Home Inspectors Insurance – How to Avoid Claims – Part 2

Published under Business Practices,News on 12/28/2011

This post is a follow up to our previous post for claim avoidance. Here are 2 more claim prevention tips…

3. Report of Observations: A common cause of lawsuits comes from assuming the sample inspection represents the whole structure. It is a fairly frequent occurrence for property owners to intentionally obstruct areas that may have defects. For example, faulty window flashing may be evident on three out of the fifteen windows in the home. If the property owners have prevented inspection of those windows state that in the report (3 of the 15 windows were obstructed from inspection). Documenting with photographs can help confirm your report and visually validate the reason for lacking an inspection. In addition, it is important to provide your expert opinion of the structure and not a definitive statement as to the condition of the structure. For example, with a well flow inspection, do not state the plumbing is in perfect condition; you haven’t seen all of the pipes. You can, however, state the plumbing system appears to be in proper working order based upon the well flow analysis.

4. Standardized Inspections: Using a standard template for all your inspections is important. If you perform multiple types of inspections (pest, residential, FHA, 1004D, etc.) having standardized templates for each class of inspection may make sense. Using such templates helps reduce potential errors. Having standardized documentation, photography, procedures, etc. reduces these errors. Property inspectors, whether part of a multi-inspector group or a sole-proprietor, need to have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). In a lawsuit this can help establish uniformity in your services and reduce the perception of inconsistency. Additionally, quick access to information can help curb a small concern before it grows into legal action. Standardized archiving and record keeping is essential for this as well.

As we mentioned earlier, even the best inspector can have an incident or claim. That’s why we carry insurance. Even the best of us can make mistakes and when they occur our insurance company can step in and defend us through to resolution. If you want to see what we have to offer submit an application for home inspector insurance. Or give us a call at 801-610-2700.

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Home Inspector Insurance – How to Avoid Claims….

Published under News on 12/06/2011

How to Prevent Claims

As an insurance company, we know that even the most skilled and thorough property inspector can have an incident. Having defended numerous inspectors we have found there are a few precautions you can use to both reduce the chance of being sued and help prove your innocence when you are sued. We hope the following recommendations will help reduce your legal exposure.

2 Tips for Claim Prevention

1. Training: In order to stay current and up-to-date with industry trends and changes the professional home inspector is constantly learning. If you are not presently a part of a continuing education program through either an association or franchise it is important to proactively seek additional training. While most of the basic fundamentals you have learned do not change, building materials and construction defects do. Beginning in 1980 few people were concerned about EIFS, now in some regions it is a major concern and may prevent a home sale. Investing in yourself and your team’s education is the number one way to reduce claims.

2. Consistency: Inspectors who use varied reports, numerous agreements and documents sporadically will have a diffcult time when sitting in the defendant’s chair. Consistency can be essential during litigation, as it shows no deviation from your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). This is especially crucial for companies with more than one inspector. Consistency also applies to contracts and agreements as well; all pre-inspection agreements must be signed, all contracts must use the same language, all reports must come from the same template or software program. To reemphasize – the use of consistent language is essential. The language, so long as it is clear and understandable to the general public, can be less important than simply using it consistently. For example: If three pipes leak with hairline cracks it is inconsistent to call one a ruptured pipe, the other a cracked pipe and the third a leaking pipe. Consistent language in each and every inspection will help protect you.

As we mentioned earlier, even the best inspector can have an incident or claim. That’s why we carry insurance. Even the best of us can make mistakes and when they occur our insurance company can step in and defend us through to resolution. If you want to see what we have to offer submit an application for home inspector insurance. Or give us a call at 801-610-2700.

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Busting the BCS and home inspecting?

Published under Business Practices,News on 12/01/2011

Busting the BCS and home inspecting……

College football this time of year has a habit of talking about the teams trying to ‘Bust the BCS’. This post won’t address or attempt to address the current BCS system, or make a pitch for a playoff format or any of the other conversations and dialogues that exist today. We know many of you are college football fans and we also know that a bunch of people who read this blog are home inspectors. So what we are aiming for in this blog post is to talk about the ways the current BCS can be related to home inspecting and any small business for that matter to make it through these tough economic times.

Success in business is a lot like the BCS this year. You have to persevere. In years past the BCS rating system “punished” schools that were not able to navigate their schedules loss free. It would seem that in each year the BCS had other undefeated teams that would move into the BCS title game picture when a previously undefeated team stumbled.

However, this year the BCS picture is a bit different. LSU and Alabama are ranked as the 2 best college teams in the nation at this point in the season. (Although USC could make a strong case for playing some of the best football as of late).

LSU and AL played a tough game earlier this year with many of the pundits opining that the winner, if they didn’t lose as well, were on a straight course to the BCS title game. In fact many of those same pundits also remarked there should not be a rematch of the LSU vs. AL game for the BCS title game, should that situation arise.

LSUFootball Busting the BCS and home inspecting?  VS. AlabamaFootball Busting the BCS and home inspecting?

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For a few weeks after the LSU vs AL match-up the college football landscape had some new teams who stepped up and made some waves. Teams like Stanford, Oklahoma State, Oregon, and even Boise State was in the discussion at one time. But alas, each of these teams stumbled and lost a game down the stretch. As I type this post the current BCS Rankings are (1) LSU, (2) Alabama, (3) Oklahoma State get the rest of the poll at ESPN College Football Polls.

If the BCS championship game were played today, Alabama would be the beneficiary of having persevered. Business, especially small business is like Alabama in college football today. There are many big games and situations where we don’t come out ahead or feel like we won the battle. But we have to remember the battle is all we lost. The war is still going on. We can’t get down on ourselves or stop doing what is successful and can bring results. You have to persevere. And in the end you’ll be playing on the big stage again. You’ll have a shot at the title.

In fact most of us will try to market to the biggest referral partner in our market space at least once. Chances are our attempts were not successful the first time, and maybe not even the second, third, or fourth. But if we are polite and persistent, it can and many times will payoff in the future.

One last note…. Good football teams and good businesses also take steps and put plans in place to handle the unexpected. The biggest one I can think of is the star quarterback getting hurt. No one wants this to happen, but sometimes accidents or injuries occur.

Home inspectors are no different. As an inspector you don’t plan to miss or forget to inspect something, but sometimes errors happen. Like a football team having a back player, a home inspector should have a plan in place to help prevent errors from happening in the first place and protecting them in the event one occurs. Major components of this plan ought to include a solid inspection agreement, effective risk control measures, quality assurance steps, and insurance to handle the incidents that evolve into claims.

If you have home inspector insurance for your business and haven’t yet received a quote from InspectorPro Insurance go our home inspector insurance application. You’ll find the most comprehensive coverage at the best price. Or you can give us a call at 801-610-2700.

And of course is you want to learn more about Alabama home inspector insurance requirements or Louisiana home inspector insurance requirements click the appropriate link.

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What does a world series umpire and home inspecting have in common?

Published under News on 10/20/2011

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers began playing World Series 2011. St. Louis held on for a 3-2 win. Game 2 was last night and the Rangers evened the series. It’s probably not often you think of sports and home inspecting as having something or anything really in common. Umpires are professionals that help maintain the integrity and the civility of the game while, for all intents and purposes, trying to remain some what in the background. In fact during this World Series even the casual fan knows some of the players and managers: Albert Pujols, Tony LaRussa, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Lance Berman, etc. A few of the super-fans of the game will know who the umpires are. But for the most part, the umpires will perform in the background and will stay there throughout the series.

Home inspectors are kind of the same. Home inspectors are not the main characters in the buying and selling of a home. But they do perform a vital service and help keep things level. Or we could say that at least a home inspector helps a buyer make an educated and informed decision. Lets look at a few situations in a baseball game and see how they relate or compare to a home inspector.

rightfield What does a world series umpire and home inspecting have in common?
Fair or foul?
The ball is hit deep to right field and is fading towards the fair/foul pole down the right field line. Its dark. The lights in the stadium are on, and every once in a while there are flashes from fans cameras in the upper and lower decks. As the ball gets closer to the right field stands the fans are rising to their feet to catch a glimpse of what will potentially be a home run. The umpire is racing down the right field line to get closer to make the call. Fair or foul!

While not perfect, the umpire makes the most accurate call they can in a split second. The umpire takes into account that the batter was right-handed and that means the ball will be tailing away from the field of play. Prior to the pitch the umpire, most likely checked the flags at the top of the stadium to see which way the wind was blowing, if at all.

This is like a home inspector. As a home inspector walks a property they notice the slope and grade of the lot, the home inspector will also notice the slope and grade of adjoining lots and of the neighborhood in general. A professional home inspector is aware of the weather, not only of the weather at the time of the inspection but also for the immediate past. A professional home inspector will also notice the other items in the home that may be indications of a larger concealed problem. Something like fresh paint in the basement that may be hiding stains from past moisture intrusion. A professional home inspector is cognizant and aware of the situation and acts much like an umpire during a baseball game.

Safe at first What does a world series umpire and home inspecting have in common?
Calls at the bag?
The batter skips the pitch off the infield grass and towards the gap between short and third. Both players make a move to the ball with the shortstop coming up with the ball as he is moving away from first base. Off-balance he throws across his body to first hoping to force the runner out at the bag. The ball and the runner appear to reach first base at exactly the same time. This is ofter referred to as a “bang-bang” play. And the umpire is required to make the call.

A home inspector has to do the same thing. Just like the play at first there are many times a home inspector will see something just once and for a split second but that triggers a response and some notes in their report. Home inspectors notice things like the sun shining just perfectly to show the gaps between the window and the wall. Or the beam of the inspectors flashlight might illuminate some moisture intrusion signs in the attic that might not have been noticeable to anyone else. Just like the world series umpire that has had years and years of practice and game-time experience, the home inspector is the same. The home inspector has been trained and schooled in what to look for and the signs that may lead to defects that the previous homeowner may be trying to cover.

Home inspectors are in many ways just like a world series umpire who has years of experience, a crew that works with them, and the skills and professionalism to do their job with the whole world watching. Each year home inspectors receive training and skill enhancements to help them see and report on issues so that you can make an informed decision about the property in question. The best inspectors typically carry insurance and many of them are bonded. If you are a world class home inspector and would like to learn more about home inspector insurance, give us a call at 801-610-2700. Let us cover you while you’re out in the field.

If you are looking for St Louis home inspector insurance check out our Missouri web page. Or if your are searching for home inspector insurance in Arlington Texas, check out our page about Texas.

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Most Followed Home Builders on Twitter

Published under News on 10/10/2011

We all know this group for their home building skills: Ty Pennington, Bob Vila, Mike Holmes, Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis – but where do they rank on the web and Twitter specifically? We created this home builder infographic that shows the most followed and respected home builders on Twitter. Check it out and thanks for sharing…

By the way, there are options available for you if you are looking for home inspector insurance in Utah. The InspectorPRO insurance program has been specifically designed as a “best in class” home inspector insurance program. The program is available for home inspectors and commercial building inspectors in all 50 states. By providing home inspector insurance, home inspector errors and omission (E&O) and home inspector general liability insurance, together in one policy solely to home inspectors and commercial building inspectors as well as leveraging the purchasing power on a group basis.

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InfluentialHOMEbuilders Most Followed Home Builders on Twitter

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Drop this infographic right on your site or blog, it’s easy. Copy and Paste the following right onto your website.

Post to Your Site and Share:

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FABI Fall Conference…..

Published under News on 09/07/2011

It’s coming up quick. FABI is hosting their fall home inspector education conference September 10 & 11 at the Westin in Fort Lauderdale. Come and join them for some excellent inspector education. InspectorPro Insurance has a booth in the vendor area. If you are interested in learning more about our product and how it benefits inspectors throughout the nation, stop by and see us. Or just come by to enter to win a new flashlight. We look forward to meeting you.

FABIFallEducationConf FABI Fall Conference.....

Offered to inspectors nationwide, InspectorPro Insurance is a best in class home inspector insurance product. We offer our home inspector insurance policy with many endorsements, including; mold, radon, termite, septic, radon and many others. Call us at 801.610.2700 for more information. Or if you want a quote Home Inspector Insurance Application

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From the Ground Up…..

Published under News on 09/06/2011

This fall CREIA is holding their Fall Conference (October 14th – 16th). It’s titled From the Ground Up. CREIA conferences are always a good experience and packed full of information and relevant home inspector content. If you need home inspector insurance, or just want to talk to us about what we can offer inspectors, stop by our booth in the vendor area. We’re going to the show and look forward to seeing you.CREIA Logo From the Ground Up.....

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Filling Your Toolbox

Published under News on 09/02/2011

In 3 short weeks (September 22 – 25) we are heading out to the NAHI National Education Conference in Cincinnati.

If you are going to the conference, stop by our booth and say hello. We’d be happy to talk with you about the premier home inspector insurance program on the market.

nahieducationconference1 Filling Your Toolbox

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Release Me!! – Home Inspector Insurance thoughts…..

Published under Business Practices,News on 08/24/2011

No inspector is perfect. If we all sat in a room and I asked you how many of you has missed something when inspecting a home the answer would be everyone. That old saying, “it’s not if, but when” is true. At some point in your inspection career you’ll have to deal with the results of a mistake.

There are many thoughts and opinions about how to respond and while this post won’t address all the potential responses; I do want to talk about the Claim Release Statement.

After your conversation back and forth with the claimant you may eventually settle on a dollar figure they will accept to drop the claim and allow both parties to move on. It’s your choice to pay the settlement and walk away.

HOWEVER, you must get a signed release from the claimant. Having an gentleman’s agreement will not stand up in the future. Putting a statement on the back of the check that says something to effect of “by signing this check I release ABC Inspections from any and all future claims” also will not typically hold water in the event of future claims. You’ve got to have a release that finalizes the transaction for the current claim and anything that may arise in the future.releaseimage1 Release Me!!   Home Inspector Insurance thoughts.....

Each year in the home inspector insurance industry we see situations where claims are settled. When a claim is settled the insurance company always gets a release letter signed by the claimant for this and all future claims. As an inspector, if you are going to negotiate your own settlements for incidents you should follow the same practice.

Yes mistakes happen, and yes sometimes you can settle them and walk away. Obtaining a release is a smart home inspector business practice.

Disclaimer….I am not an attorney and this post is in no way an attempt to convey or give legal advice. You should consult with your attorney to draft the release you use.

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Home Inspector Insurance – Equipment Coverage

Published under News on 08/19/2011

No doubt like many inspectors you have some tools or equipment for your inspection business. One of the troubles with finding home inspector insurance is that typically it doesn’t expand to cover your equipment as well.

The InspectorPro Insurance Program has the ability to offer you equipment coverage with your policy from us. You can get up to $10,000 in coverage for only $200 extra in premium.

Call one of our Program Managers at 801.610.2700 to learn more. Or just apply online and mark yes to equipment coverage. Home Inspector Insurance Application

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