Your Company Got Sued. Now What?

A lawsuit can happen at any time. This is a small business owner’s nightmare. Somebody walks into your business and hands legal papers that say you are being sued. Umbrella insurance coverage provides some protection for these events. The agents at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL can give some sound advice about how umbrella insurance coverage provides necessary protection from such surprising legal troubles.

One of the reasons this is a big concern for any business owner is because a lawsuit might arise due to no fault of the business. An example of this is some defect in products that are being sold, which is caused by the manufacturer. Even if the problem is with the product and its manufacturing process, the business selling it will also usually be named in a lawsuit if someone is harmed.

Some lawsuits are frivolous and have no merit at all. They are just based on made up excuses to try to extort money from a business owner. Even in the case of a frivolous lawsuit there may be legal fees to pay just to defend against it.

Another common thing that can cause a lawsuit for a business is something done by an employee. This could be a simple mistake or serious misconduct. Employee conduct can cause liabilities for the business owner.

Umbrella insurance coverage adds coverage that is above the limits of other policies and also can cover some things as primary insurance that is not covered in any other insurance policy. It is a good idea to talk over the specifics of your business operations with your insurance agent to better understand the risks and what can be covered by umbrella insurance.

Contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL and the surrounding area to get a quote for umbrella insurance and to understand more about why this coverage is now very important for any business.

Is Umbrella Insurance Right For Me?


The majority of people believe that umbrella insurance is something that rich people need and that they will have no use for. However, there are many people who can benefit from an umbrella insurance policy. As you purchase more assets and have more earning power, you also increase the amount of assets you have at risk. If your basic auto and homeowners insurance policies are not enough to cover your assets, then it may be time to consider an umbrella insurance policy.

With both homeowners insurance and auto insurance, there is a minimum to purchase and there is a maximum that you can purchase. If you have maxed out your coverage through your traditional policies, you are not out of luck. You simply need to purchase excess liability which would cover anything above your traditional policy. This is referred to as an umbrella policy.

An umbrella insurance policy will not just cover your home or vehicle, though. It can cover all of your assets including your retirement fund. In addition to that protection, it offers protection against non-work related cases of personal injury including libel, slander, false arrest, and wrongful eviction. It can cover your legal costs for a covered loss. It also covers you worldwide and not just here in the United States or in a specific state.

You can purchase an umbrella policy ranging from $1 million to $5 million. With such large amounts of coverage, it is the ideal insurance policy to supplement existing policies when you have a lot of assets to protect. While it is not right for everyone, if you have a lot to protect, you may want to consider it.

For more information about an umbrella insurance policy or to get a quote for one, contact us today at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.   239-265-9577

Umbrella Liability Claim Scenario # 5….This could be You.

Motorcycle accident

The 56-year-old insured pulled forward out of her driveway, making a left turn into the path of a motorcycle, which was coming out of a curve. The operator of the motorcycle applied his brakes and “laid it down,” but struck the quarter panel of the insured’s vehicle.

The insured was cited for traffic violations. The motorcycle passenger (wife of the motorcycle operator), died at the scene. She is survived by her husband, four children (ages 7 to 15), her parents, grandparents and several siblings. The motorcycle operator suffered a fractured finger and abrasions and had a valid “bystander’s claim” under state law.

The Personal Umbrella Policy contributed $640,000, above the primary policies.  This is areal life claim situation.  Remember Liability Insurance is really about Wealth Protection.

Do not let something like this happen to you.  Call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for an Umbrella proposal.  

Accidents happen….Real Life Claims….The Need for Umbrella Liability Coverage

boating with kids

Accidents are why people have homeowners and auto insurance, but often claims can exceed the coverage limits of these policies. So if you aren’t protected by a Personal Umbrella Policy, you could be putting your house and financial assets at risk.

One of the best ways to understand the need for a personal umbrella is to review actual claims examples. It is very clear that an incident arising from just normal daily activities can expose all of us to the potential for a large claims law suit.

Boating fun quickly turns serious**

The claim arises out of a boating accident. The policyholders are the owners of a speedboat, which is considered a “family” boat and made available to other members of the family for recreational use.

Several family members were camping at a lake near the policyholders’ residence. One of the policyholders allowed them to use the boat during their stay. The policyholders’ 15-year-old grandson was allowed to take three other family members (all minors) out on the lake to go tubing. The 10-year-old claimant had just finished tubing. The tube and tow rope were placed in the stern of the boat and the claimant was sitting next to them.

The conditions on the lake suddenly became very choppy and windy. The claimant was ejected from the rear of the boat along with the tube and the tow rope. The tow rope wrapped around the claimant’s neck, causing a significant injury.

The occupants of the boat recovered the claimant and headed for the dock, flagging down the sheriff’s patrol boat on the way. The claimant lost consciousness and the deputy had to administer CPR several times. She was airlifted to the hospital.

The claimant suffered an injury to her neck, trachea, esophagus as well as a fracture of the second cervical vertebrae. She was on a ventilator for 96 hours and in ICU for almost one month. Later, she developed serious complications to her pancreas, colon and gall bladder and suffers from ongoing extreme hoarseness with continued troubles with her breathing.

The RLI Personal Umbrella Policy contributed $700,000 on top of the primary coverage limits of $300,000.

A real life claim as related by RLI Insurance on their website**

Call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for a premium proposal for an Umbrella Liability Policy.



Umbrella or Excess Liability 101


What is Excess Liability or Umbrella Liability Coverage ?

Available in amounts ranging from one to five million dollars, excess liability coverage increases your personal liability limits by adding protection to your current auto, boat or homeowners policies. Also, if something is not covered in your homeowners policy (like libel), and it’s not specifically excluded in the excess liability policy, you’re covered.

Coverage provided

Excess liability coverage provides:

  • Protection for covered claims by others for personal injury or property damage caused by you, members of your family/household, or hazards on your property for which you are legally liable
  • Personal liability coverage for occurrences on or off your premises
  • An additional layer of protection above your primary auto policy against auto-related liabilities
  • Protection against non-business related personal injury liabilities such as slander, libel, wrongful eviction or false arrest
  • Legal defense costs for a covered loss. Lawyer fees and associated court costs are covered
  • Worldwide coverage- no matter where you go, with the only exception being situations involving foreign ownership of dwellings or cars

How it works

Depending on the type of accident, your homeowners, auto or boat policy liability limits are used up first, then the excess liability policy covers all remaining costs (up to the amounts of coverage you purchased). For example, if your neighbor dove into your swimming pool and broke his neck, your homeowners liability coverage would pay for the first $100,000 in damages. Your excess liability policy would cover the rest (including associated legal fees) up to the one million dollar policy amount that you had purchased.

Most companies require that you carry certain limits on your primary insurance policies (homeowners, auto and boat) in order to receive excess liability coverage. For example, a company may require the following primary liability limits: $100,000 for homeowners, $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident for auto and $300,000 for boat/yacht coverage.

Some definitions

Insurance products tend to get loaded down with legal-sounding jargon, especially a product that specifically deals with circumstances for which you are legally responsible. Therefore, a few common definitions might help clear up any confusion:

Personal Liability:

Coverage for damages that you are legally liable (responsible) for. This includes incidents occurring at your home and/or caused by you, residents of your household or your pets. Here are some common examples: your dog bites someone, a guest falls down your front steps, your teenage son rough-houses with his buddy and accidentally breaks that friend’s leg!

Personal Injury:

This all-inclusive definition covers many predicaments. Personal injury can take many forms, including: bodily injury, shock, emotional distress, mental anguish, sickness or disease, or death arising from any of the above. Personal injury also means false arrest, detention or imprisonment, malicious prosecution, wrongful entry or eviction, humiliation, libel or slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy.

Property Damage:

Accidental damage to the property of others caused by you, residents of your household, or your pets.


Often, insurance policies are defined not by what they cover, but by what they don’t. This is especially true for excess liability products. If something is not specifically excluded, you’re covered. Exclusions vary widely by company. Here are some common exclusions:

  • damages expected or intended by insured.
  • damages arising out of business or professional pursuits.
  • liability assumed under contract or agreement.
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of aircraft.
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance or use of non-traditional watercraft such as jet skis, air boats or air cushions.
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance or use of most recreational vehicles. Only snowmobiles and golf carts are covered.
  • damages to property you take care of, own or use.
  • damages covered under a Workman’s Compensation policy.
  • liability arising out of war or insurrection.

Speak with an independent insurance agent at SWFL Insurance Agency, inc. to determine your specific risk factors and learn more about how to protect your current and future assets. We have Umbrella liability Policies starting at $ 250. Annually. Call us at 239-265-9577 or Email

Umbrella Liability Claims Scenario #4…….More Scary Stuff

The Claimant and Insured have been longtime friends, live on the same street, and the Claimant had been to the Insured’s home on many occasions. The Insured lives in a home with a brick patio which had been constructed in the 1960s. Bricks were replaced one year before the incident. An area of the patio is bordered by an 18 inch retaining wall with a flower bed between the wall and the brick patio.

The Insured, Claimant, and another Friend met at a club, had a few drinks, and all returned to the Insured’s home where they sat on the patio in lawn chairs and continued drinking. At approximately 11:00 PM, the Insured went inside to the kitchen. The Friend also entered the house to call a cab.

When the Friend went back outside, the Claimant was no longer on the patio. He found the Claimant unconscious on the ground on the other side of the patio retaining wall. The Claimant remembers falling, but does not remember how it happened.

According to the Insured, on other occasions when the Claimant had been at the home, a patio table was in front of the retaining wall. The table had been removed, exposing an area of the wall.  The Claimant, age 56, sustained a spinal cord injury which rendered him an incomplete quadriplegic. He underwent surgery and was on a feeding tube for several months. He was able to return home 6 months after the incident, but continues to suffer partial paralysis of his arms and legs. He uses an electric wheelchair to get around his house and requires assistance with some activities of  daily living.

The Claimant owned his own business and was married 1 month before the incident. His wife now cares for him at home. The settlement to the Claimant exhausted the underlying coverage limits and paymentwas made under the personal umbrella.


Umbrella Liability Claim Scenario # 3…..More Scary Stuff

Claimant, age 2, was on the Insured’s property with his grandparents who were there to care for 2 horses owned by the Insured. The Insured were out of town on vacation. The Claimant was kicked by one of the horses, taken to the emergency room, and then life flighted to a larger hospital.

The Claimant was given a 5% chance of survival and underwent surgery for a cracked skull (a piece of which was missing) with 30% damage to the right side of his brain. He survived and is residing in a neighboring state at a rehabilitation center. A large payment was  made under the personal umbrella policy.


Umbrella Liability Claims Scenario # 2…More Scary Stuff

The Insured’s 18 year old son was driving the Insured’s car on a short trip to the store with his girlfriend, the Claimant. The car left the roadway and struck a tree. The Insured’s son told the police that a vehicle cut him off, but there were no witnesses and no evidence of any impact with another car. The Claimant has no recollection of the accident.

The Claimant, a 19 year old college student, was hospitalized for over a month with multiple fractures and internal injuries. She was in a wheelchair but is now able to walk with crutches and continues with physical therapy. She has a right drop foot as a result of the injuries.

The Insured’s personal auto bodily injury limit and the personal umbrella policy limit was paid.


How Much Umbrella Insurance Should I Carry?

When choosing your coverage limits, consider three things:

The risks you may face. Consider your risk exposures as a homeowner, condo owner or renter such as swimming pool, sport activities, scooters, bicycles, golf carts, property you own and its features, etc. The risk of causing an auto accident during your work commute, and any potentially dangerous activities you participate in that could put those around you at risk of bodily injury or property damage.

The value of your assets. These include real properties, possessions, stocks, bonds, savings and retirement funds. The more assets you have to protect, the higher the umbrella policy limit you should consider.

The potential loss of future income. Because liability lawsuits can result in loss of both current assets and future income, even those with few assets to protect may want to consider the long-term ramifications of a serious claim.

When you review your future income, consider your earning potential. You may not have many assets now, but if you’re on track for a high paying career, you could be involved in a lawsuit that can target money you haven’t earned yet.

Speak with an independent insurance agent at SWFL Insurance Agency, inc. to determine your specific risk factors and learn more about how to protect your current and future assets. We have Umbrella liability Policies starting at $ 250. Annually. Call us at 239-265-9577.


Umbrella Liability Claim Scenario 1….Scary Stuff

A Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP) is a necessary addition to insurance protection for most insureds. Are you aware of the importance

of this valuable coverage? One of the best ways to understand the need for a personal umbrella is to review actual claims examples. It

is very clear that an incident arising from just normal daily activities can expose all of us to the potential for a large claims suit.

Listed below are actual RLI PUP claims. These claims show the very real consequences of situations that quickly exhaust underlying

liability limits and threaten the net worth of the people involved.


The Insured hosted a party at his home. Among the guests was the Claimant, a family friend who was also the Insured’s

financial advisor. The Claimant brought his wife, infant, and 2 year old child to the party.  The Insured gave the Claimant a jug of spring

water for him to use to mix formula for the infant. The 2 year old child also had a drink.

Shortly thereafter, the children became ill.  The family left the party, and then took the children to the hospital. The hospital

requested the water jug which was found to contain arsenic. An old label was found wrapped around the handle with the word

“weed killer” printed on it. The Insured had apparently mixed a solution of weed killer in a jug similar to the ones used for spring water

and mistakenly given it to the Claimant. The infant died and the 2 year child survived after being in critical condition. The Personal

Umbrella policy limits were paid out.