FAQs | Ask Cyril

With a lifetime’s worth of experience in advising and brokering insurance for families and businesses across the country, there is no one better suited to address common insurance concerns than Cyril Anthony Lagomarsino, founder of the company in 1927 and the gentleman who put the C.A.L. in CAL Insurance. Here, Cyril has responded to your most frequently asked questions.

Private Client

During a comprehensive insurance review, we assess your existing program to identify any gaps in coverage as well as provide a comparison to other carriers in the market. The review requires a commitment to provide all necessary information so we can clearly understand your needs. This may include copies of current policies, birth dates, driver’s license numbers and details about your homes, vehicles, watercraft, etc. Once all the requested information is gathered, the process takes an average of 10 business days to complete. In the end, you will fully understand your existing coverage and will have recommendations and options to strengthen your program.

Our Private Client Services team works with an array of insurance markets such as CHUBB, PURE, Cincinnati, AIG, Travelers, Safeco, Kemper, Encompass and Hagerty. We also access strategic wholesale partners to work with “surplus line” markets such as Lloyd’s of London, Lexington and Scottsdale.

Did you recently add a pool or upgrade your home? Did your child just start driving? Did your in-laws just move in, and now you have domestic help in your home? Have you recently retitled assets in a trust or LLC? Have you paid off or refinanced a mortgage? Anytime you make a major change that can affect your exposure to risk, a review of your insurance program is essential. An annual review of your personal insurance program will help eliminate gaps in coverage before a loss occurs.

Yes, your home policy should be updated so the trust is an Additional Insured on the policy. The trust should also be added as an Additional Insured to your umbrella/excess liability policy.

Your insurance policy should reflect the cost to rebuild the home at today’s prices. This cost is completely separate from the market value or sale price of your home. Depending upon location and home details, the market value may be more than the cost to rebuild or visa versa.

Absolutely. You are required to notify your homeowners insurer before the start of a major renovation. The insurance company may require that you increase coverage limits for adequate protection and may add a renovation surcharge to your policy for the increased exposure. This will also give the insurer an opportunity to recommend steps to minimize a loss during the renovation period.

Basic homeowner policies exclude coverage for loss due to earthquake and/or flood. Coverage for these two events must be purchased separately.

Start with knowing your total net worth. Then, consider your risk exposures. And finally, obtain pricing for a variety of limits to protect your assets.

Common risk exposures:

  • Pools, hot tubs, spas
  • Pets
  • Elderly drivers and drivers under 25
  • Domestic workers
  • Jet skis, boats, snowmobiles
  • Rental properties
  • Service on a not-for-profit board of directors
  • Risky driving habits, such as talking and texting while driving
  • Serving guests alcohol while entertaining at home

A homeowner’s legal requirement to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their domestic workers varies from state to state. In general, homeowners must provide coverage for domestic help employed for 20 or more hours a week. Failure to provide appropriate coverage yourself, or through the placement firm, is a violation of labor law.

Inflation is the number one reason why insurance premiums rise. As the cost of materials and labor increase, so does the cost to rebuild your home or repair your vehicle. Additionally, catastrophic losses can drive pricing higher as an insurance company attempts to recoup its losses and obtain better rate adequacy for the next catastrophe.

Your homeowners policy will provide a certain amount of protection for jewelry and other valuable items. This coverage is usually limited to around $2,000, is subject to the home deductible, and is generally restricted to loss due to fire and theft. These limitations make it best, from a protection standpoint, to schedule your valuables. For most items, no deductible applies and broad coverage is provided including lost items, mysterious disappearance, chipped stones, earthquake and flood. Top tier insurers will also provide 150 percent inflation protection if your items have not been recently appraised.

It depends upon your particular insurer and the country in which you are renting. Most US auto insurance companies only extend limited coverage to rentals in the United States. Most rental companies offer an option to buy coverage for any damages you may cause to their rental vehicle. We recommend checking with your own auto insurer on extended coverage for injury to other people, other vehicles or other property that you damage with the rental vehicle. Also consider contacting your credit card company to see if they provide any complementary coverage.

Some insurers will provide coverage through the home and/or excess liability policies for acts or failures to act as a director or officer of a nonprofit board. Note that the coverage typically applies to just bodily injury and property damage losses, it does not cover suits for fiduciary claims. Before you accept a position on a board, we recommend that you review the board’s Directors and Officers policy to fully understand what coverage is provided to you should a suit arise.

Some insurers will waive a home deductible if there is a loss of $50,000 or more. Some insurers will also waive your deductible if your vehicle is totaled or stolen.

When your children are away at school, they can remain on your automobile policy. If your child is still living at home with you, they should remain on your automobile policy, as well as your personal umbrella/excess policy.

Once a child establishes their own residence after school, they need to also establish their own automobile insurance. To do so, you will need to retitle an existing car to the child or purchase a car in the child’s name.

We do not sell individual pet insurance policies; however, our employee benefits division provides it as part of a package.

https://www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance

We do not sell individual travel insurance policies however our employee benefits division provides it as part of a package.

https://www.travelguard.com/travel-insurance/plans

CAL Insurance is compensated for our advisory services with commissions that are paid to us directly from the insurance carriers. No additional costs or fees are required.

Unless otherwise noted, payments should be made payable to your insurance company and mailed to the address on your billing statement.

If this is an emergency, please contact your insurance company directly to report a loss. See our Report a Claim tab for the appropriate phone number. If this is not an emergency, we ask that you email or call a CAL team member to discuss the loss.

As each insurer regards losses differently, it is hard to give a definitive answer.  What we have seen from insurers is a preference for clients to save claims for a big loss. Insurers are moving quickly to not renew policies for clients with multiple small claims. In addition, water damage claims can be seen as a red flag for some insurers. When a large water loss or multiple small losses are claimed, chances of a significant rate increase or a non-renewal are high.

Business

Our clients range from funded and growing startups to established middle-market businesses as well as schools, nonprofit organizations and real estate investment groups.

Our commercial team works with all of the major insurance markets such as Liberty Mutual, Travelers, Hartford, Chubb, Hanover, CNA and AmTrust. We also access strategic wholesale partners to work with “surplus line” markets such as Lloyd’s of London and Scottsdale. We also work with specialty programs such as NIAC for nonprofits, Philadelphia for schools and Specialty Insurance Advantage for real estate.

Cyber insurance is very important for businesses and nonprofits. First, hire a recommended IT consultancy and then put a cyber policy in place. CAL advisors can conduct market reviews and explain coverage options.

Your advisor can provide details on when insurance programs are billed directly by the insurance company and when CAL collects the premium for the insurance company. Typically coverage such as workers’ compensation, auto, general liability and property insurance are billed by the insurance companies directly. Other coverages, such as earthquake or malpractice insurance, may be collected by CAL and passed along to the provider.

An insurance company can choose to be a “non-admitted” carrier and sell their insurance through wholesale or surplus-lines brokers licensed by the state. The rates non-admitted carriers use in the state aren’t required to be approved but are still constrained by competition in the marketplace. Policies, such as Director and Officer, Employment Practice Liability and Professional Liability are provided by non-admitted carriers. Because of the uniqueness and specificity of these forms of coverage, carriers prefer to not get bogged down by the state approval process. CAL only places coverage with established carriers with an AM Best rating of A- or higher and a robust financial strength rating. All non-admitted carriers are still required to be licensed in their home states.

Yes, workers’ compensation follows the labor laws of the state in which the employee is hired; therefore, if you have employees in different states, you must have each individual state added to the policy. For example, if your business is in California and you decide to open an office in New York and hire local staff, you must let your advisor at CAL know before they are hired. It is important that the state be added before work begins as some states, New York for example, have strict fines for every day an employee is working without the proper workers’ compensation addition to the policy and a small group disability policy in place.

EPLI covers businesses against claims by workers that their legal rights as employees of the company have been violated. EPLI provides protection against many kinds of employee lawsuits, including claims of:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Failure to employ or promote
  • Wrongful discipline

The cost of EPLI coverage depends on your type of business, the number of employees you have and various risk factors such as a history of lawsuits relating to employment practices.

Quite simply, collision covers damage to your vehicle in the event of a covered accident involving another vehicle. This may include repairs or a full replacement of your covered vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by covered non-collision related events such as theft, vandalism or hail.

No. An umbrella policy is not related to property insurance. The umbrella (or excess liability) increases the level of liability beyond the limits of general liability, auto liability, and employer’s liability in most instances.

Risk tolerance varies dramatically from business to business. What is appropriate may depend on when a contract requires an umbrella policy or what the business or board of directors believes is appropriate.

This is a “settling up” with an insurance company. For example, with workers’ compensation, an estimated payroll is used to determine the annualized cost and at the end of the policy year, the employer has either overpaid or underpaid, so an audit is performed to calculate who owes whom based on the finalized payroll. Often, general liability costs can be based off of revenue projections.

Employee Benefits

Yes, indeed. CAL works with many small and medium-sized companies to build the finest benefits package for their companies. Here’s the best process: First, we will have one of our advisors contact you to discuss the specifics such as what is needed, your expectations, recruiting goals, staff census data and budget. Then we work with insurance carriers and our partners to design a comprehensive and affordable package of benefits. Once the decisions are complete, we will build the HR Technology/Benefits Administrative platform and introduce it to your team.

In general, we work with U.S. based, small and middle-market businesses (SMB) with between 10-1000 employees.

Relationship continuity is a key benefit to working with CAL and supporting your human resources team in their mission to attract and retain employees is our number one priority. CAL can advise, design and create your employee benefits plan including employee communication, compliance support and ongoing monthly support from a dedicated team that will continue to work with you after the initial implementation is complete.

We offer medical, dental, vision, Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, FSA, EAP, Travel Insurance, Pet Insurance, Student Loan Repayment and 401(k) retirement programs. We work with top national insurance carriers such as Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Delta Dental, Guardian, Healthnet, Kaiser Permanente, Metlife, Lincoln Financial, Principal Financial, Unum, UnitedHealthcare, VSP. Feel free to call or email us to check on a specific benefit or provider.

CAL works with Zywave, a learning management system that offers dozens of training classes for your managers and employees. We also can refer you to local HR professionals.

Absolutely. We partner with the top payroll and HR Technology/Benefits Administrative platforms including ADP Workforce Now, EASE, Heartland, Paylocity, Paycom, Rippling, Zenefits, Ultimate, Namely, Kronos, Gusto and others. We also partner with some of the largest PEO providers.

In most cases, CAL Insurance is compensated for our advisory services with commissions or service fees paid directly from the insurance carriers. No additional costs or fees are required.

Specialized types of coverage CAL can offer include international travel for employees, student health insurance for colleges and universities. Compliance with ACA, COBRA, HIPPA, WRAP Docs, H&W 5500, HCSO.

If you have further questions or would like to discuss how our employee benefits team can assist you, contact John Ryan, managing director of the Employee Benefits team; by phone (415)-310-9001 or by e-mail jryan@cal-insure.com.