KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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Insurance for alarm and fire suppression - hard to find / recommendations - where are the brokers? / removing old equipment and following code
June 10,  2017
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Insurance for alarm and fire suppression - hard to find
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Ken,
    We try to get comparable pricing each year on our insurance costs. The problem we find are carriers that insure for alarm related and sprinkler/suppression related. All the companies on The Alarm Exchange that we have contacted in the past have indicated they either don’t handle both, or only handle when alarm is the primary operation, most years our sprinkler is higher. Such was the case when we contacted SARRG. Another point is that for years the only carriers that we can get are your favorites, First Mercury, and Hartford. Any suggestions, or have a carrier/agent to point us to?
JH
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Ken,
    Do you have a recommendation for a provider of E & O insurance in Westchester, NY?   I'm having a hard time finding one
LV
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Response
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    For insurance I recommend checking with the brokers listed on The Alarm Exchange.  I know for sure they can place the alarm E&O.  They usually have their favorites.  I recommend checking premium, coverage and how they handle claims.  Here's a few questions you might want to ask the broker:  For the past year .....

    As far as fire suppression companies, that's an entirely different liability and coverage.  The brokers should however be able to place coverage, especially the larger agencies.  
    How about some of the brokers on The Alarm Exchange getting more involved - how about all of you.  Don't complain that you don't get leads from The Alarm Exchange when you don't want to participate on the forum.  
    Which one of you sells insurance for the fire suppression business?  Here's an easier one, how about alarm insurance in Westchester?
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removing old equipment and following code
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Ken;
     Did you ever read something in the newspaper, and the more you re-read it, the more upset you get?  In today's Star Ledger, in the Bamboozled section, there was a story about a Millburn, NJ resident who had an old alarm system that apparently was not functional and the alarm company wanted to "charge him for the repair."  (Who does repairs for free?  Unless he was paying for a service contract.)  He was just paying for monitoring.  Before I go any farther, let me tell you, there were several things in this article that pissed me off.  So the unhappy homeowner decides to contract ADT to sell him and install a new wireless system.  (So far I'm OK with that.)  But then the guy tries to sell his house, and the installers from ADT failed remove the old non functioning smoke detectors.  Consequently he failed inspection, and rightfully so.  The guy called ADT and they refused to come back to remove the old equipment.  This has been a sticking point for some time.  According to code, you remove any equipment or wiring that you have access to that will no longer be used.  I won't touch 110V.AC hardwired, interconnected detectors, as I'm not an electrician.  But the code does allow burg/fire contractors to add smoke detectors to an existing system, and would only need one detector per living level.  In this case, there was an old hard wired low voltage system that ADT just didn't bother to remove.  
      Here is where I started to get pissed off.  Bamboozled contacted David Kurasz of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.  They also contacted Richard Silvia who is the president of the NJ Fire Prevention and Protection Association.  Silvia is also a fire marshal in Bergen County.  Ultimately ADT refunded the homeowner over $700.00 that he had to spend to have the old system removed.  They called it a "token of good will."  I call BS on this, and they were looking to avoid getting fined.  Silvia went on to say that alarm installers, technicians and salesmen generally don't know the code.  That made my blood boil.  I'm sure there are some companies that don't know or follow code.  And I'm sure there are some fire officials who haven't updated their knowledge of the code since McColluh transmitters were still being used.  It's our damned job to know the fire codes.  This is life safety, we don't do this stuff for shits and giggles.  And what really pisses me off, is that many and I mean many of the fire sub code officials are old school and don't care what the new codes may say.  There was a bulletin issued by the NJ Division of Community Affairs in October, 2008 (Bulletin 08-01) that explicitly states low voltage smoke detectors may be used in place of 110V.AC interconnected smoke alarms.  Provided the system is supervised and monitored by an alarm monitoring company, and a testing and maintenance provision is in place.  I have had several fire marshals tell me over the years, they don't care what the DCA says about fire protection, they are requiring a 110V.AC interconnected smoke alarm system.  And I would probably be OK with that, but in the same bulletin and in other parts of the code, it states that if the residence needs to have more than 12 smoke alarms, then a low voltage system is necessary.  My argument has always been,  so if the house requires 15 smoke detectors, low voltage is required and it meets code, but on a smaller house the same low voltage system would be sub-standard?  Can anyone tell me where or how that makes sense?  Some time ago, I got sick and tired of arguing with the LAHJ's.  I said fine, let the electrician install the smoke alarms.  After they pass inspection, I'll come back and install my smoke detectors (one per living level.)  Maybe it's me, but this whole argument seem somewhat absurd? It just seemed to me that Mr. Silvia took an unnecessary swipe at the entire alarm industry.  And they wonder why we say the LAHJ doesn't always mean Local Authority Having Jurisdiction.  Emphasis on the A and H.
    As always,
John from New Jersey
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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