Coast to Canyon Insurance Supporting First Responders at Adventist Health

Robert Feldman from Coast to Canyon Insurance Services partners with his friend Robert Varich, of Pinnacle Insurance, to provide some delicious smoked BBQ for a front line workers at Adventist Health, a local hospital in Simi Valley, California. Robert is a BBQ pit master and was so honored to be able to provide his barbecue to these hard working, frontline heroes & first responders! 

Important Message for California Fire Zone Residents

Robert Feldman, CEO & Co-Founder of LCSB Agency and Coast to Canyon Insurance gives an important update on what you need to know right now about insurance for Fire Zone areas in California. While the State of California has shut down non-renewals from insurance carriers, you are not stuck with carriers that are drastically increasing your rates. We represent multiple carriers in these areas and are here to help. Please contact me today with questions.

Attorney Mark Carlson Discusses How Real Estate Agents Can Manage Liability and Risk With the Right Insurance Policy – Pt .2

Mark Carlson, Attorney for Real Estate Agents

Mark Carlson is one of the premier attorneys in California with a practice devoted to representing real estate professionals. In part one of our discussion, Mark discussed some of the basic legal issues realtors and real estate agents face.

Here in Part 2, Mark answers more of our questions, and counsels realtors and agents on  risk management tactics using low cost General Liability policies.

What kind of work does your firm practice with respect to real estate and matters that specifically involve agents and brokers? 

MC: We handle errors and omissions claims for two of the largest errors and omissions insurance programs in California.  We have about 200 active lawsuits against real estate agents, brokers and escrow officers.

What are some of the more common liability issues you encounter with realtors and agents? 

MC: Throughout my career, more than three fourths of lawsuits against real estate agents and brokers arise out of allegations that a problem with house was not disclosed to a buyer.

In the big picture of costs for realtors and agents, where does a $250 dollar (approximately) general liability policy fit in? 

MC: The cost of $250 is very inexpensive.  Premiums for Errors and Omissions insurance are based upon the size of a brokerage but are typically thousands of dollars even for small brokerages.  Most real estate agents likely pay more than $250 annually to be a member of their local Multiple Listing Service.

In your vast legal experience, have you had cases where agents have been hurt by the fact that they do not having a general liability policy? 

MC: The adage “when you need it – you really need it” comes to mind here.  I have had many cases where there was a gap in coverage between the broker’s general liability policy and the errors and omission coverage where neither provided protection to the agent.  The typical cost of defending a real estate agent in ligation is tens of thousands of dollars.

Can you tells us a few types of cases where realtors did not have general liability insurance? 

MC: In addition to asbestos, mold and slip and fall claims I mentioned earlier, I have also seen gaps in coverage for property management claims a tenant claims personal injuries from habitability and unlawful eviction lawsuits.  I would also think that there would be problems with coverage in an auto policy if an agent got into a car accident while driving a client to property showings.

California is one of the most active real estate markets in the world. Would you say California is less or more litigious than other states? 

MC: California is the number one “hot spot” for litigation against real estate brokers and agents.  In fact, many errors and omissions insurers will not write policies in California because of the frequency of litigation.

Are there additional things realtors and agents should know about general liability insurance and their own need to practice risk management?

MC: Agents should think about an inexpensive general liability policy like an umbrella policy or excess uninsured motorist coverage.  You hope that you will never have to use it, but you buy it in order to protect yourself in one more way.

If you were talking to real estate agents and realtors about protecting themselves, would you recommend that they look into general liability insurance? 

MC:  I give seminars to real estate agents about once per month.  I would say that in about half of those seminars, a question is asked about a scenario that would not be covered by errors and omissions insurance.  So, I know that the transactions where there is the possibility of an uncovered claim are occurring frequently.  I always recommend a general liability insurance when those questions are asked of me.

Mark Carlson is managing partner of the Carlson Law Group, Inc. He has more than 25 years experience representing realtors, agents, and brokers. He has tried case locally all the way up to the California Supreme Court. Their website is www.carlsonlawgroup.com.

Want to know more about low cost General Liability Insurance for Realtors and Real Estate Agents? Email Robert Feldman at robertfeldman@allstate.com.

 

 

 

 

Attorney Mark Carlson Discusses How Real Estate Agents Can Manage Liability and Risk With the Right Insurance Policy

Mark Carlson, Attorney for Real Estate Agents

Mark Carlson is a highly sought after and respected attorney in Los Angeles whose practice is focused on representing real estate professionals. Born and raised in California, he’s been practicing law for more than 25 years, and he has seen just about every kind of real estate lawsuit there is.

We recently chatted with Mark, and he was kind enough to answer some of our questions about realtors/real estate agents and the need for adequate insurance, particularly general liability insurance. Here’s Part One of our conversation. 

Mark, you have an impressive resume of practicing law in the areas of the business of real estate? How did you first get into the practice area? 

MC: I have been representing real estate brokers since I became an attorney in 1993.  I clerked for a small firm in Encino while in law school.  That firm handled claims for one of the largest Errors and Omissions carriers in the state at that time.  I gained a lot of experience in representing real estate brokers and escrow officers in the two or so years I was there.

Early on you worked for a large law firm where you saw a lot of action on virtually every angle of real estate, from agents to escrow officers, loan officers, developers, and many others. What did that kind of background do to prepare you for launching your own firm and specializing in this area? 

MC: When I left the small firm that I started with and moved over to a larger firm, I started handling slip and fall, auto, construction defect and products liability lawsuits.  The firm was handling matters for a pre-paid legal services program that marketed to Realtors.  As I had experience in handling those types of matters, I was given the task of handling the client.  From that client, another associate and I developed a real estate practice group at the firm where none had previously existed.  As I was still doing construction defect litigation as well, in those years I was representing real estate agents, developers, architects, engineers, contractors, escrow officers and appraisers.

When we hear the words “general liability insurance”, what does that mean?

MC: General liability insurance, whether as part of your homeowner’s insurance or a commercial general liability for businesses protects you from liability claims alleging bodily injury, property damage, libel and slander.

How is that different from errors and omissions coverage? 

MC: Errors and omissions insurance protects a professional from liability claims alleging that there was an error or omission in the professional service rendered to the client.

Why would a real estate agent need general liability insurance?

MC: Over the years, there has been litigation that alleges both professional liability and personal injury.  In the 1990’s there was a lot of litigation surrounding asbestos exposure.  In the early 2000’s asbestos claims were replaced by mold claims.  Following the 2008 market crash, agents were being sued along with lenders for habitability claims following foreclosure.  All of these types of lawsuits alleged both damage to the property that was sold (save for the habitability claims) and personal injury to the occupants.  Of course, there is always the risk of a slip and fall at an open house or showing.

Wouldn’t a broker carry this kind of insurance for its agents? 

MC: Most brokers do carry Commercial General Liability insurance.  However, those policies typically only cover injuries occurring at the broker’s office.  They also typically have a “business pursuits” exclusion that would limit coverage for injuries while providing professional services.  Also, even if coverage existed, it would apply to the broker and his or her employees.  As real estate agents are independent contractors, they would not fall within the definition of who is an insured.

In our next post, see Part Two of our discussion with attorney Mark Carlson, when we ask about the types of cases he see, and also the effectiveness of low cost insurance solutions for realtors and real estate agents.

Mark Carlson is managing partner of the Carlson Law Group, Inc. He has more than 25 years experience representing realtors, agents, and brokers. He has tried case locally all the way up to the California Supreme Court. Their website is www.carlsonlawgroup.com.

Want to know more about low cost General Liability Insurance for Realtors and Real Estate Agents? Email Robert Feldman at robertfeldman@allstate.com.