- Damage Claims –The insurance covers the cost of repair for damages while doing work on client property.
- Injury Claims – The contractor’s liability insurance covers any court judgments and medical or funeral expenses should anyone get injured while on duty. This is different from workers’ compensation insurance.
- Job Completion Claims – In case the client feels the project doesn’t meet expected standards, the insurance will shoulder, in part or full, the cost of making needed adjustments. The second insurance policy that is required in most states for a contractor is workers' compensation coverage.
April is officially National Distracted Driving Awareness month
- Texting, emailing, accessing social media
- Watching videos or surfing the internet
- Snapping selfies
- Distracted driving, such as eating and drinking, putting on makeup, arguing with passengers, etc.
- Inputting or reading GPS directions
- Using the infotainment system, fiddling with the radio, etc.
- Impaired driving after drinking or drug use
- Drowsy driving
- According to the National Safety Council, 80% of drivers incorrectly believe that hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. Hands-free drivers miss about 50% of what is happening around them as they drive and talk.
- 82% of Americans indicated that they felt pressure from their families to use phones while driving to keep in touch.
- In the time you take your eyes off the road to read or send a text at 55 MPH, it is like driving the length of a football field blind.
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
- 10 Americans are killed and more than 1,000 are injured every day in distracted driving incidents
- 45% percent surveyed in AAA’s Traffic Study last year admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the previous 30 days, and 34.6 percent admitted typing or sending one.
- Take a minute to prep before you drive. Before you take off, adjust your music, pair your phone, set up your GPS and note directions, check your texts/social media one last time, adjust your mirror and seat position.
- Utilize the driving safety features on your phone. Use Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or Android Auto.
- Out of sight, out of mind. If you are still distracted by your phone, try putting it in the trunk or stowing it where it won’t tempt you.
- Ask passengers for help. If you have passengers, ask them to read GPS, adjust the radio or answer phone calls/text
- Pull over if you have to take a phone call or respond to an email/text.
- Avoid driving while drowsy and late at night. To increase alertness, avoid driving alone on little sleep and, if you feel drowsy, take a nap at a rest stop or use caffeine for a short-term boost.
- Pledge to “Just Drive”. Take the National Safety Council Pledge to “Just Drive” — and encourage everyone you care about to do the same.
Should You Purchase Umbrella Insurance?
When it rains it pours. Just like an umbrella provides us extra protection when it’s raining, an umbrella insurance policy provides us extra protection when things go wrong. Say your dog gets out and bites someone, it’s your fault, and the other party sues you for injuries and medical bills. Your standard homeowners insurance policy will provide you with some liability coverage up to a limit set in the policy. However, what if the judgement against you is more than your policy will cover? You could lose all your savings and assets to pay! If you had umbrella insurance, it would pick up and pay where your standard policy left off.
Umbrella insurance can also cover other members of your family or household. If your teen isn’t the best driver yet, you can rest easy knowing your umbrella insurance will cover the injured parties’ medical bills if your child is responsible. You’re also covered worldwide with an umbrella insurance policy.
While some people are more at risk of being sued, everyone should have umbrella insurance, because everyone can be sued! Umbrella insurance is a small price to pay to sleep soundly at night knowing that your savings and assets are protected. The cost of an umbrella insurance policy varies. On average most $1 million policies will cost you between $150 and $300 per year. It is an extra $75 per year to add an additional $1 million, and another $50 per year for every extra $1 million in coverage beyond that.
Even the most careful people with the best intentions can end up on the hook for a huge judgement from a personal liability lawsuit. While the chances of ending up in this situation is slim for most people, it is still smart to protect yourself. Like the old saying goes, “better safe than sorry!”
Contact a Smith Brothers Insurance risk advisor at (860) 652-3235 or online at https://smithbrothersusa.com to start your free quote on umbrella insurance.
Reducing Your Cyber Risk
As businesses become more dependent on technology, the risk for cyberattacks increase. Cyberattacks pose financial and reputational risks to the business. The cost of data breaches worldwide for businesses of all sizes could cumulatively grow to $5 trillion by 2024. There are many cost effective ways to reduce your cyber risk.
- Understand Your Cyber Risks – Businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks through hacking, phishing, malware, and other methods.
- Train Employees – Your exposures can be reduced by having and enforcing a computer password policy for your employees.
- Update Software – Routinely check and upgrade major software.
- Create Back-Up Files and Store Off-Site – Create back-up files on an external hard drive or on a separate cloud account to help prevent ransomware.
- Proper Firewall and Antivirus Technology – Evaluate the security settings on your software, browser, and email programs.
- Data Breach Plan – Remind employees to periodically review the data breach detection tools installed on their computers. Ensure employees know if a data breach occurs they must notify the business immediately.
- Cyber Security Insurance – Protect your business with the appropriate cyber security insurance to provide protection for the costs associated with data breaches and ransomware.
When your business is in the market for a cyber insurance policy, or looking to renew an existing policy, Smith Brother’s cyber security advisor, Scott Garcia, will consider all the risks your business faces. Contact Scott at (860) 430-3330 or email him at email@example.com to discuss your cyber liability coverage!Source: https://www.iii.org/press-release/is-your-business-cyber-resilient-iii-offers-7-ways-businesses-can-reduce-their-risks-100819
Shank & Falvey Insurance joins Smith Brothers Insurance
Glastonbury, CT – January 1, 2021 – Smith Brothers Insurance has acquired New York based independent insurance broker Shank & Falvey Insurance, with locations in East Greenbush and Kinderhook. The acquisition expands Smith Brothers’ footprint in upstate New York and allows Shank & Falvey to maintain local presence, while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers, one of the nation’s Top 100 independent brokers.
Chuck Shank will be fully engaged in client service, business development, and continue to serve clients with the same team of insurance professionals. All Shank & Falvey team members will be joining Smith Brothers.
Smith Brothers has 200+ team members in locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
“Shank & Falvey Insurance brings us expanded presence in upstate New York and allows personal and commercial clients of Shank & Falvey to gain access to additional carriers, coverages, and risk management services. Those who own or operate a business will benefit from additional value-added services such as human resources, employee wellbeing, safety, compliance, and financial services,” states Joe B. Smith, President & CEO of Smith Brothers Insurance. “Both agencies have strong ties to serve our clients and give back to the communities where we live and work.”
“As I have gotten to know Joe and members of the Smith Brothers team, it is clear we share the same values,” says Chuck Shank. “Smith Brothers commitment to exceptional client service, continued growth, and being a great place to work is so exciting to our team and aligns with our commitment to be the best we can be for our clients, partners, and the community.”
ABOUT SMITH BROTHERS INSURANCE LLC
Smith Brothers Insurance is an independently operated, Top 100 Broker in the U.S. We help organizations and individuals manage risk, protect assets, and grow.
Founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1971 by brothers, Bob and Brian Smith, Smith Brothers Insurance has expanded to more than 200 professionals to help protect clients from risk and uncertainty.
Smith Brothers is licensed in every state in the U.S. and protects risk all over the world. Headquartered in Glastonbury, Connecticut, our offices are throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
Is the coronavirus a covered insurance loss?
Questions about the impact of the relatively unknown coronavirus are spreading almost as quickly as the virus itself. Its origins have been traced back to a live-animal market in Wuhan, China, and the virus is believed to have started with animal to human transmission. However, subsequent cases have indicated it can also be spread from human to human through coughing, sneezing and other types of close contact.
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Wuhan coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern.” According to WHO on Jan. 31, the People’s Republic of China had reported 7,711 confirmed cases and 12,167 suspected cases, with 170 deaths. Additional cases have been reported in more than 25 other countries outside of China since last week. As of Feb. 2, the outbreak has affected a total of 14,300 people globally with a total of 305 deaths.
WHO says “it is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of the onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO.”
Corporate response is swift
The response from global corporations doing business in China has been immediate, with companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and Ikea closing stores in the Hubei province. Wuhan is the capital of the area. Law firms, like U.S.-based Baker McKenzie, which has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, and other businesses like Hormel Foods Corp., are encouraging employees to work remotely for the next several weeks. In addition, firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, UBS Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have temporarily canceled travel to Wuhan and any employees returning home from the area are expected to work from home for two weeks to ensure they do not have the virus.
Jeff Corder, vice president of loss control at AmTrust, says companies should, “Prepare for the worst and expect the best, but above all, make sure your plans are in place This a potential threat to everyone. Currently, the risk is low, so now is the time to review your plans and keep employees vigilant in health and hygiene.”
Corder finds the threat to U.S.-based workers is relatively low; however, there could still be some claims that arise. “In most U.S. jurisdictions, employees whose jobs have greater potential exposure to the virus than the typical worker would have a greater likelihood of a compensable workers’ compensation claim in the event of a positive coronavirus test. For instance, certain healthcare occupations would be one occupation with increased levels of exposure. However, each claim situation is based on individual merits and the differing laws of each state.”
James Koelzer, a partner in the Clyde & Co. Los Angeles office finds, “The coronavirus has already led to business closures, supply chain issues, suspension of travel for business and holiday, and challenges for the health industry. It is hard to fathom the range of claims that the insurance industry might see, but coverage for many lines of insurance is triggered by physical damage to property, which I think will be hard to find in these circumstances. Overall, my feeling is the implications are so widespread that any claims to the insurance industry will depend on the specific policy language of the specific insurance product.”
Travel to China has dropped significantly, and airlines are either scaling back flights or canceling them altogether. Delta Airlines, which is believed to handle approximately 90% of the airline travel from China to the U.S. has suspended flights to Shanghai and Beijing through April 30, 2020, and is issuing waivers to travelers, allowing them to change their scheduled flights without incurring a change fee. United Airlines and American Airlines have also reduced their flights between the U.S. and China, and expanded their cancellations. British Airways has canceled all flights in and out of China for an indefinite period.
Flights from China to the U.S. have also been diverted to seven cities where more in-depth health screenings will be conducted for passengers. The airports involved are Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, Honolulu International, Seattle-Tacoma International, John F. Kennedy in New York, O’Hare in Chicago and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta.
The impact on the travel industry has probably been the most dramatic. In addition to the canceled flights, which will affect companies in the hospitality industry, cruise ships are rerouting or canceling trips. Preliminary estimates are that canceling a cruise trip could result in $3-4 million in lost revenues. In addition, the loss of revenue is also affecting stock prices for the cruise lines. A Costa Smeralda ship temporarily quarantined its 6,000 passengers for several days in an Italian port after a Chinese passenger exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus. Fortunately, the passenger tested negative for the infection.
“Financial losses will be felt directly by businesses in the transport and travel sector, including hotels, airlines, cruise ships and other entities,” shares Simon Oddy, a forensic accountant partner who specializes in business interruption claims at Baker Tilly. “What I would call indirect losses or downstream financial losses, will be felt by other businesses that support the travel and tourism sectors. If people are canceling travel and airlines are canceling flights, the expenditure associated with that travel will also be affected, and restaurants and other ancillary businesses like retailers and transportation companies. With airlines canceling flights, the suppliers of services to support those flights will be indirectly impacted — food service for example. There’s a ripple effect with many businesses being affected to a varying degree.”
The U.S., Australia and several other countries have imposed travel bans and specific quarantine measures for citizens and non-citizens arriving from China.
Since many businesses have been closed for the Lunar New Year’s break, the impact on manufacturers has not yet significantly affected the supply chain. In China and possibly Hong Kong, the holiday has been extended for an additional week as more cases of the virus arise. However, for companies like Apple, which has nearly all of its iPhones made in China, manufacturing delays could affect sales and stock prices in the first quarter.
Oddy says that if “production in China slows, it will impact the supply chain. And if production slows because of the restrictions on travel, transportation and the impact on the labor market, this could have a knock-on effect through China and beyond.” However, Oddy says whether the losses resulting from the virus’ impact on business are covered by business insurance policies will very much depend on the policy in place.
With the reports of internal travel being restricted in certain towns and cities, the labor market, production and the supply chain will likely be affected, again, likely leading to financial losses.
strong>The impacts for insurers
While some lines of insurance such as health, workers’ compensation and life will most likely have covered claims; that may not be the case for those related to business interruption and travel. Whether or not a loss is covered will depend on the type of coverage purchased and the policy specifics.
“Workers’ compensation is an issue if someone can prove they caught it from a coworker,” explains Christine Barlow, CPCU, managing editor of Practical Insights for the National Underwriter Company and an expert for ALM’s FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation. “Business interruption comes into play generally only if there is physical damage to the property, and that is generally not the case here. Even if the government closes, most policy clauses require property damage that drove the civil authority to mandate quarantines, close offices or to restrict access.”
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) said in a statement to Claims Magazine last week, that “at the moment, AGCS has not been notified of any claims with regard to the coronavirus. We also consider our potential exposure to financial losses from a coronavirus pandemic to be very low and don’t expect significant claims or losses.”
The number of travel insurance claims will be dependent upon the policies purchased. “Each policy could have different coverages and would react differently,” details James Sion, chief operating officer at Generali Global Assistance. He encourages customers to read their policies to understand what they’ve purchased and what is covered and to call their insurer with any specific questions.
“Most travel insurance policies cover trip cancellation and interruption,” says Sion. However, coverage may also depend on where the customer is in terms of their trip. “Have you departed yet or are you in the middle of the trip? If you’re in the middle of your journey and your plans are disrupted, most likely there is some coverage. Were flights missed to get back home? Are you finishing your vacation on a cruise or in a rental home? It will depend on the policy as far as what’s covered.”
However, Sion says that if insureds are afraid to travel because of possible exposure to the coronavirus, in all likelihood that would not be an insured loss.
Usually, when airlines suspend service or cancel flights, they will work directly with their passengers on refunds or to rebook the flights. Travel insurance generally will not cover those losses. Many airlines are offering passengers the opportunity to change their flights without the normal penalties or are offering full refunds.
For passengers submitting claims under their travel insurance, they should save receipts for meals, transportation, lodging and any other monies spent as part of the delay or cancellation. Once everything is submitted to the insurer, it generally only takes 7-10 days to settle the claim.
Sion advises travelers to avoid any non-essential travel to the affected region. “Take normal precautions – wash your hands, use disinfectant, and stay in open areas. It can be difficult to manage some aspects of exposure, but people can mitigate the risks to some extent,” he adds.
Business interruption claims are another area where coverage may not apply. “While quarantines will have a huge impact on society as a whole, there’s generally no insurance coverage for communicable diseases,” says Barlow. “A closed border has no impact on insurance; again because there is no property damage.”
Allianz agrees with that perspective. “We don’t expect losses under standard property/business interruption (BI) policies as these normally can only be triggered by direct physical loss or damage,” the company states.
However, the insurer says there is the potential for minor claims exposure from special extensions to property and BI policies that AGCS provides in some markets for non-damage BI scenarios such as infectious diseases. “Generally, losses under this extension would only be covered if an insured location of the client is closed due to a coronavirus outbreak at this very location.”
Companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza and other firms that have closed locations due to the threats posed by the virus will most likely not have insurance coverage for their lost income or for any wages they continue to pay their employees while the businesses are shut down.
Another line of insurance that could be affected involves contingency or event cancellation within an insurer’s entertainment line of business. AGCS says that coverage for this type of claim is generally restricted to the necessary cancellation of an event by order of a government authority.
Since this is still a developing situation, the final outcomes from the coronavirus are difficult to predict, however, insurers should be aware of how claims from these global events will affect their various lines of business and prepare accordingly.
Further reference articles:
- Ct. Department of Health Coronavirus Webpage
- List & Links to all US States Health Departments
- CDC Coronavirus Main Page
- CDC Coronavirus Business Guidance
- CDC Coronavirus Travelers
- World Health Organization Coronavirus Main Page:
- OSHA’s Coronavirus Webpage
- US State Department Travelers Advisories that relate to Coronavirus
A Letter from the President- November 2019
The Basics of Life insurance
Option #1: Term Life InsuranceJust as its name implies, term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, or term, that you choose. Since it offers a death benefit but no cash value, term life insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your beneficiaries for a specific period of time. Renewal term life insurance can be renewed at the end of the term, at the option of the policyholder and without evidence of insurability, for a limited number of successive terms. It can also be converted, or exchanged for a permanent insurance policy without evidence of insurability down the road. It’s important to note that rates generally increase along with the insured’s age.
Option #2: Whole Life InsurancePermanent life insurance is any form of life insurance other than term. Examples are whole life, universal life and variable life. The policies combine life insurance with a long-term, tax-sheltered savings plan. Whole life is the most basic type of permanent life insurance. It provides coverage that lasts a lifetime and also builds up a cash value that you can borrow against, withdraw or use to pay for future premiums. A life insurance policy with a cash value is ideal for those who have a lifetime need for insurance protection, prefer stable premiums over the life of the policy, want a policy that allows them to build tax-deferred values, and value the high degree of coverage the policy affords. While rates for a whole life insurance policy remain stable over the life of the policy, premiums are initially more costly than for term insurance.
How Much Insurance Do I Need?To find the right amount of coverage it’s important to weigh your dependents’ current lifestyle and spending needs against their future sources of incomes and assets. We can help you figure out how much your family will need to replace this lost income over this length of time should something happen to you. Call us today at (860) 652-3235 to learn more. Start saving money on your commercial insurance now. Call 860-652-3235. For more information on business liability insurance, visit: https://smithbrothersusa.com/commercial-insurance/ Smith Brothers provides Auto/Car Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, and Business/Commercial Insurance for all of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and internationally. Smith Brothers Insurance LLC 68 National Drive Glastonbury, CT 06033 860.652.3235
Personal Umbrella Liability Basics
- Your teenager runs a stop sign, causing a serious accident?
- A deliveryman falls on your sidewalk and is seriously injured?
- A babysitter is injured by your otherwise friendly dog?
How Much Coverage Do I Need?You’ll want to take into consideration not only your total personal assets but also your potential personal risks. For example, do you operate a business in your home and have employees and clients to your home on a regular basis? Does your profession or location of your home make you an easy target for a big settlement? Determine your personal risks to evaluate the amount of additional liability coverage that makes the most sense for you. Coverages start at $1 million, and can go as high as $10 million. When considered the value of the umbrella policy, discuss your personal needs with Smith Brothers Insurance LLC.
How Much Does Coverage Cost?Additional liability insurance is inexpensive when compared to the added coverage you gain. Depending on the policy value and your personal risk factors, such as recent auto tickets, your credit rating, etc., a $1 million umbrella policy typically costs about a dollar per day. Costs go up an additional $50-$75 for each million thereafter.
Who Needs an Umbrella Liability Policy?You do! Contrary to popular belief, umbrella liability policies are not just for the wealthy. At Smith Brothers Insurance LLC, we recommend that everyone should consider carrying an umbrella policy. If you engage in a high-risk activity or hobby that increases your odds of getting sued (such as having a teenage driver, owning a swimming pool or entertaining frequently), it is wise to supplement your insurance with a personal umbrella liability policy. Start saving money on your commercial insurance now. Call 860-652-3235. For more information on business liability insurance, visit: https://smithbrothersusa.com/commercial-insurance/
Smith Brothers provides Auto/Car Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, and Business/Commercial Insurance for all of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and internationally.
Smith Brothers Insurance LLC
68 National Drive
Glastonbury, CT 06033