The Blackmail Clause in Your Insurance Contract

Individuals secure insurance policies in the hopes that when the time comes, the provider will be issued the funds needed to rebuild or pay for claims of damages against the individual. However, insurance providers underwrite policies to take care of both the insuring company and the insured. Unfortunately, the benefit of the insurer sometimes outweighs the needs of the insured. This is commonly seen with the inclusion of the hammer clause in a policy.

Understanding the Blackmail Clause

Because of the way the hammer clause is enacted, it is also referred to as the blackmail clause. This is a settlement cap provision or a consent to settlement provision that the insurer includes in the policy. It carries the power to force the insured to settle, by putting a cap on the amount of indemnification that the insurer is willing to give. The insurer gets to decide what the settlement is worth and place the cap accordingly. The way the clause is written, the insured must either accept the settlement cap or be personally responsible for the defense costs of the claim.

Who the Clause Benefits

The purpose of insurance is to indemnify policyholders from the risks that are included in the policy. For this reason, the hammer clause is most beneficial to the insurance company. Always be aware of the fine print and how it can impact your claims and payouts.

Uncommon Tools to Carry in Your Truck

Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road. While truckers know to keep a variety of mechanical and automotive tools on hand, these uncommon truck driver tools can help make the long-haul better.

Slow Cooker

The insurance company Western Truck Insurance Services states that healthy meals are not always available. Keeping a slow cooker on the rig can help you easily have something on hand that’s hot and healthy. There are many recipes that include a variety of vegetables, proteins and carbs for a well-balanced meal on the road.

GPS Navigation

While many people rely on their phones to map out their routes, truckers may find their smartphone’s battery quickly losing juice. To avoid relying on your phone, consider having a GPS navigation device specifically for trucks. These devices run off the rig’s power yet still provide the essential data you rely on such as traffic issues and construction zones.

Good Sunglasses

Having more than one pair of sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays is essential out on the road. The sun glare can cause big problems on the road whether reflecting off the snow or shining directly in your eyes. Sunglasses help protect your vision both in the short-term and the long-term.

These uncommon truck driver tools are sure to come in handy. Add them to your arsenal along with your standard bag of tools and spare parts.

Workers Compensation When Outsourcing HR Functions

If your company has started discussions on the option of outsourcing human resources and related tasks, then there are two choices available. One utilizes a model called a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), and the other falls under an Administrative Services Organization (ASO). Both of these can free up company resources and provide dedicated HR responsibilities such as benefits, payroll and hiring. However, there are some key differences that may factor into the decision process.

Defining Co-Employment

With a PEO, the company enters into an agreement that essentially binds the two entities together under what is known as co-employment. This arrangement allows the PEO to take on more risk and responsibility. Under an ASO, the company is still considered the employer of record.

Workers Compensation Under ASO

Because of the differences regarding the co-employment structure, ASO workers comp insurance functions differently as well. When using an ASO the coverage is still provided by the company. As explained by, this presents a distinctive opportunity when it comes to worker’s compensation. Premiums can be paid out during smaller timeframes such as a payroll period or a single month. There are no annual estimates or audits needed to make adjustments. This can provide greater flexibility and require fewer upfront costs than the traditional market method.

The Fair Housing Act and the Responsibilities of Your HOA

According to Kevin Davis Insurance Services, perceived or actual discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status or disability is one of the most common causes of lawsuits against homeowners associations. Purchasing HOA insurance is an excellent way to address the risk of litigation. However, HOA board members should also be familiar with relevant regulations in order to avert problems.

What Kind of Accommodations Need To Be Made?

The laws addressing discrimination which most often affect HOAs are those in the Fair Housing Act. According to these regulations, residents may request, verbally or in writing, that reasonable accommodations or modifications be made in order to enable them to access their home and common areas in the neighborhood:

  • A reasonable accommodation involves altering or making an exception to neighborhood rules, services and policies.
  • A reasonable modification involves a structural alteration.

Changes can be made to the inside or outside of existing dwellings and public spaces. An HOA should seek guidance from its insurers to determine which requests are reasonable.

Who Pays?

In most cases, the costs incurred by accommodations are the responsibility of the HOA, while those associated with modifications are the responsibility of the resident. That said, if the modifications are located in common spaces customarily maintained by the association, the cost of their upkeep may be the responsibility of the HOA too.

Given the complex nature of the FHA regulations, it is understandable that they can occasionally lead to complaints and litigation. In these situations, HOA insurance can protect your board from related expenditures.