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Permit fees / Subscriber challenges and increased risks
August 31, 2019
Permit fees
            Today something new. I recently applied for a commercial  fire alarm permit in the Village of Patchogue NY. 5/30/19 the permit was granted 6/11/19. Expiration one year later. 06/11/20.
            A few days ago I applied for another commercial fire alarm permit in the same village. Just now I received the second permit and it was granted two days ago, but I could not pick it up until today due to their office hours.  I look at the permit and it expires 60 days later, meaning two days are already used, internal to the village. I questioned the fire inspector at the counter of the Village,  why so short?  His answer was “ you can always file for an extension at a reduced fee “.
            On the first job we have been waiting for the other trades to do work. Sheetrock, plumbers, electricians, etc. We have been finished with pre wire for the last 2 months
            This is just another way for the village in this case to generate more money.
            In my opinion something should be added to the standard fire alarm agreement to make it clear that the end user must be responsible for this new cost.
George E. Martin
            The All in One Agreements are very clear on this issue.  While you are responsible for obtaining all required permits, the subscriber is required to pay all fees in connection with those permits.
            You might want to be mindful of what is actually in the All in One agreements before presenting a proposal that contradicts or confuses the printed terms in the All in One.  For example, your proposal may say you are getting all permits and is silent on who is paying for those permits.  Since the printed form already addresses the issue there is no reason to include that in your proposal. Of course your proposal must state that it is subject to the Standard All in One which will be executed by the subscriber. 
Subscriber challenges and increased risks
            Today we received this letter from a long time client with multiple accounts who we want to keep. It rips apart the All in One contract to a degree but I am not an attorney and don't know how severe these changes are. Is there any help you can give me in deciding what to do here? 
            I am not sure if the insurance carrier is understanding the contract or just wants it all their way. This was the first contract I presented for them sign changing them all over to the new contract. I have at least 20 more to do for them. Please advise on your contracts and what they mean with regards to these paragraphs. You may use this in your newsletter with name and company withheld please. Thanks, 
            This subscriber sent the Commercial All in One to his insurance broker, who, predictably objected to the Indemnity Clause and Insurance Procurement Clause, as well as provisions exculpating or limiting the alarm company’s liability.
            What a surprise.  You should be mindful that the Standard Form Agreements are written for your protection.  The contract is relied upon by your central station, your subcontractors, third party vendors [other than and maybe others who insists on using its own terms] and your E&O insurance carrier.  Without contractual protection you are exposed to a claim, lawsuit and damages for every loss your subscriber suffers, no matter your blame.  Of course sometimes you have made errors.  In that case you need protection against the enormous damages that you have not been paid to assume responsibility for; you are not an insurance company and you don’t charge like one.
            There may be times, plenty of times that you have to modify your contract or abandon it entirely in order to get the work.  That is a business decision you are entitled to make, but you need to make it knowing your risks.  Is any one account really worth your entire company?  Literally, any security or fire alarm can expose you to claims well beyond your insurance coverage.  
            That’s not to suggest that changes can’t be made in the All in One; they can.  Changes should be made by me, not you.  The contract wording is quite precise and purposeful.  Changing a single word can cause an about face on any issue.  When considering increasing your risk be mindful of the others who rely on your contract; are they on board with your decision.  You think your central station who is getting $2.50 to $5.00 for the subscriber is willing to accept the increase in risk that you are?  You decide to accept the increased risk because you’re getting $30.00; OK, sometimes hundreds of dollars a month.  As you can see, your incentive to accept the risk is much greater than the central station’s risk.  

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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