Insure Equipment with an Inland Marine Policy

April 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Business Insurance, Insurance | Leave a comment

Here are three reasons why you always should insure your business equipment with an inland marine policy.

1.         Costs associated with equipment theft exceed $1 billion, according to the National Equipment Register (NER). This includes direct and indirect losses, such as rentals.

2.         The major reasons for the increase in equipment theft are the value of the equipment and its ease of sale. “Lack of site security” is the top reason why thieves seem attracted to heavy equipment.

3.         There isn’t much of a deterrent for equipment theft. Thieves also know that the penalties are fairly light if they are caught. The equipment is very difficult to trace and is recovered less than 15% of the time. (Stolen autos are recovered 60% of the time.)

According to the NER, equipment owners should register their equipment immediately. The next step is to consider your insurance coverage.   Although, most business owners take the insurance offered by the leasing company, an inland marine policy may be your most cost effective avenue and the best defense against financial loss due to equipment thieves.  Adding the equipment to your current business policy may also be an option so speak with your agent or contact the NSA Group with any additional questions.

Helpful Links:

NER HELPtech – Register Machine Product Identification Numbers

CNA/NER Partnership to Combat Heavy Equipment Theft

Protecting Your Church from Arson

February 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Posted in Insurance, Religious Institution, Safety | Leave a comment

Did you know that arson is the leading cause of fires in the United States, resulting in more than $1 billion in property loss each year?

Arson is one of the leading causes of fires along with open flames, electrical and lightning. Churches that have been victims of arson, incur on average, in excess of $450,000 in damages.

Why are Churches Targets for Arson?

Churches are often targets for arson because the buildings are frequently unoccupied and church schedules are very predictable. Security systems in many religious buildings also are often insufficient or absent. 

According to research from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), sprinkler systems were not present in 95 percent of churches reporting fires, yet there was a 47 percent reduction in damage per church fire when automatic suppression systems were present.

However, not every Church can afford these systems. Listed below are preventive measures that can be done to protect your congregation without breaking the bank.

  • Always make sure all windows and doors are locked when the building is unoccupied.
  • Limit  the number of keys to the building, and make sure that all keys  are returned if an employee or volunteer leaves the church.  Locks should be changed occasionally.
  • All doors and windows should have adequate locks, jams and/or deadbolts.
  • Keep exterior building, door and parking lot lights on from sunset to sunrise. Remember to change the lighting timers with Daylight Savings Time.
  • Keep an interior light visible from outside lit at night or consider the installation of motion-activated lighting near entryways and windows.
  • Maintain shrubs and trees, ensuring that they are trimmed around doors and windows.
  • Establish a “Church Watch” program, enlist  volunteers & neighbors to check  the property at various times of the week and report any suspicious activity.
  • Reach out to local law-enforcement and ask them to patrol your property at odd hours when the building is not occupied.
  • Keep the grounds of the church free from debris and garbage. Have tools and ladders secured in a locked area.

For additional information please feel free to contact us at 631.403.4107 or on our website at NSAinsure/Churches and Synogues.

Interruption of Business Due to Catastrophe

September 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Business Insurance | Leave a comment

Hopefully, you and your business made it out unscathed from Hurricane Irene.  Unfortunately, with the power outages we have been experiencing many businesses are unable to open their doors and food in freezers has been lost to spoilage.

When business operations cannot resume due to damage or access to the property is denied, one of two things may happen:

  1. Business operations cannot resume until the property is restored.
  2. Operations can resume but only by acquiring another location.

Business Interruption Insurance would be helpful in both of these cases, and may be added to your property insurance policy.  Typically, insurance policies require that the property located at the business location be damaged by a “covered cause of loss”, therefore the specific coverages included in your policy should be reviewed and customized during your insurance review with your agent.  A few examples of additional coverages that you may choose to add to your policy would be:

    • Terrorism
    • Property located at another location
    • Utility services coverage, if phone or internet service is disrupted.
    • Dependent coverage, if a business you depend on is damaged.
    • Leasehold interest coverage, for termination of a lease triggered by damage to the business property.

Choosing your coverage limits for the business income coverage requires you to:

  • Project future income and expenses, one year in advance.
  • Identify the maximum length of time it would take you to restore your property.
  • And for extra expense coverage, you would need to determine the extraordinary costs that may be incurred to operate from another location.

Having adequate financial records will be necessary to determine and establish these limits and support any claim under these coverages.

On most policies, you will find a 30 day extension of coverage if a business is still losing income after the property has been restored.  And extensions can be increased up to 730 days for an additional premium.

**It is also important to note a 72 hour waiting period typically applies once the Business Interruption coverage is triggered.

Feel free to contact us with any further questions.  www.nsainsure.com

For more information see the following:

http://www.trustedchoice.com/Content/Articles/Business-Interruption.aspx

http://www.iii.org/individuals/business/basics/interruption/

Are Your Emergency Evacuation Procedures in Place?

April 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Religious Institution | Leave a comment

While crowds of people assemble at churches and other houses of worship each week, it is relatively uncommon for churches to think about or practice how they will evacuate their buildings in the event of an emergency.  Given the number of elderly, disabled and children that attend religious services and activities implementing an Evacuation plan is a necessity.

When planning your Emergency Evacuation it is a good idea to involve your local fire officials.  First assess your facility and the means of egress, or escape from the building.  A means of egress should always be the nearest exit.  Remember evacuation paths should never be through high hazard areas, such as kitchens, boiler rooms or mechanical areas.  Make sure all routes to exits are clear of obstructions; that all emergency exit signs are in place and well lit. The emergency lighting units must provide adequate illumination if the power were to go out; appropriate panic hardware should be installed in the doors and signs need to be posted showing the emergency evacuation routes. Elevators should never be used in case of a fire.

It is also very important that you inspect all emergency equipment such as fire alarms, smoke & heat detectors and insure that they are in good working order.  It is also good practice to make sure that appropriate fire extinguishers are in place throughout your facility and are inspected regularly.

Your emergency procedures should include assigning responsibilities to all appropriate staff & volunteers including ushers, pastoral staff, any facility staff, ministry leaders and workers.  Designated responsibilities should be assigned to assist with the elderly, small children and the disabled in exiting the building safely. A safe gathering place outside the building should be established and communicated to all. With regards to the children a plan should be communicated to the parents where to meet up with their children if an evacuation should occur.

Once your procedures have been established, training of both those involved in the evacuation plan and the congregation as a whole should take place. Keeping the congregation aware of the exit routes and the planned evacuation strategies is extremely important.  Those with specific responsibilities should be trained on their duties. Planned emergency evacuation drills should be conducted to avoid any confusion and panic if a true emergency should take place. Having the local fire officials involved may be helpful and will provide insight and feedback on any improvements or changes that may be needed.  The local fire officials are always glad to participate as in the event of an actual emergency the more prepared you are the easier it is to have a safe and successful evacuation. Remember the practice drills should not only be carried out during worship service but during any ongoing activities.

Never take for granted that when an alarm goes off that there is not an emergency.  Many times an alarm may be triggered by candles or incents.  Following procedures will always secure a safe outcome if the alarm is ringing for a true emergency.

A little planning goes a long way.

Breached Data Security – It’s not just for BIG Business!

April 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Business Insurance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

 The emails from vendors telling us that data has been breached and “ONLY” the email addresses, nothing else was compromised seem to arrive daily in the inbox! It’s not a very comforting thought.  And it can’t be a pleasant thought for the vendors either; wondering whether their customers will have any identity fraud issues after a breach.  The stories of breached data security are all too familiar:

  • An employee takes home a company laptop against regulations.
  • A hard drive is sent for repairs, but disappears.
  • A disc with sensitive data is stolen from an office.
  • A hacker breaks into the company network and steals customer information. 

Big businesses are not the only targets of data theft.  Doctor’s offices, retail shops, contractors, sales people and most other professions store personal information electronically.  Information stolen from your business might result in hefty bills to you.  You may be responsible for the following expenses:  informing the victims of the theft, replacing data and income lost during the recovery, repaying the victims for expenses they incurred to recover their lost information, repaying the victims who suffer financial losses resulting from identity theft and so on.  Your personnel may even lose confidence in you and seek employment elsewhere.  Traditional insurance products – such as general liability, property business income and crime insurance – are not designed to cover this type of loss.  A thorough review of your insurance policies and endorsements would be a good first start in protecting your business as well as implementing the following, as a minimum.

  • Install and update daily an anti-virus program on all computing devices.
  • Set the anti-virus program to scan and filter email attachments and downloads before opening any files.
  • Install and configure firewalls.  The use of default settings is not sufficient in most cases.
  • Networks should be configured using multiple firewalls to separate back office operations from devices using the internet.
  • Create and openly discuss a security policy with all employees and contractors.
  • Create and test a disaster recovery plan.
  • Create and test a security breach response plan.
  • Back up your network data daily and store the back-up files in an offsite location.
  • Remote access should be given only to a VPN or equivalent system.
  • Keep your server room locked and limit access to authorized personnel.

 

This information is intended for educational purposes only.  As always, please feel free to comment on this or any other NSA Group blog post.

 Additional information may be found at:            http://www.kroll.com/about/library/fraud/Oct2010/databreach.aspx

 http://www.cna.com/portal/site/cna/menuitem.489f2511a757a1a1df88e0f2a86631a0/?vgnextoid=2c9f65683c2fe010VgnVCM1000008f66130aRCRD     ** Information from CNA (a partner company of the NSA Group) was used for this blog.

Are You Fulfilling Your Responsibility as a Board Member?

March 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Religious Institution | 1 Comment

As a church board member there are many obligations to fulfill during the course of a year. Your responsibilities often reach beyond the spiritual well-being of your congregation to things like insurance. 

This project can be one of the most valuable tasks you perform all year. Protecting your religious institution comes down to more than just dollars and cents; it is also about proper, specialized and high-quality insurance coverage and an insurance agent that is an expert in writing this class of business.

 Important Factors to Consider

 Building and Property

  • Has the square footage changed?
  • Have building updates or improvements been made in the past year? Are you planning to do so?
  • Has there been a change in business personal property?
  • Have structures been purchased, sold or rented?

 Workers Compensation

  • Have staffing levels changed?
  • Do class codes need to be updated or changed?
  • Is appropriate documentation maintained and up-dated for any independent contractors? 
  • Are you requesting Certificates of Insurance for all?

 Liability

  • Are there newly added special events that need special coverage considerations?
  • Do they lease or loan space to outside organizations?
  • Is there a daycare, preschool or school established onsite? 
  • Do you have Umbrella coverage?

 Additional Coverage

  • Have changes been made to the automobile schedule?
  • Is the directors & officers coverage rated for the appropriate number of participants, if applicable?
  • Is the umbrella coverage adequate?
  • Do mortgagees need to be added or deleted from a policy?

We understand that updating your insurance policy might not always be a priority for discussion among your board members, but it should be a discussion with your insurance church specialist every time decisions are made that affect your exposures to a potential risk.  

Remember, in the event of a loss, a properly tailored, updated and well understood insurance policy may be your best friend.

This information is intended for educational purposes only.  As always, please feel free to comment on this or any other NSA Group blog post.

Is Your Church Ready for a Workers’ Compensation Audit?

March 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Religious Institution | Leave a comment

The thought of a Workers’ Compensation Audit for your Church may seem like a confusing, time consuming and somewhat cumbersome feat; however preparation is the key for an accurate and positive audit experience.

For starters knowing what a Workers’ Compensation Premium Audit Is

When a policy is issued, usually on a one year term, the premium is based on the annual compensation that is anticipated at the beginning of the year. The premium audit is the process that determines how much the compensation has changed by year end so a final premium paid can be made proportionate to the actual compensation amount.

Most insurance carriers use the following information in determining the workers’ compensation premiums.

  • The amount of payroll generated by the employer
  • The classification assigned to the employee based on business operations
  • The past loss experience of the employer

 Information to have ready for your Audit

  • Job Descriptions documenting your Employee’s Duties
  • Employee Tax information

             – Form 1099 for any employee who has an employment relationship

             – Employer’s Quarterly tax return form 941

             – Employer’s Annual Federal Tax return form 944

             – Accounting records of payroll – Make sure that the payroll information is related to the term of your workers’ compensation policy.

              – Any Financial transactions related to employees – this includes housing, travel, or any other expenses made on behalf of an employee.  Compensation not included in payroll should be broken out by each individual employee.

               – A listing of all Contractor payments, including general and independent contractors, visiting pastors and or a music/worship team.  Certificates of insurance for all contractors must be available for the auditor.  Failure to provide a certificate may result in an additional charge to you on your policy.

This information is intended for educational purposes only.  As always, please feel free to comment on this or any other NSA Group blog post.

Is Your Contractor Liability Policy Full of Holes?

March 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Business Insurance | Leave a comment

Ok Contractors, you’ve just gotten a new job; contracts will be signed, subs hired, orders placed and insurance certificates gathered or provided.  The question is do you have a Swiss cheese policy, full of holes, or a cheddar policy, that covers all the gaps?  General Contractors will be requiring their subs to provide evidence of insurance or certificates of insurance as we call them in the insurance world and subcontractors will have to provide them.  In either case here are some important questions you should ask your insurance agent.

  • Review the endorsement and/or exclusions on your insurance policies.  Make sure they are not “Swiss cheese” policies with lots of holes in coverage.
  • Make sure your policy includes contractual liability.  The NY State Labor law 240/241 allows for litigation upon injury to a construction worker and you should have the proper liability protection.
  • General Contractors should have a hold harmless agreement in place and all subs should be required to sign the agreement before starting any job.
  • Be sure your policy and those of your sub contractors has a per project aggregate instead of a per policy limit.  This will make sure funds are available even if there are other claims on the policy at the time.
  • Specifically request that no exclusions for NY Labor/ 3rd Party Action Over are on your policy or that of your subcontractors.

Proper liability protection for contractors can mean saving thousands/millions of dollars in litigation expenses.  Many times adding these coverage’s to your policy is not as costly as you might think.  Please speak with an insurance professional and/or legal council for details.  And if you are told by your insurance carrier or your subcontractors that these coverages cannot be added, look elsewhere for your insurance coverage.  There are plenty of carriers that will provide the proper coverage.

This information is intended for educational purposes only.  As always, please feel free to comment on this or any other NSA Group blog post.

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