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Found 11 results

  1. Happy Tuesday Morning, ADI-Land!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know, I know, you are probably currently undergoing some-sort-of anxiety as well as other physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with not having you weekly dose of the Tuesday Morning Insurance Tidbit for the last couple of weeks. Well dear reader, sit back, take in a deep breath, sip your coffee or what-have-you, and relax. I am back and you can rest easy knowing that the TMIT is back in all of its outstanding glory for your reading pleasure ….. You’re Welcome!!!!!! Yes, it has been a few weeks since the last installment of the TMIT and for that I apologize. As it turns out, InsuranceMan 2.0!!! was otherwise occupied administering superhero justice in a different capacity. Suffice to say, although it was not insurance justice, it was justice nonetheless and it was doled out in healthy, hefty amounts to the evildoers. With that said, let us get on to todays “Tidbit”. As you all are aware (unless you have either been under a rock or doing an insane amount of runs and bottling to get ready for the 4th of July sales) there have been a lot of sizeable disasters in the distilling world as of late. As you know, the Barton bourbon warehouse #30 that initially collapsed back on June 22nd ruined nearly 18,000 barrels of Bourbon. Despite attempts to shore up the warehouse and save what bourbon was left, those attempts proved to be unsuccessful as the rest of the warehouse came tumbling down on the 4th of July destroying the remaining barrels. Ugh, the horror!!!! Then on July 2nd we had the Jim Beam fire in Woodford County, Kentucky that destroyed 45,000 barrels. Again, THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!! This is just insane, people! Now, to make matters worse, an alcohol plume 23 miles long has spread down the Kentucky River from the runoff killing innumerable amounts of fish. Although Beam Suntory has brought in a team of environmental cleanup contractors and consultants the damage is far reaching and unfortunately far from over. As if all of this was not enough, back on March 5th of this year Sazerac had a 120,000-gallon mash spill in which not only was there a massive cleanup involved, but people were also injured. To this I truly say, OH THE HORROR!!!!!!!! Loss of property, damaged stock, and massive cleanup efforts are one thing, but injury to human life is undoubtably something that gives us all pause and is certainly “worst case scenario”. Things can be replaced, people cannot. My heart goes out! So, why am I bringing you all this doom and gloom in todays “Tidbit” you may be wondering? “I’m just a micro-distillery and I don’t have anything close to 45,000 barrels or 120,000 gallons of mash! What does this have to do with me?!?!?!”, you may wonder. Well, honestly, it has everything to do with you and here is why. Yes, although it is true that many of these larger disasters took place at the “big boy” distilleries and many of those are either self-insured or coverage is placed with a large reinsurance company, it still has an impact on all of us. Although the losses in these aforementioned cases may not have a direct impact on many of the insurance carriers that I work with, the overarching scenarios certainly do. Underwriters are a fastidious bunch and they pay a lot of attention to the news, especially when it has to do with an industry that they are providing insurance coverage for. Although the claims of these horrible losses may never hit my carriers P&L sheets, that does not mean that they are not paying close attention to the types of losses, the severity of the losses, and the frequency at which they are occurring. That is an interesting point. “Frequency” and “Severity” are two terms that are often batted around in the insurance world. Some may argue that it is better to have one event of “severity” over the course of many years than it is to have less damage but more “frequency”. Why is that? Well, in the world of insurance, it is not “if” you will sustain a loss, but “when” according to many actuaries (and you know how I feel about them if you have read my other posts). Generally, actuaries will say that everyone will have a loss at some point in time. And if you have never had a loss, then you are due to have one sooner than later. I don’t like that saying, but it is somewhat true. “Severity” is sometimes better in that if you have one large loss over the course of a decade it could be said that everyone is due to have a loss and that may not be as impactful to your premium as having multiple smaller losses every year or so. The reasoning behind this is, that if you are having losses more often, than there is potentially something inherently wrong with your process, safety protocols, or overall operation. Underwriters and actuaries do not like “frequency” in the slightest. These types of losses often have a greater impact on your overall premiums and can even lead to loss of coverage completely. Circling back around, these news stories and losses have an impact on the industry as a whole since they demonstrate that there is a potential for losses within the distillery business. Fire is of course one of the utmost concerns that carriers have when insuring alcohol. Alcohol is flammable and fire can spread quickly. In the case of the Jim Beam fire, they are hypothesizing that the initial fire was started by a lightning strike. Obviously, if lightning were the cause than this was not an operational or safety issue on the part of Beam Suntory, but it still resulted in an incredible loss. A loss that now is not just a loss of product, building, and value but now it is also an environmental loss, or a loss due to “pollution”. The point to all of this being that no matter your size of operation, things can and do happen. Things that more often than not are out of your control. Tanks leak, structures give way, fires break out, and people can be injured. If it can happen on a large scale at facilities who have been honing their skills for hundreds of years than it can certainly happen (albeit on a smaller scale) at any size operation no matter the precautions taken. Afterall, that is why they are called “accidents” and not “on-purpose-es”. Take for instance the matter of the Jim Beam fire. According to sources, the building was equipped with a fully functioning sprinkler system, yet the results were a complete loss. (ASIDE HERE … I have made this argument time and time again to underwriters, fire marshals, etc., that sprinkler systems do not stop these types of fires, if anything they only possibly mitigate the damage slightly, but I digress!) Could they have had lightning rods in place? Maybe. Would they have helped? Possibly. At the end of the day though, although this loss may have been due to an “act of God” (again, I don’t like that term. I would like to think that God, no matter your manner of religion, would never destroy so much delicious alcohol) and not due to their policies or procedures. A true “accident”. Accidents though are what drive insurance premiums and cause underwriters and companies to tighten up their already stringent underwriting guidelines. That is the impact on all of us. That is the issue at hand. This is why these losses are devastating not only to those who have sustained these atrocities, but to all of us in the industry as a whole. As I have written about previously (see: ), carriers have been undergoing an underwriting guideline tightening over the last 6 months or so and these stories certainly are not helpful. So, take heed and be warned, the difficult underwriting requirements that we have all been facing could potentially become more challenging in the months to come. So far, we have not seen an increased impact from these issues, but they are relatively new on the scene, but be prepared in the months to come. In the meantime, if you are struggling with your insurance coverage, need coverage to get up and going, or want to have a more in depth conversation about pollution coverage as it relates to the alcohol industry (especially if you are close to a natural body of water or waterway), just call on me, InsuranceMan 2.0!!! and I will zing to your rescue. Until next time dear reader …. Stay Vigilant!!!!!!! Aaron Linden a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0!!! 307-752-5961 insuranceman2.0@yahoo.com
  2. Good Tuesday Morning fellow ADI-ers, In today’s installment of the “Tidbit”, I am going to address a topic that I have been running into more and more lately and it is of utmost concern. Specifically the issue of "Policy Identity Confusion". I kid you not, out of the last dozen or so policies that I have looked at from other agents, (and keep in mind, they are not insurance superheroes like me, InsuranceMan 2.0!!!, they are just plain-old insurance drones) I have seen this issue no less than 5 times! 5 TIMES, PEOPLE!!!!! That is almost half!!!!!! Goodnight, that is A TON, and it is scary!!!!! It sends shivers down my super-spine to know that this is happening. What am I talking about? Non-other than the scary and fearsome “Material Change of Risk” clause contained within the deep dark recesses of your insurance policies. Oh, this area of the policy is in the darkest, spookiest, musty smelling, nastiest, dankest, most cobweb-riddled area that only the most stoic of insurance superheroes dare tread!!!!!! Alas, I, InsuranceMan 2.0!!! not only will tread into this fray, but I will shine my bright beacon of insurance knowledge on it for you in order to make it wither and wilt in front of your very eyes so that you do not fall victim to it!!!! So, what exactly is this, what is a “Material Change of Risk”? A material change of risk, by most policy standards is defined as ”An act or omission by the insured or his representative (that means “your agent”) that constitutes material misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact in obtaining the policy, continuing the policy, or presenting a claim under the policy; Increased hazard or material change in the risk assumed that could not have been reasonably contemplated by the parties at the time of assumption of the risk; Substantial breach of contractual duties, conditions, or warranties that materially affects the insurability of the risk; A fraudulent act against the company by the insured or his representative that materially affects the insurability of the risk”. OK, so now we know what the definition of this is, but what affect can it have on a policy? Who cares?!?! Well, you may care greatly if you fall prey to this proviso. If it is deemed that there is or has been a “Material Change of Risk” to your policy, the carrier could do any number of things. They could choose to increase your premiums pro-rata for the duration of the rest of the policy term (by a lot, in some cases); They could decline the payment of a claim due to this increased or prohibited change; Or they could outright cancel your coverage with the proper (albeit, short) notification. “Why are we even discussing this?!?!?! I would never intentionally do something like this!!” I know you wouldn’t, dear reader, I know you wouldn’t. Likely as well, your agent would not knowingly pull the wool over anyone’s eyes either, but sometimes these things can happen unknowingly, and sometimes, unfortunately, with knowledge. But, back to the original issue at hand, as well as those highlighted in RED above. What I have seen recently are distillery policies that have been placed with insurance carriers that improperly classify the type of business within the General Liability Class-code Section of the policy (this would be a “condition” that could “materially affect the insurability of the risk”). This is the section of the policy that shows what classifications of business you are covered for, how much premium is to be charged based on your sales figures, and the overall “meat” of your policy and coverage determinations. Ah, now this is all starting to come together, right!?!?!? I have seen many recent DISTILLERY POLICIES that have been classified under one of the following class codes: 51350 Beer, Ale or Malt Liquor Mfg. – In Bottles 51351 Beer, Ale or Malt Liquor Mfg. – In Cans 51352 Beer, Ale or Malt Liquor Mfg. – Not Bottled or Canned Yes, it is so much clearer now and you are tracking where this is all going, aren’t you? If you are a “DISTILLERY” but you are classified as a “BREWERY”, and that is what is shown in your General Liability hazard class schedule, and this is the determination of the premium you are paying for, do you think that could potentially result in a “Material Change of Risk”? OF COURSE IT CAN!!!!! As we all know, in simplistic terms, beer could be used to dowse a fire if need be. What happens though if that same fire comes in contact with Vodka for instance? Yuppers, big ol’ fire and things that go boom. As well, breweries typically are not prone to the ill effects of fire, whereas distilleries have a much higher risk and concern of fire. I dare say that if you have been erroneously classified as a brewery and suffer a loss as a distillery, that very well could constitute a “Material Change of Risk” and the carrier may deny the claim on the basis of this provision, leaving you in quite the lurch. Many times, this classification identity issue is not done intentionally, rather it is simply due to the fact that the agent handling the policy may not be familiar with working with distillery clients. They very well may figure, “Booze is booze, what’s the difference?” Maybe they really have no clue that there even is a difference and they really think they have classed this correctly. Either way, the policy is written for what it is written for, and there is no, “Hey, if this was a mistake, don’t worry about it” clause! The policy is the policy and the coverage is the coverage. I will say, I have also seen the seedy underbelly of the insurance beast as well, where an agent knowingly improperly classified an account to either beat the prior premium, or to make it fit a carriers underwriting guidelines in order to “make a sale”. FOR SHAME!!!!! Tsk on those evil-doers!!!!!! Regardless of how or why it was done, at the end of the day it is you and your business that could suffer the wrath of this policy condition and we don’t want that! Keep in mind that there are many insurance providers in the country that will write coverage for breweries all the live long day. Those same carriers that love breweries however have no tolerance to knowingly write coverage for a distillery. So, if you were placed with a carrier such as this, and you were improperly classified, chances are that they could cite this “Material Change of Risk” provision that is placed in the policy for just this type of circumstance. That could mean that you have to pay through the nose once it is figured out, or you could be cancelled or denied coverage. All rather bad situations! How are you classified? What classifications are on your policy? Do you know? Have you looked? What would happen in the case of a claim? As I always say, the worst time to find out what you are and are not covered for is after a loss has already occurred. You need to know, NOW! You need to be confident that the insurance company will be there for you should you ever need them. If you don’t know, if you are not certain, maybe it is time to call in an expert. Perhaps someone that knows these policies and carriers inside and out. Someone who has “Insurancevision X-Ray Powers”, that can see deep into the inner workings of your policy’s soul. Someone like … InsuranceMan 2.0!!! Until Next Time My Friends … Stay Vigilant! Aaron Linden a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0!!! (307) 752-5961 insuranceman2.0@yahoo.com
  3. Happy Tuesday ADI-Land!!!!!!!!! Holy Moly! Between the wicked and wild weather that is currently plaguing the central US, to the downright cold and wintry weather here in Sheridanopolis, to great white sharks in NYC, it makes one wonder to one’s self, “Self …” I think to myself, “ … what in the world is happening!?!?!?!” Then my thoughts snap back to insurance, because it all boils down to insurance at a grass roots level. Am I right?!?!?! “How is the great and all-knowing InsuranceMan 2.0!!! going to make any of that relate to this installment of the ‘Tidbit’?”, you wonder. Well I am glad you asked. In this installment of the tidbit, I am going to magically weave all of these aforementioned items into an insurance lesson tapestry, for your reading pleasure. First and foremost, the wicked weather in the central part of the US. Many of us view insurance coverage as coming into play if we have maybe done something (or not done something), and it results in a injury to a person or property. Maybe a fire, or slip/trip-and-fall at our business. Oddly though, many insurance claims come at the hands of Mother Nature herself. According to The Travelers Companies Inc., more than half of all claims from 2009 to 2015 were weather related. Interestingly, 25% was due to wind; 15% was due to hail, and the other 19% (I will do the math for you, that is 59% 😉 ) was ice dams/roof leakage/water damage, etc. Dang! Although fire damage is the most costly of all damage, as you can see, weather related insurance claims make up nearly 3/5ths of all claims activity. With the amount of rain, tornadic activity, hail, and strong winds that is currently happening it makes one realize that insurance coverage is incredibly important during times like these. “Acts of God” as they are called are the leading cause of all claims, yet many do not think of insurance in this way. A more common worry may be an auto accident, or the previously mentioned slip/trip-and-fall. In reality, most claims situations come from things that are far beyond our control. Are you insured correctly for these instances? Does your policy cover you for flooding? Is there a wind/hail exclusion on your policy? If this has made you set down you lowball and go scrambling for your insurance policy that is good … and bad. It is good because it has you thinking and wondering what is in your policy. Opposite that though, it is bad because you didn’t know! I’m not “policy-shaming” you here, but if you don’t know, why don’t you know? That could be the fault of your agent not explaining it to you or taking the time to let you know. What if there is a wind/hail exclusion and your distillery is the victim of a tornado and all your precious bourbon is now broken open on the floor and riddled with hail???? Well, grab a straw and get to slurping, because that is the only thing that is going to console you at the end of the day because if that is the case, you don’t have the coverage in place that you should have. Now, with that little bit of unpleasantness behind us, let us turn our attention to the cold that is gripping us here in the western part of the US. Did you know that according to the Insurance Information Institute, 18% of all water damage is due to water damage from frozen and burst pipes? Yeppers, you heard it here first. The cold can wreak havoc on your business, especially at this time of year where it should be warm (PLEASE BE WARM SOON). I have had insureds that have turned their heat off because it is springtime, only to succumb to a claim because of a freak cold snap with freezing temperatures that cause their pipes to freeze and burst. No bueno! Again, this is a situation that we may not have much control over. It is usually nice and warm at this time of year and therefore commonsense would tell you that it is ok to turn off the heat since it almost June for cripes sake. Well, although we have some control and we could have left that thermostat turned up, we were not planning on this horrible, miserable, cruddy cold weather. Next thing you know, BAM!!!!!!! Water claim. This brings us to our last item for this article, sharks in NYC. “Oh, yeah! How is InsuranceMan 2.0!!! going to tie this in?!?!?! I cannot wait to see this one!!!!!”, you say to yourself aloud. Ha! Never doubt my powers of relating all things to insurance, dear reader. My insurance-superpowers know no bounds. For this scenario let’s assume that you have a distillery in the northeast. Let us also keep in mind that Memorial Day is just 6 days away. Let us also say that your head distiller decides that they are going to go to the beach for the long weekend. Pack a picnic, grab a sample bottle or two from the tasting room and hit the road. They get to the beach, settle in, have a little swig from the bottle, and soak up some sun. Ahhhhh … This is the life!!!! After some sun-soaking, your head distiller gets a bit hot and decides that they are going for a quick dip in the ocean. UH-OH, you can see where this is going!!!!!! Yeap, que the music, because your head distiller is about to become a tasty little shark-snack in the blink of an eye … or in this case, the snap of some seriously powerful jaws. Did you have “Key-Person” insurance on them? What is Key-Person insurance anyway? Again, I am glad you asked. Key-Person insurance, at its most simplistic level, is a life insurance policy for a key employee, business partner, or even spouse that you, the owner of the company, can take out on key individuals, you pay for the premiums, and become the beneficiary in case something like this shark-snack scenario takes place. Why would you have such a policy? Wow, you are inquisitive today, aren’t you?!!!? Well, as the beneficiary of the policy, if the unforeseen happens, you receive the proceeds of the policy and can then use them to find a replacement person (but really, who can really ever replace INSERT NAME HERE), pay off debts, maybe settle with other investment parties, or in the worst case, assist in the liquidation and closing of the distillery. Often time, key employees are your most valuable asset, yet most do not choose to, or know they can, insure their most valuable of all assets. It is certainly something to consider and it should be something that you work into your insurance portfolio if you are in this type of a situation where your business really revolves around one or two main employees/investors/business partners. With all of those depressing scenarios, that brings us to the end of this installment of the “Tidbit”. I did not write this to bring you down, or wring your hands worrying about all the crazy horrible things that could happen. Rather, I wrote this to get you thinking that there are so many situations that are out of our control, so many things that no matter how careful you are and how much you plan, losses can happen. “Yeah, but I have always had good luck and nothing like this has ever happened to me!”, you may be thinking. Well, I will tell you what an actuary would say (BTW, actuaries are like a mix of funeral directors and CPA’s, but without a personality) … “If you have not had a loss in many years, or ever, then you are due!” If this has set you in to thinking about what is or isn’t covered, or if you don’t know if your policy is protecting you for the unforeseeable, or if your agent never speaks to you and only sends you invoices, then maybe it is time you drop me a line. InsuranceMan 2.0!!! is always here to help!!!!! Until next time my friends, Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden a.k.a InsuranceMan 2.0!!! 307-752-5961 insuranceman2.0@yahoo.com
  4. Happy Tuesday fellow ADI-ers, Well, I am back! I have to tell you, in all honesty, I wish I weren’t. I have spent the last week or so in Thailand with a 10 hour tour stopover in South Korea, and it was absolutely amazing and I wish I could have spent more time. I have never felt more like James Bond and Indiana Jones all wrapped into one before!!!!!!!!!! I am appreciative of the time that I had away, but it just never seems long enough. With that said though, I am rejuvenated and ready to continue my insurance superhero work, so let’s get to it! In today’s installment of the “Tidbit”, we are going to discuss Business Income & Extra Expense (also seen as BI&EE or BI/EE). It is important to understand this coverage and what it does and does not cover. First, what the heck is it?!?!?! Well, it is actually two different coverage’s, but they oftentimes go hand-in-hand with one another, and that is why they are often referred to at the same time. First, Business Income is a type of property insurance that covers the loss of net income of a business when there is damage to the premises due to a covered cause of loss, that results in a slowdown or temporary cessation of business. Extra Expense, however, is the necessary expenses that you incur during the period of restoration that you normally would not have incurred if you had not had a loss. So, again, what the heck does all of that mean??!??!?!?! It is probably easiest to use examples to illustrate these coverages. Let’s say that you have had a fire in your building and you are shut down for 60 days while the clean-up and restoration is taking place. Business Income coverage would provide the net income amount and continuing normal operating expenses that you would continue to incur (including payroll, if you have employees) during the period of restoration. Basically, this coverage provides for the amount of net income that you would have normally earned during the period of restoration, as well as pay for your normal operating expenses such as rent, utilities, property taxes, etc. Nice, right?!?!?! You would still have money coming in during this downtime if you have this coverage. That makes a difficult situation much easier knowing that you can still pay your bills and keep staff paid even if you are not able to produce product and make money. Whew!!!! Thank goodness for insurance, right?!?!?!? In tandem with Business Income insurance paying for ongoing costs, Extra Expense coverage provides for the necessary costs/expenses that you may incur to get your business up and going as quickly as possible after a covered loss. Extra Expense coverage can be used to temporarily relocate your business to another location, outsource functions that you normally would be able to conduct if you had not had a loss, an in some cases even expedite shipping of necessary items/equipment or renovation costs. Things like getting a water mitigation company to come in as quickly as possible to keep damages to a minimum and the increased electricity costs to run all the drying fans are examples that I have seen covered by this insurance. Again, pretty nice to have in order to make a difficult situation more bearable. Although I always suggest having these coverages on your policy, there are some things that they do not contemplate. Business Income/Extra Expense coverage is also often referred to as Time Element coverage, but be careful!!!!!!!!! People often misconstrue Time Element coverage to mean that however long the restoration period takes, it will all be covered. Worse yet is that some insurance agents may even tell you that “time element” coverage will provide compensation on things such as the time value of maturation on your product. They believe that the value of the maturation would be covered under this policy provision. W R O N G ! ! ! ! ! ! ! See, that is why you need me, InsuranceMan 2.0 !!!! to assist you. Time element coverage typically will only cover you for a restoration period of 12 months and is based on a complex formula that considers your past Profit and Loss Statements (P&L’s), earnings data, etc. Usually the numbers are compiled from your normal course of business and earnings from the last three to five years. If you are a start up operation, this can be a bit more difficult to justify and predict, but it is possible and really should not be something to stress out over. With that said, one thing that it will not take into account is the maturation value of your stock. Please, please, please keep this in mind as this can be a HUGE point of contention in the case of a loss. There are ways to make sure that the maturation value is provided for, but I am one of the only people in the country that understands this aspect and created a valuation form to deal with this specific need. If you have questions about this, please reach out to me and allow me to assist you! As with all insurance, the question always arises as to, “How much is too much?”, or “How much is enough?” A very basic rule of thumb is that if you take your P&L statement for the course of a year and divide it by 12, it will give you a very rudimentary figure to start with. Let’s say that your net earnings in a year are $120,000. Why that figure, well, because it is easy to use as it breaks out to $10,000 a month in earnings and I don’t want to do too much math what with being jet-lagged and all. So, if you know that your net earnings are roughly $10,000 a month, you can then decide what level of coverage you want to have for your BI/EE. Often times the coverage is provided on a monthly level of indemnification. What the heck does that mean?!?!?!? It means that insurance carriers will provide coverage based on the total coverage amount on a 1/3rd, 1/4th, 1/6th basis, or on a 12 month actual loss sustained basis. Ugh, this is getting confusing, right???!?!??! Right! Again, more reason you need me to assist you. The tricky part is deciding as to how much coverage you need and for how long. Typically, most businesses go with a 1/6th basis and cover themselves for half a years’ worth of net income and expenses. Now, that may or may not fulfill your needs, but I am speaking in generalizations here. So, in this case it essentially means that the total limit of indemnification would be $60,000 for the year on a 1/6th basis. That then breaks out to $10,000 a month for up to 6 months. If the restoration period takes longer than that amount of time, and costs more than the $60,000 you are going to have to out-of-pocket the rest of the funding. As you can see, it is important to make an educated decision when choosing the limit as well as the period of restoration. Without wanting to confuse this issue further, I will briefly mention a few items. Just because you chose a 1/6th limit (in the case above), it does not mean you are only limited to 6 months of coverage. It does mean that the maximum amount of coverage that you can get in any one month is limited to the total amount divided by the period of indemnity, however. An example would be that you picked $60,000 on a 1/6th basis but you really come to find out you only are needing to use $6,000 a month. Well then, your overall limit of $60,000 would carry you for 10 months and that would be permissible even on a 1/6th coverage option. Converse to that, let’s say that you find that you need $12,000 a month to keep up with everything. Well, being that you chose the 1/6th basis, you could only recoup up to $10,000 in any given month leaving you $2,000 short each month and you would use up your total amount of indemnity within the 6 months timeframe. One last item to mention is that just like other insurance, the more you want the higher the cost. If you go with a lower period of indemnification with a lower monthly limit, the less expensive it will be. If you are really concerned over a loss and being shut down and you want to make certain that you have adequate coverage, you can choose a 12-month, actual loss sustained option but keep in mind this is usually the most expensive option. This option keeps you from having to go through the process of determining and setting a separate limit due to the fact that it provides coverage for your actual loss of business income for up to 12 months. I highly recommend this type of coverage, not because it costs more and I can make more, but because of the fact that it really is the best coverage available and leaves very little grey area in determining amounts, etc. With that, dear forum-goer, I will bid you ado for today. Thank you for taking time to read this and educate yourself on the wonderful world of BI/EE. As always, if you have any questions, needs, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me, InsuranceMan 2.0!!! Until next time … Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0!!! 307-752-5961 insuranceman2.0@yahoo.com
  5. Good Morning Dear Readers, In today’s installment of the “Tidbit”, I wanted to touch upon bonding since it has been something that many folks have asked me about recently. I know, I know, bonding for the most part for many of you has been a non-factor in the recent years … OR HAS IT!??!?!! Dun-duh-daaaaah!!!!!!!!!! I wrote a little posting here a while back about bonding and the fact that the Fed’s never really, clearly defined the new Federal Excise Tax’s (FET’s for those of us in “the know”) reduction, and whether or not you should carry a bond. At the time that they passed the “Tax Reform” bill, Congress only spoke about the removal (or withdrawal) of tax paid spirits. They did not address the potential need for a bond to be held on the stock that is aging, in process, bottled, or bulk spirits (we will just refer to all of these as “stored spirits” from this point forward). There was a bit of debate between forum-goers as to if the “stored spirits” could ever have a need for taxes to be paid in the case of theft, destruction, etc. Addressed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR’s); Title 27; Subchapter A; Part 19 – Distilled Spirits Plants; §19.262 General requirements for filing claims - §19.268 the reasoning, ability, and what may happen is discussed in case you feel like reading it … or if you need a nap. Anyway, there is a possibility that “stored sprits” could have the taxes called for by the Fed’s, in which case a bond would or could come in very handy. I will leave that up to you to decide. Really though, the heart of the matter and a question I get asked a lot is, “What is a surety bond for FET’s, do I need it, how does it work, and what about state bonding???!!?!” Well, InsuranceMan 2.0 is here to tell you. What is a surety bond? Well, basically a bond is a legal agreement between entities (in this case the distillery and the governing body) that guarantees that in the case of taxes needing to be paid, that they will be paid, either by the distillery (Indemnitee), or in the case that they cannot make the payment, the surety company (Indemnitor) is obligated to make the payment on behalf of the distillery. In short, if you don’t have the money to pay the taxes, the surety company will make the payment for you to get the government off your back. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Not so quick! In the case that the indemnitor was to make a payment for you, yes, it satisfies the government by making them whole, but your obligation does not stop there. If the indemnitor has laid out money on your behalf, they are going to want to make up that loss somehow, and that now once again becomes your problem. A guy named “Guido” may show up to your door demanding payment, and “take your knees” if you can’t come up with the money. Actually, that probably isn’t going to happen … Probably. More likely, the surety company would ask you nicely for the money at first, but after that things could get icky. They may sue you over the lost funds, slap an injunction on you and your business (because you do sign the agreement as an individual and on behalf of your entity, if you have one) and make you liquidate assets until the loss is paid in full. Sounds kind of scary, huh? In reality, not really. If you think about this, when are most taxes due? When the product is withdrawn from you bonded premise. Generally that would mean, if you are removing product, chances are the reason is because they were sold, in which case that means that you have the money to pay the taxes on said withdrawn spirits. So really, the surety bond is just a formal agreement, a placeholder, to make the governmental body feel all warm and fuzzy and sleep better at night knowing that they are going to be paid no matter what. I personally have never seen a bond called on anyone that I work with, but I have heard of it in the case of loss/destroyed product (at which there may be a reduced rate on taxes due), or in the case that a distillery has become insolvent (again, thank goodness I have not had anyone with that issue). In any case, even though there is debate as to if you should carry a bond or not, a bond could be very nice to have should the unforeseen ever happen. Just an FYI, a Federal TTB DSP bond is broken into two parts, and this is what was never really addressed. There is the “Operations” side of the bond, and the “Withdrawal”. The operations side contemplates spirits that are “bulk, bottled, or in process”, so again, the “stored spirits”. This is the section that the Fed’s never spoke about or addressed in the tax reform. Then there is the “withdrawal” side that contemplates the taxes needing to be paid when the spirits are removed from you premises. This is the ONLY part that they concerned themselves with. Again, you can see how with this being the case, there may still be need for a bond at this time and place. Based on this recent tax reform, however, as illustrated, the Fed’s really are only concerned with the withdrawal side of things, and they lowered the taxes due from the historic $13.50 rate per proof gallon (100 proof, or 50% ABV) down to $2.70 per the same. A little aside here, the REAL tax rate for many was actually $10.80 since most product for many going out the door was 80 proof (or 40% ABV), which then made the tax rate $10.80 per proof gallon. Just wanted to share that little nerdy bit of knowledge with you. So, what the heck does this all mean?!?!?!? Well, it is too soon to say what Congress will do in the future, but the current FET reduction is due to sunset on December 31st, 2019. In the tax reform document, it states the following: PART IX—OTHER PROVISIONS Subpart A—Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform SEC. 13801. PRODUCTION PERIOD FOR BEER, WINE, AND DISTILLED SPIRITS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 263A(f) is amended— (4) EXEMPTION FOR AGING PROCESS OF BEER, WINE, AND DISTILLED SPIRITS.— ‘(B) TERMINATION.—This paragraph shall not apply to interest costs paid or accrued after December 31, 2019. H. R. 1—123 SEC. 13807. REDUCED RATE OF EXCISE TAX ON CERTAIN DISTILLED SPIRITS. ‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a distilled spirits operation, the otherwise applicable tax rate under subsection (a)(1) shall be— (A) $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 100,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits, and (B) $13.34 per proof gallon on the first 22,130,000 of proof gallons of distilled spirits to which subparagraph (A) does not apply, which have been distilled or processed by such operation and removed during the calendar year for consumption or sale, or which have been imported by the importer into the United States during the calendar year. So again, what does this all mean?!?!?!! It means that currently we are enjoying a bit of a reprieve in regards to the amount of taxes that are to be paid on withdrawn spirits, which is super nice! It leaves more money in your pockets and that is always a good thing. It also means that come the end of this year it could all go away. Maybe it will be voted to remain the same, that would be awesome! Or, it could potentially even go up to or above the historic levels that it was at. Truth be told, we have no idea what is going to happen. One thing is for sure though, many, if not all states, require some type of surety bonding at a state level. Whether it is a “sales and use tax” bond, an “alcoholic beverage manufacturer” bond, or something else, there is probably still a bonding need for your distillery. I, InsuranceMan 2.0 am here to assist you. I can and have provided hundreds of bonds for distilleries across this great land, and I actually have the lowest bonding premiums of anyone in the country. So, if you have a bond and feel as though you are paying too much, or if you have a question about if you should get a bond or not, or if you are a new distillery and found out you do have a state bonding need, I am here to assist you. Maybe you are nearing that 100,000 gallons of withdrawn product and getting nervous as to when the right time to get a bond may be. Again, I am here to help. Give me a call, shoot me an email, text me, hit me up on a PM here on the forums, come see me at booth 434 in Denver in a few weeks, or send a smoke signal. Whatever you need, I am here to answer all of your deepest, darkest insurance and bonding questions. Until next time my friends … Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0 307-752-5961 Insuranceman2.0@yahoo.com
  6. Happy Tuesday my ADI friends, In today's installment of the “Tidbit”, we are going to discuss something you are going to need to know about shortly. The difference between a “Standard Market”, and an “Excess and Surplus Lines (E&S)” market. This is also commonly referred to as “Admitted”, or “Non-Admitted” markets. First of all, why are we even talking about this?!?!?!? What does this have to do with anything?!?!?!?! It’s OK, breathe … you are lucky I am here to save the day … I will explain everything. In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to make you aware of what is happening in Insuranceopolis! In a nutshell, or if you prefer, in a reader’s digest version … well … actually … that just does not exist as the nuances of these definitions is rather deep, complicated, and convoluted to say the least. But fear not dear reader, I will do my best to break it down in a succinct manner for you here. To be honest, the easiest way to thing of this is “lower premiums vs. higher premiums”. Well, that is what many believe, although in some cases that may not be true. But for us here, for the ease of discussion, it will hold true here. A “Standard Market” or “Admitted Carrier” is an insurance company that is licensed to do business in the state that it is operating in (so if they are writing coverage in 50 states, they hold 50 licenses, one in each state). They must conform to various regulations and filed rates for each individual state and classification of business, and a big difference is that they pay into what is known as a “State Guaranty Fund”. “OH DEAR SWEET INSURANCE TERMINOLOGY!!!!!!!!! WHAT IS InsuranceMan 2.0 TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!?”, you may be thinking. Hold on to your snifter (or glass of choice) and relax, I will explain. A state guaranty fund is basically a fund set up in each state to protect insureds from defaults on payments of claims in the case that an insurance company becomes insolvent. Basically, it protects the insureds of any carrier licensed to do business in the state in the case of catastrophic loss whereby the carrier may throw up its hands, declare bankruptcy, and say, “So sorry, we are teary on the inside, but you get no money for your claims, we are all out of funds.” NOPE!!!!! The “fund” makes sure that money is available to pay the claims in a situation such as this. OK, now that that is over, lets talk about another big difference, MONEY. Admitted carriers, or “Standard” carriers take on risk, don’t get me wrong. They just do it in a way that allows them to assess lower risk, higher reward business that makes them quite profitable. The ability to assess the amount and level of risk, weighed against the premium charged, allows these carriers to still take on legitimate risk, but at a much lower level. These carriers are kind of like the nerdy kid in class that would assess every possible outcome of a situation and only get involved if they knew that they were almost 99.99999999999999% to come out on the winning or “not getting hurt” side of things. With that said, “Excess & Surplus Lines”, or “Non-Admitted” carriers are quite the opposite. These folks are like the cool risk-taker kids we all knew growing up. These are the folks who still fully assess the risks associated, but look at it and say, “Y’all hold my bourbon and watch this!” These are the folks who understand risk fully as well but understand that there are riskier business out there that still need insurance. These folks fill that void. A big difference is that the E&S folks are usually only licensed in one state but operate in many or all of them. Heck, they don’t even have to be licensed in the US. Ever heard of Lloyd’s of London?!?!?! Another big difference, these Maverick types don’t pay into any kind of guaranty fund. “Guaranty Fund … We don’t need no stinking Guaranty Funds!!!” Man, who doesn’t like hanging out with these folks as opposed to the nerdy “Admitted” folks?!?!?! Well … just like in real life, hanging out the nerdy safe folks is just that, pretty safe. Hanging out with the risk takers, well, sooner or later its gonna cost you! So, what do I mean?!?!?! I have no idea, I lost my superhero train of thought, dagnabit! HA, JOKING, InsuranceMan 2.0 never losses his super-mind! What I mean is that the nerdy admitted carriers do take lower risk clients on so they can afford to charge lower premiums and still remain profitable come the end of the year. The Super cool risk-taker non-admitted kids take on cool well assessed risks, but if something goes wrong, and things associated with higher risks can go wrong in bigger ways and more often, so they have to make you pay more so that they too are profitable at the end of the year. Also, since they don’t pay into the guaranty fund, if things go real bad and they become insolvent, there may not be money to pay your claims. I will say though, I have personally never seen this happen, but it could. Think of it this way, your “Farm”-insurance companies do homes, autos, some little businesses, etc. Pretty innocuous stuff. They will not insure things like a running-back’s legs for $12.4 million, or a distillery for that matter. Yes, car accidents happen, and fires do happen, but surprisingly very rarely. Again, low risk, high reward for the nerdy kids. Football players however, they get hurt all the time on the field. AH, here comes the cool risk-taker kid! Again though, the “Farm’s” won’t even consider something like this, so those that will (like Lloyd’s), know there is a need, but they are going to charge a much higher premium due to the amount of risk, and slightly due to the fact that they know no one else will take on the risk. FINE!!!! I will get to the point of all of this, trust me, the build up is worth the wait. As you know if you read my post, “The Times, They Are a-Changin’”, the times are truly a-changin’, over the past several weeks there has been a shift in the insurance marketplace. Standard carriers that would look at and write distillery insurance have been pulling back. They have been strengthening underwriting requirements and guidelines that they did not have before. Basically, the insurance market is cyclical and always has been. Standard carriers will consider certain risks and be aggressive and seek them out for a period of 4-7 years, but then “IT” happens. “IT” being that there is a pullback, a reduction of risk that can last for 4-7 years as well. “IT” happens with hotels, contractors, and on and on the list goes. We are seeing this shift now as well with distilleries and the standard carriers available that are wanting to actively write the insurance for them. Many (most) are now looking at distilleries as a “riskier” risk and pulling back on providing insurance for them. So, what does that mean for those of us in Insuranceopolis??!?!?! It means that we must start preparing. It means that we are going to see this shift start to affect all of us in regard to premiums and availability of coverage with standard carriers. Fear not though fine citizens! It is InsuranceMan 2.0 to the rescue, and I have the “cool risk-taker” kids in tow! I will continue to approach the standard nerdy kids with distillery business, but I wanted to prepare you in advance that these opportunities may be fewer and further between. Out of 22 distilleries submitted in the last few weeks, the nerdy kids have declined all of them. That is too bad for them, because this is not a risky business. Distilleries are so highly regulated, by not only local/state/and federal authorities, but by yourselves as well! These businesses are you heart and soul and you would never do anything “risky” that puts your work and business at risk. The nerdy kids don’t see this currently, they think it is a risky risk that they don’t want to take a risk on. That’s ok, I am here with the cool risk-taker kids who will take a risk on you risk, it just may cost a bit more for a time. I will continue to do the very best job and obtain the lowest premiums for all of you, fine citizens! Again, in the spirit of transparency, I just wanted you all to know where things are and where they appear to be headed, so you are not blindsided. I will always advocate for you and we will prevail!!!!!!!! We will make them see that this is a good risk, and we will win them over. If you don’t believe me, y’all hold my bourbon and watch me do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0 insuranceman2.0@yahoo.com 307-752-5961
  7. Happy Thursday Morning ADI Citizens, Today’s “tidbit” comes a few days later than normal as I am sure you noticed. Well dear citizens, that is due to the fact that I, InsuranceMan 2.0!!!!!!!, have been battling the forces of insurance evil nonstop over the course of the last few days. As the sage balladeer Bob Dylan wrote back in 1964 (a bit before my time), “The Times They Are a-Changin’”!!!!!!!!!!! As you all well know, I am the national face of insurance protection for distilleries throughout this great land of ours. Over the years I have worked tirelessly with several national carriers to develop and improve upon specialized insurance coverage in order to vigilantly protect you and your distilleries, my friends! However, the greatest evil that one can befall upon another is (DAH, DAUGH, DUNNNNN!!!!) betrayal!!!!!! Ever superhero has their weakness, as we all know. This is the irony and dichotomy of superpowers. With much strength must come debilitating weakness, albeit, the strength much outweighs the weakness the majority of the time. So, what is my weakness you may ask?!?!?!?! Well, it goes by several different names. But, I plead with you, remove any children from the room if you are reading this aloud, as the next portion could cause them the following: great distress; nightmares; stomach cramping; nausea; tennis elbow; muscle pain; dizziness; uncontrollable screaming; dry mouth; mental anguish; sobbing; uncontrollable disgust; trench mouth; jungle rot; water on the knee; allergic reaction; and, yes, diarrhea!!!!!! Alright, here we go, you have been warned. Some call it, “The Company” (GASP!!!). Others may call it, “Underwriting Guidelines” (VOMIT!). One of the worst names it goes by, “Actuaries” (FALLING TO KNEES WITH ONE ARM OUTSTRETCHED TOWARDS THE HEAVENS!). And, possibly the very worst name that it goes by, my greatest weakness, “Underwriting Requirements” (FALLS TO FLOOR, CONTORTING IN PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). What am I talking about?!?!?!? What is it that has sickened and weakened me and caused me to seek respite in my secret lair of insurance solitude!?!??!?! It is the fact that one of the national carriers that has been specializing in distillery insurance, one that I trusted and partnered with; One that I groomed and treated as my very own; One that I helped, took in and trained up in my own image has betrayed me!!!!!!! This trusted friend and partner, now, after our beautiful relationship has come out with new “Underwriting Requirements” that state that, “No finalized product, whether bottled; barreled; in totes; or any other means of storage” can reside in the same building as the manufacturing operations. In lay terms, you cannot have any finished product in the same building as your still. So, what does that mean?!?!?! It means that this carrier, who has been so good to work with, who has been by my side in the insurance injustice batter for so many years, has now gone to the darkside! They have chosen to use their powers for evil, instead of for good. They are essentially saying that they still want to write distillery insurance, but only on distilleries who have a separate building to store their product in, with defensible space separating the buildings. H O O E Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What they are really saying is that they don’t want to work with you fine people anymore, but are to cowardice to say so. What they are saying is that they are only willing to consider 2%-3% of the overall distillery business, since almost everyone I know in the distillation business has product stored in the same building as where they manufacture their product. Oh, I know, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Well, it is probably just a clarification error! They probably mean it cannot be in the open in the same building. They probably mean they want to see a fire wall, a separate room in the same building that stores the product.” Incorrect, dear reader! I clarified this until I was blue in the face, it must be a completely separate building with defensible space. So, what does that mean, “defensible space”? According to FEMA, “Defensible Space” is, “… an area around a building in which vegetation, debris, and other types of combustible fuels have been treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of fire to and from the building. Information about local vegetation, weather, and topography is used to determine the Fire Severity Zone of an area, which can help determine the most effective design of a defensible space. A defensible space is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect a building from a wildfire and can often be created by the property owner.” The issue here is that it is never clearly defined. Is it 15 feet, or 50 feet?!?!?!?!! No one will commit to a distance that is acceptable. (Collapsing to the floor again out of frustration and crabbiness). What does all this mean to you, sweet ADI-goer?!?!?!!? It means that the market is tightening. It means that underwriting is getting tighter which means coverage may become more difficult to procure through a “standard market”, and coverage may be more expensive as it may have to be provided by an E&S carrier. It also means that there could be more cost involved in having to store your products off site just to satisfy some evil, menacing insurance actuary!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Fear not though!!!!!!! Again, with the bad always comes the good. One door closes, another door and some windows open!!!!!! Although this carrier of which I speak, who shall remain nameless (let’s just refer to them as “Crudtastic the Despicable”) is tightening things up, there are still carriers who have remained stalwart. I am even working currently on a top secret project that will be beneficial to all who participate, something quite exciting that the distillery insurance world has never seen the likes of!!!!!!!! I implore you to stay tuned, as it may take some time, but oh … it will be something to behold!!!!!!!!!!! In conclusion, fear not fine citizens, I am still here to work with and defend you on a daily basis. I have many wonderful carriers that I still work with and who are doing good works on our behalf, so if you have needs, I can still solve them. I never lumped all of my eggs in to one basket as the saying goes. I do ask one thing of each of you though. In assisting me in pleading our case, I would like each of you out there to let me know in the comments section, where do you store your finished products, in whatever type of vessel??? Are they stored in the same building as your manufacturing space, or do you have a completely separate building with defensible space? Your participation in letting me know, so I can use the information to defend us and continue to fight evil-doers is much appreciated. Until next time ….. Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden a.k.a InsuranceMan 2.0!!!!!!! 307-752-5961 InsuranceMan2.0@yahoo.com
  8. Happy New Year fellow ADI-ers, In today's installment of the "Tidbit", I just wanted to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year and thank you all so much for this past year as well. You all have truly made 2018 a remarkable year and I am looking forward to a grand 2019 with all of you. Stay Vigilant, Aaron a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0 307-752-5961 InsuranceMan2.0@yahoo.com
  9. Good Day Fellow ADI’ers, Yes, today’s “Tuesday Morning Insurance Tidbit” is being brought to you on Wednesday. As the holidays approach at a fast pace, sometimes InsuranceMan 2.0 becomes a bit busier than normal! Besides the normal day-to-day business of keeping a vigilant and watchful eye out over all of you, to the ongoing battle of fighting insurance injustices far and wide, to getting ready for the holidays, even I, with my incredible superpowers, sometimes cannot keep up with it all. Kudos to all mortals out there who keep on keeping on during this time and stay up to date on their tasks at hand. I applaud you, you are the true superheroes here! Now, on to today’s Tuesday Morning Insurance Tidbit! This tidbit will be short and sweet … You’re welcome! The topic at hand is … Da Da Daaahhhhhhh ….. “State Bonds”! It used to be that all distilleries needed to have a Federal bond, also known as a TTB Bond. As you are all aware however, that requisite went away here about a year ago, and is set to continue until the end of 2019, at which point the Government will make a decision as to whether or not to continue this exemption or re-implement it. Until then however, many states still have bonding requirements. From “Sales and Use” bond requirements, to “Alcoholic Beverage” surety, to “ABC/1-2-3/3-Tier” bonds, most states are going to require some type of bonding from your distillery. Also, keep in mind, that if you are looking to expand your territory from your home state to other states, you will most likely be required to provide a state bond to the new state you are going to conduct business in. Does bonding scare you?!?!? Does it keep you up at night and haunt your dreams?!?!?!?! Do you find yourself breaking out in a cold sweat when you nervously contemplate how difficult it is going to be to get a bond?!?!?!? Do you wonder if they will want all your most personal and private information or take your first born or your still as collateral?!??!?! Well, have no fear … InsuranceMan 2.0 is here!!!!!!!!!!! I can assist you with all of your state bonding needs (as well as your Federal TTB bonding as well, if you are withdrawing more than $50,000 in tax paid spirits a year). I have this down to such a science that all we really need is your name, address, bond amount and state, and I can have the bond done, issued, and out to you within an hour. Bada-Boom! Yes, you heard me correctly, in less than an hour. Many of the state bonds, or sales and use bonds require a limit of anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. For bonds such as these, not only can you have them in an hour’s time, but they only cost an annual premium of around $100. Yes, you read that correctly, $100. Again, you are welcome! So, if you are uncertain of the state surety you surely and certainly seek, seek surety no further than the simple certainty I can surely provide for your surety needs. Until next time, dear reader … Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden Aka InsuranceMan 2.0 307-752-5961 InsuranceMan2.0@yahoo.com
  10. Happy Tuesday to all my ADI friends!!!!!! In today’s riveting installment of the “Tuesday Morning Insurance Tidbit” direct from my secrete lair in Sheridanopolis, we are going to unmask the insurance supervillain that is Actual Cash Valuation vs. Replacement Cost Valuation 😊 Most people, when looking at their insurance policy (If they even do. Did you know that surprisingly, over 65% of people in a HuffPost survey said they have never looked at their insurance coverage in detail!??!!?!?!?) wonder what in the multiverse these terms even are?!?!?!?!?!? WELL HAVE NO FEAR, INSURANCEMAN 2.0 IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The reality of this is you need to look at your policies people! You need to know what you are covered for, and what you are not. Furthermore, you need to know what to expect in the case of a loss in the way of valuation. That is, unless you are working with InsuranceMan 2.0. If you are, then I explain everything to you upfront and in detail. Let us start with Actual Cash Value (a.k.a ACV). ACV actually appears on more policies then I care to talk about. For starters, it is a cheaper type of coverage (so this is a bit of wicked trickery some agents may use in order to get you a lower premium if they are trying to woo you away from another agent! Watch out for these Evil-doers!!!!!!) So, what is it exactly?!?!?! That is a tough one to define, my friends. In some instances, when adjudicated in the court system, it has been defined as a “fair Market Valuation” which means, what would someone reasonably pay for the same used, depreciated item. This is a slippery slope indeed, because who is to say what someone is willing to pay. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all. In most instances (like almost all of them, and the way the insurance companies define it is) it means the cost to replace the damaged item with like kind and quality MINUS depreciation. Did you get that?!?!?!?! MINUS DEPRECIATION!!!!!! So that still you purchased back 5 years ago for $80,000 that you have run countless batches through, and now it has that cool patina and so much sentimental value (after all, it has been with you like an old friend. You know its nuances, what makes it run well, what it does not like, etc.), could be depreciated by … pick a number. I say, “pick a number” because you just do not know. Insurance companies have depreciation schedules for all types of items, but it varies depending on what it is, size, condition, etc. So, it could be maybe 6% a year, or as high as 20%. You won’t necessarily know until the unforeseeable strikes. Given the example outlined above, for ease of math sake, let’s say that same still in today's market still costs $80,000 (the replacement cost of the item). If you have an ACV clause on your policy and the depreciation is on the low end of 6%, then it would equate to the cost of the replacement item, minus depreciation, multiplied by the number of years. So, in this example it would be 6% multiplied by $80,000 replacement value, multiplied by the 5 years you have owned/operated the still. Given this example it would look something like this, .06 *$80,000 * 5 years = $24,000 in depreciation. So, $80,000 - $24,000 = $56,000 in value after depreciation. Well dear reader, that leaves you in a jackpot of having to come up with $24,000 to replace your $80,000 still. If you are facing a depreciation that is much higher, like the 20% example given, then you would be looking at complete and total loss and you would have no coverage for your damaged still!!!!!!!!!!! As I have said so many times before, NO BUENO!!!! Also, keep in mind that this does not even take into account your deductible. If you have a higher deductible, like a $2,500 or $5,000 deductible amount, then it would reduce your coverage even more, leaving you with more out of pocket expense. Again, the use of higher deductibles are definitely something in the bag-o-tricks of the Evil-doers that they may use to trick you into thinking they can offer you a lower premium. Be ever vigilant and watch for these injustices! Now, if you have a Replacement Cost Valuation (RCV) clause on your policy, ah ……. This is as close to Nirvana as you can get. Not the Kurt Cobain band mind you, rather the Buddhist belief of a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism, in case you were wondering. So, what is this magical RCV of which I speak? Well, let me tell you … RCV, simply stated is the cost to replace the damaged item with like kind and quality, period. With RCV, the insurer does not care if your still is 5 years old or that you have run countless batches through it. They will replace it with like kind and quality, and in our example above, that was the full $80,000. Wait, what?!?!?!? “Are you telling me that the insurance company will give me $80,000 to replace my $80,000 still if I have RCV on my policy?!??!?!” Yes, yes I am … however, keep in mind there is a deductible. So, if you have a $1,000 deductible, you will actually get $79,000. Still (pun intended), that is a whole heckuva lot better than anything in the ACV example given! “What if the example given above is wrong and the still is now only $60,000 to replace, do I get to keep the extra $20,000 in value?!?!?!” Um …. N O !!!!! With RCV, it is paying to replace it with like kind and quality, so if the insurer can find the same still in today's marketplace and replace it for $60,000 then that is what you will get, a new still of like kind and quality. The idea of insurance is to make you whole again after a loss, not benefit you and give you additional money. Don’t be greedy fine citizens, you recieved your same still back after all! Well, with that I hope I have assisted in tearing away the scary mask of ACV vs. RCV so that you can sleep easier at night knowing the difference. Or at least knowing I am ever-watching and here to protect you. Now I am off to continue my daily fight against insurance injustice, and the pursuit of insurance education of the fine citizens of this land! As always, if you have questions about your insurance coverage’s that you already have in place, or if you are looking to start a new facility, I am only one call away. Just flick on the InsuranceMan 2.0 beacon and I will come to your rescue. PM me, shoot me a text, or give me a call @ 307-752-5961. Or send me an ultra-super-secretive-coded-encrypted-message via the magical super-web at InsuranceMan2.0@yahoo.com . Until Next Time My Friends, Stay Vigilant!!!!!!! Aaron Linden a.k.a InsuranceMan 2.0
  11. Good Morning fellow ADI citizens!!!! In today's installment of the Tuesday Morning Insurance Tidbit being delivered fresh to you from my secrete command center in Sheridanopolis, I am going to address a very common question that comes up when I, InsuranceMan 2.0, go through proposals and coverages with my clients. What is this, “hot topic, this highly questioned coverage!??!!”, you may ask. Fret not fine citizen, I am here to guide you through the dark and treacherous land of insurance coverage. The topic we are discussing today is … Da – Da – DAAAAA!!!!!! Hired and Non-Owned Auto. It may be a term you have heard, although, it very well may not be as most policies I see for distilleries do not include this invaluable coverage. What is Hired and Non-Owned Auto (from this point forth we will refer to it as “HNOA”. Feel free to throw that term around and look “insurance-telligent” in front of your peers and agent 😉) ? I am glad you asked! HNOA is an auto policy that fills some major auto liability gaps and helps to protects your distillery business/entity in the case of an auto accident. Did you know that if you or an employee are driving a rented vehicle or your own personal vehicle for business being done on behalf of the distillery/entity, and you were to be involved in an accident, your personal auto policy would more than likely deny any coverage for the actual business/entity?????? You didn’t think about this did you? Why would you, you trust the “insurance professionals” to come up with these thoughts for you, that is why they are being paid, right?!?! Well, if you don’t have this coverage or have not heard of this coverage, why are you paying them, they didn’t come up with this?!?!?! This is why you should be with me, InsuranceMan 2.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am here to protect and serve the fine citizens of this land! OK, at this point let us take this coverage and break it down. This coverage consists of two parts, the Hired, and the Non-Owned. Let’s start with and define Hired. Hire is defined as … “to engage the temporary use of at a set price; rent”, according to dictionary.com. In plain English please! It means a rental vehicle. Something you are paying a fee for to use on a temporary basis. Hired Auto Liability coverage can essentially take the place of liability insurance needed in order to rent a vehicle from a rental car company. A bit more on this later though. Hired Auto coverage protects your business/entity for any liability arising out of an accident to may occur while using a hired/rented vehicle. IT DOES NOT PROVIDE PERSONAL COVERAGE FOR THE DRIVER!!!!!!!! NOR DOES IT PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE OR COLLISION DAMAGE COVERAGE!!!!! Please note these items, it is very important. For the sake of this topic however, all we are concerned about at this point is protecting the business from automotive liability damages. Although your personal auto policy may cover you for your personal liability in a rental vehicle, most personal insurance policies exclude the coverage of “business use” and will not provide any liability coverage on behalf of the business/entity. Due to this exclusion, as you can see, this portion of the coverage is quite valuable and is somewhat of a “must-have”. “But I don’t rent vehicles for my business.”, you may be saying. Understood and fine point my dear citizen. I hear you loud and clear, however … You never know when you may need to lease or rent a vehicle. Maybe you flew into another town to have a business meeting and need to rent a vehicle, or maybe you need a van or box truck to run a delivery. You do not want to try to procure this coverage at the moment it is needed, and quite honestly, HNOA is a generally a bundled product. These coverages are often done in concert with one another and there is no savings to only go with one or the other. If I may, please allow me a quick aside as well to this topic. If and when you do lease or rent a vehicle, always check with the rental agency to see what the associated cost is to purchase insurance coverage directly from the rental agency. Generally, the rental agency insurance will not cover you for your own personal liability or any business liability (and keep in mind your personal auto policy will excluded the business auto liability. See how this is all an intertwined web of confusion, and why you really need the “Hired” part, and why you really need me, InsuranceMan 2.0!!!!!!!!!!). What it will cover and provide for in many cases is “walk away” coverage for damages. Remember earlier when I said, “… please note these items ….”???!?!?!?! Remember what I asked you to note???? If not, scroll back up and take a look, I will wait …………………. ……………………… ……………………… ……………………… Ah, I see you are back. Did you find the answer?!?!!??! That’s right!!!!!!!!!!! Comprehensive and Collision damages are excluded under the Hired portion of the coverage. The Hired portion is only dealing with liability, no physical damage to the rented vehicle. Often times you can purchase the physical damage coverage directly from the rental car agency, and trust me friends, it is money well spent. There is a way to add on physical damage for hired vehicles to your own insurance policy, but for how often you may use it, and what it covers, it is generally not worth it. You are usually money ahead to purchase this coverage from the rental agency. “Well, I rent all my vehicles with my business/personal credit card and they provide coverage for damages, so why would I spend more money?!?!?!?!” Excellent point vigilant citizen! Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that renting a vehicle with a credit card provides all the coverage you will need. Whether you place Hired Physical Damage on your own insurance policy, or rent with a credit card, both have some very important exclusions that rental agencies may exploit. Rental agencies have things like “layup costs”; “diminution of value”, “loss of rent”; and various other charges that neither a credit card or a policy will cover. With that said, the coverage that you can purchase directly from the rental agency will often time cover those extra expenses. I will say it again … trust me, this is money well spent. A quick story … I rented a vehicle with a business credit card and was caught driving it near a tornado. Sand blasted the paint, pitted the windshield, and blew out a window. Although the credit card company covered the cost of the repair to the paint, windshield, and window it did not cover these “other costs”. Ultimately, it cost around $3,500 extra (as in out of pocket) to cover the layup of the vehicle, the diminution of value, and the loss of rent. If I had purchased the coverage from the rental agency, it would have not cost me anything more than the cost of their insurance. Lesson learned! Alright, do you need a bit of a break? No?!?!?! Then onward and upward into Non-Owned Auto Liability Coverage. You or your employee are running out to a big box store for some parts you need, or you are running to a local liquor store or venue to do a tasting. On your way to or from, there is an auto incident! The local law enforcement agency shows up and start asking questions. You or your employee say that you were out running around on behalf of the distillery (this happens, oh does this happen, more times than I care to say) at the time of the accident. The other party that you crashed into hears this and thinks, “OH! A distillery, those guys are made of money!!!!!” (As we all know this may simply not be the case, but they think it anyway since they think there is endless money in making alcohol.) Now, not only does the injured party sue you personally (personal auto coverage), but they sue the distillery as well thinking there are deep pockets there. Well, since the distillery does not “own” the vehicle (the name of the distillery is not on the title), if you do not have Non-Owned Auto Liability coverage, there would be no protection against a lawsuit. NO BUENO!!!!!! This coverage is crucial to have. I will tell you that in my 16 years as the vigilant protector of the fine citizens of "insuranceland", this is the number one claim that I have seen. Think about it. How many times does your product cause damage to someone? How often does someone come into your facility and trip over a box, or slip and get hurt? How often do you have a fire? Not very often at all, thank goodness! How many times are there auto accidents though???? ALL THE DANG TIME!!!!!!! In fact, studies have shown that the average driver, over the course of their lifetime will be involved in at least 3 to 4 accidents. That is why having this coverage is as important as covering your equipment, your general liability, your products, and your stock, if not more so! At the end of the day, when I sit down (still donning my InsuranceMan 2.0 super-suit, since insurance injustice never takes a rest, and I must stay frosty and vigilant) in my command center with a nice lowball of my favorite spirit-du-jour, I can rest somewhat easier knowing that the fine citizens that I watch over are protected to the best of my ability, as they drive to and fro conducting business in their Hired or Non-Owned vehicles. As always, if you have questions about these coverages, or if you are wanting to know about the nuances of insuring vehicles that are titled in the name of the distillery/entity, by all means, turn on the InsuranceMan 2.0 beacon and I will gladly come to your rescue. Send me a PM, call, or text me at 307-752-5961 and I will speed to your assistance. Until next time my friends, Stay Vigilant, Aaron Linden a.k.a. InsuranceMan 2.0 307-752-5961
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