Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle Insurance also known as auto insurance, GAP insurance, car insurance or motor insurance.  This is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, motorcycles and other road vehicles.  Its primary use is to provide financial protection against physical damage and/or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could also arise therefrom.  Vehicle insurance may additionally offer financial protection against theft of the vehicle and possibly damage of the vehicle sustained from events other than traffic collisions.

In the US,  some states require a motor vehicle owner to carry a minimum level of liability insurance.

Virginia does not require the vehicle owner to carry car insurance but an uninsured motor vehicle fee may be paid to the state.

Although auto insurance is not mandatory in New Hampshire,  most drivers opt to purchase it anyway.  Drivers who have been involved in car accidents or have been convicted of serious traffic violations, have to purchase car insurance.

In Mississippi other than buying car insurance, drivers can also post a bond for the minimum coverage amounts or make a cash or security deposit equal to the minimum coverage amounts.

Coverage in general:

Consumers may be protected by different levels of coverage.  Some states require drivers to carry at least liability insurance to ensure that their drivers can cover the cost of damage to other people or property in the event of an accident.

Liability coverage:

This coverage is offered for bodily injury or property damage, for which the insured driver is responsible.  The amount of coverage provided (a fixed dollar amount) will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In some states, such as New Jersey it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle that does not have liability insurance coverage.  In some jurisdictions. liability coverage is available either as a combined single limit policy, or as a split limit policy.

Combined Single Limit:

A combined single limit combines property damage liability coverage and bodily injury coverage under one single combined limit.  For example, an insured driver with a combined single liability strikes another vehicle and injures the driver and the passenger.  Payments for the damages to the other driver’s car, as well as payments for injury claims to the driver and passenger, would be paid out under the same coverage.

Split Limits:

A split limit liability coverage policy splits the coverages into property damage coverage and bodily injury coverage.  In the example given above, payments for the other driver’s vehicle would be paid out under property damage coverage, and payments for the injuries would be paid out under bodily injury coverage.  Bodily Injury damage is usually split into a maximum payment per person and a maximum payment per accident.  The limits are often expressed separated by slashes in the following form:  “bodily injury per person”/”bodily injury per accident”/”property damage”

For example, California requires the minimum coverage.

$15, 000 for injury/death to one person

$30, 000 for injury/death to more than one person

$5, 000 for damage to property.

This would be expressed $15, 000/$30, 000/$5, 000

Another example, in the state of Oklahoma, drivers must carry at least state minimum liability limits

of $25, 000/$50, 000/$25, 000.  In the state of Indiana, the minimum liability limits are

$25, 000/$50, 000/$10, 000 so there is a greater property damage exposure for only carrying the minimum limits.

 

Rental coverage:

Generally, liability coverage purchased through a private insurer extends to rental cars.  Comprehensive policies (“full coverage”) usually also apply to the rental vehicle, although this should be verified beforehand.  Full coverage premiums are based on, among other factors, the value of the insured’s vehicle.  This coverage however, cannot apply to rental cars because the insurance company does not want to assume responsibility for a claim greater than the value of the insured’s vehicle, assuming that a rental car may be worth more than the insured’s vehicle.

Most rental car companies offer insurance to cover damage to the rental vehicle.  These policies are unnecessary for many customers as credit card companies such as Visa and Master card provide coverage if the rental transaction is processed using one of their cards.

Full coverage:

Full coverage refers to the combination of comprehensive and collision coverage.  The term “full” coverage is a layman’s misnomer, that often results in drivers and vehicle owners being woefully underinsured.  A misconception in the US is that vehicles that are financed on credit are required to have “full” coverage in order for the financial institution to cover their losses in the case of an accident.  While most states do require additional coverage, some states such as Pennsylvania only require Comprehensive and Collision to be purchased in addition to liability and not “full” coverage.

Comprehensive:

Also known as other than collision, comprehensive provides coverage, subject to a deductible, for cars damaged by incidents that are not considered collisions.  For example, fire, theft, (or attempted theft), vandalism, weather, or impacts with animals, are types of comprehensive losses.  “Acts of God” are listed as an aspect of comprehensive coverage.  These are events beyond human control, such as, a tornado, flood, hurricane or hail storm.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage:

Also known as UM/UIM, provides coverage if an at-fault party either does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance.  In effect, the insurance company pays the insured’s medical bills, then would subrogate from the at-fault party.  This coverage is often overlooked and very important.  In Colorado, for example, it was estimated in 2009 that 15% of drivers were uninsured.  In the United States, the definition of an uninsured/underinsured motorist, and corresponding coverages, are set by state laws.  In some states, it is mandatory.

Loan/Lease payoff

Also known as GAP coverage or GAP insurance.  Due to the sharp decline in value immediately following purchase, there is generally a period in which the amount owed on the car loan exceeds the value of the vehicle, which is called “upside-down” or negative equity.

If the vehicle is damaged beyond economical repair at this point, the owner will still owe potentially thousands of dollars on the loan.  GAP waivers provide protection when a “gap” exists between the actual value of their vehicle and the amount of money owed to the bank or leasing company.  In many instances this insurance will also pay the deductible on the primary insurance policy.

What GAP insurance does not cover:

1.  Any unpaid delinquent payments due at the time of loss.

2.  Payment deferrals (known as “skips”)

3.  Refinancing of the vehicle loan after the policy was purchased.

4.  Late or administration fees assessed after the loan assessment.

Therefore, it is important for a policyholder to understand that they may still owe on the loan even though the GAP policy was purchased.  Failure to understand this can result in the lender continuing their legal remedies to collect the balance and the potential of damaged credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Life Insurance

Whole Life Insurance

This type of policy remains in force for the insured’s whole life.  In most cases, premiums have to be paid annually into the policy.

Whole Life insurance, similar to term insurance, will pay your beneficiaries a specific amount of money upon your death.  The decision to purchase whole life rather than term is a personal choice and depends on your finances, age and coverage goals.  The first part of the decision-making process when it comes to choosing between whole life and term is cost.  The cost for whole life can be six to eight times more than comparable term coverage making this a real bottom line issue for many consumers.

a)  Non-Participating policy:

All values related to the policy, i. e. premiums, cash surrender values and death benefits are usually determined when the policy is issued and cannot be changed after issue of the policy.

b)  Participating policy:

Also known as a ‘with profits’ policy.  The insurance company shares the existing profits or ‘dividends’ with the policy holder.  These dividends or bonuses are NOT TAXABLE as they are regarded as an overcharge on premiums.  However, participation also implies a degree of ownership in a ‘mutual life insurance’ company.

(A Mutual insurance company is an insurance company owned entirely by its policyholders.  Any profits earned are rebated to policyholders in the form of dividend distribution or reduced future premiums.  Examples are: Mutual of America, Guardian Life and Liberty Mutual.)

c) Limited Pay:

The premium payable are only due for a certain number of years, such as 20.  The policy may be determined to be fully paid up at a certain age, such as 65 or 80.  Such policies cost more as the insurance company needs to accumulate sufficient cash value within the policy during the payment years to fund the policy for the remainder of the insured’s life.

d)  Single Premium Policy:

The pay period for this type of policy is a single large payment up front.  Should the policyholder cash it in, these policies have fees which could be due in early policy years.

e)  Current Assumption Whole Life:

With Current Assumption Whole Life insurance, you are going to find that your premiums are actually going to go up and down.  Sometimes this can work in your favour and other times it can go against you.

Why Premiums Fluctuate

The premiums for Current Assumption Whole Life are going to depend on a few different things.  For one thing, the premiums will be directly affected by interest rates in the market.  If the investments from the whole life insurance portfolio are going well, this means that you are not going to have to pay as much in insurance premiums.  If the investments are going poorly, you are going to have to pay more to make up the difference.  The number of mortalities during a given time period are going to change your premiums too.

f)  Economic:

An Economic Whole Life insurance policy provides a dividend payment to the policy owner just like with a participating policy.  The difference with this type of policy is that the dividend amount is used to purchase additional term life insurance.  This increases the amount of the death benefit based on the amount of dividend.

Universal Life Insurance Policy

This life insurance provides a permanent death benefit.  However, you will have more control over your money.  When you pay your premium, part of the money will go towards a cash account, and part will go towards the death benefit.  Depending on how the investments in the cash account are going, your premiums will fluctuate.  Therefore you can potentially pay less of a premium with this type of insurance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_life_insurance)

A few reasons why an Universal Life Insurance Policy may be a bad investment:

1.  Fees:

You will have to pay several fees.  Once you make a payment to the insurance company they will take a certain percentage of the money that you give them.  Every month, they will have administration fees and they will take money for the mortality benefit.  It can add up significantly.  This will limit the amount of potential that you have when investing in Universal Life Insurance.

2.  Lack of Options:

Many proponents of Universal Life Insurance point to the fact that you can choose investments to put your cash value into.  While this is technically true, the types of investments that you have to choose from are very limited.  You will generally have a few different types of mutual funds that you can choose from.  If you were to invest that same amount of money into a traditional brokerage account, you would have limitless options to choose from between stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more.  The return that you can generate from the investment choices that they give you are small and these investments lack potential.

3.  Partial Access:

You will only be able to gain partial access to the money that you accumulate.  Many people build up a cash value in their Universal Life Insurance Policy and then take out a policy loan against that cash value.  While this is a good theory, you cannot gain full access to the money you have saved.  You will generally only be able to take out a portion of the cash value in the form of a policy loan.   Since you have only gained limited returns on your investments in the first place, when you can only take out a portion of the money, this significantly lowers the effective return.  This is basically like putting money into a savings account that does not earn interest.  Then when you borrow money, you have to pay it back with interest in most cases.  Your other option to get your hands on the money is to cash out the policy.  If you do this, you will also have to pay surrender fees that will significantly cut into the amount of money that you get.

Whole vs Universal Life Insurance

Both whole insurance and universal life insurance are considered permanent types of life insurance.

Payments

One of the major areas in which these 2 types of policies differ is in your premium payments.  With Whole Life Insurance, you are going to make the same premium payment over a long period of time.  This provides you with a consistent bill for your life insurance coverage.  With Universal Life Insurance you have much more flexibility with your payments.

With the initial payment of a Universal Life Insurance Policy you have much more flexibility with your payments.  With the initial payment of a Universal Life Insurance Policy you are going to have to pay a certain amount.  After that point, you will be able to alter your payment and the frequency in which you pay.  There will be a minimum payment that you have to make, but above that amount you do not have restrictions.  You will be able to pay any amount that you want and make your payments at any time that you want.  This means that if you are having a bad month financially, you can make a smaller premium payment with Universal Life Insurance.  You could even stop making payments completely for a certain period of time.  During this time period, the money for your minimum payment would come out of the cash value of the policy.

Death Benefit

Another key benefit between these 2 types of policies is in the ways that the death benefit is addressed.

With Whole Life Insurance, you are going to have a fixed death benefit.  This means that over the course of the entire policy, the death benefit will remain constant.

With Universal Life Insurance, your death benefit can fluctuate.  At your discretion you can actually increase or decrease the amount of death benefit that is associated with your policy.  You could choose to utilise a fixed death benefit or you could have a death benefit that increases over time.  This allows you to customise the policy to your unique needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollution Insurance

Environmental pollution insurance policies are not just for oil industry giants and radioactive depositories anymore.  Airports, apartment complexes, pig farms, prisons, dry cleaners, printed wiring board manufacturers and amusement parks are just a fraction of the types of business for which the companies that provide environmental coverage write policies on a regular basis.

In the mid-1980s, standard commercial general liability policies eliminated coverage for pollution liability claims.  As a result, coverage for potential and existing hazards had to be purchased separately.  Commonly used environmental insurance policies include those for pollution, legal liability, property transfer, cleanup cost cap/stop loss, professional and contractor environmental liability, transporter insurance, storage tank pollution liability, closure and post-closure.

With some exceptions, most environmental policies are written on a ”claims-made and reported” basis.  Unlike occurrence forms, claims made forms require that the environmental claim must be received by the policyholder and reported to the company with the policy period or within an extended reporting period.  To be continuously covered, the policyholder must continue to renew the coverage at the end of each term.  Certain contractor policies may be written on either a claims-made or occurrence basis.  Usually, the entire premium for environmental policies is due before coverage is initiated.

According to Dan Persha, founder and director of Environmental Services Group (ESG),  a division of Insurance Concepts “ the market for environmental insurance is fluid and ever-changing”.  The market is complicated in that there are no standard forms – companies have their own forms.  And there is no standard coverage, so its different to compare coverage from one company to the next.

The market is fluctuating, especially premiums.  In some areas, the market is firming, in other areas its not – there is not a lot of consistency in environmental right now.  The bulk of policies were written in Texas and Louisiana.  The division is expecting upward growth and increasing volumes.

“Transaction insurance is one of the most misunderstood coverages” ESG’s Persha said.  “But it is a huge, emerging market because of growing environmental awareness and hazards – buyers, sellers and financial institutions are requiring it”.  Transaction insurance environmental policies that provide coverage where property is changing hands, usually consists of pollution legal liability and cost cap coverage.  It is often used for transactions involving strip centers, due to the risk of dry cleaning solvent spills and damage from underground storage tanks (USTs).

Real estate transactions are driving the market – no one will buy a property unless it has had a Phase One or Phase Two inspection.  As those inspections are heavy, they tend to find problems.  Term lengths for transaction insurance are almost always more one year, with three, five, seven and 10 year policies being common for a “clean” site.  Although normally premiums run between $3,500 and $7,500 per year, some run less than that.  For a site with a known problem, or a buyer or seller that needs pollution legal liability and cost cap insurance, the premiums can start around $50 000.

According to Sheila Hailey, dry cleaners pollution policies “are a hot ticket right now”.  Although she also writes pollution coverage for USTs, Hailey said she gets an average of five calls per week for dry cleaning insurance and writes policies for about 95% of those calls.  The average bill for cleaning a spill from a dry cleaners is $50, 000 while the average clean-up from a gasoline station UST is $10,000.

Not only is Texas one of the largest states in terms of land mass, it also ranks highest in the nation for on-and-off site releases for toxic materials – at least for releases by what the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission calls “original industries”.  These include traditionally heavy-polluting industries like oil and gas and chemical refineries.

Generally, environmental policies offered are:

Pollution Legal Liability

Insured are claims from unknown pollution conditions at covered locations specified in the policy.  Generally these policies cover both on-and off-site pollution conditions, and include claims for bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs.  Often, business interruption and transportation claims will be covered, but costs of an ongoing cleanup or existing, known contaminations are not.  Pollution legal liability policies are modifiable to fit individual circumstances and many terms and coverages are negotiable.

Property Transfer

Similar to pollution legal liability policies, property transfer policies cover claims generating from a covered location for pre-existing, unknown contamination and known contamination below reportable levels.  In some cases it covers known contamination that may be at levels above regulatory limits but permitted by a governmental body and with a cap in place.  Like pollution legal liability insurance, these policies cover bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs.  Limits, deductibles and exclusions are also similar to those found in pollution liability policies.

Cleanup Cost Cap or Stop Loss

Very specific policies that protect against cost overruns for remediation of individual projects.  Covered overruns may result from the discovery of additional amounts or newly discovered contaminants, or from charges in regulating requirements at a site.  Coverage is limited to cleanup costs, and claims for bodily injury;  property damage or other liability are not covered.  Also, commonly excluded are the costs of legal defense and governmental negotiations.  Other exclusions may include radioactive matter, asbestos, contractual liability, unknown conditions not disclosed to the insurance companies, and regulatory fines and penalties.

Other policies that may be obtained are:

  • Brownfields Restoration and Development
  • Secured Creditor
  • Professional and Contractor Environmental Liability
  • Transporter Insurance
  • Storage Tank Pollution Liability
  • Closure and Post Closure
  • Finite Risk

The cost for a pollution liability insurance policy will differ significantly from one business to the next.  A business that uses a lot of hazardous chemicals will have higher premiums than one that uses only a few.  Some factors that influence costs include:

The type of business being insured
The type of chemicals and hazardous materials used
The disposal method of hazardous waste
The proximity of the business to residential neighbourhoods

 

Buy-Sell Agreements

A buy-sell agreement, also known as a buy-out agreement, is a legally binding agreement between co-owners of a business. Such an agreement stipulates the rules of the situation if a co-owner dies or is forced out of the firm or chooses to leave the business of his/her own free will. In simple terms, it may be thought of as a sort of premarital agreement between business partners and is sometimes referred to as a “business will”.

The purpose is that the business can continue to operate with as little disruption as possible for the surviving business owner (s), as well as ensuring that the estate of the deceased business owner receives fair value for his/her business interests, as well as settlement of the credit loan account.

Where a business is held in a trust (or a corporate entity such as a company) the reality is that even though the trust or corporate entity can continue to hold the business interest in perpetuity, there is often only one of the trustees/shareholders who is directly involved in the business, who influences the success of the enterprise and upon whose death and thus, in all likelihood, the trust or entity would no longer wish to continue to hold its interest in the business, as it would not make commercial sense to do so.

Why it is important for the surviving business owners’ perspective to have a buy and sell arrangement in place.

1. The surviving business owners may want to buy the deceased’s interest in the business, but have to raise finance to do so. Therefore they will be paying interest on the finance raised which would mean that over time they will be paying more than the original purchase price of the business.
2. Should the surviving business owners not manage to raise finance to purchase, it could mean that the deceased’s spouse and/or dependents would become co-owners. They may not have the skills or expertise to be of value and would be a drain on the business.
3. If the deceased as co-owner had a credit loan account, this must be settled on his/her death and if there is insufficient liquidity in the enterprise, this could present a serious problem.

Implementing a business assurance arrangement

1. The business’s accountant or auditor should establish the value of the business.
2. If credit loan accounts are to be included in the buy and sell arrangement, these values should be determined.
3. In order to purchase the respective business interest in the business, life cove and/or disability cover is required.
4. To make a proposal in respect of the buy and sell arrangement the business owners, details of their marital regime must be established.
5. All the necessary documents to obtain life/disability cover must be completed in full at the Life office.
6. A formal buy and sell agreement must be drawn up and signed. It is critical that the parties do enter into the buy and sell agreement, as they need both of the signed agreements and life insurance in order to have a binding and effective buy and sell arrangement.

In an entity purchase buy-sell agreement, the business itself buys separate life insurance policies on the lives of each of the co-owners. The business usually pays the annual premiums and is the owner and beneficiary of the policies.

In a cross purchase buy-sell agreement, each co-owner buys a life insurance policy on each of the other co-owners. Each co-owner usually pays the annual premiums on the policies they own and are the beneficiaries of the policies. If your company has a large number of co-owners, multiple policies must be purchased by each co-owner. A wait and see (or hybrid) buy-sell agreement allows you to combine features from both the entity purchase and cross purchase models. The business can buy policies on each co-owner, the individual co-owners can buy policies on each other, or a mixture of both methods can be used.

The buy-sell agreement should be fully funded

The amount of insurance coverage on your life should equal the value of your ownership interest. Then when you die, there will be enough cash from the policy proceeds to pay your family or estate in full for your share of the business. But if all that is affordable is insurance coverage for a portion of your interest, you might want to go ahead and fund that amount. Later the company may be able to increase the amount of insurance or use additional funding methods. In the meantime, the agreement should specify how your family or estate will be paid.

The Value of the business could change overtime

What if the insurance proceeds turn out to be less than the value of your business interest, due to growth in the business? Your surviving family members might end up getting less than full value for your business interest. Your buy-sell agreement should specify how the valuation difference will be handled.

Conversely, the insurance proceeds might be greater than the value of your business interest when you die. Your buy-sell agreement should address this potential situation upfront and specify whether the excess funds will belong to the business, the surviving co-owners, or your family or estate.

Should Group Life Insurance be used?

Using a company’s group life insurance plan to fund a buy-sell agreement is generally not recommended. Normally, group life insurance premiums are tax-deductible to the company. But premiums are no longer deductible if the business is the beneficiary.

Possible negative tax consequences

For policies issued after August 16, 2006, the death benefits of life insurance on the life of an employee payable to the employer/policy owner may be subject to income taxes unless an exception applies.

Assume your business is a corporation or is taxed as one. When one of your co-owners dies, his or her estate becomes the owner of the insurance policies covering you and the other co-owners of the business in a cross purchase agreement.

If these policies are then transferred to the surviving co-owners to pay for future buyouts, a transfer-for-value (gain) may occur, and a portion of the proceeds received from the transferred policies may be taxable.

If a policy is cancelled (surrendered) for cash to buy out your interest while you are living, any gain on the policy is subject to federal income tax for the policy owner. Gain includes all policy loans outstanding at the time of surrender. Also, the policy may carry surrender charges.

Keeping track of your buy-sell agreement

Each year, the premiums on the policies must be paid, or the insurance will lapse. So monitor premium payments carefully. Your buy-sell agreement should include a feature requiring ongoing proof of payout . Also review the amount of insurance regularly. The insurance coverage may have to be increased periodically to reflect increases in the value of the business. Finally, periodically check the financial rating of your insurance company. The policies funding your buy-sell agreement will do your family no good if the insurer becomes insolvent.

 

Stalker Insurance Policy

Stalking is unwanted or tormenting attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviours are related to intimidation and harassment. It may include following the victim or monitoring them. The word stalking is used, with some differing meanings, in psychology and psychiatry and also in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offence. It may be advisable for a potential victim to invest in a Stalker Insurance policy.

Having been used since at least the 16th century to refer to a prowler or a poacher, the term started to be used by the media in the 20th century to describe people who pester and torment others, initially with specific reference to the harassment of celebrities by strangers who were described as being obsessed.

Selena Quintanilla-Parez’s tragic death offers a prime example of the worst case stalker scenario. Yolande Saldivar ran Selena’s fan club as well as a clothing boutique for the singer. People noticed that she obsessed over the songstress. She had what would be considered a shrine to the singer in her home, complete with posters, candles and videos. Finally, after Saldivar began embezzling money from Selena’s fan club, the singer cut ties with her. Selena met with Salvidar to retrieve essential tax documents on 31 March 1995. This is when the former employee shot and killed Selena. Saldivar was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Stalking is a crime usually associated with A-list celebrities, but its on the rise in the general population. Social media offers stalkers a new platform through which to identify and fixate on their victims. The UK Government updated stalking legislation for the first time in 15 years after it conducted a large scale investigation into the issue in 2013.

The Violence Against Women Act of 2005, amending A United States statute, 108 stat. 1902 et seq, defined stalking as “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to –

a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others;
b) suffer substantial emotional distress.
In the United States, during a 12 month period, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking. Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

To date, a stalker insurance policy has been offered by insurers against stalking has largely been reactive – crisis- response measures triggered by a stalking incident taking place. However, a new product has come to market which aims to reduce the risk of individuals falling prey to stalkers in the first place. The policy, written in Guernsey by Griffin but 100% reinsured by a group of Lloyds underwriters led by Brit Syndicate combines proactive stalker threat assessment, security consultation and training, and crisis management coverage. The cover is extended to include a benefit for assault, and forms part of a bigger policy that also covers kidnap, extortion, hijack and detention risks.
There has been work done on something similar in the past, but the product design – which concentrated on the provision of armed guards after a loss, often for long periods of time, made it expensive and it never really got off the ground, said Imogen Lyndon-Skeggs, Underwriter and Director at Griffin. Nobody ever wants to think it is going to happen to them, so the product was wrongly positioned. A policy designed to help make sure it does not happen in the first place is much more attractive than one that only covers you once it has happened.
Assessing Stalker Risk

Wealth, occupation, location and travel patterns are some of the key risk factors when assessing someone’s risk of being stalked. Demand for the product is highest amongst film, music and sports stars – heroes who attract fixated followers. A stalker insurance policy can be used by any at-risk individual or employers wishing to protect their executives or employers.

One of the biggest challenges of underwriting the risk is identifying whether or not the insurer is already a victim. The insurance company has to be careful that people are not buying the coverage because they are worried that they are already being stalked. Preventative training can help potential victims reduce the risk of falling victim to a stalker. It all boils down to being sensible about how you behave. Not having predictable lifestyles, not always using the same car and travel routes.
Arguably the most infamous stalker case, in which obsessed fan Mark David Chapman acquired John Lennon’s autograph having spent an afternoon outside the Beatles’s hotel in New York in 1980, before shooting him dead later than day.

Homeless Robert Dewey Hoskins was jailed for 10 years in 1996 after repeated violent threats and three attempts to get close to singer Madonna – the last of which saw him shot and wounded by bodyguards.

Psychologists often group individuals who stalk into two categories: psychotic and nonpsychotic. In “Study of Stalkers” Mullen et al. (2000) identified five types of stalkers:

Rejected stalkers pursue their victims in order to reverse, correct or avenge a rejection (e. g. divorce, separation, termination)
Resentful stalkers pursue a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims – motivated mainly by the desire to frighten and distress the victim.
Intimacy seekers seek to establish an intimate, loving relationship with their victim. Such stalkers often believe that the victim is a long-sought-after soul mate, and they were meant to be together.
Incompetent suitors, despite poor social or courting skills, have a fixation or in some cases, a sense of entitlement to an intimate relationship with those who have attracted their amorous interest. Their victims are most often already in a dating relationship with someone else.
Predatory stalkers spy on the victim in order to prepare and plan an attack- often sexual – on the victim.
At the beginning of August 2014, five college women came forward to explain how gun free zones at colleges prevented them from protecting themselves from stalkers. Taylor Woolrich, a junior at Dartmouth College said that she had been stalked for four years. Her stalker, Richard Bennett is now in jail for the third time because he broke restraining orders. Bennett’s stalking forced her family to move, and made her a prisoner in her dorm room. Taylor’s stalker was already on a “no gun list”. He was a convicted felon and it is illegal for him to own a gun. Yet, background checks did not stop him from illegally acquiring a gun after his second stint in prison.

Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Company, Japan’s biggest property and casualty insurance company said it will offer an insurance product to help cover costs for women who find they have to seek protection from stalkers.  Services include the removal of wire-taps, coverage for hospitalisation and doctor’s visits.

Green Products Insurance

Many insurers look for innovative ways to set them apart from their competitors in order to gain more market share. They establish and promote cutting-edge insurance products relevant to possible climate change which will be of benefit to their clients and the environment during this current universal green movement.

Sustainable/Green Products Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and the environment over their whole life cycle, from the derivation of raw materials used to produce the product until their final disposal. Similarly, sustainable and green insurance products are those that cover the design, production and use of these sustainable products, or the accountability associated with their production and use. They also indemnify against the environmental consequence of potential climate change decisions (or lack thereof). Policies should be put in place where certain aspects promote environmental responsibility. The following green insurance products are presently available in the market: –

Personal Lines Green Property Rebuilding In general, after a covered loss, this type of coverage pays for the use of: Environmentally friendly or more energy-efficient materials when making repairs More energy efficient equipment or appliances For these policyholders who are already green, discounts are sometimes offered on their insurance premiums.

Property Renewable Energy Reimbursement This type of coverage protects a homeowner who uses an alternative-energy system in the case of a power outage. It may provide restitution for: Loss of income generated from selling surplus energy to the local energy company Extra costs to purchase replacement energy Utility or governmental fees for inspections, re-connections or permits when the homeowner’s alternative energy system is brought back online.

Property Loss Mitigation Device Discount Premium credits are offered to homeowners who install mitigation devices or choose storm-resistant construction techniques in catastrophe-prone areas. An example is window shutters to protect homes during severe storms.

Pay-As-You-Drive/Low Mileage Discount Pay-as-you-drive automobile insurance products inherently give incentives to drive less which leads to less pollution that may be contributing to global warming. These programs provide a customer with personalised automobile insurance rates (and hence savings) based on how well and how much they drive. A commercial auto policy premium is based on the amount of vehicle use. A business pays a premium based on a variable totally in the control of the business – the amount of miles driven by the company fleet. The discount comes from lower premiums when premium dollars are tied to travel efficiency.

Commercial Lines Upgrade to Green Commercial Fleets This type of product offers an option to upgrade the company’s fleet to hybrid vehicles for new vehicle replacement as part of an endorsement to the policy. One insurer, Infinity Insurance, took its own advice in creating a green fleet and reported to greenfleet.com. “Since 2006, fleet mpg has increased from 16 to more than 23 (Greenhouse Gas is) reduced from 5, 223 metric tons to 2, 223 due to lower fuel use and better fuel mileage. Fuel consumption has dropped by 115, 033 gallons, saving $225, 000”.

Insurance for Renewable Energy Projects These products provide coverage for companies in the renewable industry (e. g. solar, wind, hydraulic) to help them in managing risk, defending against lawsuits and protecting assets. These insurance products and services are designed to cover all stages of a project from design to distribution.

Insurance for Renewable Energy Property, Equipment and Loss of Use In order to keep with the rapid technological change of the renewable energy field, this type of policy provides replacement cost coverage for equipment with more efficient equivalents. Equipment currently in operation, under construction or newly purchased can be added to the policy. Green roofs are examples of what would be covered.

Insurance for Green Building As part of this coverage, insurers offer help to customers to build sustainably by evaluating designs and specifications for new structures and suggesting ways to ensure high-quality construction and exceptional loss prevention. Similar to the Personal Lines green property policy, those products also cover green materials and construction following a covered loss. Green Building techniques reduce waste, energy and water usage while preserving the environment. Insurance companies recognise the benefits of building green and now encourage the practice through green upgrade options and policy discounts.

Energy Savings Insurance Energy savings insurance policies can provide a backstop for energy savings guarantees given by energy service companies. An insurer pays any shortfall in energy savings below a pre-agreed baseline over the term of the policy, typically in the 5-10 year range.

Insurance of Carbon Capture and Storage/Emission Reduction Projects Insurance products and services are offered to organisations involved in the capture and storage of large volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. These emission reduction projects typically occur at large point-sources of these gases, such as power plants before they can have a harmful effect on the environment.

Green Building Coverage Against Adverse Publicity This reputation coverage provides protection when a green building experiences adverse publicity. Funds are made available to employ crisis management specialists to manage adverse publicity; guide and counsel key company personnel; and provide other services to assist in restoring a company’s reputation.

Perishable Food Reduction Products These products encourage the use of devices that can be used to reduce the amount of produce lost and improve the overall quality of produce during the distribution process from the grower to the retailer. Technology devices continuously monitor the temperature and conditions of produce as it travels, estimating the remaining shelf life. This information is used to route products to maximise quality, saleability and reduce perishable waste.

Global Weather Insurance This product is used to bridge the gaps left by traditional insurance coverage within general property damage policies. Insureds are covered against unpredictable weather conditions and climate change. This may be beneficial for event promoters who want to hedge against a deferred weather variable such as rain/wind exceeding a defined threshold during the hours of coverage.

Political Risk Insurance for Carbon Trading Interested parties such as project sponsors, investors and lenders are given financial protection from risks arising from governmental interference, embargo, license cancellation, war and political violence which could interrupt the production, certification and delivery of carbon credits.

Speciality Lines Given the media attention to global warming and the potential for new lawsuits or governmental actions against entities that may be potentially contributing to climate change, additional speciality insurance products such as the following may be needed in the normal course of business:

Insurance for Pollution/Environmental Liability This coverage has implications for a broad range of risks and industries. Examples include commercial general liability pollution legal liability, and environmental responsibilities stemming from legislation and court rulings. Losses can arise from different hazards or activities and can have impacts on large corporations to small subcontractors in construction.

Directors and Officers Insurance It has been noted that there is increasing litigation occurring against companies that are believed to be contributing to climate change. Even a company’s inaction to disclose, assess or implement adaptation strategies could leave the door open to future litigation. Some insurers now offer directors and officers policies with optional global warming litigation protection. Other speciality lines encouraging more green behaviour include:

Architects and Engineering Professional Liability Insurance Discount for Building Commissioning Some insurers believe that there is a correlation between sustainable practices such as energy-efficiency and a low-risk profile. Building commissioning is the process of verifying that all of the subsystems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC,…) are working effectively, efficiently and as designed. Not only is the good for the environment, it also reduces the likelihood of professional liability claims. As such, architects and engineering firms implementing building commissioning as part of the construction process are given insurance premium credits. Professional Liability Insurance for Raters and Home Energy Survey Professionals Suitable insurance coverage is often lacking for many specialist professionals who provide energy-efficiency services. Certain qualified raters and home energy survey professionals are offered professional liability, general liability, and property coverage in order to protect themselves from accidents and potential lawsuits that may occur as a result of business operation.

Boat Insurance

Boat and Watercraft insurance policies protect several kinds of boats and personal watercraft (PWCs). A standard homeowner’s policy may not cover your boat or PWC as they may be too big or too expensive. Therefore you need watercraft insurance for protection.

For example, Progressive will cover boats up to 50 feet long and up to $250, 000 in value, as well as personal watercraft up to 15 feet long and $27, 000 in value.

Watercraft insurance goes beyond what a homeowner’s policy covers. These benefits include Roadside Assistance, which covers towing of your boat for free, as long as your trailer is covered; on-water towing in case you are stranded on the water; uninsured boaters coverage; fuel spillage liability and wreckage removal coverage. You may also want to consider Personal Effects and Fishing Equipment coverages.

Some insurance companies limit where you can go with your watercraft and still be covered, or you are charged extra if you travel. Progressive covers you at no extra charge on all inland lakes, rivers and navigable waterways of the US and Canada including ocean waters within 50 miles from the coast of the US and Canada.

You should be covered in case of an accident that involves injury to another person or damage to someone’s property. Your insurance company will pay for the cost to replace or repair damaged property, as well as medical bills and loss of wages by an injured person, as a result of an accident.

Several coverages can protect you if you are hit by someone who does not have insurance, or is underinsured. You would want to rest assured that you have coverage for medical care you receive as a result of a boating accident and can be used regardless of who is at fault. Another option which is available is comprehensive and collision coverage, whereby you can choose how a claim can be resolved if your boat is ever damaged beyond repair.

Replacement Cost Personal Effects coverage pays for loss of or damage to personal effects while on board an insured boat or while being carried on or off an insured boat. This coverage does not apply to permanent or portable boating equipment. Personal effects include: binoculars, cell phones, coolers, cd players, scuba equipment, cameras, portable radios and clothing.
Allstate Insurance has coverage for your personal effects with the addition of fishing equipment under that coverage.

On-Water Towing and Labour Coverage Service – pays towards towing and labour costs, depending on the amount of coverage chosen. Labour coverage applies when work is performed at the time and place of disablement, while the boat is in the water.

Roadside Assistance coverage, is usually included in many boat insurance policies. It provides towing to the nearest qualified repair facility and covers necessary labour at the time and place of disablement when the tow vehicle or boat trailer is disabled due to any of the following: – mechanical or electrical breakdown, battery failure, insufficient fuel, oil, water or other fluids, flat tyre, lockout, or lost or stolen keys, entrapment in snow, mud, water or sand within 100 feet of the roadway.

Fishing equipment coverage pays for loss or damage to fishing equipment while on board, or while being carried on or off an insured boat. There will be a deductible for each loss and this can vary according to the different insurance companies.

Fuel Spill Liability coverage is included with Bodily Injury/Property Damage Liability Coverage. Fuel Spill Liability covers unintentional oil or fuel spills resulting in bodily injury or property damage for which you are legally responsible because of an accident arising out of ownership, maintenance or use of your insured boat.
Wreckage Removal Coverage is usually included with Comprehensive and Collision coverage and will pay any reasonable costs you incur for any attempted raising, removal or destruction of your insured boat or private watercraft.

Water Sports coverage is usually included with Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability at no extra cost, for bodily injury or property damage caused by someone towed by the insured watercraft for activities such as waterskiing, knee boarding, wakeboarding or tubing.

Activities usually not included in Water Sports coverage include parasailing, hang gliding, kite skiing or any other activity involving a device designed for flight.

With Coastal Navigation coverage, you are covered when you boat on all inland lakes, rivers and navigable waterways in the United States and Canada, including ocean waters 50 miles or less from each country’s coast.

If you have Comprehensive and Collision Coverage, then your pets that join you on the boat will be covered for injuries arising out of a boat incident, such as crash, theft, fire or flood.

AIG offer a range of yacht loss prevention services to assist the insured to minimise injury and costly damage. For example:
1. Crew background checks which assess crew members who will have access to your vessel, family and valuables.
2. Hurricane Preparedness Reviews: Specialists can review your hurricane preparedness plan and provide recommendations and contacts for service providers in your area.
3. Safe Harbour, Dry Dock and Repair consultations: You can be connected to the best-in-class facilities if you are cruising, out of port or faced with a storm.
4. Yacht Safety Awareness Material: A range of towing tips and safety and security materials will help your family and crew stay well-informed.
5. Safety at Sea Awareness Programs: AIG produces informational sessions to share security, fire and general safety tips as well as advancements in search and rescue technology and equipment.

Cell Phone Insurance

According to Sprint, one out of every three customers will lose or damage their phone within the first year. According to Asurion, this amounts to approximately 60 million cell phones that are lost or damaged every year in the US alone. Perhaps you are spending more money than you are saving when buying cell phone insurance. Many cell phone carriers offer cell phone insurance at a low monthly rate.

Generally if you have a low-cost budget cell phone, you would not be saving by insuring it. With higher priced phones (and especially smartphones) insurance would be more valuable.

Sprint offers an equipment replacement program for $4 per month with a $50 – $100 non-refundable deductible (depending on the device) per approved claim.

AT&T charges $4.99 per month with a $50 – $125 non-refundable deductible per approved claim, and allows two claims per year with a maximum replaced value of $1, 500 per claim.

The charge for insurance from T-Mobile is $5.99 per month with various non-refundable deductibles.

Verizon Wireless charges $5.99 per month with a $39 deductible for basic phones or $7.99 per month with an $89 deductible for more sophisticated phones.

You cannot just contact Asurion to purchase iPhone insurance. Your mobile phone carrier has to offer it under their coverage plan. When you sign up for insurance with your mobile phone company, Asurion is the company who provides the insurance. Unless you accept insurance from your mobile phone carrier at the time of purchase (or shortly thereafter depending on your cellular provider) you will not be able to get coverage through Asurion. If you do accept mobile phone coverage from your provider, you will be paying the insurance premium on your mobile phone bill each month and Asurion will be the company that is covering you.

While your cellular provider probably will not tell you this, there is more than one way to get insurance for your phone. SquareTrade offers iPhone insurance starting at just $99 and allows you to build a plan that best serves your needs. It is always in your best interest to research all of your insurance options. Asurion is only one of your options.

When comparing Asurion iPhone insurance to other insurance options, always look at the deductible that you will have to pay should something go wrong with your phone. For iPhones, Asurion charges a deductible of $199. SquareTrade charges a deductible of $50. The monthly fee that you will pay for Asurion insurance will likely be less than the price you will pay for insurance with SquareTrade.

Unlike SquareTrade, Asurion charge a monthly fee directly through your cellular provider. The price for this coverage is usually between $5 to $12 per month depending on the type of coverage you select and your specific cellular carrier.

To determine whether or not the insurance is worth it you have to do some math. Let us say you have an iPhone 4G. You pay Asurion $8 per month from the time you buy your phone. Eight months later the phone breaks and you have to file a claim to get a refurbished one, not a new one. You are going to have to pay the $199 deductible. When you add the eight months of service you paid for ($64) plus the deductible, you realise you are paying $263 to replace your iPhone with a refurbished one. If you go to eBay, you can see the same phones are being sold for about $500. In this case, the insurance will definitely save you some money

Physicians’ and Surgeons’ Disability Insurance Plans

Preparation is extremely important in the life of a medical professional. Many physicians and surgeons do not enter their respective fields until their early to mid thirties. College years are spent preparing for examinations and the years in residency qualifying to learn how to manage patients. Many young medical professionals experience financial turmoil, accumulating loans and bills as they proceed through years of study. When they begin earning good incomes, most of the time any planning or preparing for disability, loss of income and/or retirement is least likely to be taken into consideration at that stage.

Physicians and Surgeons’ Disability Insurance Plans are designed to ensure that professionals working in the medical field will be able to maintain their standards of living in the event of an injury or illness which results in their inability to work. It is of primary importance that a physician or surgeon’s occupation or medical speciality is properly classified as this classification determines the premium rate. Premiums can vary greatly from one company to another, as different insurance companies may assign a different occupational class to the same occupation.

Some companies feel that if the above-mentioned medical specialists cannot practice their speciality, but decide to work in another capacity earning a similar income, he or she should not be entitled to receive disability benefits. It is wise to purchase a policy which is both Non-Cancellable and Guaranteed Renewable (i. e. contract that cannot be changed and premiums that cannot be raised). (Source: whitecoatinvestor.com)

“Own Occupation” coverage means that you continue to receive monthly income benefits until you are able to perform the specified duties of your speciality. It is not always available to Neurosurgeons, Orthopedic Surgeons, Anesthesiologists, Emergency Medicine Physicians and Thoracic Surgeons. Some companies feel that if the above-mentioned medical specialists cannot practice the specialty for which they were trained, but decide to work in another capacity earning a similar income, he or she should not be entitled to receive disability benefits.

“Loss of earnings” policy has become more common place in the industry today. It typically pays benefits if you are “unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your occupation and you are not working”. Unless your policy contains a residual disability rider, no benefits would be paid if you choose to work in another occupation or medical speciality.

Residual disability means that you are at work and not totally disabled under the terms of your policy, but due to sickness or injury, your loss of income is at least 20 percent of your prior income. This rider also states that if your loss of income were more than 75 percent of your prior earnings, the insurance company would regard your loss to be 100 percent and future benefits would be paid.

Residual disability:  Examples of information that may be required to obtain Residual disability could be tax returns for the past 5 years, monthly profit and loss statements for the past 3 years and perhaps even bank account statements. Basically, aside from all the details asked, if you were working 50 percent of the time that you used to work and you are making 50 percent of your pre-disability earnings, then you would receive 50 percent of your benefit because you had a 50 percent loss of income. In simple terms, Residual Disability Benefits typically begin when the insured is able to return to their regular occupation in a limited capacity but have incurred a loss of earnings of at least 20 percent.

Partial Disability benefits are paid to the insured person who experienced a loss of time or duties due to a partial disability. The person will be eligible for a flat percentage of their monthly benefit which typically works out to a maximum of 50 percent.  What if he/she no longer performs surgery? What if he/she had eyesight that started to fade or was confined to a wheelchair?

A disability is simply defined as an illness or injury that interferes with your ability to work. You want to have a contract that can never be changed or premiums that can never be increased. The definition of a good contract will read: if you cannot perform the material duties of your speciality, benefits will be paid.

With good disability insurance contracts if you could not perform your speciality because of an injury or illness and you engaged in any other occupation you would still receive your monthly benefit. Even if you were making a higher income in your new occupation, you would still receive your monthly disability benefit. Most good disability contracts will have extra policy riders you can purchase. Riders that would allow you to increase your coverage later in life regardless of your health. A residual rider that would pay benefits in the most realistic claim scenario of being partially disabled but still working in your own occupation. A cost of living rider ensures that if you were to go on to claim, your benefit would increase every year to keep pace with inflation. Insurance companies know from claims statistics that most claims involve partial disability where individuals are still working in their own occupation or in another occupation.

International Travel Insurance

International Travel insurance is insurance intended to cover medical expenses, financial default (i. e. failure to meet the legal obligations) of travel suppliers as well as other losses incurred while travelling either within one’s own country or international.
Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, domestic or abroad, adequate medical emergency evacuation coverage is important should you experience illness or injury during your travels.

Natural disasters. Building evacuation due to fire or smoke. Political unrest. Every day thousands of travelers across the globe risk being subject to unforeseen events of all kinds. What happens next is the bigger issue.

Emergency evacuations are not uncommon – especially these days. Whether you call the United States home or reside in another country, it’s not enough to have basic insurance coverage. Emergency evacuation is a foreign country could involve much more than hospitalisation. In fact, it is likely in such an event it will involve a number of other expenses surrounding your emergency evacuation, which could threaten your financial stability.

Traditional insurance carriers are hard-pressed to provide you with adequate emergency evacuation coverage due to high risks and exposures you face in a situation requiring emergency evacuation. Moreover, most carriers do not cover medically related expenses in such emergency situations.

Temporary travel insurance can usually be arranged at the time of booking of a trip to cover exactly the duration of that trip, or a ‘multi-trip’ policy that can cover an unlimited number of trips within a set time frame. Coverage varies and can be purchased to include higher risk items such as ‘winter sports’.

The most common risks that are covered by travel insurance plans are:
1. Medical emergency (accident or sickness)
2. Emergency evacuation
3. Repatriation of remains
4. Return of a minor
5. Trip cancellation
6. Trip interruption
7. Visitor health insurance
8. Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
9. Overseas funeral expenses
10. Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents
11. Delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)
12. Flight connection was missed due to airline schedule
13. Travel delays due to weather
14. Hijacking

Medical expenses coverage can be Per Occurence or Maximum Limits

Some travel policies will also provide for additional costs, although these vary widely between providers.

In addition, often separate insurance can be purchased for specific costs such as:
1. Pre-existing conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes)
2. Sports with an element of risk (e. g. skiing, scuba diving)
3. Travel to high risk countries (e.g. due to war, natural disasters of acts of terrorism)
4. Additional Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
5. 3rd Party supplier insolvency (e.g. the hotel or airline to which you made non-refundable pre-payments has gone into administration.
6. Acute on-set of pre-existing conditions – this term is very different from Pre-existing conditions. It means a sudden and unexpected occurence of pre-existing medical conditions without any prior warning from a medical professional.

Travel insurance companies, especially in the USA, do not offer coverage for pre-existing coverage but they do offer coverage for acute on-set of pre-existing conditions. If you have pre-existing conditions, make sure you get this coverage to protect yourself against any emergency situation that arises due to pre-existing conditions in spite of taking care.

Common Exclusions

1. Pre-exiting medical conditions but a lot of companie now cover for “acute on-set of pre-existing conditions”
2. War or terrorism – but some plans may cover this risk, and some do cover for acts of terrorism.
3. Injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug use.

Usually, the insurers cover pregnancy related expenses, if the travel occurs within the first trimester. After that insurance coverage varies from insurer to insurer.

All Aboard Benefits can provide you with the coverage you need, helping you manage the complications and costs of medical and travel emergencies that may occur during your trip and help you to avoid a future loss of income.

The Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance Program covers the wide variety of risks and exposures that can occur during your trip. They will provide you with emergency medical coverage of medically related expenses, should you experience illness or injury during your travels.

Coverage options include:

Emergency evacuation, including that for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions
Air ambulance rescue
Transport of dependent children back home
Hospital visit from spouse or other loved one
Repatriation of remains
Accidental death and dismemberment
Security evacuation (including natural disaster coverage)
Optional adventure sports coverage
Optional baggage coverage

The program also includes the following 24-hour emergency travel assistance options:

Arrangements for last-minute flight changes
Hotel and reservations arrangements
Lost luggage
Medical referrals
Replacement of lost prescriptions
Emergency cash transfers
E-mail and phone messaging to family and friends
Pre-trip health, safety and weather advisories
Airport transportation
Personal security assistance
Identity theft assistance

Group Travel Medical Insurance

Also available is a dependable and cost-effective international group medical insurance plan for international travelers and persons living or working abroad.

Eligibility:

Large or Small Groups and Organizations:

Vacation tour groups, missionary or church groups, students and corporate groups.

Corporate Health Insurance for Employers:

Employers who need International Insurance Coverage: a policy can be issued if you have 5 or more non-citizen employees who do not qualify for the company’s existing health plan, if one already exists. Criteria is that the employees are living and working outside of their home country. Spouses and dependent children under the age of 18 can also enroll. Custom benefits can be designed according to your requests.

Standard US major medical benefits include inpatient and outpatient services and prescription drugs. International plans include emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, medical provider referral and multilingual customer service.

Trip Cancellation Worldwide:

International Trip Cancellation insurance plans provide trip cost reimbursement benefits that help ensure you’re prepared in the event of an accident, illness or loss when travelling. These worldwide travel cancellation insurance plans also provide reimbursement if your international cruise or trip is interrupted or cancelled as a result of tour operator or travel supplier default, weather that causes complete cessation of services, or a number of other events that may cause interruption or cancellation of your business trip or prepaid vacation.

The Risks of Movie-making

 

The risks of movie-making make it a high risk industry and insurance has to be considered in order to protect the movie-making company and investors.

Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon, was fatally shot by a prop revolver while shooting a scene for The Crow that called for the firing of a blank towards the 28 year old actor.  A bullet had inadvertently been lodged into the barrel due to careless procedures by those working on the set and this resulted in a gunshot that took Lee’s life despite emergency surgery in a hospital in North Carolina.  Brandon Lee’s mother filed a suit against the Edward R. Pressman Film Corp.

The post-apocalyptic film – Water World, that imagined a world without land after the polar ice caps melted was reportedly the most expensive movie ever made upon its release ($175 million).   A large cause of the cost overruns came when a hurricane destroyed a multi-million dollar set off the coast of Hawaii. The Kevin Reynolds-directed and Kevin Costner- starring “Mad Max on water” adventure picture was tagged as a flop before it even opened.  The film had bad press concerning cost overruns due to the difficulties of filming on water as well as behind the scenes squabbling between Reynolds and Costner.

George Camilieri, a bodybuilder and extra, broke his leg during the filming of Troy.  He was operated on the following day but died two weeks later of a heart attack related to a blood clot. Ironically, Brad Pitt, who played Achilles in the blockbuster version of the Homer’s Illiad, also tore his left Achilles tendon during production. About three-quarters of the way through the film, Pitt’s Achilles faces Hector, played by Eric Bana and kills him.  While performing a difficult jumping strike against Bana, Pitt landed awkwardly and injured his Achilles tendon.

Insurance coverage is already in place when a film production is launched.  There are a number of speciality insurance brokers within the industry whose sole purpose is to protect a film or TV show’s production costs while shooting.  This insurance also covers risks associated with cast insurance (i. e. injury, death and abandonment).  Case in point:  Halle Berry broke her foot while on location in Spain filming Cloud Atlas, which pushed back shooting two-and-a- half weeks to allow the actresses foot to heal. Production did however continue by filming around her injury – either in closely cropped shorts or using stunt doubles.

Along with the injuries to the cast, the insurance also covers delays caused by fire, theft, damaged film and other setbacks, and it typically totals between 0.8% – 1.5% of the film’s entire budget.  This number can fluctuate, however, based on such factors as where the film is being shot or an actor’s health.  “Traditional insurance can cover almost anything that impairs the ability to make a film” said Konrad Dowling, managing director of Arthur J. Gallagher Entertainment Services in Glendale California.  The Gallagher Entertainment consultants have brokered the insurance for 90% of the American Film Institute’s Top 100 films.  They have been involved in many high-profile claims including Hurricane Katrina and September 11, 2001 production claims as well as serious cast losses.

Production Coverage Protection

Props, sets and wardrobes

Extra expense

Third party property damage liability

Miscellaneous equipment

Negative film

Faulty stock, camera and processing

Cast

Office contents

Money and currency

Animal mortality

Civil authority

Difference in conditions

General and automobile liability

Foreign general and automobile liability

Excess liability

Errors and omissions

Aircraft liability

Dowling’s firm insured, in one capacity or another, two-thirds of the films that were nominated at this year’s Academy Awards.  As successful as Gallagher and the handful of other insurance brokers that operate in this arena are, there are some risks that cannot be underwritten by traditional carriers.  There are specialised underwriters that are able to take an added risk.

An actor wanting to pilot his own aircraft during production of a film would qualify as something left to speciality insurance, and the cost of coverage can vary depending on how many times the star intended to fly the aircraft during filming and where he is flying.

There is no shortage of actors whose penchant for party life has the potential to put a film in jeopardy.  Drugs and alcohol are not the only personal risks that require extra coverage.  Sometimes factors beyond anyone’s control arise.  People get sick.  Lori Shaw, an entertainment insurance advisor with Aon remembers, “We were involved with a TV production that was about to be launched when their anchor star was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition”.  The insurance carrier covering the cast was not willing to take on the medical risk, which would have shut down the series before the first episode was filmed.  Fortunately Aon was able to help solve the problem.

Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.  In Hollywood, the insurance industry tries, but there is only so much that one can do.  You can avoid the Philippines during monsoon season.  In Florida, a time other than the hurricane season can be chosen.  However, even with forethought, circumstances do not always work out favourably.

Last Fall, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc during the filming of Noah, as floodwaters threatened the sets.  The exterior sets for Noah, including the 450 foot long ark were constructed directly in the storm’s path in Oyster Bay on Long Island Sound;  the damage to the area made it impossible to fully assess the costs.  The $115 million film was fortunately covered by insurance.    High profile film events, including the gala premiere in Lincoln Square of the Keira Knightley film

Anna Karenina were cancelled.  TV shows affected included:  Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit, 30 Rock, 666 Park and Gossip Girl.  Taping of live shows, such as Late Night with David Letterman had to go ahead without an audience.

No matter the perils, traditional insurance brokers do an exceptional job protecting film and television productions.  It would be impossible to list just how many times that coverage has prevented studios from hemorrhaging fortunes after disaster strikes.  Occasionally something arises that is outside the purview of the traditional brokers, and the speciality carriers fill the gap.  If not for them, many films would never have seen the light of day.

Bicycle Insurance in South Africa

Most insurance companies require you to insure your bike as part of your household insurance. Other companies offer all-risk cover, but then you are not covered for competition and training with your bike. There are insurance companies who provide policies, which are cyclist and bike specific. They offer stand-alone cover for your bike when you are travelling, riding, hijacked or if your bike is stolen.

Cyclesure

One of the first companies in South Africa to offer and to cover in competition was Cyclesure. The company was started 10 years ago after the founder, Fred Henning realised that cyclists did not have proper cover. He decided to make the difference by offering cyclists stand-alone cover on their bikes and components, whether you are competing, training or commuting. They also provide quick claim resolution and Henning says that 95% of all their claims are resolved within 24 hours of receiving relevant documentation.

Momentum

In 2008 Momentum started offering bike insurance. They decided to get involved in bicycle insurance as they saw a gap in the market. The majority of short-term insurers do not provide stand-alone cover for bicycles; the norm in the industry is that household contents need to be insured as well. There are also companies in the market that exclude accidental damage while training or racing, so they decided to create a policy which is attractive to cyclists.

Miway and Outsurance

Others who offer bike insurance include Miway and Outsurance. Both of these offer similar cover to the abovementioned companies, however they do specify cover in the event of fire damage.

Outsurance

They offer:
Complete Protection
Worldwide coverage
Stand-alone cover
Additional benefits
Personal Accident cover worth R25, 000
Automatic personal legal liability up to 5 million

You are protected against:
All Risk
Loss or damage
Theft
Hijacking
Damage during transit, training or participating.

Miway

They offer:
Worldwide coverage
Stand alone cover
Additional benefits
Personal Accident Cover
You are protected against:
Theft
Hijacking
Fire
Accidental damage
Damage during training, transit or participating.

Cyclesure

They offer:
Standalone cover
International coverage
Additional benefits
Personal legal liability for 1 million rand
Personal accident cover for R10, 000 (applies to official rides only)
Medical expenses up to R5, 000 for any accident (applies to official rides only)
Cover for bicycle hire

You are protected against:
All Risk
Theft
Hijacking
Damage during transit, training or participating

Momentum

They offer:
Worldwide cover
Stand alone cover
Additional Benefits (optional)
Personal Accident cover worth R25, 000 (covers death, permanent or temporary disability)
Personal legal liability worth R5 million (if you insure your household contents with Momentum as well)

You are protected against:
Loss or damage during transit and training
Hijacking
Theft
All risk while participating in an event (no limit)

The four leading bicycling insurance companies quoted to insure an average R10, 000 bike:

Cyclesure

Premium – R73.76 (including the Personal Accident, Medical expenses and R1, 000, 000 liability cover)

Excesses:
Basic – 5% of claim minimum R250.00
Theft and hijack – 10% of claim
All wheel claims – 10% of claim

Miway

Premium – R70.00 (depending on the underwriting information)

Excess – R400.00

Momentum

Because they individually write each risk (client) premiums and excesses vary from one person to the next, regardless of the cost of the bike.

The information used to calculate the risk:
1. Client’s ITC profile (i. e. credit score)
2. Current insurance history
3. Area the client lives in
4. Previous incidents and cancellations
5. Type of bicycle i. e. mountain vs road bike
6. Value of the bicycle

This is the possible cost of cover with Momentum, based on a fiction client.

Premium – R123
R103 (single speed)
R98 (racing)

Excess – R460 (can negotiate a lower excess at additional cost)

Outsurance

Premium – between R250 – R490 +

Excess – R490

Insuring Fine Art

Art Insurance is a slot market with distinctive rules. Insuring fine art is of paramount importance. Transport is the biggest risk and can be reduced by expertly packing and shipping sculptures or paintings. Insurance losses are rare, but expensive, when an insurance policy is to reimburse via opinions of their current market value rather that at a pre-arranged value. The value of works of art have headed up over the past decade. Two paintings by Turner were stolen in 1994 when on loan to Germany. The claim made to Hiscox, a British Museum was for $37 million.

At present, art insurance tends to follow general trends in P & C. (Personal and Commercial). In particular, says Charles Dupplin at Hiscox, the rates for transits between museums are going up. Transporting works of art across countries and continents is still a risky undertaking. Standards of safety and care vary considerably, say, between America and the former
soviet Block.

The two paintings Shade and Darkness – the Evening of the Deluge and Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – The Morning after the Deluge – Moses writing the Book of Genesis are two of Turner’s most significant works. Shades and Darkness was recovered on 19th July 2000 but no announcement was made for fear it might jeopardize the recovery of the second painting. Light and Colour was recovered on 16th December 2002.

The Mona Lisa was stolen from The Louvre on 21st August, 1911. The Louvre closed for an entire week to aid in the investigation of the theft. It was recovered in 1913 after the thief Vincenzo Peruggia attempted to sell it. Currently The Mona Lisa is estimated to be worth $743, 000, 000 although art critics say it is priceless.
The Boy in Red Vest by Paul Cezanne was stolen from Foundation E. G. Buhrle in Zurich valued at $91, 000, 000 and recovered in Serbia on 12th April, 2012. These are only some of the famous paintings stolen over the years.

If you own fine art, and want to insure the collection, the first task is to create detailed records of your art collection. The name of the artist, title, date that the work was created, the medium used (oils, acrylics etc), its size and general condition. Keeping original receipts for art works purchased is also prudent. Taking photographs is advisable, which should be kept in a safe place.

Certain insurance companies that specialise in fine art insurance may send a specialist to evaluate the collection and at the same time give advice on the protection of the various pieces from light, fire and water spoilage. Any fading or cracking that may be caused by artificial light or natural light will not be covered in this policy. It is necessary to take extra precautions if you live in an area which is susceptible to hurricanes and earthquakes. Wall-hanging devices such as special earthquake hooks should be used to secure the art on walls. Three dimensional works of art like big sculptures should be attached to the floor by means of a heavy base and the use of museum wax will ensure that lighter sculptures will not topple over should you have an incident such as an earthquake or hurricane.

Several years ago, “The Scream” and “Madonna”, two major paintings by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch were stolen from the Munch Museum in broad daylight. An interesting fact that is that Munch had created four versions of “The Scream”.  The one that was stolen was created in 1910 – with tempura on board.  It shows water damage in a lower corner suffered during the ordeal although some art historians view that intrigue as an asset.  The other three versions were two in 1893 and one in pastel in 1895. A Rembrandt and a Vermeer, amongst others, worth approximately $300 million were stolen from a museum in Boston in 1990. In both instances, the art was not insured against theft, although they were insured for fire and water damage as well as reparation costs that may be incurred if the pieces were damaged. John Oyaas, managing director of the Munch Museum said that the Munch paintings were irreplaceable. So what is implied here is that there are paintings that are so valuable, they are not worth insuring. This does not make sense as some insurance is better than no insurance at all. 

The issue is getting compensated in some way if the art is stolen. The cost of insuring an entire collection at a museum may well be prohibitive, however, thieves only steal parts of the collection. If you purchase theft insurance, you are insured for the coverage amount no matter what gets stolen.

One could pay for as much insurance as one can afford. That way, if the art gets stolen, there will at least be some funds to hire top private detectives to try and recover the stolen art, or enough to even pay a ransom amount.
Alternatively, the funds obtained could be used for a state-of-the-art security system which would be a deterrent to future art thieves.

Make sure you understand your insurance policy. Read the fine print and ask every question about every conceivable loss or damage situation that comes to mind. Theft/damage insurance for art added to a homeowner’s policy generally costs $1 – $2 per $1000 of coverage and less if you have a good security system in place. Several insurance companies specialise in covering art and antiques exclusively.

However, additional fine art insurance may cover fire, accidental breakage and loss from severe weather. You may need a separate flood policy to be protected in the event of flooding. Fine art policies can also include transportation coverage. This can be especially beneficial because a significant 5 – 10 percent of art collection claims are as a result of damage or loss to the pieces during transit.

Celebrity Chefs and Risk Management

 

Chef Julia Child became a pop-culture icon and was the first true celebrity chef.  She was recognised for bringing French Cuisine to the American Public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs the most notable of which was The French Chef which premiered in 1963 on WGBH.  Julia Child’s kitchen is an historic artifact on display on the ground floor of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.  The kitchen is not a replica, but is the actual kitchen used in several of her cooking shows.

Iron Chefs is a show produced by Food Network, which also carried a dubbed version of the original Iron Chef.  Like the original Japanese program, the program is a culinary game show.  In each episode, a new challenger chef competes against one of the resident “Iron Chefs” in a one hour cooking competition based on a secret ingredient or ingredients.

Chefs like Gordon Ramsay are treated like rock stars because they get paid like rock stars.  Ramsay’s empire of restaurants, cookbooks, TV Shows and endorsements are reported to be worth $80 million.  His salary per episode is $225, 000 and he earns an additional $10 million per year from his media and restaurant empire.  Ramsay has opened a string of successful restaurants across the globe, from the UK to Italy to the United States and holds 7 Michelin Stars.  He also has a global partnership with WWRD (Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton) which offers quality home and lifestyle products.

Jamie Oliver is worth a whopping $243 million beating out Gordon Ramsay and Delia Smith. In 2000, Oliver became the face of the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’ through an endorsement deal worth $2 million a year.  In 2005 Oliver’s suggestion that home cooks grate nutmeg over spaghetti bolognese led to the supermarket sell more than 9 tons of the spice, an amount equivalent to the previous two year sales. The tie-up which lasted 11 years is over but has earned the chef over over £10 million.

The kitchen is quite a dangerous place;  knives are sharp, pans are hot, floors are slippery and there is the specific timing involved in a television show.  What happens if a celebrity chef is ill or injured and therefore unable to perform?  How does this affect the overall brand and the businesses that rely on their names?  If chefs like Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen and Gordon Ramsay are laid up, their books and cookware will still sell, but for what length of time as in today’s fast-paced marketing world, out of sight, is out of mind.

The response of investors and corporate risk managers is to secure large blocks of key person life insurance to protect against the untimely death of celebrity chefs as they recognise how dependent the franchises are on the brand of their celebrity chefs.  Many risk managers ignore the greater risk of injury and forgo disability coverage.

Key person life and key person disability insurance must be procured in order to protect the company, the employees, the shareholders and the board of directors.  Production and merchandising partners need similar protection as well.  This insurance is typically available through traditional life markets.

One high-profile celebrity chef in his mid-40s was updating his financial plan when his new wealth advisor noticed that he failed to maintain disability income protection.  With an annual income north of $2 million, the chef wanted to be able to maintain his lifestyle in the event of a disability.  A policy was structured with a 90 day waiting period, followed by a $100, 000 per month of tax-free disability benefits.  Coverage was underwritten protecting losses from both accident and illness utilising a specific occupation policy form that covered the insured if he could not be an “on-air” personality.  In all, nearly $15 million of future income was protected at a cost of around $40, 000 annually.

Accidents and illnesses happen.  Alton Brown, a chef who is a known aviation and motorcycle enthusiast, broke his collarbone after crashing a motorcycle while filming an episode of Feasting on Asphalt for Food Network.  A few years earlier, he shattered his wrist, an injury that required eight screws and a titanium plate to repair and took months of recovery and rehabilitation before he could resume filming.

Paula Deen, known for cooking rich Southern Cuisine revealed that she has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  At a Soccer Aid Match at Old Trafford, Teddy Sheringham tackled Gordon Ramsay.  World famous TV chef Ramsay, who once had a trial with Rangers, had to be given oxygen on the pitch before he was taken off by medics.  He received treatment for an injured back.

Lower-profile chefs need similar protection.  The Gotham Bar & Grill in New York enlisted the talent of Alfred Portale.  He has brought the cuisine to a new level and continuously evolves the menu, dining room, service standard and art collection.  Chef Portale was named Outstanding Chef in the nation in 2006. If Chef Portale suffered a serious injury or illness, there is definite potential for Gothams to be negatively affected. 

In scenarios like this key person life and disability insurance is often needed to either reorganise and replace a fallen chef, or simply wind down a venture in the event of death or a catastrophic disability.  In one transaction involving such a chef, life insurance was in place, but the insurer was asked to design and underwrite a policy that would cover the “overhead” for a 12 month period so that decisions could be made if their well-known chef was injured.  A policy was structured with a 30 day elimination period paying up to $35, 000 per month for a maximum payout of one year, giving the restaurant time to either retool or exit, depending on the owner’s desire.

The value of ensuring that a brand or restaurant can continue to prosper if an executive chef is no longer able to perform, is big business.  Cooking shows like Iron Chef, Masterchef, Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen promise to spawn new superstars that have strong brand crossover. Celebrity Chefs have ascended to a lofty perch once inhabited only by actors, athletes and rock stars and ensuring there are contingency plans in place makes good business sense

Alien Abduction Insurance

The term Alien Abduction describes “subjectively real memories of being taken secret against one’s will by apparently non-human entities and subjected to complex physical and psychological procedures.” Abductees claim that they have been warned against environmental abuse and the damages of nuclear weapons.

The first alleged alien abduction claim to be widely publicised was the Betty and Barry Hill abduction in 1961 in a rural part of New Hampshire. An Alien Abduction Insurance policy is redeemed if the insured person is abducted by aliens. Simon Burgess, former managing director of British Insurance, well known for being involved in the bizarre end of insurance, said “Of course, the burden of proof lies with the claimant. Let’s face it – insurance is so tedious that if I can enlighten my dreary life with a bit of humour every now and again, I will.

A policy normally costs around $150 per $1.5 million in coverage. Policy offerings vary from $10, 000 to $10 million. Some companies offer policies for alien pregnancy, alien examination and death caused by aliens. More recently the Alien Abduction Insurance Corporation has launched the idea of abduction insurance certificates as a unique gift for a lifetime premium and sell it at $9.95. One benefit of this kind of policy is that the claim amount will be doubled if you are hit by the alien when you are pregnant.

The very first company to offer UFO abduction insurance was the St. Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The company says that it has paid out at least two claims under Alien Abduction Insurance when two people claimed that they have been bitten by vampires (they were actually bitten by a bat). The company pays the claimant $1 per year until their death or for 1 million years whichever comes first. Over 20, 000 people have purchased the insurance. The insurance is normally purchased by the “feeble-minded”, according to Burgess, a former Lloyds of London Underwriter. Prominent policyholders have included Shirley Maclaine and a Harvard University professor who has written on aliens. Owner of St. Lawrence Agency read Whitley Streiber’s true-life novel Communion in 1987 and learned about the threat of alien abductions.

With the help of international investors, he added UFO abduction insurance to his existing agency. The $10 million policies offer payment for medical coverage, including psychiatric care, in the event of a physical abduction by alien aircraft. They pay $20 million if the policyholder has an alien child or is eaten by aliens.

In fact, the business is so good that several other companies have entered the market, offering policies that range from $10, 000 to $10 million. Coverage varies from company to company. Smart shoppers will look for a company that has a good business record, a reasonable cost for coverage, and a wide range of benefits.

Heaven’s Gate Religious group purchased Alien Abduction Insurance from London Brokerage Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson (GRIP) before committing a suicide. Just after this GRIP stopped issuing Alien Abduction Insurance Policies to their customers.

Heaven’s Gate Religious group purchased Alien Abduction Insurance from London Brokerage Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson (GRIP) before committing suicide. Just after this issue, GRIP stopped issuing Alien Abduction Insurance Policies to their customers. Before this event, even they sold more than 4, 000 insurance policies of this type.

At a cost of roughly $155 a year the GRIP policy would pay about $160, 000 to someone who could show that they had been abducted by a being who was not from Earth. The payment would double if the insured person was impregnated during the event. Men were also able to purchase the impregnation insurance for protection against the unknown capabilities of alien technology.

Construction Insurance

Every single building project should have construction insurance. These insurances can provide coverage for material risks, natural disasters and employees. Some of the most common insurances in the construction industry are:

Liability Insurance: This insurance will protect home builders, contractors and remodellers against accidents, injuries or property damage suffered on the job. Workers can accidentally damage a property by mishandling tools and materials or while the remodelling process is under way.

Common business practice requires you to provide evidence of construction liability insurance before repairing or remodelling homes. Sub-contractors are also required to present their evidence before entering or starting a construction job. Having good construction liability insurance protects builders from lawsuits or when they suffer losses from unexpected conditions.

Sometimes homeowners may want to sue contractors for damage during the construction process. Perhaps a worker is injured and may want to file litigation against the homeowner or contractor. Your contract with the sub-contractor, as a homeowner, should insist that the subcontractor has his own liability insurance, so that you, as the homeowner are exempt from any responsibility arising from damage caused during the construction process. It is recommended that the insurance coverage is two to three times the amount of the construction budget.

Construction liability insurance has also its limitations. You must set limits per each occurrence and limits for accumulated values. Limitations are also set for fire damage to property under construction as well as medical expenses for injured workers on the job that might not be covered under workers’ compensation. Covered damages also include liability for personal and advertising injury, that is litigation produced from claims that the contractor’s promotional advertising in some way caused the homeowner or other interested party to incur a financial or personal loss.

Many options are available under construction insurance. They depend on the policy’s provisions, including the causes of loss or perils being insured against. While they should be studied before the construction contract is drawn, they seldom are. The Builder’s risk policy is often purchased after the contract has been signed and without regard to what it specifies or what the exposures of the construction projects are. As a result, coverage problems can arise – to the detriment of most parties, including the insurance representative.

Construction insurance will provide coverage for damage done to the insured structure from a wide variety of events. Damage from the following events will be covered by most policies:

  • Fire
  • Wind (may be limited in coastal areas)
  • Theft
  • Lightning

Limited coverage is provided for collapse. Standard exclusions are:

  • Earthquake
  • Employees theft
  • Water damage
  • Weather damage to property in the open.
  • War
  • Government action
  • Contract penalty
  • Voluntary parting
  • Mechanical breakdown

An important exclusion which should be read in its entirety excludes coverage for damage resulting from faulty design, planning, workmanship and materials.
Extension of coverage may be provided for certain situations. The coverage for these may be limited.
Common builder’s risk insurance coverage extensions include

Property in transit
A coverage extension to protect property from loss while being transported to the jobsite.

Scaffolding

Coverage is extended to apply to scaffolding, construction forms and temporary structures, but only while they are at a location you have reported.

Property in Temporary Transit

Property that will be used or installed in the secured location and pertaining to the insured company.

Fire department service charge

When the fire department is called to save or protect covered property from a covered cause of loss.

Debris removal

The builder’s risk insurance policy will pay your expenses to remove debris of covered property. This debris must result from a loss that is covered under this form.

Sewer and Drain Backup

Water damage from the back-up of sewers and drains is usually covered.

Valuable Papers

(site plans, blueprints, etc.)

Additional Information you should know

The insurance will not cover the property of others.
Sub-contractors are required to have their own insurance.
There is no coverage for tools or equipment
No coverage for liability.
It does not cover accidents on the job site.
Usually coverage ends when the building is completed, or occupation is taken.
The premium for the annual policy is fully earned.

Linked to construction insurance is the necessity for a construction contract, which is an agreement that sets a date and specifies which parties are going to participate in the construction process.  Usually the contract agreement is formed between the Owner of the project and the contractor or supplier that is providing the requested services.  It includes

  • Project description
  • Contract price
  • Payment basis
  • Construction schedule
  • Contract document list
  • Contraction scopes
  • Construction conditions and responsibilities
  • Contract law

However, contract agreements must: –

  • Be in writing
  • Be understood and clear between both parties
  • Include services being contracted clearly
  • Include cancellation or termination clauses

 

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is the use of the internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group or an organisation. Harassment covers a wide range of behaviours of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviours intended to disturb or upset and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening and disturbing. It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten or harass. Cyberstalking is often accompanied by real time or offline stalking. Both are criminal offences. Both are motivated by a desire to control, intimidate or influence a victim.

In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening and disturbing. It may include defamation which the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion or nation. Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed. Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media such as printed words or image called libel.

Cyberstalking is often accompanied by real time or offline stalking. Both are criminal offenses. A conviction can result in a restraining order, probation, or criminal penalties against the assailant, including jail. CyberAngels was founded in 1995 by Gabriel Hatcher as an online “neighbourhood watch”. Originally, the group monitored chat rooms directly with the intent of apprehending sexual predators. Later the group took what it had learned and changed its focus to educating police, schools and families about online abuse and cybercrime. In 1998, the CyberAngels received a Presidential Service Award.

Cyberstalkers find their victims by using search engines, online forums, bulletin and discussion boards and more recently, through social networking sites, such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, Twitter and Indymedia, a media outlet known for self-publishing. They may engage in live chat, harassment or flaming (a hostile and insulting interaction between internet users, often involving the use of profanity), or they may send electronic viruses and solicited emails.

Cyberstalkers may research individuals to feed their obsessions and curiosity. Conversely, the acts of cyber stalkers may become more intense, such as repeatedly instant messaging their targets. Classic cyberstalking behaviour includes the tracing of the victim’s IP address in an attempt to verify their home or place of employment. A 2007 study led by Paige Padgett from the University of Texas Health Science Center found that there was a false degree of safety assumed by women looking for love online.

Legislation on stalking varies from country to country. Cyberstalking and cyberbullying are relatively new phenomena, but that does not mean that crimes committed through the networks are not punishable under legislation drafted for that purpose. In the United States, nearly every state that addresses cyberstalking, cyberbullying or both.

Four Types of Cyberstalker

Preliminary work by Leroy McFarlane and Paul Bocij has identified four types of cyberstalkers: the vindictive cyberstalker noted for the ferocity of their attack; the composed cyberstalker whose motive is to annoy; the intimate cyberstalker who attempts to form a relationship with the victim but turns on them if rebuffed; and collective cyberstalkers, groups with a motive. According to Antonio Chacon Medina, author of Una nueva cara de Internet, El acosa (“A new face of the Internet”), the general profile of the harasser is cold, with little or no respect for others. The stalker is a predator who can wait patiently until vulnerable victims appear, such as women and children, or may enjoy pursuing a particular person, whether personally familiar to them or unknown. The harasser enjoys and demonstrates their power to pursue and psychologically damage the victim.
Here are a few pointers to help you thwart cyber stalking:

  • Maintain vigilance over physical access to your computer and other Web-enabled devices like cellphones. Cyberstalkers use software and hardware devices (sometimes attached to the back of your PC without you even knowing) to monitor their victims.
  • Be sure you always log-out of your computer programs when you step away from the computer and use a screensaver with a password.
  • Make sure you use good password management and security. Change your passwords frequently.
  • Do an online search for your name or your family members’ names now to see what is available about you. Remove anything private or inappropriate.
  • Delete or make private any online calendars or itineraries.
  • Use the privacy settings in all online accounts to limit your online sharing with those outside your trusted circle.

Words such as:
license plate records, people locate, employment locate, bank account locate, phone record trace, social security number trace, property records information

will bring up hundreds of internet-based data furnishing companies that supply consumer records online. Some even provide these types of records free. Experiment a little and you will quickly discover that you do not need to hire a private investigator to obtain personal information; with a little ingenuity and the help of the internet, you can find it yourself.

Insurance for Collectables

If you have more than two of something, you have a collection and therefore should obtain insurance for collectables. There are an estimated 90 million collectors in the United States. The antique and collecting industry is estimated at $25 billion per year.

Insurance policies used to insure privately owned collections are referred to as “scheduled personal property floaters” or “personal inland marine floaters”, and are specifically designed to provide coverage for collectables.

Floater policies are offered through insurance companies that are classified as either: –

  1. Admitted”. These are insurance companies licensed by a state insurance department to conduct business in the particular state, and, generally, the coverage forms and rates are required to be submitted to the state insurance department for review and approval. (Your homeowner’s insurer is most likely an “admitted” insurance company).
  2. Non-Admitted” (also known as surplus lines) insurers are authorised by the state regulator to conduct business in the particular state, but the coverage forms and rates are not regulated. Because the coverage forms and rates are not regulated, these insurers have the flexibility to design insurance policies that can be used to cover unique or unusual types of property.

The difference between “admitted” and “nonadmitted” insurers: –

If an admitted insurer becomes financially impaired or insolvent, most state insurance departments have the authority to take over the operation of the company and most states have a guaranty fund in place to provide payments for covered claims to help minimise the financial loss to policyholders resulting from an insurer’s insolvency.

State insurance departments do not have the authority to take over the operation of a “non-admitted” insurer and the state’s guaranty fund does not respond to insolvencies of non-admitted insurers.

Depending on what you collect, the following items should, at a minimum, be included in any collection insurance policy:-

  1. Specific coverage should include theft, vandalism, accidental breakage, fire, lightning, windstorm, flood, water damage, earthquake and shipping coverage.
  2. Additions to the collection should be automatically covered for a period of time until you can add them on.
  3. An inflation guard feature that automatically increases the value of your collection each year.
  4. A reasonable deductible.
  5. Replacement cost average, so that you will be paid the current market retail value of the loss.
  6. Affordable rate of premium to coverage value.
  7. Detailed inventories or professional appraisals should not be required.

In addition to the above, you may also wish to consider automatic travel and exhibit coverage and moving coverage.

Valuation, Appraisal and Inventory: For most collections, the insurer should not require a detailed inventory or any type of professional appraisal in order to obtain coverage. However, the company may require a list of single items with very high values. This is not uncommon, and can be easily provided if you have kept receipts for your purchases. Although an inventory may not be required, it is still up to you to place a value on your collection. This may be difficult to do if you have never kept records or do not have an inventory.

An appraisal is one way of determining the value of your collection. This may be a good idea, particularly if you have no idea of its value. Generally, an appraiser will need to be physically present at the location of the collection, so that the collection can be viewed, measured, documented and photographed. The appraiser will then research your collection, and ultimately provide you with a written appraisal report. This report will contain information about the purpose and type of appraisal conducted. The report should contain a complete description of each item, including size, markings, characteristics and value. A photo of each item is included, as well as a glossary of terms and bibliography of materials used to research and determine value.

At a minimum, you should track the following information for each item:-

  1. Date purchased
  2. Name of seller and location
  3. Category of item
  4. Good description of item, including shape, colour, markings and other unique features
  5. Size
  6. Purchase price
  7. Current value
  8. Picture of item (not required, but a good idea)

Antiques and Collectibles National Association require that only single items over $2500 need to be listed. The deductibles start at $250 per occurrence. They cover anything except jewelry, coin/currency, new guns and anything motorized. (For collector automobile insurance, they recommend Hagerty Insurance Agency).

American Collectors offer broad coverage on your collectables which include damage caused by accident, fire, flood, theft, hurricane and earthquake. Scheduled items’ value over $2000 automatically will have increased coverage by 2% quarterly, and 8% annually at no extra cost. If new additions are made to the collection, they will be automatically covered up to $2000 for 30 days within which time you must update them on the actual value of the additional items. Items being shipped, stored outside of your residence, or used for special occasions can be covered too.

Hagerty Classic Car Insurers use industry-leading tools to help you determine the true value of your classic car/s, then create an agreed value policy that covers it. Hagerty only insure collectable cars and therefore can provide coverage at a lower price than daily driver insurers. The car policy will be customised to your needs whether you are travelling to a show or going out for lunch, or doing restorations on your car, you will be covered. In addition, they provide guaranteed flatbed roadside assistance when you need it.

Bicycle Insurance UK

When purchasing insurance cover for your bicycle, it may be advisable to consider using a company that has developed their policy conditions in conjunction with cyclists and people with experience in the cycle industry. There are different levels of cover to suit a wide variety of cyclists. You may only need cover which is geared for a bicycle that is used to commute or for recreational purposes. If you need insurance cover for racing or competition, that could be arranged by means of an optional extension to your policy.

Cycleguard, is an example of a company that specializes in bicycle insurance in the United Kingdom (UK).

  •  Their cover against theft and accidental damage is up to £10, 000.
  •  A bike which is less than three years old will be replaced on a new for old basis, however bikes older that three years old will be subject to depreciation.
  •  Whilst bikes are being repaired Cycleguard will arrange bicycle hire for you until you get your bike returned to you.
  •  Your cover may be extended to other areas for a certain period of time, for example:-

UK only
EU for 90 days (30 day maximum trip)
Worldwide (45 day maximum trip)

Your optional extensions are: –

  •  Public liability and accident cover
  •  Racing or competition use
  •  Roadside recovery
  •  Family members option

In regard to USUAL STORAGE LOCATION – What is NOT COVERED: –

  •  If your bike is left outside of the specified insured location, and stolen, a claim will not be approved.
  •  Theft at home or the insured location unless there is forcible and violent entry.
  •  If your bike is in a communal area and not locked with an approved lock and attached to an immoveable object.

In regard to LEAVING YOUR PREMISES WITH YOUR BIKE – What is NOT COVERED: –

  •  If you have stopped off somewhere and your bike is stolen as it was not locked to an immoveable object.
  •  If your bike is stolen and you did not use an approved lock (a list of approved locks can be found on Cycleguard’s website)
  •  A bike stolen which was left unattended anywhere for more than 18 hours.

In regard to ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE – What is NOT COVERED :-

  •  If you have any cosmetic damage which does not impair the performance of your bike.
  •  When in transit, the bike should be securely packaged as failure to take this precaution will cause a damage claim to be rejected.
  • Should you loan or hire out your bike to any other person, damage caused to the bicycle will not be approved.
  •  Mechanical or electrical failure of your bike is not covered.
  •  Any faulty or defective design which results in damage will be rejected.
  •  Unless you have purchased active cover for racing or competition, a claim for damage to your bike will not be approved.
  •  Should you use the bike for hire or reward, it will not be insured for damage, theft or vandalism.

Cycleguard’s EXCESS conditions: –

  •  If you took out your bike insurance on or after 2nd January 2013, there is an excess amount of £25 on each and every claim.
  • The first £100 or 20% whichever is the greater will be charged for bikes stored in wooden sheds, communal hallways and communal outbuildings.
  •  Public liability claims are subject to a £500 excess for third party property damage.

CYCLE INSURANCE FROM THE ETA

  •  Cycle insurance from the ETA includes cover for race events such as triathlon, time trials, downhill mountain biking, sportifs and other competitive cycling both in the UK and abroad. NO ADDITIONAL COST is made for race cover, but certain exclusions apply.
  •  When taking part in a cycle race or triathlon, your bicycle is covered against theft, accidental damage and vandalism, but NOT THIRD PARTY COVER, PERSONAL ACCIDENT OR CYCLE RESCUE. Third party insurance is usually the responsibility of the race organiser.
  •  With the ETA, when you participate in a triathlon, provided the transition area is supervised by a marshal, your bike is covered against theft.
  •  If you do competitive cycling, you are covered in case of accidental damage.

REPLACEMENT OF BICYCLE (the ETA)

Your bicycle is not devalued by the ETA over time.  You should insure your bicycle for its full replacement value (i. e. the bike, accessories plus VAT).

BREAKDOWN (the ETA)

At no extra charge, if you are unable to complete a journey due to an accident or mechanical failure, you and your bike will be recovered from any road in the UK. The average response time is 40 minutes. You and your bike will be taken to your home, railway station, cycle repair shop or back to your car, whichever is the nearer. If your bike has been damaged or vandalised, the ETA will pay for a taxi to take you and your cycle home.

THIRD PARTY INSURANCE (the ETA)

You may need to deal with a civil claim for compensation if you injure someone or damage their property or vehicle while cycling on any bicycle that you have permission to ride. ETA cycle insurance covers you for a pay out of up to
£1 million. This section of the policy has an excess (i. e. that you must pay) of £250.

OTHER EXCESSES (the ETA)

Claims for theft, accidental damage or vandalism have an excess amount of 5% but a minimum of £25

PERSONAL ACCIDENT COVER (the ETA)

ETA cycle insurance will pay out up to £20, 000 if you are seriously injured or killed while cycling on any bicycle.

CYCLE TOURING INSURANCE AND TRAVEL COVER (the ETA)

You are covered for 90 days a year whilst travelling in Europe and 60 days per year worldwide for theft, accidental damage and vandalism. Third party cover does not apply the UK.

HIRE BICYCLE (the ETA)

Reimbursement for cycle hire up to the value of £250 is standard on every policy, if your bicycle is stolen or off the road following a claim.

LOW EXCESS (the ETA)

  •  Standard excess: 5% of claim value (£25 minimum)
  •  Third Party Claims: £1 million third party cover: £250
  •  Unattended bicycles: If a bicycle is left unattended in a public place between the hours of 01.00 am and 04.00 am the excess for theft/damage/vandalism is 20% or a minimum of £100