Tag Archives: Hardenberg
In a time when layoffs and foreclosures are widespread, your firm may be forced to manage vacant real estate. The insurance risks and liabilities associated with owning vacant property can be extensive, and to ensure you are adequately protected, it is important to know these risks. In addition to purchasing comprehensive insurance coverage, there are numerous preventive strategies for maintaining vacant properties to reduce risk and liability.
Potential Risks of Vacant Real Estate
There are a host of risks and concerns associated with owning vacant real estate. Vacant buildings are an obvious target for theft, trespassing and vandalism. For example, the rising cost of copper has given rise to an increase in the theft of copper pipes from vacant properties. In addition to any loss or property damage that may occur, keep in mind that the owner of a property can be held liable for criminal activities or accidents that take place on the premises.
In addition, vacant properties are susceptible to undetected damages, such as fire, water damage, electrical explosions, wind or hail damage, and mold. A study by the U.S. Fire Administration shows that approximately 30,000 fires occur every year in vacant buildings, costing $900 million annually in direct property damage. Many of these incidents occur in vacant buildings due to small, undetected maintenance issues; someone in an occupied building would have recognized and handled the problem before it caused a larger loss.
In certain facilities, there may also be environmental hazards that the owner needs to consider. Facilities that are used to store chemicals or other pollutants should ensure that such materials are removed or securely stored— the owner may be held liable for any hazardous materials that contaminate groundwater or other nearby natural resources. Also, underground fuel tanks present serious challenges and thus should be frequently and carefully inspected by professionals.
Other Ways to Mitigate Risk with Vacant Real Estate
In addition to extending coverage, there are some simple steps that owners of vacant property can take to limit their risk and liability.
Prevent vandalism: Notify local authorities of vacated properties so they can watch for criminal behavior.
Maintain an “occupied” appearance: mow the lawn, have mail forwarded or picked up regularly and install light timers and/or a security system.
Limit liability: Make sure the property is free from significant hazards (e.g., broken railings or steps, broken windows) that could cause injuries to anyone on the property—this could include police officers, maintenance workers, firefighters or even trespassers.
Avoid damage: Performing regular maintenance on the property can decrease the odds of sustaining damage. Make sure the heating system and chimney are cleaned and inspected regularly. Have the plumbing system winterized to prevent frozen pipes. Periodically inspect roof, insulation, attic, basement, gutters and other areas of the property for any necessary repairs, mold, damage or other problems. Consider installing smoke detectors that are tied to a centrally monitored fire alarm system so the fire department will be notified in the case of an alarm. Remove all access material and combustibles from in and around the building.
Insuring Vacant Residential Properties
Most insurance companies include a clause that the homeowner’s insurance will expire if a home is left vacant for more than 30 or 60 days. This leaves the property owner financially vulnerable for all previously noted risk. However, many insurance companies do offer vacant property insurance, also known as vacant building insurance or vacant dwelling insurance.
Insuring Vacant Commercial Buildings
Vacant commercial buildings are more difficult to insure because they present greater risks, including increased chance of theft, malicious damage and burst pipes. It is important to disclose all relevant facts when seeking insurance, including the reason for the property’s vacancy and a schedule of any work to be done on the property. Because of the increased risks and liability associated with a vacant property, these types of insurance tend to be costly—ranging from one and a half to five times the cost of a property insurance policy. It is important to look beyond the price and consider the suitability and comprehensiveness of the coverage being purchased.
For more information about vacant property insurance and other strategies to help protect your assets and mitigate loss from vacant real estate, contact us today at (856) 489-9100.
Commercial Lines – Manager
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
Let’s look at tips to improve comfort and ergonomics at work. Sitting at a computer for the majority of your workday can negatively affect your health if your workstation isn’t properly adjusted. Follow these suggestions to make your workstation work for you.
Ergonomics at Work – ADJUSTING YOUR CHAIR
• Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to—or slightly lower than—your hips.
• Adjust your armrests so that your shoulders are down and relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.
• Sit in the chair with your hips positioned as far back as possible. Use a foot rest if your feet don’t touch the floor.
Ergonomics at Work – MONITOR PLACEMENT
Placing your monitor in an appropriate position helps prevent excessive fatigue, eye strain, and neck or back pain.
• Center and position the top of the monitor approximately 2 to 3 inches above seated eye level.\
• Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen, making adjustments to suit your vision.
• You can reduce glare by positioning your screen away from windows, adjusting blinds or using a filter.
• Position source documents directly in front of you, between the monitor and the keyboard, using a copy stand.
Ergonomics at Work – KEYBOARD AND MOUSE CONSIDERATIONS
If your keyboard and mouse are not adjusted properly, it can lead to discomfort in your wrists, arms and shoulders.
• Place the keyboard directly in front of you at a distance that allows your elbows to stay close to your body and your forearms approximately parallel with the floor.
• Use the keyboard feet to adjust the tilt of your keyboard. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you at a negative angle. If you are reclined, a slight positive tilt will help maintain a straight wrist position.
• A wrist rest can help you to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces, but resting on it while typing is not recommended.
Ergonomics at Work – TAKE A BREAK
Regardless of how well your workstation is set up, sitting still and working in the same posture for prolonged periods is not healthy. Try to change your working position frequently throughout the day.
• Take a break or change tasks for at least 5 to 10 minutes after each hour of work. Try to get away from
your desk during lunch breaks.
• Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically.
• Make small adjustments to your chair or backrest.
For more information, contact:
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139