Risk Consulting Reminders

We encourage our agency partners to remind their clients annually to compile a checklist of improvements and maintenance projects. Encourage your commercial clients to compile a checklist of improvements and maintenance projects.

Having the different types of insurance coverage and categorizing the hazards and the controls will reduce or eliminate the potential for property damage or injuries to workers and guests. Doing so will help reduce the risks and prevent costly losses in the process.

Chad Lindsey
Manager, Risk Consulting Services

Jason Popejoy
Consultant, Risk Consulting Services

Fire & Contents

Condominiums and Apartments are generally considered a medium-hazard type of risk in the eyes of the insurance industry.  The biggest exposure to fire for Apartments and Condominiums are the individual tenants, which in most cases, property managers have very little control over. But property owners and managers do have responsibility over common areas.

Items to be aware of:
  • General Housekeeping is probably the easiest place to start when looking for fire hazards. In addition to good curb appeal, eliminating unneeded collection of trash and combustibles will lower the risk of fire.
  • All trash receptacles should have covers on them, and be kept closed. Disposal should be frequent as accumulation of trash poses a potential for ignition and fire.
  • Keep hazardous brush around the building maintained. As seen with recent local wildfires, hazardous brush can result in serious property damage.
  • Fire Extinguishers should be located throughout the building. To make them easy to find, signs should be posted to highlight their locations. A service contract should be established annually to ensure that it will function when needed.
  • Periodically check on dry standpipe openings. Covers should be on. Make sure that there is nothing clogging the openings that would reduce its function.

General Liability

In regards to Liability coverage, Slips/Trips/Falls-type injuries are the most frequent exposure to Condominium Associations. With the flow of customers that come on to your client’s premises, remind your client in being vigilant in eliminating hazards that could potentially cause these types of injuries. Also beware of aging building conditions as this could also lead to injuries.

Items to be aware of:
  • Consider highlighting all changes in elevation. Sidewalk edges, curbs, steps, and staircases are examples of changes in elevations. Highlighting these hazards will bring it to the attention of pedestrians and give warning of a potential hazard.
  • Potholes and cracks in parking lot areas should be taken care of immediately.
  • Check on lighting in staircases and in parking lots. It should be adequate enough for people to view where they are walking and also to discourage loitering.
  • Placards or signs should be erected in areas under construction or when a collection of water could cause a potential slip and fall.
  • All railings should be sturdy enough to support 200 lbs. of pressure. A lot of injuries have occurred when railings fail and people fall because of it.
  • Depending on the age of the structure, failing structural materials can be costly. Poor plumbing is a frequent problem for older buildings. When it comes to General Liability Insurance, plumbing issues and slip/trip/fall types of claims are the culprits of rising insurance rates. Plumbing is tough because it’s a hidden hazard, so keeping on top of plumbing issues will relieve your client of future headaches.
  • Recommend the use of licensed contractors when doing major property work. Not only will they be more reliable when it comes to repairs, but if something goes wrong, Claims Adjusters can refer to service contracts and warranties to settle claims.

Worker's Compensation

In regards to Workers Compensation coverage, the largest exposure to potential injuries are maintenance/engineering staff because of the areas they need to upkeep.

Items to be aware of: 
  • Strain-type injuries are always a concern due to the amount of lifting and manual material handling involved with their work. Set limits of how items should be moved or handled to reduce the load or stress on a worker.
  • Ladder usage and working at heights above six (6) feet poses as a severe hazard exposure. Falls from improper usage of equipment or poorly maintained equipment can be costly, and in a few cases, fatal. Ensure that the equipment used for the job is the correct one.
  • Power tools and lawn maintenance equipment bring up a variety of exposures. Cuts and punctures to body parts are most often experienced. Personal Protective Equipment or PPE should be required to be worn to minimize injury.
  • In general, have your client hold periodic staff meetings to discuss hazards and safety when doing their jobs. Communication is the key when it comes to worker safety.

Security

While not an actual insurance coverage, security concerns and issues bleed into all of the areas mentioned above.  Generally speaking, security should be a top priority because your client has a legal duty to reasonably provide protection for anyone stepping on their premises.

Items to be aware of: 
  • Poorly illuminated areas are perfect conditions for robberies and assaults to take place. LED lighting in the parking lot/parking structure prevent car thefts and discourage thieves and homeless hiding in dark areas. Speed limit signs and speeding should be enforced.
  • Trimming or removing any shrubbery, bushes, trees etc. away from entrances of the building, lobby picture windows or blocking of camera views.
  • Have your client consider video monitoring for areas out of general view or areas that are highly traveled. The main focus is to deter any criminal activity, or to provide video evidence should an accident or incident occur.

Having your client reduce hazards on their property will be much easier if they section it into phases that make sense and at the same time, have a purpose.

Protect Your Business

Reduce risk injuries and accidents in the workplace with a system or process that’s easy to understand and simple to implement. Our unique approach to loss prevention is called A.I.M. – Analyze, Inform and Motivate.

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