Cemetery Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Cemetery Insurance Alaska. It may not seem like a place that is as somber as a cemetery would be at risk of legal issues, but the truth is, they are. There are several unique challenges and risks that the owner of a cemetery can face, and these challenges and risks have the potential to cause serious financial and professional harm.
As a AK cemetery owner, your top priority is to make the people you work with feel comforted during their darkest hours and as they visit your property to pay respects to their loved ones. However, a single injury on your site or an incident that involves providing poor service can do serious damage to your reputation and your business. Furthermore, your property is susceptible to things like vandalism, fires, floods, and even theft - just like any other business.
Cemeteries are the final resting places for deceased persons. Operations may be limited to providing land for in-ground burials, digging the gravesites, covering the graves after the coffins have been lowered, and providing ongoing maintenance to grave markers and landscaping. Some offer crypts, vaults, or mausoleums for above-ground burials or niches for cremated remains. The cemetery may offer "green" burials where the deceased is interred without a coffin or a forested area where cremated remains may be scattered. Some have memorial chapels where funeral services may be conducted. A few offer their facilities to the community for such events as classes, seminars, and weddings.
Cemeteries may be related to or associated with funeral homes or mortuaries and provide all related body preparation services prior to interment or cremation, sell coffins, flowers, assorted memorial items, and monuments or headstones, including engraving or decorating. Cemeteries may provide or have access to crematory services. Some cemeteries offer similar services for deceased animals, such as pet dogs or cats.
In order to safeguard yourself and your business from the potential travesties that can arise, having the right cemetery insurance Alaska coverage is vital. From property to liability coverage, find out what type of insurance protection you need.
Cemetery insurance Alaska protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $57/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Commercial Property Insurance For Cemeteries
Though your business is quite unique, the property faces many of the same risks that other types of business properties face. Risks include damage as a result of weather-related events, fires, vandalism, and more. Should a gravestone in your cemetery be vandalized or a strong wind knock down a fence, you are responsible for paying for the repairs.
Repairs to your business' property can be exhaustively expensive. That's why it's important to have commercial property insurance coverage. This policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing anything on your property that has been damaged as a result of weather-related events, fires, vandalism, and more. It can help you avoid having to spend a tremendous amount of money out of your own pocket. And since the property of a cemetery is constantly exposed to various threats, paying to repair or replace damages can cause serious financial distress.
Liability Insurance For Cemeteries
As a AK cemetery owner, you are legally liable for anything that happens on your property. However, even if you have property insurance, it won't cover situations that are related to liability claims. For instance, slips and falls, damage to other people's property, and failure to deliver a service that you promised are things that your property insurance will not cover. That's why it's important for you to also invest in liability insurance. There are two types of liability policies cemetery owners should carry. Some of the most important include:
- Commercial General Liability Insurance. This policy will protect you from any personal injury or property damage claims. For instance, if someone slips and falls while visiting your cemetery and sustains an injury or a piece of equipment damages someone's vehicle, you would be held legally responsible and would have to cover the cost of any damages. A commercial generally liability insurance policy will help you avoid having to pay for those damages out of your own pocket.
- Professional Liability Insurance. Also known as errors and omissions insurance, this type of policy can help you cover cost associated with lawsuits that may be filed against you if you make a professional mistake or an oversight, or if you fail to deliver a service that you promised. For example, if you failed to have a cemetery plot prepared before the time that a burial was arranged, you could be sued. Your E&O insurance could cover the cost of the lawsuit.
Other Types of Insurance Coverage For Cemeteries
Some other types of cemetery insurance Alaska coverage cemeteries should consider investing in include:
- Workers Compensation. If one of your employees sustains a work-related injury or illness, this type of insurance policy will cover medical costs of the injury and more.
- Business Auto. If you use vehicles for any type of transportation, such as hearses and limousines, business auto insurance is highly recommended.
- Business Interruption. If you are forced to close down temporarily, you could lose a substantial amount of business and money. A business interruption insurance policy will cover losses if your business is interrupted for some reason.
AK Cemeteries' Risks & Exposures
Property exposure due to fire is usually low because there are few buildings and a limited number of ignition sources. Most cemeteries will have maintenance buildings to keep equipment and supplies necessary to excavate burial sites. Many have office buildings to transact business with customers. Some have above-ground open air or closed mausoleums. Larger cemeteries may have chapels where services may be performed. Buildings should be maintained with updated wiring and good housekeeping. Adequate security is required to prevent vandalism.
An on-premises crematory increases the exposure to fire loss due to the extremely high temperatures required to cremate a body. There must be adequate clearances as the flue exits the chimney and a shut-off valve in place to prevent overheating. Fuels used for crematory ovens include liquid petroleum, natural gas, or home heating oil. These must be stored in approved containers.
Premises liability exposures are high due to the number of visitors to the premises. At a burial, visitors may be under considerable stress, grieving, and unaware of their surroundings. Elderly and/or disabled individuals may attend. There should be sufficient personnel to direct, assist and be able to handle emergencies.
Grass and weeds must be properly cut and trimmed and stones, monuments, and markers must be clearly visible. Parking lots and sidewalks must be in good condition and kept free of ice and snow. If “green” burials are offered, the land must be maintained to prevent excess settling that could lead to a trip or fall hazard. Additional security may be required for high-profile burials. Cemeteries can pose an attractive nuisance hazard. There should be adequate security after hours to deter trespassers.
Environmental impairment exposures are from insecticides and pesticides used for maintaining the grounds, the decomposition of remains, and leaching of metals from burial containers and their fastenings due to corrosion. Bacteria or toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, or zinc, may seep into the soil or groundwater.
Professional liability or errors and omissions exposures is moderate as improper handling of a body can result in claims of emotional distress by family members. There should be excellent documentation regarding the identification of the deceased and accurate records maintained of occupied gravesites. Should cremation or other services be outsourced, the cemetery should be sure there is adequate liability coverage in place from the outsource vendor.
Crime exposure is due to employee dishonesty. Background checks should be performed on employees handling money. Billing, ordering, and disbursements must be kept as separate duties. Customers often pay in advance for the purchase of the plots, mausoleum space, and perpetual care. Most states now require that these funds be held in trust. An outside firm must audit these funds regularly.
Workers compensation exposure can be high due to work with machinery to dig and cover gravesites. Workers may trip and fall on the uneven ground or into open gravesites. Lawn and ground maintenance can include the application and exposure to pesticides and insecticides, resulting in contact dermatitis and injury to eyes or lungs. If there is any manual ground preparation, exposure to back injuries or hernias from lifting is very high.
Inland marine exposure comes from accounts receivable if the cemetery bills customers for services, computers, contractors’ equipment, and valuable papers and records for burial registers. Earth-moving, mowing, and landscaping equipment is used to dig and cover the graves and maintain the grounds. Contracts should be reviewed to determine who is responsible for the monuments and other statuary. If the cemetery is responsible, bailees coverage should be considered. Duplicates of burial records should be made and kept off site to prevent sites from being reused.
Automobile exposure will generally be limited to vehicles necessary to maintain the grounds and hired nonownership liability for employees running errands in their own vehicles. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and the records kept in a central location.
Crematories also need commercial insurance in the event that someone is injured on the property, or if an error or other problem occurs during the cremation process. Families can sue crematories for a many reasons. What if remains were improperly handled? What if you do not handle a deceased person's remains according to the family's wishes? There is a big legal exposure.
AK cemeteries are their own unique businesses, and owners of these businesses can face several legal risks. That's why it's important to make sure you are properly protected with the right type of insurance coverage.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Miscellaneous & Non-Profit Insurance
Find informative articles on miscellaneous businesses including the types of commercial insurance they need, costs and other considerations.
- Adult Daycare
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting
- Bail Agent
- Control of Well
- Electric Utilities
- Employment / Staffing Agency
- Engraving Business
- Facility Support Services
- Flight Schools
- Hot Air Balloon
- Mail Order
- Oil And Gas Lease
- Personal Concierge
- Photofinishing Lab
- Portable Sanitation
- Printers & Publishers
- Private Water Districts
- Process Server
- RV Parks & Campgrounds
- Security Guard
- Surety Bonds
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Drone
- Waste Disposal Landfill
- Wedding Planner
An insurance contract is an agreement where one party obligates itself to make good the financial loss or damage sustained by a second party when a designated event occurs. The event must be fortuitous and happen by accident. The named insured must have insurable interest at the time of loss. One final point is that in order for any contract to be considered insurance, there must be a risk of loss.
Fortuitous Event - An occurrence largely beyond the control of any involved party; happening by chance; accidental; for example: fire, lightning, windstorm, explosion or flood.
Insurable Interest - In order to recover from a loss to property, the holder must have an insurable interest in the property at the time of the event or occurrence. An insurable interest is any right, title or interest in property where the holder of that right, title or interest sustains financial loss if the property is damaged or destroyed. Any lawful and substantial economic interest in the safety or preservation of the property from loss, destruction or damage also constitutes an insurable interest.
An entity does not have to be the property owner to have an insurable interest in it. Examples include, but are not limited to, mortgagees, trustees, vendors, lessees and bailees. Insurable interest for any entity must exist at the time the loss occurs.
Risk Of Loss - If property could never be destroyed, there is no risk of loss. If property must necessarily disintegrate or be destroyed, there is no risk of loss. Between these two extremes is the exposure of risk that can be insured.
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Also find Alaska insurance agents & brokers and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.