Posts Tagged insurance

Garage Liability or Garagekeepers? Part I

Garage liability? Garagekeepers? Do you know the difference between these terms? If not, you’re not alone. They tend to be confusing, at best. Not only for your clients, but for most agents and CSRs as well.

In a nutshell, the difference between garage liability coverage and garagekeepers coverage is the difference between liability insurance and physical damage insurance. The first covers the insured’s liability for operations and autos, and the other covers damage to customers’ vehicles. All garage risks need both coverages to properly insure their loss exposures. The basics apply to dealerships as well as service risks.

Think of it this way:

A customer who purchased a vehicle from your client brings it back to the lot with a mechanical issue. A mechanic takes the vehicle for a test drive to see what’s going on, and in the process, hits another vehicle. He totaled the other vehicle and injured its driver. He also totaled the customer’s car he was test-driving.

The other vehicle and its driver are covered by the garage liability policy. The customer’s vehicle is covered by the garagekeeepers.

Now, while this seems pretty cut and dried, the intricacies in the different forms, wording and interpretations is where confusion can set in.

For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to take a little deeper dive into garage liability. We’ll do the same for garagekeepers in Part II of this series.

Garage Liability

Garage liability insurance is an absolute necessity for your auto clients.

By the very definition of garage liability, the coverage is, in a sense, the equivalent of combining a business auto form with a commercial general liability form, including products and completed operations. Although the “Garage Coverage Form, CA 00 05,” has been revised several times, the basic architecture hasn’t changed.

Section II of the form is broken into two parts: garage operations other than covered autos, and garage operations covered autos.

The intent of the policy is to cover bodily injury or property damage caused by an accident arising out of garage operations. The policy defines garage operations as the ownership, maintenance or use of locations for garage business. It also includes the ownership, maintenance or use of the autos. The types of autos covered are defined in Section I, but for an auto dealer, you typically cover all owned autos, as well as non-owned autos used in the garage business (normally vehicles being worked on or stored).

The definition broadens the scope of coverage by adding a “catch-all” phrase. It states: “Garage operations also include all operations necessary or incidental to a garage business.” This wording is often open to interpretation by insuring carriers.


Also consider the definition of auto. This definition is simpler but still broad. The policy states, “Auto means a land motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer.” Unlike the CGL and business auto forms, there’s no reference to the auto being licensed for use on public roads, the number of wheels, mobile equipment or anything else.


Insureds for covered autos include the named insured, permissive users, and anyone liable for the acts of an insured. Insureds do not include the owner of a borrowed or hired auto, employees while using employee owned vehicles, someone working in an auto business, dealer’s customers (unless they have no available insurance) or a partner while using a vehicle owned by the partner. Insureds for the garage operations other than autos include the named insured, and the named insured’s partners, employees, directors or shareholders while acting within the scope of their duties.


Now, for the exclusions. Excluded from coverage would be: expected or intended injury, contractual liability (except “insured contracts”), workers compensation, employee indemnification and employer’s liability, fellow employee, leased autos (except autos rented to customers when servicing their vehicles), as well as care, custody or control. Also excluded from coverage is: pollution, racing, watercraft or aircraft, defective products, work you performed, loss of use, products recall, war, and liquor liability. Note “personal injury” or “advertising injury” coverages would have to be added by endorsement.

Pay close attention to Exclusion No. 7 – the care, custody or control exclusion. It excludes property damage involving: (d) Property in the insured’s care, custody or control. Reading that exclusion, it becomes obvious that there is a problem with the customers’ vehicles. Any vehicle left with the garage business for repair, storage or even involved on a simple test drive is not covered based on this exclusion. Keep in mind that third-party claims caused by the customer’s vehicle are covered, while the vehicle itself is not.

Stay tuned for Part II: Garagekeepers. In the meantime, if you have questions or would like to submit a submission, send a message to or call 800.385.9978.

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The Five Senses of Selling


What motivates you to sell? Beyond the pay check and being a core element of the job? Some sell because they want to purchase that lake house or new sports car, while some are energized by the competition. And then there are those who thrive on using their expertise to help others with coverage and rate.

Have you ever thought about using your five senses to give you an edge in selling? Neither had we until we ran across a blog written by James Dougherty, CIC, with the Allwood Forlenza Agency in Clifton, N.J. We’re sharing highlights from James’ blog as a little food-for-thought to increase your sales productivity:

1. Sight

See every opportunity for what it really is. Don’t get discouraged when sale opportunities that appear to be a sure thing, aren’t. When you have an accommodating prospect, know that it’s likely that prospect has shopped before. Make sure you look closely at every opportunity, pre-qualifying so you don’t waste your valuable sales time.

During your prospect and client visits, make appropriate eye contact. Good eye contact can help you establish trust and rapport, but inappropriate eye contact can turn off prospects, resulting in fewer sales. Let your approach be calm, relaxed, and natural. If your eyes are too intense, the prospect will become uncomfortable. 

2. Hearing

Sales are made by those who are effective listeners. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your listening skills:

  • Wait to offer solutions until you hear all of the client’s needs. As the prospects get more comfortable talking to you, the most pressing need may be the last one they mention.
  • Focus on the prospect and what is said more than on what you’re going to say next. Clients want to feel as though they are driving the sales process, not you. Respond to what they say with another question.
  • Be a note-taker. It helps you concentrate on what is being said and demonstrates to clients and prospects that you care about their concerns. 

3. Smell

Know the pitfalls of accounts that have an unfavorable scent, such as poor loss results, physical deterioration and a mentality that price is all that matters.

You may choose to walk away from the account’s smell or tackle the odor head-on through various risk management techniques. Some of the best opportunities and most appreciative clients are the ones whose distracting aroma is turned into a fine fragrance through your dedication and effort. 

4. Touch

Reach out and effectively touch the prospect. Each insurance buyer is not the same, nor are their needs. Some prospects want guidance, others want professional service, some want the lowest price and still others need help with insurance issues such as audits and engineering.

How many personal contacts are you making on new accounts before your presentation meeting? How many times are you in contact with accounts during the policy year? Experts debate the type and quantity of touches that are needed, but all agree that staying in touch is essential to sales success and proper account retention.

Create a plan for each account that includes a specific number of touches. For existing clients, the number should be more than the renewal update meeting and the proposal visit. For prospects, it should be more than the first introductory fact-finding meeting and the proposal appointment. Some tips include:

  • Avoid multitasking when visiting. Turn your phone to vibrate. You may think having phone interruptions makes you look busy and impressive, but in reality it affects the importance you put on that specific client.
  • Avoid saying “I’ll be in your area, and I’d like to stop by.” Make the prospect or client feel special that you traveled to their area just to see them.

5. Taste

Put some, if not all, of these ideas into practice. Work hard making excellence your signature for each account. Doing so will permit you to taste the sweet victory of sales success. Bon appetit!


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The Cold Call: Handling Objections

In our last blog we walked through basic steps to increase the success of your cold calls. One area that we left out was “handling objections.” This is the toughest part of any sales call or meeting. Rather than fearing objections, you should embrace them; every objection creates an opportunity to reiterate key benefits and value messages for your product or service.

According to an article “Insurance Agent’s Guide to the Prospecting Cold Call,” there are only about six to ten objections you will hear from prospects over and over again. Which is good. If you have an idea of what the main objections are, you can prepare to address them.

However, the bad news is that, until you become proficient at handling these objections, you will have minimal success.

Here are four examples of what the article listed as most the common objections and strategies to overcome them:


“Send me something in the mail.”

» Response:

I would send you something, but the cost savings are unique to each company, and I assume that’s very important to you, right? We need to assess what your needs are and the solutions to match them and then you’ll have a number to go with it.



“I’m happy with my current agent.”

» Response:

That’s great, and I don’t even know if my company would even be a fit, but tell me, if we could offer you a similar product/service, but at 20 percent less the premium, could that at least be worth a look?



“Call me after the holidays.”

» Response:

I’m sure both of our schedules get pretty busy right after the holidays. Take a look at your calendar — do you have it in front of you? (They usually do.) What looks good for you the latter part of the week of the 18th? I’ll even give you my number in case an emergency comes up.



“I don’t have time to meet.”

» Response:

I can certainly appreciate your time, but if I am able to share with you a way to measurably reduce costs by 15 to 25 percent and share other things we’ve done to help <competitor>, isn’t that worth a look?”

For our veteran agents out there, we’re interested in hearing if you agree if these are the most common objections you receive when making cold calls? If yes, what responses have you found to be most effective in addressing them?

If no, what are the most common objections you’re hearing and how are you responding?


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Cold Calling. Is it still Effective?


Does cold calling really work? Several books have been written about the value of cold calling and how it can help you grow your business. And several more claim that cold calling is a complete waste of time; its effectiveness is a myth. So who is right?

The clear answer is: it all depends! The value of cold calling as a lead-generation tool depends on you…your goals and the size of your sales. If the policy being sold has a low margin or commission, then one could easily argue that cold calling is NOT an effective growth strategy.

But, on the other hand, if the average margin or commission is high (and has a future and net value), the numbers more than likely will prove that cold calling is a valuable part of an overall new business marketing effort. When it comes to cold calling, the size of the sale (in comparison to the hard and soft costs needed to generate it) does matter and is the primary factor in determining for the agent whether or not they should even pick up the phone.

If you are cold calling now; if you intend to start cold calling; if you have to cold call and don’t want to — UIG is here to help. After all, cold calling, in and of itself…well, is challenging!

However, if you’re up to the challenge here are some things to keep in mind:

Sales is a numbers game.

In order to hit productive numbers, you’ll need a full pipeline of leads at all times, and a sound strategy and process. But there is no one strategy that will resonate with every audience every time. It’s best to have a multifaceted approach that could include cold calling, social media, networking, purchasing lists, etc.

Call with purpose.

First things first: do your homework and be selective. The entire yellow pages should not be your target audience. Pick a certain industry to focus on, such as bars and taverns, doctors, lawyers, etc. While you may be a generalist in practice, defining your audience will help you be more efficient with your time, resources and ability to perfect your pitch.

Develop a call script.

You know your products/services inside out, so why do you need to develop a script? Because in the business of cold calling, you have 30 seconds or less to grab someone’s attention, so your pitch had better be spot on. Write out what you want to say. This will help you stay on task, avoid rambling and ensure that you get across the key messages that a prospect needs to quickly learn about you in order for them to decide what they want to do next.

Practice the script.

Out loud. In front of a mirror. Smile while you’re talking. Time your delivery. Keep it succinct. Practice often. Enough said.

Develop a strategy for calling.

Out of a 40-hour work-week, identify how much time you can dedicate to making calls and then determine how many calls are you going to make in a day? In a week? This number should be based on goals. What are you looking to earn and how many sales will it take to hit that goal?

Simple math: 10 calls = 1 appointment.

If your goal is to write $100,000 policies a month with the average policy being $20,000; assuming you have a 50 percent closing rate, you’ll need to set 10 appointments, which means you need to make a minimum of 100 calls, a little over 20 calls per week, an average of 4 – 5 calls a day.

Bring your “A” game.

Be positive and energetic. This is where smiling when you’re talking comes into play. It may sound silly, but people can “hear” your facial expression, so make it a good one!

Know when to say “when.”

What isn’t being said is as important as what your prospect is saying, when it comes to gauging interest. If the consumer isn’t offering conversation that is productive, move on to the next prospect.

Above all else, be persistent and stay resilient.

Nine out of 10 people will be interested in at least reviewing information that you can send via snail mail or email to them. Keep in mind, you’re dealing with people that, in general, will be more apt to review your information because they are a commercial business.

As you continue to build your business, you will begin to receive referrals and will start to build your “warm call” list.

Be prepared to follow-up.

Ask to schedule an appointment. Oftentimes the opportunity to sit face-to-face with a prospect is missed simply because we don’t ask for the meeting. Once you set the appointment, offer your prospect your information in the event he or she needs to reschedule. This way, the onus is on the prospect to call and cancel versus you having to call to confirm. If the appointment is a couple of weeks out, write a handwritten “thank you for your time,” thanking the prospect ahead of time for the opportunity to meet. This is not only a great relationship building tool, as anything handwritten has become a thing of the past, but it also serves as a reminder of the appointment.

If they can’t meet, but have agreed to review your information, collect all of their pertinent information before getting off the phone and be sure to follow-up within 2-3 business days. Don’t let a cold call that became a warm call, become cold again.

Some additional follow-up tools to help you stay top-of-mind can include:

  • Newsletters that feature information relevant to the prospect and their industry
  • Special offers and promotions that are time sensitive
  • Events and trade show invitations
  • Holiday cards

When you follow each of these steps, your cold calls will tend to go more smoothly and result in more appointments. With the right approach, cold calling can serve as an effective door opener.

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Garage Liability Q&A

Garage and auto related operations are unique with respect to the exposures they present. The lines between the general liability for the operations side of things and the automobile liability can blur in several areas.

Lately we’ve received several inquiries regarding Garage insurance. So we thought we’d share some of the most commonly asked questions and their answers.

Q: What is included in Garage insurance coverage?

A: The Garage policy was developed to provide comprehensive liability coverage to protect both the general liability and automobile liability exposures in one neatly packaged policy, as well as protect from gaps that would otherwise leave this type of operation exposed to potential claims.

Q: Do you have markets for Garage coverage and what are they?

A: Yes, UIG has established partnerships with a variety of providers for Garage coverage. To find the provider in your area, please email or give us a call at 800.385.9978.

Q: Does Garage Liability include Premises Liability?

A: As a basic package, Garage coverage contains premises liability coverage along with products liability coverage, automobile liability coverage and physical damage protection to vehicles. Premises liability, in particular, will provide coverage for injuries suffered at the shop. For example, if a customer slips and falls while walking through the repair bay to talk to the mechanic, the shop owner’s insurance company will pay for medical care up to the policy’s specified limit.

Q: Are there any special supplements that are needed to quote Garage Liability coverage?

A: Each carrier will have its own application. At UIG, we feel that it may be more beneficial to always complete a Specialty Garage application in addition to the basic Garage Liability application, as it will address a broader range of questions to get to the best quote. Special supplements can include:

  • 177569007wholesale automobile dealers
  • new and used car dealers
  • bed liner installation
  • golf cart dealers
  • valet
  • heavy truck repair
  • motorcycle dealers
  • motorcycle repair
  • heavy truck dealers
  • recreational vehicle
  • detailers
  • and many more

For a supplemental app, please email or contact UIG at 800.385.9978.

Q: What types of Garage risks can UIG provide coverage for?

A: UIG provides coverage for many garage risks including, but not limited to:

  • auto repair
  • motorcycle repair
  • recreational vehicle repair
  • wholesale auto dealers
  • alarm/stereo installation
  • windshield installation/repair
  • used car dealers
  • body shops
  • car washes
  • detailers
  • auto upholstery
  • valet
  • auto storage

Q: What is the minimum premium for Garage?

A: Minimum premiums generally range from $750 – $1,000.

Q: What are some of the Garage requirements?

A: General requirements can include:

  • Drivers must be at least 18 years old with no known physical impairment seriously affecting the ability to drive safely.
  • Drivers must have a valid United States driver’s license from the state you are operating out of.
  • The driver’s surcharge for any individual for the prior three years must be submitted if over 1.60.
  • Owners/Partners/Officers and their spouses and employees are the only drivers allowed to use a vehicle for personal use and must have at least five years driving experience, confirmed by their MVR.
  • Liability limits for any driver under the age of 21 will be reduced to statutory limits.
  • Motor Vehicle Reports (MVR) within 30 days of binding or with the addition of new employees; UM/UIM Rejection. UIG can assist with ordering MVRs as most insurance companies are no longer able to provide this documentation.
  • After binding, completion of a Loss Control Inspection.

Q: How is a Garagekeeper’s limit or a car dealer’s open lot limit determined?

A: While both of these groups have slightly different coverage needs, the insured may want to insure 100 percent of their inventory value to avoid possible co-insurance penalties in the event of a loss.

To determine a coverage limit, in simplest terms, find the “lot limit” (value of all vehicles on the lot combined) as well as the “per vehicle limit,” including the average and maximum value of any one vehicle.

Q: Do Garage policies need to be audited? If yes, how often?

A: All garage policies are subject to audit — either physical or voluntary — when garage exposures change during a policy period. For example, a change in the number of employees or higher value autos may cause an increase in the garagekeeper’s limit. However, all policies with a premium of $5,000 or higher will be automatically audited on an annual basis. For premiums less than $5,000, audits are normally ordered every three years, but the timing is generally up to the policyholder’s discretion.

Any time you get a large number of cars in one place, the need for insurance is high. Unfortunately, the higher risk can carry higher premiums. Fortunately, UIG’s comprehensive garage program can give your customers great coverage at a reasonable cost.

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Avoid Unnecessary Sparks this Fourth of July

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, insurance is probably the last thing on most Americans’ minds. Even more so for business owners, who, more than likely, are taking the day off to spend the holiday with family and friends.

shutterstock_59893483However, the truth is, there are more than $35 million per year in fire damages nationally due to fireworks and decorations associated with fireworks. In addition, thousands of people flood emergency rooms each year from injuries caused by fireworks. While most of these incidents occur on the home front, we know that what happens at home can and does inadvertently impact the commercial side of life.

At UIG, we feel the Fourth of July should be a time spent in celebration, not waiting in line for hours at the emergency room or spending all night on the phone with the insurance company. So we’ve pulled together a list of some important steps that your clients can take to help prevent accidents and unnecessary insurance claims:

Be proactive, expect the unexpected

Anytime a major holiday is drawing near is the right time to reach out to your clients and offer to review their insurance policies to help identify any weak areas and options for filling those gaps. It’s not uncommon for business owners to plan what would be classified as a “special event” without touching base with their insurance agent/broker, to find out if their current policy is sufficient to cover their social function.

It’s also a good idea to remind your clients to read over their home or rental insurance policy. They need to be in-the-know of what’s covered on this end of the spectrum regarding medical and property. Medical bills can quickly pile-up and some insurance policies won’t cover preventable injuries like those caused by illegal activity.

Alcohol + fireworks is an explosive combination

The Fourth of July happens to be the No. 1 season for drunk driving incidents. The holiday has repeatedly ranked as the deadliest holiday of the year — even deadlier than New Year’s Day.

It’s important that clients keep in mind that, if a guest or third party is injured in an accident that is related to alcohol consumption, and the drinking can be linked to a business, the business, and potentially its owner, could be held responsible. Legal costs could include payment of medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work and — in the worst case — claims for wrongful death resulting in huge monetary settlements.

Pay attention to local laws and regulations

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. If they are legal, avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

And, although tempting (just the kind of stuff that water cooler sagas are made from) stay away from illegal fireworks. They are illegal for a reason and are more dangerous than other types. A ticket for using an illegal firework could mean a hike in homeowner’s premiums.

When in doubt, the safest bet is to leave fireworks to the pros. Many communities have public fireworks displays run by professionals. Not only is it safer, but many of these shows have several free activities and food for the kids.

On the home front

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.
  • If dad, or Uncle Larry, is determined to produce his own firework show, have as few people around the lighting area as possible and read all warning labels and directions before lighting up. This will prevent unnecessary and avoidable injury.
  • Avoid areas of dry leaves or grass, and ensure that there are no tree overhangs or gutters nearby. Gutters are common trouble areas that are often overlooked. One rogue firework landing in a gutter filled with dry leaves and the whole house can quickly go up in flames.
  • Make sure to decorate with safety in mind. Leave decorations to a minimum in the area around the firework show. If decorations are lined with small fireworks, make sure to handle them safely.
  • If a firework fails to perform, leave it alone and back away from it. Sometimes what seems like a dud is actually just a late-bloomer and could go off at any second. Give a “dud” time and let it cool off before handling.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or water source handy. A bucket filled with water is a great alternative when not near a water source.
  • Keep kids and pets a safe distance away and within eyesight at all times.

While a lot of this seems like common sense, it’s amazing what you can forget in the excitement of the moment. By reminding your clients of these simple tips, you can help save them a headache or heartbreak this Fourth of July.

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There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Although we look forward to the summer weather, when it comes to liability, the warmer months are not always fun in the sun. The season can bring with it some particular challenges that your clients will want to be mindful of.

Workers’ compensation

We’re all aware that Worker’s comp provides coverage for a business if an employee is injured while and because that employee is working. However, the same rules do not apply for a summer event. An injury that occurs while an employee is voluntarily participating in an employer-sponsored athletic event or team generally is not compensable. Should litigation arise from an injury incurred during a social event, the outcome in that context will depend upon factors such as the extent to which the employer sponsors, controls or participates in the activity or whether the employer requires participation.

We’re not recommending that a business not hold special summer activities as they can contribute to improvement in employee health and morale. We are saying, it’s important to help your clients understand the extent to which their Worker’s compensation coverage protects them and the instances that it does not.


Summer parties, particularly where alcohol is served, can be the cause of claims of sexual and other forms of harassment. Employers should think through how summer parties will be conducted and might consider a harassment refresher before the event. Not to mention reviewing their liquor liability coverage and possibly securing employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). This coverage can help protect a business and the business owner from litigation resulting from improper workplace behavior, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, discrimination or wrongful termination.

Unpaid interns

Interns can bring significant value to a company. The balance, though, is that companies must exercise caution and be careful to ensure that there is a clear difference between an intern and a regular, compensated employee. Otherwise, business owners could be looking at several unexpected expenses.

The circumstances under which a business can utilize “unpaid interns” or “volunteers” are very limited. As with independent contractors, simply classifying individuals as “unpaid” or “volunteer” doesn’t mean that’s what they actually are.

Even if a college student agrees to the terms of an unpaid internship, it does not mean that they can’t later come back and seek unpaid wages after the internship is complete. And, if the environment in which they were working doesn’t meet certain criteria, they could win their argument because of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations.

Generally, an internship position may be unpaid if six criteria are satisfied:

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
  • The internship is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of existing staff;
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and, on occasion, the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the internship; and
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

These criteria, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, are good guideposts for employers to follow, although individual states may have their own unique requirements.

Although our minds may tend to go on summer vacation, proper insurance coverage never should. Doing a little seasonal “legwork” to help ensure insurance policies are keeping pace with client activities can make all the difference.

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Iowa Insurance Division approves NCCI workers compensation rate changes for 2014

The voluntary workers compensation rates in Iowa will decrease 2 percent overall effective January 1, 2014. The second phase of the July 1 rate increases, however, will still impact those accounts that renew in the first six months of 2014.

Also effective January 1st, the assign risk rates will increase 1.9 percent overall compared to the rates that were filed on July 1, 2013.

Download the attachment below for the full filing, including class code rates for 2014.

Iowa Workers Comp Rate Changes

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Everest Environmental Insurance Joins Network of UIG Insurance Providers

UIG is pleased to introduce Everest Environmental Insurance — the newest addition to our network of insurance providers. Based out of Liberty Corner, New Jersey, Everest Environmental Insurance has more than 20 years of experience in providing multi-line property and casualty coverages and specialty lines of coverage as well as an array of professional and comprehensive Claim and Loss Control services.

They are rated A.M. Best A+ XV (Superior). Now, that’s saying somethin’! But don’t take our word for it. Everest’s recent successes speak for themselves.

Servicing all 50 states, your clients can take advantage of Everest’s broad range of environmental insurance products that cover exposures for contractors, consultants and distributors of products — just to name a few — regardless of where they’re located.

They can also expect quality pollution coverage and flexibility with limits and deductibles.

Continually researching and expanding our depth of service providers is just one more way that UIG strives to be your ultimate business partner. We take pride in offering the most comprehensive coverage for your clients at the most competitive premiums available in the marketplace.

To learn more about Everest and other UIG insurance providers, please call 515-285-8000 (ext. 5026) or drop us a line at

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