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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Caution: Don’t pay those small claims yourself.

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When you face what appears to be a minor claim, have you ever been tempted just to handle it yourself? After all, the loss is minimal, and you’re “saving” your insurance coverage for when you really need it. Some contractors also feel that filing too many small claims could increase the risk of losing the policy, or driving up their premium.

However, there’s more to consider. Bear in mind that every policy contains language to the effect that “No insured will, except at that insured’s own cost, voluntarily make a payment, assume any obligation, or incur any expense, other than for first aid, without our consent.” This means that that if you pay a small claim yourself, and anything goes wrong, the insurance company can say, “You’re on your own.”

For example, suppose someone walks through your job site and steps on a nail. It appears to be a minor puncture wound, and you agree to pick up the cost of an emergency room visit. You might feel that you’ve closed this incident quickly. However, a few weeks later, the injured person calls to say they have a raging infection in their foot and the doctor is checking them into the hospital for what proves to be a long and expensive stay.

If you then report this claim to your insurance company for the first time, will they step in and take over, or tell you that since you never informed them of the incident they’re not responsible? Even if the insurance company pays the claim, you’ve run an unnecessary risk.

What you should have done – as the policy wording suggests – is to inform your insurance company immediately and ask its consent for you to pay the claim. This approach would have made a substantial difference because notifying the company of the claim fulfills your obligations under the policy.

Why go it alone when you have a partner waiting to help?

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11 months ago · by · 0 comments

Preventing Frozen Pipes

One of the messiest and most costly homeowner repairs is fixing a burst, frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. Luckily, there are several ways to protect your home:

  • Keep the heat in your house at a minimum of 50° F.
  • Allow faucets to drip slightly, which can alleviate pressure in the piping system.
  • Keep interior doors open. This allows heat from the rest of your house to spread, keeping your pipes warm.
  • Seal any cracks and holes found near your pipes. This can help keep cold air out of your home.
  • Add extra insulation to your pipes. Experts recommend fitting your pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves.

Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. If you fail to take the proper precautions, your pipes can easily fail during a cold winter, which can be incredibly costly to repair.

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12 months ago · by · 0 comments

Construction Costs Up for 23rd Month in a Row

Looking at almost two consecutive years of rising costs, the September 2018 IHS Markit PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index report revealed an index reading of 62.1, up 3.2 points from August.

The survey’s creators expect overall costs to continue to rise over the next six months, reaching a reading of 79.8, the highest it’s been since 2012.

Contributing to rising costs is damage from hurricanes Florence and Michael, which are expected to put even more demand on construction services while materials and labor remain limited. Although the work will keep contractors busy, homeowners and businesses will have to be patient during the recovery process.

The 25 percent steel tariffs could have a significant impact on construction costs as well. In fact, a Northern Utah wastewater treatment plant saw its price tag increase by $25 million after the tariffs. With steel prices jumping by 31 percent since January, developers may rethink future large-scale projects.

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

What You Need To Know About The 2018 Construction Risk Conference

The International Risk Management Institute’s Construction Risk Conference (CRC), held from November 4-7, 2018, in Houston, Texas, is designed for construction professionals like you. If you decide to invest in your business and attend this conference, here’s what you need to know.

What is the CRC?

Held annually, the CRC brings together a variety of experts who share up-to-date information about construction industry risks, insurance trends, and strategies and tactics you can take to avoid risks. This year’s sessions include:

  • Kathy Antonello, Chief Actuary at the National Council on Compensation Insurance, will discuss “Workers Compensation Trends and Challenges in Construction.” You’ll learn about trends, challenges and ways to manage your Workers’ Compensation program.
  • The View from My Seat offers tools you can use to manage new technologies, labor shortages, law and regulation changes, and other evolving construction risks.
  • Jim “The Rookie” Morris shares his inspirational and motivational story.
  • Breakout Sessions and Snap Talks dive into topics like contracts, design liability, construction delays, and your supply chain.

Who Attends CRC?

The CRC is designed for a variety of people who work in the construction industry. It’s important for: 

  • General contractors.
  • Subcontractors.
  • Project owners and managers.
  • Developers.
  • Construction lawyers.
  • Insurance agents, brokers, underwriters, and adjusters.
  • Consultants and service providers.

Why should you Attend CRC?

Consider attending the CRC to gain five benefits.

  • Gain knowledge about emerging risks, trends and solutions. As you understand new threats in your industry and to your business, you’ll also learn how to manage these challenges in ways that protect your company.
  • Position yourself as an expert. Attending a conference will enhance your knowledge and understanding. Use the information you gain to improve your business offerings and reputation as an expert.
  • Expand your network. Meet and collaborate with other construction professionals as you strengthen valuable relationships and share advice and support.
  • Identify your insurance needs. After learning more about your risks, you can identify and purchase the right insurance coverage for your business.
  • Rejuvenate your mind and body. While you’ll listen to experts and network with peers, you also have time to rest and relax, which allows you to return to work mentally and physically refreshed.

How do you Register?

Registration is open until November 7. However, you can take advantage of the Standard rate and save $400 when you register before October 12. Save even more with the discounted rate that’s available to project owners and contractors. Also, remember the IRMI Conference Guarantee. You can request a registration fee refund if you don’t get your money’s worth from the CRC.

Invest in yourself and your construction business when you attend the 2018 IRMI Construction Risk Conference. It’s good for business.

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

The Dangers of Job Site Cellphone Use

According to a recent study, the average person checks their cellphone 100 times a day. While there is a time and a place for cellphones, using it at the job site can be extremely dangerous.

If you’re distracted for just a second while operating a power tool, working on a roof or driving a forklift, you can injure yourself or a co-worker. You can also face civil or criminal liability for damages you cause by operating a motorized vehicle while using a cellphone.

It isn’t only operators of machinery who need to be mindful of the dangers of cellphone use on the job site. Simply looking down at your cellphone and not paying attention to your surroundings could put your life in danger.

Cellphone Safety Tips When On-site

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prohibits cellphone use by operators of cranes and similar equipment. Most organizations prohibit any kind of cellphone use on the job site—not just for crane operators. It is your responsibility to know how your company’s rules apply to you and follow them accordingly.

If you struggle with the temptation to check your phone while working on a job site, consider the following safety tips:

  • Get in the habit of sending and receiving text messages before or after your shift, or during one of your breaks.
  • Remind family and friends that you may not be able to respond to their messages right away. Provide them with your workplace contact information in case of emergencies.
  • Turn off push notifications so you’re not distracted by any apps.
  • Don’t carry your cellphone on you if the temptation to check it is too much. Instead, leave it in a safe place where it won’t distract you from your job.
  • Follow your workplace policy for cellphone use at work and on the job site. Be aware of any cellphone-free zones.

Besides creating enormous safety risks, employees who are texting at work are not doing what they are getting paid to do. For this reason, these workers may be subject to disciplinary action.

If you have questions about ’s workplace cellphone policy, or if you notice inappropriate cellphone use on the job site, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your supervisor or HR.

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

Understand Builder’s Risk Insurance

Builder’s Risk insurance, also known as Course of Construction insurance, covers property that’s under construction. As a contractor or construction professional, you must understand this important coverage.

What is Builder’s Risk Insurance?

A homeowner, general contractor or project manager can purchase a Builder’s Risk insurance policy during a home building project. The coverage protects the property from hazards and accidents that could occur.

What Does Builder’s Risk Insurance Cover?

The accidents and hazards a Builder’s Risk insurance policy covers include:

  • Burglary and theft.
  • Property loss during transport to the job site.
  • Scaffolding, temporary structures and construction forms on the job site.
  • Structure collapse.
  • Sewer or drain backup.
  • Site plans, blueprints and other valuable papers.
  • Fire.
  • Lightning.
  • Wind, hail or rain storms.
  • Explosion.
  • Impact by aircraft or vehicles.
  • Riot, vandalism and malicious acts.
  • Debris removal after a covered accident or hazard.

Most Builder’s Risk insurance policies include several exclusions, so read the policy carefully. Your policy probably does not cover:

  • Property others own.
  • Accidents.
  • Subcontractor actions or materials.
  • Professional liability.
  • Earthquakes.
  • Water damage.
  • Weather damage to property in the open.
  • Mechanical breakdown.
  • Employee theft.
  • Contract penalty.
  • Voluntary parting.
  • War.
  • Government action.

What is the Policy Length?

The typical Builder’s Risk insurance policy covers a construction project that lasts from six to 12 months. Coverage ends when the project is finished or the property is occupied.

While the policy may be extended due to construction delays, the insurance company may want proof that you are making progress. Also, only one extension is usually offered.

How Much Does Builder’s Risk Insurance Cost?

Expect to pay between one and four percent of the total construction budget for your Builder’s Risk insurance policy. The type of coverage and materials also factor into the cost. Your insurance agent will work with you to purchase adequate coverage you can afford.

Is Builder’s Risk Insurance a Requirement?

As a contractor, project manager or homeowner, Builder’s Risk insurance gives you peace of mind. However, it’s not usually a requirement. Read your project contract for details.

Purchase Adequate Insurance

As a construction professional, you should purchase the right insurance coverage for your business and projects. Insure the tools and equipment you own in case they’re stolen or vandalized. Also, purchase liability coverage that protects you if you damage the property or cause bodily injury. Be sure the finished project is covered, too, in case something goes wrong with the home you build. Provide copies of your insurance policies to homeowners, too. They need to know that you have the right insurance in case something goes wrong.  

Builder’s Risk insurance protects a new home that’s under construction. Understand this coverage as you protect your assets and construction business.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

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Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

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PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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