Fully Protect Your Financial Interests
Today within the fire sprinkler industry, each sprinkler contractor owner looks to fully protect his or her financial interests both during and after completion of any contractual work performed. The American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) program provided through Robert Leonhart and Blue River Underwriters has been and is still the most credentialed and qualified plan within the industry.
By the utilization of all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and contractual experience, the sprinkler contractor, if accepted after passing all pre-applications required, becomes a part of this AFSA program for full protection. The judicial and claims adjusting environment changes constantly and AFSA’s program makes any required adjustments for protection.
A major issue today is what I call CSR (common sense resolvement), which is for the advantage of both the insurance interest and the insured ultimately. As background information:
When a sprinkler contractor receives from the property owner’s interests a claim against the sprinkler Contractor, three (3) conditions prevail as follows:
- The sprinkler contractor is not negligent in any manner.
- The sprinkler contractor is only a minor contributor to same.
- The sprinkler contractor is totally negligent.
In determining same, the AFSA-endorsed program provides both codified and contractual experience and paths to determine one of the three above.
- Contractually, all contracts and associated documents are reviewed for paths of consideration.
- Codification, all claims are reviewed relative to all NFPA applications.
This is where a path of resolve begins. Within the claims handling process, which includes both contractual and codification:
- There may be an outright denial of any contractual and/or codifications negligence.
- There may be what is considered a minor “contributory” input of negligence.
- There may be acknowledgment of the total negligence cited.
In any case, the insured’s interests will be totally pursued in a professional manner. This is where possible CSR may pursue. If the insurance company utilizes CSR in some cases, at renewal time these amounts are not included in the loss ratio of that sprinkler contractor. This is important to understand.
Ok, what is an example of CSR? If you as a sprinkler contractor are not negligent in any manner, the insurance company may negotiate a reasonable contribution to a financial settlement rather than spend monstrous legal fees in attempting to just maintain a “no negligent” resolve for the insured.
In short, why not settle for $8,000 rather than pay $20,000 plus more for legal fees to just prove a point? In most cases, the property owner’s interests are just trying to see how much we’re willing to pay just to walk away. That is common sense resolvement (CSR).
This, in total, contributes to the financial strength of the insurance company while not penalizing the insured regarding their loss ratio at renewal time. Robert Leonhart and Blue River Underwriters have created a coverage services support team, which includes state-of-the-art loss control services, professional claims handling service, and state-of-the-industry back room claims review by NFPA experts to support your needs. Have your local independent agent contact our program leader, Robert Leonhart, at email@example.com or direct at 469-320-4030 for information about our program.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Don Becker, former AFSA Chairman of the Board, was president and founder of Midland Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, prior to its acquisition by Grinnell in 1999. He also served as AFSA Region III Director for many years. Becker is certified as a NICET Level IV Senior Engineering Technician. He is a member of the NFPA 13 Correlating Committee on Automatic Sprinkler Systems. This is the committee that oversees all the individual NFPA 13 technical committees.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As an AFSA-endorsed business solution, information on Blue River Underwriters can also be found on AFSA’s website at firesprinkler.org under “Member Center” and then “Business Solutions.”