Liability Claims Can Wreck Your Small Roofing Business - Farmer Brown Insurance Agency - Contractor Talk

Liability Claims Can Wreck Your Small Roofing Business

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Old 10-04-2020, 05:04 AM   #1
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Liability Claims Can Wreck Your Small Roofing Business

Liability Claims Can Wreck Your Small Roofing Business

Liability claims have meant the downfall of many small businesses. And while exposure to risk needs to be mitigated, some businesses just naturally have greater exposure.

A roofer’s risk profile is the highest of the construction trades. Razor sharp circular saw blades spinning at 6000 rpm? Standing on a ladder or scaffold because you are working 12 feet up in the air? All in a day’s work, right? I am hard pressed to think of a more dangerous occupation.

Freak accidents

Say you are working with polycarbonate roof sheeting. Considering its weight to surface area ratio, it could have more lift than your standard airplane wing. But lift is only applicable when air is moving at speed across the surface. So why should you worry?

I can easily picture a contractor, sitting in a lawyers’ office, explaining how a freak gust of wind struck up out of nowhere. It picked that polycarbonate sheet up and dropped it in front on-coming traffic. The approaching car swerved to avoid the airborne sheet and hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk. There’s the liability claim. And this one is going to be a whopper!

It always costs more than you think

Let’s start listing the (unforeseen) expenses your business now has to pay:
  • Replacement polycarbonate sheet.
  • Contractual penalties because of late completion.
  • Damage to motor vehicle.
  • Hospitalization costs for the pedestrian, including loss of income (For example, because of his broken leg he cannot coach baseball anymore.)
  • Legal fee for yourself, the driver of the car and the pedestrian.
  • You could also end up needing another lawyer and insurance adjuster to get the insurance company to pay the full claim.
What happens next

After such an incident, four out of ten businesses will end up closing their doors. Permanently.

The only way forward is if your Liability Insurance pays up.

For your policy to pay out, you need to be compliant with the terms of your policy and State Laws. There will be a sub-clause of a sub clause that states something like: “if the wind shear factor of products with a weight below…” Read it and comply.

The moment non-compliance on your part can be proved, you are on your own. I cannot stress this enough. Review your policy often to ensure adequate cover and compliance. Your site manager must be briefed on a plan of action, as per your policy provision, that requires you to minimize damages payable.

The small print

For anyone who isn’t familiar with legal terms, an insurance policy is difficult to read and understand. Instead of assuming that you have the coverage you need, get your insurance company to explain the terms to you. Make sure you have liability coverage AND that you know how to use it.

This article is written by John Brown. Contact us at Farmer Brown Insurance Company for assistance with your Roofing Liability Insurance. Call 1 888 862 8781
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Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

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