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Customer Had A Fire - Now What? / System Description / Hazardous Conditions - January 7, 2017

CUSTOMER HAD A FIRE - NOW WHAT? 

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Ken
   We have a customer that just had a significant fire. Thankfully no one was hurt but significant property damage, likely in the millions. System appears to have performed. We received an alarm and the  FD was dispatched. Customer is requesting central station history and call list information. How should we proceed?
name withheld
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RESPONSE
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Step one.  Email your insurance company claims department that you have a potential claim.  Ask that they provide you with guidance now since the subscriber is requesting information.  Ask them to engage me [they might depending on which carrier and how demanding you and your broker are about it].

Step two.  If you notify only your broker instead of the carrier claims department then you have to get copy of written notice sent by your broker to the claims department of the carrier.  Notifying the broker does not satisfy the obligation to notify the carrier.

Step three.  Preserve all records for this subscriber.  That should include contracts, service records and central station activity reports.  Make sure you print out hard copies and retain the electronic copies as well.  Put in safe place because it could be while before you need these documents.

Step four.  Unless the carrier offers to provide immediate guidance and instruction otherwise, you can provide the subscriber with any records and documents that pertain to that subscriber.  You should not however provide any internal investigative reports or incident reports generated by you or the central station.  You should not offer any explanation of how the fire loss occurred.  
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SYSTEM DESCRIPTION - HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS FROM DECEMBER 16 AND 23, 2016 ARTICLES
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Ken
    This is how our agreement deals with System description.  Hopefully others can offer improvements on our wording.
    "SYSTEM_TYPES: Except as may be stated otherwise in Paragraph 3 herein, the entire System provided by Company pursuant to this Agreement and/or any prior agreement, including all equipment, devices, wire, material, software, programming, data-entry and all access permissions, and all signs and decals, are and shall remain the sole personal property of Company. Equipment provided by Company may be new, used or refurbished. Not all features of equipment and/or software are activated or supported. Systems and the monitoring thereof are intended to reduce, but not eliminate, certain risks of loss or harm, though Company does not guarantee that no loss or harm will occur.
    SECURITY: Security, Burglary and Outdoor Intrusion Systems and the monitoring thereof are not intended to protect against robbery, assault, personal injury or similar events.
    SUBSCRIBER PROVIDED: The System, in whole or in part may be comprised of or include connection to pre-existing or other devices, wiring, material and/or software which were not provided and installed by Company pursuant to this Agreement, or are not the property of Company, or which are provided and/or installed by Subscriber, and, for which, Subscriber shall additionally pay Company its then current charges for labor for any initial set up work in excess of 1 hour, plus materials, payable at time of service.
    LOCAL ONLY: The System is not monitored, and Company shall have no duty to provide any monitoring services.
    VIDEO/AUDIO: Company installed video devices and/or cameras will be installed in a permissible location(s) at the Premises to permit Subscriber viewing. Audio devices and/or microphones may also be installed. Laws govern the use of audio and video equipment, and Subscriber has been advised to use the System and Service lawfully. Except as necessary for performance of this Agreement, Company will not monitor for or view the video data. Subscriber shall provide any necessary lighting.
    EMERGENCY-CALL: Emergency-Call Systems may include robbery, panic, duress, medic and/or elevator devices.
    SAFETY: Safety Systems may include fire, smoke, heat, carbon monoxide (CO), water, waterflow, environmental condition, and/or other detectors and/or devices.."
    Here is how our Agreement addresses hazardous conditions:
    HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS: Subscriber shall notify Company in writing of any places where Company may not, for any reason such as structural integrity, cosmetic preference, concealed obstacles or presence of asbestos or other hazard, drill holes, open walls, and/or install equipment or wires. Subscriber assumes all costs, risk and liability, and will provide any required remediation, moisture barrier, insulation, fire blocking, caulking and/or repairs, arising from any such conditions, obstacles, hazards, holes, openings, and installation and/or removal of equipment or wires."
ANON
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RESPONSE - HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS
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    Thanks for sharing your contract provisions.  All of these issues are found in the Standard All in One agreements, though our wording is somewhat different.
    Your provisions however do not address the issue that was raised regarding system description.  In fact your provisions do not describe the system at all.  Your terms describe what the system is Not designed to do, but not what it's designed to do.  I am not suggesting that you need to explain what a burglar alarm system does, or what a fire alarm system does, as these descriptions may be implicit from the name of the system, but that is what the inquiry initially addressed as a concern.
    I like that you address hazardous conditions and it caused me to check our Standard Forms.  We do have a hazardous conditions provision in the Fire Protection All in One [and I believe it deals with the issue far better than your provision, including delay penalties to be paid by the subscriber and right to cancel by the Fire Protection company].  Even though hazarous conditions are less frequently encountered in alarm installations it doesn't hurt to add the provision, which we will add in the Residential All in One, Commercial All in One and the Fire All in One.
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