How to Avoid a Corporate Lawsuit

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How to Avoid a Corporate LawsuitAn impending lawsuit is never good news. Not only are they costly, but, perhaps worse, they can permanently damage a company’s reputation, an expense no business can easily afford during highly competitive consumer and employee markets like the current. While companies are sued for a range of reasons, there are a few recurring culprits that can be avoided with appropriate planning, clear communication, and due diligence.

Most commonly, companies are sued for:

  • Breach of contract: Failing to uphold contractual obligations with suppliers or consumers.
  • Misleading shareholders: Knowingly misleading the public about the company’s financial status.
  • Employee grievances: Can include discrimination, harassment, misclassification, labor law violations, disciplinary action/performance reviews, wrongful termination, and failing to uphold appropriate standards for employees and adhering to the laws dictating those standards.
  • Intellectual property infringement: Using the intellectual property of an individual or company without permission.
  • Negligence or malpractice: Failing to ensure that the company, its products, and/or its employees perform safely, thus resulting in victim damages or injury.

Once a lawsuit is filed, a company has two options: settlement or defense. While the burden of proof rests firmly on the shoulders of the plaintiff. Circumstances related to the current social climate, area of the country where the lawsuit is filed and tried, leanings of the judge, and nature of damages – among a host of other factors, can impact lawsuit outcomes, so companies should be prepared to either settle or aggressively defend their actions with a well-documented defense.

Regardless, it’s important to consult with a corporate litigation attorney before making this decision. It may be advisable to settle, irrespective of culpability, to avoid negative publicity or the expense and unpredictability of a trial. An attorney can provide expert advice based on similar cases and their outcomes. If settling is determined to be the best course of action, a settlement agreement will be developed and will generally include some form of financial restitution and sometimes an admission of guilt.

Obviously, the best way to deal with a lawsuit is to avoid it in the first place by minimizing risk and liability. Transparency, integrity, and honesty in business practices might cost a bit in the short term, but the long-term benefits pay those fees in spades. Additionally, developing legally solvent policies and well documented procedures that set clear expectations, are concisely communicated, made readily available to employees, and applied consistently by well-trained supervisory personnel mayhelp circumvent most employee complaints. Finally, if a concern does develop, consulting an attorney for guidance at the outset may prevent an arduous legal battle from ever materializing.

For any business insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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5 Top Electrical Safety Tips

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While electricity is a necessary and useful tool in our daily lives, it can also be extremely dangerous. In fact, data shows that about 400 people are electrocuted in their homes every year, with about half of those electrocutions resulting in death.

Although leading causes of electrocutions vary, The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the most common occur due to negligence or simply underestimating the potential danger of this everyday power source. For example, interference with outlets and cords by children or pets, exposure of electric tools to water, failure to turn off a circuit breaker during electrical work, and even failure to read and follow an appliance’s instructions are all marked among the most common causes of electrical accidents in the home.

For this reason, “electrical safety precautions should not be taken for granted,” says Cory Eickholt, a Loss Control Manager for Central Insurance.

Below, we review the five electrical safety tips that every homeowner should know and follow to ensure your safety and that of your family and home.

Watch This: Electrical Safety: How to Keep Yourself and Others Safe

5 Electrical Safety Rules to Follow

1. Maintenance is Key

Maintaining the electrical systems in your home should be considered part of general household upkeep. Doing so will help to prevent electrical fires or surges that can not only put you and your family in danger, but can cause lasting damage to your property.

To ensure your electrical systems are performing as they should, Eickholt recommends:

  • Keeping electrical panels free of excessive dust and dirt.
  • Not storing items within three feet of electrical panels.
  • Keeping panels dry and free from potential sources of water.
  • Wiping down panels with lint-free rags and solvents as needed.
  • Minimizing heat buildup in rooms with electrical panels.
  • Inspecting panels for any signs of corrosion, loose wires/breakers, and signs of excess heat.

These aren’t the only useful measures you can take to prevent electrical issues, according to Eickholt. 

“Businesses with larger electrical systems—including a standard electrical preventive maintenance program (EPM)—should schedule inspections of electrical systems that include testing and maintenance of critical electrical components and their support systems,” he adds. 

2. Always Replace Damaged Wiring

When it comes to electricity, Eickholt explains how vital it is that you utilize perfectly in-tact tools and equipment, as one small dent or crack in a cable can have detrimental effects on your safety and your property. 

Every electrical cord contains a live wire that is securely insulated by the cord. When that cord becomes frayed or damaged, the live wire has the potential to become exposed. Exposed wires are direct channels to the electricity, and can be incredibly harmful when touched. They can also lead to electrical fires when left unattended.

Explore: Tips for Electrical Fire Prevention

Avoid these dangers by examining every piece of electrical material in your home regularly. If you notice any abrasion or bend that seems out of place, always err on the side of caution and replace the material. It’s also important not to try and repair damaged wires on your own. PVC tape, for example, is not a permanent solution to an electrical problem. Instead, always call in a professional if you feel there is a dangerous wire that needs repaired.

3. Child and Pet-Proof Your Home

The National Fire Protection Association reports that nearly 2,400 children suffer from severe shocks and burns each year as a result of sticking items into electrical outlets. What’s more, experts in petcare have found that chewing on live electrical wires is the single most common type of electrical injury to household pets. Though these numbers are frightening, there are simple ways to keep children and pets safe from electrical dangers.

Start by identifying what types of outlets you have in your home, then decide if you are going to take temporary or permanent action to make your outlets safe. Permanent action may include replacing regular outlets with those designed to prevent electrical damage, such as AFRC (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) or GFIC (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets. AFRC outlets are designed to prevent dangerous arcs in your electricity, where the GFIC outlets monitor the electrical current moving through a circuit, shutting power off as needed.

Did You Know: There are two commonly used outlet types in the United States as of 2022—one which has two pins, and one which has three.

More temporary solutions to electrical outlet danger include using plastic outlet covers, outlet boxes, or self-closing outlet covers, all of which can be used to stop children from accessing the dangerous electricity behind paneling.

Keep in mind that outlets are not the only electrical items that need attention to protect your family. Extension cords, power strips, and even plugs themselves should all be addressed as part of this safety practice. Simple fixes like taping down cords, installing a power strip cover, and keeping most electrical items plugged in out of reach of children and pets can go a long way in keeping everyone safe.

4. Avoid Overloading Outlets

One of the most common and most dangerous mistakes homeowners make when it comes to electricity is overloading. Although the average outlet is designed to manage 15 to 20 amps of power, many people find themselves plugging multiple high-power items into the same outlet without ever considering its maximum capacity.

In fact, the invention of surge protectors and extension cords has made it easier than ever for homeowners to dismiss outlet best practices and overload their outlets simply out of convenience. While commonplace, this action itself is considered the most frequent cause of electrical fires.

Pro Tip: Never plug one extension cord or surge protector into another—this is VERY dangerous.

It’s especially vital to avoid plugging high-voltage items into the same outlet. Do an audit of your home to figure out which items are plugged into each outlet, then conduct some research to determine if the combined power level of those items exceeds the outlet’s limit. If so, you should rearrange some of your items, or at the very least unplug items from that outlet when they are not in use to prevent too much power in one place.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Call In Reinforcements

Homeowners often choose to tackle home improvement projects on their own, but when it comes to electrical work it’s always safest to call in a professional. Electricians are extensively trained on the correct practices for dealing with the intricacies of electrical work, and can provide vital training on any specific factors in your home that might make your electrical situation unique.

“It is imperative to remember that…if you are not familiar or comfortable with electrical systems, have a qualified electrician assist you in any inspections, maintenance, or electrical repair needs.”

Cory Eickholt, Loss Control Manager for Central Insurance.

Electrical Safety & Your Homeowner Insurance Policy

According to the National Fire Protection Association, $1.4 billion per year in direct property damage is caused by electrical problems. Recovery from such a disaster, while daunting, is much more manageable for those who are covered by a reputable homeowner’s insurance policy. 

In case of an accidental fire, your insurance carrier can provide the financing and support you need to help cover damages and get your property back in working order. Keep in mind that the high correlation between poor electrical systems and fire damage has led insurance carriers to weigh the age and quality of a home’s wiring when determining if it can be covered. Older homes with outdated systems such as knob and tube wiring, for example, may have a more difficult time finding coverage in the standard market due to the increased risk for electrical fires.

Learn More: How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?

Stay Safe with Central

At Central, we know your homeowner’s insurance policy is the safety net you never want to have to use. Follow these electrical safety tips to keep your home and your family safe from electrical damage and, if the unexpected does happen, be sure to get in touch with your agent right away. We’re always ready to help. 

Post Originally Published in September, 2018 and has since been updated for clarity.

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Creating Outdoor Living Spaces | Blog

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Creating Outdoor Living SpacesWith summer, comes a welcome invitation for people in Florida to spend as much time as possible outside. Not only does nature replenish Vitamin D and support immunity; reduce anxiety and depression; lower blood pressure and reduce stress; increase serotonin and reinforce circadian cycles for better sleep; and improve focus, but it may also help reduce cancer risk by increasing anti-cancer proteins. “Being outdoors in nature can be healing and beneficial for the body and mind,” says certified therapeutic recreational specialist Erica Price. “Whether at the beach, forest, or in a neighborhood park, nature offers a calming effect. And, when we combine nature with physical activity, it can help fight depression and anxiety.”

Even those that aren’t outdoor enthusiasts can benefit from all that sunshine and verdant venues have to offer by simply taking daily activities and relaxation outside. Well-designed outdoor living spaces can offer a great option for meals, reading, fitness, movies, and so much more. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your time and space.

Plan for Privacy

No one wants nosy neighbors. Be creative when considering the best location for your outdoor escape, remember shrubs, garden walls, pergolas, gazebos, canopies, privacy fences, and trees can all help to define and structure intimate spaces, often offering shade in the process.

Choose Furniture Wisely

Keep furnishings simple and focus on styles that extend your home’s design ethos to create continuity. Additionally, consider the impacts of moisture, sun, and bugs when selecting textiles and materials. For tight budgets and smaller spaces with minimal storage, it might make sense to think about options that can be repurposed to indoor spaces when the weather turns, particularly cozy accents like pillows and blankets.

Light it Up

Who doesn’t love a twinkling light? The options are endless for outdoor lighting – from string lights and pathway stakes to tiki torches – and many of them include solar capabilities. When placing and planning lighting, think about areas that need to be lit for safety and functionality, as well as ambient touches for mood and relaxation. Keep in mind that fire pits and the like can be used for light, warmth, and cooking.

Bring the Inside Out

Plan for outdoor dining, movies, recreation, and more. Make your outdoor spaces work for you and your family. A simple outdoor projector can make for a fun new spin on family movie night. A dedicated dining space makes for easy impromptu picnics. If space and budget allow, an outdoor kitchen with a complete with sink, refrigeration, counter space, and grill can be a great option. Pass-through window designs from your home’s kitchen to the patio make prep and clean-up particularly convenient. If an outdoor kitchen isn’t an option, think about ways to repurpose spaces depending on activity, thereby minimizing footprint and maximizing functionality.

For any home insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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The Naughty List: Three Holiday Scams to Watch Out for this Season

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The most wonderful time of the year is officially upon us, but along with the hustle, bustle and holiday shopping comes a whole new wave of seasonal scams. From pilfering personal information to package theft, there’s no shortage of fraudsters having their names added to the naughty list this time of year. Learn what to watch out for so you can keep the holidays merry and bright.

Fake Charity Scams

Scammers know that hearts and wallets open during the holiday season, which impels some to ask for charitable donations to fake causes through email, funding sites and social media. Before you click the donate button, do a little research and ensure that your generosity is supporting a legitimate cause. If an email contains grammatical errors or looks suspicious, it probably is. Visit an organization’s website directly to make a donation, rather than clicking the link in an unsolicited email. With over 195,000 registered charities, check Charity Navigator to confirm an organization’s legitimacy prior to making a donation. 

Fake Gift Cards & Giveaways

Be wary if you find that you’ve suddenly won a free holiday gift card or giveaway in a contest you don’t remember entering. Fraudsters use this tactic to lure people into providing personal information, which they then sell to cyber criminals. Never provide information like your name, mailing address, social security number or bank information to any unverified contacts over email or the phone. 

Porch Pirating  

With an increase in online holiday shopping and shipping comes an increase in holiday thievery. In recent years, a favorite trend of criminals is following behind delivery trucks to steal packages off front porches after they are delivered. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reduce your odds of falling prey to porch theft. Installing a security camera or a camera doorbell will not only capture a thief in the act, these devices are often enough to deter criminals from targeting your home entirely. Additionally, motion-activated lights call attention to any activity that may occur after dusk, making the task of porch pirating more inconvenient and risky.

If you work somewhere you can receive packages, consider having shipments delivered to your office so they aren’t sitting on your porch unattended for hours. If this isn’t an option, check out Amazon Locker locations in your area for any Amazon orders. These lockers allow you to stop by and pick up your deliveries at your convenience using an electronic code. 

Interested in learning more about fraud, scams and cybersecurity? Check out Cybersecurity 101, read up on how to protect your business from cyber threats, learn more about how Central is tackling fraud before it happens or check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s “12 Days of Fraud” on Instagram.



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The Uninsurable Risk of Clark Griswold: Part II

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A few years ago, we shared a post titled, The Uninsurable Risk of Clark Griswold. Much like the classic film itself, that post has remained a seasonal favorite amongst our blog readership. Today we’re taking it one step further (with some help from Rich Nouza, Liability Large Loss Consultant) to break down some of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’s most iconic scenes as we explore the liability risks* and insurance implications of hosting the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since…well, you know. 

In the film, Clark’s cousin Eddie rolls into town in an RV he allegedly “borrowed off a buddy.” Throughout the film the “good-looking vehicle” makes a number of appearances, including the infamous sewer scene. 

What’s the liability of loaning someone your RV? 

Presuming coverage is similar to a personal auto, insurance would follow the RV. The person driving would be a permissive user and entitled to coverage under the RV policy. As such, the insured would have liability and coverage as per the policy.

Is there any difference between the liability of having guests inside your RV versus inside a home? 

Yes. In a premises liability situation with a home, the homeowner has certain duties to warn guests of known dangers, etc. Presuming an RV is akin to a personal auto, those duties are not the same as they would be for a homeowner.

In addition to the RV, Eddie brings along his entire family, including their beloved dog, Snots. Later in the film, Aunt Bethany shows up with her mistakenly-wrapped cat, introducing two furry characters into an already chaotic Christmas.

When a guest visits and brings a pet, how does that impact the homeowner’s liability? If that animal should injure someone in the home, who bears the burden of that liability? 

There would arise a legal question as to who is the “harborer or keeper” of the pet. If the guest is present with their pet, then liability stays with the owner. If the pet owner leaves the premises and the pet is in the care, custody or control of the insured, then liability could transfer to the insured. There could also be some additional liability on the homeowner if they knew of any violent propensities of the pet (i.e. prior bites or aggressiveness) and did not warn other guests, even if the pet owner remains present. Med Pay would also be available.

Early in the film, it is revealed that Clark has plans to use his Christmas bonus to install an in-ground pool. Unbeknownst to his family, the plan is to reveal the surprise swimming pool plan on Christmas Eve. 

How does a pool impact liability as a homeowner? 

The same kind of premises liability analysis would be conducted with respect to any claims related to a pool. Pools are oftentimes referred to as an “attractive nuisance,” such that small children wander to them, which is why fencing, alarms, etc. are recommended to safeguard from those potential exposures.

Like any true holiday gathering, food plays a pivotal role through the film. In addition to a Jell-O mould decorated with cat food and several moosehead mugs full of unrefrigerated eggnog, one of the most iconic scenes is Christmas dinner gone awry during which the extremely overcooked turkey unfurls in front of a table full of hungry dinner guests. 

Can a host be held liable if they accidentally give their guests food poisoning? 

The answer is likely “maybe” depending on the situation and whether the food poisoning would meet the definition of an “occurrence.” We would have to run the negligence test of duties owed, duties breached, cause and damage to determine liability.

After a disappointing Christmas bonus arrives in the form of a subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club, Clark goes on an iconic tirade about his boss. A well-intentioned (albeit highly misguided) Cousin Eddie takes it upon himself to kidnap Clark’s boss, bringing him back to the Griswold house so Clark can give him a piece of his mind. Shortly thereafter, the family is surprised by a SWAT team bursting through all their doors and windows. 

If SWAT raids your house (smashing windows, doors, etc.), are those damages covered?

The type of damage is likely not covered, as most homeowner policies contain an exclusion for damages caused by governmental action. The government has sovereign immunity, and would not pay for those damages. An exception to this exclusion is with respect to fire department damage caused during the course of fighting a fire.

It might be easy to assume these kinds of wild scenarios are limited to the theatrics of Hollywood, but we’ve been known to hear a memorable story or two passing through the halls of Central. Here are a couple from our Claims Department: 

“I had a claim for a policyholder who walked into a neighbor’s home with a handful of bottle rockets on New Year’s Eve. Somehow, he accidentally lit them causing approximately $50,000 in damages to the home’s interior and contents.”

-Tommy Brack, SERO Regional Claims Manager

“[Not unlike Clark Griswold] a plaintiff fell through the attic, then sued the homebuilder. Unfortunately, the plaintiff sustained some serious injuries, but we prevailed on summary judgment.”

-Jeremy McMichen, Southeast Regional Office Liability Claim Supervisor

However you celebrate the season, we hope your holidays are safe, healthy and happy. 

*The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

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Manage Personal Automobile Insurance Costs

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2022-05-11

Manage Personal Automobile Insurance CostsAs prices for gas, consumer products and services rise often insurance costs follow the same trend. Insurance premiums for car insurance can vary based on multiple factors. Here are 8 tips to think about when trying to lower your car insurance premium.

  1. Remove physical damage coverage for older vehicles.
  2. Take the highest deductibles you think you can afford. Two way benefits: immediate credit for higher deductible and less likely increases due to claim frequency.
  3. Check insurance costs before buying new vehicles. Insurance costs for sport and high performance vehicles can be dramatically higher. Especially if drivers have limited experience or a spotty driving record.
  4. Bundle your insurance policies. You may be able to get a discount for having multiple policies with the same insurance company.
  5. Drive safely, stay off of your phone, avoid accidents and poor driving convictions. Driving record is sure to have a big impact.
  6. Take advantage of credits. Credits abound and vary by company, both in terms of availability and amount. Two common credits were mentioned earlier: higher deductibles and multiple policy. Some others include, safe driver, good student, safety devices (anti-lock brakes, air bags), anti-theft devices, day time running lights are a few.
  7. Low mileage discounts. Some companies will offer discounts for vehicles that are not driven often.
  8. Your needs change and sometimes it is time to switch insurance companies. That’s why we are here. We do our best to keep up with your insurance needs but, if you ever feel it is time for a change, let us know. As an independent agent we represent many insurance companies and will save you time and bother in reviewing options for you.

For any car insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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Start the New Year with a Personal Policy Checkup

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With the turning of the calendar, it’s time to start taking inventory on everything from personal habits to household budgets to — you guessed it — insurance coverage. As you start tackling your list in the new year, remember to review and update your insurance policy — especially if you received valuable gifts during the holiday season. 

What is and isn’t covered? 

Many people are surprised to discover that unendorsed homeowner policies have limits on coverage* for theft of certain types of personal items including jewelry, watches, furs and firearms. A common limit for theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones on a homeowners policy is $1,500. Your policy deductible does apply to this type of loss. If you misplace any of these items (as opposed to a loss by theft), you may not be covered at all under your normal insurance coverage. Coverage for items like coins and stamps can be limited to a special limit of coverage no matter what the cause of damage is.

What additional coverage options are available? 

Scheduled personal articles endorsements are additional coverages that insure a particular item on your policy at a specific amount. Not only does a personal articles schedule provide broader coverage and increase the limit of coverage for valuable item loss, in most cases it does not include a deductible. 

If you experience a loss, additional coverage for certain property items can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. The more accurate and updated your policy and coverages are, the easier it is for your claims to be handled quickly and efficiently.

Next steps: 

  • Take inventory of your belongings. Make a list of valuable items that you own. Remove any items you longer own from any existing scheduled property endorsements. 
  • Have your valuables appraised. Obtaining appraisals on items like jewelry, furs, watches and firearms is the best way to determine the current value of those goods. Getting valuables appraised periodically also helps keep them properly insured as the market and inflation ebb and flow.
  • Take photos and/or record videos of your valuables and receipts. These images can be helpful in the event of loss tied to a catastrophe like a tornado or a house fire. Save images to the cloud so that they are safely stored and accessible. 
  • Meet with your agent to review which types of additional coverage are right for you. Your independent agent may request an appraisal for some items to ensure that there is no discrepancy in the value or replacement cost of the property.
  • Consider including coverage for items such as electronics, musical instruments and artwork. Cell phones, laptops, cameras and many other types of property can also be insured on a personal articles coverage endorsement.

Looking for more? Check out:

*The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

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Ring in 2022 With a Policy Checkup for your Business

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The arrival of January finds many small business owners coming off the busiest season of their year. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to overlook important changes that may have occurred with your business that need to be accounted for on your insurance policy. Prioritizing your annual policy renewal is a great opportunity to consult with your independent agent and review any changes to your business to ensure you are properly protected for the year ahead. 

Here are a few things to take into consideration as you prepare for your annual policy checkup: 

New Exposures

As your business grows and thrives, you will likely have new exposures to review and consider covering. These may include: 

  • New locations 
  • New buildings or facilities added to current or new locations 
  • New vehicles or drivers
  • New equipment that needs to be covered 
  • New products being manufactured/sold. This is critical because it could change the rating basis for your general liability.

Exposure Changes

In addition to new exposures, you’ll want to review anything on your existing policy, as well as changes to your overall business that could impact your coverage needs. These may include: 

  • Vehicles sold
  • Equipment sold
  • Locations sold
  • Reduction in inventory
  • Reduction in sales
  • Given the current high levels of inflation, your building and/or personal property limits may need to be increased.

New Coverages

As your operation grows, you should consider purchasing additional coverages to protect your business. These may cover things like: 

  • Equipment Breakdown (especially important if you are a manufacturing/processing operation)
  • Crime, including money & securities, employee theft (including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), forgery and/or computer fraud
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Cyber Coverage
  • Blanket Personal Property (if you now have multiple locations)
  • Building Ordinance or Law
  • Business Income From Dependent Properties
  • Off-Premises Power Failure
  • Hired Auto Physical Damage

Drop or Reduce Coverages

There are other situations in which it may make financial sense to reduce your coverage or opt to self-insure certain exposures. A few examples: 

  • Dropping comprehensive and collision on vehicles over 10 years old.
  • Reducing the value of scheduled contractors’ equipment that is covered on an actual cash value basis.
  • If you own an older building and would not replace it with as large of a building in the event of a total loss, you may consider insuring it on a Functional Replacement Cost basis.
  • Higher deductibles on your property and auto. 
  • Adding a property damage deductible to your General Liability.
  • If you’re comfortable with your financial reserves and loss control measures, you might consider self-insuring some of your exposures.

This checklist provides a solid start when considering your insurance exposures, but the best way to determine your business’ unique needs is to review your coverage with your agent.

From all of us at Central, we wish you a productive and profitable year!

Want to learn more?

  • Does Every Business Need the Same Commercial Coverage?
  • Insuring Your Retail Business
  • *The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

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    The Impact of Inflation on Commercial Property Insurance

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    From supply chain shortages to COVID-related shutdowns to worker shortages, 2021 brought the highest U.S. inflation rates of the past 40 years. Inflation is affecting everything from the price of that (former) “dollar pizza” to the value of used cars to raw building materials, making these trends particularly relevant to commercial insureds with building and business income coverages. 

    The Impact

    Commercial buildings are generally insured on a replacement cost basis which is the cost to replace the building with materials of similar kind and quality with no deduction for depreciation. The annual change in material costs between January 2021 and January 2022 is startling*: 

    • Lumber +15.6%
    • Plywood +47.0%
    • Commercial Steel +21.5%
    • Commercial Concrete +14.2%
    • Structural Steel +34.2%

    One of the primary purposes of commercial insurance is to shift the exposure of financial loss to the insurance company, freeing up other funds for investment back into your business. While you can’t control inflation, you can take charge of your financial protection by analyzing your current building limit and ensuring that the limit is adequate to replace the building in the unfortunate event of a total loss. 

    Being underinsured could result in a significant unanticipated capital outlay. Some commercial insurance policies also include coinsurance clauses requiring the building limit to be a minimum percentage (typically 80, 90 or 100%) of the full replacement cost value. If current inflation rates aren’t taken into account, the coinsurance penalty could also result in unanticipated capital outlay.**

    How to Better Protect Your Commercial Property
    Your independent insurance agent and insurance company will have valuation resources available to confirm the replacement cost of your building. Since property rates are applied to the building values per 100, you’re likely to see premium increases in 2022. A few mitigation actions to potentially offset these increases include higher deductibles, installing fire protection (i.e. sprinkler system, central station fire alarms) for possible rate credits, and self-insuring smaller structures. Meeting with your insurance agent is also a good opportunity to make sure that you are adequately covered for any building code ordinance or law requirements. 

    Business Income coverage should also be reviewed in light of the current inflation rates. This important coverage keeps income flowing, retains key employees and retains customers. Inflation can affect sales, wages and the restoration time to repair your property. Additionally, there may be a coinsurance clause applicable. Your independent agent can help you evaluate these important exposures in order to set an adequate business income limit.*** 

    A commercial property insurance policy helps you manage the many exposures to financial loss. Don’t let inflation minimize this protection. Be proactive and schedule a consultation with your agent to review your coverage and ensure that you’re adequately protected. 


    About the Author
    John Carroll is a Commercial Staff Underwriter in Central’s Southeast Regional Office. His responsibilities include commercial property underwriting and training. He has over 30 years of experience as a commercial lines underwriter and over 20 of them with Central. John is a graduate of Georgia State University and has earned his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.


    *Per CoreLogic 1st Quarter 2022 U.S. National Building Cost Trends letter

    **Central Insurance waives building coinsurance on most of our commercial property policies. 

    **Central Insurance waives coinsurance on Business Income on most of our commercial property policies. 

    The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

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    Meet Central’s Job Rotational Program

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    At Central, we believe that one of the best investments we can make is actively developing our employees. The insurance industry is constantly evolving, and true success is based on not only meeting the needs of today, but tomorrow as well.

    As a part of our commitment to excellence, we strive to foster a culture of possibility and opportunity by providing a path to growth for our people. Established in 2021, Central’s Job Rotational Program gives participants a chance to experience placements in different departments, roles and areas of interest. The program is designed to support employee development while also fostering cross-department relationships, mentorship and collaboration. 

    A typical JPR placement is approximately 18 months, and includes rotations through four different roles and departments. At the end of the JRP experience, rotational members can apply to their area of interest for a role.  There are currently seven Central employees participating in the JRP. 

    We recently sat down with two of our current JRP participants, LaToya Scott, Human Resources Specialist, and Cason White, Claims Transformation Specialist, to learn more about their experience in the program.

    Why do you think the JRP is important to Central?  

    LS: The JRP gives employees an opportunity to dabble in different jobs, but ultimately it helps ensure that the right talent is in the right place within the company.

    What drew you to the JRP?

    CW: I wanted to make myself a more well-rounded employee by increasing my knowledge of the business side of Central.

    LS: I spent 16 years in a “claims bubble,” consumed with claims and settlements. I didn’t have time to look ahead and think about what I really wanted in my future at Central. Participating in the JRP has helped me see a career path here that goes beyond a function or role.

    How does your participation in the JRP tie into Central’s core values?

    CW: Moving between departments is an opportunity to build deeper relationships with different teams and leaders. Learning about other areas of the company, tackling new projects and solving business needs for the company contributes to our spirit of excellence.

    LS: In working closely with new and different people, I have built so many relationships and continue to learn new things every day.  

    How does the JRP contribute to Central’s culture?

    CW: Our culture starts at the top and perpetuates a learning atmosphere. We’re not afraid to try new things here, and that sends a message that it’s ok to try—even if you fail—because you might also succeed.


    As we head into 2022, we’re also excited to announce the newest members of our JRP: Joanne Myers, Nichole Cox, Yixuan Du and James Garrett. Get to know them below:

    Joanne Myers will be joining the Claims Transformation team as a Claims Workload Specialist. Joanne has been with Central for two-and-a-half years. She graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Joanne enjoys spending time with her family and friends and going to the lake in the summer.

    Nichole Cox will be joining the Underwriting team as an Underwriting Analyst. Nichole will be graduating from Bowling Green State University this spring with her BSBA in Finance, Insurance Risk Management, and Sales & Service Marketing. Nichole enjoys golfing, being outdoors, and spending time with her pets.

    Yixuan Du will be joining the Claims Transformation team as a Claims Compliance Analyst. Yixuan has her Bachelor of Law from China University and her Master of Law from the University of Connecticut. Yixuan enjoys traveling and cooking in her free time.

    James Garrett will be joining the Enterprise Intelligence team as an Enterprise Data Analyst. James will be graduating from Ohio Northern University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Finance with a minor in Marketing. In his spare time, James enjoys watching and participating in multiple sports, especially golf.

    Want to learn more about what it’s like to work at Central? Check out our Careers page to learn more.

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