Page 19 - Alabama 811 Magazine
P. 19

  Webster (or Wikipedia!) says “to find the exact place or position of”
For our purposes, we’re talking about finding the “exact place or position of” all those utility lines underground – water, sewer, gas, oil, cable, telephone because someone needs to dig where they probably are.
Are they 18” down or are they 15’ down? Today’s technology, such as tracer wire, makes it pretty simple
to locate recently installed lines that aren’t too deep, but what about lines that have been in the ground 40-50 years or longer? These are the lines no one expects to be where they turn up – between road scraping, abandoned roads, ground shifting, frost heaves, floods – they’re not where they were put, even if you had a good way to
tell where they were put! So lives and property are at risk if someone needs to dig. Those vacuum excavation trucks that can bore down 20’ or so can now locate lines long forgotten – but active.
Each utility is responsible for locating its own lines once a call comes in to 811– and the insurance industry takes this into consideration when setting rates. Pipelines themselves cannot
be insured – but damage caused by these lines IS covered under General Liability. If any of your lines leak, you’re liable. Doesn’t matter whether the line isn’t where it used to be, or even if it is where it’s supposed to be– if it leaks, it will cause damage and you will be held legally liable. If you cut through it, you’re liable, no question.
From an insurance standpoint, General Liability is the line of coverage that will be likeliest to come into play for utilities –and the locating company is absolutely key to preventing damage.
If the gas line is hit, or leaks, the newspapers will be telling us about
By Virginia Reames, Agent
The Policy Center - Jackson, MS
it. Cable and phone companies’
lines, obviously, can’t leak but their contractors can accidentally do some serious damage to other utilities’ lines.
If the contractor either doesn’t have, or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the repair of the damages, the utility that hired that contractor will be the one to pay– because that contractor is acting on the utility’s behalf. Whenever you use a contractor, be sure your company is added to that contractor’s policy as Additional Insured – and have the certificate sent directly to you from the contractor’s agent. Just because a contractor has a certificate that says “Proof of Insurance” – it doesn’t mean the coverage is still in force. Yes, it happens more often than we’d like to think.
Contractors – get ahead of the curve – go ahead and add that utility you are doing work for. Many companies that offer coverage for contractors these days have what’s known as “Blanket Additional Insureds By Contract”
– and while you’re at it, check and
see if your insurance carrier has
or can/will add “Primary and Non- Contributory” coverage. Many utilities now require this by contract, but even if the companies you work for haven’t required it, they soon will, so go ahead and get this coverage. Unless you have a bad claims record, you can easily
get with a company that offers these coverages – just ask your agent. (It’s a lot cheaper to get a policy with these coverages built-in, than add them by endorsement.)
Before you dig – even after all the utilities have had their lines marked – please stay at least 18” on either side of the marks. Your life could just depend on it!
2023, Issue 2 Alabama 811 • 17

   17   18   19   20   21