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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Four Things to Keep In Mind when Renewing Insurance

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As the New Year rolls around, the time comes for many of us to renew our insurance policies for work and home, property and liability. While many of us just keep writing that premium check without thinking twice about it, ever changing life and business situations also change our risks and exposures. A little attention to insurance coverage now can avoid large problems later when it comes to evaluating whether insurance coverage provides the protection required. Here are four things to keep in mind when it comes time to renew an insurance policy.

1. Read the old policy.

While insurance policies can be intimidating, one needs to try to be familiar with the contents of the policy. Absent unusual language or circumstances, the law generally assumes that policy holders read and understand their insurance policy. While they aren’t expected to be an insurance lawyer, they do need to know if the policy covers all the risks that that may be encountered. Does the property insurance have a high enough coverage limit to replace jewelry or computer equipment in the case of a burglary? Does the policy contain language excluding coverage for a risk that didn’t exist in the past but does now (such as a swimming pool or a large dog)? It is difficult to assess whether the coverage is sufficient without knowing what the coverage is.

2. Communicate with the broker about life or business changes since the last renewal, including major purchases that should be protected.

An insurance broker can be an excellent resource for helping to obtain coverage and comply with the terms of the policy. A broker can help work through the application process, help to file claims, and discuss the different types of insurance products that are available. The assistance the broker provides, however, can only be as good as the information provided to the broker.  Under New York law, an insurance broker does not have the obligation to advise clients regarding the sufficiency of coverage, only to obtain the coverage that the client specifically requests. The policyholder will bear the consequences for any mistakes, so they are responsible for adequately communicating the risks. Many brokers provide their clients with a checklist at renewal time to go over any major life changes that could affect coverage. If they don’t, however, the insured has the responsibility to provide the broker with any information that would be relevant to the renewal, including new risks or the need for new limits.

3. Be wary of quotes for significantly lower premiums.

Insurance companies make their money by pooling risk and taking in more money in premiums than they pay out. As such, they have teams of underwriters and actuaries determining the amount they need to charge for the coverage they provide. If, when obtaining a variety of quotes for coverage one comes back substantially lower than all the others, make sure that there aren’t any hidden exclusions or limitations on the policy. For example, liability policies that contain exclusions for injuries to employees or injuries arising out of completed operations are generally much cheaper than policies that provide coverage for those risks. Depending on the business, the majority of exposure may fall into one of those categories and having a policy that contains such an exclusion could lead to financial disaster if a loss is suffered. It is a good idea to bring the policy to an attorney for review prior to jumping on what seems like a good deal, only to find out that it isn’t the type or amount of coverage needed.

4.  Make sure the insurance covers the obligations under a lease or other contract.

The majority of people and businesses are either landlords or tenants, and there are some common insurance issues that come up in leases. For tenants, does the written lease contain a provision requiring the name of the landlord on the insurance policy? For landlords, does the insurance contain a provision that the insurance is invalid unless coverage is obtained from tenants as well? Does a lease require that there is a written agreement to waive subrogation against the landlord for damages covered by insurance? If an attorney helped with the lease, the attorney can be asked to look at the insurance policy to ensure that it complies with the lease terms. Failure to comply with the terms of the lease can leave one as exposed as if they did not have any insurance coverage at all.

 

Jeffrey Briem
Senior Attorney, Jones Morrison, LLP

Capitalizing on Creativity Drives Business Success

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Managing creativity in the technological driven marketplace is the path to a flourishing economic advantage over one’s competitors and a necessary prerequisite for mining acquisition, investment or joint venture opportunities.  A successful enterprise marketing strategy stems mostly from continuously assessing and managing a corporate intellectual property portfolio. Think of innovation as the creation of a beautiful garden of ideas with their beauty flowering individually and as part of a larger image.  To capitalize on those intellectual property rights the company needs to have the legal framework in place and a cross-disciplinary team to protect the confidentiality of its trade secrets, enforce its legal rights thereby preventing others from illegally profiting through infringement and create assignment or licensing opportunities to provide a steady stream of revenues.

The first step to successful intellectual property portfolio management is to review all documentation to make sure that the rights are adequately protected. Doing so entails several legal practice areas. For example, a labor and employment lawyer will look to see that all employment agreements have non-compete and confidential provisions in place and together with an intellectual property lawyer prepare  work for hire agreements and invention and disclosure agreements assuring that the company is the owner of the patent, trademark or service mark.  The legal right arises from the intellectual property lawyer filing, maintaining and enforcing applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as working with local counsel on worldwide rights.  A corporate generalist attorney will assist in helping monetize those rights through structured finance agreements and conduct due diligence for domestic and cross border deals.

In sum, a company that can successfully protect its intellectual property portfolio in essence is guarding its business income from competitive threat and assuring its survival in the ever changing technologically driven market place.  Accordingly having the right team in place is essential for the reasons mentioned above as well as data privacy issues associated with a company’s website.

 

Adriana Kierszenbaum
Attorney, Jones Morrison, LLP

Kids X-Press, Inc. Recognizes Stephen Jones as “Dream Big” Honoree at Annual Touch the Sky Reception

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Jones Morrison, LLP is pleased to announce Stephen Jones, our managing partner, was recognized as a “Dream Big” honoree at Kids X-Press Inc.’s Annual Touch the Sky reception.

 

Steve expressed his appreciation saying, “Reading has been for me a window on the world, past, present and future. I have connected with people I will never meet, some who never existed. Reading and my books have been constant companions and the path to a bigger future. The work of Kids X-Press is of unlimited opportunity. Thanks to you for the recognition.”

 

Kids X-Press, Inc. is a non-profit organization that promotes learning, literacy and leadership to children of all backgrounds and abilities.  Through its magazine and program, Kids X-Press, Inc. encourages children to express themselves by providing them with a forum through which they can communicate.  Marsha Tom, Executive Director of Kids X-Press said, “We were proud to recognize an impressive list of honorees who come from a variety of fields and embody the very lessons that Kids X-Press espouses to its students: that success can be achieved through hard work, determination and dreaming big.  Events like ‘Touch the Sky’ enable us to enrich, support and develop young talent from throughout our communities and further.”

 

Stephen Jones, along with several other honorees, was acknowledged for being a role model to the children that participate with Kids X-Press.  The other honorees included Brooke Baldwin, CNN Reporter/Anchor; Peter Herrero, Founder and General Manager of New York Hospitality Group; Tom Kallish, Founder of Tommie Copper, Inc.; Kenneth Theobalds, Vice President of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Entergy Nuclear; and Nivia Viera, founder of Kids X-Press and magazine publisher, who retired in May after 14 years with the organization.  ”All of the honorees have made incredible contributions to the community and we are thankful for their passion to make a difference,” said Yuval Marcus, chairman of the Kids X-Press Board of Directors.

 

The event was held at C.V. Rich Mansion in White Plains on October 28, 2015.  For more information about Kids X-Press, Inc., visit here.
 
CONTACT MANAGING PARTNER
Stephen J. Jones
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914.713.9311  
Telephone
914.472.2300