The Unexpected Does Happen:Preparing for Tragedies

December 27th, 2012

Many people don’t have wills because they don’t expect that any tragedy will ever come upon them.  However, no one is free from unexpected accidents and not having a will can cause drastic problems.  The following are a few of the many reasons why you should consider creating a will. read more

Dwelling Fire Insurance Coverage for Landlords and Property Owners

December 27th, 2012

In addition, it is also important that research what coverage is available regarding your tenants.  It is also important to provide them with information on obtaining their own Renters’ insurance to protect their personal belongings in case of an accident.  Renters insurance is often optional, but it is a  great perceived value to provide a contact or resource for tenants that haven’t necessarily considered obtaining this protection.

Common dwelling fire policies have clauses that prevent you from being covered from damages that are inflicted by your tenants. Always address these issues when considering insurance. This includes any of those accidental or malicious damages occurred by the tenants. Some normal things that happen when renting to others, such as damages to the interior of the unit, should be included in your policy. Tenants that damage interior structures such as walls, plumbing and appliances that are owned by you should be included in your policy.

You also want to enquire about coverage of theft by tenants on your Landlord Insurance policy.  The best and most reputable insurance carriers provide what is known as Business Income coverage, if you lose any rental income due to having repairs completed. You might also wish to inquire about coverage such as tenants defaulting on rental payments or tenants vacating without paying rent. Also, ensure that the policy includes loss of rental income in case of fire or building repairs.

Also, ensure that your landlord protection insurance covers legal liabilities. This will typically provide you protection in case of injury of a tenant or anyone else visiting the rental units. This will cover those that are performing repairs, construction or other types of work for you. It may help to protect you in case you are sued or incurred any other costs due to an accident. 

These are some important issues that you need to address when you begin looking for landlord protection insurance. Whether you are a new owner or are looking to update your protection, you need to make sure that all of your needs are fully addressed. Protecting the income from renting is essential along with covering assets. Taking into consideration some of these additional options will give you the peace of mind knowing that you are fully insured.

It is always a good idea to consult with an insurance specialist, such as an independent agency or brokerage who has access to several insurance carriers and markets. For immediate inquiry, call ABS Insurance & Financial Services for more information. 650-813-5883

Posted via web from California Insurance Today

How to Evaluate Fine Art & Collectible Claims

December 26th, 2012

Adjusting claims involving damage to fine art and collectibles caused by destructive weather, like floods and wildfires, may seem like a daunting task. Not so, says Heather Becker, CEO of The Conservation Center located in Chicago, Ill. Adjusters can use a decision methodology to make the best possible, most cost-effective decisions when it comes to repairing or replacing art and collectibles.

It’s relatively easy to determine pre-versus post loss issues, according to Becker.

Tools such as a microscope, UV light, infrared, X ray, and forensic analysis can be used to detect condition history and determine a timeline for when the damage occurred.

Much can be detected by microscopic analysis before other, CSI-like, tools come into play.

Becker cites an example of a painting that came in after a hurricane. “It had several tears and holes in the surface, as well as streaking down the front of the painting from the water damage. It was determined by looking at the holes under a microscope, that the fibers of the tear areas were actually old tears, meaning they were dirty, they were covered with a little bit of grime, they were dusty, which means the tears had been there for quite some time,” says Becker.

Though the tears were found to exist pre-loss, the water damage was determined to be related to the hurricane.

Another example involves a light soot claim with a piece that had been in the home of a smoker for several years. “There’s a very noticeable level of nicotine on the surface. And then the soot layer from the fire claim might be sitting lightly on top of that,” says Becker. “And it’s quite easy to detect under a microscope, the difference between the two. Obviously, that nicotine layer is pre loss and the light soot layer is related to the claim.”

In addition to art mediums, high value items can range from vintage cars and wine to emerging collectibles.

According to AXA Art Insurance’s director of claims, Colin Quinn, the process for adjusting a wine loss is similar to adjusting any other type of collectible claim. “The insured is contacted by our adjuster immediately after we have been notified of the claim and all relevant documentation is secured including photographs, purchase receipts and appraisals. We would also conduct an inspection of the climate control system for claims involving wine spoilage,” says Quinn.

The handling procedure for emerging collectibles requires research unless the agreed value of an item is determined at the onset of coverage.

“To avoid discrepancies in valuation the insured may wish to have the collection insured on an agreed value basis. Under this scenario the insured and insurer are in sync with the values at the policy’s inception. If the insured chooses a current market policy there are numerous online auctions and trade publication appraisal services… that can establish values on items as diverse as vintage dolls, model trains, military and sports memorabilia,” Quinn says.

Value in Hiring a Conservator

There are several ways a conservator can assist claim adjusters in evaluating fine art and collectible losses. Becker points out that conservators can do the following:

• Identify pre versus post loss damages;

• Identify condition history;

• Identify previous alterations to a work of art;

• Identify what can be restored;

• Identify inherent vice (Becker defines this as when something is made a certain way, it inherently will have problems that may age the piece faster, because of the way in which it was made);

• Identify living artists’ rights;

• Identify triage options that can minimize claim costs;

• Identify mediums and materials; and

• Identify potentials for betterment;

However, it’s important to note that conservators are not appraisers or authenticators.

“Authenticators authenticate that it’s by a certain artist, and appraisers identify the value of the piece. Conservators should not be involved in either, because it’s considered a conflict of interest. But the one thing a conservator can tell you is, technically identifying the medium of the piece,” Becker says.

The medium refers to the materials used to make the piece. A common issue arises when an owner thinks they know what they have when it may be a reproduction. “It could be a piece that was falsely created and replicated by another artist,” says Becker.

Because of the confusion regarding identification, one of the first things a conservator will do when an item arrives in the laboratory is look at it closely. This examination includes the front, back, sides, and all of the materials. Using a microscope and a black light, they can help determine the medium, materials, and artist’s techniques.

Consider Living Artists’ Rights in Evaluation

A relatively new concern for adjusters when dealing with a work of art concerns living artists. The artist has the right to consent regarding what a conservator suggests to do to their piece.

“So, if a claim happens and a conservator receives a piece, and the artist is still living, theoretically, they should contact the artist or the artist’s foundation and review their suggested approach for consent by the artist, studio, or foundation,” says Becker.

AXA’s director of claims, Colin Quinn, agrees.

“The artist participation in the claims process is encouraged by the Visual Artist Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) which serves to protect the artist work and allows the artist to have his or her name removed from a work he or she created in the event that the work is distorted or otherwise changed, as indicated when the process of doing so would be harmful to the artist’s honor and reputation. Since we work closely with the art community we are respectful of the artists’ rights and endeavor to work with them during the claims process to ensure that the work has been restored to the artists’ original intent,” says Quinn.

Decision Methodology
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There are many factors involved in evaluating a fine art and/or collectible claim. As a result, Becker recommends a series of questions to aid in the claim evaluation process. The decision methodology contains several questions:

1. Was the item scheduled? If so, with blanket limits or individual item limits?

2. What value basis was used in the policy – agreed value, fair market value, retail replacement value, actual value? If value needs to be established, proceed with appraisal.

3. Is the piece authentic?

4. Can the piece be repaired? If so, what will repairs cost?

5. Is diminution in value anticipated after repairs? If so, to what percentage?

6. Does the cost of conservation plus diminution in value exceed the value of the piece?

7. If yes, the item should be considered a loss and salvage options can be considered. If no, conservation should be considered a viable option.

8. Secure a condition and treatment proposal from a professional conservator and proceed with treatment.

9. Conduct post-conservation inspection to assess if diminution in value occurred.

10. Receive post-treatment report from the conservator for file documentation.

Triage Savings

With high value art and collectibles, it’s vital to mitigate damage immediately.

When LaSalle Bank suffered a fire, there were 4,000 significant works of photography scattered throughout. Becker and her staff immediately triaged several pieces that were wet and covered with soot and mold. Inside the lab, they opened every single one of the frames, took the photographs out of the framing materials and removed the hinges. The damage was stabilized temporarily until claim decisions were made.

She says minimal expenses were incurred in order to curtail future costs of what would have been much more extreme damages, had the photographs continued to remain inside the frames while further decisions were made.

Another example of using triage as a way to minimize repair costs involves an Early American portrait painting damaged in a hurricane.

“Someone had a piece that was literally floating around in four feet of water for about six hours, and the paint was lifting and flaking considerably by the time the water was removed. We attached what’s called Japanese tissue facing which took less than an hour, and essentially that just stabilizes the paint right where it is,” says Becker. “It’s a temporary stabilization method, and that allowed the adjuster to proceed and go through the proper claim processes. It was determined about three weeks later that it was viable and worthy of treatment and we were approved to proceed.”

She says if the piece had been left as it was, it might have been considered a total loss at a value of almost $28,000.

Becker estimates conservation saves the insurance industry about 80 percent. “If you choose conservation and you’re able to return the piece to pre loss condition, without any diminution in value, there’s going to be a tremendous savings there for the carrier,” Becker says.

Art Education Equals Customer Satisfaction

In addition to the restoration experts, AXA emphasizes a claims staff that has a strong educational background and work experience in art. “This has helped us communicate effectively with our insureds and ensures claims are handled professionally and expeditiously,” says Quinn.

While much of the insurance-related work Becker sees is related to water and fire damage, she admits she’s seen just about everything. “We’ve seen food thrown on art. We’ve seen bullet holes. We’ve seen dogs chewing up precious significant things. We’ve seen children who have taken their crayons and written all over a major work of art.”

Source: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2011/07/26/188662.htm

Whether you live in a rental, condo or house, you need the protection of home insurance.

December 26th, 2012

Whether you live in a rental unit, a condominium or a house, you should understand the ins and outs of choosing an insurance policy that best fits your needs. Keep in mind, you should always ask yourself “What’s not covered in my policy.”

Tenant or renters insurance

If you’ve just moved into your first apartment, you may think that you don’t have anything of real value to insure. A computer, CD player, and some clothing may not look as if it’s worth that much. But, if you ever have to replace some or all of it, it could overwhelm your finances. Consider the following scenario: Say you bought a computer on credit and it gets stolen or destroyed by fire. You’re still responsible for paying off the balance owing, even though you no longer have the item.

As a tenant or renter, it’s a wise decision to take out a tenant insurance policy. You see, as a tenant or renter, you are responsible for any damage you may cause to any part of the building you live in, or for any harm you may cause to other people who live or visit the building. For example, if you forgot to turn off the water in your bathtub, you could cause water damage to your premises, and also  to your neighbor’s property. You would then be financially responsible to repair any resulting damages.

Tenant or renters insurance can protect both your contents and your liability exposure.

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Me If My Tenant Starts a Fire?

December 25th, 2012

All landlords get that dreaded phone call from their tenant that something is broken or needs to be fixed. Most of these issues can be resolved by calling a plumber or handyman but what if it is more severe. What if your tenant accidentally started a kitchen fire and it spread to the other units in the building? Your first thought is to make sure everyone is safe then you start to think if you are covered for this kind of thing.

The worst case scenario when a fire occurs is someone is injured or even killed. Before something like this happens you need to make sure you have the proper protection in place. Insurance for landlords not only covers the building you own but also your liability in the event something happens at that property. Like I said most of the time it is just a broken water pipe or a leaky faucet but if something more devastating happens there is coverage for you.

Most leading insurance companies offer a type of landlord insurance for your type of property. The most common landlord insurance is for condos because of the sheer number of people who rent condos. If you own a condo and rent the unit out make sure you have a landlord specific policy in place. Most rental property investors start as the homeowner then move and rent that unit out. When they move often times they don't realize they need different insurance or just forget to change it.

Here is a checklist to make sure you are properly covered as a landlord:

  • Get landlord specific insurance policy for your rental unit
  • Include the highest liability limits available, usually $1 million
  • Add sewer and drain backup coverage
  • Add loss assessment coverage of at least $10,000
  • Inquire about umbrella policy to increase the liability coverage if needed

The most important aspect of having insurance is to protect against the big losses. A broken water pipe my cost a couple thousand dollars to repair but if someone gets hurt that could cost you millions. If you have the right protection in place everything else will be easier to handle.

To find affordable landlord insurance get multiple quotes online. Remember to ask about the checklist of coverage available. Make more profit on your rental property by paying less for insurance for landlords.

Posted via email from California Insurance Today

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Me If My Tenant Starts a Fire?

December 25th, 2012

All landlords get that dreaded phone call from their tenant that something is broken or needs to be fixed. Most of these issues can be resolved by calling a plumber or handyman but what if it is more severe. What if your tenant accidentally started a kitchen fire and it spread to the other units in the building? Your first thought is to make sure everyone is safe then you start to think if you are covered for this kind of thing.

The worst case scenario when a fire occurs is someone is injured or even killed. Before something like this happens you need to make sure you have the proper protection in place. Insurance for landlords not only covers the building you own but also your liability in the event something happens at that property. Like I said most of the time it is just a broken water pipe or a leaky faucet but if something more devastating happens there is coverage for you.

Most leading insurance companies offer a type of landlord insurance for your type of property. The most common landlord insurance is for condos because of the sheer number of people who rent condos. If you own a condo and rent the unit out make sure you have a landlord specific policy in place. Most rental property investors start as the homeowner then move and rent that unit out. When they move often times they don't realize they need different insurance or just forget to change it.

Here is a checklist to make sure you are properly covered as a landlord:

  • Get landlord specific insurance policy for your rental unit
  • Include the highest liability limits available, usually $1 million
  • Add sewer and drain backup coverage
  • Add loss assessment coverage of at least $10,000
  • Inquire about umbrella policy to increase the liability coverage if needed

The most important aspect of having insurance is to protect against the big losses. A broken water pipe my cost a couple thousand dollars to repair but if someone gets hurt that could cost you millions. If you have the right protection in place everything else will be easier to handle.

To find affordable landlord insurance get multiple quotes online. Remember to ask about the checklist of coverage available. Make more profit on your rental property by paying less for insurance for landlords.

Posted via email from California Insurance Today

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Me If My Tenant Starts a Fire?

December 25th, 2012

All landlords get that dreaded phone call from their tenant that something is broken or needs to be fixed. Most of these issues can be resolved by calling a plumber or handyman but what if it is more severe. What if your tenant accidentally started a kitchen fire and it spread to the other units in the building? Your first thought is to make sure everyone is safe then you start to think if you are covered for this kind of thing.

The worst case scenario when a fire occurs is someone is injured or even killed. Before something like this happens you need to make sure you have the proper protection in place. Insurance for landlords not only covers the building you own but also your liability in the event something happens at that property. Like I said most of the time it is just a broken water pipe or a leaky faucet but if something more devastating happens there is coverage for you.

Most leading insurance companies offer a type of landlord insurance for your type of property. The most common landlord insurance is for condos because of the sheer number of people who rent condos. If you own a condo and rent the unit out make sure you have a landlord specific policy in place. Most rental property investors start as the homeowner then move and rent that unit out. When they move often times they don't realize they need different insurance or just forget to change it.

Here is a checklist to make sure you are properly covered as a landlord:

  • Get landlord specific insurance policy for your rental unit
  • Include the highest liability limits available, usually $1 million
  • Add sewer and drain backup coverage
  • Add loss assessment coverage of at least $10,000
  • Inquire about umbrella policy to increase the liability coverage if needed

The most important aspect of having insurance is to protect against the big losses. A broken water pipe my cost a couple thousand dollars to repair but if someone gets hurt that could cost you millions. If you have the right protection in place everything else will be easier to handle.

To find affordable landlord insurance get multiple quotes online. Remember to ask about the checklist of coverage available. Make more profit on your rental property by paying less for insurance for landlords.

Posted via email from California Insurance Today

Discover How to SAVE MONEY and Increase Protection for Your Business and Commercial Assets…

December 23rd, 2012

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New York Man Suing Facebook Must Explain Missing Items

December 23rd, 2012

Facebook won a round in court Wednesday against a man suing for half ownership of the social network, gaining the company access to the man’s personal email accounts and forcing him to explain why he can’t produce documents the company believes are evidence.

Proof that Paul Ceglia’s case is a fraud has been sitting on a Chicago law firm’s email server since 2004, Facebook attorney Orin Snyder told a federal judge.

An email that Ceglia sent to a former business associate at the firm includes a scanned version of the two-page contract he and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg signed, Snyder said. Unlike the one Ceglia filed, it doesn’t mention Facebook, only a street-mapping database Ceglia had hired Zuckerberg to work on, he said.

“The noose is tightening around the neck of this plaintiff and he knows it,” Snyder said during a four-hour motions hearing that had each side accusing the other of dirty tricks.

Snyder said Ceglia had artificially aged his “phony” contract with light and chemicals, backdated computer files and transferred others to portable storage devices, which he’d likely tossed into Lake Erie.

Ceglia’s attorney, Jeffrey Lake, countered that Facebook had tried to “poison the jury pool” by releasing what should have been confidential documents and implied Facebook had planted damning evidence on Ceglia’s computers, a statement he backed away from after the hearing.

In the end, Facebook gained access to Ceglia’s personal email accounts and additional ink sampling from the contract. U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio also denied Ceglia’s request for a set of relevant Zuckerberg emails and ordered Ceglia to explain why he cannot produce five portable storage drives that Facebook’s experts believe contain the scanned version of the contract.

Ceglia says he lost them, his attorney said.

“Asking me to produce them will be like asking me to produce a unicorn or a leprechaun,” Lake said.

Ceglia has been waiting out the case in Ireland and wasn’t at the hearing.

The man’s lawsuit claims that when he hired Zuckerberg as a Harvard University freshman to work on the Streetfax business in 2003, he gave him $1,000 in start-up money for his fledgling Facebook idea with the condition he’d own half if it expanded.

Facebook believes that for his lawsuit, Ceglia altered the Streetfax contract to insert references to Facebook.

Experts first found what they believe to be the authentic contract in an email outbox on one of Ceglia’s computers, Snyder said. They’ve since verified it still exists on the Sidley Austin law firm’s server.

“It says, `This is my contract with Mark,”’ Snyder said, calling it “proof positive” the case is a fraud. He signaled he would eventually seek to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Before the hearing, emails bearing Ceglia’s name and sent to several media outlets accused the Palo Alto, California-based Facebook of planting the damning contract on his computer, and Lake raised the possibility at the hearing. After the hearing, Lake said he couldn’t confirm the emails had come from Ceglia. When asked whether he thought Facebook had planted evidence, he said he’d rely on experts before drawing any conclusions.

After Lake’s request to try to settle the case through mediation was shot down by Facebook, Lake said a resolution will likely come down to a battle of experts testifying about which version of the contract is authentic.

He said he intends to seek access to Zuckerberg’s computers, email accounts and the Facebook code as the case proceeds, in part to see whether Zuckerberg used code he wrote for Ceglia’s now-defunct Streetfax business in the creation of Facebook.

Source: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/east/2011/08/19/189781.htm

Simple Tips on When Getting Contractors Liability Insurance

December 18th, 2012

Contractor liability insurance is intended to protect a contractor against legal claims and to safeguard business owners from financial risks. Other benefits have been thoroughly discussed and we already have a better grasp on the settlements a contractor could get by purchasing liability insurance. In most states, contractors can bid for commercial or residential work without contractor liability insurance though oftentimes contractors cannot perform the job without the liability insurance.

The amount of insurance you will need as a contractor will vary depending on the work you will be doing and the liability coverages one chooses for his policy. Some of the factors that should be considered when shopping for liability insurance are the total revenue of your company and the total payroll expenses of your workers.  Standard liability coverage limits typically ranges from 1 million to 3 million or more based upon the amount of liability needed. Based on the current market, the minimum amount of insurance coverage business owners and general contractors are required to have is a 1 million per each occurrence limit and 2 million aggregate limit.

COST is always a concern for business owners, especially now based on the present situation of the economy. Most Insurance companies require a down payment ranging from 10 to 25% of the annual premium down.  Of course, there is always the option to pay the full premium up front.

If paying the full amount is a bit out of your budget, you can make automated payments directly from you’re your bank account or credit card. Most insurance carriers offer  several payment options to accommodate your businesses budget.

Independent agents and/or brokers have access to the market and can get the best rates that the current market has to offer. With a several insurance companies to choose from, here are some quick and simple tips when choosing your contractors liability insurance:

·         Be certain to research the company’s ratings you are interested in since not all insurance carriers are alike and equal. Ensure that your company has a good history.

·         Also, one of the best strategies is to check out several different insurance companies through various agents and other contractors. Ask other contractors in your industry which insurance carrier’s they are using.

·         Review and understand the terms and conditions as well as exclusions on your policy in order to protect all parties concerned.  Always remember that it is your responsibility as a contractor to ensure that the subcontractors working on site are being sheltered by the general contractor liability insurance as well.

Insurance is a long-term coverage is typically a long-term requirement in the lives of all of us.  It is important to seek an insurance specialist that is interested being your insurance advisor for the long-term.  An insurance advisor is important to handle most if not all of your insurance needs and concers.

Posted via email from California Insurance Today