Real housewives, husbands, kids and other real-life sources of financial liability…

Your clients may think they don’t need a personal umbrella policy (PUP). Following are some real-life claims that may prove otherwise.

A fall from grace

The insured lives in a home with a brick patio. She, the claimant, and another friend met at a club, had a few drinks, and all returned to the insured’s home where they sat on the patio in lawn chairs and continued drinking. At approximately 11 p.m., the insured went inside to the kitchen. The friend also entered the house to call a cab.

When the friend went back outside, the claimant was no longer on the patio. She found the claimant unconscious on the ground on the other side of the patio retaining wall. The claimant remembers falling, but not how it happened.

The claimant sustained a spinal cord injury which rendered her an incomplete quadriplegic. She underwent surgery and was on a feeding tube for several months. She was able to return home six months after the incident, but continues to suffer partial paralysis of her arms and legs. She uses an electric wheelchair to get around and requires assistance with some activities of daily living.moma-blue-sky-umbrella

The claimant owned her own business and was married one month before the incident. Her husband now cares for her at home. The settlement to the claimant exhausted the underlying coverage limits and payment was made under the personal umbrella.

The unfortunate passenger

The client’s 18-year-old son was driving the insured’s car on a short trip to the store with his girlfriend, the claimant. The car left the road and struck a tree. The client’s son told the police that a vehicle cut him off, but there were no witnesses and no evidence of any impact with another car. The claimant has no recollection of the accident.

The claimant, a 19-year-old college student, was hospitalized for over a month with multiple fractures and internal injuries. She was in a wheelchair but is now able to walk with crutches and continues with physical therapy. She has a right drop foot as a result of the injuries. The insured’s personal umbrella policy limit was paid.


Toddler terror

The claimant, age 2, was on the insureds’ property with his grandparents who were there to care for two horses owned by the insureds while the insureds were out of town on vacation. The claimant was kicked by one of the horses, taken to the emergency room, and then life flighted to a larger hospital.

The claimant was given a 5 percent chance of survival and underwent surgery for a cracked skull with severe damage to the right side of his brain. He survived and is residing in a neighboring state at a rehabilitation center. A large payment was made under the personal umbrella policy.

Easy sell

It’s easy to see that the insureds in the above scenarios were spared financial ruin by their PUPs. Relating stories like these to clients who are undecided about their need for extra coverage can make the choice much simpler. Client Service Executives are in a good position to cross sell PUPs by informing clients that for a relatively small increase in their overall insurance premium, they will typically receive a high level of coverage and the peace of mind that comes with it.

A PUP That Plays Nice with Underlying Carriers

Member agents seeking to provide clients with an additional layer of liability insurance protection over their underlying coverages often hear “Aren’t my existing home and auto policies enough?” Consumers often assume that their auto or home insurance will provide all the liability protection they need. The reality is that jury awards in personal liability lawsuits are unpredictable and often exceed limits carried by insureds or maximum limits written by many companies.

Members can protect clients while protecting their own agency from an E&O lawsuit by always offering a personal umbrella policy (PUP). Members are eligible to sell PUPs through our partnership with RLI, a specialty insurance company with a diversified portfolio of property and casualty coverages serving ‘‘niche’’ or under served markets.

One of the most attractive features of RLI PUPs is the fact that there is no requirement that the underlying carriers be the same. Agencies enrolled with RLI can write umbrellas for clients even when underlying coverages are split across several different companies.