The Importance of Workers Compensation Code Classification

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) currently utilizes over 700 class codes. These four digit codes represent the specific work duties and job classifications assigned to each employee. Code classifications contain detailed descriptions of work and represent the hazards associated within the process of their job duties.

For Example
Class code 8810 is for clerical employee who work at computers. This employee faces less risk of injury compared to a carpenter that performs work on upper stories (class code 5403) because there are less hazards associated with desk jobs than construction of buildings. Because of this difference the workers compensation rates differ from class code to class code.

The Importance
Correctly classifying employees is an important part of the workers compensation insurance quoting and risk management process. If employees are misclassified businesses may end up paying higher rates or risk owing additional premium after an audit. Classification codes are complicated and proper assignment is critical to have the correct premium charged for a workers comp policy.

Every state uses a different set of class codes from various state rating authorities. Each of these codes comes with distinct rating which factors into the premium calculation. With so many class codes to choose from it’s easy to see how misclassification errors can occur.Under state law businesses are obligated to accurately report the duties their employees perform. Improperly coding employees will be discovered during annual insurance audits, and purposefully misrepresenting employees duties can be considered fraud resulting in fines or even prison time.

Help with Workers Compensation Class Codes
When employees roles and duties change their workers compensation class code must also be adjusted. Some carriers allow for employees to split class codes based on their diverse duties but check with your insurance agent before doing so. The NCCI manual can be consulted to find the correct workers comp class codes.

Workers Compensation Insurance can be confusing terrain. Contact one of our agents today for a no cost assessment of your business insurance needs.

7 Brewery Insurance Policies to Consider

Over the last decade or so microbreweries, craft breweries and brewpubs have exploded coast to coast. Today, there are more than 2,300 breweries and brewpubs in the U.S.

There are a number of risks brewery owners and managers face manufacturing and selling beer. The specific insurance needs of each brewery are unique depending on the size and scope of your brewery operations (craft brewery, microbrewery, large brewery, tap room, brewery tours, on-site events, etc).

Just like brewing stouts, lagers and ales takes careful planning and execution, adequate brewery insurance requires purposeful risk management and consultation to properly manage unexpected events that may cause damage to property, injury to customers or employees, or interrupted production. Consider the following circumstances:

• A batch is contaminated or spoiled and must be destroyed or removed from the marketplace.
• A customer is involved in an alcohol-related car accident after leaving your tasting room or brewpub.
• Vital equipment or machinery unexpectedly breaks down, leading to property damage, loss of inventory or product, and extended downtime.
• A customer, vendor or delivery person slips, trips, or falls on your property.
• Guests on your property damage equipment or other business property.
• Unfinished or completed beer leaks or spills from a storage tank.
• Weather events, fire, theft, or vandalism damages or destroys your building(s) and its contents.
• Beer in storage or in transit is damaged or destroyed.

Brewery Insurance Policies to Consider:

Business Property
Brewery Business Property Insurance can pay for damages to your building, equipment and inventory relating to fire damage, weather events, vandalism, theft and other covered causes. This coverage can also include coverage for the interruption of your brewery to cover ongoing expenses and lost income if your operations are paused because of a covered loss. Business Property coverage can be designed to cover inventory, machinery, brewing equipment, furniture, fixtures, computers and any other business property at your locations.

General Liability
General Liability Insurance for Breweries can cover third party property damage and bodily injury claims. For example, if a guest in your taproom slips and falls your Brewery General Liability Insurance can pay for the medical expenses, attorney fees, court costs and any judgements or settlements. This coverage can also cover claims for product liability or advertising liability.

Commercial Auto
Commercial Auto Coverage can protect the vehicles owned by your brewery and the liability claims arising from your brewery’s auto use. If one of your employees is driving a delivery van around town and is in accident sending the other driver to the ICU your brewery is on the hook for that claim. You also can be held liable for claims related to employees driving their personal vehicles for business purposes. In this case you’d need hired and non-owned auto liability insurance to cover the claim. Commercial auto claims can be very expensive, it’s important to ensure you have the property Brewery Commercial Auto Coverage.

Workers Compensation
If you have brewery employees you are required to carry Workers Compensation insurance. This coverage covers the cost of work-related injuries and illness as well as settlements arising from employee injury claims. The cost of this coverage per employee varies significantly based on the duties, or class code, and payroll of each brewery employee.

Equipment Breakdown
This coverage, also known as boiler and machinery coverage, is essential for a brewery because your machinery and equipment are very expensive. If something breaks it can take weeks or months to fix it. Would you be able to continue operations if a significant portion of your production was stalled while waiting for replacement machinery? This coverage can pay for the costs to fix sudden and accidental breakdown and reimburse you for any related business interruption costs.

Liquor Liability
This coverage is required for any establishment that sells, services, or furnishes alcoholic beverages. It can pay for property damage and bodily injury that results from negligent selling or serving alcohol. This is legally required if you serve alcohol on your premises.

Employment Practices Liability
EPLI protects you if a current or former employee sues you for discriminatory employment practices such as failure to hire, failure to promote, sexual harassment or other discriminatory practices. In recent years there has been a significant increase in claims related to employment practices. Even if the claim is false your brewery is responsible for covering the legal defense costs relating to the claim. These costs are often in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While we’ve addressed many of the exposures in the brewery industry, there may be more risk your brewery faces. Talk to one of our brewery insurance specialists today to learn more.

Will Aufhammer

[email protected]

(626) 463-5101

4 Ways to Save on Brewery Workers Compensation Insurance

“What are workers compensation rates and where do they actually come from?” is a question we often hear when assisting start-up breweries. Even established brewery owners and managers ask this question. Let’s face it, your job is to make fantastic beer not to understand the nuances of insurance.

Breweries may not know or remember how these costs can be managed or perhaps even decreased to improve profitability. Here are four important steps you can take to lower your workers compensation premiums.

1. Safety is crucial.
Having a brewery safety plan or employee safety training manual is important. Keeping your employees safe and minimizing injuries leads to cost savings over time. Breweries with past employee injuries and claims end up paying higher premiums in subsequent years. There are plenty of resources available to you to make this simple. While OSHA is always a good stop, as are fellow breweries, here is a favorite:

2. Have a return to work program.
No employee should be forced to come back to work prematurely after an injury, but if your brewery has a formal method for having injured workers get the treatment they need to get better, the sooner they can get back on the job. The sooner your employee returns to work the smaller their workers comp claim ends up. We support employees receiving the medical attention and recovery time they need. But a return to work program for your brewery will help you help your employee return in a safe and timely manner.

3. Check what class codes your employees are working under.
If you have employees that do multiple jobs—such as an assistant brewer that also tends bar (I’m guessing you might!), you may be eligible for Labor Distribution, which allows the multi-tasking employee to have their hours at each specific job to be properly attributed. This is essential because a brewer’s workers comp rate is typically triple that of a bartender. You may be overpaying premium based on a small oversight.

4. Ask for pricing help!
If you have been in business for a few years and have little or no losses on your workers’ compensation policy, ask your agent to see what he/she can do to get you a better deal.

Most importantly, we encourage you and your staff to remember the all for one, one for all supportive and typically collaborative nature of the brewing industry. Safer breweries mean fewer work comp claims. Fewer claims means lower rates… for everyone.

If you’re looking for low cost brewery workers compensation insurance click here or contact [email protected]

Small Business and PPP

Everyone is touting Small Businesses are getting LOTS of help. But this is how it REALLY is!


The Paycheck Protection Program is not much help for the majority of “mom and pop” shops throughout the country, who are often sole proprietors or an LLC with few to no employees or mostly part-time employees. In my situation, we are an S Corp, where one owner is paid commission on his own booth sales and the other owner doesn’t get paid. Since we do not have employees, the PPP doesn’t work for us because 75% of the amount received must go towards payroll costs. The 25% on the PPP I could use toward utilities, rent and a few other costs would not have gotten me through even one month of expenses. I was hoping with the EIDL $10K advance, I may make it through two months if I was very careful.


At this time, we have been closed for one month. I have not heard from the SBA. The SBA has changed the original $10K forgivable advance to $1K per employee, making it nearly impossible for the small businesses across the country not to suffer terribly during this time.


We have many self employed vendors in our antique mall who rent space from us and we felt it was the right thing to do to waive their rent through this disaster, even though we are not receiving a waiver for our own rent.


Most small businesses will tell you: neither of the forgivable loan programs are accounting for the following:


  1. Monthly overhead expenses of businesses forced to shut down. These include mortgage payments, rent, utilities, commercial insurance, ongoing security, continued payments on POS software, advertising costs paid in March for ads scheduled for April, event cancellations, payments on seasonal merchandise that will sit until next year, bookkeeping and accounting fees, professional fees associated with fire alarm systems, property taxes, etc.


  1. Yes, small businesses want to keep their employees. Many of us have valued employees who have been with us for many years and it often takes us a long time to find people who are dependable to work for the wages we are able to pay them. But neither the PPP nor the EIDL is set up for the majority of mom and pop shops to do so, as explained above. If our employees are able to get unemployment, small businesses need help with monthly overhead to stop the financial bleeding that is occurring because of the forced shutdown. It is beyond our control that we have no income and only expenses at this time.


  1. In a recent MSNBC news clip on small businesses, it was stated that 54% of the nation’s economy is based on small businesses. Small businesses are your retail shops, restaurants, day cares, hairstylists, lawn care specialists, eye care centers, dentists, and so on…. Our nation has never asked these businesses to come to a sudden halt. Our entire economy is built on the backs and the sacrifices and dreams of people who often risk their entire life savings and all their time and energy into building their own version of the American Dream. It’s not only the small businesses that will be affected by this crisis, but the landlords and banks who receive rent/mortgage payments for their brick and mortar buildings, the wholesale supply businesses who sell product to them, the utility companies who provide services, the tech companies who provide apps and software, the credit card companies who make money off sales, the truck drivers who supply the businesses with their goods, and the millions of people who work either full-time or -part-time for these businesses. It’s so much more than we can even begin to imagine, and if this economy doesn’t open back up soon or if the government doesn’t provide either a solid financial relief or tax relief plan to enable these small businesses to stay in operation, I fear the consequences of this unprecedented situation will be far more dire than we can begin to fathom.


Most of the general public is concerned with either the stimulus checks or the ability to get unemployment during this time; but I find that most people have no idea how dire the circumstances are for small businesses who account for 54% of the nation’s economy. I just felt that it was my duty to speak up in the community and share my concerns about the survival of small businesses. Unless you own a small business, chances are you may not be paying attention to what little help is being made available to them. The PPP and the EIDL may be a good fit for many big small businesses, but they are offering very little to help the very small business owner. As a mall owner/small business owner who enjoys helping others realize their small business dreams with their own shops, I wanted to speak up and let everyone know that even though it appears as though small businesses are being helped, they really are not. I only hope the majority of them in our valley are able to make it through this – not only for the small businesses, but for the employees who work in those small ‘mom and pop’ shops!


On 4/17/20, the WCIRB put out the formal announcement which affirms earlier speculation. This is good news for our clients that have been impacted by the COVID-19 devastation.


  1. COVID claims will not impact the experience modification
    2. Payroll for employees staying at home, he WCIRB just put out the formal announcement which reaffirms our earlier email.  Please note the updated changes:
  2. COVID claims will not impact the experience modification
    2. Payroll for employees staying at home, not working, but continuing to be paid, will be excluded from reportable payroll.
    3. Employees working from home can now be moved to class code 8810, clerical.

    California appears to be ahead of many other States for these changes, but we expect other States to follow suit rather quickly.

Download WCIRB Wire Alert 4-17-20

If I Had a Crystal Ball

If I had A Crystal Ball – one person’s opinion

If I had a crystal ball and could have seen into the future to learn that a pandemic was approaching, would I have even been able to find or afford insurance to cover my economic losses? No, the coverage simply wasn’t available, at any cost, and as of today, it still isn’t.

My family and I are suffering economic hardship in similar ways to many Americans today. Last week, as my wife and I walked through a desolate and sparsely populated Seattle-Tacoma Airport, we turned toward one another and realized at that moment that every airport around the globe looked essentially the same. The experience was surreal, and it’s one that is as indelible as was 911 for me.

I don’t think our lives will ever be quite the same, but we will work to rebuild.

Insurance policies are legal contracts, like a lease agreement for a car, or rental property. In leases, the wording explains what you, the lessor is responsible for, and what your tenant is responsible for.

If you’ve leased a car to someone, you will expect them to cover damage to the car from a fire, theft or an accident. Likewise, if the person driving the car injures someone while operating it, you wouldn’t expect to be responsible for the injuries the driver caused to the injured people, would you? Of course not.

There are standard conditions that all of us brace for, a fire, a theft, an injury we accidentally cause to someone.

In these modern days, fires and car accidents are predictable by using computer modeling. But what about an earthquake or a flood? Earthquakes and floods are hard to predict, even with sophisticated computer modeling, and because of that, insuring these kinds of unpredictable things are expensive and not every insurance carrier has the stomach for it.

Most people make a conscious decision to save money on insurance by not buying earthquake or flood coverage. For those that do, the cost is quite high.

In more than 95% of the cases, insurance policies are designed to cover everything that’s not excluded in writing. The things that most of us buy insurance to cover are fire, theft, and liability for when we injure someone. There’s never a dispute if you buy a fire insurance policy, and you have a fire. You’re going to get paid. Not all loss causes are as cut and dried.

What if there is a war and huge sections of our country are destroyed? No Coverage

What if you go on a rampage and injure your fellow citizens?  No Coverage

What if you make and distribute a product that is determined to be unsafe to the public, and you are ordered to recall the product and reimburse everyone the price they paid for it? No Coverage – but in some cases, coverage might be available for an additional cost. These kinds of claims are rare and hard to predict, so the cost can be quite expensive.

What about Pandemic Insurance?

Pandemic Insurance just doesn’t exist in today’s marketplace. Just like after 911, an act of war that rocked our country and decimated vast sections of our infrastructure, coverage didn’t exist, Within a year, legislation had been passed to help protect Americans on a go forward basis and the cost to purchase Terrorism Insurance has since been spread across every policyholder in America.

We Americans will find our way out of these challenging times. Through the process of digging out we will become a stronger Nation, so long as we don’t turn on each other by placing undue blame on our Government or our Business Community.

Dana Coates is a semi-retired Risk Manager with an effective team to back him. Dana founded the company in 1996 and was mentored by some of the industry’s history makers. United Western Insurance Brokers, Inc., also known as UWIB, serves successful businesses and families, primarily in the Western US. With offices in Los Angeles and Seattle, UWIB is a fully digital agency which enables them to serve clients from anywhere, even when infrastructure has been disrupted. For a coverage evaluation on your business or your personal insurance portfolio, reach out to [email protected] . You’ll be contacted quickly by a real person who is seasoned and ready to work. Visit the company’s digital presence at

Coronavirus Business Loan Resource

Disclaimer: This document is not intended to provide any legal advice or opinion on any individual situation and should not be relied on to determine course of action. The information is based on review of emergency business loan guidance from sources we deem to be reliable and communications we have received from various resources. We make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of information as applied to individual cases.


There is a plethora of information about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). We found a couple of very simple guides which explain what they are, and answer commonly answered questions. The information is rapidly changing, however, these links are good starting points for small and mid-sized business owners. Please consult your CPA and Banking Advisor before engaging in any loan activity.

Paycheck Protection Program FAQ from Senator Marco Rubio’s Office

CARES Act Overview from Senator Ben Cardin’s Office

Coronavirus Insurance Information

Personal Note from the UWIB Team:

These are challenging times for everyone, including business owners, and we’d like to share a guide for 11 types of insurance coverage that may be impacted by the Coronavirus. We understand that the following information contains many legal terms, so please contact a member of your sales team if you have any questions here: Staff Directory

You May Download PDF Copy of the below here: Coronavirus Information

Disclaimer: This document is not intended to provide any legal advice or opinion on any individual situation and should not be relied on to determine insurance coverage or lack thereof as relates the Coronavirus. Insurance forms and endorsements vary based on insurance company, changes in edition dates, regulations, court decisions, and state jurisdiction. The information is based on review of insurance coverages, sources we deem to be reliable and communications we have received from insurance companies and other resources. We make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of information as applied to individual cases. Please advise our office if you want to submit any claim for coverage with your insurance companies.

Kroger’s Blueprint For Business
UWIB is pleased to provide our clients, staff members, competitors and friends with direct access to “Kroger’s Blueprint for Business.”

As our economy begins its preparation to reopen for business, Kroger’s Grocery Stores has proactively created their own Blueprint for Businesses” based on their experiences in collecting information, tracking trends and reviewing Best Practices guidelines for getting ready to reopen.

Kroger’s focus is on the safety and assurance for their vendors, customers and staff members, as states begin taking steps to get back to business.

While each business in America is different, Kroger’s experience provides a great deal of information detailing the vital steps they are taking which translate universally to any business.

We all want what’s best for our staff, their families, our customers, clients, and vendors.

Reviewing the Kroger’s blueprint could shorten the process for many organizations as they navigate their reopening process.

UWIB hopes you will find this information useful because we know that you rely on us to help you with risk mitigation.


Coronavirus Information

Overview of the Current Situation
One of the major problems with the spread of the virus is that situations are changing minute by
minute. The fluidity of the situation is creating more panic, confusion and potential for economic
ramifications to businesses and individuals.

“As SARS-CoV-2 [Also colloquially known to many as COVID-19 or Coronavirus] has spread, there have been suspensions and disruptions of factory operations and supply lines, cancellations of conferences, concerts and music festivals, and meetings, closures of motion picture theaters, cancellations of and restrictions on sporting events, a substantial drop in attendance at sporting events, movies, concerts, theater shows, attractions, and restaurants, closings of business and schools, and the widespread adoption of temporary telecommunicating/“work from home” policies. The economic losses are projected to be at least in the hundreds of billions of dollars with disruptions potentially lasting for two years.” (Pasich Legal Alert. March 2020.

As these situations arise, the question is whether there is any insurance coverage available. It is important to remember that in all situations listed above that the reason for the disruptions is a virus and the ultimate answer as to coverage will be how the various policies respond to the “virus” and whether there is any compensational incident that occurred to activate coverage.
– Many businesses are voluntarily closing, either short term or for an unspecified period. This is being done as a precautionary measure for public safety.
– Many businesses are closing or suspending operations because they are mandated to do so.

Overview of Insurance Considerations
All insurance coverages could come into play as result of Coronavirus. From the most obvious types of coverage to the most unlikely responses. CAUTION: a reminder that individual’s policies MUST be reviewed to render opinion. There are two subsets to the review of coverages: “standard” insurance response and legal counterparts. Law Firms are publishing reports fostering argument as to the legal interpretation of coverages based on case law that could provide coverage where conventional wisdom may think otherwise. Attorneys are warning that coverages might be overlooked because of overly broad interpretations of exclusions such as the “communicable disease” exclusion or because of the interpretation that a virus does not constitute physical loss or damage to property. For that reason, we cannot give definitive answers that could later be interpreted as bad advice resulting in an error or omission for failure to submit claims in a timely manner.

1. Business Income/Business Interruption/ Extra Expense
Standard Insurance Response
– Business Income pays for the actual loss of business income, due to a suspension of operations,
during the period of restoration, due to direct physical loss of property at the premises described, caused by a covered cause of loss.
– The argument against coverage is:
– There is no direct physical loss
– There is no “restoration”
– There is no covered cause of loss
– There are exclusions for “pollutants;” “contaminants”
– Exclusion for “consequential losses”
– Following the SARS epidemic, many insurers added specific exclusions for bacterial or viral
infections to their coverage
– Civil Authority coverage is provided, but only as a result of a covered situation

– There is a waiting period for coverage on many forms ranging from 24 to 72 hours
– There may be Dependent Property coverage; however, it responds to “covered losses” at premises identified on the endorsement. Coverage is subject to the territory of the policy.
Dependent Property coverage is an available coverage on Business Income Policies. Dependent Property used to be titled, “Contingent Business Interruption.”
– It may be included automatically, may be sub-limited, can be endorsed for higher limits
– When writing Dependent Property on a standard Business Income policy, coverage is limited to
the “territory” definition of the policy which is “domestic”
– Some companies will offer international dependent property coverage for a sub-limit
– In all cases, the loss at the dependent property must be a covered cause of loss on the
insured’s policy

Legal Counterpart
– The argument is being made that the mere presence of SARS-CoV-2 may constitute insured loss of or damage to property and may trigger coverage for business income.
– When property, such as surfaces or airspace, is contaminated including by virus, it may be deemed to be damaged.
– Many courts have recognized that contamination of property by a hazardous substance is property damage.
– Some of the cases being cited include:
o AIG Ins. Co. v. Superior Court, 51 Cal. 3d 807, 842 (1990) (“Contamination of the environment
satisfies” the requirement of property damage);
o Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hardinger, 131 F. App’x 823 (3d Cir. 2005).
o Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association v. Great American Insurance Company, 2016 WL 3267247 (D. Ore. June 7, 2016),
o Gregory Packaging, Inc. v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, 2014 WL 6675934 (D.N.J. Nov. 25, 2014).

2. Trade Disruption Insurance/ Supply Chain Coverage
– Trade disruption insurance (TDI) focuses on the consequential loss potential as a result of loss of earnings, extra expenses and contractual penalties incurred as a result of delays or disruptions in trade flows growing out of the events listed above.
– TDI differs from the standard business income coverage by NOT requiring that there be a direct physical loss to goods or their conveyances.
– The coverages to which TDI apply are listed on the policy
– Such policies could provide some level of protection to companies with complex global supply chain interdependencies.
i. Trade Disruption has been generally unavailable in the marketplace for some time due to the market shift
ii. When available, it is typically very expensive, and few insureds elect to purchase the coverage

3. Event Cancellation Insurance
– Event Cancellation Insurance covers losses as a result of cancellation or postponement of event because of “insured risks.”
– An event cancellation policy can protect an insured from financial losses such as lost ticket sales, out-of-pocket expenses, contractual guarantees to others and sometimes even reimbursement to attendees for their purchased tickets.
– Typical policy language usually requires the loss to be the result of an unexpected cause “beyond the insured’s control.”

– One issue to be aware of is the Communicable Disease exclusion that excludes coverage where a loss arises out of fear of any world epidemic determined by the World Health Organization.
– While this exclusion may exist in some Event Cancellation policies, coverage still may be provided in some circumstances, such as if the venue where the event was to take place were closed under the order of a government or public or local authority due solely to a communicable disease that manifested within the venue.
– The cancellation of an event while possibly in the best interest of the business may not necessarily be covered under such policies because the cancellation was not beyond the control of the event organizers or attendees

4. Travel Insurance 

– People are cancelling their travel including reservations for airlines, hotels, events, tours, cruises, etc.
– Many tour companies are offering people “credit” on future bookings
– Many people have purchased separate travel insurance policies
i. Epidemics are usually not included in standard travel insurance coverage
ii. Most travel companies won’t refund travelers who cancel trips because they are worried about contracting a virus

5. Commercial General Liability Overview:
– In simplest terms, liability for businesses could arise from people who enter a premises/event as a customer or guest
– Examples would include restaurants, airplanes, cruise ships, hospitals, retail stores, schools, etc.
– Possible Liability Scenarios
i. Claims that seek to hold people responsible for causing others to contract Coronavirus (NOTE: this is the impetus for many businesses to voluntarily close as pre-cautionary measures and to mitigate the potential legal ramifications)
ii. Allowing an employee who is known to be infected with the virus to continue working
iii. Failure to adhere to required health and prevention guidelines
iv. Remaining open following an order by a civil authority to close
v. Not screening and refusing service to customers with the virus Standard Insurance Response
– Coverage applies to “bodily injury” and “property damage” only if:
o The “bodily injury” or “property damage” is caused by an “occurrence” that takes place in the “coverage territory.”
▪ Within the CGL an occurrence is defined as an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.
▪ Is contracting a virus an occurrence within the policy form?
o One exclusion could possibly negate coverage for spreading the coronavirus to members of the public, exclusion 2.a. Expected or Intended Injury.
▪ For example, if the insured requires an employee to continue working or come to work who is known to be infected, spreading the virus should be expected (even if not intended). No coverage due to the exclusion.
o In addition, CGL Policy often contains or are endorsed with a Communicable Disease Exclusion (CG 21 32 05 09)

Legal Counterpart
– General liability insurance typically covers claims or suits for bodily injury, property damage, and various instances where the ability to use, occupy, or enjoy property is compromised.
– In many versions of this insurance, coverage also is afforded for claims of emotional distress.
– Defense coverage is provided under a Commercial General Liability typically outside the limit. Insurers owe a duty to the insured to defend cases even if they are “meritless.”

– These policies may apply not just when claims are made or lawsuits are filed, but also to steps taken to reduce the possibility of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

6. Excess Liability and Umbrella
– Umbrella and excess insurance policies are designed to be additional layers of coverage above primary insurance policies, such as homeowner’s policy, personal auto policy, commercial general liability policy or a business auto policy.
– However similar they are, umbrella and excess policies are not the same.
– Policies may have their own exclusions for transmitted illness, sickness, or disease; exclusion also applies to personal injury resulting from fear of contracting a disease

7. Workers Compensation Insurance
– Does any disease or virus that declare a pandemic create a true workers’ compensation exposure?
– Does the Coronavirus create a workers’ compensation exposure?
– The short answer is, not likely.” Other than the fact that the Coronavirus is currently garnering intense attention, in most cases it is no more occupational than the flu.
– Contracting the virus at work is not enough to trigger the assertion that it is a compensable occupational illness.
– Considerations:
• Does the employee have an increased risk of contracting the virus due to the peculiarity of his or her job?
• Health Care Workers
• Employees traveling outside the country for business

8. Directors and Officers Liability
– Businesses should brace themselves for a likely flood of shareholder suits related to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the success of any litigation may depend on companies’ willingness to fully disclose directors and officer’s liability-related risks now, say many experts.
– A company’s directors and officers may be subjected to shareholder suits alleging that unreasonable actions (or inaction) in response to the coronavirus caused the company economic loss.
– Although D&O policies generally exclude claims for bodily injury, such exclusions should not preclude coverage for shareholders’ economic loss claims that allegedly stem from management-level decisions.

9. Employment Practices Liability
– In addition to D&O suits, commercial policyholders may face lawsuits and claims related to employment practices liability, fiduciary liability and cyber liability stemming from COVID-19 that may impact Executive Liability Programs or Wrap Programs.
– Since it is difficult to list every possible basis on which employment- related discrimination can be alleged, most, but not all, policies also contain what are known as “catchall provisions” or “omnibus clauses.”
– These provisions apply to claims alleging various types of discrimination and, in addition, include within their definitions of discrimination the statement that coverage also applies to “… any other status that is protected pursuant to any applicable federal, state, or local statute or ordinance.”
– For example, Employment practices liability may be triggered if an employment termination occurs because of an employee has been exposed to COVID-19

10.Employee Benefit Liability and FMLA
– The FMLA is a federal law that guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protection for certain eligible employees dealing with their own serious health condition or taking care of a qualifying family member with a serious health condition.
– As the number of cases continues to grow, so will the number of employees be seeking job protection under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
– An employee diagnosed with COVID-19, or responsible for caring for a qualifying family member with COVID-19, also should be permitted to use FMLA leave.

11.Cyber Liability
– Companies determined to protect their employees and minimize the impact of COVID-19 are enforcing travel restrictions and strong work- from-home policies.
– As workforces take up social distancing to shelter at home, the risk of attacks against corporate remote access systems goes up.
– Criminals target employees to harvest their VPN credentials as a backstage pass to corporate assets.
– VPN credentials grant legitimate access to remote administrative tools, like PowerShell and Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RD)

5 Insurance Coverages For Every General Contractor

Are you covered if you faced one of these scenarios?

• A fire catches at your job site destroying $20,000 of supplies and $50,000 of equipment.

• A client sues you because they feel the advice you gave them led to an ineffective store design and less revenue.

• An employee visits a supplier for a job and crashes into a mini-van with a mother and two children.

• A client asks to see your Certificate of Insurance with $1,000,000 limits but you don’t have one and therefore lose the bid.

• An employee falls from a ladder at the job site and injures their back.

You’ve worked too hard and invested too much of your own money to let your business close its doors because of lawsuits and insurance claims. Each of the above scenarios could happen to your business and it’s imperative you protect yourself from scenarios like these. The following six insurance policies can help protect you and your business from financial loss and keep your business thriving.

General Liability

As one of the most broad insurance policies a contractor can have General Liability Insurance is absolutely essential coverage for all general and subcontractors. GL policies can cover claims resulting from bodily injury to third parties, property damage of others and personal or advertising injury.

Consider this scenario: while using a scissor lift one of your employees leaves a tool unsecured and it crashes into the hood of another contractors truck. Your general liability would address the claims arising from this accident. Click here to learn more about General Liability Insurance for contractors.

Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)

This insurance coverage protects architects, consultants and design build contractors from claims brought by clients for customer dissatisfaction arising on design flaws or failure to properly execute plans.  Contractors who provide consulting service and give clients advice on the design or building process should secure professional liability coverage.

This policy can also cover you from negligent acts performed by you or one of your employees. If your framers did not double check the plans when framing an exterior wall and placed it three inches away from the correct location their negligence could bring rise to claims made by the client. Your client now has to spend more money to fix the problem and delay construction because of your negligence. In a scenario like this, professional liability insurance would address the resulting claims made.

Inland Marine

Your tools and equipment are insured through an Inland Marine insurance policy. Inland Marine was designed to cover property in transit that moves from place to place. Because your tools and equipment are moved from job  site to job site they fall under this type of coverage.

If your tools or equipment are damage during the course of construction you may be severely limited in your ability to do your job. Now not only must you replace your expensive equipment but you also may lose income from being unable to perform your duties without those tools. Therefore Inland Marine serves as a protection to keep your tools and equipment in working order.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation extends coverage to your employees who are injured on the job. Their medical expenses and payroll are covered by Workers’ Compensation. Due to the high risk nature of the construction industry employees who are injured on the job are likely to be hospitalized and face serious injuries. Workers’s Compensation Insurance serves to give you and your employees to peace of mind to work safely and effectively on the job site.

Commercial Auto

While this coverage is not specific to contractors it’s essential for contractors who require the use of vehicles to transport supplies and equipment as part of their scope of work. Tractors, cranes and excavators may need to be insured on your commercial auto policy. This policy is designed to address damages to others made by your vehicle or damages to the auto itself.


Properly insuring your business will keep operations running smoothly and is essential for getting bigger clients. The larger your project the more your clients will require certificate of insurance.  Your employees are more likely to stay at your company knowing their covered for accidents and mistakes.

Are you a contractor looking to properly insure your business? Contact us at United Western Insurance Brokers to discuss coverage tailored to your business. Learn more here.