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Apples are wonderful, but it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. The same can be said of employees. Most are wonderful, well-intentioned contributors to a culture of success. However, one employee acting irresponsibly can cause a great deal of harm to any organization. For example, take the recent case of Pennsylvania State University and their former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky. For the few people in the country unfamiliar with this tragedy, Jerry Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing several boys. Most were abused inside of campus buildings, which is not only horribly tragic, but put the university itself under legal fire. According to Chad Hemenway of Property Casualty 360, Penn State finds itself now sorting through multiple settlements for Sandusky’s victims.
I tightened my helmet, secured my kneepads, and snapped my buckles into place. I was nine and it was rollerblade time. I always had a great time cruising the mean sidewalks of suburbia in my neon rollerblades, but this day was exceptionally great. I even landed a jump. Then it happened. A furry little monster blindsided me from behind, and I went down. Long story short, my rollerblades were viciously and brutally attacked by the neighbor’s three-pound Pomeranian, Mr. Fluffy.
So much of life is work.  Work to achieve goals.  Work to improve skills.  Work to increase means.  Work to improve productivity.  And actually most of it is totally worth it.  Anyone who’s worked for something, staying focused through the long haul, knows that what you achieve becomes intrinsically valuable.  Add to that the inherent monetary value, and you’ve got something you most certainly want to protect. Ironically through all that work you’ve put in, you are vulnerable; vulnerable to losing your assets to taxes, creditors and abusive claims.  That’s when Asset Protection steps in.  While there are ample suppliers of asset protection insurance against taxes and creditors, there is an underestimation of the need for protection against abusive claims.
As a landlord, I was stunned to hear news last week of an opinion issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court, which stated that landlords could be held liable if their tenants’ dog bites someone. Now, instead of simply weighing the usual wear-and-tear costs associated with allowing dogs in rental units, landlords will need to determine whether renting to dog owners could put their very livelihood at stake. Jeffrey Greenberger, attorney for the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association, responded to the opinion by calling it “scary.” He added he “knows of no other case where the landlord is treated as though he owns the tenant's pet.”
My grandfather was an Air Force helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, flying the Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low—more commonly known as the “Super Jolly Green Giant.”  He would pick up wounded soldiers and transport them to medical bases, which routinely put him in dangerous situations. My brothers and I used to sit around his chair and listen to him tell stories about flying, and loved hearing him talk about the logistics of flying helicopters.
If you think about it, animals share a common trait with cars, boats, and houses—when tragedy strikes a lack of liability insurance in these areas can be life altering. And not in the "I won $27.3 million in the lottery" way.  Rather, the "I need lawsuit protection so I don't lose everything I own" type of way.

Even a small dog bite can be an ouch!  Dog bites account for approximately 360,000 emergency room visits per year. Victims more often than not file lawsuits seeking for payment of medical bills, loss of income, and compensation for pain and suffering. Dog bites are the biggest cause of homeowner’s insurance claims and some are limiting or eliminating the coverage altogether.  If you are the loving owner of a dog that is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance, you might want to invest in a policy that will protect you and your beloved pet from liability situations. Even a nip could leave you vulnerable to a lawsuit. XINSURANCE will provide coverage no matter what the dog breed.  In many cases there are state, local and county ordinances that require pet owners, homeowners, renters, and even landlords to have animal liability insurance coverage in place.

Owning a pet can be an extremely rewarding experience but it also brings a certain amount of responsibility and risk no matter the breed or the temperament of your dog. Becoming informed on your homeowner’s policy and what additional coverage you may need is a good way to ensure peace of mind and stay out of the doghouse for good.

Directors of HOA organizations have the unenviable task of completing large “to do” lists while assuming the risk of offending neighbors if they don’t like your decisions.  While maintaining the common areas in their neighborhood, directors must:
  • Act in good faith and candor
  • Act in the interests of another and avoid transactions that result in personal gain
  • Not exert undo pressure or act without the knowledge and consent of those he represents
Running a business is a matter of managing the ups and downs.  Hopefully more ups than downs.  Whether part of the board or one of the top executives in a corporation, you realize you’ve got to handle the pitch and roll in order to keep the business afloat.  Particularly in these difficult economic times. During financially difficult times people are more prone to seek out and take legal action against any perceived corporate misstep.  Top-level decisions can be challenged by investors, regulators, and even criminal prosecutors.   And, so it is more important than ever that directors understand their obligations and potential liabilities.
"Home is where the heart is," right? Well, when something terrible happens at your home, where does that leave you? With a broken heart and most likely a broken budget. The preventative heart care you need as a homeowner lies with comprehensive property liability insurance. Sure, you probably have a standard homeowner insurance policy; it might even have a small amount of liability protection built in. But is it enough to protect you against the weirdness of everyday life?
I’ve always been a dog person.  I love all kinds of dogs, but I’ve always had a big soft spot for English Bulldogs.  Maybe it’s their round faces and giant tongues that get me, or maybe it’s their short, stocky little bodies covered in skin rolls.  Whatever it may be about these dogs, I love them, especially my own little guy.  And when I think of my English Bulldog, Duncan, the last adjective that comes to mind is dangerous. Yet, the CDC sites some of my favorite breeds as the most dangerous.  At the very top of the list are Pit Bulls, a distant relative of the English Bulldog.
I used to get made fun of as a kid.  I was the one who came to school with a backpack as big as I was, filled to its capacity with school supplies.  From pencils to gauze pads (just in case my pencil slipped when writing notes and I cut my hand, of course), I had it all tucked nicely into my scoliosis maker. I blamed it on my mom.  I told my snickering peers that she was overprotective and I had to lug around my “just in case” bag to keep her off my back.  But really, it was all me.  I was the epitome of a boy scout – always prepared no matter what situation I was in.  It was in my blood, and still is.
In medicine, we hear a lot about preventative care.   In matters of asset protection, doctors would do well to follow their own advice.  Physicians should prevent their assets from becoming vulnerable to a frivolous lawsuit.  Being sued leaves much more at risk than a medical practice. Injured parties are seeking compensation for injuries received and in many cases a civil action against the physician to prevent further malpractice by the medical professional. Personal assets of the physicians are always looked at as a possible means of receiving compensation. Personal assets come into play in one of two ways:
  • If a judgment exceeds your medical policy limit
  • If the action in question falls under one of the policy exclusions
In a prior job, I used to share a cubicle with a guy who hated everything. I wish that this were an exaggeration. This guy, who we’ll call Steve (because his name was Steve) was quicker to express a negative sentiment than the Grinch (and he was also slightly hairier). Steve was very unpleasant to be around, and was always pushing the limits of the company rules. And then, one day, he pushed too hard, and he was fired. He stormed out of the office, threatening to sue everyone he saw, and then he was gone. We’ve all got that co-worker. You know whom I’m talking about.
For even the most controlled persons, times may come when self-defense, or the defense of someone unable to protect themselves, may arise.  In these cases, the assumption is often that litigation for any violence would naturally not apply. However, you would be surprised how often assault and battery litigation could still stick.  Assault and battery is the combination of two violent crimes: assault, or the threat of violence; and battery, or the actual physical violence. The intention behind the actions is important.  Generally, it is only necessary for the defendant to have intent to do the harmful act (as opposed to an intention to actually do harm). Essentially, the act must be done voluntarily.  Even in cases of self-defense, an intention to do harm or to do a harmful act can result in assault and battery charges.
In a recent Washington Post article, it was cited that winning the $640M jackpot was so remote (1 in 176 million chance), that you had a better chance at the following:
  • You have a 1 in 1 million chance of getting hit by lightning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • There's a 1-in-a-few-million chance of the Earth getting wiped out by a large asteroid, a NASA spokesperson said.
  • You have a greater chance of having identical quadruplets than winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Odds are 1 in 13 million, according to an NBC report.
  • Scared of dying from a bee sting? Well, you have a 1 in 6.1 million chance of dying from one, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.
In this day and age some people are what I like to call “sue-happy.”  Meaning that they will sue for just about anything.  Last year was no exception and 2011 brought 10 of the most ridiculous lawsuits to date.  These suits included a convict suing the couple he kidnapped for not helping him evade police, a woman sued because the “Drive” movie trailer did not contain enough actual driving, and another woman sued a store for $5 million because of a disagreement about an 80-cent refund. Yes, these are all for real, and you can check them out more at the link above.  These lawsuits conjure up all kinds of feelings of ridiculousness and absurdity, yet frivolous lawsuits occur all the time, and the worst part is that some of them actually come out victorious in court.