Business Automobile Insurance

Consideration for a commercial auto policy doesn’t start and end with insuring your vehicle for physical damage. Other critical issues related to automobiles arise out of your business operations, including liability for bodily injury and property damage as well as liability related to vehicles you borrow or hire.

For the last four decades Mason & Mason has helped business owners manage risk related to the autos they own or hire. We write a wide range of policy types from coverage for single trucks registered to contractors to programs that cover the legal liability of auto dealers through our Garage Keepers program. We’ve also helped the owners of large vehicle fleets find coverage and manage their risk accordingly.

With the introduction of our mobile app, the drivers of your vehicles can now have an electronic copy of the Auto ID card available on their smartphone in states where that is accepted. In the event of an accident, that same app can be used to capture photos and get the claims process started.

Contractors & Subcontractors Insurance Program Team

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"One of the things we love about this agency is that they don’t try to sell you. They want  their clients to be informed so they can make the best decision with the right coverage, and with Mason and Mason, we always get detailed, personalized, honest service."


Almar Building & Remodeling Co.

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Handling Lead and Asbestos and Other ...

If you work in construction, it’s not uncommon to encounter asbestos, lead, and other hazardous materials on a remodeling or deconstruction job. When that does happen, here are the appropriate steps you’re going to want to take:

Clear the Area

If you find asbestos in a home, you’ll want to clear the area right away. Lead exposure can take years to create any lasting damage in the human body, but even mild exposure to asbestos can be dangerous.

Report

As soon as possible, report your findings to the proper authorities. In more cases than not, this will be the EPA. False alarms do happen, it’s not uncommon for some other material to be mistaken for asbestos, but the EPA will typically have some tests conducted in order to determine what it is that you’re dealing with. You’ll also want to let your client know that anyone who has been living or working in the building has potentially been exposed to the hazardous material.

For Asbestos and Other Hazards: Get a Professional

If you’re removing asbestos, you need to be certified, and if you are certified, you still need to report to the proper authorities that you’re going to be taking asbestos out of an old home.

If you would like to get certified to remove asbestos in order to prevent any findings from slowing a construction job down too much, you can get started at the EPA website. https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/training

For Lead: Proceed With Caution

You can remove lead on your own in most states with or without certification, but it can be a tricky process. Make sure that anyone involved in the job is wearing a dust mask, goggles and gloves, and be sure to clear the area to ensure that lead dust doesn’t get on anything. Sweep and clean the area thoroughly when you’re done.

Replace

Asbestos is more troublesome than it’s worth, but it is very good at one thing: preventing fire damage. It is nearly impossible to get the stuff to burn. Following the removal of any hazardous building material, you have to take a moment to consider why it was installed in the first place. Lead pipes are easy enough to replace with PVC, while asbestos removal should be followed up with the installation of something to replace it, like fiber-cement siding.

Finally: You’ll want to keep an eye on the health of yourself and your crew. The real threat is prolonged exposure, and most remodeling jobs are over and done with by the time the effects of exposure to hazardous materials can really be felt, but as always, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Why You Should Use Hold Harmless ...

We frequently receive inquiries from contractors pertaining to contractual insurance requirements and how to obtain “additional insured” status on a policy.  We’ve learned throughout the years that the answer is not always the same.  Insurance forms read differently, and then can change as soon as you think you know them.

However the forms may read, there are some “best practices” you should adhere to when hiring subcontractors, or when you are accepting a job as a subcontractor:

Use a Contract

If you hire subcontractors, you already require them to sign a hold harmless agreement to protect yourself from covered losses arising out of their ongoing and completed operations.  These contracts should contain properly worded indemnification and additional insured requirements for the subcontractor’s insurance to recognize you as an insured, and to cover you.

Many insurers use additional insured forms that contain language similar to, “additional insured status when required by written contract or agreement.”  Some go as far as requiring an “executed” contract prior to the commencement of work.  It’s imperative for general contractors to have a signed contract before a subcontractor begins work in order to obtain additional insured status.

See our article “Recommended Procedures & Documentation When Hiring Subcontractors” for more information on contractual insurance requirements.

Read the Contract and Understand What You are Agreeing to

If you are a subcontractor, read the contract the general contractor presents to you.  Understand what you are promising when you agree to the terms and conditions of the contract.  We have seen contracts ask for more than what standard insurance forms will actually do.

If you are a subcontractor of a subcontractor, be sure to obtain and read the prime contract between the general contractor and the subcontractor who is hiring you.  You may be agreeing to the terms and conditions in that contract as well.

Sign the Contract

Some courts have determined that subcontractors “agreed” to provide the contractual additional insured requirement by beginning work.  However, when the subcontractor caused or contributed to a loss on the job, their insurance did not respond to recognize the general contractor as an additional insured because of the absence of a previously signed (relative to the claim) or “executed” contract.  This left the general contractor exposed to cover the cost of defense and indemnification with their own resources, then sued the subcontractor for a “breach of contract.”

 

Mason & Mason is an insurance agency.  We are not members of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the information above is for informational purposes only.  We strongly suggest you consult an attorney before making any decision on the wording and/or use of legal contract documents.


Watch Your Step! Don’t Slip & ...

Slips and falls are one of the most frequent causes of accidents, both on and off the job. Each year in the United States, more than 300,000 people suffer disabling injuries from falls. Slips and falls can be fatal as well; they rank second only to automobile accidents, causing nearly 12,000 deaths a year. To avoid getting hurt from falls, avoid rushing and remember the following:

Watch Where You Walk

Be aware of where you are walking. Look down continuously for spilled liquids, materials, equipment, changing surface levels, etc. Make sure the area is well-lit or use a flashlight if lighting is poor.

Wear Proper Footwear

Make sure your shoes are in good shape and correct for the job. Discard worn-out shoes with smooth soles and other defects. If conditions are wet and slippery, wear non-slip shoes or boots. Avoid footwear with leather soles which have poor floor traction–especially on smooth surfaces.

Check Floor Openings

Avoid unguarded floor openings. On construction sites, when covers are placed over floor openings, avoid walking on the cover unless it is absolutely secure and will not move or collapse. Never jump over pits or other openings.

Be Careful On Stairs

Do not run when going up or down stairs. Check to see that stair treads are in good shape, with no obstructions on the steps. Always use the hand railings that are provided. Avoid carrying large loads when going up or down stairs and ensure that stairs are well-lit.

Use Ladders Correctly

Never use broken or defective ladders. Set the angle of the ladder at the proper four-to-one ratio (height to width angle). Make sure the ladder is on solid footing and will not move when you climb upon it. Whenever possible, tie your ladder to the structure to improve stability. Anchorage at the bottom is also a good idea. Never stand on the top two steps of a step ladder.

Make Sure Scaffolding Is Safe To Use

When working on scaffolding, make sure it is secure, stable and properly set-up. Do not work on scaffolding if guard rails are missing or the base is unstable. Check to see that planks are in good shape and not cracked. Tall scaffolds should be tied into a structure to increase stability.

Don’t Jump Out Of Vehicles

Never jump from equipment or vehicles. Use the handrail and steps provided, remembering the “three point rule.” Avoid stepping onto loose rocks, slippery surfaces, oil spills, etc.