Pondering liability

By: Jonathan Hermann
Women didn’t typically enter Sloppy Joe’s Sloppier Pub, so I was surprised to find one at the bar. She had everything I looked for in a woman: a beer in hand and a paid tab. And yet she still seemed unhappy.
“You Know, “ I said, “you can’t find happiness at the bottom of a beer mug.”
“Of Course not, you git” she said, the Queen’s English pouring from her lips like British petroleum from a hose. “Who’d be happy about an empty beer mug?”
She finished her last line staring out into the unknown, like a young bride at the altar of an arranged marriage.
“Why the vacant stare?” I said.
“Is it vacant?” she replied. “I have some land I thought was vacant. It only has a small pond with a smaller pier. I walked past it yesterday and found some beer cans. Bud Light, no less. These trespassers will probably make other dumb decisions—am I covered if they hurt themselves?”
“You’re worried because the ISO Homeowners form includes a vacant land in the definition of ‘insured location’. Well, ‘vacant land’ means any land on which exists a man-made structure. Fences, walls, telephone poles, roads…”
“…skyscrapers, prehistoric monuments, bird houses—got it.”
“Wince any man-made structure takes it out of the vacant category, your small lake is a liability,” I continued. “It should be specifically described as an insured location on the declarations page in order to extend liability coverage—even to Bud Light drinkers.”
Jonathan Hermann is a IA contributor.
Independent Agent Magazine – Feb. 2016 iamagazine.com

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