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comment on Is DIY a threat or opportunity / customer asks about indemnity clause
February 26, 2019
comment on Is DIY a threat or opportunity from February 15, 2019 article
            DIY systems are an embarrassment and threat to our industry. The general public has no business installing an alarm system unless they have been trained the proper way. These people get a system that says stick this door sensor on. So they stick it on and the gap is too wide, or the door is to sloppy and moves back and forth. All this then leads to a false alarm that generates the police and again, makes the alarm industry look bad.
            Or how about a motion detector? The instructions say mount it to the wall. The customer then screws it to the wall. Do they know not to point it at glass windows? No.  How about not aiming it heat vents in the ceiling? No.   Then bam...another false alarm.
            Then the next day it happens again and again creating more false alarms. Who do they call? hmmmm....think any service man is going to come out?
            DIY systems are not a threat to my business because I put in a quality system, done right. DIY systems are in the same market as all the other low quality alarm companies out there like especially the big one I am not going to name with 3 letters. This is what eventually will cause all law enforcement to stop responding, like they did years ago in Milwaukee because all of the cheap systems installed by all the so called "biggest" and so called "best alarm" companies around. Look where that got us.......
            Just sayin'........
            What can I say.  DIY isn't going away no matter how many false alarms it causes.  Continuing the car analogy, here is an interesting article on how some viewed the start of the car industry:
            You could have bought the first car for $1000.  The Nationwide DIY contract is a little more than that, but in retrospect you'll find it's a bargain.  Get it here:
customer asks about indemnity clause
            I'm dealing with, more or less, what your article on indemnification talks about.  My city building dept. is requiring a monitored fire alarm system for our apartment building.
            Every monitoring company I have contacted has these 3rd. party indemnity clauses that require me to indemnify them against any and all losses even when they are found to be negligent. Even grossly negligent by definition. (unless their employees are on the property at the time of 
the occurrence).
            This seems ludicrous to me, but I can't find a company in my area that's any different.  So is this just how it is?  
            If so, I guess I need to get higher liability limits to cover them, or am I just not finding the right company.
            I would greatly appreciate a comment from you, be it ever so short.
            I guess alarm customers read these articles too.  I am often mindful of that when I write the articles.
            I did respond to this customer.  I advised him that every legitimate alarm company is going to want the indemnity clause.  Here the customer is an apartment building owner, presumably with tenants.  Tenants raise the prospect of third party claims because the tenants are not parties to the alarm contract and yet may claim some right to benefit from the alarm services engaged by the landlord.  The alarm contract specifically provides that there are no third party beneficiaries of the alarm contract, but that doesn't always dissuade third party lawsuits, and some of them may have merit, despite the contract terms.  That's why the alarm contract requires indemnity from the customer.
            So, yes, Mr. Customer, this is the reality of the alarm industry, and rather than lament over this allocation of risk issue, the path of easiest resistance is to add the alarm company to the owner's liability insurance policy.  There may not even be a cost involved.  It's accomplished by adding the alarm company as an "additional insured".  Of course if the customer asks its broker or its carrier about it they will resist; tell the owner not to do it.  But that's not too much different that a car insurance company suggesting that the owner leave the car in the garage rather than drive it.  Why would a carrier not try to reduce its exposure by telling the building owner not to add the alarm company as an additional insured, don’t waive subrogation and don't indemnify?  
            This is all about allocation of risk and who is going to pay for insuring that risk.  The question is, why should the customer bear the risk and not the alarm company?  The answer is, because the customer is in the better position to know it's insurance needs and is, undoubtedly, already carrying the insurance.  If alarm companies accept additional risk, and obtain appropriate insurance to cover that risk, then it's really the insurance carriers for the alarm industry who are going to bear the risk.  They will naturally want to charge the alarm companies, their insureds, for that increased risk.
            What does this mean to you?  You want to carry all the insurance you need, but you also want to pay the least you can for it.  By reducing your risk you also reduce your insurance company's risk.  If you think your carrier expects to pay out on claims for you every year, or ever, think again.  You'll be paying significantly increased premiums or looking for a new carrier, or both.  Help your carrier; help yourself.  Use the Standard Form Agreements and modify them at your risk.  Don't do surgery on yourself and don't do contract modifications yourself.  That's what the Concierge Program is all about.  Take advantage of it.  Call our Program Coordinator today:  Stacy Spector, Esq. 516 747 6700 x 304


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
516 747 6700