Nuclear Verdicts – They do affect your insurance premiums

By Lauren Abbl on Nov 29 in Insurance, Propane.

Nuclear Verdicts – They do affect your insurance premiums - Pt Risk

Most people involved in the propane industry understand that insurance coverage is required. After all, no matter how careful you are and how many safety tips you give your employees and customers, there is always a chance of the product causing damage and injuries. Of course, that doesn’t mean you enjoy paying those insurance premiums. You might even carry the minimum coverage possible to save money, all while questioning why insurance costs seem to keep going up. All of this is understandable, but the reality is that insurance is not the bill you want to skimp on. These days, juries are awarding increasingly higher awards to victims, further pushing up insurance costs showing exactly why you need proper coverage to protect you and your business. Keep reading to see what is meant by this and what you should do in response. 

Insurance Settlements Continue to Increase in Recent Years

If you don’t regularly follow major lawsuits in different industries, you might be surprised to find out just how large jury awards can be these days. They often total millions or even billions of dollars. And in many cases, it’s not even the person or company that directly caused the damage that is held liable. It’s often an individual or business that was indirectly involved, such as a company that completed a construction job prior to the incident. 

One example involves a car accident that occurred when two drivers were traveling on a Kentucky road that had been recently paved. A large truck lost control as the tires started to slip off the freshly paved road, leading the truck to enter the opposite lane of traffic and cause a head-on collision with a car. The woman driving the car was killed. Her family chose not to sue the driver of the truck that caused the accident, but they did bring a claim against the asphalt company that had resurfaced the road, because they didn’t add a safety wedge. The argument was that a safety wedge would have made it possible for the driver of the truck to safely re-enter the road without veering into the other lane. The jury stated that the asphalt company was guilty of wrongful death, and the woman’s family was awarded a whopping $74 million. 

That’s not the only case of this kind. Sometimes an injured employee claims his own employer should be held liable for damages. For example, when a truck driver in Texas was killed by another truck driver trying to avoid a large tree branch on the freeway, the at-fault driver claimed that the freight company that employed him hadn’t trained him properly to safely avoid debris on the road. As a result, the family of the deceased victim sued the at-fault driver’s employer. They won $30 million in damages, most of which the freight company’s insurance policy had to pay. Considering settlements like these, you can see why insurance premiums are not going to be dropping any time soon.

Would Your Insurance Policy Cover a Large Settlement?

After seeing these huge sums that victims are awarded, you might be thinking about your own policy. Would it cover settlements like the ones above? If not, you could be left paying the remainder of the wrongful death or personal injury damages. This is how some successful professionals end up losing their business, house, and any other valuable assets they have worked hard for over the years. All it takes is one devastating accident that costs you and your insurance policy millions of dollars, and your life won’t be the same again. Losing your propane business would affect your family, employees, and customers, so it’s not a risk you want to take. 

Fortunately, you have the chance now to greatly reduce the odds of having to pay out of pocket for damages. You can do this by increasing your insurance coverage to meet current replacement costs instead of sticking with outdated values. You can also opt for umbrella coverage for an extra layer of protection beyond your current policy’s limits. This will increase the chance that you have enough coverage to pay for property damage, personal injuries, wrongful deaths, and other possible outcomes when you work with propane and similar products. 

To find out what kind of coverage you need for your business, or for a review of your existing propane insurance coverage, we encourage you to contact us. We’ll go over the insurance you need and help you decide how much umbrella coverage would benefit your business, so feel free to call today!

Lauren Abbl

Producer, PT Risk Management

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