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Disaster Sparks Insurance Coverage Reviews

September 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on Disaster Sparks Insurance Coverage Reviews 

Editor’s Note: Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) contacted several campground insurers to comment on the fires in the West. Following are excerpts from their comments.

When it comes to forest fires, there are a few different coverages that apply, noted Damian Petty, an agent for Leavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insurance. Insurance can pay one of two ways:

•  “If the fire actually comes onto the property and catches a building on fire, most people have some type of business income coverage. However the key is the building or item has to be covered by the policy to trigger the business income coverage. For example, let’s say you have 40 sites that are on the back portion of the property but no buildings caught on fire. It would not trigger the coverage. However having just a few things insured like fences, outdoor equipment, pedestals or something like that is always a good idea because this could trigger the cancellation of business income coverage.

“With this being said and if coverage was available, most people don’t understand that the insurance will only pay for Net Profit, Continuing Expenses, and, if purchased, Extra Expenses. It will pay until the buildings are replaced or repaired and normally only up to 12 months. Most people think that it pays for Gross Income and this is what causes most of the problems when people get the check from the insurance company because it is much less than the gross income they thought they were going to get.

So, how does the insurance company go about determining the loss?

“Normally, they will look back on prior years’ taxes or accounting records to determine actual loss and compare them to your records during the time you were closed.

•  “The other Business Income that is on almost every policy is one for Civil Authority. If the forest fire is headed your way and civil authority requires you to leave your property, you have coverage for two weeks. Some companies are extending this to three and sometimes four weeks. However, one of the key parts to this coverage is you have to be required to leave your property as well as be gone for 72 hours before the coverage is triggered. They will pay you for your loss of income back to the first day you were required to leave, but the 72 hours is a deductible. For example, if you were required to leave like in the Canon City fires in Colorado this year, they were allowed back in and could open within the 72-hour period so no coverage would be offered. Some companies are doing right by people and paying because the road was closed for 68 hours but they don’t have to, according to the policy terms. However, the South Fork Fires in Colorado this year were a little different. They were required to leave for 8-10 days depending on where the business was located. This will pay for the entire time they were closed.”

Things that are not covered:

• You might be requested to prepare to be evacuated. The policy does not cover you for this time.

• Cancelation of reservations for future dates. Let’s say the fire is in June but people cancel for August. It will not pay for these.

• Maybe your resort is not closed but the highway that is mainly used to get to you was closed but people can drive around and still get to your resort.

• Extra Expenses might not be covered depending on the language in the policy.

• Your buildings burn on Sept 30 and you close for the season on Oct 10. They will only pay for loss of income for 10 days.

*****

Tom Gerken

Tom Gerkin, an independent consultant for USI Insurance, reported, “Business interruption insurance or loss of income coverage is definitely a coverage option which most park owners take advantage of. Some insurance companies include some limited coverage in their policies with no additional premium charge, and with an option to purchase higher limits. Others offer it only as an option. Some carriers require you purchase a specific dollar amount of coverage while others leave this area wide open with ‘actual loss incurred’ policy language.

“The important thing for business owners to be aware of is that this is coverage for net income plus ongoing expenses, it does not cover their gross income. Oftentimes, lenders will ask park owners to provide coverage limits equal to their gross income. This is not prudent, as the premiums can be significant. Park owners should be certain their coverage is adequate, but not excessive. Most policies have a deductible for business interruption insurance as well. Instead of a dollar amount, the most common deductible I have seen is a 72-hour deductible, meaning there will be no coverage provided for that initial time frame. As with any insurance, the intent is to place you in the condition you were in prior to the loss.”

*****

Campgrounds can guard against the loss of business while they are forced to close if they carry “business income and extra expense” coverage, also called “business interruption” coverage.

Lucas Hartford

This insurance covers the campground if there are government ordered closures that affect the business, explained Lucas Hartford, president of Evergreen USA.

“Most typically, we see this with wildfires in the West or hurricanes on the East Coast. Most companies usually have a deductible period of one to three days of closure before the coverage begins but after that the business is compensated for their net income loss,” Hartford said.

He estimated that 35% to 45% of campgrounds do purchase this coverage with limits varying from $5,000 of coverage to $5,000,000 of coverage.  But the average campground buys $50,000-$200,000 of coverage, he said.

“So far this year, Evergreen has been very fortunate and had very few large natural disasters affect its campgrounds that it insures,” he said. “The biggest natural disasters we have had have been some localized severe thunderstorms in the Northeast and Midwest. But we are remaining cautiously optimistic as hurricane season is upon us which is typically the greatest peril we face for our insureds.”

 

 

Falling Tree Limbs and Golf Carts: Emerging Park Hazards

June 27, 2012 by · Comments Off on Falling Tree Limbs and Golf Carts: Emerging Park Hazards 

Trim those trees!

That’s one piece of advice from Lucas Hartford, president of Evergreen USA, which specializes in campground insurance.

Hartford said his Lewiston, Maine-based company has seen an increase in claims resulting from falling dead or dying tree limbs.

“We’ve seen it slowly creeping up over the past 10 years,” he said. “Over that time, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of tree limbs that have caused damage to (RVs) and, occasionally, to people.”

And while years ago campers often considered falling limbs part of nature, today they are more likely to sue if they get hurt or if their property is damaged.

K & K Insurance Group in Fort Wayne, Ind., is seeing a similar increase in falling limb claims, said Lorena Hatfield, K & K’s marketing resources manager.

Hartford and Hatfield said it is incumbent upon park operators to keep their trees properly trimmed because if there is an accident and an investigation concludes that the tree was rotting or had dead or dying branches, the park owner could be liable for damages.

Falling green limbs, on the other hand, are more likely to be considered an act of God or nature. In those cases, the camper’s own insurance should cover any damages, Hartford said.

Falling tree limbs are one of several emerging and ongoing hazards that insurers are seeing in campgrounds.

Golf Carts are Silent Hazards

Another emerging risk area involves accidents with golf carts.

Campers are increasingly bringing their own golf carts to campgrounds. Some campgrounds also make golf carts available for guest use.

But since many of these vehicles are electric, people can’t hear them coming, Hartford said, and that increases the risk. Another problem is the age of the golf cart drivers.

Some campers view golf carts as “boy toys” and allow their children to drive them. But the damage or injuries that result from golf carts can be similar to that caused by automobiles, Hartford said, adding that campgrounds often get named in lawsuits involving golf carts because they are seen as a source of “deep pockets” for such claims, regardless of who was at fault.

Park owners can reduce the chances of having golf cart-related claims by posting and enforcing strict limits governing golf cart use. Such policies should require all drivers to have drivers’ licenses. Limits should also be posted on when golf carts can be used and parks should establish methods to prove that they are enforcing golf cart rules.

“The parks that let anything go are more likely to have problems,” Hartford said.

Other areas of risk include slip and fall hazards.

“Trips and falls are always a common claim for campgrounds,” said Hatfield of K & K Insurance.

“This could include a variety of incidents, such as a camper who trips on debris from trees or natural materials or a guest who slips on a wet staircase or falls due to a hole in a poorly maintained parking area.”

The best way to guard against slip and fall claims is to ensure that your campground is properly maintained. “Set up a weekly or even daily ‘walk around’ to check the campground for any hazard that might cause an accident,” she said.

Pool Management Is Crucial

Another area of ongoing claims involves swimming pool management. “Many campgrounds have swimming areas that are not supervised by a lifeguard, putting the campground at risk if a tragedy occurs,” Hatfield said. “Be sure to follow all basic pool safety management techniques.”

This includes having posted signs indicating when lifeguards are available, having a secure fence around the pool to secure it when the pool is closed and having safety equipment available.

“Every pool should be kept immaculately clean, well-lit and have maintenance records in order and available,” Hatfield said, adding that parks that have pool maintenance records that document the park’s efforts to reduce risks are critical in the event a claim is filed.

Hartford also recommended that park operators consider developing and refining their emergency or disaster plans. He said a government website at www.Ready.gov has some good information. “It brings up ideas they may not have thought of before,” he said

Restructuring Sparks New Life in Massachusetts Assn.

April 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on Restructuring Sparks New Life in Massachusetts Assn. 

MACO's new logo

Thanks to a generous gift from a “good friend,” the Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners (MACO) has a new vision and a new mission statement as it enters the 2012 camping season.

The monetary gift from campground insurer Evergreen USA helped MACO retain the services of Taylor Communications in 2011 to give the 50-year-old association new direction, explained Marcia Galvin of Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort in Foxboro, MACO president and CEO. Taylor staff worked with the MACO board, and the results were unveiled at the recent MACO annual meeting during the Northeast Campground Association (NCA) convention in Sturbridge, Mass.

MACO board’s was restructured, a new logo was designed and the association has new mission and vision statements. The association also has a new three-year strategic plan in place.

Here is the mission statement:

MACO is an outdoor hospitality industry association dedicated to educating, promoting, and supporting its members and their guests.

Here is the vision statement:

Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners (MACO) will be the respected collaborative voice in the Northeast by promoting the outdoor hospitality industry in Massachusetts. We will be a strong cohesive organization that will effectively serve our members.

MACO retained its existing board but redesignated some titles. Galvin, former executive director, took on the new title of president and CEO, while Michelle Ackerman of Sodom Mountain Campground in Southwick was named MACO chairman.

Each board member is responsible for one of six regions of the state and keeping the rest of the board informed about what’s going on in that region.

“It was a great process and put a new spark under everybody,” Galvin told Woodall’s Campground Management.

“The board wanted to have this process completed this year as MACO is celebrating our 50th Anniversary as an association and our celebration will be at the NCA Great Escape Sept. 11-13 at Normandy Farms campground in Foxboro,” she noted.

Marcia Galvin

Jack O'Leary

The restructuring effort is contagious. Since the NCA convention, the Connecticut Campground Owners Association decided to pursue a similar goal and Evergreen offered to help, Galvin said.

Meanwhile, MACO will hold a meeting for members April 25 at Normandy Farms. Agenda items will include MACO’s celebration of its 50th anniversary at the Great Escape, the Jimmy Fund Campout, the 2013 directory and website improvements. Jack O’Leary from Merrill Associates will discuss MACO’s ongoing discussions with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. MACO applied for and received a $2,500 grant from ARVC to help in its lobbying efforts.

 

Lain Agency Offers New Workers’ Comp Program

February 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on Lain Agency Offers New Workers’ Comp Program 

George Harper, president of R.C. Lain Insurance Agency, Port Jervis, N.Y., announced the formation of the R.C. Lain Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program, designed specifically for RV parks and campgrounds.

As reported in the current issue of The PCOA News, the program is exclusive to the Lain agency and is underwritten by the Ullico Casualty Insurance Co.

This program offers upfront discounts to RV parks and campgrounds that display superior loss control and have minimal claim experience.

“One advantage of a program designed for RV parks and campgrounds is the application of class codes that accurately classify employees,” said Harper. “Proper classification can produce lower rates than the main campground class, which in most states is a building maintenance class.

The new program was developed in 2011, but Harper has a long history of providing insurance to RV parks and campgrounds, dating back to 1982. He was president of Tri-State Insurance Agency for over 30 years. He is now the owner of the Lain agency, which was incorporated in 1927.

R.C. Lain is a full-service independent agency licensed in 15 states. It represents 17 insurance companies providing all lines of business, flood and personal insurance as well as life and health insurance.

The R.C. Lain Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program is widely available to the industry and can be contacted directly. Evergreen USA’s recent alliance with R.C. Lain provides evidence of R.C. Lain’s commitment to workers’ compensation and personal insurance program.

In addition to offering the tailored workers’ compensation program, R.C. Lain is also supporting Evergreen clients by providing coverages not offered within the Evergreen product line of RV park and campground insurance. These coverages include flood insurance, personal auto and homeowners insurance.

New Profit Center: Recharging Electric Vehicles

May 6, 2011 by · Comments Off on New Profit Center: Recharging Electric Vehicles 

Wade Elliott

Attendees at the Texas Association of Campground Owners’ (TACO Spring Convention received a briefing this week on how to provide recharge services for travelers with electric cars.

Wade Elliott of Preston, Wash.-based Utility Supply Group said the prices for electric vehicle recharge equipment as it becomes available range from $700 to $3,500 for each station. However, such equipment could be available at lower prices in the future, according to a news release.

In the meantime, Elliott said, there are several ways park operators can accommodate travelers who need to recharge their electric vehicles.

Perhaps the best way, he said, is to install a dedicated 50-amp GFCI protected/240-volt outlet on the side of their camp store or office that is solely to be used for electric vehicle recharging. This method, which is already being used by some campground operators, enables the park to provide the service without tying up a campsite.

If that option is not available, Elliott recommends that park operators refer their electric vehicle recharge customers to unoccupied campsite loops with 50 amp / 240 volt electrical hookups. This way, electric vehicle owners can recharge their vehicles without overloading the circuits or competing for electricity with other RVers who are plugged into the same electrical circuit. In either case, the electric vehicle owner will need an adapter to connect to their car, though most electric car owners already have such adapters.

It is possible for electric vehicles to be recharged with 50-amp/240-volt RV hookups. But Elliott said that no more than one vehicle should be allowed to do this per electrical loop so as not to overload the circuits. There are typically two to 10 campsites per electrical loop, he said.

Elliott provided the electric vehicle recharge seminar Tuesday at TACO’s Spring Convention at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville because consumer interest in using campgrounds as electrical vehicle recharge stations is growing.

Elliott said electric vehicles typically require about 40 kilowatts of power for a four-hour charge, the price of which varies across the country. Park owners, for their part, are charging anywhere from $8.50 to $15 for a four-hour charge, with most charging about $10.

“You’re not just selling power. You’re selling convenience,” Elliott said, adding, “A lot of RV parks sitting alongside highways and interchanges are in a perfect position to take advantage of this.”

Lucas Hartford, president of Evergreen USA, said in a separate interview that he does not foresee any increased liability for park owners that allow their RV pedestals to be used for electric vehicle recharging, so long as their equipment meets the relevant electrical codes.

Baker’s Acres Wins Video Contest

December 13, 2010 by · Comments Off on Baker’s Acres Wins Video Contest 

A video titled “RV Time Machine” was produced by Baker’s Acres Campground in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., and was the winning entry in the RV Centennial Video contest sponsored by Evergreen USA. The contest winner was announced on Dec. 3, at the conclusion of the InSites Convention and Expo in las Vegas.

Evergreen Sponsors RV Centennial Video Contest

June 3, 2010 by · Comments Off on Evergreen Sponsors RV Centennial Video Contest 

In honor of the past 100 years of RVing and to salute the promising future of this quintessential American epic pastime, Evergreen USA invites the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) member parks to participate in the RV Centennial Video Contest “Celebrating the RV Centennial.”

ARVC has partnered with with Evergreen USA to sponsor the contest. Insuring RV parks and campgrounds since 1989, Evergreen USA is offering a $5,000 cash prize to be used toward “greening” your park, according to a news release.

Host a cookout, a vintage rally, an RV birthday party or other fun-filled event celebrating the RV Centennial at your park, get it all on video, and submit your one minute film of the day’s fun for a chance to win Evergreen’s $5,000 cash prize.

The contest kicks off during the RV Centennial Celebration Month on June 7 and video entries will be accepted until the end of August. A winner will be chosen on Sept.8 and the prize will be awarded at InSites 2010 in Las Vegas.

For more information on the contest visit www.arvc.org.

Vendors Shows Their Wares at Convention

May 6, 2010 by · Comments Off on Vendors Shows Their Wares at Convention 

While last month’s ReV up in Reno convention in Sparks, Nev., provided private park operators with close to 20 educational seminars and cracker barrel sessions, twice as many campground industry suppliers offered their own form of education as they explained new products, discussed the pros and cons of joining franchise networks and troubleshot some of the problems they were having at their campgrounds.

“Most people (who come to see me) have a problem of some kind,” said Eric Stumberg, president and CEO of Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet, which provides wireless Internet service to campgrounds and their guests.

Stumberg said one of the biggest challenges park operators face comes from international guests who use Skype and Vonage to place Internet phone calls. But many parks haven’t yet invested in sufficient bandwidth to accommodate the needs of multiple Skype and Vonage users.

“You either have to have higher bandwidth or set expectations appropriately for your guests,” he said.

While attendance at the tradeshow was not as high as many had hoped for, several vendors said their business levels were improving this year.

“Our business is exploding,” said Leo Ganley of CheckBox Systems LLC, a Gray, Maine-based Wi-Fi service provider, adding that growing numbers of parks are recognizing that having Wi-Fi service is a “baseline requirement” for their guests.

Many of the vendors attending the show displayed items that had environmentally friendly applications, such as biodegradable pet waste products and non-polluting campfire fuels.

Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group was also on hand. But this time he wasn’t only showing power outlets and utility pedestals, but energy efficient hand dryers for bathrooms, which are manufactured by Xlerator. Elliott said the systems, which can dry one’s hands in less than 15 seconds, are so efficient that they pay for themselves in less than a year in electricity and paper towel savings. He said the manufacturer has a calculator at www.exceldryer.com, which park operators can use to calculate their potential savings based on their electricity and paper towel costs.

Elliott said the hand dryers were selling like hot cakes. “I’ve sold more of these units in the first three or four months of this year than I have in the past two years,” he said, adding that park operators are becoming increasingly interested in the paper saving units because of the rising cost of trash pickup.

Elliott said he is also seeing increased interest in compact fluorescent light bulbs, electric meters, timer boxes and lighting equipment with photo cells, which can turn the lights on and off depending on the amount of sunlight or darkness outside.

Meanwhile, Paul Croteau of Eaton Corp. was showing off several types of solar-powered lighting for RV sites, pathways and boat docks. “They’re a heck of a lot nicer than what you’d find at Home Depot,” he said.

Campground insurance providers were also available, explaining their latest campground insurance offerings, including Evergreen USA of Lewiston, Maine, and Sturgis, S.D.-based Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Inc., which was promoting a new campground insurance program offered by Firemen’s Fund.

Representatives for Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts and Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) were also meeting with independent park operators to talk to them about joining their respective franchise systems.

A few steps away, David Gorin of Best Parks in America offered a special show rate for park operators interested in joining his network of 52 high quality parks. “We’d like to get some new affiliates in California,” he said. “This is a way for independent parks to leverage a well-known brand.”

Evergreen USA Sees Good Year for Park Sector

April 8, 2010 by · Comments Off on Evergreen USA Sees Good Year for Park Sector 

Lucas B. Hartford

Editor’s Note: The following Campground Outlook for 2010 was provided by Lucas B. Hartford, president of Evergreen USA. For more information, go to www.evergreenusa.com.

The Camping Industry in 2010

Having weathered the tough economy over the past sixteen months, many campground and RV Park owners are optimistic about improving their results in 2010, as well they should be. As the old saying goes, “we’re not out of the woods yet.” We know that our country’s economy, as well as the global economy, could be much better. However, there are many signs of improvement on the horizon.

Many forecasts call for renewed GDP growth across the board. The rebound in corporate profits is exceeding expectations. Home prices are on the rise. These are all very positive signs of improvement. With that being said, there are certainly parts of the economy that are still in decline. Defaults on commercial real estate borrowings continue to worsen, causing more trouble for the banking industry. The national debt currently exceeds twelve billion dollars. Even with these negative indicators, the majority of evidence still shows that recovery is under way. We are now headed in the right direction but we are starting at a very low point.

At the start of 2009, when some campers thought about their vacation plans for 2010, they were careful in how much time they wanted to spend camping due to strong concerns about the economy and about their jobs. But here at the start of 2010 there are signs of recovery and consumer confidence is starting to rise again – allowing them to do what they need to do most, relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

Camping is a strong and resilient industry. It is an industry that you should be very proud to be part of. I believe campgrounds and RV parks will have a better 2010 than 2009.

Regulations in 2010

With the change in the federal government administration a little over a year ago, one thing which happened very quickly, and continues to happen, is the development of new regulations in the insurance industry.

We welcome these changes, as the new requirements address issues that we are already in compliance with. We will see very few changes for Evergreen as a result of the new administration. However, with increased regulation inevitably comes more paperwork. Reporting voluminous amounts of data is a great challenge for all insurance companies.

Increased regulations are not limited to the insurance industry by any means. With a change at the helm of our federal government in 2009, and also a change for many state governments, we are seeing many new regulations for the camping industry as well. New life safety codes, tax laws and operating regulations are being forced upon you at a record speed.

As a business owner or manager it is your responsibility to know these new regulations, and to make certain you are complying with them. Evergreen will continue to do the best it can to keep our clients informed of the new life safety codes and regulations which affect your campground, resort or RV park, so continue to read our newsletter, The Source, for regular updates.

Evergreen in 2010

We at Evergreen are going to work hard in 2010 to improve our communications with on two fronts: electronically and personally.

Over the past few years, the use of the Internet has become a preferred form of communication for some people. The Internet is definitely here to stay, and whether you approve or disapprove, it has become a way of life for some people. As we work to provide better services, we are going to focus on ways to improve our communications with those who wish to do so electronically. E-mail, RSS feeds, websites and social media are now mainstays and we will do our best to provide our clients the information they expect in the manner that fits them best.

We are also going to work hard in 2010 to continue to improve our personal contact with campgrounds and RV parks. While electronic communications are important to operate efficiently, we believe it is just as important to maintain a personal relationship. Our business model is based on personal service. So while electronic communication methods are very important tools, we never want them to fully replace the personal relationship that comes from having a live receptionist answer the phone, seeing you face-to-face at a convention or stopping in your campground to review your policy or inspect your park. The camping industry is a “people focused” business. We at Evergreen believe that insurance should be treated the same way.

We wish you a wonderful and successful 2010 and please know that we are here to serve you.

Evergreen USA Sends 10 to National School

February 3, 2010 by · Comments Off on Evergreen USA Sends 10 to National School 

Evergreen USA Color LogoEvergreen USA RRG Inc. awarded 10 scholarships for attendance at the National School of RV Park and Campground Management this month, according to a news release.

The $300 scholarships were awarded to individuals in the states of Michigan, Maryland, California, Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. These 10 students will be attending the school at the Oglebay Resort from Feb. 16-21.

Each year Evergreen awards scholarships to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts wishing to attend the National School of RV Park and Campground Management. Evergreen understands that education is essential to the future of the camping industry and that providing scholarships to the school will help the camping industry in the long run.

Evergreen will continue to provide these scholarships to their clients to help improve the camping industry.

Evergreen USA was formed in 1989 and is an insurance company that is owned and directed by members of the camping industry. Evergreen provides long-term stable insurance solutions for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts throughout the United States.

The National School of RV Park & Campground Management enhances the skills of its students through a high-quality educational program focusing on business management principles and practices as applied to the RV park and campground industry. For more information contact Cheryl Smith at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) at (303) 681-0401 or www.campgroundschool.org.

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