Professional Liability Insurance

Does your business counsel or provide advice to other businesses? If so, you’ll likely want to purchase professional liability insurance commonly known as errors and omissions insurance.

Professional liability insurance is a type of liability coverage designed to protect professionals including but not limited to:  accountants, attorneys, real estate brokers and consultants, against liability incurred as a result of errors and omissions in performing their professional services.

Some examples of what is covered under an E&O policy are:

  • Documentation errors
  • Verification mistakes
  • Failing to protect clients’ property or data and/or misusing it
  • Misrepresenting products or services
  • Violating legal or state laws
  • Breach of contracts, poor ethics, mistreating any aspect of the client or their business
  • Exposing proprietary or confident company information

Professional liability insurance will pay the cost of legal defense against claims and payment of judgments against you, up to the limit of the policy. In general, coverage does not extend to non-financial losses or losses caused by intentional or dishonest acts. Other fees, such as licensing board penalties, may also be included. Policies will generally have a deductible ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. The amount of professional liability insurance you will need and how much it will cost depends upon the size of your business and the level of risk it poses.

You may be able to include professional liability coverage in a Commercial Package Policy (CPP) as an endorsement. Note, however, the professional liability coverage is not included in an in-home business policy or Business Owners Policy (BOP).

Cleary Community Outreach

Presented by Michael Regan

Cleary Insurance is a member of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP), which is the national professional organization for agencies that have a specialty in surety bonding.  We take pride in reaching out to contractors who may need assistance when obtaining surety bonding. Small, emerging, disadvantaged, minority, women owned, and service disabled are examples of contractors that may need assistance.

As part of the outreach, Mike Regan has been a presenter for surety bonding on numerous occasions including for the US Department of Transportation, The US Small Business Administration and at numerous trade organizations. Most recently, Mike was a presenter at Suffolk Constructions “access to capital” session of their Trades Partnership Program.  This is a program they run for contractors who would qualify for one of the categories mentioned above and would like to do business with Suffolk Consruction.

The outreach is an annual eight week program and will include Mike’s return in 2017 as a presenter on surety bonding.

Click here to read the NASBP Pipeline article.

Effect of Interest Rates on Investing

Presented by Douglas W. Greene CFP® CLU®

As a result of the prolonged Federal Reserve’s involvement in stimulating the economy, interest rates are and have been at extreme lows. Over the course of the next five to ten years, the Fed is expected to pull back its control in a way which will allow rates to increase, having an inevitable effect on the markets as a whole.

As a result, portfolios heavy in bonds may experience poor performance in the market during periods of rising interest rates. When rates in the open market are offering higher credited rates to lenders, investors tend to sell their existing debt, resulting in falling prices. Longer term debt is particularly more sensitive to interest rate risk.

Likewise, rising rates can have a negative effect on the Consumer Cyclical sector, as the fact that the general public will tend to have less discretionary spending money due to more expensive borrowing and potential price hikes. However, investing in bank equities can be attractive in anticipation of these times, as they are able to finance out at more profitable margins.

Ice Dam Guide

What is an Ice Dam?

  • Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining off your roof.
  • Water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and cause damage.
  • Walls, insulation and ceilings are at the greatest risk for damage from an ice dam.

How to Prevent Ice Dams?

  • Proper insulation: Attic insulation should have an R value of 30.* Insulate around areas that may allow for heat to escape easily –
    lights, bathroom fans, sky lights, etc.
  • Proper Ventilation: Allow heat to escape in other ways than the roof. Investigate gable vents, ridge vents and soffit venting.
  • Installation of Roof Leak Barrier: A rubberized film that gets installed under roof shingles to block water from leaking into vulnerable areas.
  • Keep all drains, downspouts and scuppers free of debris.
  • Maintain trees and plants that grow near your roof to prevent accumulation that may clog or slow roof drainage.
  • Get an energy audit done of your home to identify potential areas of concern.
  • * R value is how well the material used to insulate can function at keeping the heat where it needs to be.  The higher the value the
    better the insulating power.

What Other Factors Contribute to Ice Damming?

  • Complex roof designs
  • Skylights
  • Dormers
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Periods of unoccupancy greater than 30 days

What to do if you have an Ice Dam?

  • Remove the first three to four feet of snow from the roofline with a roof rake or soft bristled broom.
  • Warning: Be extremely careful while removing snow from your roof.
  • Make sure the ladder is secure.
  • Beware of falling snow and ice as you clear the roof.
  • Consult with a roofing professional when dealing with snow removal.
  • If the home is too tall to reach the roof then hire a roofing professional to clear the snow.
  • Contact your Insurance agent as soon as possible.


Be sure to contact licensed professionals to assist with ice dam prevention techniques.

Click here to view more information on the MAPFRE website.

Trump Signs Executive Order on the ACA

On Jan. 20, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order addressing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as his first act as president. The order states that it is intended “to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the ACA until the law can be repealed and eventually replaced.

The executive order broadly directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies to waive, delay or grant exemptions from ACA requirements that may impose a financial burden.


An executive order is a broad policy directive that is used to establish how laws will be enforced by the administration. It does not include specific guidance regarding any particular ACA requirement or provision, and does not change any existing regulations.
As a result, the executive order’s specific impact will remain largely unclear until the new administration is fully in place and can begin implementing these changes.


President Trump’s executive order begins by emphasizing his administration’s long-stated goal of repealing the ACA. Pending these repeal efforts—which are already underway in Congress—the executive order is intended to:

  • Minimize the ACA’s unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens; and
  • Prepare to afford states more flexibility and control to create a free and open health care market.

Specifically, the executive order directs HHS and other federal agencies responsible for administering the ACA to “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to:

  • Waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay implementation of any ACA provision or requirement that would impose a fiscal burden on any state or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, families, health care providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of health care services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products or medications;
  • Provide greater flexibility to states and cooperate with them in implementing health care programs; and
  • Encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of health care services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.”

The executive order specifically states that it does not, itself, make changes to any existing regulations. To the extent that the executive order’s directives would require revision of regulations, that will be done by federal agencies through the normal regulatory process.

Impact on ACA Provisions

The executive order is very broad, and does not include any detailed guidance as to how it should be carried out. Instead, it gives federal agencies broad authority to eliminate or fail to enforce any number of ACA requirements, as permitted by law. As a result, until the new heads of federal agencies are in place, it is difficult to know how the ACA will be specifically impacted.

There is some indication that the executive order is partially aimed at eliminating or providing exemptions from the ACA’s individual and employer mandates, since those requirements impose tax penalties that may impose a “fiscal burden” on individuals and employers. In addition, it is clear that the executive order is intended to help accomplish an idea that has been long supported by President Trump, which is to allow health insurers to sell policies across state lines in an effort to increase free market competition.

However, the immediate impact of the executive order will likely be small, since it will take time to implement policies, regulations and other subregulatory guidance to carry out the directives. In addition, health insurance policies for 2017 are already in place, and state law, in many cases, prohibits significant changes from being made midyear.

No ACA provisions or requirements have been eliminated or delayed at this time as a result of President Trump’s actions. Therefore, employers should continue to prepare for upcoming requirements and deadlines to ensure full compliance.

New Stand-alone HRA Option Available for Eligible Small Employers

Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most stand-alone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)—an HRA that is not offered in conjunction with a group health plan—have been prohibited since 2014. However, on Dec. 13, 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act (Act) was signed into law, which allows small employers that do not maintain group health plans to establish stand-alone HRAs, effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

This new type of HRA is called a “qualified small employer HRA” (or QSEHRA). Like all HRAs, a QSEHRA must be funded solely by the employer. Employees cannot make their own contributions to an HRA, either directly or indirectly through salary reduction contributions. Specific requirements apply, including a maximum benefit limit and a notice requirement.

Who is eligible?
To be eligible to offer a QSEHRA, an employer must meet the following two requirements:

  1. The employer is not an applicable large employer (ALE) that is subject to the ACA’s employer shared responsibility rules.
  2. The employer does not maintain a group health plan for any of its employees.

What is the maximum benefit limit?
The maximum benefit available under the QSEHRA for any year cannot exceed $4,950 (or $10,000 for QSEHRAs that also reimburse medical expenses of the employee’s family members). These dollar amounts are subject to adjustment for inflation for years beginning after 2016. Additionally, the maximum dollar limits must be prorated for individuals who are not covered by the QSEHRA for the entire year.

What is the notice requirement?
An employer funding a QSEHRA for any year must provide a written notice to each eligible employee. This notice must be provided within 90 days of the beginning of the year. For employees who become eligible to participate in the QSEHRA during the year, the notice must be provided by the date on which the employee becomes eligible to participate.

Transition Relief Extension
The Act also extends the transition relief under IRS Notice 2015-17, so that it applies with respect to plan years beginning on or before Dec. 31, 2016.