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Kidnap and Ransom insurance is Good Risk Management

The company you work for may be engaged in international business affairs, requiring employees or executives to travel to Mexico, the Middle East or other hot spots. If you haven’t done so, you would be well advised to invest in kidnap and ransom (K&R) insurance, as the need for this type of coverage is increasing.

These unique indemnity policies are primarily tailored to reimburse companies traveling to areas of concern for million-dollar ransom payments should one of your workers be kidnapped, hijacked or fall victim to a terrorist attack.

What the insurance covers

While K&R insurance is structured to address a company’s exposure and liability if an employee is kidnapped, it often additionally covers losses due to extortion, cyber extortion and terrorism. Individual policies are available, though their cost makes them most suitable for high-profile entertainers, musicians, sports stars and other likely kidnap targets.

In addition to reimbursing the insured company for any ransom it pays, K&R business insurance typically picks up the costs of:

  • A professional crisis management team and negotiator to resolve the event
  • A public relations team to protect the company’s image
  • Property damage, including misuse of proprietary information
  • Reward payments for information leading to resolution
  • Legal defense, in case a kidnapped employee sues
  • Travel expenses, and
  • Reimbursement for a lost ransom or extortion payment

In addition, the kidnap victim could expect, depending on the plan, coverage for medical, cosmetic, dental, rehabilitation and psychiatric care, as well as loss of income, personal financial loss, child care, and, in a worst-case scenario, funeral expenses.

A major caveat to having kidnap and ransom insurance coverage is the psychological counseling, which is extremely helpful in the event that an individual, or a group of workers have been held captive for five years or even longer. When someone comes out of captivity of that length of time, he or she will really benefit by going to extensive psychiatric counseling.

Tips for Securing the Right Hotel Insurance

As a hotelier, you may want to re-examine your existing management programs and develop some initiatives to reduce the overall cost associated with the many risks of operating a hotel. The following outlines a few tips to help you re-examine your insurance program, its depth of coverage, and related risks.

Finding the right insurance specialist

Most hospitality executives realize that it is essential to find an insurance broker that specializes in their industry, can identify the right insurance coverage to solve most risk issues, and anticipate future complications, thus allowing owners to concentrate on managing and developing their business.

Get the best package deal possible

Your establishment should have an insurance program that includes essential coverage:

  • General liability

 

  • Property

 

  • Liquor liability

 

  • Employment practices liability

 

  • Workers compensation

 

  • Crime

 

  • Equipment malfunction, and

 

  • Food spoilage

 

General liability coverage is one part of the insurance program that is consistent among different types and sizes of businesses. There is a standard general liability limit: up to $1 million in coverage per accident with a total of $2 million in one year. Your liability limits should reflect the size of your operation and the extent of your properties.

 

Factor in replacement costs for property and contents

 

Carefully evaluate what the replacement costs are for your hotel. Since furnishings can vary significantly from one hotel to another, your broker will recommend an appraisal to determine the amount to replace contents and the property itself in the event of a loss. Be aware that underinsuring can result in a percentage reduction in your claims proceeds after a loss.

 

Business income & food spoilage

 

To avoid disaster, your insurance broker should secure business income and food spoilage coverage very carefully; food-borne illnesses are more important than ever with an increase in publicized incidents. Weather-related power outages can be costly as well when attempting to preserve perishable supplies.

 

Documenting employee theft

 

Aside from securing crime coverage, employers should also have a policy that includes employee theft. A hotel with restaurant that also does cash business should take steps to control the handling of cash, such as implementing a monitored security camera over all register areas. In the event of a loss, it can be quite difficult to adjust a claim if you cannot document exactly how much cash was on hand or identify who was handling the register.

 

Liability for slips & falls

 

Slips and falls should be a major concern since they make up a significant portion of claims. Your broker should work closely with you to monitor such exposures. Inspect the interior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip-and-fall loss and maintain a daily log noting what corrective action you took.

 

There are many additional coverages that make up an effective program, including Excess Liability, Excess Property coverage, Cyber Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Workers Compensation, Directors & Officers, and others. Speak to a professional agent, about the many exposures and risks you face to provide the necessary hotel insurance coverage in order to properly protect your business in the event of a claim.

Directors and Officers Liability for Educators and Penn State

Fallout from the recent scandal at Penn State displays why educators and board members need to have coverage when a lawsuit is filed due to misconduct against a teacher or administrator. Directors and Officers Liability for Educators is a policy that is used by universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning to protect the school and its officials.

Penn State, under the microscope since former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged and convicted with 52 counts of child sex abuse, received a subpoena in February of 2012 from the U.S. attorney’s office in Pennsylvania. At the time, the university released the following statement about the payment of legal fees for employees: “The university is suggesting those individuals who received subpoenas retain their own counsel and the university will agree to reimburse them for their legal expenses, as they were acting within the scope of their employment and in the interest of the university…Expenses of such counsel may be paid by the university’s D&O insurance carrier.” However, it wasn’t that simple.

Which insurer is responsible for Penn State defense?

Penn State and its primary general liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Associations Insurance Co. (PMA), have filed lawsuits against each other over the legal expenses incurred. Penn State said its policy with PMA entitles the school to a legal defense of a civil lawsuit filed against the university regarding the allegations against Sandusky. PMA, however, says it has no duty to defend the university as the case does not fall under general liability.

Having the proper coverage is of utmost importance

The issue between the two parties brought to light the fact that PMA, which issued a general liability policy to the school, would not come to their defense, since the allegations were a D&O policy matter and they were not providing that type of coverage. In fact, in most cases D&O wrongdoings are excluded under a general liability policy. This underscores the importance of having coverage for different exposures and risks and understanding what you are purchasing. A D&O policy is a specific coverage that protects teachers, administrators, volunteers, board members and other staff from liability claims that can arise during the educational process.

All educators can learn a valuable lesson from the debacle currently facing Penn State. Having Directors and Officers for Educators insurance coverage is vital to the existence of learning institutions everywhere.

Beware of Contractors Bearing Bogus Deals

You’ve made it past one of the most damaging weather seasons in recent years, but many homes that were buffeted by heavy rains and wind in storm after storm sustained some level of damage. Now that the weather is clearing, it’s common for contractors to spring up everywhere, offering deals on home repair—yet some of these so-called professionals are nothing but crooks just waiting to take you (and your home) for a ride. They know homeowners are anxious to have their homes returned to pristine condition, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Here’s how to make sure that you don’t get taken advantage of:

Work with a professional. Ensure you are working with a contractor that has a current license issued by the local or state regulatory agency. The contractor should also provide a copy of his or her general liability and workers compensation coverage, or you could end up having to rely on your own sea coast homeowners insurance policy in the event of an injury or property damage that occurs while someone is working on your property.

Check references. Contact the Better Business Bureau or trade associations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) to find out whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Consider checking out the various online organizations that offer personal recommendations based upon users’ experience with local service providers.

Get multiple estimates. Obtain at least three written estimates from different contractors that itemize the scope of work in detail. The contract your decide on should offer a signed contract with a guarantee in writing, as a verbal agreement is worthless in the event of a problem.

Don’t pay for more than one third of the job’s cost up front. Professional contractors won’t expect more than that, understanding that your policy may pay for some or all of the repairs being made.

Another way to make sure you get what you pay for: talk to a professional agent about sea coast homeowners insurance to ensure that the policy features, benefits, and coverage amounts protecting your home are sufficient to restore your home to all its glory should stormy weather wreak havoc on your house.

Real Estate E&O Insurance

Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) is a type of malpractice insurance coverage for real estate professionals. The coverage protects against financial losses from lawsuits filed as a result of your work as a real estate professional. No matter how carefully you may do your job, you are always at risk, even from lawsuits that may be unfounded or frivolous. Legal expenses must be paid no matter who wins in court, and those costs can be devastating to your finances.

 

By having real estate E&O coverage, the insurance company defends the claim and pays any settlement or judgment against you up to the limits of liability stated in the policy.

 

Some basic ideas about typical coverage

 

Typical E&O coverage pays claims that come about due to error, omission, or negligence in regard to the duties you may perform as a real estate agent. It will pay claims that are made during the policy period.

 

Common E&O exclusions

 

  • Claims resulting in dishonest or criminal acts by you

 

  • Claims associated with polluted property

 

  • Claims against you if you cause bodily harm or death to another person

 

  • Claims arising from damage you cause to someone’s property

 

E&O liability limits may vary depending on your policy. Ask your agent for an explanation of your options.

 

Deductibles

 

The policy may have two deductibles (the amount of money you must pay before the insurance coverage kicks in); there will likely be one deductible for defense costs and another for payment of damages if you are found to be at fault.

 

Protect yourself with accurate notes and receipts

 

If someone files a lawsuit against you, chances are they will also file a complaint with the state real estate commission. Keep accurate records of all transactions, as well as notes regarding all phone calls, what was said and any decisions that were made. Keep a record of all of the buyer or seller’s responses with regard to things such as the purchase of home warranty protection, or having a home inspection done, which you may have recommended. Write all of these things down and put it in a file.

It’s not uncommon to ask your buyer or seller to sign a statement that you recommended a specific action. The buyer who didn’t want a home inspection may come knocking at your door if the air conditioning doesn’t work the day he or she moves in. If your files contain the signed waiver, then it’s no longer your concern.

 

Document as many facts as possible during your real estate transactions. It could help you later if your client becomes unhappy about some aspect of the sale. Real estate E&O insurance is there when things turn sour, but it is prudent to keep the client satisfied which will keep the referrals coming your way.

 

Good Website Design

Planning and maintaining an engaging insurance website design is important when you’re trying to differentiate your insurance operation from the competition. What some fail to realize is that the structure and aesthetics of your website play a key role in the success of your website because they work together to help increase the readability and flow of the content and ensure that readers will be interested in clicking through to read about what else you have to say—and sell.
Invest time to plan the purpose of the website so that virtually every aspect—from the domain registrar to the design, architecture, and site navigation—combines with the content to help convey and reinforce your message, as well as establish the personality of your firm as a brand.
For starters, examine subdomains. Most people have become accustomed to seeing the ubiquitous “www” at the beginning of a website, but make sure yours can function whether or not the prefix is typed in.
Top-level domains such as “.com,” “.net” and “.org” have become the most familiar for users and will thus be easier to recall, but it’s worthwhile to investigate the availability of these domains before committing to a particular brand name. Another common naming convention is the subdomain “m,” designating a mobile device, which is a less expensive alternative as the top-level demain “.mobi” yet just as familiar to users.

When a “.com” address that would be perfect for your firm is not available, don’t despair. Workarounds are available using imagination, but proceed with caution. Using dashes in the name of your domain (e.g., theinsuranceshack.com vs. the-insurance-shack.com) should be avoided when possible, as this makes it harder for users to jot down or type in correctly. The same is true for increasingly popular domain hacks such as del.icio.us; while they offer an alternative to a basic “.com” address that someone staked out ages ago, it is much easier for people to make mistakes in typing in the address—meaning they might never find you. At times it may be possible to purchase an already-taken domain name (including the one you most want) in a domain auction.

Creating an effective insurance web design doesn’t happen overnight. For a truly professional end result, consult a professional who has experience in producing a site that is representative of what your firm offers and helps drive business to your door.

Coverage Protects Business When Incident Forces Closure

Recently a terrifying robbery had a local mall on lockdown and everyone (business owners in particular) watching and wondering what they would do in the situation: At a high-end department store that anchored the mall, three gunmen entered just before closing. Sales staff and customers were taken hostage; the gunmen ransacked the store, raided cash registers, sprayed bullets all over the store and wreaked other damage, and to make matters worse, physically assaulted one of the female sales staff and shot another one in the leg.

The gunmen initially escaped, yet the store was shut down while police investigated the crime scene. Even after the investigators cleared out, the store was shuttered while management arranged for care for the injured staff members, handled cleanup and repairs, and addressed the delicate task of reassuring employees and the public that it was safe to return to the store. Even so, it was weeks before normal traffic levels resumed at the location. Those weeks of downtime and the slow return to normalcy could have caused a financial disaster for the store, but fortunately the “gross profits” coverage in the store’s business interruption insurance policy started from the day the claim began (the robbery), until the store’s profitability returned to the level it was at just prior to the claim, while the “gross earnings” portion of the policy covered ordinary payroll for employees during the claim period.

Of course, physical safety is of paramount importance for everyone—but secondarily, you’ll want to ensure your company can survive an incident like this as well. Talk to a professional insurance agent about business interruption insurance for your operation. Whether the closure results from a robbery, a fire, or other major incident, having the right protection in place before the claim occurs could save you in the event your sales are stalled for any length of time.