Sponsored by Barrett & Associates Inc.
What's new
We’ve had many changes at Barrett & Associates in the last quarter. We have brought in another agency that more than doubled our size. The move has added more insurance companies for general business. We continue to grow without acquisition at close to 20 percent. Thank you for everyone’s support and help!

The insurance world continues to have problems with claims developing from large storm activity. The question for the Midwest states is how long will changes in storm activity last? In Michigan, we have had our third year in a row of large hail claims over $250,000. Before this three-year period of claims, it had been more than 20 years since we had major hail losses in Michigan. Indications of rate increases from insurance carriers all point to property premiums growing 10-25 percent. This will affect the community owners on rental schedules and open lot premiums.
What is in a word?
Sometimes less is more. If you spend any time with me, sooner or later you will hear me carry on about proper wordage in policies. This is something I preach to carriers and clients alike. There is always an easy answer to questions on insurance contracts. Put it in writing. I don’t want to hear about intent. While standard language is good for 90 percent of claims, it is the other 10 percent that will get you into trouble. Two examples covering the same issue have happened in the last quarter:
  1. A community owner gets a new mortgage. In order to obtain it they review and send over wordage for the business income. They insist the coverage be written to “covered property and homes of others.” Sounds simple. We all make our income from renting sites to others. They would not accept our wordage of property at the location. Here is the list I came up with that was lost. I’m sure there was more: rental homes, contract sold homes, extra expense for misc. debris removal, storm damage to road ways, utility damage and outages. (Note: after the mortgage was closed we changed the form back.)
  2. Sticking with business income. A client brought in a proposal to show us a small savings from a carrier with no experience in manufactured housing. We explained the difference in coverage, however the client wants the savings so they switch. Two years go by and we get the call: Tornado hits the community, thankfully only one minor injury. However more than 25 trees are damaged along with numerous miscellaneous property (we call community property), electrical pedestal, street signs and light poles. Total loss estimated for property and cleanup, $88,000. The policy they switched to has no coverage for any of the loss. Total savings was $1,000 a year for the one community. The wordage only covered property.
These are a couple of examples of wordage we require to have our carriers change. Almost every section of our policies—property, liability, auto, open lot, crime, employment practice and umbrella has special wordage for a manufactured housing community.
Is your property damage claim covered by insurance or not? How to know!
Summer is here and we’re all spending more time with outdoor projects. This is the perfect time to spruce up the house—and inspect it—for wear and tear or any safety hazards that need to be fixed. Putting off that maintenance work can lead to expensive repairs down the road. Remember, many of the losses that can result from lack of maintenance are not covered by insurance.

Insurance is designed to protect you from sudden and accidental losses that are from fire, windstorm, theft or a broken water pipe. It’s not intended to cover maintenance-related issues such as water damage from a leaky roof or a cracked foundation.

Here are a few maintenance expectations that will affect if you qualify for insurance and/or whether your claim is covered or not:

  • Your roof coverings cannot be missing, broken, lifting, curling, deteriorating, or showing signs of vegetation or moss growth, which can lead to water damage inside the building.
  • Gutters, downspouts, or fascia are not broken, hanging loosely, or disconnected from down spouts, which could fall or cause injury.
  • Gutters and downspouts are clear of moss, vegetation, and other debris which could cause water to backup or ice-damming to occur.
  • Improper, inadequate, frayed, or worn wiring.
  • Insufficient number of circuits for load.
  • Installed circuits such as those added to existing circuits without the use of junction boxes.
  • Improper or defective circuit entrance panels.
  • Exposed wiring or wall plugs.
  • Porches, decks, patios and all steps are not broken, cracked, warped, sagging, unsupported, or missing any sections or handrails. Handrails are required on three or more steps or decks with raised surfaces of 30 inches or more.
  • Premises are free of any debris, clutter, disabled or unusable vehicles, disabled or unusable appliances, discarded lumber, dead vegetation, or scattered trash.
This is a list of some of the major maintenance issues homeowners encounter. You should check with your insurance provider to see what other acceptable maintenance and conditions are expected of you. This is to give our readers an idea of how maintenance issues can affect your coverages.
Claims review
Claims filed in last 90 days:
  • We have had the usual amount for small claim activity for workers compensation and auto. Claims from $1,500 to $5,000.
  • Debris removal from storm damage to trees and homes. $35,000.
  • Slip and fall at mail station. $5,000 reserve.
  • Slip and fall on steps at model. Shoulder dislocation. $35,000 reserve.
  • Illness claim from mold in rental home. $30,000.
  • Storm damage to roof on community building allowing water damage to interior. $25,000.
  • Hail damage to inventory and rental homes estimated in excess of $400,000.
Have you tried basuretybonds.com?
Now you can get your deal 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, just call (248) 283-0250 and ask for Tanya or Jawan. They are happy to walk you through the process!
How to respond to negative reviews
Reputation is everything for a business, especially online. Handling negative criticism in a positive way is an important aspect of running a successful business. Here are a few tips on how to best respond.

Timely response: All comments, good or bad, should be acknowledged within 48 hours, if not sooner. This lets the reviewer know his or her concerns are important to you.

Keep composure: Don’t let emotions overrun the response. Before hitting the send button, take a minute to make sure the response is professional.

Acknowledge actions: If your company did make a mistake, admit it, and make it right. Customers appreciate honesty and humility. Contact the offended customer privately if an issue requires more than a public response.
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