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Read Great Tips in Our Insurance Blog

Other Structures InsuranceThere’s more to your homeowner policy than just coverage for the house you live in. It also provides coverage for other structures on your property.

These may include all structures and buildings not sharing a foundation with your house. Most insurance policies provide 10 percent coverage for other structures. For example, if you insure your home for $200,000 an additional limit of $20,000 applies to all other structures. Remember that if you have a total loss, you don’t receive $20,000 for each structure, but $20,000 total for damage to all other structures. A large detached garage by itself can exceed this amount in many cases.

So how do you know you have appropriate coverage?

Cyber LiabilityA risk that is not addressed by many businesses in this era of technology is protecting data. Whether that data is your own data or that of your clients, it constantly stands at risk of theft or corruption. We always recommend taking risk management action such as firewalls, strong passwords, management of mobile devices, etc. However, one other risk management action we recommend is the purchase of insurance that will cover your business for network data breaches, electronic copy write infringements and computer viruses. We strongly recommend this to businesses that deal with Personal Identifiable Information (PII) which are things like dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, credit card information, financial information and health information.

Your typical liability and property insurance policies do not have the type of coverage that best protect your business if you were subject to a cyber-attack or stolen data. There are specialty policies built to help keep your business going after such claims.

Insurance Policy History

History of InsuranceToday when you receive your homeowner policy in the mail it comes as a thick packet usually about 40-50 pages in depth. Each year the policy renews, you get a similar package delivered to you. On and on this goes until you sell your current house and then get another. Once again, however, as you setup your homeowner policy on the new house you get yet another 40-50 page packet. I mention this because it was not always this way. Like every other industry, things used to be simpler.

The photo that is with this article is of a fire policy dating back to 1833 that hangs in our office. During the time of this policy there was only one page to the insurance packet. It held the logo of the insurance company on the top and then the rest of it was the contract language. When you sold your home you did not go out and purchase another policy. Instead you would go get the insurance policy from the prior homeowner and have it signed over to you. If you look closely at the photo you will see where there is writing all around the document which shows the different transfers of ownership. Ah, the simpler times.

One thing to note though, this policy only covered you for fire. Damage from wind, theft, water leaks, liability, etc. had not been invented yet. Though they were simpler times the coverage was not nearly as good as it is today.

If you haven’t made preparations already, now might be your last chance to get your home or business in shape before the coldest months of the year. Here are our best tips for commercial property owners and homeowners that can help you prevent damage from the worst that winter has to offer.

snow plow A well-maintained building is ready for winter
Buildings protect us from the elements but, like people, are not immune to seasonal change. Take action to help protect your commercial building from the effects of winter. Your efforts now will keep you and your customers more comfortable later.  

Here are some tips for owners of commercial buildings covering general building maintenance; snow and ice removal and management; and frozen pipe prevention.

Let it flow! Let it flow! Let it flow!
Did you know that letting your most weather-susceptible faucets drip during periods of extreme cold can keep your water pipes from freezing? Don’t let cold weather ice your pipes this winter!

Because liquid expands as it freezes, pipes full of water are vulnerable, and those outdoors or running against exterior walls are especially susceptible. With a few preventive steps, you can save the expense and bother of burst pipes and water damage.

First aid for frozen pipes – steps to prevent more problems
There’s plenty of cold weather ahead of us – enough to freeze pipes, causing costly water damage at your home or business.

If you suspect you have a frozen pipe – you’ve turned on the faucet, but no water comes out – call a qualified plumber immediately. Shut off the main water valve, and leave the faucets open until repairs are made. If a pipe has burst, take the necessary steps to prevent further damage, and contact your insurance agent to file a claim.


A new federal rule for overtime pay that becomes effective December 1, 2016, may increase an employer’s need for EPLI – employment practices liability insurance. In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule updating its overtime regulations. For decades, the DOL’s federal wage and hour law, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), required employers to pay nonexempt employees overtime at 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The DOL last updated the exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime standards in 2004.

FMLA regulationThe 2016 update expands eligibility for overtime pay by limiting exemptions. And states can expand overtime protections even further. If your business employs nonexempt workers, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with any updates to state-specific rules. EPLI coverage protects your business or organization and your employees when confronted with allegations that an employee’s rights were violated. EPLI provides protection for covered claims, relieving insureds from paying significant defense costs and potential settlements or judgments. Additionally, having the proper protection in place helps you attract and retain the most qualified people.

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