So you have a drone: Does your insurance cover damage?

So you have a drone: Does your insurance cover damage?

Excerpted article was written by | By Elizabeth Dinan

PORTSMOUTH — State insurance regulators advise property owners who fly drones, or have family members who fly drones, to review their insurance policies to ensure they’re covered for liability, while some insurers are limiting or eliminating drone-related coverage.

“It is not unusual for the insurance market to develop forms to address new and emerging risks,” said Danielle Barrick, director of communications for the New Hampshire Insurance Department. “Drone liability would qualify as an emerging risk. To that extent, it is a new trend.”

Barrick said a standard homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for drone damage. What is new, she said, is that some insurers are adding an “exclusionary endorsement,” sometimes called a rider, that removes or limits coverage otherwise provided by the policy.

“Thus, if a drone user wishes to be protected or to have greater protection, the drone user should either have their current insurer issue a policy without an exclusionary endorsement related to drones, or find an insurer that will issue such a policy,” she said. “As the homeowners insurance market is a competitive one, the drone user should be able to obtain multiple quotes for the desired level of coverage.”

Professional drone photographer David Murray of New Castle said he has a specific insurance policy for his drone operation and thinks all drone operators should be responsible for any damage or injury they cause.

“Just like automobile operators,” he said.

But, Murray added he also thinks insurance companies shouldn’t back away from claims for damage caused by drones.

“I think kids playing in the back yard with a ball and bat can do similar damage,” he said, noting there aren’t insurance exclusions for those accidents. “Why one and not the other?”

Murray said there are insurance options that cover single drone flights and blanket policies to cover periods of time, like an auto insurance policy.
“Drones are new so people want to fixate on them and be afraid of them,” he said. “In terms of the danger they pose, you can do more damage with a car. And you certainly can do more damage with a gun. I think it’s appropriate to step back and reasonably look at it.”

According to the state Insurance Department, “the competitive homeowners insurance market allows residents to choose a policy that will provide coverage for drones.” Barrick said people with drones should ensure they have the coverage they want while the market also allows people without drones “to seek a policy that excludes liability coverage for drone use, which might result in a lower premium.”

“This is how a competitive market is designed to operate,” she said.

The Insurance Department does not collect data detailing how often an insurer includes “a particular endorsement,” like drone limits or exclusions, adding “exclusionary drone endorsements are a fairly new type of coverage form.”

Murray said drone hobbyists tend to fly small, lightweight drones and would “have to work pretty hard to cause some damage.”

“Most are made of toy-grade plastic and weigh less than two pounds,” he said. “Most have less mass than a seagull.”

He said some drone controls have more intelligence for piloting than others, meaning some require more work to control than others. He said it also takes many hours of practice to master drone flying.
“I think some people have a good experience when they start flying and get overconfident,” he added. Some insurance policies are also now citing exclusions of coverage for damage caused by drones that interfere with aircraft. Murray said that’s ”

Some insurance policies are also now citing exclusions of coverage for damage caused by drones that interfere with aircraft. Murray said that’s “a major source of potential concern” that could cause loss of life, but is highly unlikely to occur. He said anyone who flies a drone should know it’s prohibited within five miles of an airport or tower and that the law is printed on drone packaging.

He said that’s why the FAA requires all drones weighing more than a half pound to be registered and marked with identifying numbers.

“The department’s advice for drone owners and all insureds is to work with their insurer and/or insurance agent to ensure that they have the appropriate level of liability coverage and to not be reluctant to shop their insurance to find the insurer and policy that best fits their needs,” Barrick said.

Source: SeaCoastOnline

Insurance claims from California wildfires near $12 billion

Insurance claims from last year’s deadly California wildfires have reached $11.8 billion, the most expensive series of wildfires in state history.

The staggering figure released Wednesday includes $1.8 billion in insurance claims from fires that swept through Southern California in December.

The rest is from a series of fires in Northern California’s wine country in October.

Before last year, California’s most expensive single fire was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire that prompted $2.7 billion in claims in today’s dollars.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says that the firestorms damaged or destroyed 32,000 homes, 4,300 businesses and more than 8,200 vehicles, boats and other equipment.

The totals do not include insurance claims related to mudslides that buried homes and vehicles in Montecito when torrential rain fell on hillsides burned in the December fires.

Here is a look at three notable decisions in Canada and other commonwealth countries.

Read more

Rain gutters cause many home drainage problems

By Dean Fosdick

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The person who coined the phrase “saving for a rainy day” must have been a property owner with home drainage problems.

The financial costs of poor drainage can be substantial, and the human health costs significant too.

Prevention is important, and many clues exist for predicting trouble, says Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer with NDS Inc., a manufacturer of drainage products in Woodland Hills, California.

“Low spots in the landscape can be hard to see, but areas where the ground is wet for long periods of time after it rains or the sprinklers run are locations where water is collecting,” Larsen said.

Discoloration and mould growth on a home’s foundation, and places where stucco, siding or paint easily fall off a house are indications that water is pooling, he said. “You should suspect water is getting into your home if you detect damp or musty smells in your basement or crawl space,” he said.

Most homes have some kind of drainage problem, and most often the damage comes from rain gutters, Larsen said.

“Because a lot of homes have gutter downspouts that lead straight to the ground, you’ve got all this water coming off the roof and pouring to just one point, where it can collect against a home’s foundation and flood landscapes and planter areas,” he said. “Fortunately, gutter problems are also the easiest to fix with a downspout extender.”

The financial costs of poor drainage can add up. Outlays for drying basements can range from $1,000 to $10,000, according the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program. Repairing foundation damage can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000, the National Association of Realtors says.

The human health costs of poor drainage on properties also can be sizeable, Larsen said. “Poorly drained runoff from roofs can enter basements or flow inside homes through foundational cracks or leaks where it can warp floorboards and turn finished rooms into mildewy and mouldy messes that can attract insects and rodents.”

Inadequate drainage also cracks foundations, creates standing water that ruins yards and gardens, and allows breeding spots for disease-carrying mosquitoes and heartworms.

“Soggy, poorly graded ground spells certain doom for lawns, shrubs, plants and gardens,” Larsen said.

Three of the most common solutions for drainage problems are catch basins, pop-up emitters and French drains.

Catch basins trap sediment and contaminants beneath downspouts for drainage to safer locations. Pop-up emitters are connected to underground drainage pipes and channeled away from structures. The pop-up tops allow water to drain when full but remain closed when empty to keep out rodents and debris. French drains are gravel-filled trenches that direct storm water away from specific areas. They collect water over their entire length, rather than from one particular spot.

With water drainage problems, though, come opportunities, said Monica Day, a water resources educator with Michigan State University Extension.

“Be creative,” Day said. “There are positive ways of dealing with too much water. Keep it in the soil but where it’s not damaging anything. Let (ornamental) plants grow there to filter out the water and retain it.

“That provides beautification as well as practicality,” she said.

Insurer AIG is buying Validus in deal worth about $5.56B

NEW YORK _ Insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, in a deal worth approximately $5.56 billion.

American International Group Inc. said Monday that it will pay $68 for each share of Validus Holdings Ltd. That’s a 45.5 per cent premium to the Bermuda company’s Friday closing price of $46.72.

Shares of Validus rose almost 5 per cent before the market opened.

AIG President and CEO Brian Duperreault said in a prepared statement that the acquisition will bring new businesses and capabilities to the New York company’s general insurance operation.

The deal is targeted to close by the middle of the year. It still needs approval from Validus shareholders.

Totten Acquires the Shares of Ontario-Based Easyinsure

Press Release:

Chicago, January 3, 2018

Totten Insurance Group Inc. (Totten), a leading national insurance managing general agency, announced today that it has acquired the shares of Belyer Insurance Limited operating as EasyInsure (EasyInsure). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Windsor, Ontario, EasyInsure is Canada’s first and leading digital insurance brokerage. The company expanded beyond its progressive personal insurance platform to also offer a full suite of commercial insurance products online. It now ranks as one of Canada’s fastest growing insurance brokerages. Totten intends to leverage EasyInsure’s digital capabilities to better support its current and future clients.

“EasyInsure’s rapid growth is a testament to both its knowledgeable professionals and distribution platform as well as Canada’s appetite for web-based insurance transactions,” said Susan Murphy, President of Totten. “We’re eager to utilize EasyInsure’s online processes to increase our operational efficiencies in distribution and, more importantly, ensure we continue to deliver customized solutions to our customers when and how they want them.”

EasyInsure founders and Managing Partners, Grant Belanger and Leen Meyer, will join Totten and continue to manage the EasyInsure operations, while reporting to Murphy.

“Joining Totten allows us to leverage the expert underwriting resources together with a national platform,” said Belanger. “Our clients and prospects will continue to receive customized guidance and best-in-class service as well as a more robust suite of insurance solutions and capabilities.”

Meyer added, “Like Totten, EasyInsure is focused on innovation, which is why we’re so excited to join the agency whose brand is synonymous with future-forward products and services to meet the needs of customers.”

About Totten
Totten Insurance Group is a leading Canadian MGA with the expertise to handle challenging accounts, as well as specialty risks. With offices across Canada, Totten supports the broker community in key segments, including Commercial Property, Commercial Casualty, Healthcare, Hospitality, Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Professional Liability and Personal Lines. Totten also operates under the name of National Broker Services (NBS) and Canadian Resources Insurance Solutions (CRIS). Visit www.tottengroup.com

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