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Think you are insured? THINK AGAIN!!!!!


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Old 11-12-2010, 03:10 AM
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Default Think you are insured? THINK AGAIN!!!!!

This legal case shows you how quickly your business can become liable for over a million dollars in damage that you may have thought you were covered for but you ultimately were not.

Here is a little background:

Between April 21 and 28, 2008, Jeffrey McGee, an employee of Brake, applied
herbicide to thirteen properties owned by Brake customers. All but one of these customers had a lawn-care maintenance agreement with Brake pursuant to which Brake was obligated to apply a combination of fertilizer and herbicide to the lawns on the clients' properties. McGee was supposed to apply Lesco Momentum, a selective herbicide that kills only weeds, not grass. Instead, he mistakenly applied Lesco Prosecutor, a non-selective herbicide that kills all vegetation. Once Prosecutor has been applied, it immediately begins to kill the plant, although actual plant death usually does not occur until seven to ten days later. There are no antidotes and the effects are irreversible. On April 28, Brake discovered the mistake and identified which properties had been affected by driving by customers' properties to see if their lawns were displaying signs of dead vegetation. Brake incurred costs of approximately $1.2 million to re-sod or re-seed the dead spots.


So as a lawn care provider you would feel oh crap this is a huge screw up, but thank god I am insured right? WRONG!

His insurance company would not insure the incident because of this clause in his contract with the insurance agency.

That particular part of any property that must be restored, repaired
or replaced because 'your work' was incorrectly performed on it.


Read the case here: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/10/11/093874P.pdf

It will make you rethink what being insured really means and it will make you want to read your insurance policy to see if you have such a clause in your contract as well.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:11 AM
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He must have deep pockets, I can't think of any of us that could come up with 1.2 million and the lawns would have to have been massive.

But you are right, you really need to read the fine print, I asked a lot of questions as we work along streams, lakes and the Ocean, I am covered for example if I hit an oil barrel (furnace) and it spills oil however I am not covered for example if I blow a hydraulic line and fluid spills into the water.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:38 PM
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Yep and you need to read every page. The agent could have even forgot something that you asked to be covered.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:43 AM
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I am covered for example if I hit an oil barrel (furnace) and it spills oil however I am not covered for example if I blow a hydraulic line and fluid spills into the water.
This is brilliant to think about and ask but how does the average business owner even come up with this stuff to ask their agent?

When you asked your agent about this, did it make you think you needed to do something differently? Or what is the best way to deal with a situation when you learn, something that you can be doing during your daily activities won't be covered if the worst case situation happens?

Are there other situations lawn care business owners should be concerned about and ask their agent if they are covered for such an accident?
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
This is brilliant to think about and ask but how does the average business owner even come up with this stuff to ask their agent?

When you asked your agent about this, did it make you think you needed to do something differently? Or what is the best way to deal with a situation when you learn, something that you can be doing during your daily activities won't be covered if the worst case situation happens?

Are there other situations lawn care business owners should be concerned about and ask their agent if they are covered for such an accident?
Sit down before you even go in and think of the worst things that could happen, make a list, type it up and go over it with the agent and have them sign your list that should one of these events or something similar happen, you would be covered under your policy number XXXXXXXX

When I talked to the agent it was simply that I needed peace of mind, I am not real happy about hydraulic leaks as stuff happens, maybe a rock rolls back and pinches a line and oil goes even on the ground.....always think the worst, ask the questions and hope for the best. We were covered for everything else I could come up with.

Accidents are generally not part of the policy, be very cautions guys, lets say you are insured for lawn care, out of the goodness of your heart you fix the customers front steps, something happens and they fall, you are liable and you will not be covered. Anything outside what you tell your agent that you do, and you decide to do it out an act of good will, ask first.

The last thing I would want is a law suit like the one above, it would cripple me financially and I would loose everything I have worked for, that is what we have to remember.

Maybe ever a rock flying from your trailer that your ZTR picked up somehow....think of everything......what happens if a trimmer brakes free from your trailer and hits someone walking down the street. Stuff that will probably never happen, sometimes does.
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