Mission Statement

"Our mission is to create peace of mind and build enduring relationships."

Bob Lancaster Insurance's mission statement is the core of our culture. Our customers always come first, and we strive to provide them with the products and service that best respond to their needs. Building trust and fostering loyal, long-lasting relationships are the essence of who we are and fundamental parts of our company values.

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Our employees work hard to connect with our customers on a very real and personal level. Find out what Bob Lancaster’s mission means to them and how they carry it out every day.

Bob Lancaster Insurance, serving Florida's insurance needs since 1964. Contact us today at 321-725-1620 - see what we can do for YOU and YOUR BUSINESS!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Information In Your Insurance Application Is Extremely Important

The information in an application for insurance is extremely important; it contains information which the insurance company uses to determine if it will extend coverage, what type and how much coverage, and is used to determine the level of risk. The accuracy of that information is important. There are different burdens of proof that an insurance company must meet if they intend to void a policy based on a misrepresentation in the application. The different standards may depend on what the language in the policy and application says and whether the insurer is an admitted carrier or a surplus lines insurer, as well as the law in your jurisdiction.

Now I’m not saying there aren’t consequences for insurance carriers that improperly try to raise these types of defenses – because some insurance carriers pull the trigger on this aggressive defense too often when they shouldn’t. But, it is not a spot that any policyholder wants to find himself; no longer a policyholder because of something on an application for insurance. A recent Southern District of Florida case discusses misrepresentations in the application and gives some description about why misrepresentation in the application is treated differently than other defenses raised by insurance companies.

The case involves a situation where a policyholder allowed a friend to borrow his 32–foot fishing yacht for a fishing trip. The friend mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again. The insurance company denied insurance coverage for the loss of the vessel. The jury found that the policyholder had proven his claim but could not recover because he intentionally misrepresented a material fact in his insurance application. In the case, the policyholder tried to set aside the jury verdict, arguing there was no evidence from which a reasonable jury could have found that any misrepresentations had “increased the hazard by any means within the control of the insured.” The court held that Florida law does not require that misrepresentations increase the hazard, and there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that his intentional misrepresentations affected the insurance company’s ability to assess the risks it was insuring.

The court noted that with misrepresentations in an insurance application, it’s not that they increase the risk of loss, but that they interfere with the insurer's ability to assess the risk of loss before deciding how much coverage to provide and at which premium. Here, the application listed the policyholder as the owner, that he had four years of boating experience, he would be the sole operator, and the vessel would be stored on his property. That was not true, as a second person acted as a co-owner, primarily used the boat, and did not have the boating experience. Now the policyholder could have informed the insurance carrier of this fact and they could have still obtained the policy – they just would have had to pay a different premium if they disclosed the truth.
The tip to avoid a situation like this case is to not even allow there to be inaccurate information on your insurance application. Do more than read your insurance application; double check it for accuracy and correct any inaccuracies with your agent.
Contact us for all your Insurance needs! (321)725-1620
Bob Lancaster Insurance
Serving Florida since 1964

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fitness Pros: Four Primary Liability Exposures

Individual insurance policies tailored to meet the needs of fitness professionals should include coverage to protect them from all types of claims. Photo by Thinkstock.
Individual insurance policies tailored to meet the needs of fitness professionals should include coverage to protect them from all types of claims. 

All fitness professionals—whether they teach classes or train one-on-one, whether they are employees or independent contractors—need insurance to protect themselves and their future from liability exposure. The good news is that protection is relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain online, and programs are tailored to provide the needed coverage. Having insurance frees fitness professionals to do what they do best: help their clients become more fit and healthy.

Fitness professionals need to be aware of four primary types of liability exposure in the clubs and studios where they train their clients:

1. Premises liability. This relates to the facility itself and is primarily the responsibility of the club or studio owner. Examples of premises liability injuries that can lead to claims include slips and falls on the sidewalk, over electrical cords or in the shower/wet areas. These types of claims are the most common in health and fitness clubs and studios, as in other businesses. A premises liability claim that can frequently involve the fitness professional is a wet floor in a group exercise room if a participant slips and falls and claims the instructor knew the floor was wet.

2. Liability associated with damaged, broken or malfunctioning equipment. These types of insurance claims can either be the responsibility of the facility or the equipment manufacturer. Health clubs and studios alike should maintain all of their equipment per the manufacturer’s instructions with regular inspection and service. This includes everything from the steps, bands, balls and barbells used in group exercise classes to strength-training and cardio equipment. If a machine’s design is found to be at fault for an injury, then the liability will shift to the manufacturer. A fitness professional can be a part of these claims if it is alleged that the instructor knew the treads on steps were worn or if the trainer knew the piece of equipment was not working properly.

3. Professional liability. The vast majority of exposure for fitness professionals exists under this type of exposure. All group exercise, yoga and Pilates instructors as well as personal trainers have exposure for the things that they say and do or fail to say or do. This includes performing the actual teaching and instructing in a class or session as well as the counseling and advice that they provide. This also includes nutritional counseling. The most common form of professional liability claim occurs when a member or client is injured and claims that the trainer or instructor failed to tell them how to use a piece of equipment properly.

4. Sexual abuse and molestation claims. Since trainers and instructors frequently work closely with their clients, they are open to claims of improper touching, overly familiar language or inappropriate comments. If they are working with clients younger than 18 years old, then this exposure increases dramatically.
How do fitness professionals protect themselves?

Individual insurance policies tailored to meet the needs of fitness professionals should include coverage to protect them from all of the types of claims discussed above. These individual policies are relatively inexpensive and follow the individual wherever they train if they train in multiple facilities at one time or if they change facilities within the policy year.

When purchasing an individual policy, fitness professionals should look for the following:
  • Professional liability coverage written on an occurrence basis that includes coverage for nutritional counseling.
  • General liability coverage that protects the fitness professional if they are named in a premises liability claim or equipment liability claim. It is important to know that claimants can name anyone that they want to in lawsuits.
  • Sexual abuse and molestation coverage.
  • Medical payments coverage. This coverage pays the medical bills of injured parties on a no-fault basis for good will.
Are instructors and trainers covered under the insurance policies of the fitness centers and studios where they work?

Fitness professionals who are direct employees or owners of the facility where they teach or train the clients of the club or studio most likely are covered by that facility’s general liability and professional liability insurance policies. However, they always need to verify this with the facility.

Fitness professionals who are independent contractors and/or train their own clients in a studio or club owned by someone else mostly likely are not covered by the general liability or professional liability policy of the facility. Most club and studio owners require independent contractors to show proof that they have their own liability insurance prior to beginning work in the facility.

The vast majority of fitness professionals are passionate about their work and carry it outside the premises of the clubs and studios where they officially train their clients. Talking with family, friends, neighbors and others about their health, fitness and nutrition also can expose a fitness professional to liability. If one of these persons takes the advice of a “professional” and is injured, they then can file a claim or lawsuit. Therefore, all fitness professionals should have individual insurance coverage even if they are covered by the club or studio where they work. A club’s policy only provides protection within the walls of that facility.

Contact us for all your Insurance needs! (321)725-1620
Bob Lancaster Insurance
Serving Florida since 1964

Monday, September 8, 2014

Are you being charged by your Insurance Agent for issuing Certificates of Insurance?

A certificate of insurance (COI) is essentially proof of coverage and indicates which insurance company insures the risk. COIs generally serve as evidence of insurance in lieu of an actual copy of an insurance policy. 

The State of Florida  Department of Financial Services (DFS) is receiving an increase in inquiries and seeing more violations in regard to agents and agencies charging their customers for issuing COIs. While there are several fees that agents are permitted by statute to charge, such as policy fees by a managing general agent, fees for issuing certificates of coverage are not allowed under the law. If you are being charged for this service, you should report your agent to the State of Florida. The Department will hold the agent responsible even if he or she delegated the issuance of the certificates to another person in his or her office.

According to DFS, agents are expected to absorb these service costs based upon current laws.

Here at Bob Lancaster Insurance we DO NOT charge additional fees for our services!

Contact us for all your Insurance needs! (321)725-1620
Bob Lancaster Insurance
Serving Florida since 1964