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Hi TIJ Readers! As many of you have reached out with feedback on our risk management articles, we've discovered that many of the same questions and concerns keep coming up. Many of those ideas have inspired the articles we plan to write in 2020. And we explore just a piece of one in this case study. The concept: When is it appropriate to exceed the Standards of Practice? And what increase in liability, if any, will I experience when I exceed the SoP? In this case study, we see an argument against a relatively common inspection practice: moving seemingly harmless objects to conduct a more thorough inspection. While we're sure there are many cases in which inspectors did something similar without incident, we hope this claim can serve as an example of worst case scenario. And, with that example, we hope that readers like you are more equipped to make judgement calls on the job. Enjoy! Stephanie The Domino Effect: A Home Inspection Insurance Claim The following is a real general liability insurance claim 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. While performing a routine inspection, a home inspector stumbled upon a common problem: Some of the seller's belongings were inhibiting him from performing his inspection duties. Specifically, one of the seller's suitcases was obstructing the attic entrance. Wanting to give his inspection clients, the buyers, the best service possible, the home inspector decided to move the suitcase. It was just one suitcase, he reasoned, and it made the difference between inspecting an entire area of the property and omitting it from his report. Unbeknownst to the home inspector, the suitcase wasn't the only thing on the shelf. A stored- pressure fire extinguisher sat beside the suitcase and out of view. As the home inspector moved the suitcase, he bumped the out-of-sight fire extinguisher, sending the extinguisher crashing to the floor. Upon impact, the fire extinguisher cracked the tile floor and discharged into the cold air return of the running HVAC unit. The discharge blew throughout the house, leaving a fine layer of extinguisher dust in every room of the property. [READ MORE]
Hi TIJ Readers! If you've followed our series on the top claims against home inspectors, you know that most industry allegations involve errors or omissions, which mean they are filed against inspectors' E&O coverage. (For those of you who've missed them, check our articles on the industry's top claims here. We recommend starting with the Top 5 Claims.) However, like E&O claims, there are certain types of general liability (GL) claims that are more prevalent than others. We discuss the top 5 general liability claims against home inspectors and how you can avoid them. Enjoy an excerpt below. I'd be interested to hear if any of you were surprised by the list of GL claims we found to be most prevalent or if the list is true to your individual experiences. Best, Stephanie What is general liability insurance? Unlike errors and omissions (E&O) claims, general liability claims don't typically question the quality of your home inspection or service. Rather, GL claims involve any bodily injury or property damage that result from the inspection. (Learn more about the two coverage types and why they're important here.) There are many reasons to carry general liability insurance coverage. In our survey of over 450 home inspectors, we found that the top three reasons inspectors choose to carry both E&O and general liability insurance are to: Avoid large payouts for claims. According to The Hartford, a general liability claim can average more than $75,000 per case to defend and settle when a lawsuit is involved. Receive claims handling and defense. When you work with an insurance company familiar with the home inspection industry, their claims team can minimize or eliminate your potential liability by properly handling claims. In many cases, our claims team's industry knowledge enables them to resolve liability claims quickly, saving insured precious time and money. Fulfill licensing and state requirements. As of September 2019, the following states have general liability requirements: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. What types of liability claims against home inspectors are most common? Here at InspectorPro, the vast majority of GL claims result from: Water damage Power outage Ceiling hole Garage door Frozen plumbing We go through each one of these common general liability claims scenarios in detail in our infographic. [READ MORE]
Hey TIJ Readers! Long time since I last posted. National Home Inspection Month was a busy one for us with our funny home inspection story contest and our first-ever guest-written article. (You can read the top stories from the contest here and Randy's article here.) Since so many of our articles focus on errors and omissions issues, we decided it was time to share a story from our archives that addressed a general liability problem. What makes this one interesting, too, is that it addresses not only the power of pre-claims assistance but the power of a well-written report. You can read the full story on our website here. Or, feel free to check out that preview below. Have a great rest of your inspection week! Stephanie How one inspection report saved thousands of dollars The following is a real home inspector general liability pre-claim from our archives. The inspector has given us permission to reveal his identity and to use direct quotes from our post-pre-claim interview. Pre-claims assistance is exactly what it sounds like: It's free help responding to unhappy clients in a way that may prevent said clients from making any demands. Here at InspectorPro, we define a claim as a written demand for money, which Latham had yet to receive. However, for readers who don't insure with us yet, do keep in mind that every insurance company is unique and definitions can vary. Be sure to read a copy of your policy to be sure of how your company defines a claim. To learn more about pre-claims assistance, read this recent article. The cracked tile While performing a routine home inspection in Oregon, Aaron Latham of Sunrise Inspection, Inc. made what he described as "a very rookie mistake." He set a round, metal flashlight on top of the property's kitchen island. As round objects do, the flashlight rolled off the island. It hit the ground and put a hairline crack in one of the tiles. Realizing that he'd made a mistake, Latham documented both the existing tiles that were cracked and the one tile he cracked with his flashlight in his inspection report. Shortly after purchasing the house?for several thousand dollars less than the asking price due to inspection findings, according to the real estate agent?the agent called about the tile. Latham agreed that he did, in fact, damage one tile, and asked the agent to obtain an estimate. At the time, Latham guessed that they'd quote about $100. "Well, here's the issue," the agent said. "We can't find tile that matches the existing tile, and the seller didn't have any spare tile on hand. What we were hoping is that you would replace the entire floor." That's when Latham called our pre-claims assistance team. [READ MORE]