Zombies and Insurance – An Unlikely Duo

 

With all the buzz around the new season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, what if a literal zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow? While it’s highly unlikely that zombies will really take over, it’s good to know that insurance is there to protect you when things go wrong, like a telephone pole falling on your house or your TV getting fried by an electrical surge.

Zombie and Insurance Video

Learn more about the ways ERIE can cover you and contact an ERIE agent today.

*Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Deductibles may apply.  See your policy for details or talk to your ERIE Agent.

FMCSA Mandate 12/18/2017

COUNTRYWIDE MANDATE
EFFECTIVE DEC. 18, 2017

The Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration (FMCSA)
will require many commercial
truckers to use an ELD effective
Dec. 18. Generally, truckers who
are currently required to keep
paper logs will need an ELD. This
would include most truckers
who operate across state lines.
Trucks that are older than model
year 2000 are exempt. For more
details on who is affected, visit
the FMCSA website.

WHAT THIS MEANS
FOR YOU
Overdrive reported that many
truckers are apprehensive
about switching to an ELD due
to additional costs and feeling
an invasion of privacy. There’s
widespread concern that a
significant number of drivers
may choose to get out of the
business, leading to a shortage
of tenured truck drivers and
changes in the market.

ALL ELDS ARE
NOT THE SAME
ELDs can be permanently
attached to a truck (cab device)
or can be a hand-held device
(smartphone). Both types make
tracking hours-of-service easier
and more accurate than paper
logs, and also provide vehicle
inspection reports and gauges
featuring key engine stats. All
ELDs must be certified with
the FMCSA to be compliant.
For additional information on
compliant ELDs, visit the
FMCSA website.

GET AN ELD PRIOR
TO THE MANDATE
We recommend truckers
get an ELD well in advance
of the deadline. Drivers
who switch early will
have time to adapt to the
learning curve and become
well-versed on how to use
it correctly when the
mandate takes effect.

Call Me at (317) 420-2867

For a limited time, I may be able to get qualified individuals free use of an ELD through my association with Progressive Insurance and their “SMARTHAUL” program. Or visit us on line at Scott Lynch Agency

I

 

Get a free quote

s1717_get_a_quote_fb_ad

Whatever your regrets in life, your insurance shouldn’t be one of them. Contact me for a no regrets quote from Erie Insurance today. Personalized Get a Quote or call (317) 420-2867.

Add up the savings

Add up the savings
Do the math on ERIE’s multi-policy discount.

Get your quote HERE or call us at (317) 420-2867.

Does alarm company’s ‘We are not an insurer’ language overcome negligence claim?

AUG 03, 2017 | BY STEVEN A. MEYEROWITZ, ESQ., DIRECTOR, FC&S LEGAL

This story is reprinted with permission from FC&&S Legal, the industry’s only comprehensive digital resource designed for insurance coverage law professionals. Visit the website to subscribe.

Most businesses and many homeowners have alarm systems that include continuous monitoring. And the customers of the alarm companies rely on the systems to give them warnings of intruders or other problems. But what happens when the alarm system malfunctions, the business owner’s property is stolen, and the insurance doesn’t cover the claim? Can the business owner recover from the alarm company for negligence or does the contract’s limitation of liability language prevail?

A communication ‘error’

Ivan and Krystyna Homola, the owners of EJ Jewelers, Inc., contracted with Protection One Alarm Monitoring Inc., d/b/a Protection 1 Security Solutions, to install a burglar alarm monitoring system and closed circuit television at their store. In May 2014, the Homolas contracted with the company for burglar monitoring services, the terms of which superseded all prior agreements (2014 Agreement).

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on March 20, 2016, the Homolas received a phone call from Protection One informing them that the jewelry store was experiencing a “communication error.” Ms. Homola directed Protection One to call the police.

An hour later, Ms. Homola “called Protection One to follow up and asked if everything was ok and if the store was protected.” Ms. Homola said that she was told that “everything was fine, the police came to the store, and the store was fully secured by the alarm.”

At 1:00 a.m. on March 21, 2016, the Homolas received a second call from Protection One at which time, they were informed “that the store was again experiencing a ‘communication error’ in a few zones” but that there was “no burglary, just a communication problem.”

Later that morning, Ms. Homola again contacted Protection One, and she was told that “everything [was] fine.”

The next day, March 22, 2016, the Homolas went to the store and discovered that it had been burglarized. Apparently, perpetrators had accessed the alarm system’s power supply, which was housed in the basement of a business adjacent to the jewelry store. After disrupting the power, the perpetrators allegedly waited for the “back-up” batteries in the store’s alarm system to dissipate. Like a scene in a movie, the thieves allegedly cut a hole through the roof and descended into the store, stealing more than $500,000 in jewelry.

That same day, the Homolas also learned “that the cameras supplied by Defendant Protection One … had not filmed at all, and the camera’s backup storage provided by Defendant Protection One was completely empty.”

The Homolas filed a claim with their insurance carrier, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, which had issued a policy covering losses up to $80,000. However, because the stolen merchandise had been “out of safe or vault while closed to business,” the insurance carrier paid only $5,000 on the claim.

The Homolas then sued Protection One for, among other things, breach of contract and gross negligence. Protection One moved to dismiss.

Protection One’s Limitation of Liability

The 2014 agreement provided:

(A)WE ARE NOT AN INSURER * * * OF YOUR PREMISES OR ITS CONTENTS; (B) IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN ADEQUATE INSURANCE COVERING YOU, YOUR PREMISES AND ITS CONTENTS * * *; (D) THE EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES MAY NOT ALWAYS OPERATE AS INTENDED FOR VARIOUS REASONS, INCLUDING OUR NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER FAULT. WE CANNOT PREDICT THE POTENTIAL AMOUNT, EXTENT OR SEVERITY OF ANY DAMAGES * * * THAT MAY BE INCURRED * * * DUE TO THE FAILURE OF THE EQUIPMENT OR SERVICES TO WORK AS INTENDED. AS SUCH: (I) YOU AGREE THAT THE LIMITS ON OUR LIABILITY AND THE WAIVERS AND INDEMNITIES SET FORTH IN THIS AGREEMENT ARE A FAIR ALLOCATION OF RISKS AND LIABILITIES BETWEEN YOU, US AND ANY AFFECTED THIRD PARTIES; (II) YOU WILL LOOK EXCLUSIVELY TO YOUR INSURER FOR FINANCIAL PROTECTION FROM SUCH RISKS AND LIABILITIES, AND (III) * * YOU WAIVE ALL RIGHTS AND REMEDIES AGAINST US, INCLUDING ALL RIGHTS OF SUBROGATION, THAT YOU, ANY INSURER, OR ANY OTHER THIRD PARTY MAY HAVE DUE TO ANY LOSSES YOU OR OTHERS MAY INCUR.

In addition, the 2014 Agreement provided:

Limitation of Liability for Alarm Failure Events. NEITHER WE NOR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY AFFILIATED WITH US SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSSES ARISING DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FROM ANY ALARM FAILURE EVENT.

WE ARE NOT LIABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THE ADEQUACY OF THE EQUIPMENT DESIGN OR DESIGN CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY YOU, YOUR DESIGN PROFESSIONAL, OR LOCAL CODE REQUIREMENTS, IF, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH 10(B), WE OR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY AFFILIATED WITH US ARE DETERMINED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY LOSSES ARISING FROM ANY ALARM FAILURE EVENT, YOUR CLAIMS AGAINST US AND/OR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY AFFILIATED WITH US SHALL BE LIMITED TO $2,000.00. THIS AMOUNT IS YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY ALARM FAILURE EVENT, EVEN IF CAUSED BY PROTECTION ONE’S NEGLIGENCE OR THAT OF OUR AFFILIATES OR OUR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES OR AGENTS, BREACH OF CONTRACT, BREACH OF WARRANTY, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHER FAULT.

Further, the 2014 agreement defined alarm failure events as the “condition, nonfunctioning, malfunction, faulty design, faulty installation, or failure in any respect of the equipment or services to operate or perform as intended.”

A complete defense

The trial court granted Protection One’s motion.

In its decision, the trial court explained that the Homolas’ allegations sufficiently alleged conduct on the part of Protection One that, if true, might constitute “gross negligence.” The trial court reasoned that the Homolas alleged that, on two consecutive days, Protection One failed to alert the police and appropriate authorities after having been notified that the alarm system at the jewelry store was experiencing a “communication error”; in response to Ms. Homola’s call to follow up, Protection One responded that the jewelry store was fully alarmed and secured. In a second conversation, Protection One informed Ms. Homola that “there was no burglary, just a communication problem.”

The trial court then ruled that, notwithstanding any alleged gross negligence, the risk allocation/waiver of subrogation provision set forth in the 2014 agreement, which required the Homolas to obtain insurance for all losses occurring at the jewelry store and pursuant to which they waived any remedies against Protection One, functioned “as a complete defense” to the claims asserted by the Homolas against Protection One.

The case is Homola v. Jewelers Mutual Ins. Co.

Steven A. Meyerowitz, Esq., is the director of FC&S Legal, the editor-in-chief of the Insurance Coverage Law Report, and the founder and president of Meyerowitz Communications Inc. Email him at smeyerowitz@meyerowitzcommunications.com.

Original Article

Recorded Webinars: Laws That Business Owner Should Know

by Carolyn Sennett on June 2, 2016

Employee terminations and payroll record keeping are just two examples of routine business matters that if not handled properly could quickly spiral into a serious problem for business owners.

Employee termination checklist

PrefireChecklist

The law presumes that employees are employed at will. That means an at-will employee may be fired at any time, for any reason (except for a few illegal reasons). But even when termination decisions are made with good cause, there are hundreds of potential grievances that could be filed by former employees. The defensibility of those claims is often dependent on the actions that employers take before the decision to terminate an employee is made or shared.

Watch a 20-minute webinar that guides employers in how to better manage the process before decisions are made so they can take steps now to mitigate those risks.

Overview of federal wage and hour laws

PrefireChecklist

Federal wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) continue to rise nationwide. Simple errors in payroll or recorded hours worked, while seemingly insignificant on a per employee basis, can lead to significant exposure under the FLSA due to the collective action nature of these litigations.

Watch a 20-minute webinar that guides employers in avoiding common errors and mitigating risks.

The videos were provided under an arrangement with The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. Contact a local Erie Insurance agent to learn more about affordable ways to protect your business.

5 Tips for an Effective Small Business Website

by Carolyn Sennett on June 20, 2017

A website is essential to marketing your business. As customers research your products and services, one of their first stops will be your website. It is their first introduction to your business, so naturally you’ll want to do all you can to make their virtual visit a positive experience.

Here is a five-question checkup to help make sure your website is in tip-top condition and gives you a competitive edge.

  1. Are you using a responsive website design?

With more people browsing websites using their smartphones, tablets and other devices, it’s important to create a website that operates seamlessly on multiple platforms. Google reports that more than half off all searches begin on a mobile device. You don’t want to miss a sale or a customer because of a poor website experience.

  1. Is your website optimized for search?

A few simple things that you can do to optimize your site for search engines are add keywords and title tags to your web pages and create and regularly post to a blog to help drive traffic to your website. If you are new to search, look for guides for beginners or tips from reputable resources like moz.com.

  1. Is your site meeting your customers’ expectations?

First impressions of your website are important to keep someone engaged. It’s OK to have graphics on your home page, but do not use complex graphics that may take a long time to download. Be sure your site explains why your business is the best solution for your customers’ needs. Most business websites include at least these four pages: home, product and services, about us and contact us. If you have an interesting business history, add that to your site, too. You may even want to include bios and pictures of yourself and your staff. People like to feel personally connected to the business that they are working with. Check out the infographic from Entrepreneur for more must-have business website features.

  1. Is your web content clear and up to date with clear calls to action?

Keeping your content current is a smart way to build awareness, generate sales and maintain customer relationships. It’s also important for your site to have clear calls to actions. In other words, what do you want your site visitors to do? Common calls to action are to contact you, make a purchase, sign up for a service or get a quote. Capturing visitors’ email addresses could also help you stay in touch with them if they are not ready to buy right away.

  1. Is your website (and your business) listed on search directories?

If your business has a physical address, then you will most likely have a local listing in Google, Yelp, Bing, Internet Yellow Pages, Yahoo! Local and other directories. It is important to claim your listing because it can then lead people to you to find essential details like your business’s address, phone number and hours. It can also help your business rank in local search engine results and encourage customers to post reviews about your products or services. Websites like Google and Facebook for Business let you claim and update the information without a fee, but others will charge you for the privilege.

As you can see, a well-designed website is an asset and a necessity for businesses. It’s a way to build relationships and communicate directly with your customers about the products and services that you offer. An effective business website also gives you credibility to show that you’re committed to providing solutions to your clients’ needs. The more you work on your website, the better your chances for business success.

Visit our Business Website: Scott Lynch Agency

Original Article