Category

Community Associations

Flood Readiness
Real Estate, Community Associations, Risk Insight

Oroville Dam Risk Highlights Importance of Flood Readiness for Property Managers

After a five-year drought throughout the state, Northern California’s surface water systems have now been pushed to the breaking point on the heels of weeks of rainfall. Nearly 190,000 people were evacuated on February 12 over fears that a damaged spillway at the nation’s tallest dam in Lake Oroville located in the Sierra Nevada foothills could fail and unleash a wall of water. Officials ordered residents and commercial businesses to stay away until they felt confident that the risk of flooding was reduced. Although the evacuation was changed to a warning two days later and residents and business owners were allowed to return to their communities, they were advised to be prepared to evacuate again at a moment’s notice should new problems arise.

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Real Estate, Hospitality & Restaurants, Community Associations, Risk Insight

Preventing Slips and Falls in Winter Months

Slip and fall accidents account for 15% of all accidental deaths in the United States. Annually, an estimated one million Americans will have an injury related to a fall, 600,000 will be hospitalized and 17,000 deaths will occur.

Studies find most injuries result from contact with outside surfaces. Property owners could be liable for injuries sustained on their property if they did not ensure a safe environment for visitors to walk. According to a fourteen year Distinguished Programs study, Slips and falls are the leading source of guest injury, claims, and insurance cost.

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door locks
Real Estate, Community Associations, Risk Insight

How Secure Are Your Door Locks?

It’s a phone call no property owner wants to receive. Your tenant’s door locks did not keep a perpetrator out. The tenant has been assaulted in his or her apartment – in one of your buildings.

The victim has survived a robbery along with a physical assault and the perpetrator has been caught. Now the legal teams are not only looking at the perp, but they’re assessing the potential for a premise liability claim. It was bad enough that the assault occurred, but the ramifications could extend to building owners as well.

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Hospitality & Restaurants, Community Associations, Risk Insight

A Bird’s-Eye View on High-Rise Window Security

A century ago, buildings that were more than a few stories high were an engineering marvel; today, multi-storied and high-rise hotels are plentiful and routinely soar to increasing heights, all the better to market the expansive views as a major marketing point. Unfortunately, unique exposures exist that can trigger general liability and umbrella liability claims—consider tragic events such as one guest who leapt to his death from a high-rise window in the penthouse, or an inebriated party guest who stepped up on a railing to get a better view of the sunset and lost her balance, toppling over the edge.

Sometimes the occurrence is one that defies the odds, as with the claim where the guests overrode the active security locks/measures on the window of a third-story bedroom and their toddler bounced from the bed right out the window (yet miraculously survived). In some situations, guests attempted suicide and their families later filed insurance claims, arguing that the windows on the higher floors shouldn’t have been able to open wide enough to allow a person to go through them.

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Community Associations

Bidding Your Community Association Insurance Program

Today we’re welcoming guest blogger Phil Masi, CIRMS, Senior Vice President at Assured Partners in Lake Mary, FL. Handling over 200 associations throughout Florida, and serving as a community association board member himself, Phil knows a thing or two about how a board selects an insurance program. Read on, and share with your boards, as Phil breaks down the terms and common misconceptions about this sometimes overwhelming process for new board members.
Bidding Your Community Association Insurance Program
By: Phillip Masi 
As President of two HOAs I understand the boards’ mentality when it comes to bidding services such as landscaping, painting, accounting services and the like. Most boards do not have the background in these specific areas so they rely heavily on their management company to make sure the bids come in correctly. My experience as both an Insurance Agent and Board Member has provided me with a unique perspective on the issue of “bidding” insurance. The purpose of this article is to provide you with the same insight on how Boards can ensure they choose the best insurance option at renewal.
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Community Associations

Are Your Community Association’s Crime Policy Limits Really Enough?

In a previous article, we touched upon Employee Dishonesty insurance – “protection for your money when it’s stolen by an employee.” Now we’ll take a closer look at the impact of employee theft on community associations, and how the limits on a Crime policy for many associations may come up short.

Let’s first consider the types of employee-theft related cases community associations throughout the country face. There are countless of cases involving fraudulent activities that include the theft of cash receipts; under-the-table payments, bribes or kickbacks from vendors; check tampering; creating and paying fictitious vendors; creating inflated or phony expense vouchers; paying non-existent employees; lapping – the manipulation of accounts receivable to steal cash; and personal credit card usage by employees, among others. Now, look at whether you have the right Crime insurance limits in place to cover the costs of employee theft.

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Community Associations, Risk Insight

Lax Security Results in Tragedy, Hits Bottom Line for Apartment Owners

A $10 million verdict was not what the owners of an apartment complex in Clayton County, Georgia expected to hear in connection with a 2015 shooting death of one of its residents. But that’s exactly the amount the jury rendered after it was convinced by the victim’s lawyer that the owners of the complex were lax when it came to security. The shooting during an apparent robbery took the life of a father of three who was returning home from going to the store. The award some speculate was that large because of a previous shooting that took place in 2013 at the same complex that killed a 13-year-old boy.

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Community Associations, Risk Insight

Impact of Airbnb-Type Rentals on Condo Associations, HOAs

Many condo owners are using sites such as Airbnb, Homeaway, Vacation Rentals and VRBO as a way to monetize their assets. Yet while there are monetary benefits for condo owners in using these home-sharing sites, doing so poses significant risks to both the association and the condominium owner, including liability exposure, damage to common areas, and overall safety to all residents.

colourful holiday seaside apartments in summer sun england

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Real Estate, Hospitality & Restaurants, Community Associations, Cultural Institutions, Risk Insight

How to Help Customers Understand the Importance of Umbrella Coverage

Here at Distinguished a lot of our customers question why umbrella coverage is necessary, especially for entities like condominium associations that aren’t perceived to be high risk. Most feel confident that they won’t experience severe losses, and consequently that they don’t need to spend money they may not have in order to purchase an umbrella policy. It’s a valid point. If you haven’t gone through a horrific claim experience (and we hope you never will), it’s hard to imagine the impact from an emotional perspective, much less financial.

Nevertheless, tragedy can strike despite the most careful attention to loss prevention. And when you, your association, or family are involved in one of these tragedies, the last thing you want to be worried about is your insurance.

So, the best way we can answer the question of why umbrella coverage is necessary is to tell stories. Stories about everyday folks who, despite their best intentions, found themselves in the middle of horrible claim situations.

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Real Estate, Community Associations, Risk Insight

The Path to Pool Safety This Season

Life preserver in poolPool season is here. Which means it’s time to invest in new sunscreen and pull those bathing suits out of storage. It’s also time for community associations and property owners to reassess pool safety, maintenance, and risk management.

Most pool injuries are minor in nature, but some can result in broken limbs, head or spinal injuries, and even death. And if the community association or property owners are found to be at fault, the damages can be severe.

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Real Estate, Community Associations, Market Insights

California’s Drought, Our Shared Responsibility

Thanks to new water usage regulations in California, the state saved nearly 388 billion gallons of water between June 2015 and February 2016. That is enough water to supply nearly six million residents for a year.

Although increased rain and snow levels helped to ease the water crises in California, it wasn’t enough to draw the state out its fifth year of drought. Which is why those temporary water usage regulations in California will likely be made permanent this year.

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