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04-15-2013, 11:23 AM #1
04-16-2013, 09:34 AM #2
Have you tried the forum sponsor frea.com?
I'm looking for e&o myself as well, I'm going to start there, as alot of companies seem to be really high when just starting out.
04-19-2013, 09:24 AM #3
Whatever company you decide on should be "A" rated by A. M. Best and preferably an "admitted" insurer in your state. A non-admitted carrier (surplus lines, "E&S" - excess & surplus, etc.) is not covered by a state insurance guaranty fund and you are on your own if the carrier goes out of business. Check the front of your policy - if it has a surplus lines "stamp" or notice, the insurance is not covered by a guaranty fund except in NJ. E&S policies are often less expensive than admitted policies because (a) they don't pay guaranty fund fees and (b) they can change rates and policy forms at any time with limited or no review by the state insurance department. Also, check with your state's insurance department to determine if any (valid) complaints have been filed against the carrier.
Typically, a new HI company is considered a "start-up" venture and history shows that start-up companies have more (and more expensive) claims than seasoned companies - therefore, you will generally pay more for coverage in your first few years of business. A national or state industry organization (ASHI, etc.) often has a "sponsored" insurance carrier and / or agency and / or broker. Frequently, but not always, this is a good place to start, but, remember that virtually all sponsors pay the association for the privilege - they (and most private companies) have a responsibility first to their own bottom line, then to the sponsoring organization and last to the HI. Nothing wrong with that - it's called Free Enterprise!
Some HI professional liability policies are written on a "loss occurrence" basis - as long as the incident that led to the claim took place during the policy period, it is covered (at least for legal defense) whenever the claim is actually, formally made. A more common (and generally less expensive) option is "claims made," which responds to claims made during the policy period, regardless of when the incident took place. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.
If you chose claims-made coverage and have been in business for a few years, try to get coverage for your "prior acts" - claims for incidents that took place before the policy was written (typically, a CM policy only covers incidents that occurred on or after the policy's effective date, provided the claim is made during the policy period) - this is sometimes called "retroactive" coverage. Obviously, if this is your first policy and is written before your first job, you don't have any "prior acts" to worry about. When you retire (wonderful thought, that), you'll need to purchase "tail coverage" to protect against incidents that occurred during a prior policy period, but resulted in claims after the policy expired.
By contrast, occurrence coverage will protect against incidents that took place after the policy was written, regardless of when the claim was eventually made. It will not protect against "prior acts," but if this is your first policy and you always renew until you retire, that's not an issue.
Be honest with the information you provide to the carrier / agent / broker - deliberately withholding or misrepresenting past claims (or incidents) is the best way to get cancelled mid-term and possibly prosecuted for fraud. Get a minimum of three quotes and read the sample policies careful. E&S policies are not standard - some have more bells and whistles than others; the big print giveth and the small print taketh away - pay attention to the exclusion section. Talk with other HIs in your area or state / national association. There is no reason to exclude a non-admitted carrier from consideration if they provide the most comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price. Just remember the trade-offs you may be making. Cheap is not always best.
Although buying insurance "direct" (for example, over the Internet) is something experienced people do all the time (agents and brokers don't work for free - most charge a commission of 10% to 15%), a knowledgeable agent or broker - one who represents several carriers - can be worth his or her weight in gold. They (should) understand the market, the exposures, the "players, etc." Be aware that an agent "represents" one or more carriers and their first duty is to the carrier. A broker can place insurance with a number of carriers and their first loyalty should be to you, the policyholder. A broker or agent with an "RPLU" designation - Registered Professional Liability Underwriter - has taken a number of insurance industry courses and can be a plus in your "pros & cons" checklist. Finally, make an informed decision - insurance is not important - until you need it!
My apologies, this post kind of grew like topsy - to paraphrase Harry Truman (who?), I could have used a one-handed poster!
04-19-2013, 09:10 PM #4
Re: HelloThe MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er
04-20-2013, 01:01 PM #5
Check with Lockton Affinity. Nothing against FREA but I have been following Joe Ferry, an atty out of Philly who represents HI's against bogus lawsuits. He talks up a pretty good program about how most insurance companies just want to throw the inspector under the bus and settle. Mr Ferry actually goes to bat and gets the claim reduced or tossed. As we all know, most of the lawsuits are bogus and are somebody wanting money from deep pockets. So I say why pay. Lockton has a joint program with the atty. Check it out.
05-02-2013, 01:39 PM #6
This is Isaac Peck, from OREP / Working RE.
I agree with Endicott69, you should always ask if the carrier is Admitted!
If youíre still shopping for insurance, OREP has been serving Home Inspectors for that last 11 years as an insurance broker and publisher of Working RE Magazine. OREP currently offers coverage with an A rated carrier thatís Admitted. No taxes or policy fees. Our program also includes General Liability coverage, as well as most other coverages, such as termite, radon, and commercial, in the minimum premium. Minimum Premium starts at $1,250 for $300,000 Aggregate Coverage.
If youíre looking for a quote, or just some insurance advice, feel free to call us at 888-347-5273.