Delays, Higher Insurance Costs Burden Owners, Contractors

Increasing construction project delays are combining with a hardening market for builder’s risk and liability insurance to create headaches for project owners and contractors.

If your project suffers from delays, you may find it difficult or costly to extend the length of your insurance coverage as insurers have tightened their underwriting policies and some have stopped underwriting construction projects altogether.

Owners need to understand the insurance marketplace and take steps in advance to keep insurance issues from throwing a monkey wrench into a project.

Delays weigh on contractors

Contractors report several reasons for delays:

  • Projects are increasingly complicated and have long durations.
  • Initial budgets and estimated timelines may prove to be inadequate or over-optimistic.
  • The process of obtaining permits can take years, particularly if there are environmental concerns about the project.
  • Increasingly volatile weather conditions are setting some projects back, as hurricanes, floods and wildfires can prevent work from starting or damage work already completed.

Insurers’ response

This is happening at a time of persistently tight insurance market conditions. The size of court damage awards is growing. More frequent and intense storms have sent the cost of property damage losses soaring.

Some insurers have responded by reducing their appetites for insuring construction projects, while others have pulled out of the construction market entirely.

Those that remain are hiking rates, increasing deductibles and self-insured retentions, and adding provisions that reduce the scope of coverage.

In a state like New York with a difficult legal environment, it can be a struggle to obtain adequate coverage at affordable premiums.

Consequently, when an insurer is asked to extend the coverage expiration date for a construction project, the agreement may come with these unpleasant strings attached.

Also, the project budget likely did not contemplate increases in insurance costs and uninsured loss costs midway through the process.

What you can do

Solving these problems is not easy, but there are things that can be done to address them, as follows:

Identify solid insurers  At the beginning of the process, owners and contractors should work with their insurance brokers to identify insurers with long track records of providing construction coverage.

Some insurers may jump in and out of markets, depending on how profitable they appear at the time. Multi-year construction projects require insurers who will not exit the market when their profit margins slip.

Where one or more of the project’s insurers have departed the market, it is impossible for the project owners to negotiate a solution. However, if the insurers are still willing to offer coverage, those that have solid, long-standing relationships with owners and contractors may be willing to negotiate terms satisfactory to all.

Negotiate automatic extensions   Owners and contractors should attempt to include automatic coverage extensions during negotiations for the original policies.

These projects involve multiple insurers providing different layers of coverage and it’s important to try to negotiate these coverage extensions with all of them. If one insurer drops out, it may be possible to get some of the others to fill in the gap.

Consider a ‘captive   In some cases, contractors may have the option of turning to “captive” insurers to fund higher retentions and uninsured losses. A captive insurer covers the risks of its owners; companies sometimes create them because of tax and cash flow advantages.

Stay on schedule    Do all you can to stay on schedule, so you don’t run into insurance issues. This requires closer coordination among all the contractors and the subs and more attentive management of the project. That may mean additional outlays by the project owner, but staying on schedule is less costly than blowing through the completion deadline.

With the current supply-chain problems not easing anytime soon, the problem of project delays will likely continue. Insurance problems may complicate that further, but they can be managed.

Before your next project, call us so we can get the ball rolling early.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 60+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages. We help contractors set up proper risk transfer. If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;  9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2021 – BGES Group

Non-Owned Auto Coverage Essential for Any Business

Non-Owned Auto Coverage

Even businesses that own fleets of autos sometimes use vehicles that do not belong to them. Often, a company asks an employee to run an errand or visit a customer or vendor using that employee’s car.

The business may be legally liable for anything an employee acting on its behalf does while behind the wheel. Lawsuits and accompanying legal costs may confront the business if they have an accident, putting the company’s assets at risk.

Many business automobile insurance policies cover this situation, but they do not do so automatically.

The standard Insurance Services Office business auto policy uses numbered symbols to identify covered autos for each coverage the business has purchased. The policy provides liability coverage for non-owned autos only if symbols 1 or 9 are shown on the information page:

Symbol 1 means “Any auto.” This is the broadest symbol designation and covers any auto, including borrowed, hired, owned or leased.

Symbol 9 means “Non-owned autos.” The policy defines non-owned autos as vehicles the insured business does not own, lease, hire, rent or borrow and that are used in the business. The term includes autos owned by the business’s employees; partners (if the business is a partnership); members (if it is a limited liability company); or members of their households.

However, coverage applies only if the vehicle is used in the business or in the policyholder’s personal affairs.

Scenario: A consulting firm has run out of paper and a worker is asked to go to an office supply store to purchase supplies, and he drives his personal vehicle to run the errand. On his way back to the office, the employee collides with another car going the opposite direction.

If the firm’s auto insurance policy’s information page has either symbol 1 or 9 for liability coverage, it will cover this accident, including:

  • Cost of damage to the other vehicle (importantly, it does not pay for collision damages to the hired or non-owned vehicle),
  • Cost of medical costs for injured third parties, and
  • Legal defense costs arising from the accident.

If the policy has another symbol, it will not cover an accident resulting from the use of the employee’s vehicle.

For companies that do not own their own vehicles but have employees who drive their own vehicles for work or rent them when on business, this type of coverage is essential.

It is possible that the employee’s personal auto insurance policy may provide some coverage for the employer. However, you should not assume that this is guaranteed.

In the event of an accident, you could be found negligent for various reasons, including:

  • The employee’s insurance has lapsed.
  • The employee only carries the minimum limits required by the state, and the amount of damages exceeds this limit.
  • The employee’s vehicle is not properly maintained.
  • The employee’s driving record is below standard.
  • Your company does not have any fleet controls or policies in place to address these issues with employee vehicles that are used for business purposes.

If the accident burns through the employee’s policy limits, the damaged third party will turn to the employer next. With no non-owned auto or “all vehicles” coverage, the company would be on the hook for any damages out of pocket.

The takeaway

Almost every business has situations where it asks someone to use a personal vehicle for business, and an uninsured loss can both financially devastating and easily avoidable.

All autos and non-owned auto insurance protects your business by covering potential coverage gaps that put the company’s financial stability in peril.

Call us to learn more about this coverage that every business needs.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 60+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages. We help contractors set up proper risk transfer. If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;  9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2021 – BGES Group

Long-Haul COVID Can Be Covered under ADA

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidance stating that employees suffering from “long COVID-19” may be protected under workplace disability discrimination statutes.

The guidance states that someone suffering from impairments resulting from long-haul COVID-19 symptoms can be considered “disabled” under the Americans with Disabilities Act and entitled to the same treatment as other disabled workers. But not in every case.

The EEOC emphasized that long-haul COVID symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and that eligibility would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Employers should read the guidance, posted on the EEOC’s website on Dec. 14, to ensure they stay on the right side of the law if they are confronted with a worker who is battling COVID-19 symptoms for more than a few weeks and they ask for special accommodation under the ADA.

According to the guidance, a person infected with COVID-19 who is asymptomatic “or who has mild symptoms similar to those of the common cold or flu that resolve in a matter of weeks — with no other consequences — will not have an actual disability within the meaning of the ADA.”

But for those who have COVID-19 symptoms lasting more than a few weeks, and depending on their specific symptoms, a worker may have a “disability” if the illness is affecting them in any of the following ways:

Physical or mental impairment вЂ” The EEOC states that COVID-19 is a physiological condition affecting one or more body systems, which would be considered a disability under the ADA.

Substantially limiting a major life activity вЂ” “Major life activities” include both major bodily functions, such as respiratory, lung or heart function, and major activities, such as walking or concentrating. COVID-19 has been known to cause these issues. An impairment need only substantially limit one major bodily function or other major life activity to be substantially limiting.

Examples of COVID-19 cases that may be considered a disability under the ADA include:

  • An employee who experiences ongoing but intermittent multiple-day headaches, dizziness, brain fog and difficulty remembering or concentrating, which their doctor attributes to the coronavirus.
  • Someone who received supplemental oxygen for breathing difficulties during initial stages of treatment and continues to have shortness of breath, associated fatigue and other virus-related effects that last for several months.
  • Someone with heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath and related effects due to the virus that last for several months.

What to do

As a result of this guidance, an employee experiencing long-haul COVID with symptoms that could be considered a disability may ask for reasonable accommodation for work. To determine if the employee is eligible, the employer and the employee must enter into an interactive process.

The employer can ask the worker to provide backup documentation about their disability or need for reasonable accommodation, such as notes from doctors outlining restrictions. The employer can also request that the employee sign a limited release allowing the employer to contact the employee’s health care provider directly.

If the worker doesn’t cooperate in providing the information, the employer can deny the accommodation request.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 60+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages. We help contractors set up proper risk transfer. If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;  9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2021 – BGES Group