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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Voluntary Carrier

Employee benefits have become a cultural norm in many companies and many employers today rely on various voluntary benefits to satisfy this need. Voluntary benefits consist of products such as life, disability, critical illness, and accident insurance. These benefits are usually offered through a partial contribution by the employer or sole payments by the employees. Most voluntary benefits offer an employee group rate to products individuals normally wouldn’t be able to afford.

Big insurance companies such as Allstate, Aflac, and MetLife carry voluntary benefits and offer companies a tailored service for their employee demographics. In their partnership with miEdge, a business intelligence data analytics firm, Employee Benefit Advise introduced the top 25 large -group voluntary insurance carriers in the US. Allstate Insurance ranked #1 with more than $293 million in -force premium. Aflac followed in #2 and Colonial Life in #3.

Firebreak Protection Systems

Image result for wildfire

After the recent wildfires that devastated many families, homeowners are concerned about protecting their homes more than ever. The increase in construction of homes and communities in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), more and more properties need proper protection from wildfires.

 

Firebreak Protection Systems Inc.

Firebreak Protection Systems Inc. has been providing remarkable service since 2003, advising and installing wildfire protection for families. As they state on their website, “it’s not ‘if’ there will be a wildfire but ‘when’.”

Firebreak Protection System’s Wildfire Service includes inspection, pre-treament, mitigation, installment, and maintenance. Specialists go out to a property to analyze the level of fire exposure. After any necessary pre-treament, the system itself is installed and they provide yearly inspection and maintenance. Furthermore, Firebreak Protection Systems offers Wildfire Response Unit to respond to any wildfire breakout within the area of your property.

Process of Protection

How does the system work? Wildfires are detected using the Fire Scout X3 Sensor. This device is capable of detecting wildfires up to a half-mile radius of the property. Then the fire is suppressed using Compressed Air Foam Systems and pre-installed retardant guns. Firebreak Protection Systems uses Phos-Chek, the fire retardant used by USDA Forest Services. In order for the customer to opt-in to the program, they will have to sign an “Opt-in” form and return it via email/fax/or post office.

Our clients who have the North Light homeowners insurance policies receive this service for no additional fee. For consultation contact us at 855) 876 – 3776 or visit Firebreak Protection System’s website!

Wildfire Warnings Throughout Southern California, How to Protect Your Home

After a drought-busting winter at the end of last year firefighters are predicting a bad fire season due to the increase of brush growth that blanked the mountains and foothills.  This combined with the lack of heavy rain in recent month’s means dry hills that are waiting for a small spark to ignite.  This is leaving California residents wondering: How do I keep my home safe?

Keeping your home safe consists of a few key steps:

  1. Preparation
  2. Maintenance
  3. Safety

Preparation

The area surrounding your home is going to be the key factor when a wildfire is burning through.  Clearing combustible debris from around the house such as dry grass, brush, and firewood will go a long way.  In addition, if you have a wooden fence or deck that expand into brush consider clearing them, giving them a larger clearance space, or replacing them with more fire resistant materials. 

Defensible space is the key term.  This means clearing out at least 30 feet from your home with concentric rings of fuel reduction set further out.  The clearer the area around your room the higher chance there is for a fire crew to be able to protect it.

Maintenance

After you’ve done your prep work it is important to stay vigilant.  Ensure that your preparation stays current and that your defensible space is clear.  Additionally, keep your home maintained.  This means clearing your gutters of fallen leaves and evaluate your roofing materials.  Remember, upkeep of these areas could prevent that fatal spark from igniting onto your home.

Safety

Despite your best efforts it’s possible that the wildfire is simply too difficult for our brave firefighters to contain.  This means evacuating when given the order.  However, defense doesn’t stop here.  With specialized homeowner insurance policies such as Northlight you can opt-in to receive Phos-Chek home defense at no additional cost.  This defense system has a specialized team spray your home with a fire retardant that is the same product used by the United States Fire Service in their air tankers.  Even leaving your home behind you can know that you have done everything possible to keep your possessions safe.

Phos-Chek Home Defense

 

 

 

How to be Disaster Ready

How to be Disaster Ready

Emergency PrepBeing properly prepared for a disaster is easier than you may think.  Forward thinking and preparation can change how a disaster affects you and your loved ones.  It may be impossible to prevent a disaster, but you can make sure you are prepared for when it happens.  To do this, you need a plan and an emergency kit.  

First off, the plan.  The type of plan, its steps, and how you aim to accomplish it is going to depend heavily on your living situation, your family, and the types of disasters that may be common for where you live.  So, lets go over some basics.

1.  Discuss with your household how you want to respond to the types of emergencies that are most common in your area.  For Californians, you may want to take a look at fire, earthquake, and flooding.

emergency prep

2. This planning it important for more than just your home.  Your plan should be inclusive for how to handle an emergency weather you are at work, school, or having some fun.  Start your plan off with responsibilities for each member of your household.  These responsibilities could be grabbing a certain item if they are at home, or they are in charge of contacting or organizing.  Work as a team.

3. PRACTICE.  A plan is no good if no one remembers it during the disaster, or are unclear on any portion.  Do a practice run, or three, and ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities!

emergency prep ready

Now, you have a plan.  Or… at least a plan to create a plan.  Next, you’re going to need a set of supplies.  A disaster supply kit, emergency kit, or bug out bag should contain everything you may need during an emergency.  Here’s an easy checklist to get your supplies ready to go.

4 Easy Tips for Christmas Fire Safety

What You Need to Know About Christmas Fire Safety

gingerbread menIt’s an uncomfortable thing to think about, but a fire in your home is a real possibility.  During the holidays there may be a new fire risk coming into play as well, a Christmas tree.  Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can be especially dangerous.  According to FEMA one out of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.

So, what can you do to help prevent this?

  1. Take a look at your heat sources.  A heat source too close to your tree is the cause of a quarter of tree fires.  If you have a space heater, you’re going to need to get it at least three feet away from not only your tree, but your furniture and rugs as well.
  2. Keep a close eye on your candles.  Or, alternatively, skip the candles and go with LED lights or some neat electric lanterns.  It may seem like common sense to double check candles, since it’s actually a fire you are starting in your home, but it’s easy to forget about them.candle
  3. Keep your tree well-watered, and get rid of it before it dries out.  Typically, a healthy and well-watered tree will have a very difficult time catching on fire.  However, a dry tree is a huge fire risk.  So, if you’re a procrastinator and usually just leave the tree up until you get sick of it sometime in February,, or March… make sure it’s still alive, well-watered, or just get rid of it already.
  4. Take a look at your ornaments, some of them may be flammable.  It’s important that you use only nonflammable decorations.

Be safe this holiday season.  Even if you aren’t celebrating with a living tree in your home, take a moment to really understand where fire risks are coming from.  These tips may just save you from a holiday disaster.

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5 Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips

5 Thanksgiving fire safety tips

It’s the holiday season, there’s some snow, or ice, or rain, or it’s just plain ol’ cold outside and you’re sitting comfy in your home.  You’re snuggled up in a nice soft blanket and sipping on some hot coco. After all, it’s cold outside.  The last thing on your mind is a fire starting inside or outside your home.  Unfortunately, fire safety doesn’t take any time off during the holidays.  Here’s some quick tips to help you prevent a fire during this holiday season!

  1. If you’re planning on starting up that fireplace, you’re going to need to take a few steps before you light it up.  First, if your fireplace has glass doors, open them up about 20 minutes before you light it up.  With the doors open, the air can warm up and begin to draft upwards.  Second, check the draft using a match.  If air is going down your flue you should NOT start your fire. 

    fireplace

  2. Decorations are flammable.  Shocking, I know.  So, before you plug in anything, be sure there aren’t any flays in the cords, and that they’re not next to a space heater or stove top. 
  3. Double check that space heater.  Space heaters generally need to be about 3 feet away from anything that could be flammable.  This includes your furniture, rugs, bedding, couch, chairs, pretty much anything.  Also, don’t plug it into a power strip or extension cord; if you have to, ensure that the cord is properly rated and sized for your heater. 

    space heater

  4. Did you buy a deep fryer for your turkey this year?  If so, you’re going to need to go through a pretty hefty checklist to make sure you’re not going to start a fire, or hurt yourself.  Butterball has a pretty great guide on this.   

Even though a home fire may seem out of the possibility, that it could never happen to you, it is always important to be both vigilant and prepared.