Telling the Story of Community Association Insurance

Most condominium association residents are likely to have little or no understanding of the insurance that protects the association in which they reside. Let’s face it; there just isn’t a lot of glamour in discussing deductibles, coinsurance, liabilities and such that make up the community association insurance story. Telling the story of your community’s insurance coverage is going to be a challenge but if done properly, can yield a wealth of rewards. Start with the basics. Every resident needs to know that the community has insurance and that the insurance covers certain elements which the entire community owns in common. Every resident also needs to know that community association insurance… Read More

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The Two Biggest Mistakes Community Association Make Involving D&O Insurance

The Directors & Officers Insurance policy (“D&O”) is a small part of an association’s insurance coverage and premium puzzle, but it is a critical piece.  It is important because it protects the community members who agree to accept a very often no-win and often thankless volunteer job to manage the association.  Contrary to the other pieces of the insurance puzzle, D&O coverage can differ significantly from insurer to insurer.  There are currently two significant mistakes associations make in regards to D&O policies. The first mistake is price over coverage.  Boards have a fiduciary obligation to manage the association.  This obligation includes the procurement of insurance that is in the best… Read More

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The Attorney Audit of the Community Association Insurance Puzzle

The Attorney Audit of the Community Association Insurance Puzzle By Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS             You are sitting there surrounded by a couple of octogenarian retirees in Bermuda shorts and black shoes and socks, one a former life insurance agent and another a retired Chicago attorney.  Also around the table is a mother with her nine month old fusing in her lap, a middle aged couple in matching sweat suits and a nice looking young man in a suit.  You pinch yourself and yes it is true, you are sitting in the Bay View Condo Association club house in front of the association’s new board of directors.  You have… Read More

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When Are You Not Covered By Your D&O Policy?

When Are You Not Covered By Your D&O Policy? By Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS[1] Introduction: The question being posed: “When Are You Not Covered By Your D&O[2] Policy” is really a multipart question. First, where does a community associations D&O policy fall within the entire insurance puzzle? Second, are all D&O policies created equal? Third, how does the community association maximize its coverage? The reason association members ask these questions are because they want to know if the policy covers them for what they do in their volunteer work for the community association.  For example, they want to know if they will be covered for the following type of… Read More

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The Community Association Insurance Puzzle: What the Board Must Do and Must Avoid to Assemble the Puzzle

The Community Association Insurance Puzzle:  What the Board Must Do and Must Avoid to Assemble the Puzzle by Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS Introduction          A key obligation of the association board is to protect the assets of the association.  One of the primary elements of this responsibility is insurance but many volunteer board members have limited experience with insurance.  They’re only familiar with purchasing personal auto, home and life insurance.  Most know the limits and the price, but few really take the opportunity to understand coverage until they have an uncovered loss.  Many are swayed in their insurance shopping because they are “in good hands” or are protected by “good… Read More

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The Complaint is Frivolous, why should it impact our insurance?

by Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS w Featured in QuoiUlll, May 2006 It is a groundless complaint; it will go away soon according to our property manager or attorneywhy should it impact our insurance : As an underwriter of Director and Officer Liability Insurance for some 35,000 non-profit community associations, this is a question I hear on a daily basis. The non profit board of directors and officers in our experience do a fabulous job at the task at hand, however, no matter how well nm and govemed an association is, there will always be complaints. As a practical matter, if the insurance canier is involved, expenses will be inctmed.… Read More

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Insured v. Insured Exclusion – What is it all About in the Community Association’s Directors and Officers Policy

INSURED V. INSURED EXCLUSION – WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT IN THE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION’S DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS POLICY   By Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS[1] Copyright © 2009     The directors & officers policy is a critical piece of the community association insurance puzzle.  The community association world includes condos, homeowner associations, timeshares and other entities.  These entities have two items in common.   Membership is based on real property ownership – a condo unit, a single family home, a timeshare interval or a similar “individual property interest.” The second element in the equation is that these individual members have a “common interest” with the other members of the… Read More

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Filing a Successful Claim

Filing a Successful Claim By Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS Copyright © 2008   No matter how well a community is managed, as sure as there is death and taxes, at some point there will be an incident that will give rise to a lawsuit or claim.  In a perfect world, upon the happening of such an incident, the association would make a single phone call to the insurance company, provide the requested information and the insurer would immediately make a direct deposit for the claim into the association’s account or arrange any other requested solution or remediation.  .   In the real world, the process is not always that… Read More

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It Never Rains in Texas, so Why Buy an Umbrella? Why a Community Association Need Umbrella Liability Insurance

It Never Rains in Texas,  So Why Buy An Umbrella? Why a Community Association Needs Umbrella Liability Insurance By Joel W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS                 “It will never happen in our community.”  That is what the homeowners association in Northern Indiana thought when they were tagged with a $30.7 million jury verdict.  Who thought they would be found negligent for failing to put up a sign indicating that a pond would be dangerous to walk on when frozen.  Who gets to pay the difference between the $30.7 verdict and the $6 million coverage maintained by the association – it was only a $24.7 million shortfall.  Can you spell “Special Assessment?”… Read More

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bank

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bank “Fraud in the Community Association” By Joel W. Meskin      If you ask any person who lives in a condominium if fraud or embezzlement would ever happen in his or her association, it is more than likely that you will be assured that it would never happen- wouldn’t even be possible- in the resident’s community.  But no association is immune from the risk of fraud.  Why are community associations inherently vulnerable to fraud and embezzlement?   Community associations, whether they are a condominium, cooperative, homeowner’s association, or property owner’s association, are legal entities, like any other business entity.  The people… Read More

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