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A Real-World Insurance Learning Laboratory
Although May is the National Wildfire Awareness month, June is the month that brings back memories of the two most catastrophic wildfires in Colorado’s history. A hard lesson learned was how poorly coverage was written for many homeowners.
Boat Policy Claim…No, All Insurance Policies and Adjusters Are Not the Same
A homeowner’s two boats were damaged when a barn they were stored in collapsed due to snow accumulation. The adjuster has refused to pay for the cost to protect the boats from the weather and also the cost to replace the carpeting in each boat which is full of glass splinters. Do you agree?
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.
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.
Deleting a Car and Cancelling a Homeowners’ Policy
The client calls and tells you they have sold or traded in their car. Do you delete coverage that day? Be careful. What about if the insureds have sold their home? When is it proper to delete coverage?
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.
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.
How Many Different ‘Values’ Can Property Have?
Property can be assigned many “values” depending on the purpose of the valuation and who is valuing it. But insurance is concerned with only four options: actual cash value, replacement cost, functional replacement cost and market value.
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.
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.
News from the Front Lines: Insurance War Stories That Make You Go, “What?”
What an industry we chose! We get to see the good, the bad, the ugly, the stupid and utterly ridiculous. This is the stuff of legend and it reminds us why we must pay attention. Here are some real-life war stories from insurance professionals from around the country.
Personal and Advertising Injury: Another Case Where ISO May Be Broader
Proprietary coverage forms are not always better than Insurance Services Office (ISO) forms. Careful comparison is required to confirm the insured is not harmed by non-ISO language. A recent Illinois district court ruling highlights an incidence where ISO’s Personal and Advertising Injury wording may be broader and better for the insured.
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!
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 ISO’s New ‘Your Belongings’ Form Designed for Millennials
Insurance Services Office (ISO), based on a 2016 survey of millennials, recently introduced the PM 00 43 – Your Belongings Form to allow insureds without a perceived need for a homeowners’ policy to extend coverage to their personal property anywhere in the world. The form indicates a March 2019 effective date.
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.
Why You Should Teach Your Client’s Kids About Insurance
Most people, including your clients, are insurance illiterates. Their limited understanding of insurance comes from the commercials they see on TV and the misinformation they “hear on the streets.” Insurance professionals should invest in their client’s kids. Why? Let us count the ways.
"Cat Skinning" (a.k.a. Risk Managing an ATV Exposure)
There's an expression that says, 'There's more than one way to skin a cat.' In a manner of speaking, that's another way to describe the risk management process. As you'll see below, insurance isn't the only tool you have when helping your insureds manage risk.
Animal Liability and Umbrella Policies
Since many homeowners policies do not cover animal liability (or in the case of ISO, canine liability), it begs the question of how personal umbrella and excess liability policies respond for dog bites and other animal liability claims. For insureds with an animal exposure, an umbrella policy may be critical.
Beefing Up the Agent’s Role in Detecting Jewelry Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud is not new, but it is a growing industry-wide problem. But from an agent’s point of view, one might ask, “What is an agent’s role in detecting possible insurance fraud?” After all, the insurance process starts with the agent who collects information about what is being insured. Until verified or proven otherwise, the agent more or less assumes that the information provided by the applicant is accurate, complete, and reliable. Jewelry insurance: under-appreciated but highly susceptible to fraud.
How to Solve the HO Availability/ Affordability Crisis (Part 1 of 2)
In many states, it has become extremely difficult to find a viable homeowners market. In most states, even where markets are relatively abundant, the hard market has played havoc with premiums, resulting in affordability problems for many insureds. However, there are some simple things you and your clients can do to improve the situation. Why we haven't done them before is one of the great historical mysteries of insurance.
How to Solve the HO Availability/ Affordability Crisis (Part 2 of 2)
In Part 1 of this article, we explored the premise that homeowners coverages are generally too broad and deductibles are too low. In this part, we'll take a look at the exposure from a risk management perspective. Included is a simple, downloadable checklist that you and/or your insureds can use on a regular basis for loss prevention.
ISO's Dwelling 2002 Program
It's been almost 15 years since ISO made major changes in their Dwelling Fire Program. In the 1980's, ISO revised the DP program to track better with their HO program, but there were still some major coverage differences (see companion article). While there are still differences, the 2002 DP program narrows those differences somewhat.
Jewelry and the Personal Articles Floater
Homeowner carriers often have restrictions and capacity limitations for jewelry. Many carriers are not willing to write higher-value jewelry. It can be difficult to find a policy that adequately covers jewelry and also offers the client a competitive price. A stand-alone jewelry policy (personal articles floater—PAF) addresses the jewelry need without impacting the homeowners policy.
Major Differences Between the DP & HO Programs
In the 1980's and 2000s, ISO made major revisions in their Dwelling Fire and Homeowners programs. Overall, these changes made these programs more similar to each other. However, there are still major differences between the two programs. This article provides a list of the significant differences between DP and HO policies.
There's No Place Like Home...for an E&O Claim
When was the last time you surveyed your personal lines accounts and asked if business was being conducted, either full or part time, from home? According to research, at least 20-40% of all homes have some kind of business activity. Failure to identify and counsel your personal lines clients can be catastrophic...both for them and you.
Why Do I Need a Personal Umbrella Policy?
Perhaps the best bargain in insurance is an umbrella policy. However, convincing your customers of the need and value of an umbrella policy is another matter. This article presents the views of the VU faculty on why your customers need an umbrella.