Properly Cover Your HO/Condo Association Loss Exposures

Posted on February 16, 2012. Filed under: Personal (Home & Auto) | Tags: , , , , , |

Many people are active in their condominium or home owners’ association, serving as directors, officers, and editors of association newsletters. If you are an active member of your association, consider the following risk management tips and recommendations.

Verify that the association has directors and officers (D&O) coverage in force with reasonably high limits. If the association refuses or chooses not to obtain D&O coverage, seriously reconsider your leadership activities within the group due to your unprotected liability exposure.

If D&O coverage is in place, verify that this policy provides errors and omissions coverage for the proper purchase of insurance. To do this, verify that the “failure to maintain insurance” exclusion is not attached to the D&O policy.

Ask your association to hire an independent insurance consultant to audit the association insurance program to uncover any potentially lethal coverage gaps. For example, home owners’ associations should have at least the following types of coverages: guaranteed replacement cost property coverage for common areas, commercial umbrella coverage, workers compensation insurance (even if there are no association employees) to cover claims brought by uninsured independent contractors, and D&O liability coverage.

If you don’t already have it, consider adding a personal injury (HO 24 82) or related endorsement to your homeowners policy.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

International Risk Management Institute, Inc. Copyright 2012

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Tis the Season for Holiday Parties . . . and Food Poisoning

Posted on December 13, 2011. Filed under: Personal (Home & Auto) | Tags: , , , , , , |

The holidays are almost here, which means hauling out the holly, stringing up the lights, and dashing through the snow. The holidays also mean lots of fun, festive parties to celebrate the season. These celebrations usually feature an array of delectable foods and tasty drinks that are dangerous to your waistline, but if you’re hosting a party, you have more to worry about than added pounds or lumpy gravy.

According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated one in six people in the United States come down with food poisoning every year. And whether you’re preparing the food and drinks for your party yourself or purchasing them, you could be liable if your party guests get sick. Food poisoning doesn’t just happen to bad cooks either. Foods, such as bagged spinach — that’s supposedly pre-washed and ready to eat — can contain E. coli, which is undetectable to even the most well trained chef.

Fortunately, most homeowner’s insurance policies cover food poisoning situations in which your guests incur medical expenses or endure “pain and suffering” (i.e. missing work because they’re hovering over a toilet bowl). There are limits to both of these coverages and intentional poisoning is not covered (so don’t try slipping something into your pesky aunt’s pumpkin pie), but most policies provide protection from unintentional food-borne illness.

The best way to avoid a food-poisoning claim is to take the proper precautions when preparing your holiday fare. Here are some tips to ensure your guests leave with leftovers and fond memories, not food poisoning.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat or poultry.
  • Use an anti-bacterial cleaner to wipe down any surfaces, including counters and cutting boards, that come into contact with raw meat or poultry.
  • Check the expiration date on foods before using them to cook or offering them to guests.
  • Wash all produce, even the kind that’s “pre-washed,” before using it.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils to stir raw and cooked food.
  • Make sure all foods are cooked to the appropriate temperature. This rule doesn’t apply to just meat and poultry either. Eggs, seafood, and even potatoes can cause illness if they are undercooked.
  • Don’t leave foods that require refrigeration or freezing out for more than two hours.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. If you’re unsure about any food – raw or cooked, prepared or homemade – don’t use it.

If you have questions about whether your homeowner’s policy covers food poisoning or any other party-related risk, your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent is happy to answer any of your policy questions. You can even invite him or her to your party, just be sure the food is cooked!

Reprinted with permission from Trusted Choice®.

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