Can Snow Removal Help Reduce Trip & Fall Claims?

Winter weather brings the possibility of snow and ice, and churches are responsible for snow and ice removal. This is particularly important, as it is your duty to provide safe access to your property. Commercial or business insurance is designed to protect the building owner and/or manager from claims and litigation should a third party fall as a result of ice or snow buildup on your walkway or stairs.

Here are some of the legal issues involved

  1. It is the building owner’s legal duty to exercise ordinary care to keep pathways reasonably safe.
  2. A reasonable person would expect building owners to maintain walkways and stairs.
  3. If snow and ice are present, the normal or prudent person would expect it to be cleared.
  4. The responsible party should take preventative measures to maintain safe premises.

Many towns, cities and states have laws on the books requiring property owners to remove snow from their property. For example, as of 2014, property owners in Massachusetts are legally required to remove snow and ice from any area where visitors, tenants, or the general public might travel frequently.

A court may not expect or require that snow and ice removal be conducted at the same time of the buildup. But a reasonable time frame might be 24 hours. Also, courts might expect that the snow and ice removal be completed, and rock salt be placed in the most dangerous areas within a reasonable time frame.

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Innovative Insurance Solutions For Your Ministry

We live in a changing world, and your  insurance needs to be changing as well. In order to keep your commercial insurance up to date you need to have the ability to change and update your insurance program on a regular basis.  The industry has developed a number of innovative insurance products that your business may just need.

  • Business Interruption Insurance covers the loss of income that a business suffers after a covered loss (fire, windstorm, etc.), while its facility is shut down or in the process of being rebuilt.
  • Tenant’s Insurance is needed if a commercial lease requires a tenants to carry a certain amount of insurance. A renter’s commercial policy covers damages to improvements you make to your rental space and damages to the building caused by the negligence of your employees.
  • Directors and Officers Insurance is needed even if you are a privately held business.  Directors and officer’s liability Insurance protects your business, owners, executives, and managers if individuals, competitors, third parties, or government regulators make claim for damages.
  • Cyber Liability is a risk that every business has. According to the Insurance Information Institute, businesses have a greater chance of having a cyber breach than they do of having a fire.  Most businesses should consider cyber liability insurance, which is designed to cover the costs of investigations, notification, and credit monitoring for affected individuals, regulatory compliance, defending lawsuits, and payment of any resulting judgments or settlements.
  • Equipment Breakdown coverage offers extra protection for electrical, mechanical, or digital equipment used by your business, including heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems; computers and communication equipment; and more. It can pay for the cost to repair or replace the damaged equipment in the case that there is physical damage, as well as cover the cost of service interruption.
  • Debris Removal Insurance covers the cost of removing debris after a fire, flood, windstorm, etc. For example, a fire burns your building to the ground. Before you can start rebuilding, the remains of the old building have to be removed. Your property insurance will cover the costs of rebuilding, but not of removing the debris.

 

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The Best Holiday Gift? Be Safe

November is here and that means the holiday season has started.  Over the next number of weeks, holiday activities will consume much of our time.  This is also the season when homeowners have insurance claims for fire, burglary, theft from vehicles, and even auto accidents.

Now may be the best time to have us review your personal insurance in order to make sure you have the individual coverage you need.

Shopping Safety Tips

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Put your shopping bags in your trunk.
  • NEVER leave car doors unlocked or windows open.
  • ALWAYS park in lighted areas. Do NOT park in remote areas.
  • Shop with a friend.
  • Keep receipts in your wallet or purse.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.
  • If you make expensive purchases, like jewelry or guns, call our office, as we may need to add these to your policy.

Christmas Tree Safety (provided by the NFPA)

  • Make sure the tree is at least four feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking any exit or door.
  • Add water to the tree stand daily.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Only used approved lights.
  • Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs
  • Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

Home Safety Tips

If you are planning a vacation during the holiday, here are few ideas to consider:

  • Get a security system.
  • Trim landscaping that is too close to your house.
  • Don’t advertise your vacation on social media.
  • Cancel mail and other deliveries.
  • Leave lights on when gone.
  • Have a neighbor check on your home.
  • Always lock your garden sheds and garages.
  • Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • While you are gone, arrange for your lawn to be mowed.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting.

 

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Is Your Church At Risk Of Being Sued?

The NW Ranks High In Probability Of Litigation

On average, a business in the U.S. has about a 12% chance of being involved in an employment lawsuit. Oregon has very aggressive employment and discrimination laws that increase the chances of litigation for businesses operating in our state.

Employment Liability Facts

The national average for total costs of claims that resulted in a defense and settlement payout is $125,000. Without Employment Practices Liability insurance, these companies would have had to pay an additional $90,000.  Source PC360.com

Oregon Laws That Impact Employment Litigation

Employers Are Regulated By Statute In Performing Certain Actions, Including:

  • Anti-discrimination/fair employment practices
  • Pregnancy accommodation
  • Criminal background checks
  • Credit checks

Here Is Where States Ranks (chance of being sued)

  • New Mexico 66%
  • Washington DC 65%
  • Nevada 47%
  • Alabama 41%
  • California 40%
  • Oregon 33%

Solutions

An Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy provides insurance against claims and lawsuits brought against an employer, its officers, directors, employees and managers. These policies generally cover allegations in the following areas:

  • Discrimination – including age, sex, and gender
  • Sexual harassment
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Emotional distress or mental anguish
  • Wrongful termination or discipline
  • Negligent compensation, promotion, or hiring decisions
  • Employee benefits mismanagement
  • Breach of contract for employment
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Did The Earth Move From Under Your Feet?

Donna Summers popular song reminds us of how important it is to have solid ground under our feet. That is true for every business.  Your business has many risks, and the risk of earthquake damage is just one.  Allow our team to complete a review of your business insurance.

Earthquakes occur almost every day in the United States.  Most are not large enough to cause damage, but eventually, a big one will hit.  The resulting damage, loss of life, and the impact on our economy could be devastating.  Many businesses may not even give earthquake insurance much thought, but if you are in the process of business planning or working through your renewal, earthquake insurance may be wise to consider.

Why You Need Earthquake Insurance

  • Your business policy does not cover damage caused by earthquakes. You must either purchase an earthquake coverage endorsement or purchase a separate policy for earthquake insurance.
  • You can’t count on the federal government to help.

What Earthquake Insurance Can Insure

  • Business personal property.
  • Loss of Business Income.
  • Earthquake Sprinkler Leakage.
  • Betterment or Repairs required by local ordinance or law.

We recommend every business complete a short risk assessment that can include the following questions:

  1. Do you operate in a high risk area?
  2. What would your potential loss be?
  3. Do you have resources to repair or re-build if there is damage?
  4. Can you minimize the loss through building retrofits or additional construction?
  5. What is the cost of insurance?

If you do purchase earthquake insurance, you’ll probably want to buy enough to cover the costs of rebuilding your building and replacing damaged personal property. That means the amount of insurance you buy generally should be based on replacement or reconstruction costs and not the current market value.

 

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How To Survive The Holidays

1211_200_200_c1_center_centerWe are full steam ahead; the holiday rush has begun. Beyond getting the flu vaccine, there is a lot you can do to help your body and mind during the holidays. Allison Aiello, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, offers a few words to help us survive the Holidays.

  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Alcohol use has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. If you drink, do so in moderation.
  • As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your guests safe from food-related illness. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces.
  • Wash your hands at least three times per day.
  • Volunteer. It is always good to give back to your community.
  • Check your “Martha Stewart” impulses at the door and accept that you can’t do everything—especially if you have a new baby or toddler in the house.
  • Before you attend a party, or are sitting down to eat a big holiday dinner, make sure to drink plenty of water. Water fills you up and is good for you in just about every way.
  • Depression and anxiety increases during the holidays. Watch for signs of depression among your friends and family.
  • Take more walks. Physical activity is the best way to benefit your health during the holidays.
  • Spicy foods boost your metabolism, so enjoy hot peppers, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and the like when cooking your favorite dishes or vegetables.

Enjoy the season…Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

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How Your Ministry Can Recover From a Natural Disaster

Hurricane Harvey’s impact will be felt for the next three to five years, or even longer.  Many affected businesses may not survive.  It is our hope that all the people and businesses impacted by Harvey will recover as soon as possible.  For those businesses that had flood insurance, the recovery will be helped through the insurance resources.  There are other kinds of disasters, or losses, which can cause your business to be shut down.  Now is the time to have us complete a business insurance review. We can offer many coverage and pricing options for your business.

Disaster Planning for Your Business

  • Review your commercial insurance. Being proactive can help in the end.  We can help you determine what coverage is best suited for your individual business needs.
  • Put together a crisis team and a plan. Design a plan for the kinds of disasters you are likely to have.  Have contingency plans for continued operations. This may mean developing agreements with other businesses for use of their facilities or locations for a short term.
  • Meet with your insurer as soon as possible. Developing a relationship with your claims adjuster is critical.  Be willing to provide all information required.
  • Request an upfront partial payment. This will help you fund your recovery.
  • Be prepared to document all expenses. It might even help to hire an accountant to help you with post loss expenses and documentation.

 

 

 

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10 Insurance Buying Tips

Now that 2018 is approaching, it may be time to consider reviewing your church insurance program. Most people don’t take time to review exposures, options, or their current economic condition before making their insurance purchase. We want to help you, so we prepared these ten insurance buying tips for 2018.

  1. Use an independent agent – Independent agents can access many different insurance companies and select the one that offers the best combination of coverage, services and pricing.
  2. Don’t buy insurance through the internet – Call  us and let us provide outstanding service along with competitive pricing.
  3. Review your auto limits – If you have limits of less than $100,000, that won’t even cover the medical bills in a serious accident. The minimum liability coverage that anyone with any assets or income to protect should be carrying is $500,000 to $1 million or more.
  4. Maintain a an inventory of equipment– Having an accurate account of your property can provide for greater recovery in the event of a loss.
  5. Bundle your insurance – Combine your auto, home and umbrella policies with one insurer to receive greater discounts.
  6. Set the right deductible – A higher deductible reduces your premium, but you have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an accident, you may want to gamble and opt for a higher premium. The reward for this risk could be up to a 40% savings.
  7. Consider D & O Insurance – Directors & Officers claimns is one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S.
  8. Buy from a financially strong company – Your insurance is only as good as the company who stands behind the policy. The insurance company should have an “A+” rating or higher.
  9. Be prepared to make adjustments as your lifestyle and needs change.

Call us today and let us help protect what is important to you. Christian Ministries Insurance was created specifically to serve Christian churches, schools and other related ministries. Our mission is simple; provide comprehensive insurance products at competitive prices while building a solid relationship with our clients. We do this through our day to day service, scheduled meetings, quality risk management advice, training and prayer for you and your staff. We are a faith based business, dedicated to help your ministry fulfill God’s vision. All CMI staff are actively involved in their local church. We have more than 50 years experience in providing services to churches and related ministries. Our team has helped clients overcome complex insurance and risk management challenges that include: casualty, property, executive liability, human capital, crisis management and claims consulting.

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Why Check Backgrounds?

gangster-539993_1920Over the last several years, I have worked with churches who are still resisting background checks on staff members and all volunteers. Here are Good Reasons to background check from my insurance provider; Brotherhood Mutual-Comprehensive background checks should be part of your ministry’s programs. Choosing the right provider and services can be tricky, because when it comes to background screening, the saying “you get what you pay for” is often true. Less expensive, database-only searches may fit nicely into a ministry’s budget, but they don’t provide the same depth of information that a more comprehensive check will uncover.

Carefully screening people before allowing them to be involved in your programs is an essential investment in your ministry’s future. Comprehensive background screening programs:• Protect your church or ministry from incidents of child sexual abuse.

  • Prevent you from appointing staff or volunteers who may skim money from church accounts.
  • Enable you to select drivers for church vehicles who have safe driving records.
  • Allow you to select appropriate leaders for your ministry.
  • Help you attract new members and recruit volunteers who want to be involved in a safe ministry.
  • Reduce your ministry’s liability in court if something goes wrong, because it demonstrates that your ministry takes reasonable care to safeguard its members.

Christian Ministries Insurance was created specifically to serve Christian churches, schools and other related ministries. Our mission is simple; provide comprehensive insurance products at competitive prices while building a solid relationship with our clients. We do this through our day to day service, scheduled meetings, quality risk management advice, training and prayer for you and your staff. We are a faith based business, dedicated to help your ministry fulfill God’s vision. All CMI staff are actively involved in their local church. We have more than 50 years experience in providing services to churches and related ministries. Our team has helped clients overcome complex insurance and risk management challenges that include: casualty, property, executive liability, human capital, crisis management and claims consulting.

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A Few Simple Ways to Prepare Now For a Disaster

We have witnessed the wrath of hurricane Harvey and are looking at Irma hitting the East Coast Soon. Wild fires are hitting the West very hard. We thought it might be good to offer a little disaster preparedness.

Do not let the change in weather fool you; we are still at risk for acts of Mother Nature. In the coming months, we may be at risk of wind damage, wild fires, floods, and more. Remember, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover every disaster, so please call our office for a free insurance review.
How to prepare for an emergency

• Create a home inventory. This will help you to recover your personal property.
• Is your policy’s replacement cost limit correct? It is a good idea to have us, or your insurance company, help you determine the current replacement cost of your home.
• Create an emergency food supply; enough to last a week or so.
• Have a three to five-day supply of water, 1-2 gallons of water per person, per day.
• Keep extra cash on hand in case banks are closed.
• Have a few high-powered flashlights ready.
• Keep extra batteries on hand.
• Have a communications plan. Consider that your family may not be together if a disaster strikes.
• Designate a contact person, outside the area, as a check in person for family members.
• Stock a first aid kit, a supply of essential medicines for at least a week, and other crucial medical supplies like inhalers.
• Make sure you have copies of your family’s identification, birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, proof of address or lease, medication list and medical information, copies of credit cards, checks, etc.

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