Safety is first. But that is not the course of affairs when dealing with insurance company adjusters who usually say that they will not include the costs of legally required safe construction practices because their managers will not allow those costs.

Why do insurance companies not follow the law? That question is pretty easy to answer: Most insurance commissioners do not closely monitor what is going on in the field and insurance companies want to decrease costs.

A Merlin Law Group employee asked me about a recent article, Ohio Roofing Contractor Imprisoned After Employee’s Fatal Fall, and asked me how insurance companies do not get imprisoned for failing to include safety costs in their estimates. I Said that they should get imprisoned and ‘if just one company claims manager was imprisoned, you could bet that there would be a lot more compliance for including these costs.’

I will be giving a speech about these issues on Wednesday at the First Party Claims Conference. I have an OSHA expert, Kevin Dandridge, and a certified Xactimate expert, Steve Shannon, speaking with me on a panel discussing these issues. I hope you can join us and please call me with questions because all construction estimates have to follow the law.

Thought For The Day

Just as the common law derives from ancient precedents – judges’ decisions – rather than statutes, baseball’s codes are the game’s distilled mores. Their unchanged purpose is to show respect for opponents and the game. In baseball, as in the remainder of life, the most important rules are unwritten. But not unenforced.
—George Will

  • Mark Jacoby

    Regarding roofing estimates, I include a line item for fall protection in every estimate. It’s part of my Xactimate macro. When adjusters refuse to pay the line item, I insist on overhead as this equipment cost could be considered a component of overhead necessary for the trade. Allowances for fall protection are specifically rejected from both approaches despite the fact that roofing is commonly known to be the highest risk trade requiring the highest insurance rates for workman’s comp. I think this would help establish accountability should there be an injury on one of my insured roofing restorations. This is why I specifically go through the process of first requesting fall protection as a item as a line item and again as inclusion in an award for overhead. The adjusters have no cognition of why I’m doing this.

  • shirley heflin

    Dear Chip:

    I agree that there should be criminal accountability for willful negligence resulting in a death, however, I do not think claims managers should be arrested! Let’s arrest those at the insurance company that are in a position to make changes, like CEO’s, Presidents, etc. Frankly, the claims manager is just doing what he’s told and making an honest living. He’s not the one sitting atop a life of luxury earning hundreds of thousands – and possibly millions – of dollars per year.

    Tampa, FL