Business Insurance – Key Person Coverage

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Many businesses—especially small businesses with fewer employees—depend on a single person or a few key people for their success. If a key person becomes unable to work or dies, the business might lose valuable accounts or be temporarily unable to operate, resulting in lost revenue.

The loss of an important employee can hurt the morale of a business, but the financial impact can be mitigated if a business purchases key person insurance. This type of coverage can enable a business to continue paying its bills and fund the search for a new employee. In unfortunate instances where a business cannot survive without the key employee, the funds from key person insurance can be used to pay severance to employees, distribute funds to investors and close the business in an orderly manner.

Key person insurance is usually owned by the business, which pays the premiums. This coverage is also a requirement of most banks and lending institutions when applying for financing or credit.

Who qualifies as a “key person”?

There are no hard-and-fast rules for identifying key persons in your business. Generally, anyone who directly contributes to a company’s bottom line or is fundamental to its operations might be considered a key person. Examples include:

  • C-Suite Executives—such as a CEO or COO.
  • Leading sales personnel.
  • Heads of product development.
  • Engineers or other difficult-to-replace personnel.

Types of key person insurance

Key person insurance comes in the following two forms:

  • Key Person Life Insurance—This type of coverage differs from regular life insurance in that it specifically covers individuals in a business who are crucial to company operations. It provides the business with an infusion of cash if an insured key employee dies, regardless of cause or place of death. These funds can help compensate for revenue lost as a result of the death, as well as pay off debts, buy out surviving shareholders’ interest from heirs and finance the costs of a new employee search or training programs. Key person life insurance can be purchased as term insurance lasting for a defined period of time or as extended universal or whole life coverage. The amount of coverage is based on a key person’s income, overall business revenue and the portion of revenue attributable to the key person.
  • Key Person Disability Insurance—This policy will provide funds to a business if an insured key employee becomes disabled and unable to work—partially or entirely. While standard disability insurance covers an employee’s lost salary and medical expenses, a key person disability policy provides funding to a business to make up for lost revenue, the cost of hiring a new employee and other related expenses.

Like other disability and life insurance policies, the cost of premiums for key person insurance depends on the age, health and role of the key employee, as well as the risks the employee takes in their personal life—for example, does the CEO fly her own plane?

“First-to-die” key person coverage

A cost-effective option for buying key person insurance is for a group of executives to join together on a “first-to-die” policy that insures just the first of the group who passes away. Once the policy is used to cover the loss of the first person to die, another member of the group becomes eligible for coverage. Thus, the key person insurance continues for the new members of the leadership team, but premiums reflect the fact that only one life is being covered at a time.

This type of insurance can be a useful tool when it comes to succession planning for your business—and having a succession plan is crucial to ensure the successful transfer of your company or business interests.

Your insurance professional can provide guidance on options and costs of individual and first-to-die key person coverage.

Statistics on Tornados and Damages

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Tornadoes

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm and comes into contact with the ground, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In an average year about 1,000 tornadoes are reported nationwide, according to NOAA. Tornado intensity is measured by the enhanced Fujita (EF) scale. The scale rates tornadoes on a scale of 0 through 5, based on the amount and type of wind damage. It incorporates 28 different damage indicators, based on damage to a wide variety of structures ranging from trees to shopping malls.

The U.S. experiences more tornadoes than any other country in the world, according to a 2013 report by Lloyd’s of London. (See Executive Summary, page 4 of Tornadoes a Rising Risk? for additional findings and statistics.)

The Fujita Scale For Tornadoes

Original F scale (1)Enhanced F scale (2)
CategoryDamageWind speed (mph)3-second gust (mph)
F-0Light40-7265-85
F-1Moderate73-11286-110
F-2Considerable113-157111-135
F-3Severe158-207136-165
F-4Devastating208-260166-200
F-5Incredible261-318Over 200

(1) Original scale: wind speeds represent fastest estimated speeds over one quarter of a mile.
(2) Enhanced scale: wind speeds represent maximum 3-second gusts.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Tornadoes accounted for 40 percent of inflation-adjusted insured catastrophe losses from 1997 to 2016, according to Property Claim Services (PCS®), a Verisk Analytics® business. In 2018 insured losses from U.S. tornadoes and thunderstorms totaled $14.1 billion, down from $18 billion in 2017, according to Munich Re. The number of tornadoes fell to 1,124 in 2018 from 1,429 in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The 2017 total was the highest since 2011, when there were 1,691 tornadoes, including two spring events that resulted in more than $14 billion in losses when they occurred. There were 10 direct fatalities from tornadoes in 2018, compared with 35 in 2017, according to NOAA. May was the top month for tornadoes in 2018, with 155 twisters. The United States experiences more tornadoes than any other country, according to a 2013 report by Lloyd’s of London.

Preliminary NOAA reports show there were 1,429 tornadoes in 2019 through early November compared to 1,060 for the same period in 2018. Tornadoes killed 38 people from January to November 2019, compared with nine people for the same period in 2018.

On March 3, 2019 a tornado struck southeast Alabama as part of a severe storm system that resulted in catastrophic damage in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. At least 23 people were killed in the March 3 tornado in Lee County, Alabama. In Beauregard, Alabama, the tornado left a half-mile wide path of destruction. The National Weather Service said that the tornado was F4 strength with top winds of 170 miles per hour. The tornado storm system of March 3 was the deadliest outbreak in the United States since a system in Arkansas and Mississippi in April 2014 killed 35 people.

There were 303 tornadoes in April which caused seven deaths: two each in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and one in Mississippi. There were 556 tornadoes recorded in May. These tornadoes claimed another seven lives, including three in Missouri, two in Oklahoma and one each in Iowa and Ohio. Tornadoes from May 26 to May 29 in 13 states caused $2.8 billion in losses, according to the Property Claim Services unit of ISO. On October 20 and 21, a severe thunderstorm outbreak ripped through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, and produced several tornadoes including an EF-3 affecting the Dallas, Texas area. Aon said insured losses may reach the hundreds of million dollars.

Insured Losses

The United States experiences more tornadoes than any other country. Tornadoes accounted for 39.9 percent of insured catastrophe losses from 1997 to 2016, according to Verisk’s Property Claim Services (PCS). A March 2017 report by Willis Re found that the average annual loss from severe convective storms is $11.23 billion (in 2016 dollars) compared to $11.28 billion from hurricanes, based on PCS data. In 2018, insured losses from U.S. tornadoes/thunderstorms totaled $14.1 billion, up from $18.2 billion in 2017, according to Munich RE. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that tornadoes can happen any time of year. The costliest U.S. catastrophe involving tornadoes, based on insured losses, occurred in April 2011. It hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and other areas, and cost $8.2 billion in insured damages (in 2018 dollars). The second costliest catastrophe involving tornadoes, based on insured losses, struck Joplin, Missouri, and other locations in May 2011. The catastrophe cost $7.8 billion in insured losses in 2018 dollars. (See chart below.) The National Weather Service posts updated information on tornadoes.

View Archived Graphs

Number Of Tornadoes And Related Deaths Per Month, 2018 (1)

(1) Excludes Puerto Rico. A tornado that crosses state lines is counted as a single event in this chart.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Storm Prediction Center, National Weather Service.

View Archived Graphs

Do I Need Business Interruption Insurance?

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Business interruption insurance can be as vital to your survival as a business as fire insurance. Most people would never consider opening a business without buying insurance to cover damage due to fire and windstorms. But too many small business owners fail to think about how they would manage if a fire or other disaster damaged their business premises so that they were temporarily unusable. Business interruption coverage is not sold separately. It is added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy.

A business that has to close down completely while the premises are being repaired may lose out to competitors. A quick resumption of business after a disaster is essential.

  1. Business interruption insurance compensates you for lost income if your company has to vacate the premises due to disaster-related damage that is covered under your property insurance policy, such as a fire. Business interruption insurance covers the revenue you would have earned, based on your financial records, had the disaster not occurred. The policy also covers operating expenses, like electricity, that continue even though business activities have come to a temporary halt.
  2. Make sure the policy limits are sufficient to cover your company for more than a few days. After a major disaster, it can take more time than many people anticipate to get the business back on track. There is generally a 48-hour waiting period before business interruption coverage kicks in.
  3. The price of the policy is related to the risk of a fire or other disaster damaging your premises. All other things being equal, the price would probably be higher for a restaurant than a real estate agency, for example, because of the greater risk of fire. Also, a real estate agency can more easily operate out of another location.

Extra expense insurance

Extra expense insurance reimburses your company for a reasonable sum of money that it spends, over and above normal operating expenses, to avoid having to shut down during the restoration period. Usually, extra expenses will be paid if they help to decrease business interruption costs. In some instances, extra expense insurance alone may provide sufficient coverage, without the purchase of business interruption insurance.

What are My Liabilities When Hosting a Party at Home

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Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party for 50 or greeting the New Year with a few friends, if you’re planning to serve alcohol at your home take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you have the proper insurance.


Social host liability is the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest. Social host liability can have serious consequences for party throwers.

Social host liability law

Also known as “Dram Shop Liability,” social host liability laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.

While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as the guest is also negligent), the host can be held liable for harm to third parties, and even for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.

Social host liability—insurance considerations

Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but limits are typically $100,000 to $300,000, which, depending on your assets, might not be enough. Before planning a party in your home, speak to your insurance professional to review your homeowners coverage for any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have that would affect your social liability risk.

Protect yourself and your guests

Remember that a good host is a responsible host. If you plan to serve alcohol at a party, promote safe alcohol consumption and take these steps to reduce your social host liability exposure:

  • Make sure you understand your state laws. These laws vary widely from state to state (see final chart). Some states do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes. Many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
  • Consider venues other than your home for the party. Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
  • Limit your own alcohol intake as a responsible host/hostess, so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
  • Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.

Are You Protected From Wildfires?

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Facts about wildfire risk

The deadly destruction of a wildfire is not to be underestimated. Hard to contain, wildfires consume everything in their wake and wreak havoc on lives, landscapes and homes. Wildfires:

  • Occur in 38 states – California is the state most associated with wildfires and, in fact, eight of the 10 most costly wildfires in the U.S. have occurred there. That said, Texas has been known to have twice the wildfires as California in a given year and 38 of U.S. states have areas at risk.
  • Like dry conditions – Drought conditions, dry undergrowth and the presence of combustible and flammable materials contribute to wildfire hazard.
  • Are more dangerous in combination with development – The risk of damage increases as housing and business development expands into the wildfire-prone wildland-urban interface (WUI)—such as mountain, foothill or grassland areas.
  • Spread mostly on the wind – Direct flame contact and radiant heat from a wildfire can ignite combustible materials. However, research has shown that homes burned during wildfires most frequently catch fire from live embers (or “firebrands”) that are blown by the wind.
  • Thrive on house “togetherness” – Because of the dangers of the embers, close proximity of homes and presence of combustible features both increase the chances of a home going up in flames. Fire spreads rapidly when homes are less than 15 feet apart, making homes that are clustered near others more likely to burn. Features like fences and attached decks made from combustible materials often hasten the spread of fire.

Wildfire preventative building features

Wildfires need fuel to spread—like wood, plastic, wood-plastic products and foliage. Don’t help your house feed the flames—fit or retrofit your home with features that deter fire. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and others have this advice:

  • Maintain five feet of non-combustible “defensible space” around your home – Keep a five-foot diameter space of gravel, brick, or concrete in the area adjacent to your home.
  • Maintain an expanded “defensible space” between five and 30 feet from your home – Keeping this area as unattractive to wildfires as possible will reduce the risk. Move trailers/RVs and storage sheds from area, or build defensible space (see above) around these items. Remove shrubs under trees, prune branches that overhang your roof, thin trees, and remove dead vegetation.
  • Use non-combustible siding – and maintain a six-inch ground-to-siding clearance
  • Regularly clean from your roof and gutters – to keep debris from being ignited by wind-blown embers. Use noncombustible gutter covers.
  • Get a Class A fire-rated roof – Class A roofing products offer the best protection for homes.
  • Use non-combustible fences and gates – Burning fencing can generate embers and cause direct flame contact to your home.
  • Cover vents and create soffited eaves – Use 1/8-inch mesh to cover vents, and box-in (create soffits) on open eaves to keep embers out.
  • Use multi-pane, tempered glass windows – Close windows when a wildfire threatens.
  • Fireproof the deck – At a minimum, use deck boards that comply with California requirements for new construction in wildfire-prone areas. Remove combustibles from under deck, and maintain effective defensible space around the deck.
  • Keep combustibles far away from the house – Combustible structures in the yard such as wood, plastic or plastic-wood playground equipment should be at least 30 feet away from the house. Experts indicate that evergreen trees, palms and eucalyptus trees have more combustible qualities than others—keep this type of vegetation 100 feet away from the house.

Umbrella Insurance Policy-What is It?

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If you are ever sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy will provide you with some liability coverage, paying for judgements against you and your attorney’s fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have an extra layer of liability protection. That’s what a personal umbrella liability policy provides.

An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage in a homeowners, renters, condo or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander.

For about $150 to $300 per year you can buy a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy. The next million will cost about $75, and $50 for every million after that.

Because the personal umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying coverage is exhausted, there are certain limits that usually must be met in order to purchase this coverage. Most insurers will want you to have about $250,000 of liability insurance on your auto policy and $300,000 of liability insurance on your homeowners policy before selling you an umbrella liability policy for $1 million of additional coverage.

Business Owners Insurance Policies

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It may sound like a dance craze from the 1950s, but a BOP—a Business Owners Policy—can protect your small business against today’s most common risks. Fire, burglary, liability and business interruption losses are all covered under a BOP.

Since a BOP is prepackaged, there is only one policy to review and it can be more cost effective than purchasing separate policies. Additional coverage can be added in the form of endorsements or riders.

Since a BOP insurance policy is specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses, the type of business can influence eligibility. Normally, companies with 100 employees or fewer and revenues of up to about $5 million or less are candidates for a BOP. Some types of businesses, such as restaurants, may be ineligible for a BOP because of the specific risks inherent in the business and may need to consider buying the individual coverages separately.

Combining three insurance policies into one package

In a single, convenient package, a BOP provides the core insurance that most small businesses need, including:

  • Property insurance—Protection for your building or office space, as well as property owned by your business, such as equipment and inventory.
  • Liability insurance—Coverage for costs that arise if someone is injured at your business or by using your products or services.
  • Business interruption insurance—Also known as Business Income insurance, this coverage replaces lost revenues in the event that your business has to shut down due to fire, wind damage or other covered losses.

You can tailor a BOP to meet your needs

It’s important to understand that a BOP doesn’t cover all risks associated with running a small business and the coverage limits are usually lower. If you have employees, you may be required to carry workers compensation insurance, depending on your state. If you have a business-owned vehicle, you’ll need coverage beyond your personal car insurance. You might also consider insurance for relatively new risks such as computer system break-in or business identity theft.

There are unique risks associated with your small business; an insurance professional can help you find the coverages that are right for you. Here are some other types of insurance to explore and ask about:

  • Professional liability insurance
  • Employee practices liability insurance
  • Business vehicle insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Health and disability
  • Flood and sewer back-up
  • Cyberrisk insurance
  • Terrorism insurance

Increasing your coverage with excess and umbrella insurance

You can increase the protection provided by your BOP and other business insurance policies by adding an excess liability or umbrella insurance policy. This type of supplemental policy boosts your coverage beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. Depending on the policy, your umbrella coverage is designed to broaden and increase coverage, “filling in the gaps” left by other types of liability insurance by covering additional areas of risk and even reimbursing you for deductibles. Your insurance professional can advise you about combining an umbrella policy with a BOP or other business insurance.

8 Questions to Ask for Car Insurance

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Make sure your car coverage reflects your needs and budget

The vehicle you own, your personal priorities and your budget all factor into your unique auto insurance needs. Before comparing policies and insurers, evaluate how you use your car and what risks you face to figure out what options make the best sense for you.

1. How much do you drive?

Do you absolutely need your car every day—for instance, to commute to work or drive the kids to school and activities? Do you drive 100 miles a month or closer to 1,000 or more? Make sure your policy reflects how much you use your car. If you don’t drive a lot, you may want to opt for mileage-based insurance.

2. Will you be using your car for work?

If you use your car not just to get to work, but to perform tasks for which you get paid, commercial auto insurance is a necessity. A personal auto policy will not provide coverage if you transport paying passengers through a ride-share service, deliver pizzas, drive as a courier or use your car for other commercial activities.

3. What type of car do you drive?

Insurers have mountains of data, and they know in precise detail what types of cars, makes and models are more—or less—likely to incur claims. A flashy sports car with a powerful engine may be more likely to be stolen and its bodywork costs will be more than on a mid-sized sedan—and your insurance will be priced accordingly. Some types of cars—such as modified or classic cars—require special insurance. By the same token, you may receive discounts if you have a “safe” car—one with the latest safety features and a good safety record.

4. How much do you love your car?

If you love the way your vehicle looks and take pride in its appearance, you’ll likely want it fixed perfectly—or replaced with the same model—if it gets damaged. That means you’ll probably to consider the fullest range of insurance—including collision, comprehensive and glass coverage. On the other hand, if you drive a beater, see cars merely as transportation and want to save on premiums, you might prefer to limit your policy to liability.

5. Where do you live—and park your car?

Where you live will impact your insurance rates—and it may be a factor in what coverage you purchase. For example, cars parked on the street in urban areas face a greater risk for theft or vandalism, so comprehensive coverage might be a good option. You may discover that your premium rates are lower if you move from a city to a suburb.

6. Who else will be driving the car?

Generally, your car insurance will cover other occasional drivers. However, if other drivers live with you and use your car—whether a spouse, a teen driver or a housemate—they should be listed on your policy.

7. What are your legal obligations?

Nearly every state requires that you carry minimum liability coverage for your car. At the very least, you need to make sure your policy complies with state mandates. However, the levels of required coverage are generally pretty low. Keep in mind that, if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. Depending on your assets and financial risk tolerance, to be safe, you’ll probably want to purchase a higher level of liability coverage.

8. Is your car financed or leased?

If you still owe money on your car or have to return it in good condition when a lease expires, you’ll likely be required to insure the car for its full value—and even for any gap between what you owe and the car’s market value. Collision and comprehensive will cover damage to your car—and supplemental gap insurance will cover the rest.

Keep in mind that your insurance options and costs will also be affected by your age, gender and driving record. Be aware too that your credit score can also impact your insurance rates. Once you’ve looked at your needs and priorities, and understood how insurance options will match them, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision about the types and levels of coverage to buy.

Auto Accidents & Distracted Drivers, Continued

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BACKGROUND

Cellphones play an integral role in our society. However, the convenience they offer must be judged against the hazards they pose. Their use contributes to the problem of inattentive driving, which also includes talking, eating, putting on make up and attending to children.

As many as 40 countries may restrict or prohibit the use of cellphones while driving. Countries reported to have laws related to cellphone use include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Botswana, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. Most countries prohibit the use of hand-held phones while driving.

Supporters of restrictions on driving while using a cellphone say that the distractions associated with cellphone use while driving are far greater than other distractions. Conversations using a cellphone demand greater continuous concentration, which diverts the driver’s eyes from the road and his mind from driving. Opponents of cellphone restrictions say drivers should be educated about the effects of all driver distractions. They also say that existing laws that regulate driving should be more strictly enforced.

Earlier Studies: Over the past decade numerous studies have been conducted on driver inattention, in particular focusing on the use of cellphones. Below is a summary of some these studies.

Motorists who use cellphones while driving are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to a study of drivers in Perth, Australia, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The results, published in July 2005, suggest that banning hand-held phone use will not necessarily improve safety if drivers simply switch to hand-free phones. The study found that injury crash risk didn’t vary with type of phone.

Many studies have shown that using hand-held cellphones while driving can constitute a hazardous distraction. However, the theory that hands-free sets are safer has been challenged by the findings of several studies. A study from researchers at the University of Utah, published in the summer 2006 issue of Human Factors, the quarterly journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, concludes that talking on a cellphone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk, even if the phone is a hands-free model. An earlier study by researchers at the university found that motorists who talked on hands-free cellphones were 18 percent slower in braking and took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked.

A September 2004 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drivers using hand-free cellphones had to redial calls 40 percent of the time, compared with 18 percent for drivers using hand-held sets, suggesting that hands-free sets may provide drivers with a false sense of ease.

A study released in April 2006 found that almost 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event. The study, The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the NHTSA, broke new ground. (Earlier research found that driver inattention was responsible for 25 to 30 percent of crashes.) The newer study found that the most common distraction is the use of cellphones, followed by drowsiness. However, cellphone use is far less likely to be the cause of a crash or near-miss than other distractions, according to the study. For example, while reaching for a moving object such as a falling cup increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by nine times, talking or listening on a hand-held cellphone only increased the risk by 1.3 times.

Employer and Manufacturer Liability: Although only a handful of high-profile cases have gone to court, employers are still concerned that they might be held liable for accidents caused by their employees while driving and conducting work-related conversations on cellphones. Under the doctrine of vicarious responsibility, employers may be held legally accountable for the negligent acts of employees committed in the course of employment. Employers may also be found negligent if they fail to put in place a policy for the safe use of cellphones. In response, many companies have established cellphone usage policies. Some allow employees to conduct business over the phone as long as they pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot. Others have completely banned the use of all wireless devices.

In an article published in the June 2003 edition of the North Dakota Law Review, attorney Jordan Michael proposed a theory of cellphone manufacturer liability for auto accidents if they fail to warn users of the dangers of driving and talking on the phone at the same time. The theory holds that maker liability would be similar to the liability of employers who encourage or demand cellphone use on the road. Holding manufacturers liable would cover all persons who drive and use cellphones for personal calls. Michael notes that some car rental agencies have already placed warnings on embedded cellphones in their cars.

Be Sure to Protect Your Valuables Today!

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The holidays are a time of giving and receiving gifts, but would you be able to replace those gifts if they were destroyed in a fire or other disaster? A home inventory is the best way to protect your personal possessions, yet only 50 percent of homeowners said they had an inventory in a 2016 Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) survey. That’s where Know Your Stuff®, the free, award-winning home inventory app can help.

The I.I.I.’s Know Your Stuff® home inventory app allows you to enter information on mobile or desktop and syncs across all your devices so you can access it anywhere, at any time. It can help you:

  • Purchase enough insurance to replace the items you own, if they are stolen or damaged.
  • Get insurance claims settled faster.
  • Substantiate losses or charitable donations for tax purposes.
  • Keep track of items that require maintenance or repair.
  • Declutter and organize your home.

“With the average property damage and liability claim costing more than $9,000 and about one in 15 insured homes having a claim each year, it’s important for homeowners to protect their assets,” said Loretta Worters, a vice president with the I.I.I. “Renters should also consider taking a home inventory.”

To simplify the task of creating an inventory, the Know Your Stuff® app allows you to take photographs of your possessions and organize them according to the room in which the items are located.

With the Know Your Stuff® Home Inventory app, you get:

  • Secure free cloud storage of your inventory data. You can also store and manage all your insurance policy information, including contact information for your insurance professional and your policy numbers.
  • Downloadable reports for easy recordkeeping and claims filing.
  • A tool that is backed by the expertise of the I.I.I., a leading independent insurance research and communications organization.

Know Your Stuff® also allows you to keep track of multiple properties and insurance policies. An opt-in service provides integrated weather alerts for your area as well as updates and tips on how to prepare your home against severe weather.