Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. | Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc.
|Know the pros and cons of hosting on Airbnb.
Maybe you’ve read a few Airbnb success stories. You know, the ones where someone rakes in six figures after putting space up for rent online? All of us have bills to pay, so we understand why you’d want to bring in extra income. Have you done the research and asked yourself if you really should put your house on Airbnb, though?
Continue reading to discover benefits, legalities, tax implications, and insurance complications that come with hosting a property on Airbnb.
How Airbnb Works
Airbnb is like the Uber of the hospitality industry. Both companies profit from a growing share economy where personal property is used to drive business profits.
Airbnb’s online platform allows hosts to rent rooms and sometimes entire houses to guests. If you’re wondering how Airbnb makes money from this setup, they collect a commission from the host and a service fee from the guest.
Airbnb doesn’t own the real estate being rented, so they’re not responsible for taxes, maintenance, or any other costs related to those properties. That’s a smart way for them to save and make money!
The Benefits of Renting Out Your Space
Do you have a rental home or vacation property that’s going unused? Through Airbnb, you can offer lodging to anyone visiting your area.
If you’re comfortable with renting out space in your own home or apartment, you can offer a spare room. No matter how you go about it, Airbnb gives you a chance to bring in extra money.
Airbnb invites its users to leave feedback about each experience, which is public information. This open forum is designed to keep guests and hosts accountable.
Following Hosting Standards
As a host, you would have to follow Airbnb’s policies.
Here are Airbnb’s basic requirements for hosts:
- Provide essential amenities (toilet paper, soap, linens).
- Reply to reservation requests and booking inquiries within 24 hours.
- Accept reservation requests whenever you’re available.
- Avoid cancellations.
- Maintain a high rating.
About Those Legalities
Before you rush to put your property on Airbnb, make sure you know the short-term rental laws in your city and state (or the city and state of your vacation home).
As an example, Las Vegas has strict short-term rental regulations, which means Airbnb hosts in this city must follow these rules:
- Only primary residents who occupy properties are allowed to receive permits for short-term rentals.
- Airbnb rentals must be at least 660 feet away from each other.
- Hosts are obligated to collect taxes from guests and deliver them to the city.
- Short-term rentals have a maximum limit of 3 bedrooms.
Much to Airbnb’s dismay, short-term rental owners in Las Vegas must:
- Carry $500,000 of liability insurance.
- Renew their rental permit every six months.
- Be on the premises when someone is renting a property.
Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Santa Monica are other cities with strict short-term rental laws.
Your Airbnb Income Is Generally Taxed
After you work out Airbnb’s legalities, you have to figure taxes into the equation. In most cases, you have to report the majority of the income earned on short-term rentals.
You’ll probably pay taxes and have very little (if any) of the Airbnb income qualify for write-offs, but you should consult your accountant or financial advisor for more details.
The Insurance Gets Tricky
Depending on how long your guests stay, you might need to register your rental as a business and get separate insurance.
Damage caused by guests and injuries sustained by guests might not be covered by a homeowners policy. If your Airbnb property isn't registered as a business, you won't be able to cover it through a business policy.
You’ll run into similar issues if you’re an Airbnb host who lives in an apartment. You might convince your landlord to let you earn some extra money by renting out a spare room. If your Airbnb guest causes property damage or steals from you, most renters policies won’t pay for the damage or replace the stolen items.
Property Management Isn’t a Cakewalk
Managing a property isn't easy. If you're going to offer a rental year-round, you’ll have to stay on top of communication, amenities, and much more.
As you decide whether or not to list a property on Airbnb, make a list of pros and cons. Consider your buying-selling position, taxes, and even possible real estate agent costs if you might sell.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 7:38 PM
|Labor Day Schedule
Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. wishes you and your family a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend! Our office will be closed on Monday September 2nd, 2019.
Dan can be reached on his cell in the event of an emergency at 708.436.2973
You will also find 24/7 phone numbers for claims and billing for our companies on our website: www.zeiler.com
A little Labor Day Fun Fact - Beginning in 1894, President Grover Cleveland marked the first Monday in September as Labor Day. This holiday is a dedication to the achievements of American workers. A tribute is given to workers in the form of a town parades, family entertainment, speeches, and of course, the day off. Emphasis is also placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday and how the American employees have promoted the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership throughout history.
Enjoy the weekend!
The Zeiler Insurance Team
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 5:00 AM
|Your College Student & Insurance
Got Kids in College? Better Get Insurance.
When we look for coverage to extend for a student away at school the first question is: Is the student a member of the household? Home and Auto Insurance policies specifically list the parent or parents names as the insured on the policy. Then we need to look at who else may be an insured in the policy's insurance agreement. You will find that members of the household are included in the definition of who is an insured but, for both the Home and Auto Insurance policies, limitations may arise if your son or daughter is not living in the home and:
- Your son or daughter is not a full time student.
- Your son or daughter is over the age of 24.
- If your son or daughter applied for local residency - coverage may vary and a more thorough analysis of your policy is needed.
If we're comfortable with our kids being members of the household, coverage will apply for Auto Liability and Personal Liability.
Property Insurance also extends but only up to 10% of the Personal Property limits on your policy. Items like a tablet, phone, or bike would be included under personal property - the need for property insurance can add up.
Let me know if you have any concerns regarding a college student's coverage.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 5:00 AM
|3 Insurance Misconceptions
Some of the insurance misconceptions floating around out there are downright scary. Here are three that could put you at serious financial risk:
Misconception 1: “I have an umbrella policy, so I’m covered for everything.”
Though the intent of a personal umbrella policy is to provide an additional layer of liability protection on top of what your other personal insurance policies provide, there can still be coverage gaps.
Business activity is typically excluded from personal insurance policies, including umbrella. If an incident occurs while using your home or vehicle for business purposes, you likely won’t receive any coverage.
Umbrella coverage is never your first line of defense. It kicks in after you’ve exhausted your coverage on a primary policy, such as homeowners or auto. If you don’t have a primary policy in place for, say, a boat and you are at fault for a severe accident, your umbrella policy won’t come to your aid until a minimum amount has already been paid toward the liability costs (typically $250,000 per person or $500,000 per accident). This is regardless of whether the damages were paid out of your own wallet or by the insurance company.
Umbrella doesn’t assist with your own injuries or losses. It is strictly coverage for when you are sued by another party and found legally at-fault for injuring others or damaging their property. An umbrella policy would never extend to your uninsured jewelry if it’s stolen, or to your home if your dwelling coverage is not enough to fully cover a loss.
Misconception 2: “I don’t need to buy rental car insurance – my auto policy will cover it.”
Like most things in insurance, yes and no. The coverage on your personal auto policy will likely follow you any time you drive any car (at least a car that you have permission to use). But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free and clear to decline the rental car coverage.
If you don’t have collision and comprehensive coverage on your own policy, you wouldn’t have any coverage for the rental vehicle either. If you’re hit with a repair bill for the rental, you’ll have to pay it yourself.
A rental car agreement may leave you liable for things that your policy just doesn’t cover. Things such as administrative fees, loss of use, and diminished value - to name a few.
Understand what your personal auto policy covers before you rent a car. Your credit card company may also offer some coverage as well, assuming you use your card to pay for the rental. Do your research beforehand so you understand if you have enough coverage or if you should consider purchasing more through the rental agency.
Misconception 3: “No need to review my policy at renewal. I bought the right coverage the first time around.”
An insurance claim could be lingering in the darkness. And, if your policy hasn’t kept pace with your life, you could be looking at an uncovered claim.
Maybe you inherited a diamond ring from your great aunt but never scheduled coverage for it. Maybe you built an addition on your home but never updated your dwelling coverage. Maybe you bought a car with cash and forgot to insure it since there was no lender requiring proof of insurance.
A lot can happen in our busy lives. And, when you take the time for an annual insurance review, you may find your coverage is no longer up to the task of protecting the life you have today. Instead, it’s designed for the life you had a few years ago. So, connect with us any time a big life change occurs. We’d much rather have a pleasant conversation about coverage options and solutions for your changing life than explain why something is not covered.
Insurance misconceptions are scary. There’s just too much on the line. But, your own insurance experience doesn’t have to be a fright. Work with us to understand what you have and to select additional coverage as needed.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 5:00 AM
|Marijuana Legalization Update - 5 things you need to know.
Marijuana legalization continues to be a hot topic in 2019. Most states have legalized marijuana in some form, and there is much speculation around federal activity. NCCI is monitoring legislative, judicial, and other developments as this issue evolves. Our latest update addresses the top five questions on the minds of our workers compensation industry stakeholders.
What is the status of marijuana legalization?
Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, there is ongoing activity at the federal and state levels to address marijuana legalization and related issues. The current status of state marijuana legalization is shown in the map below:
- Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states plus DC
- Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states plus DC
- CBD oil/non-psychoactive forms of marijuana are legal in an additional 14 states under certain circumstances
- Three states currently do not have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, but two of them (Kansas and Nebraska) have pending legislation
What is happening legislatively in 2019?
NCCI is tracking marijuana-related legislation in more than 20 states, as well as at the federal level.
Federally, legislation to decriminalize marijuana is pending before Congress. Decriminalization at the federal level is viewed as unlikely in the short term. Meanwhile, Congress is also considering measures that allow for state regulation of marijuana without federal interference and provide protections to financial institutions that serve marijuana-related businesses that are legal under state law.
Federal legislation providing protections to financial institutions is already advancing. On March 28, the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 1595, which provides financial institutions and insurers that provide services for legitimate cannabis-related businesses with a safe harbor from criminal prosecution.
Regarding state legislative activity, as of April 1, an additional 15 states are considering legalizing recreational marijuana and 8 are considering legalizing medical marijuana. NCCI is also tracking several state bills addressing the issue of medical marijuana reimbursement in workers compensation.
Are insurers required to reimburse for medical marijuana in workers compensation?
One of the emerging workers compensation issues is whether medical marijuana is reimbursable. Insurers are increasingly receiving requests to reimburse for medical marijuana use for workers compensation treatment. Given the friction between state and federal law, states are faced with the challenge of whether to approve medical marijuana treatment for work-related injuries. This issue is being addressed through legislation as well as in the courts.
Over the years, states such as Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, and New York have permitted reimbursement for medical marijuana in certain circumstances. New Mexico has even established a maximum reimbursement amount for medical marijuana in its workers compensation fee schedule.
Other states, including Florida and North Dakota, have enacted laws prohibiting payment of workers compensation benefits for medical marijuana. Louisiana passed legislation in 2018 which provided that medical marijuana reimbursement is not required for workers compensation purposes.
During the 2019 legislative session, several states—including Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont—have considered or are considering legislation to authorize the reimbursement of medical marijuana in workers compensation.
On the other hand, Kentucky and Oklahoma lawmakers proposed legislation similar to the Louisiana law, which does not prohibit reimbursement, but also does not affirmatively require employers and workers compensation insurers to pay for medical marijuana.
Have there been any new rulings from the courts regarding medical marijuana reimbursement?
In addition to state legislation, state courts are addressing the issue as to whether medical marijuana is reimbursable in workers compensation.
In March 2019, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the state’s medical marijuana law does not prohibit reimbursement under workers compensation. However, the court did not rule that the insurer is required to reimburse. The supreme court remanded the case to the compensation appeals board to provide additional legal support on the federal issues involved in the case; specifically, whether federal law would be violated if the insurer is ordered to reimburse for the payment of medical marijuana.
In 2018, the Maine Supreme Court ruled in the Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co. case that employers are not required to reimburse for marijuana as a workers compensation treatment. The court determined that because marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Maine’s medical marijuana law is preempted and cannot be used as the basis to require reimbursement.
The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and the Vermont Department of Labor have also recently denied reimbursement for medical marijuana treatment for workers compensation claimants.
Have there been any new developments regarding research studies or a test to determine impairment?
One outstanding workers compensation issue is whether medical marijuana is a viable alternative to opioids for pain management and getting employees back to work sooner. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, research has been limited to date.
Another outstanding issue is how to determine “impairment” for marijuana and the impact on workers compensation benefits if an employee is injured on the job and tests positive. There are efforts under way to develop tests similar to breathalyzers and other methods currently available to test blood alcohol levels, which would better help define what could be considered appropriate “impairment” levels.
Until those tests are fully developed and implemented, states and state courts are addressing this issue on a case-by-case basis. For example, in November 2018 the Oklahoma state court of appeals ruled in Rose v. Berry Plastics Corp. that the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in an employee’s blood after a workplace accident does not automatically mean that the employee should be denied workers compensation benefits due to impairment.
There is also pending legislation in Oklahoma (SB 305) which, among other things:
- Clarifies instances in which an employer may take action against an employee or applicant who tests positive for marijuana
- Provides that employers will not be required to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana on their premises or reimburse a person for costs associated with the use of medical marijuana
- Authorizes employers to have written policies regarding drug testing and impairment
The legislation has passed the Oklahoma Senate and is awaiting action in the House.
We will continue to track these developments. Stay tuned for updates on marijuana legislation and other hot topics throughout the year.
POSTED JUNE 27, 2019 9:19 PM
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Work Comp
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) injuries in workers compensation (WC) have recently attracted the attention of legislators and other system stakeholders. With more focus on compensating those who suffer from PTSD due to a work-related event, it’s important to understand:
Why could PTSD injuries become more significant to WC?
While PTSD and other mental injuries are not common in WC, some experts believe the frequency may rise due to unreasonable workloads, long hours, and poor work-life balance.1 Several states are exploring expanding PTSD injury compensation, especially for first responders. These typically include firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, but could possibly expand to occupations such as correctional officers, emergency dispatch operators, and child protective services employees. Florida, for example, recently enacted Senate Bill 376, which provides workers compensation indemnity benefits to first responders suffering from PTSD under certain circumstances, and does not require a physical injury to have occurred.
Worker advocates and other groups have raised awareness of PTSD and emphasized the importance of reducing the stigma associated with mental injuries in WC2 that could increase the number of claims filed and deemed compensable. PTSD now has its own category in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, called “Trauma- and Stress-Related Disorders.” The previous edition classified PTSD as one type of anxiety disorder.3
What are PTSD injuries?
The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least one month:
- At least one reexperiencing symptom
- At least one avoidance symptom
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms4
As it relates to WC, PTSD injuries are a subset of mental injuries, broadly defined in the following three categories:
- Physical-mental - a physical injury that progresses to include a mental injury or disability
- Mental-physical - a mental condition that causes some physical injury or disability
- Mental-mental - a mental injury or disability that arises without a physical injury
Although PTSD injuries can arise in any of these three categories, to be considered work-related—and thus compensable under WC - a required degree of stress typically needs to be established, unless the state has established a presumption that PTSD is compensable.
Who is at risk?
Any worker witnessing violence or a horrific accident while on the job might develop PTSD or other mental injuries. This may even apply to workers who witness stressful content over video or other media as part of their jobs.5
First responders are particularly susceptible to mental injuries, and the incidence of PTSD is estimated to be significantly higher for first responders compared to the general population.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, about 55% of the general population will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives6 and, as a result, about 7%-8% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. In comparison, the National Center for Biotechnical Information concluded that the prevalence of PTSD among emergency medical technicians (EMTs) is greater than 20%.7 Various sources have reported the prevalence of PTSD among firefighters to be in the 7%-37% range.8
Where and how do PTSD injuries impact the WC system?
All 50 states and the District of Columbia specifically address WC compensability for mental-mental and mental-physical injuries, either by statute, regulation, and/or case law. WC laws vary greatly across the country, with approximately half of the jurisdictions allowing compensation for mental-mental injuries or illnesses under limited circumstances. Compensable mental-mental injuries must typically be considered extraordinary and the predominant or substantially contributing cause. Other jurisdictions generally allow for compensability only for mental-physical injuries.
WC data on PTSD is not readily available. This is due to both the scarcity of PTSD data in general, and the data reporting requirements for WC. In particular, first responders-who likely have a greater exposure to events leading to PTSD—are generally employees of state municipalities and political subdivisions. These employers are often self-insured and not required to report data to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Hence, reliable statistics on mental injury claims and costs are not readily available.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact portion of system costs associated with PTSD, an individual PTSD claim has the potential to be very costly. For example, if a work-related mental injury renders a claimant unable to return to any employment, then the claimant may be eligible for lifetime indemnity benefits. On the medical side, there could be continual psychiatric visits and medications prescribed. There are also potential complications that could result in significant injuries, such as health issues directly related to PTSD,9 and the possibility that injured workers could harm themselves.10
In addition to the potential costs associated with a single claim, catastrophic events such as terrorist attacks and mass shootings can affect many workers simultaneously, which could result in a large number of PTSD claims from a single event.
In summary, although PTSD is more common among first responders, it can affect employees in any industry or location. PTSD injuries can be devastating to injured workers and their families, and have the potential to be very costly for the WC system. PTSD and other mental injuries may become more significant in the future due to increasingly stressful work conditions, greater awareness of these injuries, and broadening WC eligibility requirements. Stakeholders should continue to raise awareness about the impact of PTSD on employees and the WC system.
POSTED JUNE 27, 2019 5:00 AM
|Insurance Options for Green Businesses
Across the country, businesses are choosing to go green. In addition to helping the planet, environmentally friendly practices and facilities can enhance the reputation of a business and lower its energy and water costs. Businesses are also encouraged to go green by government tax credits and other incentives.
While environmentally friendly buildings and equipment can provide numerous benefits to businesses, they also add costs and risks. Insurers have responded by offering policy options to protect a business’s investment in going green.
Green endorsements for commercial property insurance:
Traditional commercial property insurance covers replacement or repair of damaged property, using similar materials to the original construction, or basing repayment on the value of the original equipment or building. But what if you want to go green when repairing or replacing insured property or equipment? Most standard policies will not account for this scenario, unless the policy has wording that specifically recognizes and covers the increased cost of green materials. However, several insurers offer green endorsements, add-on components - to commercial property policies. These green endorsements include coverage for:
- Green Materials and Equipment - A green endorsement on your commercial property insurance will cover the higher cost of environmentally certified materials and equipment - even if your original property and equipment were not green certified. Some policies will also specifically enable you to elevate your building to green certification when you rebuild.
- Green Construction and Related Costs - Covers costs for green design and engineering, recycling, certification fees and other costs.
For instance, green rebuilding can take longer than traditional construction, so you may want to consider extending the time frame of your business interruption coverage. You may also need to upgrade your commercial property insurance if you add new environmental features to your building or operations, such as installing a vegetative roof to your building.
Green insurance continues to change:
Building green means a smaller carbon footprint and higher energy efficiency, but an added benefit is improved safety and resilience to withstand windstorms and other weather-related events.
While green endorsements on a commercial policy may cost more, having a green building in conjunction with improved building codes (which enforces impact-resistant windows, hurricane shutters, reinforced doors and roof straps) could ultimately protect your property from being badly damaged or destroyed in a future weather-related disaster.
Your business may also be able to save on insurance as a result of other green initiatives. For instance, some auto insurers have begun to offer personal auto insurance discounts for hybrid and electric cars. Similar discounts may be available for your commercial vehicle policy.
Because green insurance options continue to evolve, give us a call about green coverage and potential savings during your annual insurance review.
POSTED JUNE 13, 2019 5:00 AM
|Background on: Gun Liability
The idea that insurance can help prevent deaths from firearms often rises to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness following mass shootings.
Advocates of the idea believe that if gun owners were required to purchase insurance, the cost of the insurance would provide them an incentive to own fewer firearms and/or more carefully store the firearms they own. However, no U.S. insurance company offers separate, stand-alone gun liability coverage. In considering whether insurance is an appropriate mechanism to prevent mass shootings, it is important to note that no insurer – primary or excess – provides liability coverage for illegal acts. Looking ahead, there is very little likelihood that insurers would develop such coverage.
Excess personal liability coverage for firearms owners is available, though typically only through membership in a firearms association.
Acts that are intended or expected to cause harm are also generally excluded, though some policies will provide coverage in cases for which bodily injury or property damage results from the use of “reasonable force” by an insured to protect persons or property. “Self-defense” coverage for firearms owners is available, though rarely found.
Mass shootings often reopen national debates about gun liability and gun control. There is no universally recognized definition for mass shootings in the United States. The FBI uses a broad definition that includes shootings where an individual kills people in a confined and populated area. This includes domestic incidents but excludes gang and drug violence and is not limited by number of victims. The FBI’s list of fatalities does not include perpetrators, who often commit suicide at the end of their spree. Using this description, the FBI says there were 220 active shooter incidents from 2000 to 2016. Another classification includes four or more people shot or killed, including the perpetrator, and is commonly used by the press. USA Today reported that from 2006 to 2017 there were 361 mass shootings.
The Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, a terrorist attack/hate crime, took 49 lives (excluding the perpetrator) and wounded 58 people and was the deadliest terror attack in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The December 14, 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was the deadliest mass shooting at a school in the United States. Twenty children between the ages of 6 and 7 and six staff members were killed in the shooting. Also killed were the perpetrator’s mother at her home, and the perpetrator by suicide.
According to Wikipedia, the Las Vegas concert shooting in 2017 was the deadliest mass shooting in contemporary U.S. history (1950 to February 2018). There were 58 fatalities, not including the perpetrator. The top 10 deadliest shootings are shown below:
Top 10 Deadliest Mass Shootings, United States, 1950-2018
Las Vegas shooting
Orlando nightclub shooting
Virginia Tech shooting
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
Sutherland Springs church shooting
Luby's Cafeteria shooting
San Ysidro McDonald's shooting
University of Texas tower shooting
Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
San Bernardino shooting
(1) Includes perpetrators.
The Columbine High School shooting of 1999 resulted in 13 deaths (not including the two perpetrators) and would rank number 11 in the chart above.
Odds Of Death In The United States By Selected Cause Of Injury, 2017 (1)
Cause of death
Accidental poisoning by and exposure to
Opioids (including both legal and illegal)
All motor vehicle accidents
Assault by firearm
Exposure to smoke, fire and flames
Fall on and from stairs and steps
Drowning and submersion while in or
falling into swimming pool
Fall on and from ladder or scaffolding
Air and space transport accidents
Firearms discharge (accidental)
Cataclysmic storm (3)
Earthquake and other earth movements
Bitten or struck by dog
(1) Based on fatalities and life expectancy in 2017. Ranked by deaths in 2017.
(2) Includes all types of medications including narcotics and hallucinogens, alcohol and gases.
(3) Includes hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, dust storms and other cataclysmic storms.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics; National Safety Council.
View Archived Tables
Deaths In The United States By Firearm, 2015 And 2016
Percent of total
Deaths caused by firearms
Accidental discharge of firearms
Suicide by firearm
Assault (homicide) by firearm
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Report, sourced by the National Safety Council.
View Archived Tables
The regulatory environment
State: In 2013, a handful of states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York) introduced legislation that would mandate the purchase of gun liability insurance after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. These laws were designed to assure that gun owners had liability insurance. None was enacted.
Federal: In 2013 and 2017, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Firearms Risk Protection Act. The 2017 legislation, introduced in March 2017 and referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and investigations in April 2017, would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit a firearm purchase by or sale to a person who is not covered by a qualified liability insurance policy. Additionally, it would require the owner of a newly purchased firearm to be covered by a qualified liability insurance policy. A qualified liability insurance policy would cover the purchaser specifically for losses resulting from use of the firearm. The law would not apply to a firearm purchase or sale for the use of a federal, state, or local government. The bill also included a fine for violators. To date, the federal government and states have not enacted laws mandating gun liability.
The current state of gun liability
Personal insurance: Insurers rarely offer any separate gun liability insurance policy. Most individuals have some property and liability coverage for firearms in their standard homeowners’ policy. Additional liability coverage is available through a personal umbrella policy. A few policies cover losses from accidental shootings in excess of the homeowners’ coverage.
When there is liability insurance, it only covers accidental shootings and in some cases, acts of self-defense. There is no coverage for criminal or other intentional shootings.
Although every insurance company adopts its own policy, many companies use standard homeowners and personal umbrella policies written by Insurance Services Office (ISO). The standard homeowners policy is known as an HO-3. That policy specifically mentions firearms once, as property that is covered if stolen. Firearms are not mentioned in the liability section of the policy, implying that firearm liability would be covered. A homeowners’ policy covers all liabilities that are not specifically excluded.
Not all accidents are covered, per the terms of the policy. For example, if a relative living at the same home were accidentally shot, the accident would not appear to be covered.
The policy explicitly says it will not cover “expected or intended injury.” The policy is designed to cover accidents, not intentional, criminal actions, such as a homicide or an attempted homicide. A mass shooting would not appear to be covered. A critical point is that covering an intentional, illegal act like armed assault would violate standard underwriting principles.
Although acts that are intended or expected to cause harm are generally excluded, some policies restore coverage in cases where bodily injury or property damage results from the use of “reasonable force” by an insured to protect persons or property.
The personal umbrella liability policy, a close cousin of homeowners’ liability insurance, handles liability in much the same way as the homeowners policy. The policy covers liability above the limit of the homeowners’ policy, extending up to its own limit of liability, often $1 million. For example, if an insured is liable for a $1 million loss, the homeowners’ policy would pay its limit, say $100,000, and the personal umbrella policy would pay the remaining $900,000.
Group personal insurance: Personal firearms liability insurance was available from some organizations to cover acts of self-defense. It included personal protection plans with individual benefits administered by a national broker and underwritten by insurers. Membership in the sponsoring organization was mandatory. These policies had offered protection against civil liability, the cost to defend against civil and criminal legal actions and immediate access to attorney referrals. They also included supplementary payments as needed for bail, criminal defense legal retainer fees, and lawful firearm replacement, among other benefits. However, in 2018, the major broker of these policies, along with insurers, were compelled to pay settlement charges brought by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which stated that the gunowners liability programs violated state law. As a result, the broker and most insurers have stopped administering the programs.
Commercial insurance: Active shooter events occur in confined or populated areas where the perpetrators intend to kill many people. A number of coverages can be triggered by active shooting incidents, including general liability, business interruption and property insurance. Workers comp insurance is implicated in shootings in the workplace while commercial general liability insurance coverage might also be implicated in shooting in a shopping center or a movie theatre.
POSTED JUNE 13, 2019 5:00 AM
|We are free because of the brave.
Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. wishes you and your family a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend! Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 27th, 2019 in observance of those who have lost their lives serving our country.
Dan can be reached on his cell in the event of an emergency at 708.436.2973
You will also find 24/7 phone numbers for claims and billing for our companies on our website: www.zeiler.com
For more on this holiday, Click Here.
POSTED MAY 21, 2019 5:00 AM
|2nd Annual Cruise for a Cause - Benefitting Sertoma Centre, Inc.
Be a part of the 2nd Annual Cruise for a Cause - Chicago's largest fundraiser on the water. Hosted by our very own Mitchell Zeiler, the event will benefit Sertoma Centre, Inc. This organization works with individuals who have intellectual disabilities throughout the Chicagoland area. Mitchell has volunteered his time with Sertoma for the past three years on their Associate Board.
Because of the success of last year's event - this year the cruise will be hosted aboard the Odyssey II and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Andrew Weishar Foundation and The Tom Hopkins Memorial Foundation.
Cruise the Chicago skyline for a cause! The cruise will feature a grand finale firework show over Navy Pier with live entertainment and premium cocktails are included.
To purchase tickets or for sponsorship opportunities, Click Here.
Any questions? Contact Mitchell Zeiler at 708.408.5779 or email@example.com
POSTED MAY 17, 2019 2:32 PM