One plump turkey, copious amounts of cooking oil and a propane stove…A recipe for disaster or a delicious holiday meal of gratitude? It all depends on you! As the number of people deep frying the Thanksgiving bird increase so too the number of home fires and casualties increase on Thanksgiving. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, as many as half of the home fires on Thanksgiving result from accidents while deep frying. By following some simple safety tips, you can decrease your chance of an accident.
We’ve all heard, and likely felt, that there’s an increase in the rental market lately. With homeownership rates remaining low, dipping lower for some areas, it’s no wonder that the rental market is becoming stronger and that rental vacancy rates are getting lower. As the vacancy rates go lower, typically the prices go up. For the property owner or investor with potential rental units available, this potential revenue stream sounds very attractive. In fact, many industry analysts predict that the rental market will remain strong over the next five years.
Many non-investors and property owners are catching the bug it seems. It’s becoming so much so that we’re now getting calls for “Landlord” Insurance – a term we’ve never really heard or used in this Insurance industry, namely because it doesn’t exist.
What does a landlord need?
For starters, do your homework. Before you jump into the world of rentals and property management, in addition to checking with your team of trusted advisors (banker, financial advisor, accountant), it’s a good idea to check with your insurance agent before you sign the check for that property or begin building your apartment building.
You’ll need to discuss risk management with your insurance agent. Just as with any commercial business you will need to make sure you are adequately covered. What are you potentially held liable for and what might you need to change in your current Liability Insurance policy?
If you currently own the property or dwelling that you’re considering renting out, do you need to add additional items like Fire and Hazard Insurance?
If you’re building a new building for your rental units, there are additional factors to consider. What type of construction is it? Will you need to have a sprinkler system? Special materials? Will your property be staffed?
What about your renters? Will you require that they have renters insurance? Should you? Our answer is yes, you should. It lowers your risk and makes your renters responsible and accountable for their actions.
When choosing an insurance plan, there are so many important decisions to make, and you seldom feel as if you’re informed well enough to make them. Many insurance customers end up buying insurance based on price, hoping the money they’re paying will provide them with all the coverage they need, or that they’re saving themselves money in the long run with the cheapest plan.
The process of protecting your family can quickly become complicated, frustrating, and worrisome. But an independent agent can lift those loads in several ways.
You may actually know your independent agent. He could be the father of your son’s classmate. She could be the girl’s little league coach. Independent agents usually live right within your community, support it, and are available for help without the long telephone or online hold times.
An independent agent stays in business by keeping customers happy. You’ll soon be used to receiving follow-up calls and even visits to be sure you’re satisfied with your coverage or the resolution of a claim. Unlike larger, national companies, when you benefit from your insurance coverage, your agent benefits. (more…)
After repeated attempts to get an employee to ‘get with the program’ and follow company procedures, you realize that it’s just not going to happen. You’re facing a decision: do you keep them and risk further loss of productivity and revenue or do you have grounds to fire them? That decision carries its own risks…with 37% of businesses in the US being sued each year by employees, sometimes opting for mediocrity in the workplace doesn’t seem that bad.
This is the sort of Human Resources and Business Management nightmare that many of us face. Navigating those hiring and firing practices that are a necessary part of business can be tricky. Knowing you’re covered if you step in the wrong direction? Invaluable. For your business hiring and firing practices and the legal minefield navigation that can come with them, we recommend Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI).
The Basics of Good Employment Practices
- Have clear policies that are applied consistently to each employee. Such policies must directly relate to their job.
- Have access to legal counsel that has expertise in this special area of the law.
- Document essential job functions and establish measurable standards for each position.
- Have and use regular performance reviews. Apply the standards equally to each employee.
The best defense against employment practice claims is to know the law in your state and then have policies and procedures that meet or exceed its legal standards. (more…)