Landscape contractors and other types of landscape codes that may apply to this: Landscape counseling and planning; Lawn and garden services; Landscaping services; Lawn maintenance- commercial or domestic.
Common Insurance Terms
Description of operations: Landscape contractors design, install, and maintain outdoor spaces, combining plants and architectural features in a manner attractive to customers. Services offered may include installation of sod for a lawn, planting of trees, bushes, shrubs, flowers, and other plants, or the installation of retaining walls, fountains, walkways, or other architectural enhancements. Some landscape contractors will change the contours of the grounds, while others will limit their work to planting new or maintaining existing lawns and plants. Additional operations may include installation or winterization of underground sprinkler systems, tree trimming, nurseries or lawn and garden shops.
Property exposures may be limited to an office and a storage yard for vehicles or equipment. Property exposures may include the use or sale of live and growing plants, shrubs, bushes, trees, or flowers. These may grow outside in a yard or in a structure such as a greenhouse. Both the structure and the growing stock are susceptible to damage by fire, wind, hail, and vandalism. The stock is also vulnerable to loss by frost and animals or insects. Specialty coverages designed specifically for growing stock may be needed. Older greenhouses may be subject to frequent glass breakage since they are typically made with the lowest grade of plate glass. Newer greenhouses are simply frames with plastic coverings which need frequent replacement as they tend to yellow or cloud in the weather and block out sunlight needed by plants. There may be backup systems or generators employed to prevent freezing or other temperature losses. Fire hazards can be high from the flammables used in the repair of vehicles or equipment, such as solvents and degreasers, and the chemicals in fertilizers and insecticides. These must all be well controlled, labeled, and separated with proper storage in the appropriate containers and storage facilities.
Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty. Background checks, including criminal histories, should be obtained on each employee prior to hiring. Ordering, billing, and disbursement should be handled as separate duties with reconciliations occurring regularly. There should be appropriate procedures in place when employees accept payments off site.
Inland marine exposure includes accounts receivable if the landscaper offers credit to customers, contractors’ equipment, goods in transit, and valuable papers and records for customers’ and suppliers’ information. Equipment may include mowers, sprayers, cherry pickers for tree trimming and trenchers for underground work. Goods in transit may be damaged by fire, collision or overturn. While the transport of fully grown trees for planting is rare, the stock may be of high value. Vehicles containing stock should be attended at all times.
Premises liability exposures can be light at the landscaper’s own premises if there is no public access. If there is a nursery, the exposure increases as customers may slip or fall on wet flooring or dirt or trip over equipment. Plants and equipment stored in the open can present an attractive nuisance. At job sites, hazards include injury or damage from stones or other debris thrown by power mowers, trimmers, and other equipment. Tree trimming may result in falling tools, branches or debris that may injure persons, damage vehicles or other property, or fall onto power or communication lines. Use of chain saws on trunks or limbs and the use of chippers for disposal may result in flying debris that can cause serious bodily injury. The areas of operation should be restricted by barriers and proper signage to protect the public from slips and falls from spills and equipment and supplies impeding access. The application of lawn chemicals presents both a premises and completed operations hazard that could result in serious long-term injury, illness, or disease to customers and passersby. Overspray from operations could result in small but frequent property damage losses. Contractors who do not obtain and keep proper licensing and certification for chemical applications create a serious liability exposure to themselves.
Environmental impairment exposure is significant. The application of chemicals can result in damage to air, soil, or groundwater. The landscaper must comply with all federal, state, and municipal regulations regarding the use and disposal of chemicals and waste products. Employees who handle chemicals must have the appropriate licenses and certifications individually.
Automobile exposures can be very limited if the service is maintenance only and does not supply plants. If plants and large trees are transported, the exposure increases due to the possibility of the load being involved in a collision or overturn. Vehicles may be custom designed with specialty equipment, such as lifts, cherry pickers, and tree planting or removal equipment. Drivers should be aware of and be able to perform cleanup procedures in the event of a collision or vehicle overturn. All drivers must be well trained and have valid licenses for the type of vehicle being driven. MVRs must be run on a regular basis. Random drug and alcohol testing should be conducted. Vehicles must be well maintained with records kept in a central location.
Workers compensation exposures are high due to the operation of machinery and equipment, work at heights, work on uneven ground, and exposure to underground or above ground cables and lines. Use of power-cutting equipment can result in cuts and possible amputations. Back injuries, hernias, sprains, and strains can result from lifting. Chemical applications may cause lung problems along with allergic reactions and other more serious complications. Casual labor, seasonal workforce, and high turnover present a significant loss control challenge.
Minimum recommended coverage
Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors’ Tools and Equipment, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Umbrella Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Nonownership Auto, Workers Compensation
Other coverages to consider
Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Crop Insurance, Earthquake, Flood, Hail Insurance, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Goods in Transit, Installation Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, Cyberliability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Environmental Impairment Liability, Stop Gap Liability
Reprinted with permission from the Rough Note’s Company copyrighted content.
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