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ACCA members are eligible to enroll in the program, which is being offered through ACCA Insurance Services and its partnership with the Fedeli Group. Robert Snyder, Fedeli Group vice president of insurance and risk management, spoke with ACCA members during an informational seminar at the Indoor Air Expo. Snyder told contractors their mantra should be, "I am who I am - I don't do mold."
He said that during the 1980s, when environmental issues became important, insurance companies began to focus in on "environmental insurance," which included mold coverage.
But as mold became a prominent issue, fueled by highly publicized cases and million-dollar judgments (according to Snyder, mold damages went from $7.9 million in 1994 to $94 million in 2001), insurance companies began dropping mold coverage or limiting the amount a business could carry. These exclusions in the policies had a dramatic affect on some HVACR contractors.
"Contractors don't understand the true nature of their insurance and how exclusions work," Snyder said. "Insurance can be a distraction for some. The distraction of an uncovered financial loss can be huge for your business."
Snyder added that the ACCA insurance program would build a defense for contractors and eliminate this distraction. He noted that having mold coverage could be an asset when a contractor is trying to win high-margin contracts.
Risk ManagementAaron McQueen is an attorney with Roetzel & Andress, Akron, Ohio. His law firm is working with Fedeli to set up risk management training and testing. ACCA members can qualify for the environmental insurance but must be certified through testing and training, which includes jobsite inspections and documentation.
"Contractors would prefer to shift risk to the insurance company," said McQueen. "But the premium to do so would be too high or unavailable - a Catch-22.
"Unfortunately, you don't have to do anything wrong to be sued. Risk management is about doing what you need to protect yourself before a mold claim is filed."
In an ACCA press release, Skip Snyder, president of the Snyder Co., Upper Darby, Pa., and 2004 ACCA national chairman, said, "It is imperative that ACCA Insurance Services create insurance programs that will serve our members needs and attract the quality contractors in the HVACR industry to membership in our association.
"The environmental insurance including mold coverage is exclusively for our membership and addresses a vital need at this time in the history of our profession."
For more information, contact ACCA at www.acca.org or e-mail Robert Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication date: 03/28/2005