Construction Continues Despite the Pandemic
March will mark the one-year anniversary of the stay-at-home order in the U.S. This has necessitated many changes in our daily lives that will have long-term impacts. One positive from this increased time at home is the uptick in home improvement projects. According to NerdWallet, 61% of Americans have invested in their homes by completing renovation projects since March 2020.
This surge in real estate improvement and development has driven the need for specialized trade contractors. While some trades can be done by homeowners, certain aspects should be left to trained professionals, such as electrical, plumbing and framing work. Artisan classes of business have continued to grow despite the pandemic. In addition to their liability, the equipment they use daily is facing more exposure to damage or theft due to the increased workload.
Similarly, there has also been a trend in vacant buildings under renovation and ground-up construction risks. Many land owners are acting as the general contractors for these projects and subcontracting out some work to others. This creates a need for appropriate insurance while acting in this capacity to ensure they are protected for their liability and the cost of materials.
USLI has seen a steady influx of these “pandemic-proof” classes since March 2020. Due to this increase in activity, the need for specialized coverages is even more important. Increased workloads and new exposures for contractors and homeowners will result in more claims and litigation.
Take the following claim as an example of why artisan contractors need insurance for their liability and equipment:
- A plumber was responsible for installing new pipes for a home’s toilet, sinks, shower/tub, etc. He used a torch to solder the new pipes. The flame of the torch caught some insulation within the wall, causing it to smolder; it continued to smolder after the plumber left for the day. That night, the interior wall studs and other materials caught fire, quickly spreading and destroying 75% of the home.
- Equipment was at a jobsite surrounded by woods and a wooden fence. Vandals came in the night and set fire to the unit, causing a total loss.
Also consider the unique claims that can arise from an owner acting as their own general contractor:
- One of the insured’s employees allows a window being installed to fall from the third story of a building they are renovating. It strikes a pedestrian, causing their shoulder to dislocate.
The above claims illustrate the different types of risks that arise for these individuals. USLI can provide protection for artisan contractors, contractor’s equipment, owners acting as general contractors, inland marine for builder’s risk, and vacant buildings under renovation.
USLI offers the below key product advantages:
- Broad eligibility for artisan contractors spanning 40 eligible classes
- Risks with no prior liability coverage or a lapse in coverage are acceptable
- Can consider contractor’s equipment that is owned or rented
- Capability for replacement cost on equipment five model years old and newer
- Inland marine coverage for full duration of construction projects
- No limit on length of vacancy for buildings under renovation
With quotes available online, over the phone or through your Commercial Lines underwriter, you’ll find it easy to take advantage of our competitive minimum premiums and ease of business for all of these pandemic-proof construction classes.
As always, thank you for your support and business.
Contact Stephen Pinkerton,
Second Vice President, Senior Underwriter – Travel | 888-523-5545 Ext. 2585
Written by Jacob Dawson
March 4, 2021