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Real Estate

dog bites
Real Estate, Risk Insight

When Fido’s Bite is Worse Than His Bark

Ouch! More than four million people per year are treated for dog bites. Claims generated by bite victims and dog owners can impact property owners and homeowner’s associations as well.We love these poochie pals, but sometimes their bite is worse than their bark.

To the tune of about $570 million, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner insurance liability claims paid in 2015, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The average claim? Nearly $38,000. And even more unsettling, the dog bite incident occurred on the dog owner’s residence half of the time. 77% of times, the victim was a friend or family member.

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New York Brick and Brownstone
Real Estate

An Inside Tour of Our Enhanced New York Brick & Brownstone Program

Last month we announced our partnership with Zurich Insurance as the new underwriter for Distinguished’s hallmark New York Brick & Brownstone Program (NYBB). Developed in 2007, the program provides a diverse portfolio of owner- and tenant-occupied properties located within the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan boroughs with property and liability insurance. NYBB today serves more than 11,000 building owners who represent 40,000 apartments, condos, and co-op units throughout the city.

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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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Pipe Bursts
Real Estate, Risk Insight

Who’s Responsible When That Pipe Bursts?

It’s that time of year again, and for much of the U.S. the freezing weather has set in and many renters flock to warmer destinations to soak up some warmth. Some renters may unplug appliances and turn off the heat when they leave, but the latter could cause major issues if the temperature plunges while the renters are away. If a pipe bursts it’s a very real issue this time of year, and renters can take some simple precautions so they’re not left footing a very large repair bill. That’s right, the property manager will most likely bill the renter or take the repair expense out of the security deposit.

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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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New York Brick and Brownstone
Real Estate, Distinguished Life

We Teamed Up with Zurich on Our New York Brick and Brownstone Program

Distinguished Programs has forged a new affiliation with global insurance provider Zurich Insurance to underwrite our hallmark New York Brick and Brownstone program. With this new relationship, New York Brick and Brownstone will undergo changes to standardize its coverage and offerings to appeal to brokers who have a diverse portfolio of owner- and tenant-occupied properties located within the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan boroughs. Currently, the program serves more than 11,000 building owners who represent 40,000 apartments, condos, and co-op units throughout the city.

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vacant building safety
Real Estate

Vacant Building Safety

When we read about the fire in this vacant building yesterday and the subsequent impact on this Missouri community, we decided that a reminder about vacant building safety was in order.

It was really cold in Missouri this weekend, as it was in many areas of the country. And with the cold weather comes a new set of risks that owners of vacant buildings need to consider. Mike Halvey of Zurich North America, in an article entitled “Protecting your vacant building: How to reduce the risks and become more aware of coverage pitfalls,” lists several tips for owners of vacant buildings to consider as temperatures drop.

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Real Estate, Risk Insight

Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! If you didn’t know, cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and fire injuries. Help increase awareness about preventing home fires this holiday season with these fire safety tips from FEMA.

According to FEMA, nearly 108,000 multi-family residential building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 410 deaths, 4,125 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property loss (this doesn’t include indirect damage such as business interruption). What’s more, multi-family residential building fires account for 29% of all residential building fires. Multi-family residential buildings include structures such as apartments, townhouses, and condominiums.

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Real Estate, Sustainability

Sustainability, Innovation, and Helping the Homeless

Taking care of each other is a good thing. Re-purposing potential waste is a good thing. Finding a way to do both simultaneously is just about as good as it gets. That’s why we’re excited to share this article about a construction project underway right now in California that will convert used shipping containers into housing units for those who may not be in a position to pay for more traditional housing.

Each of the 16 units will feature two walls of floor to ceiling windows, a kitchen, dining area, bathroom and sleeping area. Residents will also have access to low or no-cost support services.

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Real Estate

Contractors CGL vs. Builders Risk

Image - ReginaldReggie’s Explanation: Builder’s risk insurance is “coverage that protects a person’s or organization’s insurable interest in materials, fixtures and/or equipment being used in the construction or renovation of a building or structure should those items sustain physical loss or damage from a covered cause.”

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Real Estate, Hospitality & Restaurants

Bedbugs: The Party Guest Nobody Invited

If you’re thinking of skipping this blog because your hotel or apartment building hasn’t had any complaints of bedbugs, think again.

This six-legged public nuisance can crop up in even the cleanest of places. All it takes is one lonely bedbuggie looking to crash your party. Bedbugs, and the litany of potential problems they can cause, could be just a few bites away.

Did you know there is an online “bedbug registry” where your average Moe, Larry, or Curly can make an anonymous consumer report of a bedbug experience after staying in a hotel or apartment building? Yikes! Not to mention, these little brown buggers having been getting press for substantial settlements awarded in recent lawsuits. Red Roof Inn near Washington DC was ordered to shell out $100K. The Ramada Inn in San Francisco was hit with $71K. And just two months ago, a hotel at Disney Land in California was sued for a whole family of bites.

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Real Estate, Risk Insight

You’ll Probably Want to Skip Wearing the Clown Costume This Halloween

No one has died or been seriously injured – but a bit of Clown Hysteria 2016 is sweeping the nation. When readying the house for trick-or-treaters, ensuring a safe Halloween on your property is key, clown crisis be damned. But you may want to pass on the clown face paint and rubber nose this year.

People dressed as clowns were first reported in South Carolina during late summer with the theory that clowns were trying to coax children into the woods. For the past several weeks, mounting creepy clown sightings have been made in more than twenty states. Many were hoaxes or copycats, but others led to arrests, including terror threats. While some police forces state there is no imminent threat, there has been an uptick in retaliation efforts, like a recent “clown hunt” at Penn State.

While the climate around Halloween may be more charged this year, there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of injury while trick-or-treaters are coming to your door. Starting with the basics isn’t a bad idea in the wake of this national clown-related weirdness.

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Real Estate, Risk Insight

Helping Tenants with Fire Prevention and Safety

According to FEMA, nearly 108,000 multi-family residential building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 410 deaths, 4,125 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property loss (this doesn’t include indirect damage such as business interruption). What’s more, multi-family residential building fires account for 29% of all residential building fires. Multi-family residential buildings include structures such as apartments, townhouses, and condominiums.

October is “Fire Prevention Month” and as part of our effort to assist commercial property owners and landlords in stemming fire losses, we’re providing some helpful information on the common causes of fires in apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and other multi-family units. Most multifamily fires result from unattended food on kitchen stoves, electrical fires from heaters, and smoking in bed.

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