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Work Comp Changes for COVID 19Under most state workers’ compensation (WC) laws, COVID-19 may be a compensable, work-related condition only if an employee can show that:

  • He or she contracted the coronavirus while performing services growing out of and incidental to his or her employment; and
  •  The disease arose out of that employment (work relatedness).

As of June 30, 2020, however, several states have made—or are in the process of making—changes that reverse this burden for certain employees. In general, these changes mean that it would be an employer’s burden to prove that an employee did not contract COVID-19 on the job, rather than the employee’s burden of proving that he or she did contract it on the job. While most of these changes apply only to certain types of workers—such as first responders, health care providers or those who are otherwise deemed “essential” some changes apply the new presumption more broadly.

Many states have also taken actions that aim to reduce the impact of COVID-19-related claims on an employer’s WC premium rates.

The Compliance Bulletin provides general information about the COVID-19-related changes made to state WC laws and policies.

Click here to download the legal update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Hurricane DedutibleWith the devastation and damage left by past hurricanes, it is important to note some of the nuances that apply to homeowners coverage. Did you know that if you have hurricane coverage on your homeowners’ policy, you most likely have a separate hurricane deductible? A hurricane deductible is the amount a homeowner must pay (or is deducted from total claims payout) before insurance will cover the damage caused by a hurricane.

Many homeowners don’t realize that hurricane deductibles are separate from regular homeowners’ insurance deductibles and are based on a percentage of the home’s value, typically two to 10 percent. That percentage, along with details about a policy’s hurricane deductible, usually appears on the first page of your policy.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles. Florida laws are very specific regarding when the hurricane deductible applies, for what duration of time, and how many can be applied in a calendar year.

In Florida, hurricane deductibles apply for damage that occurs from the time a hurricane watch or warning is issued for any part of Florida, up to 72 hours after such a watch or warning ends, and anytime hurricane conditions exist throughout the state.

Most deductibles apply on a calendar year basis (some are per occurrence). Therefore, policyholders should always file claims even when the cost to repair the windstorm damage is less than the hurricane deductible. If you file the claim, the insurance carrier has a record of the amount of credit that should be applied towards the hurricane deductible for the second or subsequent claim resulting from a hurricane. For example, in 2004, some areas of Florida were hit by three major hurricanes in about 40 days.

Hurricane damage is usually extensive. Even though a $10,000 deductible may seem steep, it pales in comparison to the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up without the financial help hurricane coverage offers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance, we are here to keep you informed.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Personal Lines Firework SafetyThis year’s Fourth of July holiday may look different from most, with many people celebrating from home due to social distancing restrictions still in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. All too often, however, Independence Day backyard celebrations can end up with a trip to the hospital for firework-related injuries.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that roughly 18,500 fires are started annually by fireworks. Even a simple backyard sparkler can heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you choose to use fireworks at home, follow these tips to keep your holiday safe and fun:

Keep them outside. Never light fireworks inside, and always keep them far away from dry grass, plants, and other flammable objects.

Never point fireworks at others. Make sure your fireworks are not aimed at any people, animals, or property.

Take fire precautions. Keep a full bucket of water or a garden hose nearby and ready to go in case you need to douse the fireworks or anything they may ignite. Make sure you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is located.

Take a look at your outfit. Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing when using fireworks.

Move back. When you’re lighting the fireworks (always one at a time), make sure no part of your body is directly above the device.  As soon as it is lit, move a safe distance away.

Douse them when done. Once a firework is done burning, soak it with water from the bucket or the hose before throwing it away. If one of your fireworks doesn’t seem to be working properly, do not pick it up or try to light it again. Douse it with water and then throw it away.

Protect pets. Provide a safe place indoors for your pets to stay during the festivities. Consider turning on the television to help drown out the pops and bangs from fireworks nearby.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance, we are here to make sure you have a fun and safe holiday weekend.

Personal Lines Hurricane ChecklistAs you continue to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to stay prepared for other disasters like hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st. Last month we shared tips on preparing for the hurricane season during COVID-19, but we’ve also created a helpful hurricane checklist that includes COVID-19 considerations such as:

  • Including items in your “go kit” that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person.
  • Make sure to give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies as some items may be out of stock last minute due to the need during COVID.
  • When checking on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations to protect yourself and others.

 

Download the Hurricane Checklist

While there are many questions that remain about how this hurricane season will play out, we will continue to provide information and updates to keep you in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Ron Lazarto, CPRIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Ron specializes in offering customized property and casualty insurance solutions for successful individuals and their families. Comments and questions are welcome at rlazarto@gulfshoreinsurance.com

How to keep yourself, your home, and your belongings safe from lightning.

Personal Lines Lightning SafetyAccording to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), Florida has the highest number of lightning casualties of all 50 states. Lightning can cause damage to your home and belongings—and can cause bodily harm. It’s prudent to take steps to prevent the dangerous effects of lightning and to keep yourself and your family safe. Here are some things you can do according to the I.I.I.:

  • Lightning and insurance. Most standard homeowners and auto insurance policies cover damages, such as fire, that results from a lightning strike. Some policies also provide coverage for the damage caused by power surges. With that being said, it’s far better to prevent lightning damage than to have to deal with the consequences. Contact your advisor today to review your policy.
  • Lightning protection system. A lightning protection system (LPS) provides a specified path on which lightning can travel. The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) explains how LPSs work in this infographic. A rooftop network of lightning rods or air terminals is connected to a series of down conductors, which carry the current down to a grounding network. In that way, the system safely directs the destructive power of the lightning strike into the ground, which leaves the structure of your home and its contents undamaged.
  • Surges. Electrical surges from lightning can enter a structure via power transmission lines and cause electrical fires as well as damage to your electrical system, your appliances and your home electronics. Regular power strips offer little surge protection. To assure the best safeguards, UL-listed surge protection devices (SPDs) should be installed to filter and dissipate damaging electrical discharges. To protect valuable electronics like computers, home entertainment centers, gaming systems and smart home technology, install UL-listed transient voltage surge suppressors–and consider unplugging expensive electronics when you know a storm is approaching.
  • Protect yourself and your family with precautions. 
    • When thunder roars, go indoors. During a storm, it’s best to take shelter in a house or other fully enclosed building. Inside, don’t stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay off the phone and avoid contact with small appliances, like toasters and hairdryers. As water conducts electricity, also stay away from plumbing, sinks, tubs and radiators.
    • If you know a storm is coming, avoid known hazards and dangerous locations. These include areas where you will be the highest object—a golf course, for example. Bodies of water also attract lightning, so avoid lakes, beaches or open water, and fishing from a boat or dock. Never ride golf carts, motorcycles or bicycles during a thunderstorm.
    • If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, take shelter in a hard topped-vehicle or a low area such a tunnel or even a cave if necessary. Stay clear of fences, isolated trees and other conductive objects such as telephone poles, power lines and pipelines. These present a danger from a potential side flash, which is voltage from a nearby, lightning-struck object.
    • If you’re caught in an open field with no nearby shelter, and your hair begins to stand on end, drop down into a crouch with your hands on your knees, and balance on the balls of your feet. The static electricity in your hair is an indication that lightning is about to strike, and the idea is to make as little contact with the ground as possible. Never lie down flat or place your hands on the ground.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance, we are here to keep you informed and safe.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com