August 08, 2017

Employee Feature: Patty Tedesco
& How She is Helping Businesses with Uninsured Subcontractors

Patty joined Brooks, Todd & McNeil in 2002 and is an integral part of our Commercial Lines Service Team. She has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry.

Patty is actively involved in helping our troops. Two of her immediate family members have been active duty for over twelve years. With the help of Brooks, Todd & McNeil, especially her colleague, Jeanette Cattey, Patty often organizes care packages that are sent to our men and women serving overseas.

Read Patty’s interview below to learn more about our dynamic team member and what issue she is currently helping many of her clients navigate.

What is an average day like for you at Brooks, Todd & McNeil?

I spend a good amount of my day handling clients’ questions or concerns through phone calls or emails. My job entails being an advocate for clients with the insurance carriers, processing certificates of insurance, renewals, endorsements, and new business. I also assist clients needing help with billing issues.

What is one of the most pressing issues currently facing your clients?

I am currently helping many clients with an issue regarding uninsured subcontractors and how they affect their Workers Compensation audits. This is often an area of confusion for contractors. For tax purposes, a 1099 subcontractor is not considered an “employee”, but Workers Compensation Law has a different and broader definition of “employee” than tax law. Subcontractors are nearly always considered “employees” under Workers Compensation Law. When the Insurance Company does an audit of the client’s payroll, if their subcontractor does not have their own Workers Compensation policy, our client will be charged for coverage provided to the subcontractor, which the Insurance Carrier is required to provide per law (unless the subcontractor has evidence that they have their own coverage).

How do you help them with this issue?

We advise our clients to require that all their subcontractors provide Certificates of Insurance outlining their General Liability and Workers Compensation coverage prior to working for our client. If the subcontractor does not have Workers Compensation coverage, then our client will be responsible for any injury claim that the uninsured subcontractor may have while working for them. We also advise that if their subcontractor does not have their own Workers Compensation coverage, the amount paid to that subcontractor will be included in the calculation of their own Workers Compensation premium. Therefore, if the client would like to use a subcontractor who does not carry their own policy, our client should take this payroll amount into consideration when estimating their payroll projections at the beginning of the policy period.

How do you, as an independent agent, provide assistance to your clients in a way that is unique from an insurance company?

As agents, we have a “one on one” relationship with our clients. Our clients know they can contact me and I will be there to help them as their advocate with the carriers.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Building relationships with our clients. I have worked with some of my clients for over 10 years. They know they can contact me and I will be there for them.

Is there a specific time you can recall when you were able to go above and beyond to help someone with their insurance needs?

A client had a closing on commercial property in another state. The attorneys involved in the closing kept making changes to the insurance requirements up to and including the day of the closing. I was able to revise the insurance documentation needed several times in a timely manner that did not hold up the closing. Our client was very appreciative of my quick response to their changing needs. It reinforced the importance of a strong client-agent relationship, which can help avoid long and unnecessary hurdles.

What is the most useful piece of information (or your best insurance tip) you have learned since working in insurance that you like to share with others?

One of the most important tips I have is to always obtain a Certificate of Insurance from your subcontractors outlining their General Liability and Workers Compensation coverages, prior to the subcontractor working for you. It is a simple, yet often forgotten step that could save your business a lot of time and money.