November, 2014

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Residential Real Estate Requires a Sound Errors and Omissions Policy

Retaining a dependable real estate professional liability policy is essential for facing the unique challenges posed by the real estate industry. Without such a policy in place, real estate agents can experience a number of exposures, many of which carry stiff financial penalties if left unchecked.

What Is Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Also known as errors and omissions insurance, a real estate professional liability plan offers coverage in the event a client claims a company utilized negligent practices. Because these claims often result in litigation, coverage is crucial to meet the ensuing costs. Courts costs can become increasingly high rather quickly, meaning even claims without a real basis can financially ruin a company in short time.

The Right Policy Can Mitigate Risks

When immersed in residential real estate matters, there are a number of risks inherent to the industry. Such risks can include:

  • Costs arising from litigation/lawsuits
  • Allegations of negligence
  • Failure to perform an integral service
  • Covering damages associated with liability claims

In many cases, an errors and omissions plan can be tailored to a real estate firm’s exact needs. This will ensure that a business remains protected, no matter what it may face.

Stay Protected, No Matter What

Real estate professionals must secure real estate professional liability insurance in order to remain protected. Such protections are an integral part of ensuring a business can be continually successful in the event wrongdoing is alleged.

Protect Yourself Against Dog Bites

While not every dog attack may be prevented, there are still several things that owners can do in order to minimize the likelihood that it will happen. People who own canines that bite could face lawsuits in the millions of dollars. Taking preventative measures, such as researching Florida dog bites quotes, can give owners peace of mind.

 

Know the Signs

 

Many dog owners know their pets well enough to be able to sense if an attack or a bite will be imminent. There are several signs a dog will exhibit, such as:

 

  • Ears pinned back
  • Fur along the pet’s back standing up
  • Baring teeth
  • Widening eyes so others can see the white of the eyes

 

An owner who views this behavior should quickly remove the dog from the situation.

 

Responsible Ownership

 

The American Kennel Club points out that spaying or neutering a dog can actually decrease behaviors related to an attack. Additionally, giving a dog plenty of exercise can expend energy that could later translate to aggression if not handled properly.

 

Explore Insurance

 

Due to the nature of injuries that a dog bite can cause, medical bills can skyrocket, which means owners could be on the hook for six- and seven-figure expenses. Florida dog bites quotes for insurance policies come at a very small fraction of those numbers and enable an owner to rest assured that they are protected in the event of an attack.

 

Taking a few small steps now can save a dog owner the stress and expense of a bite down the road.

The Importance of Surety Bonds

Surety bonds in Pennsylvania are essential for companies in the construction industry. It can be very difficult to find clients who will not require a bond.

The Need for Surety Bonds

In decades past, clients often hired construction firms based solely on their reputation. This left clients with a large exposure. If the construction company were delayed for any reason, the client would bear the brunt of the associated business costs. These could include:

  • Lost business as a result of delays
  • Delay expenses connected to other contractors such as plumbers, electricians, and network engineers.
  • Delay expenses related to post construction activities such as decorating, furnishing, and equipping the building.

The problems could be even bigger if the construction company defaulted entirely.

This exposure created the need for risk management. This was supplied in the form of surety bonds in Pennsylvania. Construction firms purchase these bonds as a safety measure for their clients. If the firm defaults, the clients are reimbursed for their business losses.

The Benefits of Surety Bonds

Surety bonds offer two great benefits to clients of construction firms:

  • The exposure for construction default is transferred from the client back to the construction firm. In addition, the costs of this risk management are paid by the construction company.
  • Construction clients can depend more on contracts and perform less investigation on reputation.

An excellent strategy for a construction firm is to choose a provider of surety bonds in Pennsylvania to match their business. In this way, they are prepared for the largest segment of potential clients.

Why Workers Compensation Is a Vital Part of Your Business Insurance Policy

If you own your own business and have employees, then you need workers compensation as part of your business insurance in Hazleton Pennsylvania. Not only is this an efficient and effective way to help you in the event of an employee injury, but some form of workers compensation is also required by law.

 

Employee Risk

 

Employees run some sort of risk of injury no matter what their job may be. Whether they are moving boxes, stocking inventory, or operating machinery, there are certain risks involved with every job that could potentially lead to injury. Injury on the job often means you as the employer are responsible for assisting in cost of treatment. Whether or not you have workers compensation as a part of your business insurance, you might find yourself handling the expenses of treatment and recovery for your employee since workers compensation is required in Pennsylvania.

 

Can You Handle the Expense?

 

When choosing to invest in a policy for business insurance in Hazleton Pennsylvania, ask yourself, “Can I handle the expense?” If one of your employees were to become injured and need financial assistance for treatment, can you handle the cost all on your own? If you know such an expense would be devastating to your business, then it might be wise to look into adding workers compensation to your business insurance. Talk to an agent about the benefits of such a policy today.

Why Every Charity Should Purchase Non for Profit Insurance

Charities provide much-needed services to the community. Like for-profit businesses, they face certain operational risks. By purchasing non for profit insurance, these organizations can protect themselves against surprises and continue doing their important work.

 

Choosing an Experienced Provider Can Make the Process Easier

 

The good news is that the process for comparing and selecting insurance coverage can be simple and hassle-free. It is a good idea to work with a provider with experience handling non for profit insurance so that you can take advantage of their expertise. You want your agent to be knowledgeable about the types of risks your charity faces in order to prepare for scenarios that might otherwise cause a financial strain.

 

Organizations Benefit From a Variety of Coverage Types

 

There is no one-size-fits-all package for all non-profits. Fortunately, insurance products are available for a variety of situations. Shoppers should start by identifying the broad types of coverage they might need to purchase. For example, a package might include coverage for:

 

  • General liability
  • Directors and officers
  • Auto
  • Property damage

 

The next step involves comparing different policies to determine which one offers the right balance between protection and cost. A plan that is too costly or that includes unnecessary coverage will not be in the best interest of the charity. For the best value, it may be possible to create a fully customized package that suits a particular organization.

 

When shopping for non for profit insurance, your best asset may be a provider who is experienced serving similar clients. With a little planning and preparation, your charity should be able to continue serving the community for many years to come.

3 Facts About Maintenance Bonds You Should Know Before Your Contractor Begins Work

New Jersey Surety Bond

If you are about to begin construction on your commercial property in New Jersey, you probably have discussed a New Jersey surety bond for maintenance with your contractor. You know that maintenance bonds can provide you with compensation for some defaults in construction that come to your attention after the project is completed. However, there is some information that is commonly misunderstood regarding these types of bonds. Here are three facts you should know about maintenance bonds.

 

  1. A Maintenance Bond Is Not Insurance

 

Bonds are not insurance policies you purchase. The bond is issued as a contract with you, the surety, and the contractor. A loss is not expected here the way claims are expected with insurance policies, and the surety will expect the contractor to pay back any loss.

 

  1. A Maintenance Bond Usually Covers a Specified Amount of Time

 

If you discover any defects in construction caused by your contractor’s work, you will need to seek compensation within the amount of time designated in the contract. The maintenance bond is not usually for a lifetime so make sure you know the timeline.

 

  1. A Maintenance Bond is Only One Type of New Jersey Surety Bond

 

The maintenance bond is important, but other surety bonds exist for New Jersey commercial projects. Inquire about bid, performance, and payment bonds as well as labor and materials bonds.

 

Learn what you can about surety bonds before your contractor begins. Making sure you recognize these three facts about your maintenance bond can keep you from common misunderstandings after construction is complete.

 

photo credit: Lawrence Whittemore cc

How is the Cost of Homeowners Insurance Determined?

How is the Cost of Homeowners Insurance Determined?

Most people that need New Jersey homeowners insurance are concerned about how much they are going to pay. Although it is important to get the right price on your insurance, you also want to have a policy that protects you from future problems. In addition to the type of coverage you choose, the following factors can play a role in the cost of your policy.

Home Features

The features of your home can affect the price of the insurance because all of these details will need to be replaced if your home is damaged. Generally, older homes are more expensive to insure.

Location

Where you live also impacts the price of your policy. For example, if you live in a neighborhood that has a high crime rate, your premium might be higher.

Protective Devices

If you have any protective devices that minimize the risk of harm in your home (i.e. smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, alarm systems), then your premium might be lower.

Claims History

Your policy might cost more if you have filed claims in the past. This is because you are considered more risky to insure.

These are a few examples of factors that might be used to determine the cost of your New Jersey homeowners insurance policy. The price you pay is also usually determined by your coverage options and other personal factors.

 

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Supply Chain Intermediaries and Insurance Needs

Supply Chain Intermediaries and Insurance Needs

Intermediaries make it possible for a company to deliver its products to the end user without needing to own the whole supply chain, as well as serve the critical functions of reducing transaction costs, pooling and diversifying risk, and alleviating adverse selection.

Distribution of goods takes place by means of channels, and the intermediaries are generally the independent groups or organizations within the channel that make products available for consumption. Damage, and loss of goods, needs protection through insurance for supply chain intermediaries.

  • Transit risks can include all types of incidents, including:
  • Rough handling of goods
  • Theft, or non-delivery
  • Jettison (the act of casting goods from a vessel or aircraft to lighten or stabilize it)
  • Collision, and
  • Natural disasters, to name a few

There are four main types of intermediary: agents, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.
A firm may have as many intermediaries in its distribution channel as it chooses, or it can have no intermediaries at all, through direct marketing.

1. Agents/Brokers

Agents or brokers are individuals or companies that act as an extension of the manufacturing company whose main job is to represent the producer to the final user in selling a product.

2. Wholesalers

Unlike agents, wholesalers take title to the goods and services that they are intermediaries for. They are independently owned, and they own the products that they sell. Wholesalers buy in bulk, and store the products in their own warehouses and storage places until it is time to resell them to other intermediaries such as retailers, for a higher price than they paid. Thus, they do not operate on a commission system as agents do.

3. Distributors

The difference between distributors and wholesalers is that distributors align themselves to complementary products. For example, distributors of one name-brand product will not distribute a competitor’s products, and vice versa. In this way, they can maintain a closer relationship with their suppliers than wholesalers do.

4. Retailers

Retailers come in a variety of shapes and sizes: from the mom and pop store’s, to large chains like Target stores. Whatever their size, retailers purchase products from market intermediaries and sell them directly to the end user for a profit, and for those intermediaries who cannot deliver on time, or experience an incident that results in loss of cargo, they need insurance for supply chain intermediaries to help cover those losses.

 

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Flood Concerns and NJ Flood Insurance

Flood Concerns and NJ Flood Insurance

Flooding has long been a concern for many New Jersey residents and often occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas, as well as in known high-risk areas. This is quite often due to poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snowmelt, and broken water mains, which can all result in flooding. NJ flood insurance, available from many carriers, can aid owners in high-risk areas, where there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

 

Another concern is mud, which can cause severe damage to homes located on or near hills. Properties on hillsides can be damaged by mudflow, which is a covered peril under a standard flood insurance policy. For these reasons, coverage is required by law for buildings in high-risk flood areas as a condition of receiving a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.

 

Many people still take risks by not purchasing a flood policy

 

Although flood insurance can be relatively inexpensive depending on geographical location, many Americans still neglect to purchase protection. Yet according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) many homes have a 26 percent chance of flooding as opposed to the 9 percent chance of experiencing fire damage during the course of a typical 30-year mortgage. Almost 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from areas with low to moderate flood risk.

 

NFIP, which is also in charge of mapping the nation’s floodplains, says the average flood claim has been over $33,000 for the past 10 years. NFIP provides the basis for flood-management programs and even offers an online tool where homeowners can find out the flood risk related to their property.

 

Since the federal government sets flood insurance prices, private insurance companies that sell flood insurance compete on service, not on price. Homeowners can find agents selling NJ flood insurance through the NFIP website, or can also call their current home insurance company, as well as other independent sources.

A homeowner can insure their home for up to $250,000 and its contents for up to $100,000. Renters can cover their belongings for up to $100,000, and business owners can insure their building and its contents for up to $500,000. Coverage choices also vary depending on the flood-risk zone.

 

photo credit: Broo_am (Andy B) cc

Businesses Need to Find the Best New Jersey Commercial Auto Insurance

Businesses Need to Find the Best New Jersey Commercial Auto Insurance

When operating a business in New Jersey, there are both federal and state insurance requirements. It is therefore important to learn about the different types of commercial insurance available. While it is prudent to obtain cost-effective insurance protection, it is equally important to ensure that the policy purchased provides satisfactory coverage. This is necessary in the likelihood that an employee is driving a company vehicle, or a personal vehicle, during the course of performing work-related duties, and becomes involved in an accident.

 

If the accident also involves injuries to the driver, or others, New Jersey commercial auto insurance will help to pay the cost for repairs and any medical attention needed. This coverage is essential because auto accident claims can often be extremely expensive. The first thing a business owner should do is to educate his or herself about the various commercial auto insurance policies available.

 

Annual review of existing policies is crucial

 

Small businesses should annually review their insurance policies to verify that their coverage meets their current needs. One way to accomplish this is to examine rates from several companies, being sure to compare plans that provide identical coverage. All motorized vehicles need to be insured because automobile liability insurance is required by most states.

 

Typically, New Jersey commercial auto insurance policies have higher liability limits, for example, coverage of $1 million is probably sufficient to cover accidents involving less severe injuries. They also may have provisions that cover rented and other non-owned vehicles, including employees’ cars driven for company business. This is helpful if employees are often asked, or required, to use their own vehicles during the course of an average workday.

 

Several factors related to ownership and use of vehicles helps to determine whether a personal or commercial policy is appropriate. These generally include the following:

 

  1. Who owns or leases the vehicle (an individual or the business as an entity)?

 

  1. Who drives the vehicle (owner or employees)?

 

  1. How is the vehicle principally used (for example, transporting people, or delivering packages)?

 

  1. Is the vehicle used for carrying hazardous materials?

 

These are factors that can help determine rates, and will help in obtaining the proper coverage for the right situation. Any commercial driver or business owner using commercial vehicles needs to know about New Jersey commercial auto insurance.

 

photo credit: Armando G Alonso ✈︎ cc