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Anyone else in NJ get ins. rates for this coming season yet?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Plowsite should have their own forum JUST for insurance...

    I feel like even though we've dotted every I and crossed every T over the last few seasons, we're still getting rocked with slip and falls..

    2011-2012 we had none
    2012-2013 we had none
    2013-2014 we had Three
    2014-2015 we have One, not filed yet, an employee slipped and WC of the client covered it, but then is trying to claim we were the liable ones on march 9th, when it was a low of 42degrees overnight and high of in the 50s!

    Insurance company we had in 13-14 season told us months ago, that all three cases were non-active cases, they requested information from the suing parties and none was provided.

    Today i get an email from the company stating they settled a claim with one of the three from that season for 25k because they had an injury that they could be liable for about $50k+ if it went to court. This same slip and fall we had documented that OUR CLIENT, specifically requested us NOT de-ice that morning in 2014, and correspondence showing that I was adamant that they should have us apply the salt because of the overnight temps... "all our other sites were de-iced prior to 6am".

    This site was not and by 8am, someone slipped, notified our clients management office and they called us in to salt at 9am. We have GPS on our trucks and truck was there before 9am, put salt down anyway even though by then the sun melted any slick areas and it was just wet.

    Even with all we had proofs etc., OUR insurance still paid out, AND they sent us a bill for $1000 deductible for each case that settles or pays out.

    Our insurance went up 5x the original cost between 2011-2013, it then went up 10x that amount... so simple math here without me getting into actual amounts.

    $2,000 season x5 is $10 grand x10 is $100 grand for the season.

    I was hoping after the three cases drop off or don't have pay outs, and thankfully no slip and falls claimed for this past season, our rate would lower some... I don't think its going to be possible to find insurance or pay whatever insane amount it is this coming season.

    If our only quotes are $150k, i'm out, can't plow anything anymore and we do 99% commercial work. We only have a couple clients we don't or have never issued our insurance certificate to, but if we didn't have insurance and got sued anyway, we'd have to hire an attorney to defend the case anyway.

    We have over 10 trucks, 8 machines and three-four sub contractors who plow and/or plow/salt for us commercially. Last year, our company factored in to OUR insurance, each sub contractor and part of last years quote was $6000 we paid for our sub contractors, BUT they were still required to have all their own insurance too! sucks in nj, or ct or ma :(
  2. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Wow! I feel for you. That sucks. Definitely looks like it would be more profitable to get out of the business at those cost. Crazy.
  3. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,908

    Is that an actual number at 150K? Dear God it's worse over there than I thought if it is.
  4. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    That's insane.
  5. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,580

    I have a small truck repair shop in Morris County New Jersey. Its just me, a part timer, and a part time book keeper. My insurance is over 20,000 a year. Not including snow plowing, I have cut back on that, only have one F-250 plow insured, that's another 3500.00. Didn't get this years bill yet as mine rolls over end of January.
  6. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Waiting on my bill. Never had any claims. Im sure it's going to be higher than last year. Time will tell.

    Pretty soon the only guys with plows on their trucks here will be guys doing their own house, and all the uninsured fly by nighters.

    Oh well
  7. Ben/Insurance

    Ben/Insurance Sponsor
    Messages: 166

    Ramair, have you met with your insurance agent/broker and had him/her order and "dissect" the loss runs with you (the last 5 years) AND underwriters? What role is your agent/broker playing with regard to negotiating with underwriters at renewal time and claim representatives? Are they presenting any risk transfer techniques to you that you can utilize with your clients? Is you agent/broker an independent insurance agent that represents a wide variety of carriers or just one or two? Are they experts in dealing with the excess and surplus lines insurance marketplace when that is necessary, which might be a logical resource for you. Choosing the right insurance professional is so important today especially for snow removal contractors. I'll be coming back to plowsite soon as the snow insurance sponsor but in the meantime feel free to call me. 516-233-3515. Ben/Insurance
  8. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,908

    Holy ****.
  9. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    2 million policy here....less then 700.00
  10. fatheadon1

    fatheadon1 Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    Sounds 100% like the story that played out with a big company i sub for last year it happends to him and his insurance record was about the same as your. With a one sided contract he had with walmart in their favor that end up with his insurance comming back at the start of last season at 160 grand he is about equal in size to what you say your company is and it dam near bankrupt him. he ended up sitting down with his insurance company and they defined for him what he could do and what needed to be in his contracts. he then lost the walmart and a few other contracts because of his new contracts and has still not recovered to what his snow business once was and this year i have 4-5 free truck because he did not use them enough last year. i would atleast ask for a sit down with you insurance company bring every contract you have and make then earn your money and tell you how to play by their rules and maybe help you outta your predicament. Best of luck bud New Jersey sucks.
  11. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Holy crap
    Im slightly smaller 10 trucks 4 machines and 3 subs
    Is that number all type of insurance workers compensation truck everything or just snow
    That's crazy I'm with farm family and no where near that but have 0 slip and falls well 1 6 years ago not my fault

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,312

  13. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Yeah, in the last three years in burlington county areas, i see more and more of this.. guys with brand new Ford/Dodge/Chevy whatever, brand new plow, no commercial plates, no company name, just plowing for someone making a little per hour and are happy or think they're making money.. I know several guys who were as big or bigger than we are currently that have scaled back, sold off a lot of equipment and trucks they've used for years doing snow for the same reason. I know our rate isnt ONLY jacked up because of claims, as most any company with mulitple trucks and lots of accounts will have SOME claims, 1, 3, 10 ... and i'm saying 10 in the prior three years total is considered normal now. Thankfully, they don't look back farther, since we had multiple from ONE Walmart site in 2010, and it wasn't even that bad of a snow/cold year. Seemed like everyone claimed they slipped and injured themselves on days it was sunny and clear out. Only one of those claims was DURING any snow event or the very next morning early. Even an employee claimed they slipped at 6am walking into the store, a half hour after we re-salted the whole lot, and then USM denied paying it months later anyway... So you bill $700, don't get paid but still assume the liability from that day for a slip and fall.

    Out of all slip and falls, i can't think of one that was honestly because we forgot, missed, failed to complete a service or just dropped the ball somehow on a site. Not claiming we've been perfect for years straight, but times when it gets bad and sites arn't salted when they should be or as soon as they should be, i swear someones going to fall and sue and it never happens. Its always days later, when we didn't salt, lot is dry, or when we did salt, lot is wet by 9am and someone falls at 10am...waste our time by calling back to request a second AM salting, we show up and no ice or anything anywhere.

    Its entirely possible for folks to just trip over themselves and fall... and yet still they blame it on snow/ice/contractor etc. because of their own embarrassment that they just can't stay on two feet.

    I never fall, but fell last year, got out of the truck, went to run around the front of the V plow, went to grab the top of the plow flexible drift marker with my right hand and just flat out missed it by an inch... as i turned my right foot it went under me and i went sideways faster than you know what. Ego didn't feel good, side of my hip stung a little but i got right back up and kept on going.
  14. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Thats JUST the yearly snow policy. We have most of our insurances through farm family now.

    I've never been found "at fault" of any slip and fall, i'm not sure how they'd prove it 100% anyway, unless they had some photos from where they fell going into a store and showed ice or something time stamped?

    I realize, "not saying you", some guys with 10 trucks have 10 accounts and gross sales of $80,000 a year.. i'm just throwing out random numbers here..

    Others have 5 trucks, 40 accounts and $500k gross sales, it all impacts your insurance costs..

    We took less accounts last year, had half the trucks sit literally, the insurance didn't care, they went solely on our loss records and gross sales figures only, no matter if i used 40 trucks to do it or was a snow god and did it in 3 trucks.

    What i hate, is paying 15-20% "$15-20 per $100 billed" to the client, for work such as hourly snow cleanup after storms... you've already plowed and salted and this is just gravy money but they're still counting that against you as though they're liable more because you're billing more?

    i think our auto is $17k
    W/C is around 10k
    Inland marine is 5k "covers rentals up to 100k and 4 of our deere machines"
    GL policy is 3k "not sure what this covers, never had a claim for anything anyway"

    We've even had to have "umbrella additional insurance" for some contracts like Ferrandino and Sons.. crooks, i'll leave it at that, required us to get another 1m policy additional on top of our 2m snow policy we already had... and they required this after providing a month of snow services over a year ago before they'd pay any of their bill... yeah.

    In NJ, if you have more than one automobile, you pay a base rate for liability alone, even if you don't actually insure the car.. so i pay another $700+ per auto for liability and i literally never get to drive any of them because i'm always in the trucks...

    Its such a corrupt state, i hate that people do nothing but injure themselves and get $25-50k like nothing, without even going to trial, to court or doing anything for it, and our rates go sky high through no fault of our own.
  15. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Good questions, i know we get zero discount on our auto or snow insurance for having GPS on the trucks. In the event of a slip and fall, i can supply them with weather reports AND the GPS log of any of our trucks to detail the time in/out of a particular site and time spent there... its so detailed that i can even review that day online/on the maps, and see where the truck traveled "say for snow plowing" as if they skipped over an area plowing or salting. I've felt ripped off for the last three seasons now and its gotten so bad, i know its bad in NJ but at this rate, no one including me, could afford to plow snow commercially, yet it seems like every one is still out plowing snow. I know companies who have $5k in their bank account and plow snow so how could i struggle with a ton more assets?
  16. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Thanks olddogtwo.. that makes me feel a ton better lol
  17. PALS Landscapin

    PALS Landscapin Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    Ramair Im with you. Im to the point where Im ready to throw the towel in. All you see is guys with no name on there trucks, not registered commercial and its aggravating. I do everything by the books and I feel all im doing is paying out. I also carry a 2 million policy for some of my commercial sites.
  18. CityGuy

    CityGuy PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,220

    Is the rising cost due to the amount of snow and ice you guys had on the east coast last year and an increase in the total amount of slip and falls? Just curious.
  19. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Amount of people who like to sue
    People take no accountability for accidents
    Oh it's ice out side let me wear high heels oh I fell let sue a plow guy and insurance will settle for most case under $25000 because it's cheaper then going to court
    Tri state area gets more law suits then rest of nation according to my insurance agent
  20. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,063

    That's what I pay for snow and lawn care coverage, there's something to be said for being solo.