9 Programs That May Just Fit the Bill

By | December 1, 2003

The December 2002 Insurance Journal “program directory” issue highlighted eight programs that the editorial staff considered to be unique, interesting or tough to find. This year we’ve added one more to our very non-objective sampling of programs you may not have heard about. As we said last year, “don’t get mad, get even,” if we neglected to describe your special program. Let us know about it and tell us why it stands out from the rest!

More than just a clown in a barrel.

When the rodeo comes to town it needs to be insured and Arizona-based Allen Financial Group believes it has just the program to protect the show. Founded by horseman Brent Allen as a way to help pay for his hobby, rodeos are just one of the many equestrian-related programs offered by the company.

Knowledge of how to safely manage and put on equestrian events, along with great pricing is what sets the company’s rodeo program apart, according to Allen.

“The typical rodeo premium is going to cost $400 to $500,” Allen said. “Sometimes when producers or rodeo promoters discover us they find the premium to be absolutely amazing, … whereas they had been going to more traditional markets and getting charged thousands of dollars.

“We represent a consistent volume to our markets and we don’t represent that ‘a la carte’ underwriting that exists if you go to a non-specialty E&S market,” Allen said. “If they do it on a one-shot basis, the insured is going to have to pay for it.”

The program is essentially a general liability package for the rodeo, with $1 million limits per occurrence, aggregate products/completed operations and personal/advertising injury. There’s a $5,000 medical payments limit, $50,000 fire/legal liability and a $2 million aggregate limit.

“Our real value-added feature is the associated risk management that accompanies the insurance policy,” Allen said. “Anybody can sell just a boilerplate insurance policy, but without proper underwriting and risk management the program is going to fail.”

For a rodeo, some of the considerations include the stock contractor’s insurance and safety record, how the livestock are being handled, the distance between the arena and the audience, and any barricades to protect the public from runaway animals.

“We work with a risk purchasing group, a safety group called the American Equestrian Alliance, which has done industry research and acts as a yardstick in terms of evaluating a risk. … We know what a good, safe environment looks like. We’ve created the cookie cutter. That’s what the risk has to look like for it to qualify.”

The program is available in most states (except Hawaii and Alaska). Allen has offices in Phoenix, Del Mar, Calif., and Denver, Colo.

Allen Financial Insurance Group
Phone: (602) 992-1570
Fax: (602) 992-8327
Web site: www.eqgroup.com

Self Storage Facilities
Because what you keep is worth it.

According to information contained on the Web site of the Self Storage Association (SSA)—a trade organization serving the self storage industry—there are between 25,000 and 50,000 self storage facilities operating in the U.S. Estimates as to the numbers of operating facilities vary greatly depending on who’s counting and what they’re counting; however, the SSA predicts the demand for offsite storage will continue to grow, especially among the business community. To serve the needs of the expanding self storage industry, MiniCo offers MiniPak Gold, a property and liability program underwritten by SAFECO Inc.

MiniCo has been involved in the self storage business for 28 years and was a pioneer in the insurance segment of the industry, according to Duane Perralta, market development manager for Arizona-based MiniCo. Perralta said the company is dedicated to “giving the client the best possible policy,” as well as involving the agent in the sale.

With MiniPak Gold, property coverage is provided for buildings and structures, such as fences, building glass, signs, lawns, walks and roadways, and buildings under course of construction. Coverages for business personal property and business income are also included. Deductible options range from $500 to $25,000.

Additional coverage is provided for the following exposures: $25,000 pollutant cleanup and removal (must result from a covered loss and be reported within 180 days)—may be increased up to $100,000; $5,000 for employees’ personal property—may be increased up to $15,000; $25,000 personal property off premises and in transit; $10,000 for trees, shrubs and plants (not to exceed $1,000 on any one tree, shrub or plant); $25,000 valuable papers and records; $25,000 accounts receivable; $10,000 fine arts; and $10,000 recharging of fire protection systems.

Cover for crime, business liability, customers’ goods legal liability, and sale and disposal legal liability are available, along with various optional coverages.

The additional products and services offered by MiniCo “give an agent a leg up going into a potential account,” Perralta said. The company was established in 1974 by Hardy Good and two business associates. Today, MiniCo, with Good at the helm, provides not only property and liability insurance for self storage businesses and insurance for self storage customers, it also offers a full line of security products, “publications, reference and educational materials, and a nationwide self storage crime-prevention program,” according to the company’s Web site (www.minico.com).

For more information, contact Duane Perralta via e-mail at dperalta@minico.com.

MiniCo Inc.
Phone: (800) 447-8383
Fax: (602) 861-1094
Web site: www.minico.com

Bicycle Dealers
As essential as training wheels.

Every day, independent retail bicycle dealers face the reality that a bicycle they’ve just rented to someone that afternoon may never again darken the store’s door. For that and the myriad other risks facing bicycle dealers, as well as bicycle tour operators, the National Insurance Professionals Corp. has it covered.

NIPC, based in Poulsbo, Wash., offers a program specifically designed for bicycle dealers and tour operators, carried by the “A”-rated United National Group of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

The program, endorsed by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, covers property, theft, general liability, products and completed operations, personal property off premises, crime, non-owned and hired auto, bicycle rental and bicycle fraud (that’s the theft of a rental bike or a bike being test-ridden), as well as tour operations.

The minimum annual premium for the program is $1,250 for retail dealers and is adjusted upward based on receipts, according to Janie Augustine, NIPC’s commercial package program manager.

“The biggest difference in what we offer on the retail side would be that we do include repair exposures, tour exposures and rental exposures,” Augustine said. “Most carriers don’t cover that stuff. There’s a small amount they’ll allow—just 15 percent. We’ll cover 100 percent of the bicycle. We don’t put any caps on it.”

Augustine added that NIPC’s program, which is available in all 50 states, has been around for 13 years.

National Insurance Professionals Corp.
Phone: (800) ASK-NIPC
Fax: (360) 697-3688
Web site: www.nipc.com

Long Haul Trucking
Keeping the big rigs on the road.

Long haul truckers have a lot of things to worry about and insurance shouldn’t be one of them. To that end, Crump Insurance Services offers a program for long haul trucking, Crump FleetAdvantage. The program insures non-hazardous common and contract carriers, including long haul trucking fleets operating from 15 to 150 power units.

FleetAdvantage offers liability, physical damage, cargo and commercial general liability coverages. All policies are written on a monthly reporting basis, based on either mileage or gross revenues. Liability policies include a deductible on the property damage portion only, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Premium for all coverages is determined, largely, by the insured’s individual loss experience.

Effective Sept. 1, 2003, policies are issued on behalf of State National Insurance Company, which is rated “A” VII by A. M. Best. The states in which Crump is currently writing FleetAdvantage business are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. However, as of mid-November filings were pending in another 30 states; and, according to Crump senior vice president for Transportation, George Estok, the company expects to be offering the program in 40 or more states within the next 30 to 60 days.

Crump, one of the largest multi-line wholesale brokers in North America, has been in operation for 50 years and has offices nationwide. Estok manages the FleetAdvantage out of Crump’s Memphis office.

“We are unique, I believe, in the level of service that we offer our agents and insureds, our straight-forward approach to underwriting accounts on their own merits, and our nationwide availability—when all filings have been approved,” Estok said.

Agents interested in FleetAdvan-tage should contact their local Crump broker or contact Estok via e-mail at George.Estok@crumpins.com.

Crump Underwriting Services Inc.
Phone: (901) 684-4001
Fax: (904) 684-3818
Web site: www.crumpins.com

Solar Manufacturing
Old-fashioned cover for newfangled technology.

There are only between 30 and 50 manufacturers of solar and energy products in the country, but if one of them walks in the door it should be pretty easy to find a market for their particular needs at Dallas-based Van Wagoner Cos. Inc., whose solar manufacturing program has been in place since the late 1970s.

“We specialize in about 25 weird types of insurance, including mining, oil and solar,” said Paul Van Wagoner, the firm’s president.

The products manufactured at these plants cover the gamut of solar technology, including solar collector cells stored on roofs that can serve as a water heater, saving on gas or electricity costs. These solar collectors can also be used to operate a building’s central heat and air conditioning.

Other manufacturers generate electricity using wind or water, fed directly through the insured’s home or onto the grid.

The actual coverages are not complex, according to Van Wagoner, but finding a carrier willing to write them is a challenge.

“It’s a package-type policy where the plant is covered for its building or contents,” he said. “It also covers products liability when, say, water is being pumped up to circulate and it springs a leak and flooded the house while you were gone to grandmother’s for Christmas. Or if something shorts out.”

Van Wagoner noted that many standard markets are intimidated by the products liability aspect of the solar manufacturing risk.
“Basically, a standard insurance company won’t write people who manufacture a newfangled product,” he said. “The standard insurance companies don’t write anything of a new or unusual nature. They like to stay by the old standards.”

Van Wagoner, whose solar program has gone through several carriers since 1979, is now carried by Richmond, Va.-based Markel Insurance Co., and the typical policy runs about $3,000 to $4,000 annually. The solar program grossed $1.24 million in premium volume last year and is available in all 50 states.

“We probably write more of it than anyone else in the world,” Van Wagoner said.

Van Wagoner Cos. Inc.
Phone: (972) 423-6614
Fax: (972)-423-7770
Web site: www.vwcos.com

Tow Trucks
For those unfortunate circumstances when …

In a perfect world, none of us would ever need the services of a towing and recovery operation. However, if we do it’s good to know those services are out there. In 1998 there were 37,271 people employed by 5,851 towing firms in the U.S. and another 695 towing operations with no employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. California and Texas led the tow truck pack, so to speak, with 928 and 405 employing firms, respectively.

If tow trucks operators are to ensure our damaged vehicles make it to the garage, they need insurance for their operations. Enter California-based ÆON and its national tow truck program.

The program offers coverage for towing and recovery operations with the following garage operations: tow trucks with storage lot operations; tow truck operators with auto repair; tow trucks operators with body shops; towing for auto auction operations towing under a 200 mile radius and less than four cars; and towing for hire operations

“What sets us apart? We like to say service and that is true,” said Jim Gibbs, director of Marketing for ÆON. “We can get quotes out within 24 hours. … Our automation system, which we’ve had up and going since the inception, has given us the ability to quote quickly, to bind quickly … if the apps are filled out properly.”

Gibbs added that the program’s strength lies in its underwriters. “Our underwriters are top notch, that’s the other reason we’ve had the program for over six years. We’re going on seven years since we’ve had this program and it’s been continuous because of the loss ratios, and that’s because of the underwriters.

While the program, underwritten by Empire Insurance Companies (formerly Empire Fire and Marine) is nationwide, it is not offered in every state. Gibbs said the company had to pull the program from Texas about a year and a half ago “because of losses and because of some of the litigation that’s going on in Texas.”

He added, however, that it is available in the rest of the states in the South Central region and most other states.

Agents interested in the tow truck program can contact Gibbs via e-mail at jgibbs@aeon-inc.com.

Phone: (866) 490-5888
Fax: (408) 779-7399
Web site: www.aeon-inc.com

Dry Cleaners
Making Armani owners happy.

One of a dry cleaner’s worst nightmares is having to deal with a customer whose expensive clothing—an Armani suit, say, or a Chanel dress—has been ruined or lost. Having an expertise in handling those types of claims is one of the things that Irving Weber Associates Inc., based in Smithtown, N.Y., believes sets its dry cleaners program apart from the rest.

The program encompasses three different groups of coverages: workers’ compensation, businessowners and business automobile, and pollution liability. It is available in most states (except California, Indiana, Louisiana, Alaska and Hawaii).

“The businessowners program has all the coverages essential to a dry cleaner,” said Vice President Adam Weber. “Unlimited bailee (that’s coverage for customers’ goods), damage and process coverage and mysterious disappearance coverage.”

The program also has a fur endorsement covering risks to fur while on the dry cleaner’s premises, while in transit and while in an approved storage enclosure. This also covers any excess legal liability and accrued charges.

St. Paul carries the workers’ compensation, automobile and BOP risks, while Virginia-based Colony Insurance Co. carries the pollution liability.

Nearly all dry cleaners now have “fourth- and fifth-generation equipment,” Weber explained. “They no longer have to transfer anything—the application of the solvent and the removal all happens in one machine now. That machine has refrigerated condensing systems, ventilation systems so the vapors from the solvent never really escape the machine. And it’s a fraction of the amount of solvent they were using before. There are spill containment pans underneath them which can hold as much as 125 percent of the capacity of the machine.”

Any contaminated sites are usually historical in nature and so they wouldn’t be covered anyway, Weber said.

Weber noted that Irving Weber Associates, started by his grandfather, has been writing dry cleaners pro-
gram business for more than 50 years and still focuses on the value of small business.

“A lot of insurance professionals have gotten away from small business,” he said. “They don’t feel there’s enough revenue in it. We service a Main Street account as if it were a lot larger account.”

The program typically costs between $5,000 and $6,000 annually.

Irving Weber Associates Inc.
Phone: (800) 243-1811
Fax: (888) 622-0414
Web site: www.iwains.com

Concrete Pumpers
Some pump iron, these people pump concrete.

The American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) estimates that there are about 1,000 concrete pumping operations in the U.S. And the ACPA, established in 1974 to serve the needs of the burgeoning concrete pumping industry, has developed an insurance program to do just that.

Managed by Norman Spencer McKernan, Ohio (NSM), a program administrator of business insurance products, the ACPA’s Property & Casualty Insurance Program is designed to address the commercial insurance needs of firms engaged in transferring and conveying “pumpable concrete mixes under pressure, from ready-mix trucks to a placement point at a construction project, through piping systems.” According to NSM’s Debbie George, the program is the only one of its kind in the nation.

The program offers comprehensive coverages, including general liability, auto liability and physical damage, property coverage, contractors equipment, workers’ compensation and excess liability. The ACPA program also includes industry tailored loss control services and local claims services.

Coverages for boom pumps; trailer pumps; miscellaneous tools and equipment; building and contents; and business income are available, along with industry-tailored loss control services and local claim services.

Although ACPA membership is not necessary, in order to meet eligibility requirements 75 percent or more of the firm’s payroll must be derived from the pumping of concrete. In addition, a company must have at least three years operating experience under its belt or comparable management experience. Other restrictions may also apply.

George said everything agents and brokers need to know about the program can be found on NSM’s Web site at www.nsmoh.com.

NSM, established in 1910, has been developing, marketing and distributing national association and industry specific programs for 25 years. Licensed in all 50 states, it provides full-line service capabilities through partner offices in Philadel-phia and Chicago.

For more information, contact Debbie George, debbie.george@ nsmoh.com, Chris George, chris.george@nsmoh.com, or Brian Norman, brian.norman@nsmoh.com.

Norman Spencer McKernan, Ohio
Phone: (800) 543-3248
Fax: (937) 885-6102
Web site: www.nsmoh.com

Equine Mortality
A $15,000 horse is a horse, of course.

While the million-dollar thoroughbreds who run in Triple Crown events are the most well known, many less famous horses are valued parts of families and businesses and are insured.

These recreational and working horses may cost up to as much as $15,000 or $20,000, so it pays to insure against their loss, and perhaps even more importantly, to obtain
coverage for any medical expenses that crop up along the way, according to Mark Fredricksen, president of Hemet, Calif.-based Fredricksen Insurance Services. Fredricksen and his company offer an equine mortality program that is available nationwide.

“The horse is more likely to be sick than to die, so we have a major medical endorsement that’s actually applied to the mortality,” Fredricksen said. “The policy reimburses the insured for everything with the exception of routine medical care, so we can offset the emergency costs of surgery and after-care.”

The minimum premium for such a policy is $150 to $200 but some policies go up as high as $250,000. Premium is usually a percentage of the value of the horse, and so varies widely.

“There’s a misconception that only people who have these multi-million dollar horses need insurance,” Fredricksen said. “The reality is, for the person who owns that $15,000 or $20,000 horse it means more to their quality of life than the larger-valued horse does for the person who buys that horse. It’s an important asset to be replaced. … If that horse dies, they’ve just materially affected the way they live their lives. We’re able to assist them and make sure their horse is replaced and ensure their way of life.”

What sets the company’s equine mortality program apart “is our underwriting staff,” Fredricksen said. “We have the ability to deal with a broker who has never written a mortality policy before in their entire career. We have the flexibility and expertise to sit with someone and explain to them why certain things are needed and the proper questions to ask.”

Fredricksen Insurance Services Inc.
Phone: (800) 669-4347
Fax: (909) 929-3574
Web site: www.fredricksenins.com

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Insurance Journal West December 1, 2003
December 1, 2003
Insurance Journal West Magazine

2003 Program Directory, Vol. I