You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page.
Turn on more accessible mode
Turn off more accessible mode
Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Turn off Animations
Turn on Animations
To navigate through the Ribbon, use standard browser navigation keys. To skip between groups, use Ctrl+LEFT or Ctrl+RIGHT. To jump to the first Ribbon tab use Ctrl+[. To jump to the last selected command use Ctrl+]. To activate a command, use Enter.
Tab 1 of 3.
Tab 2 of 3.
Tab 3 of 3.
Big "I" Celebrates 125 Years
Find an Agent
Find State Association
Find an Agent
Ask an Expert
Big "I" Hires
Disaster Relief Fund
E&O Risk Management
Legal Advocacy & Governance
Marketing and Branding
Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund
Big "I" Markets
Big "I" Flood
Crump Life Insurance Services
Rough Notes Advantage Plus (VRC)
Big "I" News
Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund
VU Research Library
Ask an Expert
Agency Universe Study
How To Start An Independent Agency
Market Share Report
Diversity & Inclusion
Right Start Series
E&O Risk Management
Disaster Relief Fund
Branding and Marketing
Market Access Newsletter
VU Research Library
VU Research Library
Ask an Expert
Garage / Auto Dealers
Checklists, Charts & White Papers
Risk & Reality Reports
Certificates of Insurance Resources
Where You Reside
VU Consumer Articles
Is Insurance a Commodity?
TRIA Resource Page
Talent Recruitment and Development
On-Demand Learning Resources
ABEN Online E&O
Basics & Beyond - New Agent Training
VU Faculty Bios
Agency Management Experts
Insurance Coverage Experts
3 Factors Negatively Impacting the Insurance Marketplace
Three distinct phenomena negatively impact the commercial and, to some extent, personal insurance marketplace: The Winner’s Curse, Submission Bias, and Overconfidence. These phenomena are explained in an international whitepaper titled, “Analyzing the Disconnect Between the Reinsurance Submission and Global Underwriter’s Needs.”
BOP Not High on Cannabis
ISO introduced five new cannabis exclusions for use with the BOP policy. Two of the five are essentially “absolute” exclusions and three have a hemp exception. This article introduces and explains these new endorsements.
Cannabis (and Marijuana) Exclusions and Exceptions
ISO is intent on developing cannabis-related endorsements. To date it appears that most are exclusionary endorsements. Because the federal government and the states seems to be on opposite sides of this debate, ISO needed to act on behalf of the insurance industry, which is stuck in the middle. This article addresses 11 of ISO’s recently filed cannabis endorsements for use with five of its programs.
Coding, Rating, and Coverage
Do you know how to code and rate commercial lines accounts? Do you understand the difference between coding, rating, and coverage? If not or you’re not sure, then take a few minutes to read this article and, if warranted, respond to our inquiry at the end of the article.
Commercial General Liability & Business Auto Policy Quiz
Test your knowledge of the CGL and BAP with this short 10-question quiz.
Need help finding the condominium laws of each state? This reference gives you the condominium law, the horizontal property law, the common ownership law, or whatever it is called of every state. Useful – and needed - whether you insure the association or the unit owner.
Contractors Professional and Pollution Liability Coverage: A Gap-Filling Necessity!
Contractors’ Professional and Pollution Liability is the contractor’s coverage solution. Often referred to as either the Contractors Pollution and Professional Insurance, the Contractor’s Protective Professional Indemnity coverage, or simply “CPPI,” this multi-peril form specifically addresses and closes the majority of pollution and professional liability coverage gaps resulting from the limited breadth of protection provided by the CGL Coverage Part A.
Contractors Protective Professional Indemnity
Understand the coverage gaps that create the need for this coverage, how the policy works, and who needs this coverage.
Coverage While Loading or Unloading Nonowned Autos
An upscale art and frame shop is insured on a BOP policy. The insured owns no autos, so there is no business auto policy. In addition, there is no hired and nonowned coverage under the BOP. While loading a heavy painting and frame into a customer’s car, the insured’s employee injures the customer and damages the auto. Is there coverage for this under the BOP?
COVID Talking Points
Agents have asked the Big 'I' many questions about COVID and insurance. Here are a few “talking points” that may be beneficial over the coming months.
Credit Freezes and Insurance
Were you affected by the Equifax breach? There is a 1 in 2 chance you were. Even if you weren’t, there are certain steps you can take to fight identity theft, including “freezing” your credit. Yes, there are some downsides to this, but saving your good credit may be worth the aggravation.
Danger! Watch Out for Changing Entity Types
You cannot assume the entity type you insured last year is the same entity type that exists this year. When insuring small businesses, you are fighting against several unseen entities – namely accountants and lawyers. These other professionals make changes to the small business without much thought to the problems these changes can cause your client’s insurance program.
Does the ISO BOP Cover Undescribed Structures?
The ISO Commercial Property form, CP 00 10, requires that buildings and structures be described in order for coverage to attach. However, ISO’s Business Owner’s Policy only requires that the premises be described. So, as long as the “building” limit is adequate, that limit applies to all structures on the premises. However, that makes it critical that all structures and their values be considered in determining limits.
Don’t Use That Kind of Language Around Me: Insurance Cuss Words
Recently I’ve noticed insurance practitioners doing a LOT of cussing. No, I don’t mean using the traditional words that got us in trouble as kids; I am referring to insurance cussing. Yes, there are certain words and phrases used by many insurance practitioners that should not be used in polite company, mainly because they are just plain inappropriate and DIRTY.
Duty to Defend – In the Words of the Court
Generally, an insurer’s duty to defend flows from the facts alleged in the lawsuit. When the pleadings alleged damage or injury that is covered by the policy, the insurance carrier has a duty to defend, regardless of whether the insured is ultimately liable and/or the insurer has a duty to indemnify. Conversely, when the pleadings allege facts or events not covered by the policy, and the insurer has no knowledge of facts to the contrary, the carrier is not obligated to defend – but this is a question of law.
Fatal Work Injuries and the Most Dangerous Occupations
Fatal work injuries in the United States dipped slightly in 2017 to 5,147 from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Likewise, the fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2017 down from 3.6 per 100,000 in 2016.
Five BOP Gaps and Pitfalls Agents Should Watch
BOP policies are not “all that.” There are some gaps every agent must know and understand before settling on a BOP.
How Does a ‘Person’ Become Legally Liable?
Liability policies, whether the HO, PAP or CGL, respond when the insured is judged to be “legally liable” for the injury or damage. But how is “legal liability” determined? That is the question answered in this short article.
Insurance Applications: Ambiguities and Lies
An insured’s offer to purchase insurance is made in the form of the application, supposedly completed by the insured. Acceptance flows from the insurance carrier in the form of a policy. Logically, then, the insurance negotiation begins with the application.
Insurance History – And Maybe Some Myths and Legend
Insurance (or assurance), as we understand the concept today, is more than 700 years old. But what events shaped our modern world of insurance? Following are some interesting facts, myths, and legends that helped mold the current insurance world in America.
Insurance Implications of Required Vaccines
With the availability of the COVID vaccine, many discussions revolve around the legality of an employer requiring a vaccine. If the employer is allowed to require the vaccine, what are the insurance implications if an employee gets ill or even dies as a result of the vaccine? Is there a policy that will respond?
Insured Status is VERY Complicated – Until You Understand It!
If the person or entity causing injury or damage to a third party is NOT an insured in the policy, guess what – there is NO coverage. Who is an insured, and not an insured, in the CGL, BAC and work comp must be understood, because if this is wrong, all the great work in designing coverage is useless!
Is It ISO or Is It Memorex Insurance Company?
Are you ever confused about whether a particular policy form is a pure ISO form, a modified version, or a proprietary insurer form? This article provides a three-test approach for determining whether a form is ISO or not that is effective probably 99% of the time.
Is the Insurance Policy Affected if the Business Opens Against a Governor’s Orders: The Facts About Supposed “Illegal Acts” Exclusions
States have gone to war against some municipalities over COVID-19. Executive orders currently in place in many states still bar certain businesses considered “non-essential” from opening; but some municipalities have told their respective governors they are opening the community regardless.
ISO’s New MicroBOP: Get Ready to Rumble in the Micro-Business Market
The economic disruption caused by COVID-19 has left millions of people unemployed—at what many say is the highest rate since the Great Depression. In considering the future, those who’ve lost their jobs may think about starting a home-based business as the crisis eases or perhaps working more independently. This could create an expansion of the micro-business market—businesses with few or no employees that often operate out of homes or shared spaces.
Lawyers Dwell On Small Details: Court Defines “The” -- The Sometimes Overlooked Issue
Attorney Randy Maniloff introduces us to the difference between “the” insured and “an” or “any” insured in the insurance policy. Many ignore these little words (“the,” “an” or “any”) in the policy, but, as Randy states, policy language is king, and these seemingly innocuous words have an amazing affect on coverage.
Major Coverage Enhancements Coming to the ISO Businessowners Program
ISO is introducing 60 new BOP endorsements beginning in early 2022. This article gives a very brief overview of what ISO has planned.
Major Coverage Enhancements Coming to the ISO Businessowners Program
As part of the most significant update to the ISO Businessowners program since its inception, ISO is introducing nearly 60 new, optional endorsements, revisions to dozens more, and updates to the base form. Get ready, these enhancements will be filed in the first quarter of 2022.
Marijuana in the US
Although marijuana and THC-containing substances are still illegal federally, individual states are making their own laws concerning these substances. The fact is, most states are in direct conflict with the federal government on this issue. With the feds and states on opposite sides, the insurance industry is stuck in the middle. This article tells you where each state stands as of October 2019.
Once a policy is in effect and has existed beyond the underwriting period, provisions still exist allowing the carrier to cancel the policy during the policy period. These are often referred to as mid-term cancellation laws. All 50 states statutorily mandate the conditions under which a policy can be cancelled prior to the end of the policy term.
New Research Links Sleep-Centric Disorders with Car Crashes
Distracted drivers are not the only danger on the road; a new study indicates that people coping with three different sleep-related ailments — insomnia, sleep apnea, and shift-work disorder — may also have an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident.
Nonrenewal of D&O Liability Insurance - Are Directors and Officers Still Covered?
An agent asks: A statewide landlord association board of directors of which I am a member decided not to renew their D&O liability insurance citing my state’s nonprofit corporation act as the basis for their decision. Does this mean D&O insurance for nonprofits is no longer needed or does it just greatly reduce the risk?
Policy Form Edition Dates and Why They’re Important
One of the most frustrating types of questions received by the VU “Ask an Expert” service usually begins with, “Does ‘a’ homeowners policy cover…” or “Does ‘a’ BOP cover….” The first question is, is it a pure ISO form or not? And, if it IS an ISO form, what is the edition date? What does the edition date matter? Keep reading….
Pollution Solutions: Unbelievable Fun with Pollution Exclusions
Author David Dybdahl is a 35-year insurance veteran and served as the insurance broker on the clean-up operations of Chernobyl.
Read the Policy You’re Selling
This may be the most important coverage article you read this year. It may be the most important coverage article you’ve ever read. Please read it. And please have your colleagues read it. If you work in an agency, send a link to the article to your underwriters, marketing reps, and claims people. RTFA…Read The Article!
Strength in Numbers: How Cyber Insurers Can Improve Their Market View
ISO brings an interesting perspective to pricing Cyber coverage; specifically, that Cyber carriers don’t have enough individualized data to accurately price coverage. Data, it’s all about data.
The Insurance Industry’s Opinion of Warren Buffett’s New 3-Page Policy
Berkshire Hathaway announced the release of its new small business policy, THREE, on February 11, 2019. In response to this announcement, the VU published its critique of the policy on March 1. Insurance Journal republished the VU’s analysis in late March, but with a twist. IJ’s article contained a survey to ask the industry’s opinion of this new product asking, “What do you think of Berkshire’s THREE policy?” The results are in – so far.
The Pimping Economy
Ownership, or rather the desire to own, is changing. More and more people see less and less the need to own something they don’t use on a regular basis. As the saying goes, “I don’t need a drill, I just need a hole.” The insurance industry needs to prepare for this shift in attitude and desire.
The Underwriting Period
Every state and the District of Columbia grants insurance carriers an “underwriting period.” Insurance carriers are granted broad authority to cancel a newly-written policy during this statutorily-limited period.
Understanding Liquor Liability Coverage
When anyone is injured by an intoxicated individual, attorneys typically seek to suck in as many parties as possible to secure payment for the injured party. Liquor liability insurance is designed to defend the insured against charges of negligent conduct related to the service of alcohol; and to indemnify or pay on behalf of the insured if they are ultimately found legally liable for the injury or damage.
US Surplus Lines Premium UP More than 12 Percent
Mid-year premium growth reported by the 15 excess and surplus lines (E&S) stamping/service offices across the United States has reached almost $18 billion. Given the fact that the data reported is halfway through 2019, the growth represents a 12.68% increase over what was recorded at mid-year 2018.
Warren Buffett Champions an Inferior Product
Warren Buffett introduced the newest insurance disrupter – the THREE. As the name suggests, this is a three-page insurance policy intended for small businesses. If that isn’t amazing enough, this policy combines seven different coverages into its three pages. So, what is the problem? Well, there are many problems that will victimize an unsuspecting insured.
Weird Legal Liability Theories You Probably Never Heard Of
Practice the insurance profession long and you begin to hear and learn various legal liability terms ranging from the basic ideas of “negligence” and “torts” to more specific concepts like “compensatory damages” and “superseding events.” Occasionally, though, we are still surprised by what the lawyers have created – weird legal theories that can’t possibly exist.
When Does the Carrier’s Duty to Defend End?
Although it seems reasonable that the carrier’s duty to defend ends when no insurable allegations remain in the suit – this is not necessarily always true. Some courts have a different opinion as to when an insurance carrier’s duty to defend ends. In some cases, the insurer has been required to defend insureds when NO covered allegations remain in the suit simply because there was the possibility a covered allegation may be brought back on appeal. CRAZY! Or is it?
Why Ask the Underwriter?
When agents have coverage questions, they sometimes ask the underwriter for a coverage interpretation. Interested and concerned members of the VU faculty want to know why in the world you would ask the underwriter anything about coverage. Underwriters don’t make coverage determinations, adjusters do.
Wrap-Ups, OCIPs, and CCIPs
For insurance agents and brokers who provide services to construction managers, general contractors, and subcontractors - this is a MUST READ REPORT.
Does the BOP Cover Filling Station Gas "Theft"?
This article was referenced in our VUpoint newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 14, September 18, 2000 and is based on a question submitted to our 'Ask an Expert' service. Newsletter readers were given the opportunity to be the expert in 'solving' this case. Below is the question, followed by the submitting agent's opinion.
How to Value Leased Property Claims
Below is a recent 'Ask an Expert' question we received involving a BusinessOwners Policy. While we attempted to address the valuation issues raised from the standpoint of the BOP, it became very clear that this particularly exposure was probably not suited for a BOP. While BOP's can be ideally suited for many mainstream businesses, it isn't for everyone. For a similar problem, check out our 'If the BOP Don't Fit...' article.
If the BOP Fits, DON'T Wear It!
Below is an 'Ask an Expert' question we received involving a BusinessOwners Policy. While we attempted to address the coverage issues raised from the standpoint of the BOP, it became very clear that this risk was not suited for a BOP, regardless of whether or not the insurer was willing to issue one. While BOP's can be ideally suited for many mainstream businesses, it isn't for everyone.
Installation Floaters vs. Riggers Liability
At last count, we've had 15 questions concerning the difference, if any, between coverage afforded by inland marine installation floaters and riggers liability forms. For example: 'I am working on a crane company prospect and am not the current agent. The current agent is using an installation floater to cover items being lifted and I think that riggers liability coverage should be used and the insured may have some coverage issues. What are your thoughts?'
Liability: Not All Countries Are Created Equal
Increasingly U.S. businesses find themselves in a global marketplace. This no longer applies to just huge, multi-national corporations. Your 'mom and pop' insureds may very well fulfill orders from their web site or sell products on eBay, Amazon or other marketplace web sites. You may have hundreds of insured with international liability exposures that have limited coverage under their CGL policies and a complete lack of understanding of liability exposures in these international markets.
Misidentification of Named Insureds on Insurance Policies
A significant source of uncovered claims (many that result in E&O claims against insurers and agents) involves the failure to (properly) identify named insureds on an insurance policy. For many businesses (and even personal lines accounts), the entities that need coverage can be complex and due diligence is the order of the day.
Perception is Reality
An increase in rates/premiums has been predicted for a while, though not yet widespread. But, there is evidence that the time is coming. Don't let your insureds be blindsided. In particularly if your carriers are among the first to increase rates, here are some tips to make you and your clients better prepared for the inevitable.
Reporting Underlying Claims to the Umbrella Carrier
An agent writes, 'We seem to have some major disagreement within the office here as to whether a GL loss should be reported to the excess carrier. A few people feel that we should assess the claim and determine if we think it might come close to the GL limit – if we think it might, we should report it. If we don’t think that it will come close then we shouldn’t report it. What do you think?'
Risk Retention Groups
Question: 'I have a residential general contractor that is being offered coverage by a Risk Retention Group. I know that Risk Retention Groups are insurance companies that are formed and owned by the policyholders, that they are not regulated by state governments, and often do not use standard ISO forms. I'm sure there are pros and cons to this type of arrangement but do not know enough to advise my client. Can you help? Is there somewhere on your web site (or others) that I can read anything about these groups.'
Three Myths About War and Terrorism Risks
“War and terrorism risks” are among the most severe issues facing organizations doing business outside the United States and, with an increasingly global economy and internet sales, more and more companies are doing business internationally. But coverage for war and terrorism is shrouded in mystique. Three myths have sprung up around it: It’s unavailable, it’s unaffordable, and (ironically) it only covers war and terrorism.
Top 5 International Insurance Exposures
Agents who have insureds with international exposures must be aware that local laws, business customs, economic conditions, political climate, and government regulation all affect the insurance risks that the organization faces. This article examines five common risk areas that these organizations face.
Traditional vs. eCommerce Insurance
Managing e-business calls for a comprehensive risk management approach and a thorough understanding of the multifaceted nature of the exposures. It is imperative to incorporate an ingrained awareness of e-business exposures in a business' employees and to provide them with the necessary tools to analyze, quantify, and manage those exposures. In this article, I'll take a look at why traditional insurance products aren't up to the task.
Warranties and Protective Safeguards Endorsements
The inland marine form on a tree surgeon's stump grinder included a 'Fire Extinguisher and Brush Burning Warranty' endorsement. Vandals destroyed the grinder by burning it. The insurer has denied the claim because the fire extinguisher had been removed for servicing at the time of loss. Is the claim denial valid?