Law

Potential Exposures for Construction Owners ​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Potential Exposures for Construction OwnersAs always with construction projects, it is important that owners of new developments understand insurance coverage to ensure that there is adequate insurance to address any potential risks during and after the construction of the project. While most owners maintain commercial general liability policies or rely on project-specific policies, these policies may not fully protect the owner against any and all risks that they may face during and after construction. This article addresses two unique areas in which owners should take special note to ensure that they are covered for these particular risks: third party action over claims and products-completed operations coverage.

 

Third Party Action Over Claims

Owner contracts with Roofer to assist in the construction of the roof of a commercial building. During construction, Roofer’s employee falls and injures himself on the project site and collects workers’ compensation benefits under Roofer’s workers’ compensation policy. Typically, Owner would not consider any risks with respect to this injury as Owner required Roofer, in the subcontract, to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. However, despite receiving workers’ compensation benefits, Roofer’s employee files an action against Owner alleging negligence for failing to properly maintain a safe work site.The action filed by Roofer’s employee is considered a third party action over claim. The employee is unable to sue Roofer because workers’ compensation is the employee’s exclusive remedy against his or her employer. Thus, the injured employee brings an action against Owner alleging that Owner’s negligence in failing to maintain the project site contributed to the employee’s injuries.
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Addicts Can Sue Pharmacies and Doctors

According to the recent ruling of West Virginia Supreme Court pharmacies and doctors who negligently prescribed pain medication can be sued for enabling people’s addictions. According to court documents, FBI raided and shut down the Mountain Medical Center in Williamson in 2010 and found evidence of improperly prescribed controlled substances involving 29 people who became addicted while were Center’s patients… Read More »Addicts Can Sue Pharmacies and Doctors

Certificates of Insurance Law

certificate of insurance lawThe Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI) issued a bulletin to provide guidance on the implementation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 175L, concerning the issuance of certificates of insurance.

Chapter 175L was signed into law on Jan. 7, 2015, by then-Gov. Deval Patrick and became effective on April 7, 2015. The DOI stated in its bulletin 2015-02 on May 8 that the purpose of this new law is to regulate and standardize the practice of using certificates of insurance.

Chapter 175L defines a certificate of insurance as “a document or instrument, regardless of how titled or described, that is prepared or issued by an insurer or insurance producer as evidence of property or casualty insurance coverage.” The bulletin notes that the term shall not include a policy of insurance, insurance binder, policy endorsement or automobile insurance identification or information card. Chapter 175L explicitly regulates certificates of insurance for the first time in Massachusetts.

The new law codifies the long-time rule that insurance certificates may not modify the terms or conditions of the underlying insurance policies that they evidence. In this regard, Chapter 175L requires that all certificates of insurance must be both true and accurately reflect the policy they represent, and mandates that no one may knowingly prepare, issue or require the issuance of a certificate of insurance that contains any false or misleading information or that alters, amends or extends the coverage provided by the underlying referenced policy.

The new law applies to all certificates issued in connection with property, operations or risks located in Massachusetts, regardless of where the certificate holder, policyholder, insurer, or insurance agent is located.

The bulletin further stated that a certificate of insurance that violates the requirement of Chapter 175L will be deemed to be null and void. Under the law, the insurance commissioner is authorized to examine and investigate the activities of any person that the commissioner reasonably believes has been or currently is engaged in an act prohibited by Chapter 175L. Additionally, Chapter 175L grants the commissioner the authority to enforce the law by imposing a fine of up to $500 per violation.

Key provisions of Chapter 175L are as follows:

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2014 Affordable Care Act Compliance Checklist

[highlight type=”dark”]This Compliance Checklist is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.[/highlight]

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March 2010 and installs a horde of health coverage reforms with effective dates stretched primarily over a period of four to five years. Many ACA reforms are already in effect for employers and their group health plans, but many of ACA’s key reforms will become effective in 2014.
Key ACA reforms that will affect employers in 2014 include health plan design changes, increased wellness program incentives, and a new transitional reinsurance fee. The employer “pay or play” mandate and accompanying additional reporting requirements previously scheduled for 2014 have been delayed for a 2015 implementation. In preparation for 2014 ACA reforms, employers should review upcoming requirements and ensure they have an action plan in place.

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General Liability in Liquor Cases

Liability in Liquor Cases

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General liability is a must have insurance coverage for business of any size, including commercial operations performed from a residence. However, even the most comprehensive insurance policy has gaps in coverage, for example most of the claims involving the alcohol sale or serving are excluded from coverage. And that my be a threat to your business, unless you request a Liquor Liability Insurance endorsement.
California’s high court has ruled that hosts who charge admission to parties may be held legally responsible if a drunken underage guest is hurt or injures someone else.
On March 4, 2014 the state Supreme Court said in the unanimous ruling that a cover charge amounts to a sale of alcohol, and state law creates liability for those who sell alcohol to clearly intoxicated youngsters.Read More »General Liability in Liquor Cases

Negative Review and Freedom of Speech

Are you buying a fair amount of goods or services online and sometimes wish to leave a negative review? Do you always read the ToS fine print? Have you heard of a so called “disparagement clause”?

If you own a business and are exposed to online reviews think twice before adding disparagement clause to your ToS contract, as such can be found as violating rights of free speech.

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Tips for avoiding slip, trip and fall accidents

Slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of injury for businesses and workplaces. Employees and other parties on your premises – visitors, customers, vendors, contractors and subcontractors – could be at risk for this type of accident or injury.

It is a common misconception that slip and fall injuries “just happen” and that there is little that can be done to prevent them. Years of experience show that proper slip, trip and fall prevention can help in reducing the number of injuries and in reducing loss costs.

Slips-Trips-Falls

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Preventing offline identity fraud

offline identity fraudIdentity fraud does not always begin online. According to Travelers claim data, 44 percent of ID fraud cases happen when a person’s purse or wallet has been lost or stolen. Because thieves can use the information they find inside, here are some ways to help protect yourself and your identity.

Watch your wallet and purse
Many people store personal information in their purses and wallets, making it easier for thieves to commit identity fraud. Help secure your identity by keeping your purse and wallet in a safe place and carrying only essentials when you go out. Leave credit cards you will not be using in a secure place at home. Unless it is absolutely necessary, avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports as they contain key pieces of personal information thieves could use to steal your identity.Read More »Preventing offline identity fraud

Preparing your business for potential holiday hazards

prepare businessMenorahs and Christmas trees light up Main Streets across America during the holidays, but there are risks associated with these decorations. Risk management professionals and insurance agents can help business owners understand how to keep their stores festive yet hazard free during the holidays.

The holidays usually bring several things to a small business – more foot traffic, celebratory decorations and additional staff to help with boosted sales.  However, with added customers and distractions, slips and trips are never far away. So when getting into the holiday spirit, you should make safety a priority.Read More »Preparing your business for potential holiday hazards

Private Choice Ovation – Comprehensive Insurance Protection

Today’s complex economic, regulatory and legal climate leaves little margin for error in running a business. Do you have the necessary comprehensive insurance protection needed to defend against all of the exposures you can face running a business in this environment? Paperless Insurance Services in partnership with A+ rated Hartford Insurance Company is excited to introduce Private Choice OvationSM (Ovation), a new and… Read More »Private Choice Ovation – Comprehensive Insurance Protection