Wisconsin boasts impressive hunting safety numbers

Wisconsin is one of the safest places in the country to hunt – and it’s not an accident, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“Wisconsin has such a passion for deer hunting, and this passion extends from generation to generation,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “Through hunter education programs and important lessons being passed down to younger hunters, Wisconsin continues to stand out as a great example of safe and ethical hunting.” (http://host.madison.com)

deer hunting

Experts account the impressive safety record to two items:

  1. The mandate of hunters wearing blaze orange in 1980

  2. Increased hunting safety training and an expanded hunter education program

The hunting incident rate has dropped to 4.04 injuries per every 100,000 hunters – a reduction of more than 90% from the 1960s.  Even more impressive, Wisconsin has experienced four gun-deer seasons free of fatalities (1972, 2010, 2011, and 2013).

As a friendly reminder, follow the basics of firearm safety – TABK:

Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

Be certain of your target and what is beyond it.

Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot.

These tips and some common sense will go a long way in continuing Wisconsin’s impressive safety record.  Hunting is a favorite pastime of many Wisconsin residents, and for good reason.  The scenic views are second to none and the abundant wildlife provide fantastic opportunities.  From our deer camp to yours – enjoy a safe and successful deer hunting season!

Cyber Liability Seen as Top Emerging Risk for 2015

The Insurance Journal posted an article yesterday regarding the top risks for 2015.  The survey was completed by top insurance and reinsurance executives.  According to 40% of respondents, cyber liability is the most threatening emerging risk.  Terrorism came in second, with 31% of the respondents identifying it as a top emerging risk (climate change was 3rd).

cyber liability

“Cyber attacks are one of the most serious economic and national security challenges facing not only the insurance industry, but governments and businesses around the world,” said Andrew Marcell, managing director and chief executive officer of U.S. operations at Guy Carpenter.

In this interconnected world, cyber liability is probably the least understood and most underinsured risk a business faces.  As witnessed first hand by major international retailers (see Target, Home Depot) – the risks are present no matter the size of your business.  Furthermore, protection against cyber liability threats continues to prove more difficult as threats become more sophisticated.

Inc. Magazine posted an article (read here) that points out 5 reasons you should have cyber liability insurance:

1.  It’s more affordable thank you think.

2.  It can cover more than you think (most policies offer ‘first party’ coverage – which covers business interruption and the cost of notifying customers of a breach).

3.  You probably don’t have a risk management team.

4.  Even if you don’t host your data yourself, you’re still responsible.

5.  Your general (liability) policy won’t cover you.

Most times, especially for small businesses, the expenses created by a data breach can be enough to put a company out of business.  These costs can include:  notifying customers of a breach, possible regulatory fines, and public relations expenses related to a breach.

There are few businesses left that don’t have some type of cyber liability exposure. Consequently, it’s always in your best interest to discuss your exposure with your insurance agent and determine if coverage is appropriate for you.  If you don’t have ANY cyber liability insurance, we recommend you take a good, hard look at your exposure and realize that a simple cyber attack may be more costly than you think.


IL Passes Rideshare Insurance Law – Is it enough?

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be”. – John Wooden

The IL legislature passed legislation that provides regulation for transportation networking companies (TNCs) – which should eliminate many insurance gaps, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. The measure will require background checks on drivers, vehicle inspections and chauffeur licenses for drivers who work more than 36 hours in any two-week period. It also requires clear disclosure to TNC drivers about insurance coverages.

The key component of the legislature is that the commercial liability insurance policy will be the primary policy from the time the driver’s app is on or he/she is available to accept a passenger. The bill has been sent to the governor for approval.

The goal of the legislation is two-fold:

1. Increase clarity on which policy is primary (personal auto vs. commercial).

2. Avoid increases in personal insurance rates


While increased legislation usually creates more problems than it solves, the goal of this legislation is noble. Ideally, an insurance company would step up and provide a unique and differentiated product customized for this exposure; however, it doesn’t appear as though there is any interest from any company. As the quote from John Wooden at the beginning of this post emphasizes, failure to change may be fatal. I’m hopeful that insurance companies become more flexible with their products and policies offered in this ever-changing world. It’d be a shame to let the barbaric coverage forms provided by insurance companies hinder the entrepreneurial spirit of this country.

Uber, Lyft and Auto Insurance

The Zebra, an internet-based insurance agency, recently posted a fantastic article on insurance coverage and how it relates to Uber and Lyft (the article can be found here).

Everyone loves Uber, UberX, and Lyft – and why shouldn’t they? They are easy to use, affordable, and convenient. They allow their drivers to reap the monetary benefits of taxi drivers – without any of the typical costs associated with a taxi driver. It’s a classic win-win, right!?

When you talk to Uber drivers – they often speak of how they don’t have to carry a commercial insurance policy because Uber has a ‘master’ policy. Yes, Uber does carry $1 million of liability insurance (including $1 million of uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage, as well as contingent comprehensive and collision coverage). However, this ONLY applies while you are transporting an Uber/Lyft customer (as your personal auto policy has an exclusion for providing coverage while transporting people for hire). What insurance applies while you are on your way to pick up a customer? The personal auto policy would be primary and the commercial policy would provide excess coverage, as The Zebra has illustrated in this fantastic graphic.


Lastly, most personal auto insurance carriers would cancel your personal auto policy if they knew you were hauling people around for hire on your free time. It’s an exposure that their current pricing models do not account for. As always, the insurance industry is slow to accommodate new technology and business models; however, the state of IL has recently passed a rideshare legislation with an insurance component (which we’ll dive into in a future post).

There have been no major lawsuits against any of the large rideshare companies, yet. When (not if) one happens – it’ll be interesting to see how the insurance components will handle the situation and if $1 million of coverage will be enough to cover the exposure. As Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management says, “At first risk happens slowly, then it happens all at once”.

Golf Season is here! Does my insurance provide coverage if I hit someone!?

golfSpring is upon us (finally) and that means golf season is here!  I’ve been asked by a fellow golfing companion and a club pro the following question twice in the past few weeks, so I thought it may be worthy of a short blog post.

If I hit someone or hit (and damage) their car – does my personal insurance apply or is the golf course responsible?

Fore!!  Yes, if you hit the drive – you are liable for any subsequent damage.  The golf course may get named in the lawsuit – if it reaches court – but they are not going to be liable for any resulting damage from a golf ball that you hit.  You can try and run or hide; however, you are responsible for subsequent damages.

Coverage is afforded under the personal liability portion of your homeowners policy.  Generally, no deductible applies for this coverage.  If coverage is exhausted on the homeowners insurance policy, a personal umbrella policy may apply if needed.  There is no coverage under your personal auto policy (another common misconception)!

As always, it’s best to consult with your insurance professional to discuss any potential claim or coverage scenarios.  Furthermore, a golf lesson and some practice on the driving range may be the best way to avoid this claim scenario.