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Old 02-27-2010, 11:54 PM   #1
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Default General Liability and RRP

Even though I have more than 30 years experience as a painter, I just recently came back to the painting trade after a 15 year hiatus and started my painting company last year.

To protect myself and my customers I obtained general liability through Erie Insurance. The contractors policy from Erie has an exclusion for Lead Liability. My insurance broker told me that Erie Insurance will not provide business liability insurance that will cover lead.

I am shopping around for insurance companies that will provide “pollution coverage” since I will be a certified by EPA and much of the housing in my area was built before 1978. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:38 AM   #2
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That is another issue! (and another reason to "just say no!")

Read this

There is a conversation among insurance agents on Linkedin I read, they are in the dark as well!
I did get a quote from my agent for a separate rider to start at $2500 a year, bur when I pressed him on, he said that was for Abatement.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:36 AM   #3
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The more I read about all this, the more I am tempted to just plain avoid all pre-1978 housing. Just don't want to be harrassed by teams of blood sucking tort lawyers out to make a buck off of my hard work. Even if you win, you spend money to defend yourself. (we need some tort reform )
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:21 AM   #4
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It is going to be a tough "row to hoe", but if you can do it and have the market to support it, could be worth it.

Here is another insurance article.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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As a one guy shop, my insurance now is about $1000- that is quite a jump. $3500.
If I figure I will have to do the whole process on 25-30 jobs a year, that adds $90-100 to each one of those jobs. That is just for insurance, not the increased time and materials involved, and licensing and tools...
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:18 AM   #6
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I think that is the tough decision many of us face. How much of your business last year was pre 78 homes? Can you afford to say no to that percentage of work?
That market could increase if HOs are aware and make decisions based on qualifications, not price and you are one of the few to have those qualifications.
Not being certified could also exclude many from bidding on certain projects as well.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:19 PM   #7
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Please clarify this for me. I read that if you are disturbing a 20 sqft area on an exterior that you need to be certified.

Question. If you are not disturbing (scraping,sanding etc..) can you work on pre 78' homes? In other words just applying a coat or two of paint.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by painttofish View Post
Please clarify this for me. I read that if you are disturbing a 20 sqft area on an exterior that you need to be certified.

Question. If you are not disturbing (scraping,sanding etc..) can you work on pre 78' homes? In other words just applying a coat or two of paint.
I'm sure you can,but I wouldn't chance it. There could be residual dust or chips around and you would be the fall guy!IMHO
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:30 PM   #9
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I'm just wondering because I know they give a sqft disturbance for interior and exterior. If I'm painting a bedroom walls only and no prep does this fall under the RRP crap?
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:39 PM   #10
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The square foot guideline is the total of area you are working on.

The EPA site has a list of FAQ's

"The rule applies to all persons who are paid to perform renovation, repair, and painting projects in pre-1978 housing, child care facilities and schools with lead-based paint. This includes home improvement contractors, maintenance workers, painters and other specialty trades. The rule does not apply to minor maintenance or repair activities affecting less than six square feet of lead-based paint in a room or less than 20 square feet of lead-based paint on the exterior. Window replacement is not minor maintenance or repair."
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:22 PM   #11
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Bikerboy,

I notice you contract in Maryland. Have you been involved with the MDE Lead Poisoning Program for rental properties?
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:27 PM   #12
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All of this has been a bit overwhelming. I am trying to set things up to take the Lead RRP class but the place keeps trying to package in a lead OSHA class as well..do you guys know if this OSHA course is also mandatory, i haven't found much info on that.
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:59 PM   #13
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The next two months are going bring some significant changes to the way we run our businesses. At least for those who operate the “right way”.

Also, I am now RRP Certified and have sent my Firm Application in.

How many really have read through your insurance policies and understand exactly?
I am guilty at times. But after reading these great Posts I got my policy out and went through it again.

So, here are my Exclusions listed in my policy:

Absolute Lead Exclusion:
Here is an excerpt of which my policy does not cover –

“Lead Hazard” means an exposure or threat of exposure to the actual or alleged properties of lead and includes the mere presence or suspected presence of lead in any form or combination.

Silica Exclusion:
Here is an excerpt of which my policy does not cover –

“Silica Hazard” means an exposure to, inhalation of or contact with, or threat of exposure to, inhalation of or contact with, the actual or alleged properties of silica or any silica containing materials and includes the mere presence of silica or any silica containing materials in any form.

So, I got out my MSDS report for USD Sheetrock Lightweight Setting Type Joint Compound Easy Sand 20 (45, 90), which is probably the most highly used product of this type by most of us.
On page two under “Material” it list – Crystalline Silica - with the codes of Carcinogenic to Humans.

This is not shocking news, we all know this.

That’s why we should all have a “Respiratory Protection” program in place – Medical Evaluation and Fit Test. By the way – mandatory by OSHA.

Fungi, Bacteria and Viruses Exclusion:
Here is an excerpt of which my policy does not cover –

Fungi, including but not limited to mold, mildew, and yeast.
Dust, spores, odors, particulates or by products from any source whatsoever.


Wow! Think about what I just listed here!
Everything we as painters on a daily bases come in contact with and we take for granted!
And, most of us aren’t covered!

Should we now be concerned?
Obviously, because the Lead Safety Certification Rule will bring the other two Exclusions to the forefront once the “lead” law suits start.

Do we panic?
Obviously not. I’ll call my agent tomorrow and see if they offer a pollution liability rider. I am prepared to be shocked by the premium cost but will factor that into my hourly rate.

I refuse to be negative about any of this and realize it’s another hurdle for us small business owners.

Sometimes I find myself on a Sunday afternoon staring out the office window amazed how I keep this small company going and providing a living for my employees!
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BESMAN View Post
All of this has been a bit overwhelming. I am trying to set things up to take the Lead RRP class but the place keeps trying to package in a lead OSHA class as well..do you guys know if this OSHA course is also mandatory, i haven't found much info on that.
Like the RRP, some states have their own OHSA programs. Check with your state. In my state OHSA training is required as part of your License continuing education requirements.
You are required to follow OHSA Lead Rules and protect your employees (respirators, tyveck suits, blood test), where lead and exposure is a certain level, otherwise you generally have to follow the lead safe practices as now outlined in RRP, which have really been in place since 1992.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jem View Post
Bikerboy,

I notice you contract in Maryland. Have you been involved with the MDE Lead Poisoning Program for rental properties?

No I have not. In fact I lost a couple of big exterior jobs because I am not lead abatement cetified.

I am taking the course and getting certified. I just see how a lawyer could wear you (or your insurance) out.

Say you take Paintofish's question. You did not disturb by sanding or scraping. A lawyer is going to try to convince a jury that the act of "brushing" paint on disturbs the lead based paint. (remember, the EPA says a tiny molecule is all you need, more bs imho)
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:45 PM   #16
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What if the lead is below a coat or two- as most of it is now. The main time I would encounter the lead levels is when I'm doing crack repair or deep enamel repair ( like when a latex is not adhering to the lead level).
But The repair thing is the issue for me, not just recoating.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:37 AM   #17
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I am going to document, document, document! Unless a surface is tested you can't know where or if lead is present. I detail what I am going to do in my contract, taking photos before, as the work progresses, and after. I will also keep record of day by day activities and progress. All this documentation I will file away and keep for at least 3 years in active files and archive after that.

If you are painting only with no prep or other actions that would disturb the existing paint see the Small Entitly Compliance Guide to Renovate Right by the EPA. Page 16, Frequent Questions "Is painting considered renovation if no surface preparation activity occurs? (Answer) No. If the surface to be painted is not distubed by sanding, scraping, or other activities that may cause dust, the work is not considered renovation and EPA's lead program requirements do not apply. However, painting projects that involve surface preparation that disturbs paint, such as sanding and scraping, would be covered."

Does anyone have names of any insurance companies that offer polution coverage?
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:13 AM   #18
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So how about this picture-
You have a rough old plaster wall- without digging into it you skim it and sand the mud you just put on.
Would that be " disturbing" the paint?
Would the fact that you made dust cause a lawsuit?
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jem View Post
I am going to document, document, document! Unless a surface is tested you can't know where or if lead is present. I detail what I am going to do in my contract, taking photos before, as the work progresses, and after. I will also keep record of day by day activities and progress. All this documentation I will file away and keep for at least 3 years in active files and archive after that.

If you are painting only with no prep or other actions that would disturb the existing paint see the Small Entitly Compliance Guide to Renovate Right by the EPA. Page 16, Frequent Questions "Is painting considered renovation if no surface preparation activity occurs? (Answer) No. If the surface to be painted is not distubed by sanding, scraping, or other activities that may cause dust, the work is not considered renovation and EPA's lead program requirements do not apply. However, painting projects that involve surface preparation that disturbs paint, such as sanding and scraping, would be covered."

Does anyone have names of any insurance companies that offer polution coverage?
Documentation is excellent.
See post 4 for for link to one insurance company. Your agent should be able to find a company to offer a rider to your existing policy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrushJockey View Post
So how about this picture-
You have a rough old plaster wall- without digging into it you skim it and sand the mud you just put on.
Would that be " disturbing" the paint?
Would the fact that you made dust cause a lawsuit?
Any pre 1978 home is considered "target housing". What jem quoted seems to contradict what I quoted in post 10, from same site! Until the rule is finalized April 22, hard to say. I have seen several changes on the website the past few months!

As far as a lawsuit, the best way to protect yourself is to be compliant, and like Jem says, document, document, document!
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:56 PM   #20
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I think it is all going to depend on enforcement, which is a big unknown for all of us right now. I too have yet to speak to my insurance agent, but I suspect I won't be happy when I do.
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