Flood vs. Water Damage

By Denise Aronson

Denise Aronson, Vice President, Personal Lines

Most people confuse flood damage and water damage. They believe them to be one in the same, and conclude that both are covered under a homeowner’s policy.

Under a common homeowner’s policy, flood insurance is usually excluded as evidenced by the most recent Sandy Storm.

So what are the differences? Let’s start with a simple definition.

Flood insurance is defined as follows:

“Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters;
Mudflows, caused by a flood related to a river of liquid and flowing mud on a surface of normally dry land areas.”

A flood is something that usually occurs from the outside of your home.

 Water Damage is defined as follows:

“Intrusion of water, usually from inside your home.”

The most common causes of Water Damage include:

  •  A burst pipe
  •  Leaks
  • Rain that enters your home from either the roof or windows

How to protect yourself from water damage?

The installation of a water leak detection alarm. These alarms detect small amounts of moisture and water and alert you with the sound of an alarm. They are not expensive to purchase and are worth the cost to both give you peace of mind.

Further explanations and causes can be obtained by either reading your policy and its exclusions, or contacting your agent.

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

Get the Bite on Mosquitoes with Routine Vaccinations

By Christina DiSalvo, Equine Insurance Specialist

Christina DiSalvo

Weather brings more than wind, fire, hail and water. Mosquitoes, ticks, and a multitude of other creepy-crawlies bloom while we recover from the elemental damage. Aside from annoyance, these bugs bring disease, not only to ourselves but to our equine companions.

Routine vaccinations are the best source of prevention. But we need to be mindful of standing water, not just on the immediate boarding property but surrounding area. Mosquitoes can travel as little as 300 feet to 100 miles away from their breeding areas. According to an article at theHorse.com, “Flood of Equine Encephalitis Cases Follow Hurricane Isaac,” Hurricane Isaac created the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

As of September 2012, there have been 42 confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) and 43 confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). These numbers in Louisiana are almost double to the reports issued by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Though these cases are cropping up in the southern and eastern states, all states are potential breeding grounds. Since these viruses can cause death, it is important to be vigilant about vaccinations and maintain a mosquito free zone.

Mosquitoes are an all year pest, so don’t think because it is may be getting a little cooler outside that you can drop your guard. Vaccines are recommended twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. Vaccinations and routine care are not covered under the Major Medical endorsement on a Mortality policy, they are necessary to keep your horse healthy, whether as a backyard pet or national champion.

Here’s a helpful checklist to make your barn the last place a mosquito wants to feed:

  • Vaccinate twice a year.
  • Remove all standing water on a regular basis. 
  • Use fans for covered/enclosed barns.
  • Use insect repellents and/or fly sheets to keep the pests from biting.
  • Avoid using lights inside or around the stable at dusk and keep a few incandescent bulbs around the perimeter of the barns to lure mosquitoes away from your horses.
  • Contact the local vector control in your area to treat waterways, reservoirs and other natural sources of water to keep the mosquito population down. It’s what they are there for so don’t hesitate to call.

Of course, as all horse owners know, no matter what we do to protect our equines, they can still get sick or injured. Be prepared with a Mortality policy that is endorsed with Major Medical coverage. Even a trip to the vet hospital to be treated for a cold or stop pneumonia in its tracks can cost a couple thousand dollars. The insurance is worth the peace of mind.

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

2012 World Series of Team Roping Finals in Las Vegas

by Christina G. DiSalvo

The 7th annual World Series of Team Roping (WSTR)Finals took place in December 2012 at the South Point Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

WSTR made history with a $6 million payoff for the week. The #10 Finale had the highest payoff of all with $1.75 million paid out and the first place team receiving $237,000. This beat the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) team roping record of $1.5 million.

The South Point was filled with cowboys and cowgirls for the World Series of Team Roping and the National Finals Rodeo. South Point had its own Country Gift Show, but if the selection wasn’t big enough, the Sands Expo & Convention Center was hosting the Country Christmas and the Las Vegas Convention Center hosted Cowboy Christmas and Fanfest.

Dale Gibson, Momentous-sponsored Team Roper

 This year marked the first year for the Momentous Equine Division and our first ever sponsored rider, Dale Gibson of Gibson Ranch. We were proud to support Dale Gibson, and though he didn’t make it into the #10 Finale, we hope to be a sponsor next year.

 About Us

The equine specialists at Momentous Insurance Brokerage understand the passion of equine enthusiasts and professionals, and know how to address the risks they face. Our experts have an average of 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, but that’s not all. We are also accomplished equestrians who understand the horse world.

Hiring Domestic Help

If you are looking to hire some additional help around the house to watch your children, clean, perform gardening tasks or cook, you have a lot of things to consider.

You need to determine where to find assistance, what your insurance needs are and how to fulfill your legal obligations.

Here’s what you need to know:

Hire a Service Agency

  • Check references to verify the company’s reliability before hiring them.
  • Consult Better Business Bureau (BBB) for complaints filed against the company.
  • Ask the company how they conduct background checks on the help they provide.
  • Ask to see proof of insurance in case your property is damaged by their hired help.

Hire Help Through an Agency

  • Check the agency’s background and the BBB for complaints.
  • Inquire about the fees charged to you for using the agency’s services.
  • Determine how the agency will work with you to find the necessary help that you need. Also determine how the agency will work with you if the candidate they select is not a good fit for your family.
  • Determine how the agency screens its potential candidates.
  • Insist that candidates are individually interviewed, have their references checked and that their criminal and driving records are investigated.
  • Determine whether the candidate you choose is legally able to work in the United States.

If you’ve hired someone on your own, you have several legal obligations. You must first confirm that the person is legally able to work in the U.S. Then, once hired, you will need to pay taxes on their wages.

Fulfilling your legal tax requirements is easy if you know where to look for information. Contact the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov. The IRS produces a Household Employer’s Tax Guide to provide you with all the necessary information. It is also wise to contact your state’s Department of Labor to determine what state’s laws apply to your situation as well.

For information about workers’ compensation, employment practices liability or even health benefits for your domestic staff, please contact us at 818-933-2700 or info@mmibi.com.

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

Non-Owned Aircraft: Named Insured vs Additional Insured

By Natalie Ahaus, Account Executive

Q: “Why do I need a Non-Owned Aircraft policy if the charter company is adding me as an additional insured?”

A:  Being an Additional Insured on the owner’s policy offers very limited protection. The Owned Aircraft Liability policy, held by the charter operator, has limits that apply to its entire operation. When you are named as an Additional Insured it means that you are sharing the liability limit on the policy, so instantly, that limit is diluted. If the charter company provides proof of its insurance to you, there is no way for you to know if there are outstanding claims that may erode the limit the company has purchased.

In addition, an Addition Insured is only protected by the policy with respect to operations by or on behalf of the aircraft owner. This means that if you are found negligent, there would be no coverage extended.  For example, if a party sought legal action against you for your acts (e.g., arranging the charter, or for picking that particular charter operator instead of another), there would be no coverage provided by owner’s policy even if you are listed as an Additional Insured. This liability could even extend to your business manager or other party who may be involved in arranging the charter on your behalf.  While the majority of all aircraft accidents are pilot or mechanical error, there are instances where the person chartering the aircraft was held liable for the accident.  And accidents of this nature can be catastrophic.

The only way to protect yourself is through a Non Owned Aircraft policy.  With this, you are the policyholder and the full liability limit is available only to you.  The limited coverage offered from the Additional Insured status of the owner’s policy would still apply, and the Non Owned Aircraft policy would rest over and above the operator/owner’s policy limits if they were exhausted and or did not respond to a given loss.

To request a quote or to learn more, please contact our office at 818-933-2700.

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

President Diane Brinson of Momentous Insurance Quoted in American Agent & Broker Magazine

Image from www.propertycasualty360.com

 

Van Nuys, CA – October 9, 2012 – Momentous Insurance Brokerage was featured in the October issue of American Agent & Broker magazine in the article “Educate the High Net Worth Customer.” Diane Brinson, president of the firm, provided insightful commentary on how to best insure valuable jewelry and private collections.

To read the article, please click here.

 

Employment Practices Protection

Why is Employment Practices Liability Protection needed?

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for nannies, housekeepers, private assistants, gardeners and others to take their employers to court.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) responds to claims of wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination and other suits brought forward by domestic employees. There is no coverage for these types of claims on personal liability or workers’ compensation
policies.

Even if the allegations are false, a liability lawsuit could drag on for months, bring grief to your family and cost thousands to defend. If the staff member leaks their claim to the media, your reputation also could suffer irreparable damage.

In these trying financial times, there is a tendency for these types of claims natures to increase, leaving domestic employers vulnerable.

Real-life Claim Examples:

  • A gardener was fired for habitual tardiness. He subsequently sued his employer for wrongful termination, stating he was never advised of setworking hours.
  • After several years of employment, a housekeeper was let go; her employer felt she was not doing an adequate job. The employer hired a new housekeeper, who happened to be younger. The original employee sued for wrongful termination and age discrimination.
  • A live-in nanny, who worked for a prominent family for over ten years, sued her employer for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Due to the employer’s standing in the community, the local media prominently featured the lawsuit and subsequent trial.

Contact Momentous Insurance Brokerage today for more information!

(Source: Private Client Group, a Division of Chartis)

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

 

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Insuring a Second Home

PROTECT YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

If you’re investing in a second home, we’ve gathered some insurance basics that will help you make the best buying decision when it comes to determining insurability and estimating your ongoing cost of ownership.

Coverage Options

At a minimum, your lender will require that you carry hazard insurance to protect your property against damage from theft, fire, flooding or windstorms. It is also a good idea to add Liability insurance, which covers you and members of your household for accidental injuries to your visitors.  Opting for Property plus Liability insurance adds up to a standard Homeowners Insurance package. For an extra layer of protection, a Personal Umbrella Liability policy extends your liability coverage for properties named in the policy.

Dwelling Fire Insurance

Since most homeowner policies require occupancy as a condition of insurance, the fact that you visit infrequently may preclude you from obtaining full Homeowners coverage.  Dwelling Fire Insurance is an alternate coverage option utilized in insuring residential rental or non-owner occupancy property, including vacant property.

A Dwelling Fire policy continues to offer coverage for a home and other structures (detached sheds or garages, for example) for perils named in the policy.  Named perils listed in a typical Fire Dwelling Policy protect against damage caused by fire, collapse, lightening strike, wind, hail, explosion and smoke. For more coverage, consider adding Personal Property Protection and Liability Insurance to a Dwelling Fire policy.

Renting Out Your Home to Others?

Whether your second property is an apartment unit or a family home, if you are renting the property, you will have little control over the physical damage that can occur in or on it. To mitigate your risks, Tenant-Occupied Dwelling Insurance will cover the costs incurred by damage, including fire, storms, burglary and vandalism. It does not cover your tenant’s personal property.

Renting your property furnished or unfurnished also has insurance coverage implications. If you are renting your property furnished, make sure to let us know.  We can advise you on the best coverage options and whether you need to consider requiring longer-term tenants to carry additional Renter’s Insurance.

As with all Homeowners Insurance, it is important to be sure that there is enough coverage to protect all of your property values and assets when purchasing coverage.

Cost Considerations

Sometimes it costs more to insure a second home than it costs to insure your primary residence. Why? Because premiums are based on a variety of factors such the amount of time that your home will be unoccupied, its location and the liability from renting the property.

Often the qualities that attracted you to your second home — the spectacular mountain views or sunsets over the ocean — are the same ones that can make insuring it more costly. 

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

Horse owners: We’ve got an app for that!

By Christina G. DiSalvo, M.A.

Do you own a race horse or own a share of the next Triple Crown Winner?  We can equip you with the right policy to protect your assets and your equines.  You need liability protection whether your future stakes winner is stabled at the racetrack or a private facility.  Mortality insurance is also available for your race horse for when the unthinkable happens.  Don’t think it will be your horse? Neither did Fox Hill Farms when Eight Belles went down at the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

Starting a horse club for your barn or with a group of friends?  We will help you get the appropriate liability coverage in place, whether you do trail rides or are starting a new club in the AQHA or Arabian Horse Association.  You’ll need to have a certificate of insurance to provide a venue if you host off-site events. Or if you host the next 4th of July BBQ trail ride and want to invite more than just members, you’ll want to make sure that you are covered against that novice getting dumped when the horse you provided decides to make a mad dash back for the barn.

Purchasing a new horse? You want peace of mind while your new horse is in transit to your barn? Ease your worries with a Mortality and Major Medical policy.  The application process is simple and so is binding coverage. The horse is over $50,000. Not a problem.  You need a vet exam anyway to cross state lines and you probably wouldn’t sign the sales contract without confirming the horse is sound and in good health.  Well, we can use the same vet reports.

Are you a trainer or looking to make the jump from amateur to professional? You’ll need liability insurance to provide to the facility where you train your client’s horses or give lessons.  Let us be your professional advisors to get you the right protection the first time around.  

Turning your collection of tack into a money making business? Great! We’ll get the application started for your new tack store, whether straight retail, retail and consignment or consignment only.  You provide us with the inventory and projected profits while we do the rest. 

Whatever your equine insurance need, we can help or find a way. We know horses and we know insurance — giving you the advantage.  

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein.  If you’d like to further discuss the topics raised here, please feel free to contact Christina DiSalvo at 818.933.2796 or cdisalvo@mmibi.com.

Why should you consider Personal Umbrella Insurance?

Personal Umbrella Insurance: A small price to pay for peace of mind

Many individuals and families are unknowingly engaged in daily activities that may result in lawsuits. With the frequency and cost of lawsuits on the rise, you need to be adequately covered. Personal umbrella insurance is a way to mitigate today’s liability risks that aren’t covered in your primary liability program.

Typically, a $1,000,000 personal umbrella covering one house and two vehicles costs less than $225 in annual premium. Personal umbrella coverage is a small cost that could save you a fortune!

You should consider personal umbrella insurance if…

  • Your assets are greater than your insurance liability limits
  • Your are financially responsible for children
  • You frequently host guests at your property
  • Your residence includes a swimming pool or hot tub
  • You own watercraft or off-road vehicles
  • You own rental or vacation properties
  • You participate in volunteer activities

Real Life Claims Scenarios:

Internet Blogger: The insured’s daughter hated math class as well as the teacher. The daughter made several “disparaging” remarks about her teacher online. The teacher successfully sued the parents for $750,000.

Faulty Furnace: The insured’s tenant claims she became ill from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from a faulty furnace. The tenant claimed permanent brain damage and demanded $1,000,000.

Coaching Circumstances: A teenager, who was destined for greatness as a softball player, filed a $700,000 lawsuit against her former coach, alleging his “incorrect” teaching style ruined her chances for an athletic scholarship.

How to Obtain Personal Umbrella Insurance

Simply call Momentous today at 818.933.2700 for assistance!
 

(Source: United States Liability Insurance Group)

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein.