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Get snow? Then Take the Proper Steps Removing It

November 30, 2009 by · Comments Off on Get snow? Then Take the Proper Steps Removing It 

 

Lucas Hartford

Lucas Hartford

Editor’s Note: This story was provided by Lucas Hartford, CPCU, ARe, AU, AIS Evergreen USA RRG Inc. For more information, visit www.evergreenusa.com.

For campgrounds and RV parks in the Northern United States it is time to think about snow and ice. While many Northern resorts close for the winter season, there are increasingly more that stay open through the winter for camping, snowmobiling or just to have the office or store open for local residents. If you have a campground that is affected by snow and ice and you have anyone from the public on your property, then proper snow and ice removal is very important for their safety.

Proper removal of snow and ice is becoming more important for businesses as our society becomes more litigious each year. It was estimated by Snow Business Magazine that last year snow plowing and removal businesses saw a 17% increase in the amounts paid for claims against them. I seriously doubt that snow removal businesses are doing a much poorer job but rather our society is expecting more and more from people when it comes to keeping parking lots, sidewalks and steps free from slipping hazards.

If you hire someone to do your snow and ice removal, it is important to hire a dependable contractor who has the needed insurance to cover losses. We suggest that you obtain proof of insurance from them showing that they have at least $1 million of general liability coverage and auto liability insurance as well as having Worker’s Compensation insurance. In addition, if you hire someone to handle this, you should have a signed contract that defines the desired level of service. Some things the contract might address include:

  • Are you allowing the contractor to use his/her own judgment of when to salt or sand?
  • What times of day will the snow service provider be allowed to begin operations?
  • Will the contractor respond when they feel it is necessary or will you be responsible for contacting them?
  • Do you expect to meet with them after a storm for a final inspection and/or have a foreman inspect the contractor’s final job?
  • What things are they responsible for if they hit them while plowing? Curbing and parking barriers?
  • Who will put out markers/wands for the areas to be plowed and are there any special items that need marking at the campground such as well heads, low site markers, etc.?
  • Do they keep a log of their work?

If you do your own snow removal, you are likely aware of the risks and necessity for continual maintenance of parking and walking areas during a storm. One thing that has become standard operating practice for snow removal companies in the past half dozen years is keeping a detailed log of their work. If you are doing your own snow removal and someone slips on your property, you are going to be held to the same standard as professional snow removal companies – which is to keep a log of your work.

The person(s) doing the snow and ice removal should keep a log noting the dates and specific times of the areas plowed. If sand, salt or other snow melting products are put down, the amount put down should be noted as well. Approximate amounts of snow fall or ice accumulation should be noted in the log. If there is anything unusual that is addressed, this should be noted in the log or you can just take a quick photo with your camera or phone. When a campground or RV park has someone injured on snow or ice in their business, it is almost certain that if the customer ends up filing a lawsuit that the plaintiffs attorney will ask to see a copy of the log. If no log is available, it will paint a very ugly picture for the jury as there is plenty of evidence showing this is standard operating practice.

Campground, RV parks and resorts in the Northern United States know that snow can be a lot of fun, but that you need to be a little extra safe. Make sure to take the time to make your park a lot safer for your guests who may or may not be familiar with the risks of snow and ice.

Insurer Provides Timely Campground Advice

July 1, 2009 by · Comments Off on Insurer Provides Timely Campground Advice 

Editor’s Note: This advisory was provided courtesy of Lucas Hartford, president of Evergreen Insurance. 

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us and hopefully there will be a lot of people camping! With 35 years of providing insurance, the staff of Evergreen knows that the Fourth of July weekend is the weekend in which campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the United States have the most incidents and claims of any weekend in the year. 

Hopefully everything goes smoothly at your business for the holiday weekend, but if something should happen here is what you need to know if someone gets injured: 

  • Do not pay or make any financial obligations. 
  • Do not make statements to anyone which assume responsibility. 
  • Provide needed medical assistance. 
  • Gather information. 
  • Preserve all evidence and if needed photograph the scene. 
  • Eliminate any immediate hazard, without destroying the evidence.
  • Notify police if a law may have been broken. 
  • Complete an incident report form to memorialize the information while it is fresh in your mind. 
  • Make a report of the incident to your insurance company. 
  • Keep all of the information you obtain confidential. 

    It’s OK to Be Compassionate 

    One difficult area with any incident is the balance between compassion to the injured person and accepting responsibility. It is absolutely OK, and recommended, that you do show compassion toward anyone hurt at your business whether you believe you are at fault or not. We are all human and to see another person injured should invoke feelings of compassion and sympathy – and as the business owner or manager you should convey these feelings to the person who is injured at your premises to let them know you do in fact care. 

    It is OK to care about them and that is very different from assuming responsibility or making financial obligations to them. Showing compassion does not make you any more liable for the incident but assuming responsibility or making financial obligations may make you much more liable – and for some people can jeopardize your insurance coverage. 

    Do’s and Don’ts 

    Here are things you would not want to say to someone injured at your campground or RV park: 

  • “We should have trimmed that tree earlier in the year.” 
  • “We’ll pay to replace the stuff that was broken.” 
  • “Our insurance company will pay for your injuries.” 
  • “I should never have let this happen.” 

    Some things that are OK to say might include: 

  • “I am very sorry you were hurt. What can we do to make you more comfortable?” 
  • “I’m sorry Uncle Dave was injured. I know your camper is hooked up right now; can I drive the rest of your family to the hospital to see him?” 
  • “I’m sorry your camper was ruined by that tree limb falling. Can my staff assist you by getting a tarp over the roof to temporarily keep the rain out?” 

    If someone seeks medical treatment and later in the day comes back to their site, it’s perfectly fine to go see them to check up on them. If the person wants to know how they will be remunerated, then give them the name of your insurance company and the phone number of your insurance company. Tell the camper that you will be reporting it to the insurance company who will be contacting them soon, but if they want, you can give them the number of the company as well. 

    Caring is good – admitting fault is not good until a complete investigation is able to be done. 

    Employee Injuries 

    If you have an employee that is injured, you should make sure to contact your Worker’s Compensation insurance company. For injured employees, depending upon the state your business is in, you may also be required to notify the state’s Department of Labor within a certain period of time of the injury. And that period of time can often be as short as 24 hours. 

    We suggest Evergreen clients make sure they have watched the video “How to Report a Claim” that is available exclusively to Evergreen clients. In addition you should have a few incident report forms available which are available from Evergreen. If you need either of these items, just call Evergreen and ask for them. 

    Evergreen also has on-line claims reporting available if you want to do it online at www.evergreenusa.com/forms/online-claim-report. 

    In addition if you have a serious injury or loss and need to speak to someone outside of normal business hours (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m. EST) you can call the same number, (800) 343-7900, and you will be directed to our 24/7 claims service person who can help you out anytime day or night. 

    Wishing everyone a safe, busy and prosperous Fourth of July weekend with many happy campers.

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