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From the Editor
"Ask an Expert" Briefs
2014 Changes in the ISO Homeowners Program
ISO has introduced two new HO endorsements and revised one HO endorsement. The revised endorsement seeks to clarify coverage for water back-up and sump discharge or overflow. The new endorsements provide a way to insure “green” upgrades following a loss and a means to cover certain equipment and appliances for mechanical breakdown short of effecting a maintenance agreement.
College Graduates Move Back Home
A Pew Research study showed that 42% of college grads age 18-29 were living with their parents. Many of them attempted to make it on their own but, given economic and job market conditions, were forced to move back home. Does this create HO and PAP coverage issues for anyone?
House Sharing and Car Sharing: Is It Sharing or Is It Renting – And Is It Covered?
In 2010, we published an article on Zip Cars. Earlier this year, we broadened the subject to include Car Sharing. Now VU faculty member Mike Edwards revisits car sharing, but focuses much of this article on the emerging “collaborative consumption” industry of home sharing.
How to Misread an Insurance Policy
A claim was filed against a homeowner for a child injured at a facility being rented by the homeowner. The adjuster has denied the claim, but is the denial correct? This claim serves as an excellent reminder to all insurance practitioners (newbies and veterans alike) to read the entire provision in a coverage form or endorsement.
Ignore the Bank, Go With Replacement Cost
Everyday agents are asked, well required, by banks to provide Coverage A limits in excess of the developed replacement cost. Why are such requests made? So that Coverage A limits match the loan requirements of course. Mortgagees tend to forget that the loan buys more than just the structure; it includes the land and location, location, location. The buyer/mortgagor is paying for the view and access to the office and shopping in addition to the house. The insurance policy only pays to replace the house.
Joint Custody Insurance Issues
An agency insured has joint custody with his ex-wife of their 17-year-old daughter. The daughter lives with the insured during the school year but spends most of the summer and holidays with her mother on a small farm. Her mom has an old Ford F-350 pickup truck at the farm that she lets her daughter drive. The insured wants to know if his PAP covers his daughter (and him as a parent) if she has an at-fault accident in the pickup. What about non-auto liability exposures under his HO policy?
The Danger of Relying on Automatic Coverages
From “host liquor” in a CGL policy to “vacant land” in an HO policy, we often relying on automatic coverages for certain exposures to cover an insured who has an exposure that sounds like it fits. However, when you examine the exact facts of the situation or the possibilities when a claim occurs, coverage may not always be as automatic as we might think.
2011 Changes in the ISO Homeowners Program
In 2010, ISO filed its first major revision to its homeowners program in a decade. In this article, Ted Kinney reviews the 27 major changes to HO forms and endorsements, ranging from the vermin exclusion to coverage for riding lawn mowers. This is a preliminary review...look for further articles as our analysis intensifies in response to member questions and claims.
Building Your Own Home...Insurance Implications
It is not uncommon for a homeowner to serve as his or her own general contractor when building a new home. When doing so, there is an exposure to claims made by contractors and their employees if injured during construction. In fact, such claims can arise regardless of the homeowner's status as general contractor or owner. Does the HO policy cover these claims or is workers compensation coverage needed?
Recently we've seen an escalation of questions regarding the insurance coverage implications of chinese drywall. Everyone is familiar with the press being given to claims involving drywall shipped from China between 2004-2007, much of the demand following Hurricane Katrina. In this article, we'll explore potential coverages under homeowners, commercial property, and CGL forms.
HO HO HOmeowners Question
Each year, we receive thousands of 'Ask an Expert' questions. Some are brilliant, while others are...well, let's just say 'less than brilliant.' However, every now and then, we get questions that are just plain 'different.' Below is an example of such a question received days before a major international event.
Homeowners in Transition
With summer upon us, now is the time that many families make the move from one home to another. Most likely, many of them are already looking or even negotiating for a new home. Serious coverage gaps can arise during the transition between two principal residences, involving both property and liability exposures. This article discusses these issues and how they can be remedied.
How the Insurance Grinch Stole Christmas
As every Personal Lines veteran knows, virtually every major event or activity that involves a family will usually have some impact on their insurance and Christmas is no exception. Many of the gifts given to kids these days have insurance implications that the family, and their insurance agent, should be aware of.
Insuring International Personal Lines Exposures
The personal insurance risks for expatriates, individuals living outside their home country, are similar to those of United States residents: auto, personal property, liability, life and health. However, there are significant differences in the execution and availability of international and U.S. domestic insurance. In addition, there are unique risks to expatriates that require special consideration when determining the appropriate insurance coverage. Part 1 details the typical risks for the expatriate community and how their insurance coverage differs in comparison to domestic residents.Part 2 focuses on the special risks expatriates face and how specialized insurance programs can help mitigate financial burdens.
Insuring Rental Dwellings
An insured has 15 rental properties, none more than 4 units. An insurer covers them under 15 dwelling policies and has endorsed his homeowners policy to extend liability coverage to each of them. The agent has recommended commercial insurance, including a CGL policy rather than an HO endorsement, as he feels it is better coverage. Insuring it commercially will cost 30-40% more so, of course, the insured wants to keep the coverage like it is. What do you think?
Multiple Occurrences in Personal Lines
Much has been said (and litigated) about one vs. multiple occurrences in commercial lines, particularly with regard to 9/11 and the World Trade Center. However, this issue may arise in personal lines as well, as illustrated by two examples in this article. First, is damage cause by animals over time a single occurrence or possibly thousands of occurrences? Second, are Hurricanes Charley and Frances (and perhaps Ivan) one or separate occurrences?
Summertime brings many things: vacations and travel, sunburn and poison ivy, weddings, moving, houseguests, cookouts, rental cars, jet skis, and many insurance questions. This article presents some of the more common summertime activities, and the insurance issues that they bring.
Take a Cruise on the Insurance Love Boat
The popularity of ocean cruises continues to skyrocket. Well over 10 million people worldwide take a cruise ship vacation each year. There are currently several hundred cruise ships in service worldwide, with at least nine new ships being added every year since 2001. From the pirate attack on the cruise liner Seabourn Spirit in 2005 to fires to homicides, thefts, and negligent damages and injuries, passengers face exposures to loss. So, just how might their personal lines insurance policies respond to cruise ship exposures?
Top 10 Best Changes in the ISO HO2000 Program
In most major insurance filings there are policy changes that broaden coverage, some that restrict coverage, and some that claim to make 'no change' in coverage. In this article, we'll take a look at the 'best' changes (from a policyholder's perspective) in the new ISO HO2000 program. In another column, I'll examine the 'worst' changes.
Top 10 Worst Changes in the ISO HO2000 Program
In most major insurance filings there are policy changes that broaden coverage, some that restrict coverage, and some that claim to make 'no change' in coverage. In this article, we'll take a look at the 'worst' changes (from a policyholder's perspective) in the new ISO HO2000 program. In another column, I'll examine the 'best' changes.
Toxic Mold Claims
Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Fusarium, Acremonium, Alternaria, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Paecilomyces, Trichoderma. Names of the newest characters in Jurassic Park III? Nope, but these are names that may soon become as familiar as triceratops, tyrannosaurus, and raptor. They are all forms of mold that are, at the same time, causing consternation in the insurance industry and delight for plaintiffs' lawyers.
When Insureds 'Pocket' the Money
The insured's hardwood floors suffered covered water damage. The adjuster determined the replacement cost to be $14,000 and cut the check. The insured paid $1,400 to have the floors sanded and buffed, then pocketed the rest. Now, two years later, there's been another water damage loss and the insured asks you, the agent, what to do....
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