Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 01-09-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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4 PAWTUCKET JANUARY 9-15, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION There aren't enough plow drivers to go around for the winter of 2018- 2019, and the blame is being placed squarely on skyrocketing insurance rates brought about due to excessive claims of slip-and-fall injuries. Contractors, especially the inde- pendent ones with a plow truck or two, are finding it both difficult and expensive to acquire insurance to work. This insurance, called "com- pleted operations coverage" insur- ance, is beyond the regular business auto insurance to cover damage while a plow is on site, instead covering the costs if someone falls and claims an injury after the work is done. John Cote, of JB Cote Construction in Lincoln and a Woonsocket native, said insurance has gotten so expen- sive that he's given up one of his largest accounts at Stop & Shop in Bellingham, Mass. "It's just too easy for people to sue you, and people have no common sense, so you're at fault," he said. This is already a tough business to be in due to the fact that one can't count on the snow even coming, said Cote, who owns three plows and a backhoe. Brian Hunter, of Hunter Insurance in Lincoln, told The Breeze that nearly all insurance companies have pulled out of selling what's called "com- pleted operations coverage" for when someone slips and falls and claims the surface wasn't treated correctly. "It can get to be really expensive," he said. Motorists are prob- ably noticing a prolif- eration of signs along roadways advertising calls for plow opera- tors, said Hunter. That's because many plow owners are realizing the cost is just too great given the risk of losing all that money and are getting out of the business. "It's a problem," Hunter said. "It's getting awful." Just as a lot of snow can bring a boom year for a plow driver, a year of little snow is more of a bust than ever, as insurance professionals say there is no refund on an expensive policy if the white stuff fails to fall. The only drivers who are "kind of off the hook" here, said Hunter, are landscapers, as their existing insur- ance policies will allow them to do private driveways. Municipal or state work is getting very expensive, said Hunter, and many companies are getting out of it. "It wasn't a big issue until all the companies started deciding they didn't want to insure all the plow operators," he said. Lisa Hunter, also of Hunter Insurance, said many insurance com- panies started pulling out of such cov- erage last year. The cheapest listed price for the insurance is $2,500, she said, "but I haven't seen anything come through that low" in some time. Instead, she said, the cost just for the completed operations coverage came in at $15,000 for one policy, and that was just to plow one 200- unit condo complex. She was able to get it down to $8,000 by going to another market, she said, but that cost plus $5,000 for general insurance still means a total bill of $13,000 for the year. Anything related to multi-family housing is leading insurance compa- nies to seek more, she said. Brian Hunter said Progressive is one of very few companies still insur- ing commercial vehicles used for plowing under a business auto policy. Progressive does not offer completed operations coverage, he said. This is a separate policy from another insur- ance company. Hunter said he believes the increase in slip-and-fall claims (The Breeze wasn't able to find specific data) is due to heavy advertising by attorneys who specialize in promoting injuries as a way of winning money. There's more of that kind of marketing, he said, making society more conscious Plow drivers increasingly scarce as insurance costs climb By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com JOHN COTE, of JB Cote Construction, says it's simply become too expensive to pay the insurance for some large commercial lots. HUNTER See PLOW DRIVERS, Page 12 CITY OF PAWTUCKET TAXES THIRD Quarterly Payment of Real Estate, Tangible & Motor Vehicle Taxes are due JANUARY 15, 2019 Taxes unpaid after the due date will be subject to a (13%) thirteen percent penalty Don't have your account information? Email us: taxinfo@pawtucketri.com. FAILURE TO RECEIVE A TAX BILL DOES NOT EXCUSE ANYONE FROM PAYING TAXES AND ANY INTEREST PENALTY Send your payment NOW or Pay Online CITY OF PAWTUCKET- COLLECTIONS 137 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860 Or to the P.O. Box indicated on your Bill FINANCE DIRECTOR TREASURER JOANNA L'HEUREUX SHAUN STROBEL www.pawtucketri.com ACROSS 1. Homestead 5. More (Spanish) 8. Type of notification 12. Approves 14. Mandela's party 15. "Mom" actress Faris 16. Predatory insects 18. Where honey goes 19. Canadian flyers 20. Of an earlier time 21. Indigenous peo- ple of Australia 22. Organize 23. All over 26. Made it through 30. Between-meals food 31. A quantity upon which an opera- tion is performed 32. German mytho- logical god 33. "Heavy" type of rock music 34. Pharmacy chain Duane __ 39. First responders 42. Mysterious 44. Leisurely stroll 46. Most naughty 47. Plant tissue 49. Small fish 50. Men's fashion accessory 51. Distant planet 56. Destroy 57. Location in Norse mythology 58. One who is delib- erately cruel 59. __ Romeo, car 60. Of the ear 61. Former name of Tokyo 62. Male children 63. French/Belgian river 64. Tide DOWN 1. Grave 2. Alright 3. Sharp tooth 4. Bird genus 5. Important 6. One who studies carefully 7. Not very big 8. Astronomy unit 9. A way to open up 10. Trap 11. Handle of a knife 13. Indicates one from a part of W. Africa 17. Lucky number 24. Doctor of Edu- cation 25. Legendary Cubs broadcaster 26. Female parent 27. Mimic 28. Connects to the rim 29. Small constel- lation 35. Indicates near 36. Consumed 37. Criticize 38. Shock therapy 40. Type of cigarette 41. The fashionable elite 42. Shed tears 43. Arm or branch of a bone 44. Quell anger 45. Where rock and rollers play 47. "The Alchemist" author Coelho 48. Choppers 49. Lacks brightness 52. Port in Yemen 53. Brood of pheas- ant 54. Approves food 55. A type of sign Answers to this week's crossword puzzle can be found on page 16. Do you know someone celebrating a February Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for FEBRUARY will be printed on January 31, 2019. Forms should be re- ceived by The Valley Breeze by Friday, January 25, 2019. Send in the name of someone with his or her February birth date and $2 per edition and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2)

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