Q?As an employer in Connecticut, When do I need to carry Workers Compensation for an employee?

The short answer is yes. There are exceptions, but not many.

Q?For Workers Compensation, what distinguishes an employee from an independent contractor? Do IRS guidelines govern this?


Q?Why are insurance companies so concerned about the type of dog I own?

Man’s best friend is sinking its teeth into homeowners insurance costs. Dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims, costing $387.20 million in 2008, up 8.70 percent from 2007, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the average cost of dog bite claims was $24,461 in 2008 (the most recent figures available) down slightly from $24,511 in 2007. Since 2003, however, the cost of these claims has risen nearly 28 percent. Additionally, the number of claims has increased 8.89 percent to 15,823 in 2008 from 14,531 in 2007.
“The rise in dog bite claims over the course of the past five years can be attributable to the increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards which have risen well above inflation in recent years,” said Loretta Worters, vice president of the I.I.I.
More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs annually, and nearly 900,000 of those — half of them children — require medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 31,000 Americans needed reconstructive surgery after dogs attacked them in 2006, center figures show. With more than 50 percent of bites occurring on the dog owner’s property, the issue is a major source of concern for insurers.

Q?When I am on vacation and rent a car, should I purchase the collision damage waiver?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. My best advice is to call your insurance agent and ask about your policy. Read below. You will know why I say call your agent.

It is possible that your personal auto policy may provide coverage for the physical damage you cause to the rented vehicle. However it will depend on whether you carry physical damage including collision on at least one of your own cars. If you don’t you are probably out of luck.

Here is another area of concern. Let’s assume your company pays for the full cost of repair after your accident with the rental car. That’s great you say. Well, let’s look at several other costs the car rental company made you responsible by contract when you signed the rental agreement. You may have agreed to be responsible for the loss of use while the rental vehicle is being repaired. Let’s assume the vehicle takes three weeks to repair. The rental company says they could have rented it for $50 a day. They lost that potential income. That comes to $1050. They send you a bill. Your insurance company will most likely not pay this bill.

Another concern is diminution of value of the vehicle after it has been repaired. Let’s assume the car rental company sells their rental cars when they reach 40000 miles. Let’s say that because of the damage history (that you caused) they can only get $15000 instead of $17,000. You could be held responsible for the $2000. Are these large amounts? No they aren’t. Would you be unhappy if these charges ended up on your credit card? I know I would be. Would you accept the risk and not by the collision damage waiver knowing that you could be held responsible for these charges? Possibly yes. But at least you made that decision knowing what could happen. Call your Agent.