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Insurance Service of Asheville Blog

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It seemed like a simple task.  You just needed someone to do some painting on the house.  John, the painter, gave you a reasonable quote to do the work so you hired him.  John fell off his ladder and sustained severe injuries.  John didn’t have workers’ compensation insurance or any medical insurance.   Then, one day in the mail you get a letter from an attorney representing John and the notice of lawsuit.

Property Owners should be aware they might be found liable for injuries sustained by “uninsured” contractors working on your property.  Some states have various labor laws that impose liability upon contractors and property owners that could result in huge litigation cost to the property owner in addition to being held responsible for the contractor’s injuries.

Regardless of the task, lawn care, painting, plumbing, general repair, whatever, you should only hire an “insured” contractor and require proof of insurance in the form of a Certificate of Insurance issued by the contractor’s insurance agent.  As a minimum the contractor should have general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.  The Certificate of Insurance should indicate that the contractor himself is covered for workers’ compensation.  In North Carolina contractors can purchase a workers’ compensation policy, but exclude themselves from coverage thus getting a policy for a minimum premium and still obtain a Certificate of Insurance that says they purchased a workers’ compensation policy.   These policies are referred to as “Ghost” workers’ compensation policies. 

Don’t take a chance.  Hire an “insured” contractor for any job on your property and require a proper Certificate of Insurance.  If you have any questions regarding the coverage shown on the certificate contact the agent who issued it and ask them about the coverage.

Posted 7:00 PM  View Comments


Many buyers tend to treat arranging insurance like shopping for a car or getting estimates to repair the roof.  They seek multiple quotes from several agents at renewal with the concentration solely on price.  Market competition tends to place a greater emphasis on what the premium is going to be rather than the adequacy of coverage and the “qualifications” of the agent/broker.  Unfortunately the potential end result of purchasing insurance this way doesn’t manifest itself until a claim occurs and the client discovers they have limited, or in some cases, no coverage for the claim.

Insurance, whether business, personal, or employee benefits is a complex subject.  Not all policies or coverage forms are the same leading to potential gaps in coverage depending on your particular exposures.  Selecting a qualified agent/broker who takes the time to learn and understand your particular needs and exposures should be a business owner or property owners first priority.  Building a long-term relationship with them as a partner will allow them to search markets to provide you with the right coverage at a competitive premium, not necessarily the lowest premium.  Involve them in your business or personal planning so they can develop long-term strategies to help keep you protected and provide a reasonably stable insurance cost for your budgets.

Everyone needs to manage cost, but when you focus heavily on premiums you risk missing or underestimating other direct cost such as policy limitations or exclusions that could far exceed the potential premium savings you think you’re getting.

Posted 5:00 PM  View Comments


Once a hurricane has passed and it's safe to come out, there are a few important items to remember during the recovery process. Remember...

  • Safety first. Don't enter any building if you smell natural gas, if there are downed electrical wires in the vicinity, or the building is otherwise is unsafe. 
     
  • Avoid flooded rooms. If there is still flooding in your home or business, avoid entering unless you are sure the electricity is off. Do not operate any electrical equipment or appliance that may have been wet until you are sure it is safe to use.
     
  • Take pictures of the damage as soon as possible. You will want to document the damage that your property suffered quickly and accurately. Take plenty of pictures and, if possible, video your home or office to give a complete picture of the damage.
     
  • Dispose of property that is not safe to keep. After taking photos of any damage, if you have property that is hazardous, dispose of it carefully and appropriately.
     
  • Make a list of damaged items. If you have any purchase information for these items (i.e., receipt, invoice), include this with your list. 
     
  • Mitigate water damage. If you have the ability to mitigate the damages by safely pumping out the water yourself, you should do so. If you are unable to do this yourself, but are able to secure a mitigation company we recommend that you retain their services to protect your property. 
     
  • Prevent further damage. Prevent further damage to your office or property with reasonable and necessary repairs. Please secure photos of the damage before and after the repairs are completed and keep a record of your repair costs and copy of your receipts. 
     
  • File a claim. Please contact us as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Ask for identification. If you are unsure about an adjuster or insurance company representative, ask for identification. Unfortunately, after a major disaster, there are some people who will try to take advantage of those in need. And never sign a blank application or claim form.
  • Hire licensed tradesmen. When you can start repairs on your home or office, hire tradesmen that are licensed and fully insured. Always get a receipt or proof of payment for your records.
Posted 11:00 AM  View Comments


When a hurricane is approaching, remember to take necessary precautions and be to be prepared by doing the following around your home:

 

  • Take before photos.
  • Secure all outdoor objects or move them inside such as trash cans, patio furniture etc.
  • If possible bring in gas or charcoal grills , but do not use them indoors. Also do not store propane tanks inside the house or garage. Chain propane tanks in upright position to a secure object away from your home…
  • Fill your emergency generator fuel tank.
  • Prepare a Survival Kit to include water, non-perishable food for everyone including your pet, portable radio, flashlights and batteries, and battery charges for your cell phone and other portable devices
  • Remove valuable items from your basement or elevating them off the floor
  • Check your sump pump and the battery backup to confirm they are working properly
  • If possible prune tree limbs within 10 feet of your home or remove dead limbs
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts even small amounts of rain can back up and cause damage to foundation or basement.
  • Take photos of any damage.

 

Don’t forget these necessary items to have on hand:

 

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Supply for nonperishable foods
  • Bottled Water
  • Paper plates, cups, towels
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cell phones and chargers
Posted 11:00 AM  View Comments


There’s so much to remember pending the arrival of and during the duration of a catastrophic weather event.  Taking a few minutes to prepare in advance can help you stay healthy. 

Here are a few easy tips to help you stay healthy.

  •  Gather all medications, along with a few bottles of water and keep them at hand for ready access.  Be sure each medication is in its original container or clearly marked as to what it is and how it should be taken.  If possible, have enough bottled water on hand to see you through a minimum of two to three days.
  • If any medications require refrigeration, prepare a small cooler and have a Ziploc bag or two of ice, or chemical freeze packs, handy in your freezer for quick deployment.  This will ensure the safety and stability of these medications.
  • Replace batteries in applicable durable medical devices such as glucose meters or blood pressure meters. 
  • If your health requires that you give yourself medications by injection, be sure you have a sufficient supply of disposable syringes and needles.  You will also need a covered plastic or metal container in which to safely dispose of these supplies after use.
  • Need to eat with your medications or to ensure proper blood sugar levels? Prepare a stash of energy bars or other convenient grab-and-go foods such as Sargento’s Balanced Breaks, dried fruits such as cranberries, raisins or banana chips.  Pre-packaged servings of Ensure, Boost or Glucerna can be handy also as they do not require refrigeration and are available in handy individual serving sizes.
  • Be cautious about eating refrigerated foods or drinking from municipal water supplies after prolonged power outages or if your area has experienced significant flooding that may have affected the water supply.  If in doubt, check with your local authorities about the safety of the water system.
  • Charge all cell phones.  You will want to be able to communicate with emergency personnel if necessary as well as to provide information on your situation to loved ones.
  • Invest in a battery operated or “crank” emergency weather radio.  This will enable you to get important health and safety updates as they are available.
  • Have your personal identification, medical alert information, and your health insurance ID card with you. Hopefully you will not need it, but if you do it will help medical personnel respond to and provide necessary assistance in the most appropriate and expedient manner.

 Prepare for your pet’s safety just as you would your own.  They too will need an adequate and accessible supply of food, water and medications. Also remember to have leashes, carrier crates and other items for their safety readily at hand. Most importantly, have their collars clearly labeled with your important personal contact information and address.  Many animals remain homeless after a natural disaster simply because their owners cannot be identified and contacted for a safe return of these treasured pets.

 If you need help, don’t be reluctant to seek assistance.  Remember...we’re all in this together!  From your friends at ISA, we wish you WELL!

Posted 5:05 PM  View Comments


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