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Indemnity challenged by State / Husband and wife disputes / webinar today

June 24 2020
Webinar: Sign up for today's webinar now:
Title:  Understanding Risk Management Issues For Alarm / PERS Industry
When:  June 24, 2020  12 PM ET
Description:    Webinar will explain risk management issues for alarm and PERS industry.  Insurance issues such as type and amount of coverage, best practices, including contracts, common claims the industry faces and how they are assessed and handled.
Presented by:  Bart Didden, Chief Claims Administrator, Security America
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Who should attend:  owners, risk managers
Indemnity challenged by State
            We are in the process of trying to get the Standard Fire Alarm Agreement signed with a Florida State Agency to monitor existing fire alarm systems in 8 separate state owned buildings.  The State has asked for us to “remove” or “strike through” section 15, Indemnity / Waiver of Subrogation Rights / Assignments.  They have not requested a change in any other insurance related section of the agreement.  I originally told them that we could not omit or scratch through section 15 and here is their reply:
            “Chapter 768, Florida Statutes, the state’s waives sovereign immunity and limits recovery for the state and its agencies.  There are Attorney General Opinions, including AGO 78-20 and AGO 2000-22, interpreting the statutes and concluding that state agencies are prohibited from entering into contracts with private companies which require the agency to indemnify the other party to the contract.”
       Can I get your thoughts on this? 
Thank you,
            Often municipalities [maybe always] have laws that prohibit the municipality from agreeing to indemnify a vendor, such as an alarm company.  But the appropriate contract modification is not striking all of paragraph 15.  Only the first sentence of that paragraph [might be different number in other contract forms] constitutes the indemnity provision.  The rest of the paragraph has other provisions which are important to you and protect you; the municipality is not prohibited to agreeing to those provisions.
            Giving up indemnity is a significant concession on your part and severely diminishes the effectiveness of the contract to protect you from claims.  Despite this, you may be forced to give up this provision, and others, in order to get the work.  Just be careful and my best advice is that you seek my advice before making contract changes unless they are strictly business related, not legal, issues.  If not sure, ask me.  Again I want to remind everyone about our Concierge Program which offers a $250 monthly credit for contract review and negotiations.  The program only costs $145 a month.  Contact our Concierge Program Coordinator Stacy Spector, Esq, at or 516 747 6700 304.  
Husband and wife disputes
            We have a husband, whom signed the Residential Contract all in one, last November on his newer house.  We also have his business and warehouse in other contracts.
            As of yesterday, wife calls us to have her husband access to the alarm eliminated at the new residence because they are separated. How should we treat this? We don’t want to deny services to either one, and don’t want to lose the business relationship either.
            We have had similar issues in the past; both sides were amicable / business-like dealings. But we are concern about this one.
            It’s going to be hard to get out of this jam without it being sticky.  Or, you can’t expect to jump into the pig pen and expect to come out smelling like a rose.  
            Seems like I get the same question at least once a year, and it always states that you have the husband’s business too.  
            I’m not clear on the extent of your involvement with the security at the residence.  Unless you are providing Access Control Administration I don’t see how you can “eliminate” the husband’s access.  What you can do is change the passcode at the request of the wife.  This raises an interest issue.  What is the protocol for accepting and acting upon such a request?  I can’t say I am a “normal” customer [though some might say I am the least sophisticated consumer] so I don’t know what a “normal” customer might encounter when calling the alarm company to change the password or the codes in the keypad.  I doubt most alarm companies conduct an investigation.  They get a call and make the change, especially if it’s done remotely.  
            After the codes are changes either one spouse is going to call screaming when the alarm won’t shut off, or when the invoice comes for the programming change, or both.  
            If you want to be particularly careful I suppose you can insist on both spouses signing a written request for the change, or a court order.  Or you can decline to get involved at all.  
            Others with better answers are welcome to chime in. When I put a title on this article I actually thought of a more interesting discussion:  dispute between husband and wife when they each own the alarm company.  Another time.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301