MAA NEWS MAA NEWS Sept 18_w - Page 11

SPONSORED CONTENT S U P P L I E R S P O T L I G H T Five Factors That Affect Arborist Insurance Considerations for New England Tree Care Companies Going out to bid is a process. And if you’re friendly with your incumbent agent, it can be awkward, too. But getting compla- cent about commercial insurance is always an expensive mistake. If it’s been three or more years since your last review, you may be missing out on premium savings, more comprehensive coverage, and a whole lot more, due to less-than-competitive pricing… or your agent’s limited market access. What’s more, it’s not uncommon for service quality – both from your carrier and your agent – to deteriorate when your continued business is taken for granted. Bottom line? Business experts recommend a full review of your account every three years. A good agent will understand this practice, support you in your effort, and even step aside if another provider can offer better coverage at a better price. The following outlines just a few of the factors you may want to discuss with any agents you are vetting – agents who specialize in the arboriculture and tree service insurance niche. 1 Professional Liability Most landscape professionals and arborists are well aware of their general business insurance needs, securing coverage to protect against property damage or bodily injury. But too many green industry professionals overlook professional liability insur- ance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Professional liability insurance protects your company against mistakes, bad advice, faulty products, and incidents of negligence (actual or alleged). A recent article from Total Landscape Care emphasizes, “E&O insurance is especially important for those in the green industry … Many commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies don’t include E&O coverage; if they do, the amount is not very large. The risk is great for those who do not have E&O insur- ance…” 2 Per Project Aggregate If you look at your current policy declarations, you might see something like this: ● General Aggregate: $2,000,000 ● Prod/Comp Ops Aggregate: $2,000,000 ● Each Occurrence: $1,000,000 ● Personal/Adv Injury: $1,000,000 ● Fire Legal Liability: $100,000 ● Medical Payments: $5,000 A “Per Policy” aggregate means (in the example above) the most your insurer will pay for the total of all claims during your policy term (usually one year) is the first number: $2 million. 11 MAA NEWS / September 2018 A “Per Project” aggregate, instead, means the insurer would pay up to that same $2 million for all individual claims that may occur. The per project aggregate is important for arborists who work on multiple projects simultaneously. In lieu of purchasing separate policies, it is more cost effective to dedicate limits to each project as necessary. Be advised: not all arborist insurance programs offer this option. 3 Safety Policies & Communication Your insurance agent should be selling your business to prospec- tive carriers by presenting you in a thoroughly positive way. Why? Because underwriters are the gatekeepers to the best insur- ance rates and terms. Underwriters look at hundreds of applica- tions every month. If your application looks only so-so (or worse), don’t be surprised if you find yourself with less than ideal pricing. Safety is a key piece of your tree care company’s “narrative” (i.e. your business story). Work together with your insurance part- ners to tell it well. A business narrative is a brief letter your insurance agent can submit to carriers along with your applica- tion. A well-written narrative should help underwriters under- stand your business story better, and might encourage them to offer you more favorable terms and pricing. Now is the time to review basic safety – and beyond – with your agent. What will you do to mitigate loss events? What kinds of programs might you be willing to implement? Be sure to choose an agent who understands arboriculture’s unique risks (fall pro- tection, utility lines, crane & hoist safety, pesticides, herbicides, airborne wood dust, sun & cold stress, etc.). 4 Pesticide & Herbicide Application Tree care professionals often ask if their commercial general lia- bility (CGL) policies cover property damage or bodily injury related to pesticide/herbicide application. Unfortunately, most CGL policies have several workmanship exclusions designed to keep the coverage from serving as a warranty or performance bond. In order to cover this exposure, you should be sure your insur- ance plan includes the endorsem