In my last blog in February, I discussed financial statements and their importance for contractors wanting to obtain bid and or performance bonding.  In this blog, I want to briefly discuss the importance of the Contractors Questionnaire.

contractors questionnaire 1While business financial statements are generally thought to be the most important piece of information to consider an account for bid or performance bonding, they are not the only item required.  In fact, if an underwriter had very good financials for a contractor, but nothing else, he could not authorize a bond line for that contractor.  The underwriter has to know as much information and history on the contractor as possible, and some of that information is very specific.

The contractor’s questionnaire will ask for the complete name and address for the business and the year the business was started.  Their construction specialty as well as their geographic area of location will also be asked.  Questions on largest jobs completed to date, largest work on hand programs in the past, and any subcontracting operations will be asked.  There are also the standard bankruptcy and litigation inquiries.

Other information generally asked for;

  • list of subsidiaries or affiliates
  • list of officers / owners with position / title and percentage owned
  • information in regards to the preparation of the contractor’s financial statement
  • information in regards to the contractors relationship with their bank, including the current status of any line of credit that might be set up
  • information in regards to their previous surety relationship

There may be some additional information asked for in questionnaires for different surety companies, but the aforementioned items are the most important and in all of the questionnaires.  These surety questionnaires should be completed in as much detail as possible.  This will help save time in the underwriting process, and with bonding, particularly bid bonds, time is of the utmost importance.

In future contractors bonding blogs, I will discuss bank lines of credit, work on hand schedules, and credit history.  They’re all parts of the puzzle that are needed to properly consider a contractor for bid and performance bonding.

As always, should you have questions or need some help with bonding for a contractor, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Steve-Kuykendall---Bonds-blue-copyAbout The Author : Steve Kuykendall, Surety Manager

Steve has been a proud member of the J.M. Wilson Team since 2000 and currently serves as the Surety Manager. He has been in the surety business for 36 years as an underwriter, an agent, and as a broker.  He really enjoys the challenge of trying to find a way to write a bond and loves helping agents and their account obtain a bond that so many times they have not been able to obtain anywhere else!  He is married with four grown children, as well as nine grandchildren!  He also enjoys golfing, boating, and fishing.

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | July 30, 2013

Have a More Successful Day – Get Your Morning On Track

Do you find yourself disorganized and frustrated by the time you reach the office?  If you do, you are probably not in the right frame of mind to be helping customers or be productive.  You can turn your day around with a better morning routine.

Many times common morning routines such as trying to catch up on laundry, feeding the kids or walking the dog can leave you feeling like you’ve already put in a full day’s work.  Maybe add to that the unexpected stresses such as the car not starting or the sink backing up, and you’re immersed in the morning exasperations.

Believe it or not, your workday organization actually begins before you leave home.  You can’t give customers your best service when you’re feeling frustrated and out of control.  If you’re finding yourself ready to pull your hair out before you’re even out of the driveway, you need some help.

Here are some tips to keep your morning routine under control:

Keep it Central.  Find one spot to keep your wallet/purse, keys, cell phone and other necessities you travel with.  Always put them back in that location when you’re done using them.  This will eliminate frantically trying to locate these items at the last-minute. ( I have found that if I do not put my keys back in the same place every time, I am spending way too much time trying to find them in the morning.)

Prepare meals.  Make lunches for you and if you have kids, for your kids, the night before.  Don’t save this task for the morning.  Use reusable food-storage containers and thermal lunch bags for convenient packing. It’s great to just be able to grab my lunch on my way out the door, and not have to spend the time trying to decide in the morning.

Don’t dawdle.   Resist the urge to pick up a magazine or  turn on the television if this isn’t an activity for which you have built time into your morning routine. (I have allotted time in the morning to read the paper.  It is part of my routine and I have made sure that I get up early enough to have that time.)

Pre-plan your wardrobe. Set your clothes out the night before so getting dressed is a snap. (This is one that I have really grown to like.  It saves me time from decision-making in the morning.)

Change the time. Set your clocks ahead or set your alarm back 10 minutes to give yourself a head start to your day and avoid being late.

Keep the road for driving. Use your commute time to focus on driving. Listen to some soothing music to ease yourself into your work day. (I like a little rock and roll to get my juices flowing in the morning)

Anything you can do to reduce morning stress will make your frame of mind so much better when working with your colleagues and customers.

Terry-McFaulAbout the Author : Terry McFaul, Manager of Training and Development

Terry McFaul joined J.M. Wilson in 1984.  She is responsible for the training processes for J.M. Wilson Associates.  She works with Managers to develop training that is needed in their departments.  She also creates and maintains various quote forms and worksheets used in day-to-day business.  She loves the people that she works with and enjoys when an individual learns a process he or she has been working on.  Outside of the office, Terry likes to read, play mind challenging games, cook, and learn to play the accordion.

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | July 23, 2013

Ken The Vendor

My first trip to New York City!  Oh the possibilities of things to do… shop, shop some more, shop again…  Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, The Boathouse…. My list was endless!  Of course on this list also included a minimum of three meals a day, a few glasses of wine and lots of picture-taking.  Every show or movie that is filmed in the heart of New York City it seems that a character orders and eats a hot dog from a vendor.  Certainly, I would have to experience this!  And let me tell you… there were a ton to choose from!

Little did I know that the lesson learned from the cart owner would leave me thinking of what he told me for days…  Do what you love, have fun at work, and life’s too short not to see and experience new things.  Really?  From a man who just made $2 on my hot dog and his advice is to do what you love?  And Ken, I could tell, really does love what he’s doing to make a living.  He had set up shop on the outside of Central Park serving people hot dogs with a smile that made you want to smile back.

Do what you love – what’s the first thing that comes to your mind on Sunday night around 9:00pm knowing what the next day brings?  Are you looking forward to the work week?  Are you in the final stages of the Sunday blues?  If so, why do you continue to do what you are doing?  What’s keeping you or holding you back?

Have fun at work – this is not hard people!  Dedicate a few minutes of each work day to doing something fun either by yourself, with a co-worker, in a meeting or whenever!  Spice things up a bit.  When I last met with our Personal Lines team on a Friday morning, we all put our hands in and shouted “TGIF” on three.  I can assure you that everyone left laughing and those that heard us, had an immediate smile on their face.  FUN!

Life’s too short… – I always hated this expression as a child.  Life seemed that it would go on for an eternity, 40 was old, and I couldn’t wait until I could move out of my Mom and Dad’s house.  Now 40 will be a birthday that I look forward to.  I long for the days of a home cooked meal, laundry being done AND put away, and being a mother makes you realize how quickly the days, months and years literally slip through your fingers.  Cherish the time you have on this Earth and accomplish and see as much as you can.  Thanks to my dear friend Cathy who was a willing travel companion for this amazing trip to NYC, I experienced a city and lifestyle like no other.  My comment to her one day of “I really want to go to NYC someday” and then her making it a reality for me, made me realize that if you want to do or see something – then just do it!  Plan it, make it happen.

Many thanks to Ken the Vendor for not only serving up New York’s finest hot dog (is there such a thing?) but for also making me pause and realize life is good.  And, it’s all what you make of it!

Erin-HersonMarch-2012About the Author : Erin Herson, Agency Relations Manager

Erin Herson joined J.M. Wilson in 2009.  She is responsible for underwriting, teaching Continual Education courses, as well as establishing and developing new agency relationships.  She loves the people that she works with and finding creative solutions to their needs.  Outside of the office, Erin enjoys working out, spending time with her children, golfing, cooking, and of course, shopping.
Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | July 16, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions : Agency Bill

Does your agency receive agency billed statements from J.M. Wilson?  Are you a recently appointed agent and wonder how it works?  We hope to answer all of your questions in this blog post.  Outlined below are some of our agents most frequently asked Agency Bill questions.

When can I expect to receive my statement for agency billed policies? Agency billed statements are sent at the end of each month. These statements include all agency billed policy transactions posted to your statement within a given month and payment terms are 30 days.

How do I reconcile my Agency Bill Statement?  Each transaction should match the amount you collected from the insured or will be receiving from a finance company.  Please confirm the premium, taxes, fees and commissions are billed correctly. Agents can retain their commission up front out of the policy premium and pay the net balance due.  In order to apply your payment properly, please remit a copy of your statement with your payment.  Please discuss any questions or discrepancies with an Accounting Associate as soon as possible so we can help resolve these issues for you in a timely manner.

Can I get financing for my insured on an agency billed policy? Yes, financing is available on agency billed policies, as long as it’s not 100% fully earned. The policy will be billed in full on your agency statement and the commission can be deducted from the down payment that you collected from the insured when the premium finance agreement was signed.

What about company pay plans?  Do they appear on Agency Bill Statements? Yes, Company pay plans are agency billed and your commission is taken out of the down payment and installments as they are billed each month.

How do I request an additional or revised copy of my statement? You can request a copy of your statement at any point in time by contacting an Accounting Associate.

Jen-SlaterAbout the Author : Jen Slater, Accounting Team Supervisor

Jen Slater joined J.M. Wilson in 2004. She is responsible for overseeing the operations of all accounting systems, reconciling agent accounts, issuing checks, as well as processing transactions for JM Wilson and it’s affiliate companies. She loves working with her team (who communicates very well) and our agents. Outside of the office, Jen enjoys spending time with her young son and family.

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | July 9, 2013

The Power of The Phone

This is a phrase that’s being thrown around a lot these days in the halls and offices of JM Wilson. But what does it mean exactly?

Well, for us it means a company-wide initiative to re-dedicate and re-commit ourselves to using this very powerful tool that is right at our fingertips.

In this age of instant information – it can seem very “quick and easy” to e-mail a response or question. But around the beginning of 2013, we asked ourselves a question. What if we simply picked up the phone instead? What if we could avoid lengthy e-mail chains, mis-interpretations, and really get to  know our customers and our accounts better, by having an actual conversation?

So, we set about changing our ways, and changing our culture.

Have we figured it all out yet? Well, no, real and true change takes time & effort. But we are committed to becoming the Managing General Agent of choice for independent insurance agents.  Because as our customers get to know us, we get to talk about real solutions for the insurance needs of their clients.

What does this mean for you, our customer? We hope that it means:

  • We are easily accessible to answer your questions!
  • We are friendly and helpful on the phone!
  • We want to talk to you about your insured, to get to know exactly how we can best help you , and bind more business!
  • We want to phone quote accounts for you that are simple, to keep them “low touch” and profitable!
  • We want to get to know you!

Feel free to give US a call today, to find out how we may best serve you! We look forward to talking with you soon!

Roxanne-Barry-About the Author : Roxanne Barry, Michigan and Southern Region Property & Casualty  Manager

Roxanne joined the J.M. Wilson Team in 1997 and currently serves as the Property & Casualty Manager for Michigan and the Southern Region.  She manages, grows, and leads her department which includes other lines of business such as Professional Liability, Errors & Omissions, Directors & Officers, Employment Practices Liability, Products & Manufacturing, Medical & Health Related Professional Lines, and Excess.  She loves that everyday in her position brings a challenge, whether she is researching coverages, classes of businesses, or even learning about an insured’s business operations.  She also loves working with her team of underwriters and watching them grow within the industry.  In her spare time, she loves to enjoy the art and music in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Although Kalamazoo is not a large city, it is unique in offering a variety of art, performance, culture, and food (home of the famous Bell’s Brewery!).

Connect with Roxanne on LinkedIn

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | July 2, 2013

The Dying Art of True Conversation

While technology has made life easier in most aspects of our personal and professional lives, I find myself missing the good old fashioned art of true conversation. While email and texting are fast, prompt and the path of least resistance for many; I think we are giving up quite a bit by not striving for a true conversation. Miriam-Webster defines conversation as an oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions or ideas. What stands out in this definition for me is that it specifically states verbal communication. Nowhere in this definition does it say a typewritten exchange.

Debbie Martinez IIAG 2013 Micheal Mellars Pritchard & Jerden

Debbie Martinez, JM Wilson, with Micheal Mellars, Pritchard & Jerden Insurance, at IIAG Convention 2013.

In my travels to visit our partner agents, I am more often than not finding that they are looking to us for conversations. Conversations about risks, our company, the industry and, yes, even a personal conversation or two along the way. They want to discuss these things not just exchange a barrage of emails back and forth. In my over 20 years in the Insurance Industry, I have forever been taught that Insurance is a relationship business. This is what we want and this is what our agents want. To foster these existing relationships and to make new ones, we will need to master the dying art of true conversation. Our partner agents need to know that they can pick up the phone and call us to discuss a risk or to run something by us. They need to know we are open to building our relationships with them. One agent said it best, “call for a conversation and email for a confirmation.” Truer words have never been spoken.

While texting and emailing is a sign of the times and a part of our everyday communications there is just no substitute for my dear old friend conversation. Without it we become just words on a screen instead of a person behind the words. Without it we lose those special touches that allow us to build and foster lasting relationships. So, the next time you go to send a text message or an email consider giving the dying art of true conversation a try…pick up the phone and give your clients or your family and friends a call. It will make a difference. Will your client remember that last email out of hundreds he or she just received or that personal touch phone call from his or her agent? Hmmm… food for thought.

Debbie-Martinez---Nov-2010About the Author : Debbie Martinez, Southern Region Branch Manager

Debbie Martinez joined J.M. Wilson in 2009 and currently serves as the Underwriting and Sales Manager for the Southern Region. She works to develop agency relationships with our existing Southern Region agents through all lines of business, as well as helps to establish newly appointed Southern Region agents. Debbie loves the day-to-day contact she has with our agency partners. In her free time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her son, working with the American Cancer Society, and photography.

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | June 25, 2013

How I Start Off My Day

I was reading an article in the Forbes magazine and came across an article titled “14 Things You Should Do at the Start off Every Work Day” by Jacquelyn Smith.  I actually found that I was already doing several of these “things.”  I would like to share the 14 “things” with you.

1) Arrive on Time.  I hate to be rushed in the morning, so I make sure I’m sitting at my desk and starting my work day before the “bell rings.”  I also find that being late can throw off my rhythm for the entire day.

2) Take a deep breath.  Moving from my standard “before work routine” to “my work routine” is very important.

3) Take five.  This helps to set the tone for my day.  I look around my desk to see what items are pending and begin to set priorities.

4) Start each day with a clean slate.  Every day is new, so I try to attack my workload as if I am starting fresh.

5) Don’t be moody.  If my day starts off on the wrong foot, I try to suck it up and be positive.  I would rather my positive mood rub off on others as opposed to a negative mood.

6) Organize your day.  I find the first hour of my day is spent checking my calendar, my list of daily tasks, etc., so I know exactly what I need to have completed by the end of the day.

7) Be present.  The good news for me is I am a morning person, so I know I need to jump in and be productive to get the important things done in the morning.

8) Check in with your colleagues.  A quick 5 to 10 minute team meeting can be an effective way for many people to start their day.   (I do skip this step, since I am a department of one.)

9) Organize your workspace.  I like to set up my desk each day in the way it will aid me in accomplishing my workload for the day.  Since my workload changes day by day, so does the top of my desk.

10) Emails. I scan my emails to delete those that can be deleted, address those that are urgent, and leave the rest to be addressed later in the day.

11) Listen to voice mail.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that red light on my phone.  I listen to my messages to make sure there is nothing important.  If there is, then the issue gets addressed.

12) Place important calls and send urgent e-mails.  The sooner you address your urgent issues the sooner the person on the receiving end can address the issue and get back with you.

13) Take advantage of your cleared head.  I like getting my urgent issues accomplished before more issues pop up, because if you are like me, you know they will.

14) Plan a mid-morning break.  I haven’t yet added this to my day.  I get busy and knowing that I do my best work in the morning, I hate to stop.  I know how important it is to take a break and clear your mind, so it looks like I need to make a better effort of taking my own advice.

What do you do to get started with your day?

My morning routines are critical to my success for the day.  They help me to focus and build momentum.  It’s amazing how tough it can be to change your habits.  I am hoping by sharing these 14 things you find you are already doing some of them and will be able to incorporate others into your daily morning work  routine.

Which will you begin?  Please share in the comments below!

Sarah ODay - Jan 2013-About the Author : Sarah O’Day, Human Resources Director

Sarah O’Day joined J.M. Wilson in 2007.  She is responsible for overseeing employee policies and procedures, recruiting / hiring, benefit management, updating of Human Resource field rules and regulations, and payroll processing.  She loves that she has the opportunity to interact with, and get to know, all J.M. Wilson associates.  She is currently the Education (HRCI) chair of the Kalamazoo Human Resource Management Association (KHRMA) and has served on the Board for three years.  Outside of the office, Sarah enjoys genealogy and being the favorite Aunt to 18 nieces and nephews.
Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Vacation in Florida! Sun, surf, and sand all around me and there I was on the beach, wondering if the little wooden umbrella in my beverage is made in the United States and sold overseas. Doesn’t everyone think about these things on vacation??

If a Beachmanufacturer sells and distributes their product overseas foreign liability is an important coverage for them.

Foreign liability is a specialty policy type for an insureds liability for foreign operations. Coverage can apply to US manufacturers who are selling their product, distributing their product, or have a permanent office and/or manufacturing facility overseas. This coverage can respond to suits brought against an insured filed outside of the United States, whereas domestic general liability policies are designed to respond to suits brought against an insured inside the US.  Foreign liability can include general liability, business auto, accident sickness/health and kidnap and ransom coverage.

Package policy premiums can start at $2500 minimum premium, with general liability only at $750 minimum premium. We can help you offer this important coverage to your insureds!  Contact me today if you’d like to learn more about how we can assist you.

Sherry--Updated-Dec-20102About the Author : Sherry Ihling, Property & Casualty Operations Coordinator & Brokerage Underwriter

Sherry Ihling joined J.M. Wilson in 2006, after coming from an independent agency as commerical producer. As and underwriter with J.M. Wilson, she is responsible for negotiating terms and pricing for new and renewal business, servicing existing accounts, and nurturing relationships with our agents and companies. She loves to talk about what people do, where their work takes them, and learning about other occupations. In 2012, Sherry was given an additional role of Property & Casualty Operations Manager. In this position she provides guidance and support to fellow associates and agents when Property & Casualty Manager, Roxanne Barry, is unavailable. Outside of the office, Sherry enjoys spending her time with her children, watching their lacrosse games, and home decorating. 800-562-4136, sihling@jmwilson.com

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Posted by: jmwilsonmga | June 11, 2013

The Peaceful Place : Creating Your Work Space

Work is stressful. I mean, really this whole article could be summed up in that one sentence. While I don’t see it changing anytime soon, I’ve been on a mission lately to simplify a lot of different things in my life. I recently wrote about changing a poor diet and exercising. It’s going well, but it’s amazing how one lifestyle change can force you to look around and see how other areas of your life may desperately need some attention as well.

Amanda MontgomeryI work from a cute little cubicle office. I am in this space for at least eight hours a day. If you cut out the time I am sleeping, I am in this cubicle more (awake) than I am at home. It was that realization that led me to try and figure out how to make my cubicle work, how to make it the best space possible, how to make it “The Peaceful Place”.

I am going to still be stressed out from time to time, obviously. I will still be tired, and frustrated, and sometimes I will need to walk away from my space, no matter how calming it may be. Many articles I read suggested a water fountain, but I found the trickling water noise to be far more annoying than calming. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find what works for you, and then run with that. Here are some tips just in case you need help getting started:

1. Get rid of stuff. Look, I know that everything on your desk seems important. Why would it be there if it wasn’t important in some way, at some time? But all that stuff that piles up, and clutters, and sometimes distracts you, comes at a price. Throw it away. Take it home. Donate it. Shred it. File it. If you’re not using it, haven’t used it in the last two weeks, and can’t see yourself using it in the next two weeks, it needs to go.

2. Make it personal. If you’re sitting in the same place for eight hours (or more) a day, do you really want to stare at empty walls, or pieces of paper that have phone numbers and info you rarely use, or do you want to see some pictures of your loved ones and things that make you smile? My only advice here is don’t go crazy. Try to keep it limited to some special pictures and knick-knacks, and don’t let anything take over.

3. Try out new things. We’ve all cleaned a desk before. That’s a really easy job to do. I wanted to try and make my space calm and peaceful, not just clean. Many articles suggest bringing in calming colors, like purple and light blue (my personal favorite is pink). Also, live plants are repeatedly suggested, and a lot of people say a mirror and/or a lamp in your space will help reflect light, while keeping it warm and inviting. My favorite suggestion was a candy dish with wrapped candy, to encourage visitors and promote inter-office conversation.

It is my wish that some of these ideas will help you start looking at ways to refresh and invigorate your area. A breath of new life, into a calm, welcoming atmosphere, will hopefully help you to not only be more productive, but also more at peace as well. Please let me know if you need help or have any questions as well. Take a deep breath and you’ll be on your way to a more zen-like atmosphere! (Woooosssssaaaaaa)

Amanda.MontgomeryAbout the Author : Amanda Montgomery, Property & Casualty Underwriting Assistant

Amanda Montgomery joined J.M. Wilson in 2012.  She is responsible for servicing Commercial Property & Casualty accounts.  Outside of the office, Amanda enjoys traveling, musical theater, and reading.
Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

There are risks, and then there are RISKS. Costly claims of today may cause adverse business profit returns to your bottom line for years to come. In addition to the potential damage to your company’s reputation, claims may ultimately cost you future jobs. Unfortunately, there is also the stark reality of increased insurance costs to you as well.

No matter the size of your company, it’s so important to keep risk management controls in place. Regardless of how good your relationship is with another party, consider your own stake in the job and the costly financial repercussions to you in the event of an accident.

Before each project, consider all your risks before you even get to the job site. Being vigilant in every stage of your project can reduce your risks in the long run.

Start with the basics: the contract. Consult with an attorney and develop standard language to use in your contracts. Review your contract language on a regular basis to keep it up to date and in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal regulations. Paying attention to state regulations is particularly important when working in multiple jurisdictions. If you’re not familiar with regulations in neighboring states, seek out an expert. For each project you take on, remember to adjust that standard contract to reflect each project’s specificities. You may want to develop separate contracts for customers and for subcontractors, as your responsibilities to each will vary.

Even the pesky details of your project or state regulations matter – some states even require specific size type for contract compliance. Describe the job site location, work being performed, equipment being used, property being lifted, and responsibilities of each party in your contract, and keep signed and dated copies in your files. Another benefit to you if you utilize this pro-active operating procedure is the real potential to positively mitigate your involvement in the event of a claim loss. REMEMBER……Your documentation is key to any claims adjuster!

Use your own contract whenever possible, and when it’s not possible, review the language carefully especially the indemnification clause to make sure they are fair and balanced. You don’t want to be at the mercy of a company with greater financial resources or assume the negligent action of others on the job site especially when you’re not directly involved in the negligent action.

Before you bid the job, be sure to do a risk hazards assessment at the job site. Pay close attention to some of the top risks, such as electrical hazards and falls. Install visibility signage, warning alerts and barricades at your job site to ensure the safety of all workers. Consider all these risks before you begin work so that you can manage them throughout the duration of your project.

OSHA regulations are a BIG part of risk management when working with heavy equipment. Make sure you understand the newest regulations for cranes and derricks that became effective in 2010. These standards define the requirements for hoisting loads and power-operated equipment that can hoist, lower, and horizontally move suspended materials. OSHA now has strict requirements about who can operate your equipment as well. Make sure your operators are licensed or certified to run the equipment. All operators must be certified by an OSHA-recognized program by the end of 2014. Your safety program should not only include the strict adherence to the current OSHA’s safety guidelines, but also the monitoring of your employees in their compliance to your safety operational guidelines.  Non-compliance with the OSHA safety guidelines in the event of a claim will negatively impact your insurance coverage and costs in the future.

Explore your insurance options thoroughly when working with heavy equipment. Your general liability policy may be the right choice for riggers coverage but your excess insurance provider may have a different opinion. Adding riggers coverage to your inland marine policy can be a good way to manage the cost of your general liability coverage and provide an easier method for increasing coverage limits on a project-by-project basis.

Lastly, consider how claims can affect your insurance costs. Review your insurance company’s generated loss runs regularly. Find out the status of any unresolved claims and work with your insurer to resolve any issues. Selecting an insurer that has “in-house construction” claims experience can be most beneficial and cost-effective to you as well. When your insurer manages the claim “in-house” there is more incentive to pro-actively resolve issues and settle disputes as opposed to claims being subcontracted to a Third Party who continue to be paid per open file case as long as the claim remains unresolved.

Part of the risk underwriting process that affects your insurance costs is your 5 year historical loss experience. An open claim can be detrimental to your company’s ability to obtain cost-effective coverage.

Make sure your pro-active risk management focus includes:

  1. Pre-job safety/risk review;
  2. Contract Review and State Compliance;
  3. Adherence to current OSHA guidelines; and
  4. Pro-active Claims Adjustment.

Mary WiseleyAbout the Guest Blogger : Mary Wiseley, Vela Insurance Services

Mary M Wiseley joined Vela in 2009 and currently serves as Assistant Vice President at Vela’s San Diego Branch Office. With 25 years’ experience, Mary’s expertise is in specialty contractors, including crane and rigging. When not traveling for Vela, she enjoys golfing, swimming, and hiking with her miniature poodle.

Vela, a Berkley Company, is a leading commercial lines property and casualty insurance provider. Specializing in Commercial Casualty and Miscellaneous Professional Liability insurance, Vela is headquartered in Chicago with underwriting offices in Chicago, IL; San Diego, Solvang, and Walnut Creek, CA; Denver, CO; Glastonbury, CT; Jacksonville, FL; Atlanta, GA; St. Paul, MN; Medford, OR; Radnor, PA and claims offices in Walnut Creek, CA; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; and Omaha, NE. Vela began operations in 1996 as an underwriting manager, writing excess and surplus lines casualty business with a primary focus on contractor and product liability coverages. We continue to write a variety of classes nationwide, exclusively through our network of appointed excess and surplus lines brokers.

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