3 Ways Liability Insurers Avoid Covering Mold Claims
3 Ways Liability Insurers Avoid Covering Mold Claims
Mold has been receiving a lot of media attention lately, and an unprecedented number of mold-related lawsuits have been filed in recent years. Insurance companies have responded to the sudden increase in mold insurance claims by finding new ways to exclude mold coverage from commercial general liability policies.
1. Exclude Mold Claims Under Existing Policy Exclusions
When mold claim numbers first started to spike, liability insurers attempted to deny coverage for mold-exposure claims under two exclusions that were standard at the time: the Pollution exclusion and the Business Risk exclusion. Denials under these exclusions were questionable at best and did not hold up well on appeal: Mold infestations don’t quite fit within the commonly understood framework of either type of exclusion.
2. Add Specific Exclusions for Mold Claims to Policy Terms
It soon became clear that the Pollution and Business Risk exclusions were not reliable grounds for denying mold insurance claims. Consequently, insurance companies began adding new endorsements to CGL policies that did specifically exclude mold coverage. A common example is the “Fungi or Bacteria Exclusion,” which specifically excludes coverage for mold remediation costs and mold exposure claims. Another example is the “Limited Fungi or Bacteria Coverage” endorsement, which specifies a separate, often very small, coverage limit for mold-related claims.
3. Offer Mold Coverage as a Separate Policy Type
In addition to adding mold-specific exclusions to their CGL policies, some insurance companies began offering pollution legal liability policies, which specifically include mold within the definition of “pollutant.” Companies that offer both PLL and CGL policies usually have policy language stating that any claim that could be covered under the PLL policies is completely excluded from coverage under the CGL policies.
Insurance companies continue to create new ways to avoid CGL coverage for mold insurance claims. White House, MO, contractors and business owners should carefully review all policy changes and discuss any concerns with their insurance providers.
5 Steps To Prepare Your Business for the Next Winter Storm
Create a plan for regularly checking and clearing out gutters.
Follow These Five Steps
If you have a business in Bella Villa, MO, winterizing your commercial property for the colder months ahead should be a top priority once temperatures start to drop. Failing to properly protect your building can have high costs. A winter storm often brings heavy winds and snowfall that can do significant damage. To reduce the chances that you will need to hire disaster restoration professionals for the next spring thaw, follow these five steps.
1. Assess the Risks
Take a look around the property. Ask yourself: What kinds of risks could happen? For example, consider employee injuries and frozen pipes. Make any repairs that might be susceptible to structural stress or other types of storm damage.
2. Assign Responsibility
Another major part of preparing for a winter storm includes assigning roles and responsibilities to qualified staff and professionals. Figure out who is going to make the parking lot safe when it ices over. Additionally, if repairs are complex, decide which company you will call for assistance.
3. Plan for Each Threat
After identifying the wintertime risks your company might face, work with employees to create an action plan for each threat. If, for example, you have concerns about ice dams forming, create a plan for regularly checking and clearing out gutters.
4. Remember To Be Comprehensive
When you protect your building against storm damage, do not forget to be thorough. There are many potential locations for damage to occur. In addition to the roof, plumbing and HVAC systems should be other top concerns.
5. Prepare Your People
Preparing your property is important, but it is only half of the equation. The other half you have to remember includes the people who run the organization. Before the snow starts coming down, make sure you train everyone on any applicable procedures and have a way to communicate updates.
Running a business somewhere with harsh winters comes with unique challenges. Planning ahead can make things easier. You can help your company prepare for the next winter storm by following these steps.
Tips for Storm Preparation
The best way to prepare your home and family for a storm is to plan ahead
Tips for Storm Preparation
Floods and damaging storms can occur without warning. Even shallow flood water can move too rapidly to walk or drive through safely. The best way to prepare your home and family in Lemay, MO, for a storm, is to plan ahead.
1. Prepare Your Home
Do what you can to actually prepare your home. Clean out drains and gutters regularly. Consider installing a sump pump. Keep valuables in safe protected areas in higher levels of the home instead of the basement.
2. Make an Escape Plan
Map out a different way to exit your home. Escaping from a flooded building can present challenges. Remember to include children, pets, and any other household members who may need physical assistance in your escape plan. Designate a meeting place and teach everyone the phone number of a trusted relative or friend they should call if separated from the family.
3. Know the Warning Systems
Watch local television stations that track storms. Listen to local radio stations and listen for the sound of emergency broadcasts. Take every precaution to avoid getting caught in floodwater. Heed all emergency alert system warnings and evacuate or take shelter when advised to do so.
4. Have Supplies Ready
Prepare a storm evacuation kit. Include non-perishable food and water to last for several days. Stock a first aid kit with medical care essentials and any vital medications. Include cleaning and sanitizing supplies.
5. Gather Phone Numbers
Electricity may be wiped out in a storm taking away your access to research. Keep a list of essential helpful phone numbers in your emergency kit. The numbers for an electrician, a storm restoration specialist, and your insurance provider can all be helpful in tackling how to address water damage to your home.
Planning ahead for how to respond to a disaster allows you to react quickly when faced with the unexpected. Flood water moves quickly and can cause extensive devastation. It should be avoided as much as possible.
5 Steps to Take When Your Basement Floods
Basement flood in Oakville, MO
Five Steps You Need To Take Right Away
A major storm can cause dry land to be suddenly inundated with water. When that happens, all of that water has to go somewhere. Unfortunately for many homeowners, that somewhere is often in the basement. If you have a basement flood in your Oakville, MO, home, here are the five steps you need to take right away.
1. Wait for Water To Recede
If the ground outside is still saturated and water is still pooling up or flowing over land that is usually dry, wait for the water to recede before trying to get it out of your basement. You may be surprised how much the water level in your basement goes down before you even do anything about it.
2. Get the Water Out
If your basement is still flooded, it’s important to get that water pumped out. In some areas, the fire department will take care of it for you or you can purchase your own pump to be ready anytime it happens. A wet-dry vacuum may be enough to do the job if your basement flood recedes to little more than a puddle.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
If you’ve purchased flood insurance coverage, call the company to report the loss. Even if you don’t have flood insurance, there may be coverage if they determine the water is coming from a source other than outside or underground, such as a leaking pipe or backed-up sump pump. It never hurts to call and ask.
4. Remove Wet Items
Any saturated items you can get out of the house should go right away. Leaving sopping wet carpets and furniture in place can lead to mold and other problems down the line. Be extra careful around electrical outlets and when removing any electrical equipment.
5. Dry Out the Basement
You can use dehumidifiers and fans to dry the basement out in the interim, but it’s still a good idea to have water damage restoration experts come in for a thorough cleaning and dry out.
A basement flood is certainly an ordeal, but it’s nothing you can’t get through if you simply take it step by step.
4 Benefits of a Security Fence
A security fence can be a proactive measure that prevents burglars
Here Are The Four Benefits Of Including This In Your Security Plan
Keeping your business safe and secure should be a top priority, especially if you have a lot that has seen a disaster and your restoration professionals are on the way. As a business owner, you likely have a comprehensive plan of how to keep your building safe. One aspect of this should be a security fence.
Your plan likely includes different ways to alert you when someone has entered your building. However, a security fence can be a proactive measure that prevents burglars in Bella Villa, MO. It does this by becoming an added layer that someone would have to go through, over, or under before being able to reach your business.
2. Peace of Mind
Because of the added security, a fence can provide, it will leave you and your employees feeling safe. Even if you have top-notch security systems in your business, some areas can still leave employees feeling uneasy at night. Adding a fence will give them a physical object they can see, so they feel safe.
3. Increased Property Value
All business owners know how important it is to keep the value of their property up. Your building is likely the biggest thing you have to invest in while your company is operating. The good news is that adding a fence will boost the value of your property. It can also make it look nicer and more welcoming to customers. This can do wonders for your business.
Another benefit is the added privacy. This means you can enjoy yourself at work. It also gives you added security by preventing people from seeing any expensive items you have. In other words, you can leave out your expensive equipment without having to worry about burglars plotting to steal it.
There are many benefits to a security fence that would make a business owner consider installing one. Specifically, it will boost security and property value.
3 Flooded Furnace Safety Tips
Furnace flood in Lemay, MO
3 Flooded Furnace Safety Tips
As a business owner in Lemay, MO, you're prepared for anything—even a flooded basement. Aside from natural disasters, burst pipes are the most frequent cause of flooding in places of business. One important part of your cleanup is your furnace. Whether your furnace turns on or not, here are some tips to consider when ensuring that your flooded furnace can safely run again.
1. Assess the Damage
Before you turn on your furnace, you need to make sure that you can do so safely. If standing water has caused a furnace flood, turn off all electric and gas lines that run to the furnace. Even if it's cold, you won't want to run the risk of turning the furnace on and potentially further damaging your business.
2. Get It Inspected
When your basement is flooded, call a commercial water cleanup team to help you with the process of restoration. In addition to helping you clean up the water and restore your business, these professionals can connect you with technicians who can inspect your flooded furnace. Electrical damage and compromised equipment are obvious concerns, but the air ducts that run throughout your HVAC system must be considered as well. Air duct cleaning is an important part of furnace flood cleanup because mold can grow on the filters. Without cleaning them, mold spores will be blown throughout your building if you don't replace the filters prior to turning on your furnace again after flooding.
3. Consider Replacement
In most cases of severe flooding, you will likely be advised to replace your furnace rather than repair it. Furnaces are complicated machines and there is a high risk of rust developing that will compromise your system. Although costly, a furnace replacement can keep your business and your staff safe.
A furnace flood is not often one of the top considerations after a pipe burst that results in flooding, but it is important to take special care of this important piece of equipment as you restore your business to its pre-flood status.
Fire Prevention Tips for Your Dryer
Proper dryer maintenance can help prevent a lint fire from occurring
Dryer Maintenance Tips
Preventing a house fire seems easy enough to do—replace fraying cords, don't smoke indoors, and keep heat sources away from anything flammable. How often do you think about your dryer as a potential fire starter? FEMA reports that 2,900 home fires are the result of a dryer fire. Here are some dryer maintenance tips that will keep your home safe in White House, MO.
Empty the Lint Trap
Dryer lint is touted to be an excellent fire starter for camping; it's light, doesn't take up a lot of space, and everyone has access to a ton of it. Is it any wonder that excessive lint in your dryer can cause a lint fire? Clean out the lint trap between every load, and check for clogs if it seems like your dryer isn't running efficiently.
Don't Overload the Dryer
You try to finish the laundry in as few loads as possible. After all, you don't want to spend all week doing laundry just to turn around and start again the next week. However, overloading the dryer causes excess lint to build up in the dryer and prevent proper ventilation. Lint plus poor ventilation can easily equal a dryer fire.
Have Your Dryer Inspected
If you're concerned about the efficiency of your dryer, have a professional come to inspect it. The professional will be able to check for any problems in the machine as well as the connection to exterior ventilation.
Don't Leave the Dryer Unattended
As convenient as it is to let the dryer run when you go to bed or while you run errands, resist the urge. If a lint fire starts while you're away or sleeping, you can easily experience major damage to your home.
Despite your best intentions, a dryer fire can still occur. If that's the case, a local fire and water remediation company can come to restore your home.
Proper dryer maintenance can help prevent a lint fire from occurring. When in doubt, have a professional inspect your machine so you can keep your family safe.
Why Mold Smells Bad and What To Do About It
Are you noticing a musty odor in your business? Call SERVPRO for a mold inspection today!
Why Does It Smell Like That?
Whenever you walk into the storage space at your business in Oakville, MO, you smell a musty odor. You know it mean mold, but you wonder, why does it smell like that? A common misconception is that mold is smelly when, in fact, the mold itself is not what smells bad. Here are some facts about why mold smells bad and what you can do about it.
When mold has the right environment, it can grow and spread rapidly. Mold grows and produces spores, letting off gases that can smell bad. Mycotoxin is one type of gas that is released by mold that causes a musty odor. While most gases let off by mold are odorless, the mycotoxin that creates the odor indicates that you need a plan for remediation.
The size of the mold problem and the type of mold will determine how you handle cleanup. A light coating of mildew can be managed with some detergent and a scrub brush, but actual mold should always be handled by a mold removal and remediation specialist. Because mold spreads via spores in the air, improperly contained cleanup can actually do more harm than good. A professional cleanup team should come and assess the damage. They will take the proper steps to contain the spread by setting up a containment area and using HEPA air filtration devices to clean the air as they go.
Mold prevention, especially if you know that you have an area in your place of business that is susceptible to it, is an important part of keeping your work environment safe. In addition to your primary work area, clean storage spaces often, and check for problem areas that could allow moisture to enter the building. Running a dehumidifier is helpful, as well as properly maintaining your HVAC system.
While a mycotoxin that causes the musty odor in your storage area does indicate a need for mold removal, there are solutions for safe mold remediation and prevention available to you so that you can keep your work environment healthy for you and your employees.
4 Ways To Find a Shower or Bathtub Leak
Visually inspect your shower for obvious signs of a shower pan leak
Four Things To Determine If You Have A Water Problem In Your Bathroom
Since bathtubs can hold many gallons of water, a bathtub leak can be a major cause of concern for a homeowner. If you suspect a leak in your bathroom, it is important to figure out where it is coming from to avoid further damage. Here are four things you can do to determine if you have a water problem in your bathroom.
1. Smell the Room
Excess water can lead to mold and mildew, both of which have musky odors. If your bathroom smells like an old carpet shortly after cleaning it, you could have mold or mildew lurking in your surroundings.
2. Look for Signs of Mold
Mold exists in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Regardless of the species, mold indicates a moisture problem and should be dealt with promptly. A bathtub leak can leave the floor moist, and mold can begin forming in moist areas in as little as 24-48 hours.
3. Inspect Your Shower Pan
Visually inspect your shower for obvious signs of a shower pan leak. If your shower pan looks fine, but you suspect a leak in the area, perform a shower pan test by plugging the drain and filling the pan with water. Check the water after 24-72 hours. If the water level is not that same as the original, you may have a leak in your shower pan.
4. Check for Symptoms of Water Damage
Water often leaves visible signs of damage. Common indicators of water damage include warped walls, baseboards, floors, and linoleum that is coming loose from the sub-floor.
As a homeowner in Oakville, MO, you will want to keep your home in as good of shape as possible. Since a bathtub leak can cause additional damage over time, it is important to fix any problems as soon as you notice them. A professional water remediation company can help restore your home to its pre-damaged condition as quickly as possible.
Which Air Purifiers Filter Out Mold Spores?
A HEPA filter meets a standard for filtering airborne particulates set by the U.S
Which Air Purifiers Filter Out Mold Spores?
Air purifiers are helpful for lowering mold spore concentrations in interior air. High-efficiency particulate air filtration technology is not capable of eliminating spores or stopping mold from spreading through a residence located in Mehlville, MO. An air purifier is most useful for reducing the amount of spores that remain following mold remediation.
HEPA Air Purifiers
A HEPA filter meets a standard for filtering airborne particulates set by the U.S. Department of Energy. This standard includes all of the following specifications:
- Removes at least 99.97% of airborne particles
- Captures particles 0.3 microns in diameter and larger
- Meets retention requirements for a HEPA class
There are several classes of HEPA filters, including three classes -- E, H and U. Each class has three subcategories. E class filters have the lowest average retention rate, while U filters have the highest rates of averaged and spot retention.
Carbon Air Filtration
A carbon air filter is used primarily to remove gases. This makes this type of filter useful for eliminating microbial volatile organic compounds released during the metabolic cycle of mold. Carbon filters are effective at capturing spores and mVOCs, making this style of purifier useful for homes undergoing mold remediation.
Ionic or Electrostatic Filters
Ionic and electrostatic filters both function by causing particles to drop down to surfaces where they can be cleaned. A HEPA-rated vacuum can be used to get rid of mold spores that drop down out of the air during operation of these types of charged filters. Technically, both of these filters are ionic and may contribute unwanted ozone to indoor air.
Any air purifier will be of limited use prior to taking measures to resolve a mold problem at a household in Mehlville, MO. HEPA, carbon, or ionic air filtration equipment will be most effective when this air quality technology is deployed during the later stages of mold remediation and cleanup.