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Risk Retention Group (RRG) vs. Property & Casualty (P&C) Insurer

House in builder or realtor hands to keep safe and protected.This comparison has been an issue for many builders considering joining a new home warranty program or switching their current carrier. Residential Warranty Company, LLC (RWC) has backed its warranties with a Risk Retention Group (RRG) since 1990. It is our philosophy that warranties insured with a stable RRG will provide our builders and their homeowners with secure and reliable coverage for the entire warranty term.

This philosophy and game plan has been designed and refined based on experience in dealing with both sides of the issue. For years, RWC backed its warranties with P&C coverage. We discovered, first hand, the downside of this type of arrangement. P&C coverage can be extremely volatile both in terms of rates and continuity.

When using a P&C carrier, a warranty company’s rate structure is vulnerable to rate increases derived from losses in totally unrelated industries. For example, the country has seen more than its fair share of both natural disasters and environmental catastrophes. Consider the losses caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey, and Maria. If a P&C company suffers huge losses in even one of these events, the company’s rating may drop and it may be compelled to raise its insurance rates across all its lines of coverage. The end result is that a builder’s warranty rate goes up even though the warranty company’s loss ratio may be extremely low.

With an RRG, only one type of risk is insured - in this case, that means new home warranties and general liability insurance issued by RWC for our member builders exclusively. Consequently, our rates are based solely on our own loss ratio. If we continue to keep control of claims and continue to stringently screen members for quality, RWC will be able to maintain a sound and economically competitive rate structure. Oil tankers running aground and Category 4/5 Hurricanes will have no effect on the cost of a new home warranty or the strength of the insurance company!

RWC also discovered that P&C carriers are quick to drop blocks of business for a variety of reasons: too little premium generated, changes in corporate strategy, etc. If a P&C insurer chooses not to renew its master policy, the warranty company is left scrambling for a replacement. During RWC’s infancy, we found ourselves in this position all too frequently.

RRG’s are not fly-by-night organizations that are easily formed. Not only are they subject to insurance laws in their own domiciliary state, but they must also fulfill certain criteria before offering insurance in any other state. For example, each RRG must submit a copy of its plan of operation to the insurance commissioner of each state in which it intends to do business. It must also submit a copy of its annual financial statement to each state. Formation involves licensing, ownership and membership requirements. Failure to adhere to the strict mandates can subject groups to claims of unauthorized insurance activity.

We feel our members deserve an insurance structure that is committed to our program for the long haul. Additionally, we want backing that is financially strong enough so that our members can be certain it will be there in 5 years, 10 years and beyond. In terms of stability, security, economy and good old common sense, the move to an RRG was the most obvious and intelligent choice for RWC and our members.

Construction workerRWC has spent over 35 years building its reputation on superior customer service, competitive rates, effective dispute resolution and clearly defined warranty coverage. Being “builder oriented” is not a marketing gimmick for us but simply the way we do business every day. We concentrate on warranties and general liability for our members exclusively as our sole lines of business.

Consider the value of RRG-backed warranties and GL insurance. If you value stability of coverage and control over rates for long-term protection, you truly only have one good choice...an RWC home warranty and a GL insurance policy backed with one of the strongest insurance plans in the industry*.

*Western Pacific Mutual Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group has been rated “A- (Excellent)” by A.M. Best since 2001. The RWC Insurance Advantage is insured by carriers rated at least “A- (Excellent)” by A.M. Best.

orange safety coneIf you’ve been a builder for more than a few years you’ve been through a lot. When the housing bubble burst; you survived. Now that the market is better and your business is growing, you’re starting to realize the rewards of surviving. There are still plenty of challenges and one of them is to find qualified subcontractors.

Recently, you started a new subdivision and hired a flat concrete contractor you’ve never worked with before, to put in the sidewalks. This morning you got a call from your new sub; the kind you never want to get. A woman was walking her dog next to your project around dusk last night. She tripped over a mason’s line that was left across a section of sidewalk that had been poured earlier that day. The new flat work guy left the site without setting up any cones, fencing or signs. In fact, he did nothing to warn the public of what is commonly referred to as a “trip & fall hazard.” The woman suffered fractures to both wrists as well as lacerations to her face when she fell. Her injuries will require surgery and she’ll be unable to work for several months. Her pain and suffering have yet to be determined.

Your new sub has his own general liability insurance that should respond to this claim. You required him to have his insurance company add you to his policy as additional insured. That way they will defend you if and when the woman’s attorney sues you as well as your sub. The certificate of insurance you required your sub to provide shows all of this. Everything should be fine. But, trip & fall claims can spiral out of control.

Disputes can arise over who should have protected the worksite. Subcontractors or, their attorneys, can argue that’s the general contractor’s job. You feel that you don’t have time to hover over every job site making sure each sub is placing the proper emphasis on safety. Besides, you hired them to do a job and that includes doing it safely. Doesn’t it? All your subs understand this, don’t they?

In most states, you as the general contractor, are ultimately responsible for worksite safety. That doesn’t mean the subs get a free pass. But it usually means the general contractor has to do more than just assume everyone is being safe. That means holding periodic safety meetings, making sure new subs understand what you expect from them before starting work each morning, during the workday and after shutting down for the night. Active worksites are dangerous places even when they are nothing more than a partially completed sidewalk in poor light where an unsuspecting woman takes her dog for a walk.

Holding regular safety meetings doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost you much money. Meetings don’t have to be held every day; just regularly enough to make it clear to everyone concerned that you are committed to preventing accidents involving both the public and anyone else at your worksites.

The RWC Insurance Advantage is dedicated to loss prevention. To prove it, we offer up to 25% off your new general liability premium if you provide us with a copy of your written safety program. If you’re already insured with us, we’ll even offer the same incentive on your next renewal if you haven’t already received it.

Call us today at 866-454-2155 to find out if you qualify and receive a free, no obligation quote.

Today’s home buyers are tech-savvy shoppers who routinely turn to the internet when searching for new homes. As a successful builder, you understand the vital importance of maintaining a solid presence on the internet so potential buyers can find you, learn about what you offer, and discover what makes you better than “the other guys”.

A young couple looking at a laptop researching new home warranties and construction builders.RWC has an entire section of our website dedicated to educating the homebuyer on everything from how to choose a home builder to understanding what a new home warranty is all about. The following resources can help explain the value of your decision to provide an RWC warranty on your home:

Something ‘extra’ you provide which sets you apart from the competition is the fact you offer a 3rd party insured warranty – and not just any warranty – but the RWC warranty. The sales process is complex with a variety of topics to discuss with potential home buyers. Our goal is to make the warranty explanation easier for you by expanding our online resources for your homebuyers. Hopefully, this section will become your “go to” resource for warranty information for your staff and your buyers.

Obviously, it makes perfect sense to provide your buyers with information about your warranty. Simply link your site to the RWC Homeowner section to point them in the right direction and we’ll tell the story for you! We suggest linking to www.rwcwarranty.com/homeowners as your starting point. Your buyers will learn about the extra mile you travel to demonstrate your professionalism and customer service by providing them with this written RWC warranty.

new home construction, building a roofDid you know that as a member of RWC or HOME of Texas you may be eligible for our General Liability Insurance Program through RWC Insurance Advantage? If you would like to learn how we might meet your general liability coverage needs, call RWC Insurance Advantage today at 866-454-2155 or click here to get a quote. Plus, be sure to read on for some helpful hints about certificates of insurance, subs and staying on top of policies.

Insurance agents hear it all the time; are certificates really that important? If my subs’ certificates aren’t current, am I on the hook for what their policies don’t cover? What about exclusions on my policy? Maybe a hypothetical claim will help provide some answers. Let’s say you contract with a roofer. He’s not the roofer you usually work with but, he has a good reputation and he gives you a certificate of insurance that shows he has his own General Liability policy. It has the same limits as your policy with the RWC Insurance Advantage program. No worries here. His policy will respond first to injuries or damage to others that he might cause while working on your behalf. However, you also notice his Workers Comp is due to renew in about a week but, he assures you the renewal is going to happen and he’ll provide you with an updated certificate just as soon as he gets it from his agent. You need to get your latest project under roof as soon as possible because the weather has been uncertain; so, you decide to take a chance. Besides, it shouldn’t take a week to do a roof. What could go wrong?

The weather takes a turn for the worse. By the time the roof is started it’s been over a week. Then you get the news one of the roofer’s employees has been injured. He didn’t fall but, he hurt his back. Only then do you remember the promised certificate hasn’t appeared. Then your roofer admits his policy was not renewed because he failed to make a payment. Your policy doesn’t cover injuries to the employees of subcontractors. That’s because workers compensation insurance is available to them and is designed to cover the medical bills and lost wages of his employees. As it turns out, waiting for a renewal certificate of insurance might have avoided you being held liable for a loss that isn’t covered under your policy.

• Make sure all your subcontractors provide you with up-to-date certificates of insurance.
• Ask them if they have any open or, unreported claims.
• Be aware of what your policy does and does not cover.

Don’t let someone else’s lack of planning become your problem.