107 Airport Rd. Westerly, RI 02891 (401) 596-0146 service@thorptrainer.com
Commercial Property Insights

Commercial Property Insights

Aging Buildings: Roofing Systems

Roofing systems are more complex than meets the eye, and they can develop structural issues if they are not properly updated and maintained as they age. When assessing the structural integrity of a building’s roofing, the main concern is the age of the roof.

Why Failures Happen

Exposure

Heat and cold

Thermal cycling occurs when materials expand in the heat and contract in the cold. The stress caused by the sudden temperature changes can lead to blistering, tenting, cracking, splitting, and membrane, adhesive and seam failures.

Snow

Snow and ice can stress roofing systems due to the weight of the accumulation, causing cracks to form. If water gets into those cracks, it may cause water damage to the internal structure of the building. Ice dams can cause significant gutter damage as well.

Hail

Damage from hail includes weakened structural members and accelerated aging.

Sunlight

Sunlight can contribute to the deterioration of membranes, shingles, sealants, and other materials.

Moisture

Moist and damp conditions from rain, snow, hail and fog can cause material degradation. 

Wooden shakes

Shakes and shingles made from wood can curl, thin or split as they wear out. 

Moss, fungus and algae growth

Moss, fungus and algae can cause direct damage to membranes and hold moisture against the roof. 

Weight

Excessive weight on a roof can cause it to collapse.

Clogged drainage and gutters

Inadequate drainage can cause water to enter the building structure, resulting in wall and ceiling damage. 

Poor installation

Poor installation of roofing material can not only be aesthetically unpleasing, but it can also allow water to seep in between cracks and ruin the sheathing underneath.

Risks

Water intrusion

If a roof fails to protect the building’s structure from water, it can lead to a myriad of issues, such as Mold, Rotting wood, Damage to the electrical system and Foundation problems.

Roof collapse

Roofing systems that are not maintained and updated may succumb to stress and pressure, leading to collapse.

What to Look For

Visible damage from the outside

 Visible deterioration, missing shingles.

Water spots on the ceiling

A leaking roof can cause discolored, bubbling water spots to form on the ceiling.

Blistering

Roof blisters are raised areas where there is a loss of adhesion. They occur in all types of roofing systems. If left unmonitored, blistering can lead to saturated insulation and a damaged membrane.

Displaced gravel

Wind forces can create stress across a roof, causing gravel and ballasted roofs to become displaced. Facilities managers should look for signs of this in the roof’s corners.

Ponding Water

Pooled or ponding water can indicate that the structure of the roof is not adequate.

Risk Management Actions

Budgeting for the lifespan of the roof

Roofs can be costly and different roof types can have vastly different life spans. 

Ensuring snow is removed

 Snow removal can prevent water damage to the roof and the drainage and gutter system.

Conducting regular roof inspections

Commercial-grade roofing should be inspected twice a year, once in the spring and fall. 

Performing regular maintenance

Facilities managers should stay on top of routine maintenance, such as cleaning clogged drains, so that minor problems don’t balloon into more significant issues.

How To Safely Enjoy Your Summer Barbecues

How To Safely Enjoy Your Summer Barbecues

Some of the most memorable summer moments occur when friends and family gather in the backyard for a barbecue. These gatherings can make for a great summer; however, it is important to remember safety when barbecuing. 

At Thorp & Trainer, we want to ensure this is your best and safest summer. Please review the following safety tips to help keep everyone and everything safe at your next barbecue.

Clean the grill –

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that 22% of structure fires were due to the grill not being cleaned. The 10 minutes it takes to clean the grill before use will not only make the food you’re grilling taste better, it will also protect you, your family, and your home.

Never abandon it –

One in six backyard grilling fires begin when someone turns their back on the grill. Fire can spread quickly, but you can avoid this from happening by keeping your eye on the grill.

Keep the grill at a distance –

An alarming 17% of grill-based home fires start because of the grill being placed too close to flammable material. Keep your grill away from walls, low overhangs, fences, dry grass, or anything else that is flammable.

Gas grill safety –

It is important to inspect the propane tanks of gas grills before use. A spray bottle of soapy water can help spot tiny leaks – douse the suspect area with several sprays of soapy water and look for bubbles forming after the spray settles. Soap increases the surface tension of the water, making the bubbles formed by escaping propane gas persist for a few seconds and stack on each other, making it easier to spot leaks.

Trim excess fat –

While fat is needed to keep the meat juicy and flavorful, if it is too fatty it can cause flare ups and fires. Keeping a spray bottle near your grill is a good idea to stop flare ups immediately, while they are still controllable.

Keep children away from the grill –

Children under the age of five account for 35% of contact-type burns each year.  While kids are playing, they can easily forget to be cautious around a hot grill. Make sure your children are kept at a safe distance and that hot coals are disposed of properly and away from areas of play.

We are dedicated to helping you protect what matters most. Contact us at 401.596.0146 to discuss additional ways to safeguard your family and property. At Thorp & Trainer, “Your Security Is Our Concern.”

Homeowners Insurance and the Rising Cost of Building Materials

Homeowners Insurance and the Rising Cost of Building Materials

Recent findings from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) confirmed that household construction costs have surged. This rise in construction costs is directly tied to soaring building material expenses. According to the NAHB, current lumber costs are up 340% from 2020. 

There are several reasons for these higher expenses. Specifically, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the presence of historically low interest rates have contributed to a rise in home purchases and renovation projects.  Nevertheless, this increase in demand has been met with supply shortages throughout the construction industry.  During greater demand and lower supply, building material prices have subsequently soared.

This surge in costs could pose coverage consequences for homeowners across the country. As a result, homeowners could discover that their existing policy limits and coverages no longer offer adequate protection—leaving them financially vulnerable in the event of a loss. 

Homeowners insurance carriers may increase policyholders’ premium costs to account for the risk of elevated claim expenses.

Considering these ongoing cost concerns, it’s important for our homeowners to consider taking the following measures:

Review your policy.

Be sure that you fully understand your homeowner’s insurance policy. Take note of whether you have replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. Ensure your policy provides a correct replacement cost or overall value for your home.

Communicate with US!

 Call your account manager for help to determine whether your policy needs an adjustment to insure sufficient coverage in the event of a loss.  Let us know if you conduct renovations or other improvements to your home, i.e., adding a new deck and garage or remodeling your bathroom or kitchen.  This may entail increasing your current limits or obtaining specialized coverage with an endorsement.

Guaranteed or Extended Replacement Cost.

A guaranteed replacement cost policy pays whatever it costs to rebuild your home as it was even if it exceeds the policy limit. This gives you protection against sudden increases in construction costs due to a shortage of building materials after a widespread disaster or other unexpected situation.

Functional Replacement Cost (FRC).

For older structures with ornate or obsolete features, replacement cost coverage to replace these with like, kind, and quality can be exorbitantly expensive. To make coverage affordable, functional replacement cost coverage was created, allowing for replacement of expensive and obsolete items with less expensive and more modern options. FRC is the cost of acquiring another item of property that will perform the same function with equal efficiency, even if it is not identical to the property being replaced. FRC valuation provides a lower valuation than replacement cost, resulting in a reduction of the amount of insurance coverage required and, thus, lower premiums. Most FRC loss settlement provisions provide that losses will be settled following one of these two methods: replacement with a less costly, but functionally equivalent building; or, in the case of a partial loss, restoration of the damaged portion in the same architectural style, but with less costly material (i.e., replacing a mahogany banister with a pine banister).

Easy Vegetable Quiche

Easy Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch deep dish pie crust

  • 1 med onion – chopped

  • 1 green pepper – chopped

  • 1 red pepper – chopped

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp marjoram

  • 4 cups cooked vegetables (carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc.)

  • 3 tbsp butter

  • 4 eggs

  • 8 oz cubed cheddar cheese

  • ½ tsp pepper

Optional: Add chopped ham or turkey if desired.

Broccoli Casserole

Directions​

Bake pie crust at 450◦ for 8-10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. 

Lower temperature to 325◦.

Sauté vegetables in butter, then allow to cool.

Beat eggs until fluffy then stir in vegetables and remaining ingredients

Pour into pie crust then bake at 325◦ for 40 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Understanding the Different Types of Property Valuation

Understanding the Different Types of Property Valuation

An insurance valuation is an assessment of how much it would cost to rebuild a property in the event of a total loss, such as after a fire or building collapse. The correct valuation makes sure it’s insured for the correct amount and specifies how much money the insured would receive from their insurance provider if the property is lost.

Several types of valuation clauses can be written, including replacement cost, guaranteed or extended replacement cost, functional replacement cost, and actual cash value

Actual Cash Value.

Pays to replace your home and possessions minus a deduction for depreciation.

Replacement Cost.

Pays the cost of rebuilding/repairing your home and replacing your possessions without a deduction for depreciation.

Guaranteed or Extended Replacement Cost.

A guaranteed replacement cost policy pays whatever it costs to rebuild your home as it was even if it exceeds the policy limit. This gives you protection against sudden increases in construction costs due to a shortage of building materials after a widespread disaster or other unexpected situation.

Functional Replacement Cost (FRC).

For older structures with ornate or obsolete features, replacement cost coverage to replace these with like, kind, and quality can be exorbitantly expensive. To make coverage affordable, functional replacement cost coverage was created, allowing for replacement of expensive and obsolete items with less expensive and more modern options. FRC is the cost of acquiring another item of property that will perform the same function with equal efficiency, even if it is not identical to the property being replaced. FRC valuation provides a lower valuation than replacement cost, resulting in a reduction of the amount of insurance coverage required and, thus, lower premiums. Most FRC loss settlement provisions provide that losses will be settled following one of these two methods: replacement with a less costly, but functionally equivalent building; or, in the case of a partial loss, restoration of the damaged portion in the same architectural style, but with less costly material (i.e., replacing a mahogany banister with a pine banister).

Why You Should Hire a Licensed Contractor for Home Services

Why You Should Hire a Licensed Contractor for Home Services

If you need to get some repairs or improvements done on your home, it may be tempting to do them yourself or to use an unlicensed handyman to save money. 

But with certain upgrades, like structural or property changes, electrical improvements or plumbing projects, it is important that you hire a licensed and bonded contractor. You’ll be sure that the work is done safely and properly, and a licensed contractor’s experience can help smooth the way if other issues are discovered during the course of the project. In addition, hiring skilled tradespeople like painters, landscapers and carpenters mean your renovation project will be completed with unmatched expertise.

Before you start any home improvement project, check your state and municipality’s requirements. You may be surprised to find that you are required to hire a licensed contractor.

What Is a Licensed Contractor?

If a contractor is licensed, it demonstrates that they have met certain industry standards and qualifications to acquire the license. They pass exams, meet and maintain specific standards when working a contract in order to uphold their license. Licensure also means they know and adhere to local laws and building codes. 

Depending on the state and their requirements, licensed contractors may also be required to carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This is an important qualifier because, without it, you as the homeowner are liable to cover costs for repairs, injury, or property damage caused by the contractor or the work done by the contractor. You can verify a contractor’s insurance by asking for proof of insurance, such as an insurance certificate.

Licensure is available for almost every home services contractor, from general contractors, plumbers and electricians to artisan tradespeople like painters, landscapers and carpenters.

What Can a Licensed & Bonded Contractor Do?

When you hire a licensed and bonded contractor, you have peace of mind knowing that your contractor will:

  • Have the necessary skill and equipment to get the job done.
  • Have the insurance coverage needed to protect you from liability.
  • Be accountable to you and their professional licensing organization to uphold high professional standards.
  • Understand how to manage permitting and project inspections.
  • Comply with local codes that ensure your project is completed properly and safely.
  • Be bonded, which financially protects you if the work isn’t completed properly or is executed poorly.

What Is the Purpose of a Contractor’s Bond?

Hiring a bonded, licensed contractor means the work your contractor will do for you is covered by a special type of insurance. This insurance is a financial guarantee that the work will be completed correctly. It guarantees that the contractor’s financial obligations will be met – like paying for supplies or subcontractors and covering damage caused by people working on your property. If the contractor does not fulfill the terms of their contracted work, the insurance company may find a new contractor to perform the work or may compensate you up to the bonded amount. 

When Is a Contractor’s License Required?

Depending on your state and municipality’s requirements, you may be required to hire a licensed tradesperson for your home renovation project. Requirements are organized around:

  • Project cost where labor and materials exceed a specific amount.
  • Type of skills required for the project, such as plumbing or electrical work.
  • The number of different trades required to complete the project.

Requirements vary by location. Always check your state and municipality website for licensure requirements before you start your project. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to ensure any renovation project is carried out lawfully.

In addition, if you don’t hire a licensed contractor and your state or municipality requires that you do, you may face legal trouble. 

The number of trades that states or municipalities may require to be licensed might surprise you. These can include contractors for:

  • Drywall
  • Electrical Work
  • Fencing
  • Flooring
  • Insulation
  • Landscaping
  • Masonry
  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Solar Installation
  • Swimming Pools
  • Water Conditioning

Is It Worth It to Hire a Licensed & Bonded Contractor?

A licensed contractor, and the specialized skills they bring, can make an essential difference in the quality of your completed renovation. Plus, they can save you time and ensure the work complies with important safety and regulatory requirements. Keep in mind that any time you hire an unlicensed contractor you increase your risk. That is particularly true in situations when:

  • Your state or municipality requires you to hire a licensed contractor.
  • You have no recourse when work is left incomplete or done wrong.
  • An unlicensed contractor’s work voids your homeowners insurance coverage.
  • You are liable to pay for their injury on the job or repairs for property damage caused by their negligence.
  • Their inexperience causes structural damage or puts your home’s integrity at risk.
  • The future sale of your home is impacted because work permits were not applied for and inspections were not done.
Parmesan Crusted Baked Fish

Parmesan Crusted Baked Fish

Ingredients

Broccoli Casserole

Directions​

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly butter a baking dish or individual grain dishes for the fillets.

In medium bowl, mix together the cheese, breadcrumbs, butter, mayonnaise, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.

Pat the fish fillets completely dry with paper towels (removing the moisture ensures they won’t get mushy while baking); season generously with salt and pepper. Arrange the fish in a lightly buttered baking dish or individual gratin dishes.

Spread about 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture over each fillet.

Place in preheated oven and bake until bubbly and almost cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Temperature should be approximately 125-130° when tested at thickest part of fillet with meat thermometer.

Move fillets to broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to brown and crisp the tops. When done, the fish should flake easily with a fork.

Remove from oven, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Peppers

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Peppers

Ingredients

Broccoli Casserole

Directions​

Preheat oven to 425°.

To prepare pork, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 3/8 teaspoon salt. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn pork over; cook 1 minute. Cover pan with foil; bake at 425° for 5 minutes. Remove and discard foil. Bake pork an additional 5 minutes or until a thermom­eter registers 145°. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes. Cut across the grain into slices.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, stock, cornstarch, and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add stock mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove sauce from pan; keep warm.

To prepare peppers, return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1 teaspoon thyme, garlic, anchovies, and bell peppers to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes, stirring frequently. Place pan in oven; bake at 425° for 5 minutes.

Arrange pork and bell pepper mixture on a platter; sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and parsley. Drizzle with sauce.

25 Common Insurance Terms and What They Mean

Every industry has its own unique language and terminology, and insurance is no exception! But whether you’re insuring a new car or settling into a new house, we believe in making the process as easy and stress-free as possible. That’s why we’ve created a guide to 25 commonly used insurance terms to help you navigate everything from deductibles to depreciation with ease.

Why Understanding Insurance Terminology is Important

You work hard to build your assets and want to know they are protected against anything that might take them away or do them harm. Should the unforeseen happen, you’d want to know exactly what needs to be done to get back to living your life to the fullest. The more you know about insurance and how it works, the better equipped you will be to work with your independent insurance agent and ensure your valuable assets are protected.

By identifying your liabilities and protecting you from loss, the right insurance coverage helps you maintain financial well-being and peace of mind. Ensuring your assets doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some common insurance terms to get you started:

Actual cash value

This term refers to the amount required to fix or replace your insured property, minus the depreciation of that property’s original value due to age or use. Actual cash value represents the amount you could expect to receive for the item if you sold it in its current condition before it was stolen or lost. It is in most cases less than full replacement cost value.

Actuary

A professional who measures risk and helps the insurance carrier design policies.

Additional insured

A person or business, other than the policyholder, who is covered by an insurance policy. However, the protection granted is often more limited than the policyholder’s protection.

Appraisal

The estimated value of a property, such as real estate or a business, as calculated by a property appraiser.

Claim

A request for payment of losses from an insurance company according to the terms of a policy.

Claimant

The person or entity filing a claim on an insurance policy.

Declarations page

A summary page of the important details of an insurance policy, including the policyholder’s information, the policy number, premiums, limits, coverages, dates of coverage and deductibles.

Deductible

The amount of money the policyholder must spend on a covered claim before the insurance company begins to contribute.

Depreciation

The amount of value an adjuster will decrease based on the type of property and pre-damage condition, age, and wear and tear.

Endorsement

An amendment to an insurance policy that updates the terms of coverage, either by adding, removing or changing coverage. This is also called a rider.

Exclusion

A provision within an insurance policy that eliminates policy coverage for a specific property, actions, locations or damage.

Grace period

The time period after the insurance policy premium due date, during which a policyholder can pay the premium without the cancellation of coverage.

Hazard

A hazard is any factor or condition that increases the chance of loss or accelerates damage.

Indemnification

A contractual agreement that requires the insurance company to compensate for damages or losses up to the covered amount.

Insurance rider

An amendment to an insurance policy that updates the terms of coverage, either by adding, removing or changing coverage. Another name for this is an endorsement.

Insured

The property, person or entity that is covered by insurance.

Insurer

The entity that agrees to pay compensation for damages or losses.

Lessee

The tenant who rents or leases a property from a lessor.

Liability

A legal term for the responsibility that creates risk.

Liability coverage

A standard component of many insurance policies that helps pay for damages or injuries sustained by others as a result of your liability, or an accident that happens on your property.

Loss of use

May refer to a body part that was permanently damaged or a home that is rendered temporarily uninhabitable. Loss of use coverage pays for certain costs incurred under these circumstances.

Med pay

Part of an auto insurance policy and also called “medical payments coverage.” This coverage can help pay medical expenses for you, any passengers, pedestrians or anyone else injured in an accident. It can also cover the insured’s injuries sustained as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.

Peril

A specific cause of property damage that results in financial loss. Perils can include storms, wind, fire, water and even theft.

Premium

The amount of money the insured pays monthly or annually for an insurance policy.

Underwriting

The process the insurance carrier goes through to determine the degree of risk, terms of coverage and premium to charge to write your insurance policy.

Insurance Terminology & Concepts Overview

Learning how these insurance terms and concepts work will give you a foundation for understanding your policy and coverage. Here’s an example to help you better understand these terms in context:

It is important to know that an actuary does the research to create insurance policies, while your independent insurance agent searches issuers to find the best coverage for you.

It all starts with indemnification, the basic premise behind insurance. The insurance carrier indemnifies you, the policyholder, with a promise to compensate you in the event of a loss. As part of the insurance contract, you agree to pay premiums, typically monthly or annual payments.

When you make a claim, you will pay the deductible on the policy first, and then the insurance company will pay for the damages based on a depreciated value of the property. The amount of the deductible usually has some effect on the premium totals. When you agree to a higher deductible, you could get a lower premium.

In the event you must make a claim on your insurance policy, the insurance company investigates the incident against the terms of the policy. The amount you receive to compensate you for damages is based on a depreciated value, what the property is worth now rather than when you first bought it, and the limits of the policy. In some situations, it is possible to get an insurance policy that pays out the replacement cost, rather than the depreciated value, of your property.

Classic Pasta Carbonara

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Whisk egg yolks, egg, Parmesan, and pecorino Romano together in a small bowl. Reserve at room temperature.

  • Cook pancetta in a skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve drippings.

  • Cook pasta in a pot to al dente according to package instruction. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Place a strainer in a large metal bowl. Pour pasta and remaining cooking water into strainer, letting strainer with pasta stand in water, and allowing the metal bowl to heat, about 1 minute. Remove strainer with pasta, and pour cooking water back into pot. Transfer pasta from strainer to the warm metal bowl.

  • Place metal bowl of pasta on top of pot to keep warm. Stir in egg and cheese mixture, and stir constantly, adding reserved cooking water, as needed, to create a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes. Drizzle in reserved drippings, and stir to combine. Divide pasta between 2 bowls. Top with black pepper and pancetta; garnish with cheese.

Escarole Soup