Friday, February 26, 2010

Finished Basement? We should talk!

An unfortunate homeowner incident that has been occurring a lot over the past few years is water damage caused by either a sump pump failure or water backing up a basement drain. These claims can leave finished basements with damaged carpet and drywall as well as damaging the basement contents, not to mention clean up expenses for these situations which can cost hundreds or even several thousands of dollars.
A majority of homeowners’ insurance policies will include up to $5,000 for claims that fall into this category. However, if someone had a finished basement, this amount might not be sufficient. Insurance companies have options for higher limits ranging from $10,000 all the way up to $100,000. If you have a finished basement, this is a coverage that you and your Fey Insurance Services representative should discuss.
One thing to note, this coverage does not cover flood insurance (meaning surface water from outside the house that has come into your home). Floods are not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. If you have a concern about this type of exposure to loss, please contact us and we can provide you with a Flood Insurance Quote.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New ATV Registration Law in Ohio

Golf cart, ATV, and off-road vehicles are now subject to Ohio’s new mandatory registration which became effective 7/1/2009.

Please be aware of the new law and the need to have proof of registration with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) for your recreational vehicle(s) before operating them on an Ohio roadway and now, thanks to the new law, Off-Road on Public and Private lands. (Note: Certain exemptions are still in place for usage on your own property or operations relating to agricultural use.) This new law and proof of registration will probably now also impact on how these vehicles are covered under standard ISO Homeowner insurance policies.

Most Homeowner policies do not cover usage on the roadways for these types of vehicles and this new law will probably change the way limited coverage has been offered off-road for these previously classified “unregistered” vehicles.

If you own an ATV, Golf Cart or Off-Road Motorcycle, please contact us to review the benefits of specialized Motorcycle and Off-Road Vehicle coverage.

Link to LAWriter Ohio Laws and Rules for new law 4519.02 Registration required - exceptions wording @

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This is an article I found from the Ohio Insurance Institute dated 2/10/10
Written By:Mary Bonelli/Mitch Wilson

As far as Ohio law goes, it’s long been established that homeowners do not have a legal obligation to shovel when there is a natural accumulation of snow and ice. In December 1993 the Ohio Supreme Court upheld this concept when a guest attempted to sue a homeowner in Franklin County for a slip and fall outside of the homeowner's house. (See Brinkman v. Ross).Some states have laws in place requiring snow and ice removal; Ohio does not. However, a homeowner would be liable if someone decides to sue as a result of tripping over a crack or other irregularity on your walkway. Also, if someone slips on ice that was formed because of a poorly positioned down spout, you could be held liable.
1. Did this court decision affect the cost of homeowners insurance?It did not affect the cost of insurance since the court decision didn’t overturn the standard practice claims of most property/casualty insurers. This decision did not change existing Ohio law. It basically reinforced the claims practices of most Ohio insurers. In surveying some of Ohio’s insurance companies, OII found that these types of claims are rather infrequent. In the past, companies usually reviewed them on a case-by-case basis, and in some situations felt obliged to pay for such claims. The Supreme Court decision clarified by its ruling that homeowners cannot not be liable in situations where the injury was solely caused by natural accumulations of ice and snow. Because of the nature of Ohio winters, you’ll likely be subject to icy and snowy weather conditions causing sidewalks and roadways to become slick. Basically, you are walking at your own risk. Otherwise a homeowner would perpetually suffer the threat of lawsuits every time Mother Nature comes calling. 2. Should homeowners stop shoveling or clearing sidewalks? This is more of a personal decision than one that can be mandated by any industry. As a homeowner or business owner you may feel you have a moral obligation to keep walkways as clear as possible. By making the decision to not clear sidewalks and steps, not only do you jeopardize the safety of your visitors and guests, but also yourself and your family. 3. Can my local city or municipality invoke snow removal ordinances?Although you may not be held liable for injuries of others caused solely by slipping on ice or snow, some cities and villages have ordinances in place that require residents to make every attempt to keep sidewalks clear and impose subsequent fines on those who disregard warnings to that effect. Such an ordinance cannot invoke a homeowner’s liability for accidental slips and falls as part of its snow removal ordinance requirements. View the Bexley OH ordinance as an example.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Employment Practices Liability

A poor economy not only hits business owners in the profit/loss area but it also creates added liability exposures. During a down turn in the economy, many employers have to downsize their number of employees. This opens the door for employment practice type liability claims. Wrongful termination claims for things such as age, race and sex discrimination are on the rise. Sadly, a number of these claims are false claims and cost employers thousand to defend themselves. However, with an insurance coverage called Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) you can protect your business from such incidents.

EPLI products will help defend you during these claims and pay for the expenses that result from them. A number of products even provide a hotline for employers to call and get advice on how best to handle a layoff or termination. They will even give you ideas on how to create an employee handbook and other employment related forms such as job applications and termination forms.

Hopefully the economy will rebound soon and as a result employers will start to hire again. Even though this would be a positive thing, there is still a liability exposure during this time of growth. Discrimination claims can still arise during the hiring process. EPLI will also protect employers from discrimination claims by individuals that were not hired, but claim discrimination during the interview process.

Whether it is a downturn or upturn in the economy, employment related claims can happen. Feel free to get in touch with a Fey Insurance Services representative to learn more about how to protect your business.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability

Even if your business doesn’t have any vehicles titled in the business name, there is still an auto coverage that you should always have. That coverage is called Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability. To help best explain this coverage here is an example claim. Say that you had an employee who during the lunch hour ran the daily deposit to the bank. They used their own vehicle for this errand. Let’s say that unfortunately during her trip to the bank she caused an auto accident. Now, the first auto insurance policy that would react to this claim is going to be your employee’s personal auto policy, however, if they don’t have any insurance or if their insurance is not enough to take care of the damages, there is a good chance that your business could be drug into a law suit. That is where Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability steps in and helps protect your business.

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability can be written to provide protection for your business when you either hire or rent vehicles for business use and/or your employees use their vehicles on business for you. The premium for Hired Auto Liability protection is based on rental costs. You can also add protection for physical damage to the rented vehicle as an alternative to buying Collision Damage Waiver from the rental car company. The premium for Non-owned Auto Liability is based on the number of employees you have.

So even if your business doesn’t own any vehicles that does not mean that you don’t have an auto liability risk.