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In October, the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) held their 74th annual conference. The agenda contained crucial information in regard to the success of the manufactured housing industry. If you were unable to attend this year, please consider attending the 2016 conference. Several important topics were covered from featured speakers, including:
  • Liz Keegan from the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan reviewed housing rules for service animals.
  • Darren Krolewski with Datacomp discussed the Datacomp MSRV, or Market-Suggested Retail Value, which is a comprehensive web-based valuation service designed to meet the requirements of the new HPML appraisal valuation rules. If selling new homes, this can be obtained for $49.
  • Debbie Ostrander from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reviewed new rules for preventing water flow back-up and the change in sampling collection.
If you are not a member of the MMHA, I urge you to join. Visit www.michhome.org for membership and registration information.
Risk ManagementDog bite liability
According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites (and other dog-related injuries) account for more than one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claim payouts totaling over $530 million. The average payout was over $32,000. Specifically, Michigan listed 693 dog bite claims, with an average payout over $38,000.

This number excludes claims made against commercial insurance policies, such as liability for manufactured housing communities. Many of your tenants with dogs have limitations in their homeowner’s policy for animal attacks. This is one of the many reasons for you to pay close attention when a resident wants to bring a dog into the community.

Unacceptable breeds include, but are not limited to Akita, Chow, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Wolf Hybrids, Presa Canario or a mix of any of the dog breeds listed above. Any animal that has caused harm or has a record of previously biting is also unacceptable.
Risk ManagementThe invisible killer
Are you following practices to keep your family safe?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas produced when fuel is burned with incomplete combustion, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. You can’t smell, taste or see this dangerous gas, and it has the potential of building up inside a home and causing severe sickness and sometimes even death.

As the winter months are fast approaching and you begin to turn on home furnaces, gather around the fireplace and cook holiday meals, become familiar with the many symptoms of CO poisoning and what to do if you suspect poisoning.

Symptoms of CO poisoning:
  • Sudden flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness, headaches, sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fluttering or throbbing heartbeat
  • Cherry-red lips and unusually pale complexion
  • Unconsciousness
If you suspect poisoning:
  • Call 911 or emergency medical help immediately
  • Get the suspected victim and everyone else out of the house and into fresh air
  • Open the windows
To prevent poisoning
  • Know what the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms and replace them every five years
  • Never operate internal combustion engines indoors
  • Never use a charcoal grill indoors
  • Have all fuel-burning appliances, flues, vents and chimneys checked regularly
CO alarms:
  • Make sure your home is equipped with working CO alarms
  • In two-story homes, install at least one alarm on each level. For added safety, consider installing an alarm in each bedroom. If your home has a basement, install an alarm at the top of the basement stairs
  • Change the batteries of each alarm at the beginning of winter and every six months following
  • Replace all alarms older than five years
Risk ManagementPreparing for the holiday season
From mid-November to January, the holiday season is in full swing. Families take holiday decorations out of storage and prepare traditional holiday meals, all while clearing heavy snow from driveways and sidewalks. Follow these safety tips below to help your family stay safe throughout the duration of the holiday season and winter months.

Snow shoveling injuries
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer snow-shoveling mishaps, particularly back injuries and heart attacks. According to the National Safety Council, follow these tips while shoveling snow:
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion
Holiday decorating falls
Holiday decorating often entails stringing lights and hanging wreaths, and falls are common during this time of year. Though it's tempting and easy to hop onto a chair, porch railing, or counter-top, this is dangerous! Always use a stable ladder with another person, as a spotter, for support.

Poisoning by plants
Poisonous holiday plants, like mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, amaryllis and some poinsettias should not be consumed by humans or pets. Keep these plants out of reach of small children and animals. If children or pets do consume these plants, call poison control immediately at (800) 222-1222.

Kitchen fires
Cooking is one of the most common holiday activities, and with all the distractions and sense of hurry that comes during this time of year, it can be a dangerous one. Avoid leaving towels and oven mitts near heat sources and always turn off the stove before leaving the kitchen.

Christmas tree fires
A Christmas tree laden with festive decorations is highly flammable. Some Christmas tree fires are caused by the electrical lights that are strung on a tree, others are a result of the tree being too close to a heat source such as a fireplace or space heater. Always turn lights off before leaving the house or going to bed.
Risk ManagementTips for hiring snow removal contractors
Cold weather, heavy snow falls and icy road conditions are just around the corner. Every year, during the winter months, we see a drastic increase in the number of reported claims, typically for slip and fall injuries.

One of the easiest ways to prevent having a claim this winter is to hire a professional snow removal contractor. This serves several purposes: keeps you and your family safe from injuries associated with snow removal and allows you to shift your liability exposure. If you do decide to hire a professional contractor, follow these tips provided by West Bend Mutual Insurance Company prior to hiring a snow removal contractor.
  1. Have a written agreement with the snow removal contractor: It is critically important that a written agreement exists between your organization and the contractor. A contract provides great detail on what the contractor is responsible for, when they are obligated to remove snow and more.
  2. Make sure the contractor has adequate insurance: If the contractor has no insurance or inadequate levels of insurance, then any injuries or property damage will come back to your organization. Many snow removal contractors are insured, but some are not, so when selecting a contractor request proof of insurance to ensure they have adequate coverage.
  3. Keep track of when the parking lot is plowed, salted and sanded: Recording the time, date and services provided is a good practice when utilizing a contractor. If an injury occurs and a claim arises, this information can be important to show how close in time the injury occurred in relation to snow removal services. In addition, it can help if a billing issue arises. Visit our website www.ba-insurance.com for a log sheet.
  4. Maintain supplies of salt and sand to use as needed: Snow removal contractors typically only provide a service if a certain amount of snow accumulates. When there is minimal snowfall, your organization may still be responsible for maintaining your parking lot and walkways. In these instances, have your contractor leave salt and sand so you can deal with minor snow issues, and keep a log of these occurrences as well.
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Now you can get your dealer bonds, lost title bonds and many other types of bonds (more growing weekly) online at basuretybonds.com. Give it a try! If you need help, call Tanya or Jawan, (248) 283-0250.
Founding member of the American Insurance Alliance

21 E Long Lake Rd, Ste 100
Bloomfield Hills MI 48304-2354
Phone: 248.283.0250
Fax: 248.283.0251
Cell: 800.775.3571
www.ba-insurance.com