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...r non-emergency (and emergency) ambulances, medical transport vans, and any co...
Do You Take Uninsured Motorist Coverage For Granted?
If you answered 'Yes' to the above question, or 'I don't think so,' please read on. If you answered 'No,' congratulations! (I certainly hope you're being honest.) From 1986 to 1998, the No. 1 cause of E&O claims was failure to obtain the proper coverage. Auto claims account for one in every four E&O claims-and more than half of these deal with Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage. What can go wrong with Uninsured Motorist coverage? Take a closer look: Is it standard operating procedure in your agency to offer clients UM coverage equal to the limits of Liability? The price differential is only an extra $50 to $75 per vehicle and is well worth it. Some states are now requiring that limits for Bodily Injury/Property Damage (BI/PD) and Uninsured Motorist be the same. If you feel that you don't have to offer higher UM limits because an Umbrella is in place that will drop down in the event of a claim, be careful. Personal and Commercial Umbrellas vary widely, so make sure that your company doesn't exclude UM on the policy. If an insured refuses the higher UM limits, many states and companies require that they complete a sign-off form. Even if prospects tell you verbally that they don't want the coverage, never sign the form on their behalf. You may want to check with the company to see if all Named Insureds should sign, or just the first Named Insured. Here's an example of an Uninsured Motorist claim that illustrates many of these points. The case involves allegations that an agent failed to advise a client properly of the availability of higher limits of UM coverage and that the agent failed to obtain a written waiver of UM benefits equal to Liability limits as required by the state's Financial Responsibility Act. An ambulance owned and operated by one of the agency's clients was struck head on by an uninsured vehicle that had crossed the centerline of the highway. A nurse and patient were killed, and the driver was seriously injured. The insured's Business Auto policy had Liability limits of $500,000 but UM limits of only $35,000. The nurse's estate sued the insurance agency, contending that the Uninsured/Underinsured coverage should have been $500,000 and that the agent was negligent in not providing it. Each policy year, the client had been advised that the limits for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage would be equal to that of Liability coverage unless he chose a lower option. His priorities were to maintain high Liability limits but to keep premium costs down. He reasoned that his employees were covered by Workers' Comp while operating the ambulance, so they wouldn't need the added protection of higher UM coverage. When renewal time came, the client selected the lesser UM coverage and executed the appropriate waivers as required by state law. The testimony of the client, together with an affidavit executed by the agent, persuaded the third-party plaintiff that the waiver was a 'knowing and intelligent waiver.' The agent was dismissed by way of an agreed order with minimal defense costs. In this case, good documentation was key to a good defense. Don't take Uninsured Motorist coverage for granted. Do the right thing: Provide your clients with the coverage they need and defend yourself against E&O claims. Your customers are looking to you for expert advice-don't disappoint them!
First Aid
FIRST AID by Bill Grieb This article discusses medical assistance and first aid requirements. GISO 2400 requirements are listed at the end. MEDICAL ASSISTANCE Employers who are not near an infirmary, clinic, or hospital should have someone on-site trained in first aid, backed by medical personnel readily available for advice and consultation. Written procedures should be developed for medical emergencies. It is essential that first aid supplies are available to the trained medical personnel, that emergency phone numbers are placed in conspicuous places near or on telephones, and that prearranged ambulance services are available for any emergency. FIRST AID KITS Every organization should have a first aid kit available. It does not need to be expensive and complex, but it should provide the basics, including supplies for large and small wounds and pain medication. A complete first aid kit should meet OSHA requirements and the CDC's recommendations for isolating rescuer from victim. There are over a dozen first aid regulations in the California Code of Regulations, and other states may have as many. In California's case, a committee is working to draft a single regulation for all industries. One approach being considered is a first level that requires a basic first aid kit and persons adequately trained in standard first aid. A second level would require plant and process evaluation, hazard identification, special need definition and augmentation of training and materials. Currently a licensed physician must be consulted regarding the contents of an employer's first aid kit. Many physicians will not provide this service because they lack knowledge of the facility, the industry, and liability issues. First aid kit requirements are spelled out for the construction industry in CCR 1512. System Interface Consultants, Inc. provides a first aid kit designed by Howard Burkhart to meet the needs of an office of up to 50 people. The kit costs $148. It is a heavy-gauge two-shelf steel-welded cabinet, 15 X 10 X 5 inches, finished with acid- and rust-resistant enamel. PERSONAL PROTECTION Employees exposed to accidental chemical splashes, falling objects, flying particles, unknown atmospheres with inadequate oxygen or toxic gases, fires, live electrical wiring, or similar emergencies need personal protective equipment, including: Safety glasses, goggles, or face shields for eye protection Hard hats and safety shoes Properly selected and fitted respirators Whole body coverings, gloves, hoods, and boots Body protection for abnormal environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures EMERGENCY RESPONSE HANDBOOK SIC has developed a 130-page emergency response handbook that provides emergency first aid guidelines and 60 emergency response guides to thousands of hazardous materials. The Emergency Response Handbook includes an index to more than 2,000 different chemicals and hazardous materials. Call (310) 454-2100 to order copies; the cost is $29.80. FIRST AID KIT CONTENTS The following is a list of the contents of SIC's First Aid Kit. You may find it useful in preparing your own first aid kit. Alcohol wipes Antiseptic wipes Eye wash solution Acetaminophen Aspirin Bandage, adhesive 1' X 3' Bandage, knuckle Bandage, Cederroth Bandage, conforming NS Dressing, gauze 2' X 2' Dressing, trauma pad Tape, non-allergenic Cold pack Gloves, latex Mask, CPR First-Aid Handbook Certification: You should maintain a certification form signed by your organization's consulting physician for your first aid kits. The form should read like the following: This first aid kit (list of contents appended) meets my recommendations for: Company At the location Signed, MD Date   GISO 3400 REQUIREMENTS 1. Available medical personnel for consultation 2. Persons trained to render first aid if no infirmary, clinic, or hospital is near (now defined as four minutes) (The American Red Cross Standard First Aid course is usually considered to provide adequate first aid training.) 3. Readily available adequate first aid materials approved by a consulting physician 4. Facilities for quick drenching or flushing eyes and body 5. Stretchers and blankets 6. Provisions for care communication and transportation in remote work locations (about 30 minutes) Reprinted with permission from Safety Information Currents, Vol. IV, Number 11.
Discovering New Niche Programs In Commercial Lines
Niche programs in Commercial Lines are an outgrowth of the Property/Casualty insurance industry's efforts to tailor insurance products for designated insureds. Some examples are accountants' Errors & Omissions (E&O) Liability, Tax Preparers' E&O, and programs for public libraries, ambulance companies, homes and services for the aging, auto repairs, contractors, car washes, boards of education, credit unions, contractors who install water-based sprinkler systems, law firms, school bus operations, and loggers. New niche programs in Commercial Lines are created in response to legal events, as opposed to regulation (e.g., Prop. 103). A case in point: The July 1995 California Supreme Court opinion of Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Admiral Insurance Co. caused contractors' defect claims to be covered, even though they had not been covered previously. From an underwriting perspective, many carriers and their reinsurers said, 'We don't write contractors in California because of the Montrose decision.' Others, however, saw an opportunity to design a General Liability insurance product for California residential contractors that build condos or tract houses. As an agent, you must be aware of opportunities in the marketplace. The best way to discover new niche programs in Commercial Lines is to pay attention to 'market voids.' Listen for consistent exclusions by all carriers. The new niche program is created by changing the language of the policy. Using policy language to exclude or limit coverage is an essential ingredient to having a successful niche insurance program. When such policy language has been upheld in a court of law, the program becomes even more successful. By altering underwriting guidelines and changing a policy's wording, a new risk such as that created by the Montrose decision can be mitigated. What if most of the Workers Compensation insurers' operations in a state exclude compensation for start-up businesses, and apply this on a blanket basis to exclude 'all business'? This then becomes a 'market void' and can provide another opportunity for a niche insurance product. How do you price Workers Comp for a start-up business? What about the experience modification? Is the economy viable for that type of business? These are all considerations when designing a niche Workers Comp product. To encourage retail agents to look for new market niches, consider increasing your agents' compensation. The retail agent might get a base commission of 15%, with an additional commission for meeting higher premium volume levels for the niche programs. Since the niche product has strict guidelines, sales are of paramount importance, and rewards are tied directly to premium production. The more business your retail agency writes within the niche guidelines, the more commission it will receive. In trying to find new niche programs in Commercial Lines, pay attention to the establishment of new professions. A recent example is the creation of a new association for the personal chef. More than 7,000 personal chefs are now working in the United States, with most in California. What is a personal chef? How should the Professional Liability be structured for the personal chef? How do you price the expense? What have been the losses in this profession? A new profession is a new opportunity. Most professional chefs don't realize it, but they're going to need insurance. Isolate the expense-to-risk ratio for this new profession. Solicit the association for a Group program. An abundance of opportunities exists for new niche programs in Commercial Lines insurance. It's up to your agency to find them!
MCGOWAN, DONNELLY & OBERHEU, LLC Allied Medical Professional Liability Insurance Eligible Classes: Ambulance Services Blood & Tissue Banks Clinical Research & Trials Clinics CRNA Counselors Dentists (hard to place) Home Healthcare Hospitals Medi Spas Mental Health Facilities Nurses Pharmacies Physicians (hard to place) Physician Groups Physical Therapists Surgeons (hard to place) Products: Professional & Management Liability Limits: Primary & Excess Available For more information on Allied Medical Professional Liability Insurance, please contact us!