Page 19 - MS811 2022 issue 4
P. 19

It’s No Big Deal - What’s the Problem?
Let Me Count the Ways!
By Virginia Reams The Policy Center
The phone rang in a friend’s office – (he’s also an insurance agent!). “Can you email it to me?”, he asked the upset caller, “you have liability coverage.”
When the email arrived, it was the standard lawyer letter
– the kind we see all the time. “My firm has been retained by......” looking for property damages of $20,000 as well as upset and medical expenses of $50,000... “and it went on to describe the property damage of $20,000 for water that had entered the man’s home and who knows if there’s gonna be mold, etc.
“What are they talking about? We don’t know anyone by that name. We would have a record if there had been any damages to someone’s house – we never heard of anyone by that name”, said the insured contractor. “We aren’t even doing any work over there.”
The agent filed the claim with the insurance carrier. Soon thereafter, the customer called and remembered that one day a few months back, another contractor – doing some trenching work – discovered that his 811 ticket had closed. He only had a little more work to do
to finish the project, so he asked one of the insured’s guys if he could work under the insured’s open ticket. OK, the insured told the other contractor – “I won’t tell if you won’t” – he remembered joking with the other contractor. They had been friends for a long time, often doing favors for each other.
Now – BAM! – he’s looking at either paying for all those damages – which he couldn’t believe had been that high anyway (but there were invoices...) PLUS – those medical bills – or he could go on ahead
and let them sue him – OR turn in a claim to his agent and make his premium go up! And he didn’t even do anything! No matter which way he turned – it was gonna cost a lot of money. What he doesn’t yet know is it might get even worse!
It is against the law to operate under someone else’s ticket – were you aware of that? Flat, totally, no-two-ways-about-it against the law.
And if you break the law, the insurance company doesn’t have to represent you in a Court of Law, nor do they have to pay the claim! That’s one of the exclusions in any insurance policy (“Exclusions
“– meaning things that they won’t pay for. All policies have them – covers things like Nuclear War, Civil Commotion/Riot, now Viruses, and a bunch of other fairly obvious things, also including breaking the law!)
By letting the other contractor work under his ticket, he then became the (unpaid) General Contractor – even though the work being done by the contractor using his ticket had nothing to do with the work for which the ticket was set up for.
It doesn’t seem like a Big Deal – no one intends to have something
go wrong, of course. But allowing someone to work under your
ticket is something you just cannot do. You are breaking the law – accidentally – by doing a simple (seeming) favor for a friend so he doesn’t have to go through getting a whole new ticket – but come on – tickets last 14 days! He left that job to go finish up another then oops! his ticket closed. And now, it has become your problem – and why?
– doing a favor?
Never let someone work under your ticket! Worst case scenario – it’s possible (and maybe even likely) the Claims Department will say, “Sorry. Nothing we can do for you. You broke the law and now look.” The letter will be a lot longer than that – it will quote the law where it says you can’t allow another to use your ticket, etc. – but what it really says is:
“Too Bad Too Sad – you’re not covered”. Bottom line, don’t do it. Ever.
 2022, Issue 4 Mississippi 811 • 17

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