Liability Insurance - Need Your Advice...

#1
Hi folks. I am purchasing my first insurance policy offering liability for my tree removal services. I live in Pennsylvania. The insurance broker I am working with found me an insurance company by the name of "Great Lakes Insurance SE" that will offer me a policy. The main company is located outside of the U.S. - Not sure how this will affect claims experience/turnover. My main concern is that this insurance company is "not admitted" with the state, meaning that if the company goes belly up, there is the possibility that they may not be able to pay for a claim. Now, I have researched and found that this company is A+ rated and is a 2 billion dollar company.

Here's my question(s):

If you are a tree service in Pennsylvania, would you mind recommending or sharing the company you are insured with?

Are you aware if the company you are insured with is "not admitted" and if so, how do you feel about this?

I am getting the impression that "non admitted" companies may be the only option in PA, although my outlook is not all that far reaching.

Thank you for any insight you can provide me.
 
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flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
#2
Hi folks. I am purchasing my first insurance policy offering liability for my tree removal services. I live in Pennsylvania. The insurance broker I am working with found me an insurance company by the name of "Great Lakes Insurance SE" that will offer me a policy. The main company is located outside of the U.S. - Not sure how this will affect claims experience/turnover. My main concern is that this insurance company is "not admitted" with the state, meaning that if the company goes belly up, there is the possibility that they may not be able to pay for a claim. Now, I have researched and found that this company is A+ rated and is a 2 billion dollar company.

Here's my question(s):

If you are a tree service in Pennsylvania, would you mind recommending or sharing the company you are insured with?

Are you aware if the company you are insured with is "not admitted" and if so, how do you feel about this?

I am getting the impression that "non admitted" companies may be the only option in PA, although my outlook is not all that far reaching.

Thank you for any insight you can provide me.
White pine insurance. Was mid continent then sold to someone else now white pine. I believe it’s a PA company. Another that covers my in;and marine is great American.

No clue about the admitting thing. Have not had an issue, but also haven’t had a claim. Even an “admitted” (what ever that means) company going belly up would mean they might not be able to cover a claim I would think. But I’m not an ins agent, so I’m not really sure (if I was I would probably be much richer and less sore every night :))
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#3
So a piece of advice I received is that if you ever need to sue your insurance company it’s best go with one in the same state. Either you have to ship them to the state your in, or sue them wherever they are
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
#4
....Even an “admitted” (what ever that means) company going belly up would mean they might not be able to cover a claim I would think. But I’m not an ins agent, so I’m not really sure (if I was I would probably be much richer and less sore every night :))
I'm not an expert on the matter, but my understanding is that an admitted insurance company pays into the state insurance fund. That is kinda insurance for your insurance. If an admitted company goes belly up, the state insurance fund will finalize claims. If they are not admitted, you don't have that protection.

For whatever reason they have chosen to not play by the states insurance rules. I'd want to know why. If it was CA or NJ, I could understand it...but PA isn't quite so unfriendly to businesses. But maybe they are to insurance???

Do you ever do work for public entities? If so, will a not-admitted insurance policy be acceptable??? (will they even pay that much attention???)
 
#5
Well said, Ath. That’s how I understand it. And I think admitted/non-admitted is one of those minor details that really could have catastrophic consequences. I’m going to try to get another quote - keep looking for other companies - going to check into “white pines” thanks flyingsquirrel. I wouldnt mind paying more for insurance knowing that come rain or shine, I am backed by not only the company but the states reserve as well.
 

RBJtree

Active Member
#6
I'm in PA and my liability insurance is thru a company in Utah. They were the only ones I could find who would call me back when I started my company. They are call North American Chemical Users and Applicators Association (NACUAA). I don't apply or use chemicals, but they write policies for liability for tree trimming and removal service too. Not sure if they are admitted in PA or not, I never knew about being admitted but I will find out now. They are actually an insurance group underwriten by Lloyds of London. When I took a day off and my crew smashed a porch roof while I was gone, they payed for it with no problem, didn't drop me, barely even raised my rates the next year. So, I have been happy with them. Still though, I am interested in who you find to go with. A few years back I found a broker who got me a slightly better quote from a company called tree pro, but it wasn't enough for me to change companies when NACUAA has always done me right.
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
#7
I'm not an expert on the matter, but my understanding is that an admitted insurance company pays into the state insurance fund. That is kinda insurance for your insurance. If an admitted company goes belly up, the state insurance fund will finalize claims. If they are not admitted, you don't have that protection.

For whatever reason they have chosen to not play by the states insurance rules. I'd want to know why. If it was CA or NJ, I could understand it...but PA isn't quite so unfriendly to businesses. But maybe they are to insurance???

Do you ever do work for public entities? If so, will a not-admitted insurance policy be acceptable??? (will they even pay that much attention???)
Thanks for the explanation. It’s funny how many little things you learn in the adventure of business ownership. The faster you grow the steeper that learning curve is. It’s getting to the point where it’s a full time job just keeping up with the regulatory crap and other office work. Not looking forward to spending more time working on the computer.

We work for several public entities none has given me an issue with our COI’s. Only one client ever has because my agent put the wrong NIAC number on the sheet, what a mess that was to clean up.
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
#8
Wow now you guys go me thinking and I had to go down that rabbit hole.....
White pines web site very unhelpful with admittance information
http://www.whitepineins.com/about-us/

But
http://ir.cnfrh.com/Cache/1500097228.PDF?O=PDF&T=&Y=&D=&FID=1500097228&iid=4247047
This PDF had more information than you would ever need to know about an insurance company. Lol
I took a screen shot of page 6
A18E8937-176B-4599-8DD8-F15DA1501651.png

Without digging too much deeper I would accept that they are admitted in PA. I might actually be calling them up to move some of my other policies over to them so I have one bill and one check a year. Instead of dribbling money out all year to 6 different companies.
Thanks guys for bringing this to my attention and making :) me do the research, I feel at ease now!
 

Crimsonking

Well-Known Member
#9
Great things to absorb here. Loving the buzz!

As a licensed life ins. agent, I’ve learned a little about screening companies. The non-admitted situation sounds a lot like Globe life ins. All the companies I deal with are backed, so that if they go under, your policy is still active and will be honored. Companies that aren’t backed (like Globe) are not backed for a reason. Generally, they are perceived to be extending promises beyond their assets’ ability to deliver. They compensate by playing games with claims in hopes that families give up on the hassle.

The non-admitted may be different, but I’m always leery of an insurance company that others won’t back.
 
#10
When I started my business, I had trouble finding insurance to cover a (new) tree service company... imagine that!
So my broker offered the following:
  1. For the first year of my new business, sign me up with a Surplus Lines carrier (one that's not licensed in my state)
  2. After a year of good operations and no claims, change me over to a classic commercial liability policy with a licensed insurer.
At the time, it was the only general commercial liability policy that I could get, so I took it.

Research on "surplus lines" insurers:
Since this insurer is not licensed in your state, they are not regulated by your state's Department of Insurance in the same way licensed insurers are regulated (they are, however, regulated in the state or country where they are domiciled or located). Since they are not strictly regulated by your state, they are generally free from the form or rate regulations imposed on licensed insurers. This gives them the freedom to maintain broader internal guidelines for accepting risks. They have more flexibility to design and price their policies and can, therefore, accept risks that licensed insurers will not. Ref.
 
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