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Business Protection Bulletin
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What Makes Logging Insurance Different From Other Fields?
In some ways, logging insurance is like any other field of insurance for a blue collar workplace. Your big concerns are things like workers comp, general liability, contracting issues and so on. If you work in logging, you'll encounter a number of factors and complications that you might not have to face erecting one story homes and remodeling office buildings, but generally speaking, if you're familiar with something like construction insurance, then you'll have an easy enough time adapting to timber logging insurance.
The key difference is owed to the environment in which your people will be working. A construction site is a relatively controlled environment. The forest brings with it a number of hazards that are trickier to manage and prepare for. Likewise, this environment brings us to the matter of transporting equipment and materials in and out of and through the forest. A construction site is stationary. Once you move your equipment in, most of it is where it's going to be until the project is finished. A logging team is eventually going to run out of lumber in one area, and they're going to move on to the next.
Many of the policies and provisions that a logger will buy are the same that a construction company would purchase, but they may be more extensive for the logger, for instance:
Pollution. The logging industry is often targeted by environmentalist groups, meaning that without adequate pollution insurance, you're asking for a scandal.
Loading and unloading liability. Your crew is migratory, they're going to be doing a lot of loading and unloading, meaning that the chances of dropping a toolbox on your foot is multiplied at every stop.
Power line damage. Put simply: You're knocking big trees over. It's not unheard of for one of them to fall right onto a power line.
Fire damage. Your team is creating just as much kindling as they are lumber.
Accidental overcut. It happens: Your crew gets a couple of maps mixed up and they wind up chopping wood on someone else's tract. Accidental overcut insurance protects you from any losses you'd incur over this.
Some mills offer rewards to logging companies that come with a robust logging contractors liability policy and a top-tier workforce simply because it's safer for everyone involved in the deal when all bases are covered. Logging can be a very rewarding industry, but mistakes can be very expensive without the right coverage.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Contingent Cargo Insurance: Your Last Line of Defense
If you want to talk about a big insurance policy, let's talk about contingent cargo insurance. Freight insurance covers product of an enormous value, and there's a lot that can go wrong at sea. A car accident that you can walk away from is not likely to cost your insurer more than five figures. A serious problem on the open waters can lead to millions of dollars in losses. A freighter is basically a small town with an engine on it, so you need a heavy-duty policy to cover every trip.
A contingent cargo policy is taken out by freight brokers in order to insure against any claims made by the shipper. Shippers are expected to hold the brokers accountable should there be any significant losses or damages in transit, and will only come into play should the carrier refuse to honor a claim. For instance, if the captain throws a cargo container into the sea in order to, say, pick up speed in order to escape approaching pirates, the carrier is unlikely to honor the claim made by the shipper. In this instance, contingent insurance would then pay the claimant.
Contingent motor cargo insurance isn't exclusive to maritime transport, of course. Anyone who carries cargo may carry contingent cargo insurance. This means trucking companies, airplanes, trains, even somebody who's pulling a big enough trailer with their car may carry a contingent cargo policy. Essentially, if you're carrying more cargo than you cover out of pocket, then a contingency cargo policy may help to keep you in business no matter what goes wrong.
Contingent cargo coverage, of course, only covers the cargo. This type of policy will help to ensure that, should something happen to the cargo, the shipper will be reimbursed without the carrier needing to pay out-of-pocket for damages or losses due to a train accident, a ship sinking or similar disaster. The carrier, driver, captain, train conductor, the company that owns the truck or railroad or ship will still need to cover their own end on every front required within their industry. Contingent cargo plans won't cover, say, a ship worker whose leg is injured on the trip and is entitled to worker's compensation. Contingent cargo insurance means that, if none of the other policies that you have in place will cover your cargo losses or damages, then you still have a last line of defense to fall back on.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Mechanics Insurance: The More The Better
Being an auto mechanic can be tense. If someone brings a toaster in for repairs, you might be out the twenty bucks it costs to replace it. If you make a serious mistake while repairing a car, you're looking at a slightly bigger insurance claim. People trust you with one of the most important things they own, it's what they use to get to work, it's how they pick up their kids, it's what they ride in to take a vacation. Serious mistakes are relatively few when you're a professional mechanic, but they can happen. Add to this the fact that you have a team of people working in a noisy, dangerous environment, and it's no wonder most mechanics insurance packages are pretty robust.
In short, here's what needs covered:
If you're running a place of business, then some sort of liability policy is par for course. In a garage, your garage liability coverage will provide protection beyond what commercial property liability can offer. A standard commercial liability policy might come with a lot of catches given the nature of the heavy machinery and dangerous work involved in running a garage.
Equipment Breakdown Coverage
Also known as "boiler and machinery" coverage, this type of insurance covers you for everything from burnout and operator error to power surges and mechanical breakdown. We sometimes forget that heavy machinery can actually be quite delicate against certain damages.
Garage Keepers Coverage
This is the one that's going to protect you from a lot of potential lawsuits. Garage keepers coverage is there to ensure that you have a backup plan should something happen to a customer's vehicle. This is another enhancement to commercial liability. In an office setting, a visitor might pinch their finger in a copy machine. In a garage setting, a malfunctioning ramp could lead to serious axle damage that you don't want to cover out of pocket.
This is all in addition to the coverage that you would have in any workplace, of course. You need to be protected from things like theft and fire, you need coverage to provide for workers compensation and so on. The above-listed auto mechanics insurance policies simply mean that, even in a workplace as potentially volatile as an auto garage, you, your customers, and your employees will be covered just in case something goes wrong that couldn't go wrong in an office or a grocery store.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Driving for a Living: Worth the Cost?
Most people who drive passengers for a living do so as independent workers. You look at a taxi company and you might assume that those guys are pulling in an hourly wage from the company itself. In truth, a taxi company usually functions more like a rental agency with the drivers actually leasing the vehicles they drive. A cabbie typically spends the first half of the shift making enough to pay off the rental costs, insurance and associated fees, and then the second half of the shift earning money for themselves.
There's very good money to be found in delivering passengers to their destinations, but there's a reason why most people who do it do it full time, or at least regularly enough to be worth the cost. If you're only going to pick up a passenger now and then, then there's no reason to get involved with Lyft or Uber or to become a taxi driver. You can make gas money for a road trip by soliciting people on Craigslist to pitch in if they're going the same way. If you want to drive in a professional capacity, you need to consider the costs that go into that, and whether or not you're willing to work hard enough to cover them
turn a significant profit.
If you're delivering passengers, your normal car insurance policy won't cover you, and you're going to need to look into uber driver insurance. Some providers won't even cover Uber drivers simply because there are so many variables when driving passengers where they need to go. If you're leasing a cab from a company, the company will provide insurance, but depending on how your state's DMV regulates the industry, you may or may not wind up needing to buy taxi driver insurance for yourself through the company's taxi cab insurance provider, much like with a rental car.
Most cab companies do not use a flat fee, but a percentage. This is typically around one third of the taxi driver's fares for the shift. If you only make, say, $120 for the shift, it can be tough watching that turn to $80 once you drive back onto the lot. A talented cabbie can make hundreds of dollars in a single night, however, and the company does not get a percentage of your tips.
Whether driving a cab or picking up Uber passengers, you're going to burn through a lot more gas than you would otherwise. A typical ten mile cab ride might cost $30, your cut being $20, and the average fuel efficiency for a 2016 model car being around 30 mpg, so we're looking at maybe $4 to $6 for every $60 you earn. So around 10% of your take-home pay before taxes.
Driving for a living can be fun and rewarding, but it's difficult to make a worthwhile profit as a part-timer.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
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