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In some way, shape or form, we’ve all been impacted by the devastating Flint water crisis. At Barrett & Associates, we’ve been professionally affected. We’ve received questions from fellow agents and insurance carriers on how to properly provide coverage for drinking water. Typically, we receive these types of inquiries when:
  • A claim has been filed and received attention from top management;
  • A claim involves reinsurance (insurance for the insurance company);
  • Potential to set policy limits even on umbrella coverage; or
  • A claim has been or will be denied by the insurance carrier and/or reinsurer.
As a reminder, products and completed operations liability coverage is often overlooked for communities and misunderstood by retail operations. Some of the largest lawsuits involving manufactured housing communities have been covered or denied based on this line of coverage. Community owners today provide such things as drinking water, metering of water service, reselling of city water, open houses and home sales that need protection.

An unendorsed commercial general liability policy provides no coverage for products or completed operations at the premise. A prime example of an item needing coverage is drinking water.

You may not have well water systems, but you are still providing water to your residents through your pipe systems. The policy contains the total pollution exclusion that covers anything a claimant could make. If lead causes your residents to become ill, they won't look to see who's at fault, but will look to file suit against you.

This coverage we modify for all customers. If your agent has never brought this to your attention, chances are they have not endorsed the policy for this important coverage.

Be in the know!
Risk ManagementWinter safety
Now that winter has arrived and is here to stay for a few months, it is important to be aware of the hazards associated with adverse weather conditions. In order to reduce the potential for employee injuries, we are providing some tips that will help maintain a safer workplace throughout the winter season. Let your employees know that you are campaigning against winter accidents.
  • Repair holes and cracks in parking lots and walkways that can trap snow and ice.
  • Be aware of water collection and drainage patterns. When freezing occurs, they will produce pronounced hazards that may necessitate frequent salting or sanding. Also, obtain commitments for timely plowing and sanding from those responsible for maintaining your property.
  • Remind employees to wear shoes that offer good traction on snow and ice.
  • Monitor lighting in parking lots and walkways to ensure proper levels of visibility.
  • Keep entrance areas clean and dry to minimize tracked-in snow. Wet mats can create slip and fall hazards when stepping onto concrete or tile flooring. Replace mats and clean floors frequently to maintain dry surfaces.
  • Keep salt or sand buckets near entrances and exits to allow easier application.
  • Encourage employees to immediately report snow and ice hazards to their supervisors. Make sure they are addressed immediately.
  • Post safety signs at entrance and exit doors to remind employees and/or customers to watch for slip and fall hazards.
  • At least monthly, conduct brief meetings and/or distribute materials to all employees addressing winter safety preparedness.
  • Encourage employees to provide safety suggestions that can be shared throughout your organization via displays, newsletters or other methods of communication.
Risk ManagementSafety first!
Michigan weather can be somewhat unpredictable! As storms roll in and peak power demands increase, so does the risk of electric service interruptions. Below is information to help prevent equipment damage and inconveniences caused by power outages.

Power interruptions and outages can destroy computer data, damage electronic equipment and cause food spoilage. Proper planning can help reduce risk.

Generators are becoming more and more popular to homeowners. If you choose to buy a generator, be sure to purchase one that can supply the right amount of power you need. To ensure the generator supplies the right amount of power, look on the labels for lighting, appliances and equipment. If you cannot determine the amount of power that is needed, consult an electrician.

You should be especially careful when using portable generators. Generators should only be operated through a properly installed transfer switch or plugged directly into the generator using a properly rated extension cord. Don’t connect a generator to a home’s electrical system or run a generator indoors.

Another good practice is to install effective surge protection. Electrical equipment is often damaged when the power is turned back on and electricity surges through the lines. It’s wise to unplug equipment and re-connect only after regular electrical service has been restored.

In addition to unplugging computers and electronics, you should limit opening the refrigerator and freezer doors to help prevent food spoilage. Don’t use charcoal, gas grills or camp stoves for cooking in enclosed areas and stay away from downed power lines.
Actions by Michigan’s Secretary of State
Have you renewed your vehicle’s plate/tab for 2016? Do you currently have a vehicle that is being stored or dropped from road use? If you have a vehicle where registration renewal typically falls during the time the vehicle is stored, you may want to renew the registration before you put that vehicle away in storage. The Secretary of State will cancel the vehicle’s plate if they cannot verify insurance and all registration fees.

You will get a letter from the Secretary of State that reads:

The Michigan Department of State is cancelling the above-referenced plate/registration effective 20 days from the date of this letter in accordance with Michigan law (MCL.257.258). The reason for cancellation is listed below:


What is the reasoning behind this? Every two weeks, insurance companies are sending electronic files to the Secretary of State showing every vehicle insured with Michigan No-Fault coverage. These are the vehicles that are carrying the legally required coverage to drive on the roads. The law states that when you renew your plate, you MUST have this coverage on the policy. The Secretary of State is double checking lists submitted by insurance companies against their own records. If your vehicle has comprehensive coverage only or no coverage at the time of plate/tab renewal, it won’t be on the Secretary of State’s list.

Options to ensure your vehicles plate/tab has been verified with the Secretary of State:
  1. The Secretary of State advises you to renew the plate up to six months in advance. Our suggestion: if you have a renewal date while the vehicle is being stored, renew your plate prior to storing the vehicle.
  2. Renew your plate after the vehicle is out of storage and pay the $10 late registration fee.
  3. Insure the vehicle.
Have you tried basuretybonds.com?
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