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Is your cleaning firm properly insured?

Every evening in New York city an army of janitors "sweep" into Manhattan's skyscrapers to do battle. Similar to any other army, they have their own weapons and protective armor. You are probably familiar with the weapons: Mops, brooms, vacuum cleaners and floor machines. But you may not have thought of insurance as their protective armor. It is vital to the cleaning contractor and its client, the building owner, that the protective armor is impenetrable because it impacts both parties.

As an example, if a janitorial firm provides floor treatment to a lobby floor and a member of the general public slips and fails, a claim will probably be filed against both the building and the cleaning contractor. If the cleaning contractor is operating without liability insurance or inadequate coverage, the full burden of the claim will fall on the building or its insurance company, and the cost ramifications can be substantial.

If the cleaning contractor does not provide workers compensation for their employees and an employee is injured on the job, the building owner could be held liable for compensation benefits.

A basic insurance program should include comprehensive general liability coverage including contractual liability (which provides coverage for liability assumed under a contracts such as indemnification agreements). It should also include coverage for independent contractors, which provides the primary contractor with coverage for any claims arising out of the operations of a subcontractor. This is important especially in the case of an uninsured or underinsured subcontractor.

Coverage for property in the insured's care, custody and control is a coverage normally excluded from liability policies. When excluded, the policy will not respond to a property damage claim where the contractor damages the specific piece of property he or she is working on at the time of the accident. Without this coverage, many property damage claims can be disputed by the insurance company.

Lost key coverage provides coverage for the replacement of locks if the cleaning contractor loses the master key to a building.

Umbrella policies increase the primary liability limits. For the protection of the cleaning contractor and the building owner, we recommend umbrella limits of at least $5 million.

Fidelity bonds provide coverage for employee dishonesty therefore protecting both the contractor and the owner.

The cleaning contractor must also provide statutory Workers' Compensation and Disability insurance as required by law.

Certificates of Insurance should be secured from the contractor and any subcontractors.

We have outlined only a few of the insurance coverages and issues facing cleaning companies and the building owners that employ them. Make sure the firm you entrust your building to has the protective armor you both need.

Kaye Insurance Associates, through our Light and Rubin division, has been insuring the cleaning industry in the tri-state area for the last 30 years.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:advice on insuring janitorial contractors for building owners
Author:Rubin, Jeffrey L.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 12, 1993
Words:465
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