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  1. I agree with that. It's in everyone's best interest--especially the client--that the client properly vet the inspector they're using.
  2. I agree with everything you said except the last part: "The agent cannot make a fair decision on the best inspector for the client because he will be affected by the result." This would mean that all agents would only refer clients to inspectors with "don't kill the deal" attitudes. Based on anecdotal evidence of speaking with inspectors that receive realtor referrals, I don't believe this is the case. And, from a data standpoint, we're constantly looking for similarities between claims so that we can offer better risk management solutions to inspectors based on trends. In reviewing thousands of claims, we have yet to pick up on a correlation between realtor referrals and poor inspection practices. So, if one exits, it's not big enough to be blatantly obvious. The bottom line: We don't have any evidence to suggest that receiving realtor referrals puts our clients at increased risk, either because of the agents' or their own actions. Until we do, we think it best to let the home inspectors individually decide if agent referrals are helpful or detrimental to their businesses and respect the decision either way. Returning to the article that started this conversation: The intent of the article wasn't to endorse agent marketing or argue that all inspectors should market to agents. Rather, the intent was to explain a common insurance policy endorsement through the lens of something we know a lot of inspectors are doing: marketing to realtors. We hope that, by putting referring party indemnification in this frame, we can both better engage our readers and increase their understanding of how their policy applies outside of the "named insured."
  3. Hi @Marc. I'm kind of confused by your response. You say that recognition of agent expectations can be a detriment to the client. What do you mean by that? Here's some clarification on what I meant: Many home inspection clients turn to real estate agents not just for inspector recommendations but inspection information. As such, it can be helpful to make sure that the real estate agents involved understand the basic definition and scope of a home inspection. It also helps if agents know to direct questions and concerns about the inspection back to the inspector rather than weighing in themselves. We've seen some agents mitigate and other agents exacerbate issues for our inspector insureds based on their understanding (or lack of understanding) of home inspections. While it isn't a home inspector's duty to make real estate agents aware of basic home inspection protocol, helping set appropriate inspection expectations with agents can serve inspectors' and agents' shared clients immensely.
  4. Great points, @Marc! Client expectations definitely need to be managed, and I think management of those expectations contributes to making clients happy. (i.e. When your client finds mold behind a wall during renovations, they're not going to point the finger at you if they have a good understanding of your inspection's scope and are satisfied with their interactions with you.) I think the same could be said about agent expectations.
  5. @Jim Katen, thanks for your response. Based on your comments, it sounds like we're working off of completely different paradigms. You say that you "believe strongly that there's no 'delicate balance'" and that "if you cover your client's butt, [yours] will be covered automatically." Our philosophy dramatically differs in that we believe there are specific things home inspectors should do to manage their risk and limit their liability outside of being a good technical inspector. So, I believe we've reached an impasse. However, I do appreciate you taking the time to articulate your position and read our content—even though we don't always agree!
  6. Thanks for clarifying, @Jim Katen. I think you make an important point about on whom inspectors and agents should primarily focus: clients. While it is important to limit your liability to protect against potential litigation, inspectors' and agents' main focus should be serving their client home buyers to the best of their ability. It's a delicate balance but an important one. Now, there are a few points that you make that I want to address. First, you argue that it's potentially problematic to not disclose referring party indemnification to clients. I'd argue that a lack of disclosure doesn't hurt the consumer while a disclosure can. As a general rule, we don't recommend that home inspectors advertise the fact that they carry insurance to clients--even if they're in a state that requires them to carry insurance, so that fact can be inferred with licensure. The reason being is because most people have an easier time mentally filing a lawsuit against an insurance company rather than an individual, and there are the occasional suit seekers. A great example of this issue is a conversation I had with one of our insureds a while back. He'd had three claims come in in less than six months, which is pretty unusual, so the underwriters tried to investigate what about the inspector's behavior might be promoting such suits. They didn't find anything glaringly wrong with his technical inspection practices. However, upon visiting the inspectors website, they found a big, bold advertisement of his insurance information on his homepage. By promoting his insurance information, the inspector was attracting clients who perceived his inspections as warranties for which they could get refunds (and then some) if anything was amiss. This isn't best risk management practice. Second, you argue that consumers may perceive referring party indemnification as an unfair arrangement between inspectors and agents. I can see this happening but only because I think a lot of people wouldn't understand what referring party indemnification actually is. Putting it into a different context, say my primary care doctor referred me to a surgeon who ended up botching my operation. I sue both the doctor and the surgeon, and the doctor turns around and says to the surgeon, "Hey, you're the one that messed up. I'm filing my claim with your insurance." As a consumer, I wouldn't blame the doctor for doing this nor would I really care because my claim is getting addressed either way. Again, my perspective might be skewed since I've actually read referring party indemnification endorsements, but to me, I think it's pretty fair when you think about it in terms of whoever did the work is paying for problems with the work.
  7. @Marc, I think you make a lot of good points about agent motivations and how they can negatively impact inspection results. It's not something we publish on much, but it is something we discuss with inspectors over the phone and at conferences. Compromising inspection results to appease realtors is a disservice to their shared clients. Plus, it opens inspectors up to liability, which, in turn, opens us up to liability. So, it certainly isn't something we condone. Returning to the premise of the article itself, it is possible to have relationships with real estate agents that provide client referrals without compromising inspection integrity. It requires inspectors to be selective in who they choose to work with and diligent in setting appropriate expectations. We insure many inspectors with healthy working relationships with realtors who respect their work--even when it "kills" a deal--because they recognize the value of accurate, thorough inspections. We hope that inspectors use the ideas presented in the article to find agent relationships that don't just support their business but that support their clients and the inspection industry. @Les, we didn't really think of referring party indemnification as a marketing tool, either, until we started getting questions about it. Questions like: 1. Real estate agents are afraid of being wrapped into lawsuits regarding my home inspections. Is there any way my insurance can cover them, too? 2. Do you have any flyers, presentations, or other marketing materials about referring party indemnification I could use to educate the agents I work with? Those questions popping up over and over again made us think we needed to a) clarify what referring party indemnification is and how to recognize it in your insurance policy and b) provide guidance as to how inspectors could come up with their own marketing materials should they see fit.
  8. What makes you feel like referring party coverage is a scheme? Third-party coverage is actually really common. You see it in the real estate space all the time with builders, contractors, etc. It's present in other fields, too, like the medical field. All it's really trying to do is make sure that the person who actually did the work subject to the lawsuit is the one paying for the coverage. Because, chances are, if you don't do the same type of work as the party you're referring (or being referred by), you don't carry the right coverage. That's why we recommend you request additional insured coverage on the insurance of those companies to whom you refer business (i.e. termite company, roofer, etc.). Now, if you're uncomfortable with marketing to real estate agents generally, I can understand that. We insure quite a few inspectors who prefer to market their business to consumers rather than agents--some for ethical reasons others for economic concerns. (i.e. If the economy takes a turn, I don't want to be relying on realtors that go out of business.)
  9. Hi TIJ Readers! With 69 percent of home buyers nationally choosing their home inspectors based on their realtors' recommendations, it's no wonder why we see a lot of industry interest in bettering agent marketing efforts. Yet, few inspectors know that most home inspection insurance policies come with referring party indemnification, an endorsement that many real estate brokers see as a benefit. Teach your local realtors about your insurance policy's referring party indemnification coverage, and you may be able to improve your referral rate. You can learn more about referring party indemnification in our recent article, previewed below. Best, Stephanie How To Improve Your Marketability with Referring Party Indemnification During a recent home inspection, you missed the polybutylene pipes in the attic. When your clients, the home buyers, discovered your error, they were furious. They didn't just sue you; they sued everyone involved in the home's sale. That included the real estate agent that referred the job to you. What is referring party indemnification? In home inspection policies that include referring party indemnification, should there be a claim about inspection findings, the insurance company assumes liability for not just the home inspector but the referring party. If your insurer offers third party indemnification, your insurance policy will define referring real estate agents, real estate brokers, mortgage lenders, relocation companies, and other relevant third party referral sources as limited additional insureds. As such, these referral sources can receive insurance coverage from claims arising from your inspection services. Common conditions to these endorsements include: You and the referring party didn't give notice of the claim to another insurance carrier before your current policy began. The inspection related to the claim occurred on or after your retroactive date and before the end of your policy period. Before you started carrying insurance, you and your referring party couldn't reasonably predict that your clients were going to file the claim. The referring party reports the claim in writing to your carrier during the policy period. The claim doesn't involve any services the referring party performed independent of you, the home inspector. The claim is subject to your insurance limits. In addition to insurance carriers, some other companies offer referring party indemnification to home inspectors. Just like you do with your insurance policy, we recommend reviewing any referring party indemnification plan you intend to use to make sure you understand the terms. How can referral coverage improve my marketability? As a home inspector, Paul Stratton, Owner of Stratton Inspection Services, LLC in Arizona, finds that realtors worry about potential claims. Many are concerned that, if the home inspector they refer to the client misses something, they'll be liable. Stratton calms brokers' nerves by explaining that his insurance policy protects them, too. "Realtors want to know that they're covered and that their client is covered as well," Stratton told us in an interview for our article "How to work with more realtors." "[Referring party indemnification] gives them more peace of mind." [READ MORE]
  10. Hi TIJ readers! Recently, we did a free webinar with InterNACHI and with ASHI on understanding your insurance policies. The theme of the hour were common policy pitfalls: the fine print that leads many home inspectors to purchase less coverage than they actually need. This article highlights the top three pitfalls to watch out for. Enjoy! Stephanie 3 most common insurance policy pitfalls Did you know that not all insurance policies are created equal? Or that policies can exclude some business practices? If you don't know the ins and outs of your policy, you could end up buying less coverage than you need. In this article, we go over three of the most common insurance policy pitfalls plaguing the home inspection insurance industry. Look for these pitfalls when shopping or renewing insurance to ensure you're getting the coverage your business really needs. Your insurance carrier doesn't cover it. Exclusions are the portions of your policy that define what you are not covered to inspect. Some exclusions are permanent while others can be modified with an endorsement. (More on endorsements in the next section.) Exclusions allow the insurance company to offer more competitive rates by eliminating business practices that go beyond the policy's intent. Common non-endorseable exclusions in home inspection errors and omissions and general liability policies include: Asbestos Pollution Improper licensure Warranty claims To find out what exclusions lie in your policy, you've got to read it. And before you do, you should know whether your policy offers basic or broad coverage. Basic policies state what's covered, and anything that isn't listed is an uncovered inspection. These policies tend to be easier to read because they're shorter, but they often offer less coverage. On the other hand, broad policies offer more open-ended coverage than basic policies. If an exclusion isn't on the list, then it's automatically covered. These policies are a tough read but much more comprehensive. (In case you're wondering, InspectorPro offers broad policies.) Keep in mind that there are insurance carriers that advertise to property inspectors but explicitly exclude home inspection services in their policies. If you receive a quote for hundreds or thousands of dollars less than that of a specialized home inspection insurance provider, be sure to study the policy to make sure home inspections aren't excluded. [READ MORE]
  11. Great question, @Jim Katen. While finding the property after the fact is rare, it does happen, so most equipment coverage insurance policies have a section dedicated on what to do when you recover the lost or damaged property. You'd have to check your specific policy to be sure of the proper course of action according to your carrier. But, to get an idea, here's what it says about recoveries in our inland marine policy: So, technically, according the most equipment coverage policies, your recovered equipment and tools would be the property of the insurance company, and they should have the final say if they would like it back or if it's not worth the value to have you return it to them. It probably wasn't your insurance agent's place to dismiss it and advise you not to bring it up again; it should have been the insurance carrier and their claims adjusters' call. Additionally, if you're still working with that agent, you may want to consider how her counsel in this situation could reflect the quality of future counsel in the future and act accordingly. Hope that's helpful. If you have a current equipment coverage policy and are curious about its stance on recoveries, I'd happy to look it over for you, too.
  12. Hi TIJ readers! Hope you're all enjoying the summer inspection season. Our latest article was inspired by a question we that kept coming up at shows and on the phone: I know that E&O and GL can protect my business against claims. But is there a type of insurance that can protect my business from loss or damage to all the expensive equipment I use? The answer is yes. Equipment coverage, otherwise known as inland marine insurance or a property floater, is an add-on coverage that protects your tools and equipment. Check out the preview below to start learning what the coverage entails, how it works, and what happens when you have a claim. Best, Stephanie How to protect your tools and equipment Earlier this year, one of our insured home inspectors sent his radon monitor in for calibration. When the servicing was complete, the manufacturer shipped the monitor back to the home inspector. But, when the inspector returned home, the radon monitor was nowhere to be found. The inspector put in a claim with the radon monitor manufacturer, who subsequently put in a claim with the shipping company. Both the manufacturer and the shipping company denied any liability or coverage for the loss. So, the home inspector filed a police report with his county's Sheriff's Department and contacted us, his insurance provider, to see if we could cover the lost radon monitor. What is equipment coverage? Formally known as inland marine coverage or a commercial property floater, equipment coverage insures your inspection tools and equipment. Unlike standard property insurance, inland marine coverage protects your tools and equipment regardless of their location. This is important in the home inspection industry since, rather than housing your tools and equipment in an office, you usually have your materials in your work vehicle or on inspection sites. In most cases, equipment coverage for home inspectors reimburses you for the actual cash value (not the cost of the items brand-new) of your stolen or damaged equipment or tools. Oftentimes, coverage extends to not just items you own but items you lease or rent. Most home inspection tools and equipment are eligible for inland marine insurance endorsements. Examples of typical inland marine insurance claims include: Someone burglarizes your locked inspection vehicle and swipes your drone. As you're taking inspection photos, you trip and drop your digital camera, breaking the lens. While inspecting the roof, someone steals your infrared camera, which you left at the base of your ladder. Someone takes your leased radon monitor from where you left it overnight on the inspection site. While taking off, you lose control of your drone and crash it to the ground, damaging the wings and internal computer. Many equipment insurance policies cover physical loss or damage caused by perils, such as falling objects, fire, lightening, sink hole collapse, vandalism, vehicles, and water damage. To see what perils are and are not covered, review the Conditions and Definitions sections of your inland marine policy. How does equipment coverage work? Typically, equipment coverage is subject to your "schedule of coverages," which describes the property you'd like the insurance company to insure. Most insurance companies require that inspectors provide property descriptions?including the make, model, and serial number?for any items worth more than a certain amount. Here at InspectorPro, we require property descriptions for any items worth $500 or more. For any items worth less than $500, InspectorPro insureds may still cover the property as "miscellaneous tools" without providing make, model, and serial information for each tool. The only caveat is that miscellaneous tools cannot exceed $2,500 in total value. [READ MORE]
  13. That makes more sense. If your carrier is Scottsdale, your provider is OREP or Target. Commenting on Scottsdale/Nationwide is tricky because: they're pretty new to the home inspection insurance space (~2 years) their claims definition, responsibilities, etc. are pretty vague in their policy neither of their providers (OREP and Target) have really published on their claims handling practices But here are a few clues: Back in 2016, OREP's Senior Broker David Brauner did an article called "Insurance IQ" in which he talked about some of the highlights of their insurance coverage for appraisers. In it, he talks about how they offer pre-claim and claims help "through the carrier." If that's how they handle their appraiser book, it's likely that that's how they handle their home inspector book. (You can read his article here.) If you go to Target's website, it asks you to fill out a Claims Supplement form and submit it to either your agent or the carrier. If you have the option of sending it directly to the carrier, it's likely that you're submitting your claim to their in-house team. (You can see the claims page on Target's website here. Note that it doesn't look like they've updated the page since they switched to Scottsdale/National, so the Western Heritage carrier info is still on there.) It's more common to receive claims handling through the insurance company/carrier. So, if your insurance company hasn't explicitly talked about having a pre-claims or claims team separate from the carrier, they probably don't. So, if you're curious who handles your claims and how on your Scottsdale/National policy, I'd recommend contacting your provider directly. Some questions you might ask: Who provides my pre-claims assistance? What qualifies them to provide pre-claims assistance? And what help are they able to give me? Who handles my claims? How often do they look at home inspector-specific claims? And how long have they been adjusting home inspector claims? In case you're not sure who to contact, here are who I'd recommend talking to at each provider: OREP: David Brauner | 888-347-5273 | dbrauner@orep.org Target: Fausto Petruzziello | 862-286-3510 | FPetruzziello@targetproins.com
  14. InspectorPro Insurance's parent company is Citadel Insurance Services, LC. So, your carrier wouldn't be Citadel; that would still be your provider. However, in looking you up in our system, you don't appear to be a customer of ours. If you are curious about how your claims handling works with your current provider, we'd still be happy to help. You can email over a copy of your binder and/or policy to weprotect@inspectorproinsurance.com and we can look it over and let you know who your carrier is and what we know about their claims handling. Or, for a more direct approach, you can always call your provider directly and ask who handles your claims and how.
  15. Good question, Marc. In order to answer thoroughly, let's go over some definitions to make sure we're talking about the same thing when we say "insurance companies": Your insurance company—otherwise referred to as your insurance carrier or insurer—is the company that insures or “carries” the insurance policy that providers like us give you. Carriers you may have heard of in the space include AmTrust, Aspen, Hanover, Hartford, Lloyds, Nationwide, and United National. You can find the name of your insurance carrier on your binder and in your policy. Your insurance provider is a brokerage or agency like us, InspectorPro Insurance and our parent company, Citadel Insurance Services, LC. Our job is to match your business needs to the best insurance carrier. We also provide you with the extra benefits, like pre-claims assistance, customer service, and risk management education. So, to simplify the two definitions into a metaphor: Your insurance company is the umbrella while providers like us are the ones who hold the umbrella. With these definitions in mind, let's return to your question: Yes, insurance companies and carriers typically have an in-house claims team made up of claims adjusters, the people who investigate allegations, assign defense, negotiate settlements, etc. However, in-house claims teams don't always benefit home inspectors. Because insurance companies/carriers, often write a wide range of insurance products, most of their in-house claims teams don't specialize in any one industry. And that lack of familiarity can sometimes lead to less favorable claims outcomes for the insured just due to lack of experience/knowledge about home inspections. We noticed this issue happening with some of our own insureds, which is why we negotiated a slightly different approach with our preferred carrier four years ago. While the insurance company we primarily use has an in-house claims team, we don't use them. Instead, we contract out a third-party company to handle all of our pre-claims and claims. That team of adjusters only works with home inspectors, and that expertise has helped us provide our inspectors with better defense. And while the third-party company technically works on behalf of the carrier, we have a lot more say on their approach than we do with in-house carrier adjusters, which has allowed us to advocate for insureds from our end more. (i.e. pre-claims assistance, deductible discounts, cheaper and more effective defense council, etc.) That's a long explanation, so I hope it makes sense!
  16. Okay, @Les and @Tom Raymond. I finally heard back from that claims adjuster in MI. So, as promised, here's what they had to say: When it comes to medical providers not taking on new workers' comp clients, our MI adjusters would refer insureds to another city. The adjusters also have relationships with third party vendors and nurses, so they'd have those vendors and nurses reach out to providers to see if they could establish a relationship that would allow insureds to get care in more convenient locations. In short, if you were having trouble getting picked up at a local provider, you'd reach out to your workers' comp provider to get help either getting in or going elsewhere. That should answer all the questions in the discussion above. Let me know if any more come up.
  17. Yes, in this case, getting the state bar involved was our call. We were concerned that the claimants' lawyer wasn't doing his job in getting the suit dismissed, and we wanted to make sure all the loose ends were tied promptly. The state bar was our way to spur action. You're right that this case got settled for the amount of the deductible, but I wouldn't say that that's a general rule. When it comes to frivolous claims, our initial approach is always to attempt to get it dismissed at $0. And, because of how most of our policies are written, closing a claim at $0 means the insured doesn't have to pay at all--even to cover our claims team costs. We're actually able to shut down quite a few meritless claims at no cost to the insured, particularly if they used pre-claims assistance, which can get us on the defense earlier. Now, if we can't get it to close at $0--often when an attorney is involved--our next goal is to settle for as little as possible and as quickly as possible. Smaller numbers and quicker closures on loss runs aren't just good for us; they're good for insureds because they protect their insurability and keep their rates lower come renewal time. Again, because of how most of our policies are written, if we can settle for less than the deductible, our insureds will only have to pay that lower amount, so we always try for that first. In this case, we pushed the lower settlement amount for several months before acknowledging that the claimants were not going to take the lower amount, which is why we increased. We all would have preferred closing the claim at $0 since the inspector didn't do anything wrong. But even our insured acknowledges that this was a good outcome because we settled far below the initial ask of ~$100k and the revised ask of $6k. Now, I can't speak for how other insurance companies handle claims. We have a lot more control in selecting our claims team and process than most, if not all, of our competitors. But, that's how it works with us.
  18. Hi TIJ Readers! Wondering how you can better prevent claims? Or what it would be like to have a claim? To try to help answer these questions, we publish details from actual home inspection insurance claims every few months. We hope you enjoy our latest case study. Best, Stephanie The Sinking Yard: A Home Inspection Insurance Claim The following is a real home inspector case study from our insurance claim archives. In order to protect the insured's identity, all identifiable characteristics?including names, associations, and locations?have been omitted or removed. "You have been sued. You may employ an attorney. If you or your attorney do not file a written answer with the clerk who issued this citation by 10:00 a.m. on the Monday next following the expiration of twenty days after you were served this citation and petition, a default judgment may be taken against you." That was how home inspector Nathan Cross' letter from the state began. According to the state, former home inspection clients Patrick and Miranda Spence were suing Cross and the sellers for "deceptive trade practices," "breach of contract," "economic and actual damages," and "intentional damages by omissions." The Complaint Unbeknownst to Cross, the property used to have a swimming pool. The sellers had filled the pool in and covered it up prior to putting the house on the market. The sellers did not disclose the pool's existence to either the Spences nor Cross. So, when Cross performed his inspection, there were no visible signs of a pool in the backyard, nor were there any visible defects. Thus, Cross' inspection report did not indicate any issues in the backyard. About a year after the inspection, indentations began to appear in the backyard. Upon investigating the property's tax records, the Spences discovered that a pool had existed prior to them moving in. (The covered pool was not in the sellers' disclosure.) They surmised that the sellers must have improperly filled the pool, which led to developing indentations. Now, a full year and a half after Cross' inspection, the Spences were taking legal action. The Spences demanded "monetary relief of $100,000 or less, including damages of any kind, penalties, costs, expenses, pre-judgment interest, and attorney fees." [READ MORE]
  19. Definitely a good idea to consult your attorney, though I'd add the caveat that it helps to have an attorney that's a) licensed in your state and b) has experience in the home inspection industry. Depending on your insurance provider, they may have attorneys that fit the description above that review agreements for their insureds or provide state-specific agreements to insureds. But with most providers, you have to request that service.
  20. I respect that. If you do end up reconsidering workers' comp--whether you purchase with us or elsewhere--feel free to reach out with any questions you might have.
  21. Thanks for your confidence, @Les. Les and @Tom Raymond, I'm still waiting to hear back on some of the details discussed below, but here's what I've learned so far. Our workers' comp underwriter couldn't find anything that limits officer coverage. According to him, if you elect coverage, then you should be covered if you're injured. Even if you weren't classified properly, that could be corrected during an audit. The only thing that the underwriter could think of that would have caused an officer to simultaneously have and not have coverage is a "ghost" policies. In a "ghost" policy, an officer or owner elects coverage to get a certificate to meet a contract requirement. But, simultaneously, that officer waives their own coverage. We don't write those kinds of policies, but some providers do. So, maybe that was what you were experiencing? If that info on officer coverage still isn't sounding right, we can look into it further, but we'd need more info on your specific situation. If you'd like to chat, I'd suggest scheduling a call with our workers' comp team, which I can help arrange for you. As for the provider issue, we went ahead and reached out to location-specific claims managers in the workers' comp space to get their take. The claims manager we contacted in Vegas said that, in Nevada and most state she's aware of, there can be issues of wait times for new cases. However, she also stated that, if providers near the injured inspector won't accept them, inspectors can go to the nearest place that will and the claims adjuster will pay the mileage and per diem. We're looking into whether that info on the provider issue is the same for MI. I'll keep you posted. Hope that information is useful!
  22. This is an interesting dilemma. Let me reach out to our carrier to see if they've heard of this happening and if they know of any potential resolutions. Thanks, Les. You're right in that the states dictate workers' comp regulations while the insurance companies simply provide the coverage. (Hence the table referencing state governing bodies in the article.) However, in regards to @Tom Raymond's issue in NY where he's experiencing coverage denials (or being told that denials will occur) in relation to truck unloads and health insurance: I actually reached out to the underwriter to ask about corp. officer coverage in NY, and he's the one that said it should be a non-issue. But perhaps, he misunderstood my question. Let me go back and see if he's familiar with sole proprietor coverage restrictions in NY and MI.
  23. When you say private practices, I'm not sure what you mean. Could you explain? As for the W2 comment, depending on your state, the inspection companies for whom you work may still be required to or have the option to cover you as an independent contractor under their existing workers' comp policies.
  24. @Jim Katen: Great question. Since workers' compensation insurance is regulated by individual states, sole proprietorship coverage options and rules vary by state. In many states, sole proprietors are exempt from workers' comp requirements but may choose to purchase coverage. Your state of Oregon is one of those states in which you are not required to purchase coverage but may if you want to. You can find more info on Oregon's workers' comp laws here. Other states allow sole proprietors to opt-out of workers' comp coverage if they don't have employees. (i.e. Arizona, California) Also, there are a handful of states in which sole proprietors are exempt. To find out exactly what the regulations are for your state, I'd recommend talking to an insurance broker or going to your state's government website. NFIB has good summaries of requirements and links to the government websites here. @Tom Raymond: Not sure who's providing you with that workers' comp info, but it's incorrect. Regardless of whether you're an officer of a corporation or a standard employee, work-related injuries or illnesses are eligible for workers' comp coverage. If you were injured unloading your truck in relation to your home inspection business, your workers' comp claim would be covered. Even if your workers' comp provider mis-categorized you as a clerical/admin employee, workers' comp is a no-fault insurance. That means that it would be the insurance company's job to cover the claim anyway and, if necessary, bill you whatever difference in cost to re-categorize you properly. The only reason I could see a workers' comp claim regarding a truck unload being denied would be due to a pre-existing condition. If, for example, you have a history of back injuries and problems, and then you strain your back unloading the truck, the claim could get denied because of your past medical issues. However, your health insurance should then pick it up so long as you don't have any prohibitive exclusions for pre-existing conditions within your health insurance coverage. In regards to your concern about your workers' comp and health insurance competing to cover (or not cover) claims, they're meant to address different issues. Any injury/illness on/from the job--so long as it isn't a pre-existing condition--should go to your workers' comp policy. All other injuries/illnesses that happen outside of your job--including pre-existing conditions--go to your health insurance policy. Each policy has separate responsibilities, so as long as you're sending your claims to the right place, there shouldn't be a coverage problem. Hope that clarifies some of your concerns. If you want additional insight into how workers' comp works in New York State, I recommend checking out the WC Board's website here.
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