The Joy and Pain of Moving
At the end of the month, our Portland office will be moving to a new location. Like any move there is always an element of joy and a modicum of pain. We are overjoyed with the new location and the new space. As many of you can relate, moving comes with a fair amount of work. Offices can accumulate as much junk as any homeowner can and weeding through can be a painful task. In my effort to help clean up the office, I found a package of ramen noodles that expired in 2012. That is two full years before I even started working at Barker Martin! (I apologize to any former employee who was saving those for a special occasion).
Moving got me thinking about...insurance (I know, I am strange). Specifically, insureds who decide to move from a "claims made" insurance policy to an "occurrence" based policy. Both policies cover an insured's liability for, among other things, property damage, bodily injury, and personal injury. A "claims made" policy typically covers the insured when the claim is made. If the insured caused some sort of accident in 2014, for instance, but the plaintiff did not sue until 2016, the "claims made" policy in place in 2016 would be the policy to respond. An occurrence policy, on the other hand, covers an insured when the incident or accident occurred regardless of when the claim is made. Taking the same accident, the policy in place in 2014 would likely apply even though the claim was not made until 2016 because the incident occurred in 2014. Both policies have their place in the world. But, moving from one type of policy to the other may cause some unforeseen consequences. Taking our example one last time, assume a 2014 claims made policy but the insured switched to an occurrence policy in 2016. If the claim is made in 2016, neither policy may apply! Because the claim is made in 2016, the 2014 "claims made" policy would likely not apply. Because the occurrence or incident was in 2014, the 2016 "occurrence" policy would likely also not apply.
As you can see, moving policies without thinking through the consequences or discussing the repercussions with qualified professionals may leave you as sick as someone who ate long expired ramen noodles. To avoid the pain, make sure if you have questions or concerns about insurance you speak with folks who understand the long term impacts of your decisions. In the meantime, we hope you share in the joy of our new office. It is located downtown in the Crowne Plaza: 1500 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 980. Feel free to drop by and say hello!