May, 2012

RLI: Crafters & Artisans Hit the Fairs & Farmers' Markets

The good weather seems to bring out the street shopper in all of us. The popularity of open air markets and community-oriented farmers’ markets is growing across the nation. Shoppers are favoring not only the “Buy Local Movement” but the experience of buying goods directly from the source…and it’s no wonder why. A recent trip to the opening weekend of SOWA was a great family-friendly activity, filled with delicious food, interesting art and the space was packed with vendors of all types.

The popularity of such markets means that artisans, bakers, farmers, and crafters are once again taking their wares to sale, sometimes on a weekly basis. This may be an exposure that the part-time in-home business may not have had before. Additionally, they may not understand the need for liability insurance until the market management requests proof of coverage.

The RLI Home Business product can be an affordable way to help protect your clients who run businesses out of their homes. Artists, crafters and bakers, in particular, are classes of business that fit in this program well. Unlike the more traditional BOP, this program features a low $250 deductible and minimum premiums are typically between $150 - $280. This policy offers your clients all of the features of a standard BOP but at a significantly more affordable price.

To get started with the RLI Home Business Program, contact Linda Hafner, RLI Program Manager at lhafner@massagent.com or 800.742.6363 ext 368. She will be happy to direct you to the applications or discuss a potential risk.

E&O: Are you also a Notary Public?

We recently asked our Swiss Re/Westport Underwriter for some clarification about notary public coverage in the Agents E&O Policy. Her answer was informative and uncovers an exposure that may exist, especially for agents who advertise or perform notary services for noninsurance related activity.

From the underwriter:

The 2011 coverage form (Swiss Re/Westport) covers Wrongful Acts arising out of Other Related Services including “services rendered as a notary public”. Coverage is provided by our policy for notary public services that are required for or in support of insurance transactions.  

Just because the service may be provided for an insurance customer of an agency, this does not mean coverage is provided.  A notary public can provide a variety of services to the public which, while provided to an agency customer, have no involvement with the insurance products/services that the customer purchases from the agency.

For this reason we recommend that a notary public carry a notary bond to cover them in event of loss even if covered under our policy.

Since we do not schedule who is covered by this coverage, blanket coverage is provided to all legally authorized notary publics in an agency.

ACTUAL CLAIM EXAMPLE:  A new potential client of an agency came into the agency to discuss potential insurance coverages and also asked that the notary public notarize a document for them.  After the transaction was done, the party left and emptied his mother’s bank accounts using her signature.  The notary notarized a document that was pre-signed; they did not witness the mother’s signature, and the mother was not present.  We denied coverage and defended under a reservation of rights initially and encouraged the agency to submit a claim under a notary bond that, luckily, had been purchased.  Notary publics can notarize a wide variety of documents, some of which incur substantial exposure to loss depending on the financial documents involved.

As always, our E&O Team is available to answer any questions. You may contact Ellen Stoppel or Michelle St. Angelo via email at estoppel@massagent.com or mstangelo@massagent.com respectively or by phone at (800) 742-6363.

Lawyers Professional Liability: Signs of Hardening Market

Through observation and discussions with our agents we have noticed that carriers are raising premiums in the Lawyers Professional Marketplace. Claim data continues to mount from incidents reported during the recent recession. This is forcing carriers to reassess the pricing structure of “less risky” area of practice like Real Estate and Estate Planning. We have heard recent accounts of insureds who have been faced with significant increases, due to base price increases.

This means that law firms will be shopping their professional liability at a more aggressive and sometimes frantic pace. This is the time to be proactive with your current clients, and provide more choices upfront.

Number One Insurance Agency can help. We are able to offer most firms a premium indication with Swiss Re/Westport by completing this form.  Handy information to have when submitting: the current expiration and retro date, an updated roster of attorneys with individual retro dates, and five year loss runs.

For questions about our Lawyers Professional Liability Program or to discuss a new piece of business, contact Michelle St. Angelo at 800-742-6363.

Did you know it is Hurricane Preparedness Week:  May 27 – June 2, 2012?

Hurricanes are devastating storms that bring high winds, flooding, storm surges, and sometimes tornadoes. They can make land anywhere at anytime. Are your clients prepared?

It's important for your customers to have a safety plan in place and practice it. The Hartford's Loss Control Department has prepared this easy-to-follow hurricane safety checklist for you to share with your clients. It may help them reduce losses.

Remember, that hurricanes bring floods. Number One Insurance Agency offers Write Your Own Flood with the Hartford. Our program offers excellent commissions and superior customer service. Information about utilizing this market is available online. Or contact Agency Manager, Ann Tobin, at 800.742.6363 ext 366.

Help us keep you well informed!

Please update our office when there are changes to your email address (or with your agency staff). Also, please remember to include an email contact when sending any new business submissions. Keeping us informed helps us service you faster.

Looking for something?

Back issues of the Number One Agency Newsletter are now archived on our website.

Personal Umbrella Applications:Effective 7/1/12, we will no longer accept PUP 276 (01/11)

We ask that you and discard any copies of this version as it will be considered obsolete.  Please always be sure to visit massagent.com to get the most recent and acceptable RLI application when you quote or log directly into www.rlicorp.com PUP Access system to generate a quote & application.  

Meet Your Agency Team

Colleen Lahna is an eight year veteran at Number One Insurance Agency and is your one stop shop for all things Workers Comp and Liquor Liability. Previously, Colleen made her mark as the RLI Program Manager, by helping agents place Personal Umbrella and Home Business Insurance.

Active at home and at work, we struggle to keep up with this newly avowed fitness fanatic. Between Zumba, Nia, Yoga and Tai Chi, Colleen's energy is high and she is ready to assist our member agents at a moment's notice. Contact her with questions about our WC or Liquor Liability programs at clahna@massagent.com or by phone at 800.742.6363 ext 361.




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