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Remodeling Your Home – What to Consider

You’ve hired a reputable builder, collected paint swatches and selected the siding and now you’re finally ready to start that long-awaited remodeling project.

What Protection Does it Offer?

Whether your addition budget is large or small, you are adding both the value of your home and your exposure to risk. To ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you have the coverage you need, here’s what you need to know.

Working with General Contractors

The best way to minimize your renovation risk is to hire a reputable general contractor for the job. As part of the biding process, ask the general contractor to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of the policies. Specifically, check for coverage for the following:
• Workers’ Compensation: Verify that he or she has workers’ compensation coverage in the event that an employee or subcontractor gets hurt on the job.
• General Liability: Ask if the contractor has liability insurance, which covers losses due to negligence and errors or omission, which results in property damage. Also ask that you are added as an “additional insured.”
• Builders Risk: This policy is designed to cover damage to your home and materials, including those not installed yet. We can help you verify whether you should require this from your contractor, based on your renovation project.

Advice for Do-It-Yourselfers

If you decide to do it alone and manage a renovation yourself, you assume all the risks. A review of your homeowners coverage for liability and property is prudent, as you are assuming more risks and exposures than contemplated by homeowners insurance.

Hiring subcontractors who can provide you with a “Certificate of Insurance” or copies of their policies showing their general liability and workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for your legal protection. Otherwise, you could be subject to workers’ compensation laws, should they become injured while working on your home. If a friend or relative helps out as a favor and gets injured, your homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of their injuries, up to your policy limits. For an extra layer of protection, it’s a good idea to also carry umbrella liability coverage, which kicks in to provide liability coverage above your homeowners limits.

Insuring the Real Value of Your Home

Experts estimate that 1 out of 4 remodeling projects adds at least 25 percent to the value of a home, yet often most homeowners forget to increase their coverage to protect their investment. Most homeowners insurance policies require 100 percent of the home’s replacement cost, so it’s important to raise your home’s policy limit before your project begins.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:45 pm February 22, 2017


Most Cyber Attacks in 2016 Caused by Ransomware and DDoS Attacks

According to a recent report from Radware, a leading cyber security provider, nearly half of all surveyed businesses experienced a ransomware attack in 2016. Ransomware is a type of attack where an organization is “locked out” of its computer network until a financial ransom is paid, usually with the anonymous and digital bitcoin currency.

The report also showed that cyber criminals frequently used the threat of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack to elicit a bitcoin ransom. These attacks slow down a target server until it is rendered useless, often leading to prolonged business interruptions.

What’s worse is that these types of attacks are relatively easy for criminals to perform, and are often automated by using malware or bots. Additionally, Radware found that 40 percent of respondents don’t have a cyber incident response plan in place to counteract ransomware and DDoS attacks.

The report also made a number of predictions for cyber attacks in 2017, which included the creation of new types of DDoS attacks, more targeted ransomware attacks and the increased prevalence of politically-motivated cyber attacks.

Filed under: Cyber Liability — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 3:00 pm February 15, 2017


Major Climate Disasters Caused $46 Billion in Damage in 2016

Although severe weather is likely every year, there were 15 separate climate disasters in 2016 that led to at least $1 billion in damage. That’s the second most severe weather events in one year since the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) began tracking the costs of storms in 1980.

According to an annual report from the NCEI, various floods, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and severe thunderstorms led to approximately $46 billion in total damage last year. Additionally, this amount doesn’t account for losses due to the loss natural resources, health care costs or loss of life.

Climate-related disasters of any kind can have a large impact on businesses. Even if your business makes it through a storm relatively intact, damage to your vendors or your area’s infrastructure can lead to substantial business interruption. For help preparing for a severe storm, contact your partner at Warren G. Bender Co.

Filed under: Recent Headlines — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:53 pm February 8, 2017


New Recommended Practices for Anti-retaliation Programs

In the wake of OSHA’s new electronic injury and illness reporting and anti-retaliation rules, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently released new recommended practices for anti-retaliation programs.

OSHA currently maintains 22 whistleblower protection laws that are designed to protect employees from retaliation. According to the DOL, its recommendations should help employers to comply with these laws and create workplaces in which employees feel comfortable voicing concerns and reporting injuries and illnesses. The DOL also outlined the five most important traits of any anti-retaliation program:

1. Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
2. Management leadership, commitment and accountability
3. A system for listening to and resolving employees’ safety and compliance concerns
4. A system for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
5. Program oversight

The DOL stated that the new recommended practices are only advisory in nature, and don’t create or alter any obligations created by OSHA standards and regulations.

For more information on OSHA’s new rules and anti-retaliation programs, contact us at (916) 380-5300 today.

Filed under: Recent Headlines,Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:49 pm February 1, 2017