As a carpet cleaner, you would think your commercial insurance policy would cover damage to the work you do and mistakes that might happen. Think again.


by: Kari Dybdahl

Attention all carpet cleaners!

The carpet, rugs, and upholstery you work on may not be covered by your general liability policy in the way that you may think…

Most of you, I’m sure, are familiar with general liability (GL) insurance coverage as you carry it to protect your business in the event of some kind of claim for damages resulting from your operations. GL policies are designed to respond to claims for bodily injury or property damage in a general sense; essentially, someone getting hurt or something being damaged resulting form your operations.

However, exclusions in GL policies limit or restrict coverage. The exclusion of interest in this post is the Damage to Your Work exclusion. I won’t bore you with the full policy legalese (although if you’re interested, I’d be happy to). The gist is, due to that exclusion, your GL insurance would not apply to property damage to “your work” arising out of your operations. Read the Full Article.

4 Cs of Insurance Purchasing

Use these tips to ensure your company is safeguarded against the risks of your work.

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4 Cs of Insurance Purchasing

When I speak with cleaning and restoration professionals one of the first questions I ask is, “What do you dislike most about insurance?” It’s a loaded question, but it really does help me figure out what you value about insurance and what I can do to fulfill that.

Most people respond that their insurance agents don’t know what they do for a living. Restoration contractors especially say they must explain to their insurance agents — every renewal — that they are neither janitors nor carpet cleaners in order to have that taken off their liability policies. Does this sound familiar to you?

The next question I ask is, “What do you like the most about insurance?” The response I generally receive is that they like how it is an extra level of protection for their businesses. This is certainly accurate. The overall function of insurance is to provide the insured with financial assurance for the liabilities they take on and to be there when something catastrophic happens to help avoid bankruptcy or closing your business.

In my day-to-day work, I often hear that insurance costs too much. This could be true as well. Insurance is transferring the risks you take on to someone else in exchange for a premium. The premium charged should be minimal to the overall risk you take on.

Let’s say you are doing a Category 3 water job at a large commercial building valued at $15 million. If the job were to go wrong, what is the worst that could happen? Say you burn the building down, causing $15 million in damages; meanwhile, your annual liability premiums are $20,000. In this case, $20,000 is relatively minimal to the $15million dollars of risk you took on.

In this article, I will help solve the challenge of saving premium dollars while maintaining adequate insurance for your business. The simple way to do this is to follow the “four Cs of insurance purchasing,” which you should follow when looking over your insurance program. Three of the Cs affect you 365 days out of the year. One C will affect you only one day out of the year. Can you guess which C that is?

Kari Dybdahl : Kari@armr.net

“Insurance purchasing should not be stressful for you as the insurance buyer. If you feel like something is off with your insurance, it probably is. Ignoring the problem won’t fix it.”


What ‘Your Work’ Means for a Restoration Contractor

As a restoration professional, you would think your commercial insurance policy would cover damage to the work you do and mistakes that might happen. That might not be the case.


By Kari Dybdahl

In the last “Kari’s Korner,” I wrote about what “your work” means for a carpet cleaner regarding insurance.

This month I am going to carry that same topic on to a restoration contractor. Many may be thinking “your work” would be the same for all trade contractors. However, when operations involve regulating the relative humidity within a structure, we in the insurance industry look at “your work” on a more macro scale than the one thing you were called to a job to work on.

Although the way we look at “your work” as a restoration contractor is a bit different from how we look at a carpet cleaner, the core concept remains the same. In general, “your work” is the thing you were called to work on. As a carpet cleaner “your work” is the carpet you were called to clean.

What would “your work” as a water extraction or restoration contractor dispatched to a flooded home be in the eyes of an insurance company? Well, “your work” is the thing you were called in to work on, which is bringing down the relative humidity in that entire home. One would say the whole home is “your work”!

The “your work” exclusions on your General Liability policy and Contractors Environmental Liability policy exclude coverage for property damage to “your work” arising out of your operations. In the case of a restoration contractor at a water-damaged home, “your work” applies to the entire home; in theory, you have no coverage for any damage to that home caused by your operations.

Imagine one of your dehumidifiers short-circuits and starts a fire, burning down the entire home. We would expect the “your work” exclusion to trigger, because the property damage to the home from the fire resulted from your operations. It would exclude coverage for the whole loss because “your work” was the entire home. Therefore, “your work” exclusions are especially deadly for restoration contractors.

The good news is solutions exist to fix this immense gap in coverage. There are wholesale insurance brokers specializing in your industry that can help.


Claim Frequency Kills | Part 2

How a few insurance claims can make your restoration company uninsurable.

Claim Frequency Kills | Part 2

How a few insurance claims can make your restoration company uninsurable.

Last month, we talked about the issue with claims frequency. However, I don’t want any of this information to scare you away from making a claim when you need to. In this article, you’ll find a list of situations that should always be reported as a claim. This is by no means an exhaustive list or a rulebook on what to report and what not to report. You should always reference your specific policy documents for conditions, duties, and requirements imposed on you as a policyholder and it’s a good idea to chat with your insurance agent on what to do. If you selected your insurance agent solely based on the cheapest coverage available in the marketplace, I would get an opinion from someone else on when to submit a claim under your insurance policies.

Read The Full Article HERE

By: David Dybdahl


Navigating the Complex World of Insurance

With custom-designed insurance policies, many of the cleaning and restoration industry’s insurance woes can be resolved.




Let’s transport together back to 2003 when a court ordered Farmers Insurance to pay Melinda Ballard $32 million for a small water damage claim gone bad that resulted in toxic mold growth in her home.

Although the payout was eventually reduced to just over $4 million, the point still got across to insurance companies throughout the industry. Ballard is the number one person insurance companies love to hate. A 2003 article by The Austin Chronicle stated insurance companies use the Ballard case as ammunition against the fight of frivolous lawsuits.

What is particularly interesting about the Ballard case from the viewpoint of an insurance professional is that the claim originated from a small water damage loss. Due to the lack of urgency from the claims department, the small water leak turned into extensive mold growth. Instead of getting the water out as soon as possible, the claims adjuster wanted to investigate the loss, which took two months. Within those two months, the loss worsened and resulted in detrimental bodily injury to family members as well as an uninhabitable home.

A claim similar to the Ballard case could happen to any restoration contractor no matter the size of the firm or the job.


Have you ever wondered why you are rated as a carpet cleaner on the declarations page of your commercial general liability policy even after you have told your insurance agent most your revenue is from water damage restoration?

By: Kari Dybdahl



Claim: Frequency Kills: Part 1

How a few insurance claims can make your firm uninsurable

By: David Dybdahl | July 2018

When should you report a claim?

Here are little known facts in insurance:

What does this boil down to? Insurance Is Important! You need it to run your business as well as protect it!  With out it, you will be unable to get a majority of jobs and leave yourcompany open to loss that could bankrupt it! 

Learn More

Insurance Is Important! You need it to run your business as well as protect it!

6 Things to Know to Get Paid for Sewage Claims

By: David Dybdahl

A continuing conversation on getting paid, working with mortgage companies, and insurance dilemmas.

This is the third in a series of articles on how to get paid for insured restoration work. The first two articles focused on accelerating payments from insurance companies and from banks holding two party checks in escrow, mostly in homeowners insurance claims.

This article focuses on getting paid for water losses on commercial property. The writing is on the wall; it will become increasingly difficult to be fully paid for jobs involving a speck of mold/bacteria or Category 3 water in the future, if the property is not insured under a specially designed Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) insurance policy. Restoration firms providing Emergency Response Plans to the commercial property owners and management firms in their area can cut the costs of this needed insurance by half.

Changes in claims payment practices combined with universal exclusions for restoration work involving fungi/mold/bacteria have created the situation where 99% of all commercial property owners are severely underinsured for any loss involving a speck of any type of mold or bacteria in any sequence in the job. Being underinsured creates problems in getting paid when a property owner is dependent upon insurance to pay for a loss.

The good news for remediators is 99% of claims adjusters do not know how to pay for claims when there is a sublimit on the policy for mold or bacteria-related losses. The result is uncovered claims for losses involving a speck of mold or bacteria have been routinely paid for the last 12 years. However, things are changing fast in the claims business. Today, there is a much higher chance that a remediator will be left holding the bag with a bad debt for the work performed for underinsured property owner or manager.

Here are six factors to consider to assure payment for mold or bacteria related (Category 3) water jobs:



Getting Paid for a Commercial Sewage Loss

By: David Dybdahl January 2018

A continuing conversation on getting paid, working with mortgage companies, and insurance dilemmas.

In December, you read about six factors to consider to be sure you get paid for commercial category 3 water jobs. It was part of an ongoing conversation about a shift in coverage on these claims. While most insurance policies exclude coverage for cat 3 water, for decades they were paid out anyway by adjusters. Now, things are changing, and getting category 3 water jobs paid for is not so easy.

For unknown reasons, claims adjusters must have read the 12-year-old fungi and bacteria sublimits on property policies in 2016 and started pulling the trigger on denying claims under the sublimits of coverage.



By: Kari Dybdahl

Stand out to commercial property owners and managers with an emergency response plan.


It is no secret that commercial properties are the holy grail for restoration contractors. This is true for many reasons — the jobs are larger, and it builds your reputation with other property owners and managers, to name a few.

The trick that can be difficult for small- to mid-sized restoration firms is how to get into the door of not only the property manager and owner, but also the insurance agent who writes their insurance.

You are not alone; you might be thinking: “Is there a magic trick that I don’t know about?” As with everything, it has a little bit due to do with luck and a lot of to do with intentionally positioning yourself to your prospect with a value that no one else has brought them. This value can be exhibited by a range of items.

Unlike my usual articles, I’m not going to talk about insurance for cleaning and restoration contractors at all. I am going to walk you through how to fill your sales pipeline with commercial properties to intentionally position your company for first calls on commercial properties in your area. We are going to go past the brochures and the doughnuts and go straight into an innovative value that many of your competitors are not utilizing.

Making a plan

So, what is the inside secret to filling your sales pipeline with commercial properties? Anyone biting their nails?

The secret to successful sales for commercial properties, both for the insurance agent and property owner and manager, are Emergency Response Plans (ERPs). ERPs are used similarly to a hold-harmless agreement. The contractor walks through a property and evaluates any existing or threatened indoor air quality issues. Some finish with a plan that they hand to the property owner and/or manager stating what to do when a problem arises, small or catastrophic, and when to call a professional.

In the perspective of the insurance agent and carrier, these plans are an incredible value and could very well avoid covering a pre-existing condition at the property that was not uncovered in the insurance submission items. To a property owner and manager, the ERPs are an incredible value to assist with keeping the property to a certain standard level and reducing their risk of liability from the tenants and occupants.



Introducing ARMR HPR™

We created ARMR HPR™, because we recognized the gaps in coverage created by the various pollution exclusions and fungi and bacteria exclusions and related sublimits on standard general liability and property policies sold today!

What is ARMR HPR™?

ARMR HPR™ is the newest and greatest environmental insurance and risk management program being offered only by American Risk Management Resources Network, LLC (aka ARMR).  It is specially designed to fill the coverage gaps created by various pollution exclusions and fungi and bacteria exclusions commonly found in most standard commercial general liability and property policies. 

There are five (5) key benefits to offering ARMR HPR™ to your commercial property owners and managers:

  1. It sets you apart from your competition.
  2. It provides a steady stream of prospects.
  3. It refers insurance work for commercial properties to restoration contractors in your area.
  4. It builds your current book of business.
  5. It protects your agency’s E&O.

ARMR’s newest and greatest environmental insurance program

Introducing ARMR HPR – ARMR’s newest and greatest environmental insurance program releasing Jan 4th, 2018!

This is the “most innovative insurance product design to ever hit the environmental insurance market” – JJ Iovino, Regions Insurance.

The best prospects to your agency for environmental insurance are no longer environmental services firms or gas station storage tanks – they are commercial property owners and managers! 

Environmental losses can happen to any commercial building, no matter the age, size, or location.

Did you know, last year alone mold in commercial properties was the number one source of claims in the environmental insurance marketplace?  It’s crazy to think that mold in a building is riskier than cleaning up a contaminated superfund site! Yet, we as insurance practitioners do little to nothing to offer environmental insurance coverage solutions to the underserved commercial property sector. Enter ARMR HPR™!


Register HERE  
Read More Here!