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The Advisor's Guide to Help You and Your Clients Minimize Risks

Thursday, June 8th, 2017, 7:58 pm
Accidents related to Summer Fun activities can cost you a bundle!
Top 5 recommendations to minimize your summertime risks:

The summer season is upon us and everyone is looking forward to the warm summer months. Schools are letting out for the summer holiday, beach houses are reopening and vacation plans are being made. Summer brings our families so much enjoyment but at the same time it is a season that is often accompanied by unfortunate accidents. Here is a list of recommendations to help you avoid the most common trouble spots:

1. Boats & Jet Skis

What better way to cool off on a hot summer day then to get out on the water with friends and family? It is important to be aware that you are exposing yourself to risk:

As the owner of a boat or jet ski, exercise caution and don’t let inexperienced individuals or minors operate watercrafts of any kind. An example of a situation gone wrong happened when a jet ski owner permitted someone without a boating license to operate their jet ski and take a passenger aboard. The passenger was ejected from the jet ski and suffered catastrophic injuries.

For larger watercrafts, there are typically requirements on who is allowed to operate the vessel. Vessels with a captain and crew are required to have Jones Act coverage, which, in some respects, is similar to workers compensation insurance. As the private owner, instructive safety courses are recommended. Finally, be sure to understand territorial limitations: venturing beyond the geographic limits set in an insurance policy can nullify coverage.

Even for the practiced operator, it is important to follow good judgment and not drive recklessly, participate in any powerboat racing, or operate under the influence.
Don’t assume your policy provides liability coverage. There are certain parameters which require you to purchase specific coverages, such as the length and power of the vessel, as well as new “toys” on the market.

2. Teen Related Accidents

The odds of teenage drivers becoming involved in an auto accident are high. This is particularly true during the summer when they are out of school and on the road more often. Choose a safe car for your child that offers superior protection in the event of a crash. Be sure you’ve had an in depth discussion on the dangers of combining driving with alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep and distractions (cell phones, texting). And, importantly, you may not want to lend your cars to nonfamily member teens. One of our clients gifted a car to his son who was away at college. The son accepted an offer for a prestigious internship in a different city and left the car behind. His roommate allowed a friend to drive the car. The friend collided head on with a car containing a young mother and her 5 year old daughter. Beyond causing the accident, the friend happened to have had a suspended license for driving while under the influence.

Though you clearly wouldn’t provide alcohol to a minor, you can’t be certain that someone else won’t. If you host get togethers for young adults make sure there are designated drivers. Collecting everyone’s car keys as they arrive is also helpful. Anyone who is unable to drive is better off taking a taxi or spending the night.

If you go away without your children ages twenty one and under, for a weekend or longer make certain that you discuss the importance of being responsible. Ask a reliable adult to stay in the home during your absence. Someone who can respond quickly and appropriately in the event of an accident or if a party starts to get out of control. Even if your own offspring can be relied upon, remember that friends and friends of friends may not.

3. Pools

The backyard pool is a delightful retreat for families. Extra caution can make a big difference in avoiding injuries. Homeowners with pools are responsible for any injuries that occur on their property, whether the person has permission or not. A sad situation occurred when a very nice homeowner gave the neighbor’s free reign of the pool at their home. A twelve year old boy, who happened to be a great swimmer, went to use the pool. While swimming he suffered a medical emergency which nearly caused him to drown. This resulted in a lifetime of medical support and an inability to function on his own.

Here are some tips to prevent serious injuries from occurring:

  1. Adult supervision should always be maintained when children are in the pool. For children under age five, the leading cause of accidental death is drowning, with rates exceeding those of traffic accident fatalities. Even older children and more advanced swimmers can have an accident.
  2. For large parties and particularly for children’s parties regardless of size, hire a lifeguard with CPR training. In a split second, anyone can slip and fall or have an accident. It is important to have someone who is trained for these situations be present to respond.
  3. Swimming pools and alcohol can be a dangerous combination. Consumption around the pools should be monitored.
  4. Fencing, including locked gates, should surround pool areas to discourage anyone from entering without permission, or while unattended by an adult.
  5. Lastly, make sure your insurance policy covers you for pool related accidents.
4. Extra Precautions While Entertaining at Home

Summer is a time when many people choose to host parties and fundraisers. If you host a charity related event on your property, ask that the non-profit entity purchase event insurance and provide you with proof of insurance covering your exposure during the event.

Additionally, if you host private parties at your home and hire caterers or other staff to assist, ask for proof of the vendors’ Worker’s Compensation coverage and liability insurance coverage. An example of the importance of having liability coverage is as follows; a homeowner who served on a local hospital board hosted a charitable event at their house. One of the caterers slipped and fell during the event on the homeowner’s property. Although the injuries did not appear to be severe, the caterer claimed that the fall caused a head injury which prevented her from continuing to run her catering business thereby causing a substantial loss of future earnings.

Lastly, if you hire a valet service to assist with parking cars, the entity should also provide proof of insurance coverage.

5. Traveling Abroad

Many families plan international travel during the summer months. Sometimes it’s the thrill of vacationing to new places. Other times, it’s young adults embarking on summer adventures. This can include backpacking with friends, teen tours or service engagements abroad.

Make sure you understand what will happen in the event that you or a loved one is hurt. It can be as simple as broken bone, or as significant as having a stroke. Will you be able to get the best medical assistance in a quick timeframe? There are many insurance providers that can help with these types of situations and the cost is quite economical. A client traveling in Mexico stepped off of a curb and fell. Besides the language barrier, the local hospital did not have an x-ray machine. She made the decision to return home where she discovered she had fractured a bone.

Explore what would happen in the event that you or a loved one need in order to evacuate due to a security threat. For example, there were tourists in Haiti when the 7.0 earthquake struck in 2010. If there is a natural disaster or civil unrest how will you or your loved one get out of harm’s way?

Take into consideration the recovering of expenditures in the event of travel cancellation. Are you aware of what will happen if you unexpectedly have to cancel? This type of coverage tends to be more costly and has a lot of fine print, so it is important to understand.

One last tip, if the provider through which you are purchasing your travel offers you insurance, make sure to ask questions that address your biggest concerns. These policies do not contain better coverages nor guarantees, despite the convenience. With these things considered, all you have to do next is have a worry free holiday!

Taking extra precautions can avoid unfortunate accidents. These recommendations can help you and your family enjoy the summer season worry free. Remember! Even if you take all the preventative measures, make certain you have ample liability coverage to protect you in the event of an injury or a lawsuit.

Personal Risk Management Solutions is a national personal insurance brokerage focused on the unique needs of successful individuals and families. We act as a personal risk manager to ensure that our clients have peace of mind while saving time, money, and aggravation. If you have any questions or want to ensure that your clients’ exposures are properly addressed, please contact us at 917-262-5200 or contactus@theprmspromise.com.


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