Monthly Archives: September 2012

Why Do I Need Insurance For My Co-op?

Several years ago I decided to get out of the “Renter’s Club” and join the“Homeowners’ Club”. Of course, living in New York City, my obvious choice was purchasing a co-op. Technically, I didn’t actually buy real estate because when you buy a co-op you are actually purchasing “shares” in the cooperative, similar to when a stockholder buys shares in a company. But I didn’t care. I wanted to be a homeowner!

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One of my first decisions once I became a “homeowner” was whether or not to buy insurance. Some co-ops actually require it, and are legally allowed to do so, but my co-op didn’t. However, as an insurance agent, myself, I needed to analyze my exposure to risk and determine what was in my best interest.

I have heard many people who own co-ops say, “my building has their own insurance so I don’t need to buy even more insurance!” While it’s true that the building does have their own insurance, they are insuring something completely different from what I would be insuring. The co-op’s insurance covers the actual structure; the concrete walls, the windows, the floors, the internal plumbing, the roof, the elevator, etc. In case of a major fire, the co-op’s insurance company would provide the money to rebuild. However, guess who gets hung out to dry? That’s right, me the unit owner.

Who’s going to pay to replace my bedroom and/or living room furniture? Who’s going to pay to replace all my clothes? What about my 60” television and that stereo that keeps the neighbors up all night? I am! Unless I have co-op insurance. It’s technically called an HO-6 policy, but you can ask any agent for co-op insurance and they’ll know what to do.

You’ll want to make sure that any insurance you buy has built-in coverage for unit assessments. Assessments are fees that the Board will add to your monthly maintenance fee to pay for repairs or other items NOT covered by the co-op’s insurance policy. With a well-written HO-6 policy, such extra assessment fees will be covered by your policy. Otherwise, you have to pay for them out-of-pocket!

Finally, there are many other things that an HO-6 policy will cover that cannot be listed here. The point is, you really MUST have insurance. The average annual premium is around $300.00. Believe me. If I could find a good reason to stop paying that $300.00 per year, I would, but the risks just aren’t worth it. You really need to have a detailed conversation with your insurance agent to make sure you get exactly what you need for your specific co-op since your co-op’s bylaws are probably different from mine. Therefore, your insurance needs would be slightly different.

So don’t put it off. Bite the bullet and join the “Insured Homeowners’ Club”and then you too can rest easy at night!

Ask Sherri – Animal Vehicle Damage

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Dear Sherri: If an animal you have causes damage to your vehicle, will the collision cover it? If so, is it a chargeable accident?— Pestered in New York

Dear Pestered in New York: Great question! In New York, damages caused to your vehicle by an animal would be covered, but not under the collision coverage of your policy, but under the comprehensive coverage subject to your deductible. If your best friend, Fido, decides to chew on your new Corinthian leather seats like last week’s newspaper, you can make a claim. Comprehensive auto coverage also provides benefits when you have a collision with a deer or other animal. Also, if you have a picnic basket in your car Yogi Bear breaks and totally destroys the interior; your policy will cover that as well.

In response to the second part of your question; Comprehensive claims are not chargeable, however most companies are now tiered so depending on the number of incidents you have, your company could change your tier, which could result in a higher premium.

So while these things are covered by your insurance, Ask Sherri recommends you keep Fido under control, buy him his own chew-toy, and take the picnic basket with you!

Square, one of the latest sensations in the business world

Square, the mobile credit card transaction processor, has been a new sensation in the business world. CEO of Square and co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, created a mobile technology that is very practical, functional, and user friendly — so easy that it only takes about 15 minutes to create and be able to use your account. As of June, Square, processed $6 billion a year in payments. This number will grow exponentially, as major corporations like Starbucks begin using the technology.

150px-SquarelogoSquare is now being sold at Apple, Wal-mart, Best Buy, and Target and will soon be sold at AT&T stores to allow greater exposure. Square costs $9.99 in stores, but comes with a $10 redeemable credit, which makes the switch to Square basically free for business owners.

With Square, business owners have the option to pay 2.75 percent per swipe or choose the flat rate of $275 a month with no added fees. Charging capabilities are up to $250,000 annually.

Square has a feature where business owners can display items purchased right on the receipt. This feature can be used to track sales and identify trends.

Transactions are completed quickly and businesses often are paid the following business day.

Petschauer Insurance in New York, offers insurance products for you, your family and your business. We are proud to offer a wide variety of blog topics that relate to family and business as a whole. Check back to the blog for more interesting articles and feel free to contact Petschauer Insurance with any of your insurance questions or concerns.

Must You Provide Insurance For Your Nanny or Housekeeper?

I have a friend who is a single mother of two young children, two puppies, a turtle, a cat, and a frog aside from running her own business. Trying to manage her career, the social life of the boys and the health and well being of their pets was wearing her out so she employed the services of a Nanny. Everything was going well until the Nanny tripped over one of the dogs and injured her knee resulting in arthroscopic surgery and months of visits to a physical therapist. What a shock when my friend found out that as the Nanny’s employer she was responsible for the medical bills. Are you aware that full time employees(those on your premises 40 or more hours a week) must be provided with Workers’ Compensation and, in some cases, New York State Disability?


My friend never gave this a thought prior to the accident. She just figured that her homeowner’s policy would cover the medical bills because the accident happened in her home. However, the Workers’ Compensation rider of a homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover any domestic employees (defined, but not limited to, Maids, Cooks, Housekeepers, Laudresses, Butlers, Companions, Gardeners, Chauffeurs, Nannies, Home Health Aides, Au Pairs, Nurses, Baby/Pet-sitters) nor does it cover people working for individual(s) in a home-based business. And on top of all this, the government can impose significant monetary penalties for not having this mandated coverage in place should an accident occur.

Another friend of mine always employs PetSitters to watch her menagerie of pets when she goes away on frequent vacations. She recently was advised that if the PetSitter stays in her home continuously from Friday evening until Sunday evening, a period of roughly 48 hours, that both Workers’ Compensation and New York State Disability would be required.

I checked the New York State Fund website and it actually states that “Workers’ Compensation and New York State Disability are required from the first day of the first week in which a domestic puts in 40 or more hours while either working or living on the premises.” There is an exception for Disability in that benefits aren’t required if the domestic (s) works in a private household less than 40 hours a week and doesn’t live on the premises.

So, let’s not be “penny wise and pound foolish” and let’s “be prepared” because we never know when a maid could trip over her apron strings, the butler could close the door too quickly causing injuries to himself and the chauffeur could collide with a SmartCar filled with clowns!

– Karen Skoler, CPCU

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

wpid-1332151853_life-insurance-policyWhen my daughter was young and money was tight, my husband took out a Term Life policy which is much less expensive than a Whole Life policy. As she got older and I went back to work, I took out Whole Life insurance. Subsequently, my husband’s health deteriorated to the point where he was no longer eligible for affordable life insurance. Today if my husband was to die, there would be no life insurance. I would be left to pay the medical bills, funeral costs, and my mortgage. I am very lucky because at my age I am still in relatively good health. However, that can change in a hot minute making me ineligible to purchase additional life insurance in conjunction with retirement planning.

As the wife of an insurance salesperson, I listened to my husband educate his clients about the value and purposes of life insurance for many years. Lucky for me, he was good at what he did and, therefore, was able to earn a modest living and take care of his family. As a matter of fact, any time I heard him explain what life insurance could accomplish, I was so moved I wanted to buy a policy myself!

He would start by telling his client that life insurance could be used to replace the income of the primary wage earner(s) if one or both of them was to pass. It could also be used to provide the monies to hire people to care for the home and the children, pay up a mortgage, cover funeral costs, build up cash value for retirement, pay inheritance taxes on a large estate, fund a buy-sell agreement, or protect a business from major disruption in the event of a “key person’s” demise.

One salesperson in my husband’s organization requested that a client return their policy if they could no longer pay for it. He claimed that he didn’t want to get a call from the surviving spouse and have to be the one to tell them that the policy was cancelled. He claimed that once, when a client had to deal with this exact situation, it actually caused the survivor to have a heart attack on the spot. Once was enough for him!

The bottom line is that insurance is as important as a will, health insurance, and a health proxy. Nevertheless, you would be shocked at the resistance people have to discussing the subject much less purchasing the product. I have a favorite line which is, “nobody gets out of here alive.” To me, this is a given. I realize that you can’t take it with you and I suspect that you would probably have no use for it if you could. Therefore, why not provide for the unexpected by funding a life insurance policy tailored to the time of life and circumstances in which you find yourself right now?

-Karen Skoler

Protect Your Business with Proper Insurance

stock-photo-14434276-insurance-fileWhen creating your business plan and factoring in all of your start up expenses, don’t forget to include insurance costs in your start up expense totals! Along with the rent, filing fees, utilities, deposits, marketing, personnel costs, software, and other miscellaneous costs associated with starting a business – commercial general liability insurance in NY is something a business owner must budget in. Securing appropriate commercial general liability insurance is in fact one of the most crucial components to having successful business – from the start.

Commercial general liability coverage (or CGL) in a commercial setting will protect a business owner when property is damaged on the premises of the insured business. CGL also protects an owner from lawsuits due to injury on the job, personal injury (including slander and libel), and false or misleading advertising.

Commercial General Liability Insurance is a necessity for every business, large or small. When compared to the risk that your business is protected against, the cost of coverage is low. Potential risks in the workplace may increase as your business grows, so be sure to speak to a professional fromPetschauer Insurance located in NY to ensure that your insurance coverage is right for your specific risks. We can be reached at: (718) 386-5050 or via email at: info@jpins.com.

Company Saves Money and Invests in Employees

WC_1209-01Safety was a major reason for the development of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Chamberlain, a paving contractor in Laurel, MD that specializes in parking lot maintenance. During a three-year period, the company’s increases in Workers Compensation and Commercial General Liability exceeded 100%. By implementing a Safety Awareness Program, the company saw an immediate and significant decrease in the frequency of Workers Comp claims and vehicular accidents.

Because Chamberlain’s heavy equipment and trucks travel daily on interstate highways around metropolitan Washington D.C., the owners implemented an alcohol and drug policy. A local consulting firm helped develop this policy by working with the company’s human resource advisory group. The process included meetings with workers to explain the rationale for the new policy and provide an opportunity for employee input.

During these meetings, it became clear that designing an alcohol and drug policy would not magically solve all the negative effects associated with these behaviors. Employees needed a mechanism to deal with personal problems so that they could find help, take a leave of absence to deal with their problems, and then return to the company and improve their productivity.

The consultant recommended that Chamberlain use a qualified provider to implement and manage an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This firm leads quarterly training sessions for all employees and counseling on family, financial, and other problems, in addition to those related to alcohol and drugs. Each year, a significant percentage of the Chamberlain’s work force seeks help from the EAP counselor, which shows the confidence of employees in this program.

The company supplements its EAP with a drug testing program managed by a separate organization that does drug testing before employment, after accidents, when there’s probable cause, and on a random monthly basis.

Since implementing the EAP and the drug testing program, the company has enjoyed a significant decrease in job-related injuries and accidents, absenteeism, and tardiness — while reducing its Workers Comp premiums by some $50,000 a year. Chamberlain is also benefiting from an improved quality of workmanship, greater customer satisfaction, and higher employee morale. What’s not to like?

For more information on keeping your workplace safe, contact Petschauer Insurance Company today!

PROFESSIONAL ERRORS AND OMISSIONS, PROTECT YOUR PRACTICE

Professional Liability insurance NY, funds losses caused by errors or omissions in the rendering of services. What does this mean? Professionals are human and errors do occur. In medicine and science, the client benefits from the best course of action suggested by an experienced practitioner at the time the service is rendered. The best course of action, though, has some risk of failure. It is wise to cover this potential.

Petschuaer InsuranceSome examples of typical professional liability claims include: An attorney misses a filing date for a lawsuit and the client loses the right to sue a surgeon removes too little, too much, or the wrong tissue. A hair stylist misuses chemicals and burns the client. A computer consultant provides incompatible software, causing damage

Some examples of actual, but unusual claims: Although machinery is tagged as under repair, a building inspector is held responsible for a new system because they merely reported the tag-out rather than investigating the nature of the repair required. A real estate agent sold a home that the listing agent reported as located in the wrong school district. The selling agent did not correct the error although they were never asked to verify the information. A stockbroker advises a client to sell some stock and balance their portfolio. The client refuses and loses money. The client sues for mismanagement.

Most professional services contracts offer advice, design, expertise, politics, negotiations, or any skill associated with a particular profession. Beyond laws and regulations, professions self-govern by way of setting minimum performance and ethical standards. When these performance standards are not met, either by an error occurring or an omission of an important service duty, a potential claim results. Expert witness testimony is often a feature of litigation in these claims to determine the definition and scope of the malpractice.

Doctors, lawyers, and certified public accountants (CPAs) spring to mind when discussing Malpractice insurance, Professional Liability, or Errors & Omissions insurance. How about architects, engineers, office designers, barbers, dog groomers, bankers, clergy, web site designers, software producers, or computer consultants? Any profession that provides a service instead of a product has a professional liability exposure. Almost any product includes some element of design. So, what separates a product from a service?

A service is defined by the acts of the professional, not by the finished product or outcome. Concrete contractors are covered by completed operations insurance; construction managers who select and supervise the concrete contractor fall under professional liability. If you provide a professional service, advise clients, act on behalf of a client, or provide an outcome or consequence rather than a specified product or completed operation, you need Professional Liability insurance.

Professional Liability policies define the acts, errors, and omissions covered both in general and specifically. Restrictions or exclusions are enumerated as well. Standard forms exist for many professions; however, different forms are used and it pays to have knowledgeable advice.

Reputation creates value in any professional practice. One major difference between standard business and professional liability is the professional’s right not to settle. The downside to this decision, however, is the policy limit of liability decreases for that claim to the accepted claim offer, including costs and legal fees, a very risky strategy. Claimants and their legal counsel prefer to negotiate with an emotionally distraught practitioner than a dollars and cents experienced adjuster who knows the potential court outcome.

With reputation and time away from the practice already at risk, remove the strain of total financial ruin from the equation and obtain Professional Liability insurance NY.

Petschauer Insurance in New York, offers high quality choices for Personal, Business and Health Insurance. Count on us for Homeowners Insurance, Auto Insurance,Workers Compensation, Umbrella Insurance, Life & Health, Fire & General Liability Insurance to meet all of your demanding needs for your business or personal life.

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