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Barndominium Insurance

Barndominium Insurance

A client sent me an email asking me to quote a builder’s risk policy for a barndominium she and her husband are planning to build. I haven’t watched HGTV’s Fixer Upper series, so I called her to find out what a barndominium is, as well as to ask her the questions I needed answered to quote a builder’s risk policy for them. After finding several builder’s risk policy options for them, I began researching what companies will write a barndominium insurance policy once the construction is complete. First, if you’re unfamiliar with barndominiums, they are a recent twist on the old concept of a barn house. A barndominium, which is sometimes referred to as a pole barn home, is a country home, that may be designed to look like a traditional or contemporary version of a barn, barn house, or single family home. Many of the current models are made using metal building techniques having metal sides and roofs, with spray insulation on slab foundations. The interior space may be devoted entirely to living space or divided between home and an office or studio. Some barndominiums are designed with large amounts of storage to accommodate boats, RVs, and ATVs, or even barn space for your horses and tack. If you’re planning on building or buying a barndominium, be aware that not every home insurance company will write a barndominium insurance policy. The reasons for this run the gamut including the company doesn’t write homes which aren’t traditional site or stick built homes, or they don’t write homes with metal siding and/or metal roofs (hail related in Texas). Some companies won’t write a home that wasn’t originally designed to be a home such as a barn conversion. In other cases, carriers may not write a modular home, a home located in an area served by a rural fire department, or one with horses or livestock on it. Home insurance companies may not write a home situated on more than 5 acres or they may not be able to accurately calculate a replacement cost value on a style of home that’s newer and different from what their current systems can address. There are insurance companies which will write barndominium insurance, however there may have restrictions on what they’ll write. For instance, some companies may have construction related concerns (metal roof is acceptable but metal siding is not), or farming and ranching related concerns such as the number of horses, livestock, and if you’re engaged in boarding other people’s horses or breeding cattle. If you’re farming, there may be restrictions based on if you’re selling your produce or raising it for your own consumption. Commercial endeavors may...

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Insurance and Politics

Insurance and Politics

Insurance and politics may sound like strange bedfellows but they aren’t. They share the same bed more often than most people realize and the impact can be profound for individuals and business whether it plays out on the national or state level. Such is the case since Presidential Candidate Donald Trump became President-Elect. Let’s look at two instances which will unfold after January 20, 2017. Health Insurance: One of the corner pieces of President Barak Obama’s presidency is the Affordable Care Act which promised to bring affordable health insurance to millions of uninsured individuals and families. Health insurance has changed dramatically for most people, especially the self-employed, since the ACA went into effect. Candidate Trump, along with most of the Republican candidates promised to dismantle the ACA if elected. Once the results of November’s election were tallied, many wondered if President-Elect Trump will make good on his promise. This issue was clouded once Donald Trump met with President Obama who encouraged him not to dismantle the ACA. President-Elect Trump conceded some of the pieces of the ACA are good and may be kept. It’s anybody’s guess as to what will happen after Trump’s inauguration, however, we will at least have to work with and make coverage decisions based on what we currently have until Trump takes office. I believe it will most likely be scrapped but would like to see some sort of coverage kept for those who could not get health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Employment Practices Liability Insurance: Texas Judge, Amos Mazzant, issued an injunction last week blocking the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations from going into effect on December 1. The proposed regulation would have caused all workers, whether exempt or non-exempt, earning up to a maximum annual salary of $47,476 to receive overtime pay when working more than 40 hours a week. Many business owners, associations, and politicians felt this was too great an increase and would hurt both owners, employees, and consumers. The impact of such a regulation exposes business owners to potential lawsuits from employees. General liability policies, in many cases, do not automatically include coverage for employment practices liability insurance or EPLI. Many commercial insurance companies offer this as an option that may be added to a general liability policy or purchased separately. EPLI provides coverage against claims made by employees alleging discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and other employment related issues. It makes good business sense for small and large businesses to have EPLI coverage to protect against such claims. I expect this ruling to be overturned once President-Elect Trump takes office, although I would like to see the current maximum raised from $23,660 a...

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