Friday, October 7, 2011

Insurance Coverage and Your Bottom Line

By John L. Watkins, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, Atlanta

Insurance is the one thing a business needs to have that it hopes never to have to use. Many businesses go years without having to call on their insurers to perform and a lucky few may never have a claim. However, when a claim or lawsuit arises, you need your insurer to perform and to handle the claim promptly and professionally. Although many insurers act professionally, many also deny coverage for claims when the only thing standing between a business and financial ruin is the insurance policy. Often, the reasons for denying claims are questionable, if not clearly wrong. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your insurance company will be there if you need it.

  • Make sure your insurance agent or broker understands your business. Insurance should be the foundation of a company’s risk management program. An agent or broker can provide the right insurance only if he or she takes the time to understand your business. If an agent or broker is interested only in taking orders, you need to take your business elsewhere. As your company grows and becomes more complex, make sure that your agent has the sophistication to provide tailored and comprehensive coverage.

  • Keep copies of all insurance policies in an accessible location. When someone calls me about a potential insurance coverage issue, it is surprising how difficult it often is to get copies of the policies. Policies should be kept in a central and accessible location. It is also a good idea to scan policies and to keep copies on a server off-site, perhaps on a cloud-based server that can be accessed anywhere. Note: insurance certificates are not policies, and declaration pages (a page or two that outline policy limits) are only a small part of the policy. Insurance policies are typically many pages long. Make sure your agent or insurer delivers complete copies of the policies.

  • If you have a claim, or events happen that may give rise to a claim, notify your insurance carriers immediately. Insurance carriers often deny claims that would otherwise be covered because the insured did not give timely notice of the claim. The safest course is to put the carrier on notice of the claim in writing and to receive acknowledgement from the carrier that it is on notice. Check the policy for any particular requirements for giving notice. Notice to your agent may not be enough.

  • Understand the insurer’s basic obligations. Most insurance policies impose two basic obligations on an insurer: To defend (to hire and pay for a lawyer to defend lawsuits and claims) and to indemnify (to pay for settlements or judgments). As a general proposition, an insurer’s duty to defend is broader than its duty to indemnify. This is important because often an insurer will agree to provide a lawyer to defend a case – thus saving the insured thousands of dollars -- even if it is not sure that the claim is covered or completely covered.

  • Beware of potential limitations in commercial general liability policies. Commercial general liability (CGL) policies are often the backbone of business insurance. However, many insurers have loaded up their policies with so many exclusions (either in the policy or on endorsements to the policy) that a broad range of potential claims may be excluded. Your agent should review the exclusions with you. All policies are not the same and it is often possible to get endorsements that limit exclusions. It may also be possible to obtain other types of coverage to plug gaps in the CGL coverage.

  • Make sure your agent is familiar with new specialized types of coverage. There are many types of specialized insurance policies that cover risks that may be excluded by CGL policies. Examples include “media tech” policies that provide coverage for trade secret violations and certain types of breach of contract, cyber liability policies (which can, for example, cover losses due to hacking and the release of personal information), and environmental impairment liability or pollution policies.

  • Do not simply accept an insurance company’s determination that a claim is not covered. If your insurance company denies a claim, or if it issues a “reservation of rights” letter (a letter stating that it will cover a claim for now, but may deny later), do not simply accept the insurance company’s determination. Insurance companies often incorrectly deny claims. In such circumstances, an agent may be of some help, but you really need to see a policyholder’s insurance coverage attorney. A coverage attorney can tell you whether or not you should fight the insurance company’s decision. A coverage attorney may be able to convince the insurer to reverse its decision without the necessity of litigation. If litigation is necessary, coverage attorneys are not afraid to take on insurers.

  • Your policies may cover more than you think. We sometimes refer to insurance policies as buried treasure because many businesses forfeit coverage by not calling on their insurers to act when they should. As noted above, insurers will often agree to defend a case if part of the case is not covered or if there are coverage questions. This alone can save a business many thousands of dollars. Insurers can also often be convinced to pay claims if there is a legitimate (although perhaps not certain) basis for coverage. If it is necessary to litigate with an insurer, courts may not accept an insurer’s arguments. Earlier this year, for example, the Supreme Court of Georgia rejected an insurer’s arguments seeking to avoid coverage for construction defect claims. Georgia law is clear that ambiguities regarding coverage are to be resolved in favor of the policyholder. Trader Makes Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company List

(Norcross, GA – Sept 21, 2011) Trader has been listed as one of the 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in the US by Inc Magazine.

The Inc. 5000 List of the fastest growing privately owned companies in the nation was released in August of 2011. Trader was ranked at number 4,258 according to percentage revenue growth from 2007 through 2010. The company, whose offices had been based in the same southwest Atlanta warehouse since 1973 and has since expanded to a 60,000 square foot showroom in Norcross, was one of only 75 Atlanta companies on the 2010 Inc. 5000 list.

The family-owned company, ACityDiscount began selling used restaurant equipment in 1973. A successful experiment selling new kitchen appliances on eBay in 1999, led to CEO, John Stack, opening Peach Trader Inc. later that year. This enabled Stack to focus the company’s expansion into supplying new food service equipment and developing its online presence. While the company continues to be an eBay Titanium PowerSeller, today, approximately 80% of the company’s revenue is achieved through selling new commercial kitchen equipment, refrigeration, bar equipment, ice machines, concession equipment and restaurant furniture through its online store and the major shopping comparison websites.

To qualify for the Inc. 5000 List, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of 2007, and able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, and independent as of 12/31/10. Revenue in 2007 must have been at least $200,000, and revenue in 2010 must have been at least $2 million. The number of employees listed is 39 as of 12/31/10.

Snapshot of Trader

Rank on Inc 5,000 list: # 4,258
3-Year Growth: 24%
2010 Revenue: $15.5 Million
2007 Revenue: $12.5 Million
Employees: 39
Employee Growth: 15
Founded: 1973
Industry: Food & Beverage
Industry Ranking: # 122

To qualify for the Inc. 5000 List, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of 2007, and able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, and independent as of 12/31/10. Revenue in 2007 must have been at least $200,000, and revenue in 2010 must have been at least $2 million. The number of employees listed is as of 12/31/10.

See Trader Inc 5000 Profile here:

Contact: Catalina Franco (404) 752-6715 ‎

Wealth Horizon to Host 6th Annual “Celebrating Wonderful Women” on Oct. 20!

Chairman’s Club member, Wealth Horizon, is hosting their 6th Annual “Celebrating Wonderful Women” event at St. Ives Country Club, Duluth on Thursday, October 20th from 6-9 pm. ALL female Chairman’s Club members are cordially invited to join us.

This event which was the brainchild of J. Jerri Hewett, CFP®, President and founder of Wealth Horizon, has been tremendously successful. Jerri started the no cost event as a way to honor ordinary women that do extraordinary things. Inspirational speakers in the past have included a holocaust survivor, leaders of various nonprofits and an executive of a Fortune 500 that left corporate America and opened a retail business selling products made by women in third world countries.

This year’s speaker will be Stephani Victor, a five time Paralympian Medalist. Please come share Stephani’s incredible, inspirational story of rebirth after surviving a terrible accident, amputation of both legs and how she is now a 5x Paralympic Medalist winning five medals to date. Live entertainment will be provided by Lori and Frank O’Brien of Atlanta Special Events, also Chairman’s Club members. This is a really fun night to network and meet other wonderful women in our community as well.

Cocktails and Dinner are our pleasure to provide for you.

RSVP to Paula Van Sickle at 770-840-8440 or
by October 12th

~Our Guest Speaker ~
Stephani Victor ~ Her Personal Story of Winning!
5x Paralympian Medalist ~ Skiing

Corus360 Celebrates Expanded LEED Gold Compute, Data and Recovery Center with Open House

Technology firm marks growth with interactive networking event

ATLANTA (October 4, 2011) – Corus360, an Atlanta-based technology solutions firm, is celebrating its expanded LEED Gold Compute, Data and Recovery Center with an Open House event from 3–7 p.m. on October 27. The event, titled “The Flight to Data Center Efficiency,” will take place at Corus 360’s headquarters, 130 Technology Parkway in Norcross, and includes a Technology Infrastructure Leadership panel, educational sessions, hors d’oeuvres and door prizes.

Attendees will be able to participate in a number of educational sessions presented by event sponsors Synnex, Dell, Hitachi, IBM, HP, EMC and Radware. Sessions topics include: Virtual Platforms, Storage Solutions, Data Center Efficiencies, Hactivism, Attack Mitigation and more. Tours of the newly expanded LEED Gold Recovery Center will be available to attendees, along with the opportunity to visit an IT vendor showcase featuring the latest in data center and technology solutions. The program will culminate with an interactive panel discussion featuring technology infrastructure leaders from a number of local and national businesses.

“Corus360’s focus on current IT needs and trends serve as the catalyst for this open house,” said Corus 360 Chairman Mark Metz. “We are pleased to provide this interactive forum and invite members of the IT community to join us for an afternoon of knowledge sharing and networking.”

To register, please visit

View the open house web commercial at:

About Corus360
Corus360 is a technology consulting and solutions company with more than 10 years of success delivering infrastructure solutions, recovery and consulting services that help organizations reduce costs, increase efficiencies and maximize productivity. Corus360 helps organizations solve business problems, reduce costs and enhance efficiency by devising, recommending and deploying business-aligned technology solutions. We specialize in best of breed infrastructure solutions, IT management consulting, application development, Data Center technologies, disaster recovery, managed services and enterprise applications. For more information, visit