceptions in the policy or those excluded from the scope of the policy’s coverage
  • Losses and damages suffered if the title is unmarketable
  • Loss if there is no right of access to the land

The policy limit on an Owner’s Policy is usually the purchase price paid for the property. The coverage is in effect as long as the insured or heirs retain an interest in the property. One premium is paid at the time of the closing.

If the property owner later refinances, they will be required to purchase a new title insurance policy that protects the new lender from any encumbrances that may have arisen since the original purchase of the property. In a refinancing situation, the owner should not need a new Owner’s Policy since the one issued when they first bought the property protects them as long as they or their heirs have an interest in the applicable property.

3. A Construction Policy which can be purchased when land is being developed for the first time, as the land is likely to have had prior owners. A title search will uncover any existing liens, and a survey will determine the boundaries of the property being purchased. If the builder fails to pay subcontractors and suppliers, title insurance covers the new owner against any lien on the property.

See parts two and three of this article for more information regarding titles



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Wrap-Ups

Businesses usually hire construction firms to handle building an addition or a new store. In such instances, the hired (general) contractor handles leading the project, arranging for other, smaller contractors (sub-contractors) to handle parts of the overall job. However, the process is quite different for massive jobs, such as highway projects, airport expansion, hospital construction, building a manufacturing center, etc. In such instances, the entity that owns the project may want to have more control over costs, particularly insurance costs. One method to reduce project expense is called a Controlled Insurance Program or Wrap-up.

A wrap-up is a sponsored insurance program covering all parties involved with a particular, typically major, construction project. The sponsor can be the owner of the project. An owner-sponsored wrap-up is called an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP). The sponsor can be the general contractor of the project. The general contractor sponsored wrap-up is called a Contractor Controlled Insurance Program (CCIP). On rare occasions the owner and contractor jointly sponsor the project.

The standard lines of business in a wrap-up are Workers Compensation, General Liability, Excess or Umbrella and Builders’ Risk coverages. Professional and pollution policies are sometimes included. A traditional wrap-up gains much of the savings from the Workers Compensation coverage. Therefore, there are few, if any, traditional wrap-ups without Workers Compensation coverage. 

Any type of risk the sponsor, broker and insurance company can agree upon can be written in a wrap-up subject to state laws. The greater consideration is which types of risk should be covered under a wrap-up. Only risks that can more than offset the cost of administration and risk management by cost savings and/or coverage advantages should consider this approach.

The parties generally covered by a wrap-up are the following:

  • The project owner
  • The general contractor
  • The subcontractors
  • The sub-sub contractors

There are benefits for most parties. The project owner and/or general contractor may obtain substantial savings from controlling insurance costs, reductions in worker injuries, broader coverage and a greater chance that the project will be completed on time. Subcontractors may more easily participate in such projects since they don’t face the cost of purchasing separate insurance and they may gain risk management services not normally available to them. Of course, there are also potential problems. In some instances, project savings from a wrap-up may not occur and the plan may end up being very expensive to administer.

If your business is facing a significant construction project, it may pay-off quite well to seek the help of a qualified insurance professional.


 

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Office Functions and Alcohol

The office picnic, office-sponsored sports activities, holiday party, and client party may involve serving and consuming alcoholic beverages. Therefore, a number of questions arise, such as the following:

  • Can our business be held responsible for injuries or damage that results from serving alcohol?
  • Is the current insurance program sufficient to address this concern?
  • Is it necessary to purchase special insurance?

What Determines Liability?

State alcohol laws (called Dram Shop Laws in most states) determine a business entity’s liability for injury or damage arising from serving alcohol. Laws vary, but those in most states assign legal liability to entities who serve alcohol to persons who are minors or who are visibly intoxicated.

The Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy provides coverage for Liquor Liability, EXCEPT for operations 'in the business of' selling, serving, or manufacturing alcoholic beverages. If the event offers alcohol for free, that entity is not 'in the business of' selling or serving. If persons have to pay, even if the charge is only to offset the alcohol’s expense, that creates a different legal situation.

When hosting an event that includes liquor, some businesses have decided that hiring a bartender will reduce their risk of being held liable. This step at least offers the benefit of another party being held primarily responsible and reducing the amount the business might be required to pay. The main issue is obtaining proof from the bartender to confirm that he or she carries an adequate level of Liquor Liability insurance. Proof should be obtained PRIOR to the event. You cannot take protective action after a loss occurs and it is discovered that insurance coverage is either insufficient or non-existent.

Society is less tolerant of drinking and driving. An impaired driver who causes an auto accident is much more likely to be sued. Besides the driver, a lawsuit will likely include a business that provided alcohol. Why, because such a business is considered as contributing to the loss and is called on to share (or fully bear) the cost of injury or damage. The Commercial General Liability policy could provide the necessary defense for the business.

Example: Business A and Business B are both insured by CGL policies and each company recently sponsored a Christmas party. After each party, a very inebriated employee leaves and, before reaching home, causes a collision. The injured drivers sue the businesses along with the drunken employees. Business A is an accounting office and its CGL handles the lawsuit. Business B is a tavern; its CGL denies the claim.

The solution is to discuss the types of events your business sponsors or hosts with your agent to determine if you need to purchase special coverage. This discussion may also help you take steps to reduce potential lawsuits. Some businesses may find it easiest and safest to ban drinking during business hours, including business lunches, dinners or other events. Your insurance agent and legal counsel can assist you in determining ways to protect your assets.


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All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

 

Insurance Surveys

Life consists of actions….activities, in both one’s personal and business worlds. Making products, selling goods, owning property, transporting goods, storing property; regardless the type of activities, they all create the possibility of losses.

Insurance is one of the ways to handle the, often, serious financial consequences of losses. However, it’s ineffective unless it is the right insurance. Depending upon your circumstances, it may be difficult to be confident that you have identified your exposures to loss accurately enough to select the insurance you need.

There is an excellent tool for ferreting out loss exposures, called insurance surveys. Surveys may range from simple, one-page versions to complex versions. Insurance surveys consist of a list of questions about your personal and business circumstances that are designed to discover as many significant sources of loss as possible. The survey answers then act as a guide for assembling a proper insurance program. At a minimum, surveys create a greater awareness of the loss exposures faced and, even if not handled by insurance, still provide valuable information that can help in seeking other methods of minimizing the possibility of loss.

Personal surveys can become more detailed as the assets owned by an individual rises. High income households have more property to protect and also tend to have a greater risk of being sued for damage or injury that arises from their activities. With regard to businesses, surveys become more detailed due to both an operation’s size as well as its type. For instance a small office survey would not be as detailed as one for a large office. However, any size retailer survey would likely be more complex than one for any size office.

Surveys are invaluable tools for getting crucial information to help protect one’s self or one’s business from the world of losses. Contact an insurance professional and arrange to complete one.


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All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publi

Amboy - Main Office

111 S. Main St.

P.O. Box 157 Amboy, IN 46911

Main office: 765-395-7761
Toll free: 877-395-6200
Fax: 765-395-7763

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Bunker Hill Office

132 East Broadway

P.O. Box 356 Bunker Hill, IN 46914

Main office: 765-689-8432
Toll free: 800-688-8432
Fax: 765-689-0725

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Converse Office

105 South Jefferson Street

P.O. Box 620 Converse, IN 46919

Main office: 765-395-7811
Fax: 765-395-6216

Office Hours:

Mon: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Fairmount Office

210 South Main Street

P.O. Box 67 Fairmount, IN 46928

Main office: 765-948-4129
Fax: 765-948-4120

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Flora Office

15 East Columbia Street

Flora, IN 46929

Main office: 574-967-3110
Toll free: 800-242-0466
Fax: 574-967-3569

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Greentown Office

109 North Meridian Street

Greentown, IN 46936

Main office: 765-628-7572
Fax: 765-507-9144

Office Hours:

Mon: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Hartford City Office

209 West Washington Street

Hartford City, IN 47348

Main office: 765-348-1448
Fax: 765-348-1512

Office Hours:

Mon: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Kokomo Office

3833 South LaFountain Street

P.O. Box 6339 Kokomo, IN 46904

Main office: 765-455-2700
Fax: 765-453-5635

Office Hours:

Mon: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Fri: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Lafayette Office

3904 Regal Valley Dr

Lafayette, IN 47909

Main office: 765-838-8244
Toll free: 877-395-6200
Fax: 765-838-8244

Office Hours:

Mon: By Appointment
Tues: By Appointment
Wed: By Appointment
Thurs: By Appointment
Fri: By Appointment
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: By Appointment

Marion Office

153 East 3rd Street

Marion, IN 46952

Main office: 765-662-2010
Toll free: 800-688-3548
Fax: 765-662-2072

Office Hours:

Mon: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Peru Office

26 West Main Street

Peru, IN 46970

Main office: 765-473-4519
Fax: 765-473-4510

Office Hours:

Mon: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Fri: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Somerset Office

1 Main Street

P.O. Box 176 Somerset, IN 46984

Main office: 765-981-4944
Fax: 765-981-4116

Office Hours:

Mon: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Swayzee Office

106 South Washington Street

P.O. Box 130 Swayzee, IN 46986

Main office: 765-922-4449
Fax: 765-922-4449

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Tues: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Wed: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thurs: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Upland Office

50 East Berry Avenue

P.O. Box 537 Upland, IN 46989

Main office: 765-998-6053
Fax: 765-998-7083

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Tues: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Wed: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thurs: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

Walton Office

112 North Depot Street

Walton, IN 46994

Main office: 574-626-2621
Fax: 574-626-2609

Office Hours:

Mon: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Tues: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Wed: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thurs: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: Closed

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