Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy First Day of Summer From APIS!


Summer is finally here and with it comes the heat! The National Weather Service has warned Southern California residents of a heat wave that will have some temperatures rising well into the triple digits over the next several days. Below are tips provided by the American Red Cross to keep in mind as we prepare for the week ahead of us.  


Responding Appropriately During a Heat Wave         

  • Listen to a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Caregiving – How to Treat Heat-Related Illnesses

During heat waves people are susceptible to three heat-related conditions. Here’s how to recognize and respond to them.

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
  • Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and gently massage the area.
  • Give an electrolyte-containing fluid, such as a commercial sports drink, fruit juice or milk. Water may also be given. Do not give the person salt tablets.
Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Heat exhaustion often affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers and factory workers. It also affects those wearing heavy clothing in a hot, humid environment.                            
  • Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion. 
  • Move the person to a cooler environment with circulating air. Remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fanning or spraying the person with water also can help. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of a cool fluid such as a commercial sports drink or fruit juice to restore fluids and electrolytes. Milk or water may also be given. Give about 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes.  
  • If the person’s condition does not improve or if he or she refuses water, has a change in consciousness, or vomits, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning.                               
  • Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures.
  • Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. 
  • Preferred method: Rapidly cool the body by immersing the person up to the neck in cold water, if possible OR douse or spray the person with cold water.
  • Sponge the person with ice water-doused towels over the entire body, frequently rotating the cold, wet towels.
  • Cover the person with bags of ice.
  • If you are not able to measure and monitor the person’s temperature, apply rapid cooling methods for 20 minutes or until the person’s condition improves.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Tenant Discrimination- An Insurable Offense

Tenant Discrimination

An insurable offense
Christine Jones, CIC, ACSR
Alvarado Pacific Insurance Services
License #0520661 

It is my belief that most people do their best not to say things or act in ways as to offend others.  That being said, I also understand that our actions can be interpreted in ways we never intended.  While people are allowed to have their own opinions, it is illegal to discriminate against others.  This is why the topic of discrimination has taken on such an important role in what we do in our day to day lives.

Discrimination has been a topic of great discussion going back well into the last century and even the previous century when the first Civil Rights Act was passed in 1866.  The dictionary definition of Discrimination is; Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination. 

In the last several decades there has been even more done to protect the individual civil rights of citizens prohibiting discrimination. In 1968 the Civil Rights Act (better known as the Fair Housing Act, and amended in 1988 to protect the disabled) was passed to protect the civil rights of individuals.  The provision of the law prohibits discrimination in the rental of property in the forms of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, age, sexual preference, sex, marital status, family status, physical disability, mental impairment or otherwise challenged.  These are called protected classes.

A Violation of the Fair Housing Act carries a minimum fine of $11,000 in civil penalties for the first offense and $55,000 for each additional offense.  Actions and suits can be brought by a tenant, former tenant, prospective tenant or a guest of a tenant.  The number of Tenant Discrimination reports and claims made with the Fair and Equal Housing Authority is increasing in every region of the country. What is more alarming are the significant costs to the individual plaintiff to defend these claims. Even if allegations have no merit and are groundless, the property owners and managers must defend themselves in these claims.    

The good news is there is a way to transfer the risk of these suits through insurance by purchasing a Tenant Discrimination policy.  These policies are written on a Claims-Made basis and include coverage for actual or alleged acts of discrimination toward tenants as well as third parties.  It covers Wrongful Tenant Discrimination which means actual or alleged discrimination or harassment towards a tenant from the above protected classes in refusing a lease, during the leasing process, during the course of a lease or through the refusal to permit access to the premises or the eviction from the premises of a guest or a tenant.  These policies are designed to cover the insured party as well as any person who is a lawfully appointed director, officer, partner, shareholder or trustee of the insured as well as any salaried manager or employee acting under the authority of their employment.  These policies cover the amount of damages the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as well as expenses and defense costs, whether or not such allegations are false, baseless, unfounded or otherwise without merit.  Coverage is provided up to the policy limits as long as the claim is "made" within the policy period or within an extended time period as specified in the policy. The policy does not intend to cover, bodily injury, property damage, personal injury (unless as a result of wrongful discrimination), dishonest, criminal or malicious acts.  It also will not pay for any cost or charges associated with repairing, building or modifying the leased property to accommodate or comply with the American with Disabilities Act or any other anti-discrimination laws or to any cost required to modify property to comply with any award by a court, administrative order, arbitration award or any similar judgments or for the return of rents, security deposits or any other funds held by an the insured.  

 I have access to various products that cover Tenant Discrimination and Harassment as well as Employment Protective Liability.  Employment Protective policies cover the insured from allegations of discrimination, harassment, and inappropriate employment conduct alleged by employees.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Boating Season Is Back!

Boating Season is BACK in San Diego!

Every summer, we receive calls from customers after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. As we transition from our may grey to our famous San Diego summer weather, below are a few saftey tips – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.

Don’t let an accident wreck your fun!
Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. In the event of an accident it simply is not enough to just have life jackets on board — they must be worn! This rule applies to adults, not just children: More people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style and today, vests are even available for your water-loving pets!
Alcohol and Boating Don't Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You should never drink and drive, so don’t boat and drive.

Boats Need TLC Too. When you're out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat's operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.

Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. Boat insurance discounts are also available from Safeco and our other insurance partners for completing a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

Watercraft Insurance. Most home insurance policies have limited coverage for boats. If you own a boat, watercraft insurance is your best bet: These policies cover theft, damage, and injuries or accidents while you’re on the water, as well as some of your expensive watersports gear.

Sites for Additional Information:

Alvarado Pacific Insurance:

Coast Guard:

Coast Guard Auxiliary:

Safeco tips:



Monday, May 23, 2016

Loss Prevention Tips: Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, Trips and Falls, oh my!

Christine Jones,  CIC, ACSR
Alvarado Pacific Insurance Services 
License #0520661
Published: 5/20/16

Did you know that Slips and Falls are a major cause of injury to residents and their visitors? It is estimated that approximately 25,000 slip and fall accidents occur daily in the USA and one in five emergency room visits is the result of a fall. Businesses with considerable foot traffic are of particular concern.

Falls can occur on any surface and can be on level ground, ramps or stairways. Major hazards are slippery surfaces, holes or broken surfaces, poor drainage or inadequate cleanup of spills, mud, ice or water. Personal factors such as age, illness, emotional state, fatigue, inattention and poor vision also contribute to falls. There are various things a property owner can do to reduce exposure:

Floors -
Proper choices of flooring materials, use of special finishes, mats, tapes, grooving, texturing and keeping the floor clean and dry can prevent slips and falls. Do not wax, polish or treat floors in any way that may compromise their slip resistance.

Walkways and hallways-
Walkways and hallways should be wide enough to allow tenants and guests to move freely and allow for safe passing. Repair tears in carpeting and keep walkways free of obstructions. Areas should be well maintained and well lit.

Stairs and Ramps –
Accidents on stairs account for approximately 800,000 injuries annually. Steps should be readily seen with treads that are large enough to provide adequate footing. Handrails should be reachable, graspable and located on both sides of the stairs. (Small children should be considered here) Check guardrail openings. To prevent entrapment, openings should be 4 inches or less. Ensure stairs have uniform riser heights and tread depths. Visual distractions on or near stairs should be eliminated. Again, any loose carpeting or treads should be repaired immediately. Regular housekeeping and inspections should be done regularly and stairs should always be kept clean and dry.


Frequently check the condition of sidewalks. Rough finished concrete provides good slip resistance, even when wet. Area should be level with no ridges or height changes greater than ¼ to ½ inches. There should be no holes large enough for a shoe heel to fit into. Do not paint or treat sidewalks.

Proper lighting of all walking areas may help prevent slips, trips and falls. General lighting includes natural sunlight, general overhead lighting and task lighting. Adequate lighting can detect and prevent hazards.

Parking lots-
Much like sidewalks, parking lots are vulnerable to changes in weather conditions. Adequate drainage to prevent water accumulation will decrease the chances of accidents. Sufficient lighting is a must. Be aware of any holes, uneven surfaces, drop offs, cracks, etc. If your property has speed bumps in the parking lot be sure they are painted yellow or a similar high contrast color but be sure to use a non-slippery paint.

Inspect all sidewalks, walkways and stairways at least monthly. Any deficiencies observed should be discussed with management. More frequent inspections should be done during inclement weather. Floor maintenance and housekeeping procedures should be standardized and written. Be sure to use "Wet Floor" warning signs and block off areas until floor cleaning is finished and dry. Absorbent mats placed and door entrances are also helpful in avoiding unwanted accidents.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Renters Insurance: A Risk Management Tool for Property Owners

Christine Jones,  CIC, ACSR
Alvarado Pacific Insurance Services 
License #0520661
Published: 5/20/16

Renters Insurance: A Risk Management Tool for Property Owners

Why landlords should require their tenants to carry Renters Insurance…

Landlords, like most business owners, are in business to make a profit and protect their assets.  One key component of Risk Management is the transfer of risk through insurance and responsible property owners properly insure their property against general liability and property exposures.  What is commonly overlooked is the transfer of risk through a tenant’s personal liability policy. Tenant liability products protect them from third party claimed damages caused by fire, smoke, explosion or water as a result of their negligence. These causes of loss tend to be the most expensive damages an apartment building owner would face. Owners of apartment buildings face an increasing number of common, small property losses that usually fall below their own deductibles. Owners can become tired of paying for small common losses to their buildings when their tenants negligently cause damages and requiring their tenants to provide their own Renters Insurance policy is the solution. This important coverage also provides protection for the tenant if they are accused of accidentally causing injury to someone and is a vital component of keeping positive relationships between the tenants and the building owners.

In addition to the liability protection for negligently caused property damage or bodily injury, most Renters Insurance programs offer personal property coverage for tenants. Many property owners face demands from angry tenants to pay for property stolen from or damaged in or around their apartment community. Personal belongings of tenants are not covered by the landlord’s insurance policy, a common misconception by the average tenant. A tenant’s property is not only exposed to potential damages caused by other tenants in the building, but also damages they may cause themselves or even theft. If those tenants had renter's insurance that included property coverage, their policies would respond to many common causes of loss including theft, fire and water damage.  A tenant with their own insurance is less likely to sue their landlord in an attempt to recover their property. Plus, they are better able to pay their rent if they don’t suffer a financial hardship due to a loss because they spend their rent budget replacing necessary items that were lost.  Having funds available to replace lost items will reduce the strain on your relationships with your tenants.

 Furthermore, many policies include coverage to remove and properly dispose of the tenants damaged property.  What’s to keep the tenant from walking away from a unit full of burnt items, leaving the property owner to clean up the mess behind them? What if their dog or a guest’s dog bites another tenant?  What if they invite friends over and they trip over that toy car and break a bone?  What if they negligently cause a fire in their unit which damages not only their unit, but their neighbor’s property as well?  These are the types of losses that would typically be covered under the Liability portion of their policy.  What if a tenant caused a fire that displaced other tenants in the building? What if a tenant had water damage and their unit is no longer habitable? These types of losses would be covered under a tenant’s personal property policy and provide them with additional living expenses until they were able to return to their apartment.

So what’s keeping every apartment building owner from requiring their tenants to provide their own Renters Insurance policy? Is it the cost to the tenant for providing the policy? Do they think they might lose a tenant over the lease requirement? The average Renter’s Insurance policy can be purchased for under $20 a month to protect them from unforeseeable exposures such as fire damage, theft or other natural disasters. Renters Insurance provides a sense of security for the tenants that can only be guaranteed if the owners require them to have it. For a small amount of money each month, an apartment building owner can protect their own assets from damages negligently caused by their tenants and their tenants can shield themselves from the devastation of losing valuable items without the ability to replace them. The solution is Renters Insurance.