OSHA’s Heat Safety Smartphone App

Well, for the most part, the extreme heat seems to be behind us here in New England, but OSHA has developed a Heat Safety Tool smartphone app (better late than never).  Right now, the app is for android devices, but they say it will soon be ready for blackberry’s and iphones.

The app seems pretty cool.  It will allow users to calculate the worksite heat index, so that the worker can assess their level of risk.  Additionally, it will send reminders to hydrate, take rest breaks , heat illness symptoms and other heat related information.

You can download it at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html

This information brought to you by Chris Sheppard of Smith Buckley & Hunt Insurance Agency, your Massachusetts contractors insurance agent and Massachusetts business insurance resource.

CGL Residential Exclusion – Continued

On my last blog I wrote about the CGL residential exclusion for a new account of mine.  The client wasn’t aware of how broad the exclusion was until he read the form.  The timing was good because he was being asked by a large GC to bid on a project with a residential component to it. 

I advised him that from my reading of the exclusion, there would be no coverage under his CGL in the event of a claim.  He forwarded the exclusion to the GC and the GC’s response was “It’s fine and doesn’t really apply since any form of residential work in this State (MA), is considered commercial, rather than residential.  It would be a problem in other regions, but we’re OK.”

Well, this certainly was news to me and something I wasn’t aware of.  I decided to reach out to a construction attorney, and a risk management group I’m part of.  To a person, they all agreed the GC’s statement was incorrect, and it’s the wording of the policy that will determine coverage, or lack of.

As I’ve said time and time again, it is incumbent upon all insured’s to read their policy, and make sure they understand what is/isn’t covered.  If you have any questions, make sure you seek the advice of an insurance professional.

This information brought to you by Chris Sheppardof Smith Buckley & Hunt Insurance Agency, your Massachusetts contractors insurance agent and Massachusetts business insurance resource.

Commercial General Liability Policy Residential Exclusion

I seem to be on a general liability exclusionary endorsement kick the last few blogs.  I had a meeting today with a new account I’ll be writing in October and we were going through his current surplus lines policy.

Due to the nature of the work he performs, a portion of his insurance program needs to be written in the surplus lines market.  Among the many exclusions on the policy, we paid particular attention to the residential exclusion; lucky we did.  He was under the impression it only related to wood frame residential structures.  In actuality, wood frame wasn’t even mentioned, and the endorsement ended up being a total residential exclusion.

In addition to homes, it also excluded condos, townhouses, dormitories, senior living centers, tract homes , mixed use buildings with both a residential and commercial component, etc.  Just like they say, “timing is everything,” because he was in the process of bidding on a job where he would be doing work to a penthouse apartment in a mixed use building.

I can’t say it enough; it is incumbent upon the insured to understand what is in their policy.  When was the last time you read your policy?  Unfortunately, most companies would say,  “never.”  Take the time to do it!

This information brought to you by Chris Sheppard of Smith Buckley & Hunt Insurance Agency, your Massachusetts contractors insurance agent and Massachusetts business insurance resource

Workers Compensation Market Tightening

On May 26, 2011 I wrote a blog on the workers comp market deteriorating; not just for contractors, but across all industries.  Additionally, this isn’t Massachusetts phenomena, but a nationwide one.

I had breakfast this morning with the New England Division President of a large, national insurance carrier that has quite a big book of MA contractors.  We were talking about the market in general, and WC for contractors in particular.  They, like a lot of other carriers, are starting to scale back their appetite for WC on contractors.

This is a trend we’re starting to see with most of our carriers.  The current WC rates don’t support the losses, and the WC market is definitely starting to “harden.”  We are by no means in a “hard market,” but carriers and now beginning to try and get some additional rate on renewals; not just WC, but across all lines of insurance.  The increases are not substantial, but an increase nonetheless.  Just because they are trying to get additional rate, doesn’t mean they are.

This information brought to you by Chris Sheppardof Smith Buckley & Hunt Insurance Agency, your Massachusettscontractors insurance agent and Massachusetts business insurance resource

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