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Still more on Employee owned vehicles / announcing new service for background checks / webinar registration
April 27,  2022
Still more on Employee owned vehicles from articles on April 18, 2022
          The coverage you’re referring to in the 4/18/22 article is called Employers Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability (HNOL), and it’s an important coverage that’s often overlooked.  As you said, companies do have liability exposure for autos doing work in their behalf, even when those autos are owned by employees or subcontractors.
          The good news is that HNOL coverage is often easy and inexpensive to obtain, normally as an add-on endorsement to a company’s Commercial Auto fleet policy.
          The complication comes when a company isn’t letting a particular employee drive because the individual’s driving record has too many violations / points to be acceptable on their Commercial Auto policy, and their insurer excludes that person from being a covered driver, so the company thinks they’ll dodge that restriction by having the employee drive their own personal vehicle for work. But if the fleet policy excludes them then they’re still excluded, even under HNOL coverage, which means the company is at risk for being uncovered for any claims their driver has in their own vehicle while working for the company that blow through the employee’s personal policy limits.
          Just another reason for alarm companies to make sure ALL drivers have adequate coverage, whether they’re driving company vehicles or their own.
Larry St John, CIC, CRM
Eclipse Marketing & Insurance Services
707.469.6776 x102
          Thanks; you raise interesting and important issues.  I often get requests to post Help Wanted ads in The Alarm Exchange that call for “clean driving record”.  I’ve usually deleted that from the post, just to save some space, and because I didn’t focus on the significance of the issue.
          A clean driving record would of course be antithetical to a very poor driving record, which can mean driving violations and accidents.  If you think about it, who wants to let an employee drive a company owned vehicle when the employee has stacks of parking tickets, most unpaid. 
          An interesting phenomenon comes to mind that is recent.  As most of you know I am a long serving United States Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee in New York, and after almost 50 years, I’ve seen tens of thousands debtors. In a bankruptcy a debtor files schedules with all their debt, creditors.  In the last year I’ve seen a few with staggering debt for red light, right turn and speeding violations picked up by cameras, parking tickets [these have been common in past years] and toll violations.  All of these violations are issued to the vehicle owner, not the driver.  So if you get an employee who could “care less’ about these violations you could find yourself stuck with hundreds and thousands of dollars of fines, none of which you will be able to avoid paying.  Years ago there were no camera violations and no toll violations because you couldn’t get through the toll without paying.  [Why any tolling AHJ designs a plan to invoice vehicles passing through the toll without paying seems awful dumb to me, but I suppose the AHJ can just increase the toll for those of us who use electronic payment [called EZ Pass in NY] or cash at the toll to make up for the others.
          Think you can deduct the fines from your employees?  Wrong.  Without researching it, my opinion is that you cannot withhold or deduct wages or compensation from an employee.  Your remedy is to discharge the employee, or a less severe remedy, take away the keys.
          Accidents have the same effect, though you are likely to find out about the accident sooner rather than later. 
          This needs to concern you whether you are a one man operation [with no “fleet” or “fleet” coverage, or a larger operation with a fleet and fleet insurance.  Your auto insurance carrier has strict guidelines and does not want to insure anyone with poor driving record.  Why should they?  They don’t want to pay any claims [just collect premiums].  One bad apple can spoil the barrel. 
          So your “bad apple” gets excluded from your coverage [fleet or otherwise] and you tell the employee [who has to drive around to get around for your business] to use his own vehicle.  Well, that might solve the violations to vehicle issue, but not the vicarious employer liability issue.  You think an employee who racks up camera violations, parking tickets and toll violations is more likely to have a better driving record?  This leaves your business [and you personally if you’re not a business entity – another bad business decision].  Keep in mind that the employee that gets excluded from your policy is likely not going to be able to get much insurance coverage beyond the statutory minimum; that should be hardly comforting to you.
          If your employees have to use their cars for any aspect of your business [and that includes more than technicians; it includes sales and even clerical who are sent out to the bank or other errands on your behalf] you should do a thorough background check.  I confess I am guilty of ignoring this issue, just like most of you.  Luckily I have a great office manager who does background checks, not only for me, but for some of our clients. 
          K&K is going to perform background checks for you.  The report will find judgments, liens, criminal record, and, to the point of this article, driving record – at least for reported accidents and traffic violations.  
 Cost of report will be $175 per employee. If you don't need the motor vehicle record the cost will be $75.  Keep in mind that if the employee uses your or his vehicle for any business reason [including driving to get you lunch] you are liable for the loss. Contact Amy LaVeglia at 516 747 6700 x 313 or for details. 

Webinar on assistance getting licensed
Webinar Title:  Filing for and renewing your alarm license
Topic Details:  Once you know where you need the license and what license you need, and you know you’re qualified, The Cmoor Group handles the minutia details filing for the license and has the software to monitor for renewal compliance.
When:  May 3, 2022 at 12 PM ET
Presenter:  Connie Moorhead, President of The CMOOR Group. or call 502-254-1590, ext. 101
Hosted by: Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Who should attend:  license holders, license compliance officers, owners, managers
Register Here:
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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