Archive for September, 2011

Legal malpractice insurance is not just about the cost

As H. Robert Fiebach points out in his article “Shopping for Malpractice Insurance”, there is much more to consider than just costs when purchasing Lawyers Professional Liability (LPL).  When was the last time that you took a hard look at your firm’s professional liability coverage?  Do you know what you are really getting for your premium?  There are several items that can be amended in the standard policy forms offered by most insurers.  These amendments enhance the cover that is being afforded; however, you will not receive the enhancements unless you ask for them. 

Additional, key areas of a Lawyers Professional Liability Policy to review include the exclusions and the definitions sections of the policy form.  Read more…

Tufts Health Plan leads with Steward discount network offering

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier this month, Tufts Health Plan and Cerberus-backed Steward Health announced a new insurance product promising discounts of 15% or more for Massachusetts companies that buy group health insurance with a limited network of Steward providers.

Steward has acquired a number or primary and tertiary care providers in Eastern Massachusetts. While Steward had been considering a plan to sell insurance direct, present laws do not allow them to become a risk taker. Instead, they have partnered with high-quality insurer Tufts to offer a new “value” offering to the market. We at William Gallagher Associates certainly applaud both organizations for bringing more choice to a landscape that needs more competition.

But, the question remains, should you sign up your company for this plan? We think that we have read this book before and have some advice for companies that might consider the new plan. Read more…

Left in the dark – hurricane service interruption claims

When a hurricane or tropical storm hits, it’s easy to determine whether your assets suffered physical loss or damage almost immediately, with tree limbs puncturing a roof, broken glass or water showing up inside a building. But what if your facility didn’t suffer physical damage but you still could not operate due to lost power? Or a large quantity of temperature-sensitive property spoiled due to a loss of power of a refrigeration system? If a loss of utility services was the result of a peril that occurred at the premises of the utility provider, and is otherwise covered by your property insurance policy, you may have coverage for your resulting property damage or business interruption loss.

This coverage, called Off Premises Utility Services or Service Interruption, is intended Read more…

Protecting against the risks of mold from flooding

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The recent flooding throughout the country, especially the Northeast, has left behind a hidden problem – mold. Mold will grow and multiply under the right conditions, needing only sufficient moisture in the form of very high humidity, condensation or water, and organic material such as ceiling tile, drywall, paper, carpet or many others around found in a household. Mold growth begins as soon as 12-24 hours after exposure to water and high humidity. Everyone has probably seen mold growing at some time in their home either through water intrusion or even humidity in your bathroom.

Exposure to mold can cause health problems in some people, the most common being allergic responses to breathing mold spores. People with asthma Read more…

Tax benefits of 831(b) captives – financial planning

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Captive Insurance companies in their many forms have been around for decades.  Most captives for Property and Casualty risks focus on high frequency, low severity risks like Workers Compensation and Auto Liability.  They include reinsurance above certain retained amounts of risk.  The benefits of a captive include long-term stability, better payback for loss control investment, and in some cases, tax benefits of accrued investment earnings and reserve funds off-shore and away from annual taxes.

A different angle of the tax benefits of Captive Insurance companies is becoming more popular.  These captives are referred to by their IRS tax code section, 831(b) Captives.  These instruments are being promoted by their sponsors as wealth transfer vehicles for owners of private businesses. Read more…

National 401(k) Day

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

I bet you didn’t realize that today, September 9th, is national 401(k) Day.  It is an annual celebration to promote the importance of participation in employer-sponsored profit sharing and 401(k) plans. Here are some other things you may not know:

  • Most of us spend more time thinking about what to have for lunch than we do about how to have a comfortable retirement.
  • The average Social Security Retirement Benefit is just over $1100 per month and will only replace a fraction of the income we need to live comfortably in retirement.
  • Many young people feel that their future Social Security Benefit will not be there or will be greatly reduced from what their parents received.
  • Most employer-funded retirement benefits, like Defined Benefit Plans, are history and will never come back.

401(k) plans allow employees to take control of their retirement and not worry so much Read more…

Drug shortages could be costly for clinical trials

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A recent New York Times article highlighted the fact that there are “critical shortages of drugs to treat a number of life-threatening illnesses, including bacterial infection and several forms of cancer” and that “clinical trials for some experimental cures have been delayed”.

Unfortunately, this type of delay or interruption may not fall within the scope of a sponsor’s insurance coverage.  The reason is that traditional business interruption coverage is triggered only when the interruption is caused by direct physical loss or damage to a sponsor’s facility, i.e., their lab, office or manufacturing location.  Another coverage that may come into play is “contingent business interruption”.  Also triggered by direct physical loss or Read more…