Archives for October, 2016

How To Protect Your Commercial Property On Halloween

The spookiest night of the year is almost upon us.

More than 171 million Americans will be celebrating Halloween this year and they’ll spend an average of more than $80 each doing it, according to research by the National Retail Federation. Total spending is expected to reach $8.4 billion this year — that’s a whole lot of costumes, decorations, and candy.

All the excitement is great, but as trick-or-treaters take to the streets there’s also a spike in accidents and vandalism. It’s a good idea to prepare properly so that you don’t wake up to a nasty shock the morning after.

With commercial property insurance and the right precautions, there’s no need to fear for your business. Here are some tips on what to consider.

Be Careful With Halloween Decorations

Make sure that any decorations you put up in and around your business won’t cause problems for customers or people passing by. Look for any possible tripping hazards and remove them. Bear in mind that kids with costumes on may have limited visibility. Be careful not to obstruct or obscure fire exits, extinguishers, smoke detectors, or other safety equipment.

Use The Right Lighting

You might want to create a creepy atmosphere, but make sure that visibility inside your business is good. You should also turn on your outdoor lighting to reduce the risk of accidents or vandalism.

Use battery-powered LED lights with proper safety certifications, and avoid potentially dangerous candles in jack-o-lanterns. If you do use candles, don’t leave them unattended. Be very careful to ensure that they can’t be reached by kids, and keep matches and lighters tucked away out of sight. You should also avoid using flammable decorations and costumes.

Secure Vehicles

It’s best to park commercial vehicles in very well-lit areas or, even better, in a garage at Halloween. Ensure that they’re locked with the windows closed and vehicle alarms set. You might consider covers for vehicles that can’t be parked in a garage to protect them from spray paint or eggs.

If you are out driving for deliveries or other business reasons, watch very closely for kids crossing the road and drive slowly. Remember they may not be able to see out of their costumes very well and most costumes are not reflective in car lights.

Secure Your Business

Make sure that you lock all windows and doors and set your alarm. Test your burglar alarm and smoke alarms ahead of the night. As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to ensure that your business is well-lit on Halloween night as it tends to discourage vandalism.

Burglaries are also more common at Halloween, so you might consider beefing up your security system. Motion sensor floodlights and video surveillance are more affordable than ever and well worth considering.

Read Up On Your Insurance Policy

Check your commercial property policy and make sure that you fully understand what coverage you have. It might be worth checking with your insurer whether your commercial premises, equipment and other contents are covered for vandalism.

Does your policy extend to fine artwork, rare or one-of-a-kind items such as outdoor sculpture or imported rugs? Does any of your property require official documentation such as a certificate of authenticity (COA), a professional appraisal or provenance? Getting the right coverage beforehand will give you peace of mind, so you can enjoy Halloween without being spooked.


Source: SFBJ

Trades Offer Recommendations For Improving Flood Insurance

The American Bankers Association (ABA) and other financial and insurance associations recently wrote to lawmakers outlining recommendations for improving the National Flood Insurance Program.

The groups based their recommendations on a set of principles geared toward enhancing the NFIP, expanding the private flood insurance market’s ability to absorb more flood risk and providing consumers more options for purchasing insurance. Congress is currently considering long-term reauthorization of the NFIP, which expires next September.

To facilitate the growth of the private market, the groups urged Congress to pass legislation to clarify the requirements for purchasing private flood insurance that satisfies federal standards, and to consider exempting large commercial loan transactions from the mandatory purchase requirement. They also called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which manages the NFIP, to improve its data analytics, update its flood mapping information and provide updated guidance on compliance requirements.

With respect to improving the operation of the NFIP, the trades said that FEMA should focus on enhancing the customer experience through better disclosures, more policyholder education, and simplified underwriting and claims handling. While they noted that the majority of these actions may be taken without congressional action, the groups urged Congress to use its oversight authority to ensure FEMA is responsive to the concerns of taxpayers, policyholders and its private sector partners. For more information, contact ABA’s Joe Pigg.


Source: ABA Banking Journal

Will Your Insurance Cover Hurricane Matthew’s Damage?

Hurricane Matthew has come and gone but many Southeastern cities are picking up the pieces. The Atlantic Coast is reporting major flooding and the death count is up to 19.

Commercial real estate owners are surveying the damage. caught up with Clark Schweers, Forensic Insurance and Recovery practice leader at BDO USA, to glean some insights in the aftermath of the deadly storm. He shares his perspective on Hurricane Matthew’s business disruption and implications in the real estate industry in this exclusive interview.

“From an insurance perspective, there doesn’t need to be physical damage to trigger a claim,” Schweers tells “Commercial owners might have, or could consider adding, other types of coverage into their policies. It’s important to consider ancillary provisions when determining what the financial impact is to your business, and to protect against potential losses in the event of a natural disaster.”

Specifically, Schweers points to ingress and provisions within a property insurance policy is particularly valuable for businesses located on islands in the path of a storm. If a natural disaster or weather event results in a partial or complete inability for guests or customers to reach a particular asset, he says, this coverage allows a business to make an insurance claim.

“For example, a hotel on a barrier island might sustain no physical damage, but a bridge connecting the island to the mainland may need to be closed for inspection or damage,” he says. “That would restrict guests’ access to the location.”

Then there’s loss of attraction coverage. This allows a commercial business to make a claim if damage or closure to facilities or attractions that drive business to the asset or insured location occurs.

“From a real estate perspective, construction demand has been skewed toward coastal properties in recent years, and there have been relatively few natural disasters of similar magnitude to Hurricane Matthew in the last decade,” Schweers says. “As a result, the real estate industry has responded very well to consumer demand to develop condos, apartments, hotels, shopping malls and other assets around coastal population centers.”

As Schweers sees it, there’s rightful concern in the commercial real estate industry right now. The assessments on damage are not yet in, but it doesn’t look good.

“In the case of Hurricane Matthew, this is an unprecedented and unique storm whose path was uncertain,” Schweers says. “The potential damage area extended along hundreds of miles and several states, which could expose landlords and REITs with assets in these areas to potential financial repercussions.”


Source:  GlobeSt.

The 5 Greatest Threats To Commercial Clients

Cybersecurity is the greatest current and emerging risk among businesses across the globe, according to a new actuarial survey of risk managers.

The results represent a change in perception from the world’s leading risk professionals as hackings and other data breaches continue to dominate headlines. While financial volatility and economic risk still factor into much of business owners’ thinking, the survey betrays many important changes in the risk landscape that insurance producers should consider.

Overall, risk managers expressed cautious optimism in their global economic outlook for 2016, with 73% indicating a moderate outlook and 13% indicating a good outlook. Another 13% of risk managers had poor expectations for the year, which Max Rudolph – head researcher on the Society of Actuaries’ ninth annual “Survey of Emerging Risks” – says is in line with previous reports in the series.

As for risk managers’ greatest concerns, there is some difference between what they view as the greatest current and emerging risks.

“There is a stark difference between the volume of risk managers who view cybersecurity as the greatest current risk (15%) compared to those who view cyber threats as the greatest emerging risk (23%),” Rudolph said. “These differences may be due to the perception that these risks may have more volatility or strength in the future.”

Financial volatility and terrorism round out the top three most impactful current risks for the second year in a row, Rudolph added.

As to risk managers’ future outlook, the report found the five greatest emerging risks to commercial enterprises to be:

  • Cybersecurity (65%)
  • Financial volatility (45%)
  • Terrorism (37%)
  • Asset price collapse (31%)
  • Regional instability (26%)

These results illuminate “notable change” in managers’ perceptions of impactful emerging risks since 2014, Rudolph noted.

Cybersecurity surged ahead from 58% of respondents labeling it as the greatest emerging risk in 2014 to 65% in the most recent survey, far outstripping economic concerns. Financial volatility increased just one percentage point over the past year, and an actual decline from the recent high of 59% in 2013.

Concern over terrorism was also down, from 41% in 2014 to 37% in 2015. Rudolph noted this is likely to change, however, as terrorism perception “tends to ebb and flow with recent events” and 2015 was a relatively inactive period as compared to 2016.

Chronic disease also declined following Ebola concerns, but may increase in next year’s survey with the Zika threats on the rise.

Further down on the list, concern over climate change rose from 19% to 26% and has the potential to increase in the future given recent severe weather episodes.

Geopolitical risks, meanwhile, fell to the lowest result since 2008.

Image Source: Society of Actuaries
A total of 248 risk managers participated in the online survey in November 2015.


Source:  Insurance Business