What Is Contractors General Liability Insurance?

Protect yourself and your business from financial loss with General Liability Insurance for Contractors.

Purchasing General Liability insurance is a must for all general contractors and construction companies. This type of insurance policy can cover the cost of suits and damages brought by others against you, your business or your employees over property damage or bodily injury.

Job sites can be treacherous to navigate and injuries happen. If a third party is injured on your job site you’re at risk for financial loss. If you or your business is sued you are responsible for attorney fees, settlements and damages even if you’re not found liable for the mistake.

This is where general liability insurance comes in. By transferring this risk to your insurance carrier you can have the peace of mind that lawsuits and damages can be covered by the insurance carrier. While not every type of suit or claim is covered under a General Liability policy GL insurance covers the following:

• Damage to others’ property

• Third-Party injuries (clients, sub-contractors, inspectors etc.)

• Personal Injury (claims arising from copyright infringement or libel)

• Completed Products Coverage (problems with your construction or installations down the road)

What incidents does General Liability Insurance cover?

While each policy is uniquely tailored to the particular business the following are common scenarios where a General Liability Insurance policy can help.

• A client meets you at the job site to review the plans as construction is in process. Upon entering the job site they trip on a piece of rebar and fall on their arm, spraining their wrist.

• One of your competitors claims that you ruined their reputation because of a post you made on your business  social media account explaining the benefits of your company compared to contractors in the area. They file a lawsuit for personal injury.

• One of your employees is installing a window and accidentally drops the window from the third story window opening shattering to the ground on another contractor’s equipment causing thousands of dollars of damage and rendering that equipment. That contractor is now unable to work for 5 days until the replacement equipment is delivered losing revenue in the process.

In each of these situations you or your business could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars worth of damages. For many businesses that type of sudden financial loss could force the company to close it’s doors. That’s why General Liability insurance is so important.

A GL policy isn’t the only type of insurance policy contractors should consider. Learn more about insurance for contractors.

Why Confidentiality Agreements Are A Must

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Disclosing Family Secrets

Why Confidentiality Agreements Are A Must

For Family Employers

In her lawsuit against her former employer, a nanny included detailed accounts of her employer’s lifestyle and preferences in an effort to “ruin” him. The nanny alleged speculative information about her employer’s work life in the lawsuit and included information about people the employer and his spouse discussed over dinner and a list of the people who visited the home. The nanny also mentioned situations that would be embarrassing for her employer.

The nanny is suing her former employer for retaliation, a hostile work environment, age discrimination, unpaid wages, and violation of other labor and health codes. She is seeking more than six million dollars in damages. The nanny worked for the employer for six months, starting in late 2016.

The employer, a former engineer for Uber, is facing another lawsuit for allegedly stealing trade secrets from his previous employer, in order to launch his own self-driving truck start-up company. The nanny of the former Uber engineer has filed an excruciatingly detailed lawsuit,” techcrunch.com (Jan. 16, 2018).

Why Confidentiality Agreements Are A Must

And a few tips for you to keep in mind when preparing them

Commentary and Checklist

In this matter, the former nanny published embarrassing information in the form of a lawsuit in order to damage her employer’s reputation. A confidentiality agreement could have protected personal information from improper disclosure.

  • Family employers should consider providing additional consideration (i.e., a money payment) to existing staff in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement so that it will be legally enforceable.
  • For new hires, family employers should make a confidentiality agreement a condition of being hired.
  • During orientation, train all staff on the confidentiality agreement. Make sure they know that guarding your privacy and the privacy of those around you is necessary not only to protect your reputation but also for your physical safety because personal information could be used by criminals to harm you or your family.
  • Clearly state that violating the confidentiality agreement will be grounds for termination, as well as grounds for a lawsuit.
  • The agreement should not expire upon termination of the employment relationship.
  • If any personal information is leaked, have a third party conduct a thorough investigation. If the investigation concludes that a current or former staff member is responsible, follow your disciplinary procedures for confidentiality agreement violations.

CAUTION Family employers must make sure not to punish staff for openly discussing information that is protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under this law, a family employer must allow staff to talk with each other about pay or other workplace conditions with the objective of improving them.

A staff confidentiality agreement should state that:

  • All private information, communication, photographs, and videos, no matter how created, are to be considered confidential and may not be shared with a third party for any reason.
  • If it is determined that certain information may be divulged to the public, the staff member must obtain written and signed authorization from the employer before doing so.
  • The confidentiality agreement applies to you, your family, and any other individuals with whom you do business or socialize.
  • Always Consult With Legal Counsel When Establishing or Implementing Such Standards or Practices
  • Through our Cornerstone relationship with CHUBB Insurance Group and a multi-year collaboration we have grown with the World’s leading Private Security Consulting firm, Gavin De Becker & Associates, United Western Insurance Brokers is uniquely qualified to support our clients with these important and sensitive matters.


Wealth Managers Team With Risk Managers to Cover All The Bases

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Wealth Managers Can Innocently Overlook Key Risks Of Their Clients

Wealth Managers handle a multitude of tasks for their clients, however, advising clients on proper insurance coverage is not typically something they take on with enthusiasm. That is unfortunate because some of the assets for which Wealth Managers are responsible need to be correctly insured.

What if, for no fault of the Wealth Manager, a huge chunk of a client’s physical assets were lost, overnight, as the result of an unexpected, uncontrollable and uninsured liability? Such a loss would directly impact the client, but it would also impact the Wealth Manager’s firm and perhaps others.

  Risk Managers Can Help

The good news is that Wealth Managers are not expected to tackle this problem single-handedly. An experienced Risk Manager can help by navigating the complex task of obtaining proper coverage for these risks.

The assets for which Wealth Managers are responsible exist as the result of someone’s effort, it may be old money or new money, but somebody has built the asset that is being managed. It is that asset’s physical safety and security which is the focus of a Risk Manager. There are many ways assets can be eroded, which is why a thorough and strategic evaluation is so important to those with substantial wealth. Where appropriate, risk can be shifted to the shoulders of a third party either through contractual agreement or the use of insurance.

Some of today’s most experienced Wealth Managers team with Risk Managers to see that insurance adequately protects physical assets and intangible liabilities. Doing so can be both a wise and cost-efficient decision in protecting client portfolios. For example, the cost of properly and legitimately insuring $100 million at risk might be as little as $90,000.

Five Reasons Wealth Managers Shy Away From Discussing P&C Insurance

Here are five reasons Wealth Managers give for not interrupting the insurance relationships their clients currently have in place;

 First, we are concerned that if we refer an insurance representative to review our client’s casualty insurance portfolio, the insurance representative might do something that is offensive to our client, which could alienate us from our client. It seems as though there are so many “self-serving” insurance people out there, and as good an idea as this service may be, we just don’t want to risk the relationship to someone that has a lot less invested in the deal. Let’s face it; we don’t want to be embarrassed by some guy trying to sell our multi-million dollar client a homeowner’s policy.

This can be a very real concern because there are so few sufficiently prepared insurance people qualified to consult in this specialized arena. Through a thoughtful vetting process, Wealth Management firms can identify qualified insurance people. By supplying this solution, Wealth Managers aid their clients to receive qualified independent reviews that can result in adjustments that fortify what may already be in place.

Second, reviewing my client’s personal or business insurance “isn’t really an area I’m expected to focus upon or in which I have much experience, expertise or comfort.”

You’re right – property & casualty Risk Management is very different from the focused area of financial and investment management in which most investment counsels are proficient. Your clients rely on you to provide them, by enlarge, with investment advice, period. The “period” seems too strident and might turn off those who feel they offer more comprehensive Wealth Management services than just investment advice.

This sometimes may involve life insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and other similar vehicles that assist your client in meeting the goals upon which you and they have agreed.

But who are they relying upon to help them deflect direct risk through public liability and property damage, or in the case of professionals, Error’s & Omission’s Liability? And what about your high profile clients who also serve on non-profit or public boards as directors, officers or trustees?

Often overlooked by some in the Wealth Management profession, are the very real direct financial risks associated with an improperly structured private property & casualty Risk Management strategy.

Third, my client tells me that their” Farmer’s, AAA, Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, 21st Century, or AIG agent handles all their personal insurance”, they don’t need another insurance salesman knocking on their door.

Let’s look at this from a Wealth Management perspective. Would you recommend that a typical trader manage your client’s wealth? Of course not. The education you’ve received, formally and in the trenches, and the professional designations you’ve earned through experience and continuing education, represent some of the tools which differentiate you. On top of that, your need for flexibility and fast movement to maintain the integrity of the wealthy’s risk protection strategy is exponentially different than that of main street America.

As in your industry, the property & casualty insurance industry has its share of the Average Joe order takers and price bidders. But your clients expect and deserve better, and it’s important that you direct them to the kinds of advisors that will operate with the same care and consideration by which you operate and at the same level of professionalism.

Fourth, if I were to refer a “risk manager” or an “insurance person,” they could act in a manner that might result in liability to my Wealth Management firm.

Selecting the right property & casualty risk manager with whom to partner on complex projects is as important a process as selecting the right lawyer, wealth manager, or banker.

You start by meeting them and getting to know how they carry themselves but you also need to be certain that they have a good professional history and are practical in how they conduct themselves.

Like your firm, a competent property & casualty expert is going to have at least $10 million in professional liability protection. This pre-qualification means that, besides having the right disposition to interact with you and your client base, they also have become established sufficiently and are operating with the proper safety nets in place.

Fifth, I don’t know or trust any property & casualty risk managers who specialize in serving the people with the kind of wealth that I handle for my clients.

If you have read this far you may have begun to recognize that you have access to at least one such resource, let’s meet and see if there’s a natural connection.


About the Author

Dana Coates

Dana Coates has been a licensed insurance broker for more than 35 years and is CEO at United Western Insurance Brokers. Dana is not a garden variety insurance broker; he has helped to craft risk management and insurance programs for some of the world’s leading billionaires, millionaires, and business owners.

Since his professional beginnings in 1975 as an underwriter with The Aetna Casualty Insurance Company in Hartford, CT., Dana went on to work for several renound independent insurance brokerages on the West Coast and in 1996 formed his own company. Dana’s firm accesses more than 100 of the finest A ++ rated carriers.

With offices in Los Angeles and Seattle, Coates’ company represents Collectors, Entrepreneurs, the Entertainment Industry, the Coffee Industry, the Marine Industry, Importers, Exporters, Manufacturers, Medical, Legal and Tech Professionals. The firm holds licenses in all states.

United Western Insurance Brokers, Inc. is one of the most technologically advanced insurance brokerage operations in the US and provides highly secure digital tools to all of its clients. The company’s offices are located in Los Angeles at 525 Cordova St., Pasadena, CA 91101 and in Seattle at 8014 20th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Mr. Coates can be reached directly at 626-204-6990 or by email at [email protected] Learn more about the company here UWIB.com

NPN #7398714

Empowered Employees Can Lead to Greater Engagement and Happiness

In our latest whitepaper, we discuss refining company culture to increase employee engagement.

Click Here To Download as a PDF

  • Every business has a culture – a company’s culture is often the reflection of the company’s leaders.
  • Owners and cultures evolve, and management styles evolve too, as do the people being managed.
  • Older workers respond in different ways than younger workers, and yet each one brings needed value to a company’s culture.
  • As the result of the fluid nature of people and culture, management’s methods to influence culture can be adjusted and refined over time in order to reflect evolving values.
  • Most employers and managers agree that their most valuable asset is their (engaged) employees. Most also agree that managing employee engagement is their biggest challenge.
  • Employees who are engaged are of the greatest value to employers. Exceptional behavior is contagious, it can result in excellence, increased productivity, lower risk and higher profit. Likewise, disengaged employees pose the greatest threat and risk to employers because they lower the bar, erode morale and increase risk.
  • A reality of life is that bad behavior spreads faster than good behavior.
  • UWIB can help employers identify engagement goals and establish plans to refine company culture in order to increase employee engagement.



The Four Agreements

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Time has been flying by in 2017, we’re already halfway through the year! With time going by so fast, it’s nice to take a deep breath, pause and check-up on yourself. This mental pause may involve taking a step back and looking at building on successes and strengthening weak habits. There are four simple tools, known as “The Four Agreements 1 ” which can help with creating peace and focus in life.
Here are the Four Agreements:

1. Don’t Make Assumptions

Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings and potential drama. Ask questions to try to fully understand where someone is coming from.

2. Be Impeccable with your Word

Speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Avoid using your word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth.

3. Don’t Take Anything Personally

What others say and do is a projection of their own point of view. When you see your ego inflating, take a step back from the issue and look at it from a neutral perspective.

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, which will help you avoid self-judgement and regret.

In theory, these are fairly straightforward and simple agreements to follow, but they can be a challenge to implement in daily life. (Try not taking road rage personally the next time someone cuts you off!) However, the Four Agreements can be a good guide for helping prevent conflict and decreasing stress with conflicts arise.

When you’re done taking a midway pause through your year and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, look at how the Four Agreements may be able to help you with them. It could be something like improving a strength by doing your absolute best at it, or smoothing over a conflict by not taking it personally.

If you’re interested in learning even more, read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (no affiliation with UWIB).

Check-Up On Your Personal Coverage

Wondering if your coverage for your home, auto or other personal policies is appropriate? Use our quick online coverage tool to check it out: Visit

Check Your Company’s Pulse

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Company's Pulse

TINYpulse provides tools to improve culture, employee engagement, and morale.  UWIB has been utilizing the Engage tool twice a month for the past several years.

Do you ever wonder what your employees or co-workers are thinking about? Sure, you know what they eat for lunch, (especially when they heat up salmon in the office microwave). But what are their thoughts for improving the business, how can their grievances be addressed, and how can they improve the company culture?

These are tough questions for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to tackle. Some companies like Facebook, Airbnb, IBM, (and UWIB!) have turned to TINYpulse for help. TINYpulse was designed to improve culture, employee engagement, and morale by using anonymous feedback from employees.

The words “anonymous” and “feedback” strike fear in the hearts of many employers who may say, “who the heck would want anonymous feedback from their employees?” While it is not always easy to listen to feedback from employees, there is a huge risk for an employer to hope that discontent will simply dissappear. Minor gripes can snowball into grievances, which can then grow into a number of different ugly things like lawsuits.

Ideas for improving a business don’t always come from visionary leaders, often times they come from employees themselves. At UWIB, we’ve been using TINYpulse’s Engage tool for several years, and meeting twice a month to review the results. The inspirations for improvement have been astounding, some of our best Customer Service, Sales, and Technology ideas have come from employees submitting TINYpulse feedback. Not to mention, our company’s culture and communication has improved even more.

Strengthening the company culture is at the heart of what TINYpulse is all about. Having team members come together for gatherings to discuss their suggestions and feedback is a great way to bring everyone together. In a world of emails, texts, and powerpoints, the facetime everyone gets is invaluable. At these meetings, the managers have opportunity to show their support for the staff, and remind everyone of the values the company stands for.

TINY Changes, Big Results

Watch Dana explain how TINYpulse has been a unique asset to UWIB: Visit

New Employer Requirement: Form I-9

Starting January 22, 2017…

All employers will be required to start using the new Form I-9. Since using the wrong form and/or failing to fully complete the form may result in hefty administrative fines being assessed against your company, now is the perfect time to verify that you are fully complying with the I-9 process.

What is the I-9 Process? 

The employer (and employee) must complete the Form I-9 by taking the following steps:

On or before the employee’s first day of employment: The employee must fully complete and sign Section 1 of the form and return the completed form to the employer along with documents establishing the employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States.

On or before the employee’s third day of employment:

The employer must –

Review Section 1 of the form and verify that the employee provided information in all required fields and signed and dated the form.

If a preparer/translator was used, also verify the Preparer/Translator section has been completed, signed, and dated.

Review the documents provided by the employee to determine if it reasonably appears to be the original document, genuine and to relate to the new employee.

Fully complete and sign Section 2 of the form.

If the employee is a rehire (within 3 years of the date that Form I-9 was originally completed) or a re-verification: (i.e. your employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired) — Fully complete and sign Section 3 of the form.

How long must the Form I-9 be kept?

Current Employees: Completed I-9 forms must be kept for the duration of employment.

Terminated (former) employees: Completed I-9 forms must be kept for either one year after the employee’s termination or three years after hire (whichever is later).

For more information regarding the new Form I-9, go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “I-9 Central”.

Theft via Business Email – Avoid becoming a victim.


Cyber liability

The scenario: You receive a note from an important vendor directing you to immediately update the wire transfer account numbers for their accounts because of a data breach they have sustained. What to Do: RED FLAGS SHOULD ALREADY BE GOING OFF

According to our friends at Citadel Information Group, here’s what you should be thinking:Implement very strong controls on wire transfers Assume all email or fax requests from a vendor to change bank accounts are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests from the company President or others are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests to set-up a new vendor are fraudulent. Pick up the phone, call the party in question and verify the request is legitimate.