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05 Dec

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Food for Thought When Making Year-End Charitable Contributions

December 5, 2013 | By |

The following article was originally appeared in Wilber & Townshend P.C.’s November 2013 Newsletter.  It is being reprinted here with their permission.  To view the original article, other Wilber & Townshend newsletters, or inquire about their services, please click here. 

Before slicing into their Thanksgiving turkeys, most Americans pause to give thanks for their good fortune. And, in the spirit of the holidays, many give to those in need. The average charity receives about 40 percent of its annual contributions between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to Charity Navigator, a not-for-profit watchdog organization.

Who’s Giving (and How Much) in 2013?

More than half of individuals (57 percent) plan to donate to charity during the 2013 holiday season, according to a survey by Ask Your Target Market. A closer look found that:

  • 46 percent will make a direct monetary contribution,
  • 64 percent will give to a third party (such as a retailer who collects donations at checkout),
  • 24 percent will give gifts (through such programs as giving trees or adopt-a-family),
  • 63 percent will donate home goods or nonperishable food items, and
  • 22 percent plan to volunteer their time.

Charity Navigator estimates that individuals will donate at least $100 billion to charities during the 2013 holiday season, a level that’s on par with the last few years.

Another charitable gift giving trend worth noting is Giving Tuesday, which will take place on December 3, 2013. Unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which focus on shopping, Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated to making year-end charitable contributions.

Charitable Deductions: IRS Gift to Taxpayers

One of the biggest reasons people decide to open their pocketbooks at year-end — beyond the altruistic spirit of the holidays — is that charitable gifts are tax deductible if you itemize on your tax return. You may generally deduct up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income — without regard to net operating loss carrybacks — but 20 percent and 30 percent limitations apply in some cases.

If you want a contribution to reduce your 2013 tax bill, you need to act before you ring in the New Year, however. A donation paid by credit card is deductible in 2013 as long as it posts on your statement before Jan. 1, 2104 — even if you don’t actually pay the bill until later in 2014. Payments by check can be deducted in 2013 as long as they’re postmarked by December 31, 2013.

Securing Your Deduction

If you’re audited by the IRS, the tax agency will probably scrutinize your charitable deductions. So, always keep copies of all supporting documents. For example, cash contributions require a bank record or written communication from the charity that details the name of the charity, as well as the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include:

  • Canceled checks,
  • Bank or credit union statements, and
  • Credit card statements.

If you donate cash or property worth $250 or more, ask the charity for a contemporaneous written acknowledgement (in other words, a receipt) that describes the nature of the donation and a good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services.

The value of cash gifts is easily determined, but the value of other goods and services is less clear. All clothing and household items (such as furniture, electronics, appliances and linens) must typically be in “good used” condition (or better). If not and you deduct more than $500 for the item, you must include a “qualified appraisal” with the return.

Deductions of non-cash items worth more than $500 require you to attach a completed IRS Form 8283 with your return. Non-cash property worth more than $5,000 requires you to obtain a qualified appraisal. If an item’s worth more than $500,000, attach a copy of the qualified appraisal to your tax return. Special rules apply for donations of vehicles, boats and planes.

You also can deduct only the fair market value of a donation to the extent that it exceeds the benefits you receive with the donation (for example, if a contribution entitles you to admission to a charity ball or a sporting event).

Additional Due Diligence

Before writing a check or donating new or used items, visit the IRS website to confirm that the recipient is a “qualified” exempt organization. If not, your contribution isn’t tax deductible. Contributions made to foreign organizations — except donations made to certain Canadian not-for-profits — are generally not tax deductible either.

To protect your donations from bogus charities — such as the disaster relief frauds discussed in the above sidebar — also research these three attributes about your preferred charity:

Accountability and transparency. The charity should make it easy for you to research its good deeds and spending habits. Be skeptical of charities that don’t openly share information — including financial records — with stakeholders.

Fiscal health. Charities that know how to effectively solicit donations (think, cash inflows) and are efficiently run (think, cash outflows) have money left over to pursue their goals and reach more of those in need.

Results. Charities have good intentions, but the proof is in the results, not the mission. Talk to volunteers. Visit the organization’s website. See how many activities they’ve organized and people they’ve served over the last year. Testimonials speak volumes about the difference a charity is really making.

Value-Added Gift Giving

Giving to those less fortunate isn’t just emotionally rewarding, it also offers tax benefits, as long as you play by the IRS rules. Consult your tax adviser regarding any questions you have about your year-end charitable gifts.  

15 Mar

By

Certificates of Insurance

March 15, 2012 | By |

The following article was written by Bill Wilson, CPCU, ARM, AIM, AAM and is condensed from a larger white paper called “Certificates of Insurance: Issues and Answers”.

 

A certificate of insurance is an informational document issued by, or on behalf of, an insurance company. The certificate indicates that an insurance policy exists of a certain type and limits. Certificates are simply snapshots of basic policy coverages and limits at the time of issuance of the certificate. Certificates are not intended to modify coverages or change the terms of the insurance contract and they convey no contractual rights to the certificate holder.

 

Transportation industry contracts often include certain liability or motor truck cargo insurance requirements that must be evidenced by a certificate of insurance. If the certificate holder desires status as an additional insured under a policy, this can only be done by an endorsement to the policy, if at all. A certificate alone will not change the policy.

 

Problems often arise when a contract makes demands that are, for all practical purposes, virtually impossible to meet. Examples include requests for insurance for losses or damages that are uninsurable, requests that agents do not have authority to execute or cannot legally comply with, requests that require inappropriate certificate wording, and requests that are impractical from a market standpoint.

As a result, insurance agents are sometimes asked to provide a certificate of insurance that cannot comply with the contract you may have already signed. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how such problems can arise and what solutions are available, if any, to address the most common problems. As the Rolling Stones put it, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.”

 

Sometimes contracts will attempt to transfer risks and liabilities that are largely uninsurable. For example, the contract may require you to be responsible for “ANY negligent acts, errors, or omissions” or “any and all liabilities” that result in “ANY claim, cost, expense, liability, penalty, or fine.”

 

Commercial general and auto liability policies typically cover bodily injury, property damage, and perhaps personal and advertising injury liability that arise from “occurrences” or accidents. They typically do not cover “errors and omissions” or fines and penalties. In addition, the word “any” implies there are no exclusions when, in fact, these policies have many exclusions ranging from pollution liability to faulty work.

 

It is advisable to have an attorney review contracts on your behalf. In addition, prior to signing any contract, have your insurance representative review the insurance specifications, preferably in conjunction with your attorney. He or she can advise what requirements may be impossible or difficult to insure. It is important to know the costs before bidding on the contract and it’s possible that truly onerous insurance requirements can be deleted from the contract.

 

Often contracts will require your Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance to be “primary and noncontributory.” The “ISO standard” CGL policy does say that it is primary with regard to the certificate holder’s general liability policy IF the certificate holder is an additional insured on your policy. So, the first order of business is to make sure that the appropriate additional insured endorsement is attached to your CGL policy.

 

However, the undefined term “noncontributory” is meaningless in isolation. The term may just be used to reemphasize that your insurance is primary and the additional insured’s is excess, or the intended meaning may be that a waiver of subrogation endorsement is desired. However, it may mean that the certificate holder’s CGL policy will not contribute in any way to a loss even if that policy otherwise covers it. This could mean that you will have to pay out of your own pocket any claim that exceeds the limit of your CGL policy without contribution from the certificate holder’s CGL policy.

 

It is in your best interest to attempt to clarify and, if necessary, strike the “noncontributory” wording from the contract. If that’s impossible, consider increasing your own policy limits or be prepared to assume a potentially large uninsured loss. Keep in mind that, with regard to auto and truckers insurance, primary vs. excess provisions may be governed by state or federal law.

 

Certain contracts require that the certificate holder be given additional insured status under a specific endorsement number and edition date. It is not uncommon for a contract to request an “ISO standard” policy form that is over 20 years old. Since later editions may have superseded earlier editions, it could be impossible to provide a form that is 20+ years old and has been withdrawn by insurance department filing.

 

Your insurance agent can often provide a later edition form with comparable coverage. In some cases, two endorsements might be necessary to replace a single older form, one providing ongoing operations coverage, for example during unloading, and the other completed operations coverage after unloading is finished.

 

If your insurance representative is an independent agent, he or she will represent more than one insurance company, making it more likely that your insurance can be offered to another insurer who is better able to meet your needs.

 

Also, contracts frequently mandate that coverage be extended to the additional insured’s sole negligence. In some states, sole negligence cannot legally be transferred to another party. Increasingly, even where insurance transfer is permitted, insurers are using additional insured endorsements that prohibit assuming the additional insured’s sole negligence. The current “ISO standard” endorsements do just that.

 

If you are in a state that has anti-indemnity statutes or case law, then this should not be an issue. Otherwise, you will want your insurance agent to determine if the insurer is still willing to assume sole negligence under an additional insured endorsement. If not, the contract will need to be modified or compliance will be impossible.

 

Contracts often specify that the certificate of insurance provide for a notice of cancellation to the certificate holder. The problem is that all “ISO standard” additional insured endorsements make no provision for cancellation notice to an additional insured, much less someone who is only a certificate holder. Perhaps acknowledging this, some contracts settle for the more hopeful “endeavor to” provide notice of cancellation provision.

 

Keep in mind that, unless the additional insured endorsement provides for cancellation notice, the insurer is usually under no contractual obligation to provide such notice. Even if an attempt is voluntarily made, mistakes happen. In some cases, due to regulatory decree by the state department of insurance (New York is an example), a certificate of insurance cannot make a promise of notification unless notice of cancellation is provided for in the policy or endorsement.

 

Some organizations and government entities use their own certificates of insurance in lieu of the more standardized “ACORD” certificate of insurance forms. These may create problems for insurance agents because some states have laws or regulations prohibiting the use of such forms unless approved by the state department of insurance.

 

These forms may include wording implying coverages or rights that don’t actually exist under the policies being provided, again violating the law in many states, and may lack disclaimers designed to protect you and the issuer. These certificates may sometimes be almost exact duplicates of the “ACORD standard” form(s), creating copyright violation possibilities.

 

Be very wary of these non-ACORD certificates of insurance. Rely on your independent Trusted Choice® insurance agent for guidance on how to handle these forms. In many cases, they can be issued, but require referral to the insurance company which can cause delays. Again, it is important to involve your insurance representative in the process as soon as possible.

 

The transportation contract may specify that certain coverages be provided or that certain exclusions be removed. Many insurers are unwilling to remove certain exclusions and the cost to purchase the coverage separately may be prohibitive.

 

Be sure to give your insurance representative ample time to search for insurers willing and able to provide the coverages required by your construction contracts. If coverages are available, the premium costs need to be included in your contract bid. If coverages are not available, you may be able to negotiate such requirements from the contract or pursue another source of coverage.

 

It is not uncommon for your insurance representative to be unable to meet every requirement of the contract you’re being asked to sign, from the standpoint of coverages, policy rights, or completion of a certificate of insurance. The other party to the contract may then inform you that they can provide a list of agents who claim they can comply with the contractual requirements in full.

 

While it’s possible that the person requesting the certificate is aware of agents who are better able to comply with their requests, be cognizant that fraud and misrepresentation with regard to certificates is not unheard of. If you are requiring certificates from subcontractors, be aware that bogus certificates do exist.

 

While it is rare, there are unfortunately some insurance agents who will issue certificates that do not accurately reflect coverages and policy terms just to allow a contractor to get a job and for them to keep their business. Since certificates are rarely legally enforceable against insurers or agents, you may be incurring significant liability if a certificate is issued that does not accurately reflect contract terms. It is important to do business with insurance professionals you trust implicitly and that you verify the accuracy of the certificate.

 

15 Aug

By

Employee Vs. Independent Contractor

August 15, 2011 | By |

The issue of whether an individual may be classified as an independent contractor or employee is becoming increasingly confusing.  In fact, in the last year Congressional hearings have been held in an effort to address the issue of misclassification of employees as independent contractors.  Some States are pressuring employers to justify their classifications, as legislators are concerned that complaints are indicating that some employers are identifying their employees as independent contracts in an effort to avoid their obligations to employees (such as unemployment, Social Security and Medicare taxes, overtime and minimum wage, Workers’ Compensation and so forth.) 

The financial risks a company faces when misclassifying employees as independent contractors, include charges for liabilities, penalties and fees and leaving yourself open to lawsuits related to the denial of Workers’ Compensation, Family Medical Leave Act, ERISA and other benefits, discrimination for failure to accommodate for a disability, and failing to include the individual in your employee count which resulted in your company appearing not to be required to comply with Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, WARN Act, Affirmative Action and other State and Federal employment laws, failure to retain proper tax forms for employees and confusion as to who owns the rights to the work completed. 

Determining whether an individual should be classified as an employee or independent contractor can be difficult, but there are some “tests” and tools that you can reference to help ease the process.  Contrary to popular belief, companies cannot just “declare” an individual as an independent contractor.  Instead, they must meet certain legal tests.  There are several tests that can be used to determine if an individual qualifies as an independent contractor or employee for the purposes of state or federal laws.  Five of the most common tests are: IRS Factor Control (i.e. “20 Factor Test”), Economic Reality, Relative Nature of Work, ABC, and Common Law. 

Which test is used depends upon the particular statutes or government agencies involved, as well as the subject matter at hand.  The result may be that a worker is an “employee” under one statute, but may be considered an independent contractor under another.  As you might expect, the tests are not clear-cut and are open to interpretation.  However, the tests do have some significant similarities, with the main questions being: Does the company control how the work will be performed (in which case you’ve likely got an employee) or does the company simply oversee the result (which would be more favorable to a finding of an independent contractor relationship)?  To learn more about which test is generally applied for a specific area or statute, visit the Data Sheets link on our website at www.NavigatorTruckInsurance.com.  Please note that the tests are only guidelines and are not applicable in every situation. 

An additional tool you can use to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee for tax purposes is IRS Form SS-8, which can be submitted to the IRS in order to gain their direction.  For a copy of the SS-8 form visit http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf. 

Please remember that the information discussed here is not intended to provide specific answers to your situation.  Rather, it is a reference point from which to start to deteremine if the individuals in question qualify as employees or as independent contractors.  It must also be noted that Federl and State laws may vary, so it is important to check on the requirement for your State as well. 

In conclusion, even after you have completed one of the tests noted above and determined that the individual is indeed an independent contractor; an independent auditor may still find that the individual is in fact an employee.  However, by having a completed contract in hand (which includes the name of the individual’s business), compensating the individual for completed projects rather than ongoing work and pre-auditing the individual using the IRS Form SS-8 in addition to referencing the tests outlined above, you may be able to support your claim that the individual is an independent contractor prior to being challenged by the government, an individual, or in a court of law.

Do you have additional questions regarding the classification of workers?  Visit our website at www.NavigatorTruckInsurance.com or call our office at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) to learn more.  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

Until next month,

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President

27 Jun

By

Equipment Values On the Rise – Are Your Values Adequate?

June 27, 2011 | By |

Recently I have noticed a trend in the value of used equipment.  Rather than declining, as in recent years, I have been seeing evidence that values are on the rise.  This can lead to an unfortunate situation in the event of a claim when a client learns that a tractor or trailer that has been totaled must now be replaced and was underinsured.  In the case of a Stated Value policy (where the value of each piece of equipment is stated on the policy) the client will not receive the Actual Cash Value (ACV) instead the policy requires the insured be paid the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the equipment up to the stated amount on the policy, less any applicable deductible.

 

How can you make certain you receive the full value for your equipment?  First, determine your equipment’s Actual Cash Value (ACV.)  To do this you can talk to a dealer or visit websites such as www.truckpaper.com to find like makes and models with similar options and mileage.  Once you have established the ACV, call your insurance agent to find out the value currently listed on your policy.   If you learn that you have over or under valued any of the equipment request your policy be modified to reflect the correct values.  An endorsement will be issued and you will be at ease knowing you are adequately covered.

 

I know some of you are thinking, “How much is this going to cost me?”  I think you’ll be surprised to find that these changes, compared to the economic risk of underinsuring your equipment, are very affordable.  As an example, take a $35,000 tractor that you learn is now worth $40,000.  The estimated change in premium is $150 per year ($0.03 per $1.00 of value.)  The additional $5,000 paid to you by the insurance company at the time of a total loss would be very much worth the additional $12.50 per month. 

 

Were you aware that used equipment values are increasing?  Can you afford to self-insure the undervalued equipment?  Call our office today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) if you have any questions.  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

 

Until next month,

 

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President

15 May

By

The Importance of Excess Liability

May 15, 2011 | By |

Recently we encountered an instance where one of our client’s experienced a very serious “near miss” vehicle accident when an object fell from the truck he was driving and struck a passing motorcyclist.  Fortunately, the motorcyclist escaped serious injury, but circumstances could have easily gone the other way. 

 

This example reinforced for me the reason we recommend all of our clients consider the addition of an excess liability insurance policy (often referred to as an umbrella policy) when reviewing their business insurance needs. 

 

To put into perspective just how costly a catastrophic claim can be, consider these recent settlements:

 

  • $12,300,000 for a rear-end collision
  • $3,900,000 for cargo dropping off a trailer and causing a collision
  • $3,000,000 for a jackknife
  • $6,000,000 for a trailer crossing into another lane
  • $3,700,000 for a run under
  • $4,700,000 for an intersection accident

 

Excess liability policies add additional limits of coverage in $1,000,000 increments to sit above existing primary auto liability limits.  You select the additional limit you feel is appropriate in order to protect your business from a large catastrophic accident.  Premiums are very economical and vary depending on a number of underwriting criteria.  However, in general it is much less expensive than the $1,000,000 limit of your truckers’ primary auto liability policy.  For example, the first $1,000,000 limit of your truckers’ primary auto liability policy is easily over $3,000 per truck.  Premiums for an the first additional $1,000,000 limit of excess liability coverage often average $1,000 per truck, with the premium for each subsequent million dollars of excess liability coverage declining by up to 50%. 

 

Don’t wait until you have a “near miss” of your own.  If excess liability is coverage you are interested in call us today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) and let us help you evaluate the costs and benefits.  All of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.   

 

 

15 Apr

By

How I.S.O. Changes Can Impact Your Coverage

April 15, 2011 | By |

This month I wanted to make you aware of some recent changes in the insurance industry’s standardized policy language that have the potential to significantly impact your coverage, business and assets.

 

In our industry the Insurance Services Offices, Inc. (ISO) provides what is referred to as “standardized insurance policy language.”  The standard language this company supports becomes the “bones” of an insurance policy.  Insurance companies use the ISO form and then add to it their own mix of custom endorsements or ISO available endorsements to create a unique policy that differentiates them from their competition.

 

Historically there have been two insurance forms offered through ISO with respect to primary auto liability for the trucking industry: Truckers’ Coverage and Motor Carrier Coverage.  Recently, ISO announced that it will no longer support the Truckers’ Coverage form.  This has resulted in many trucking insurance companies changing the form they use from Truckers’ to Motor Carrier.

 

It is important that you are aware of this change, as changing from one form to the other includes significant changes in policy language that can potentially impact your coverage.  Most importantly is that the Motor Carrier Coverage form does not look at operating authority to determine who is an insured under the policy and the priority of coverage.  Instead, it looks to the lease agreement between the parties. As a result, if you are an owner operator, you must be certain to have a written lease agreement with the motor carrier under whose authority you are operating and also make certain that the lease agreement does not require you hold the motor carrier harmless.  If the lease agreement requires you hold the motor carrier harmless, or if there is no written lease agreement in place, then you (the owner operator) will be primary for any loss.  A non-trucking use policy will NOT provide the coverage you will need to cover this sort of a claim – only a primary auto policy will cover this sort of exposure. 

 

Do you have questions on how the change from Truckers’ form to Motor Carrier form might impact your business or wish to make certain your lease agreements will not impact coverage in a negative way?  Call our office today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.

 

Until next month,

 

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President 

 

10 Mar

By

DOT to Begin First Step of BASICS Measurements Interventions

March 10, 2011 | By |

With CSA 2010 officially underway we wanted to take a moment to fill you in on what you can expect in the months ahead.

Beginning in March all authorities with one or more BASIC measurement in the ALERT status will receive the first step of intervention.  This will take the form of a warning letter to the motor carrier identifying the category(s) which require improvement.  The warning letter will include instructions on accessing carrier safety data and a point of contact. 

If the motor carrier fails to respond to the warning letter with the written documentation as requested and required, the Department of Transportation may proceed to the second step of the intervention, which may include a full on-site audit, targeted mail audit or, in cases of severely egregious performance, suspension of a motor carrier’s authority.

Please note, since the Department of Transportation suspects that many of the warning letters will be disregarded they are prepared to proceed to the second step in the investigation.  The target for measurable improvement prior to beginning the second step is 30 to 60 days. 

 You may also wish to note, the DOT is also strongly recommending motor carriers following the Pre-Employment Screening Process (PSP) prior to hiring drivers.  While this is not required, it is something DOT officers will look at during audits.  Motor Carriers who are proactive in completing the PSP may be viewed in a more favorable light.

To learn more about the new CSA 2010 regulations, please visit http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/. 

Do you have questions regarding the new CSA 2010 regulations or are you in need of assistance in creating an action plan for the DOT?  Give our office a call today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) and we will do our best to help.  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.

Until next month,

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President

22 Dec

By

Do You Pick-Up or Deliver in the State of New York?

December 22, 2010 | By |

You should be aware that any trucking company who completes any “work” (i.e. picks up or delivers) in the State of New York is required to carry a full, statutory workers’ compensation insurance policy.  Stopping within the state for breaks, DOT inspections, and so forth is not considered “work.”  If you have an existing workers’ compensation policy for the state in which you are domiciled, you can fulfill this requirement by having your existing insurance carrier add the state of New York under section 3A of the policy.  However, those insurance companies not licensed to write insurance in the state of New York will be unable to offer this as a solution.  In this instance, you can meet the insurance requirements by purchasing a separate workers’ compensation policy directly from New York’s State Insurance Fund.

 

Additionally, any company making 30 or more pickups or deliveries in the state of New York during a calendar year is also required to purchase a Disability Benefit policy to cover their drivers.  This policy can also be purchased directly from New York’s State Insurance Fund.

Do you have a need for a workers’ compensation or disability benefits policy that meets New York’s requirements?  Call our office today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) for assistance in putting the required policies in place.  All of us here at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

Until Next Month,

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President

 

17 Nov

By

An Example of the Importance of Claims Reporting

November 17, 2010 | By |

We recently received an article from one of the insurance companies we represent which outlined a real-life example of why it is so important to report claims, no matter how minor, in a timely fashion. 

In the example, the driver had burned his arm in the process of unloading.  The driver decided it was a “minor” injury, since the burn was only the size of a quarter.  Rather than reporting the injury to his employer, he simply covered it with a band-aid and went on with his day.

Fast forward a couple weeks and employer notices the unhealed wound.  He asks the driver what happened and, after hearing the tale, does not report the injury to the company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Another three weeks pass and the driver experiences “bladder pain.”  He heads to the local emergency room to have it looked at.  Ultimately he is admitted to the hospital for an antibiotic resistant staph infection in his blood stream, which spread to his arms, kidneys and heart.  While in the hospital medical staff diagnose the driver as being diabetic, which they list as the major contributing factor to his arm not healing and the catalyst to the infection spreading throughout his body.  Health professionals determine the only way to relieve the extreme swelling of the driver’s arms is to make a large incision in each arm.

Sometime after he originally visited the emergency room the employer reports the original burn injury to their workers’ compensation carrier.  The driver is ultimately hospitalized for more than five weeks from the date he first sought treatment for “bladder pain”. 

Many times our clients fail to realize that their commercial insurance policy includes certain contractual claim reporting “duties” on the part of the insured and that failing to fulfill these contractual obligations can result in claims being denied.  As an example, one workers’ compensation policy claims reporting provision reads, in part, “Your Duties if Injury Occurs…Tell us at once if injury occurs that may be covered by this policy.” 

Fortunately in this case, despite the motor carrier’s failure to comply with their insurance policy’s claims reporting requirements, the insurance company chose not to deny the claim. However, because the claim was reported so late the insurance company was unable to direct the driver to an appropriate specialist who could have offered appropriate and timely treatment and follow-up care.  As a result, the insurance company estimates that this claim (which likely could have been resolved for only a few hundred dollars) will now have associated with it nearly a half-million dollars in medical bills and lost wages.  By far the most upsetting consequence of this claim not having been reported immediately is that the driver is now expected to have permanent damage to both of his arms, which may in turn prevent him from ever returning to work as a truck driver.

It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to report all claims, no matter how minor they may appear at the onset, in a timely fashion.  I would hate to see a client’s claim be denied due to non-compliance with their insurance policy’s claim reporting provision.  Additionally, we can never foresee when it might be a matter of one’s livelihood or even life.  If you have any questions regarding your insurance carriers claims reporting process or contact information, please call our office today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

Until next month,

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President

18 Oct

By

Insuring Auxiliary Power Units

October 18, 2010 | By |

The following article was originally published on our blog in November of 2009.  As we often receive questions regarding how to best insure APUs, I thought it might be helpful to revisit this post:

With increased fuel costs and changes in idling regulations, many truckers have opted to install auxiliary power units or generators (commonly referred to as APUs) in to their tractors.  The intent of APUs is to reduce costs and, in some cases, comply with environmental regulations.  However, as with any acquisition of new equipment, there is a need to make certain it is included for insurance coverage in the event that it is damaged by a covered loss such as collision, fire or theft. 

 

There are two ways to provide physical damage coverage for an APU.  The option you choose will be determined, in part, by answering the following questions:

 

Question #1:

Was the APU installed at the factory and cannot be removed from the tractor?

 

If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you may want to insure the APU on the tractor’s physical damage policy.  To do so you would include the value of the APU in the tractor’s value.  In the event of a covered total loss, you would be paid the value of the tractor (including the APU) less your deductible.  In the event of a covered partial loss, you would receive the amount to restore the tractor (including the APU) back to pre-loss condition, less your deductible.

 

Question #2:

Was the APU installed after the tractor was purchased or can it be removed from the tractor?

 

If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you may wish to insure your APU on an inland marine policy.  An inland marine policy provides physical damage coverage for the APU (as well as any other equipment you chose to schedule on the policy) for those perils outlined in the policy.  Common perils include vehicle accidents, theft, fire and vandalism.  The inland marine policy provides coverage for the APU wherever it is at the time of loss.  A benefit of this type of policy is that if the tractor is considered a total loss by the physical damage policy’s standards, but the APU is not damaged or sustains only minor damage, you can take the APU out and install it into your next tractor.  Also, the deductibles for inland marine policies tend to be lower than those for a physical damage policy. 

 

At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard at being helpful, accessible and result oriented.  Is your APU properly insured?  Give us a call today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) and we will be happy to review your options with you.

 

Until next month,

 

Jeffery A. Moss

President