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Alta Vista Insurance Agency

2585 Pio Pico Dr, Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA 92008

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USL&H Coverage for Workers Compensation

Does your businesses do construction or service work on or near navigable waterways?

If so, you need USL&H coverage on your workers compensation policy.  

USL&H stands for United State Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Which is a federal law requiring specific workers compensation coverage for employees working near, on and under navigable waterways. Navigable water ways are anywhere boats or ships travel.

Many businesses that have a standard Workers’ Compensation policy and THINK they have USL&H coverage (or worse, don’t even know that they need it).  Even some of the best insurance underwriters miss it!

Before I dive into the importance of having USL&H coverage, let’s define a few important terms.  The United States Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (USL&H) is a federal coverage that applies to maritime employees who work on or over navigable waters – in or adjacent to the United States (sailors, seamen, masters and crews of any ship/vessel/watercraft are exempt).

Navigable water is defined as water that provides a channel for commerce and transportation of people and goods.  Jurisdiction over navigable waters belongs to the federal government rather than states or municipalities, which is why USL&H is very different than Workers’ Compensation and not an automatic coverage.  There are only a handful carriers that can write USL&H coverage as an endorsement to the Workers’ Compensation policy, since it must be approved by the federal government. 

Workers’ Comp carriers that offer USL&H coverage as an endorsement will apply an additional percentage charge on top of the class code’s state rate.  It’s often twice the price since there are no set benefit schedules.  Every single claim goes to court with USL&H which is very expensive.

The “situs and status” test is your key to determining what jobs or tasks are eligible to receive USL&H coverage in the event of a claim.  Where is the work being done (is it on or near navigable waters) and what is the employee doing – you must qualify for both. 

If your business builds docks and files a claim on their Workers’ Comp policy and it is deemed the claim should have been covered under USL&H and there isn’t coverage, it does NOT fall to the standard Workers’ Comp policy – there is no coverage at all. What’s worse is that because there are no standard scheduled benefits with USL&H, the claims are much more expensive.

Here are some common jobs that require USL&H coverage:  dock builders, marine contractors, boat builders, bridge builders, freight handlers, vendors delivering products to cruise ships – just to name a few. 

Even if your business is working in/on two feet of navigable water (or less), they legally must have USL&H coverage. Failure to have coverage is against the law and carries serious fines.  If that isn’t enough to scare you, it poses a huge Errors & Omissions exposure for insurance agents.  Your client is counting on you to advise them on all coverages they need; but when your cabinet contractor failed to mention they occasionally go on boats to fix their cabinets, you are both exposed.

Alta Vista Insurance Agency is standing by to help.  When we say we are Workers’ Compensation experts, we mean it.  The second water comes up in conversation with your commercial clients, give Alta Vista Insurance a call.  We know the questions to ask and the coverage that is needed to properly protect you and your business.

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~Community Service Volunteer Project ~ and Morgan’s 50th Birthday December 2022!

We were at it again! Back to the North County San Diego Food Bank Vista branch location to volunteer as a group. Afterwards we took a little “R-&-R” at Belching Beaver PUB 980 – Where I highly recommend the BBQ chicken flat bread. Also, everyone really liked the “Nitro Stout Peanut Butter Ale,” Sounds Yummy!

From left to right: Jim & Tandy Owen, Holly Bishop, Nancy Trejo (Safec), Diane Nagle(Mercury), Morgan Hege, Beth Walls, and Raymond Lowder

Our Alta Vista Insurance Agency team were joined by Diane Nagle from Mercury Insurance and Nancy Trejo from Safeco. Two of our favorite carrier partners! It’s great to see the people behind the policies at our carrier relationships out in the community making a difference for the kids that need it. THANK YOU BOTH NANCY FROM SAFECO and DIANE FROM MERCURY!

In the 2 hours we were there, we were able to complete 477 bags to go out to various middle schools around North San Diego County for kids with food insecurity to be able to take home over the weekend when they don’t have access to free and reduced lunch service at their school. We were “Group 1” and completed 214 of the bags, and “Group 2” completed 263. But really the kids are the winners!

Did I mention it was also my 50th birthday? Thank you everyone on our team for the happy birthday wishes! You all make working together a lot of fun! I appreciate each and every one one of you!

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National Insurance Industry Council – Spirit of Life Honoree – City of Hope Gala 2022

City of Hope Gala – Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Paul Patterson along with Sandi Grigg from The Hartford Insurance invited my wife and I from Alta Vista Insurance along with our friends Brandon and Justina Strausbaugh from Pauma Valley Insurance to the 2022 City of Hope Gala.

National Insurance Industry Council | Spirit of Life Honoree | City of Hope

The Spirit of Life® Award is City of Hope’s most prestigious honor, presented to an esteemed community of industry leaders around the world who have made a significant commitment to support those in need. Honorees are selected for their notable contributions to the community in which they live and the profession in which they work. This year, the National Insurance Industry Council (NIIC) honors Joel Cavaness, President, Risk Placement Services.

We were able to “Rise our paddle” for Lung Cancer Research performed at City of Hope and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Truly a special evening, for a very special cause.

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Feeding School kids with the Food Bank North County Vista Branch!

We are back at it again!

Breaking the Rules! Beth Walls, Sandi Grigg, Vira Rodriguez, Jim Owen, Holly Bishop and Raymond Lowder fill over 500 meal bags! Recorded by Morgan Hege

Last Friday, September 9th, 2022 we shut down the office early at noon to go help our community by volunteering at the North County San Diego Food Bank again! We had a ton of fun back in June helping put together meals for those with food insecurity here in Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, that we decided to come back for round 2 and put together over 500 meals for students at risk from Valley Elementary in Poway and Cesar Chavez from San Diego Unified.

How was it George? He was perspiring, or as Geo likes to say; “perspering” The whole team with Vira Rodriguez, commercial lines account manager, Sandi GriggThe Hartford Insurance, and George Francis all were “perspiring” after assembling more than 500 meals for youth in our community. Holly Bishop didn’t want to be on camera! But here are are few video clips from our adventure!

Also, we got Natalie, our Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator to smile “ear to ear” in her own words with all the work we did to help feed our community in North San Diego County Food Bank! The schools we Valley Elementary in Poway, and Cesar Chavez for San Diego Unified School District. 300 and change, and we did two orders of 500 each (so 1,000 meals to food insecure kid-o’s here in our community) Watch the clip here.

Thank you to everyone that came out for the event. We will do something else fun and of service some time late in 2022. Until then, stay safe, stay well, and have a great fall season!

Pacific Plastics was also on scene to serve! We were excited to give back to the community with them too. If you need injection molding here in Vista, they are your ticket! Fun folks, that know how to work the line!

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Brunch with The Hartford at Beach Break Café

We were excited to take a little trip to Beach Break Cafe Where we had lunch with Sandi Grigg, our carrier partner representative from The Hartford Insurance. We met to break bread and discuss business!

The food is really good at Beach Break Cafe. The coffee cake is home made, and really a special treat, I highly recommend it with any breakfast or lunch menu item, or just with a good cup of coffee. The portions are too big, even for me. I’m 6’5″ and 280 pounds!

For breakfast, if you like mexican food, I like the Huevos Rancheros with corn tortillias or the Chili Verde burrito (with extra verde sauce on the side!) and you won’t be disappointed with true Cali-mex style San Diego beach food.

The Hartford insures restaurants like Beach Break, and has competitive rates for workers compensation, general liability (slip and fall), and commercial property for your businesses building.

Gary and Zell started Beach Break Cafe as a great local go to spot after surfing, fire fighting, or just a great place to meet with your friends and family down by the beach. The Beach Break is now in the 2nd generation of family ownership!

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Back in the day…

Back in the day, while taking an auto insurance application by phone, I asked a client if his wife was employed? He said no, and she said, ” YES I AM!” (this is dating myself, it was back when Roseanne Barr was doing her stand up.) The wife says, “I’m a DOMESTIC GODDESS!” We all laughed, and then she said. “Put that on the application.” So I did, marked her as employed, and moved on. I really didn’t think twice about it.

A few days later, an underwriting associate at the firm I was with came over to my section, and with their boss, and my boss, and my bosses boss and they kept looking at me while I was on another sales call. Finally my boss came over, and said to not take another call. Needless to say, I finished the call sweating bullets, wondering what could have happened that 1/2 the management team was in my section waiting for me?!

Turns out “Domestic Goddess” is not a job, and cannot go onto an auto insurance application.  Who knew?

EDIT: This was decades before Roseanne Barr was cancelled from ABC for being a racist.

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Alta Vista Agency Community Service Project – Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank

Hi Clients, Friends and Family!

I wanted to share with you the great group of people I am blessed to work with. Did you know the San Diego Food Bank also has a North County location? The North County location serves over 10,000 families facing hunger in Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos, Escondido, Carlsbad and through out San Diego in need monthly with quality meals. We were excited to help our community!

North County Food Bank volunteers Raymond Lowder, Mark Lamb, Beth Walls, Morgan Hege, Tandy Owen, George Francis, from Alta Vista with Nancy Trejo from Safeco/Liberty Mutual *Thanks to Jim Owen too, not shown he was taking this picture!*

Our agency had a great time and a lot of fun on our recent community service project! We were happy to volunteer over 32 hours of our time today to help a great cause here in our community. During that time we moved over a thousand pounds of plums into five pound bags for distribution to those in need.

Raymond Lowder, Morgan Hege, George Francis waiting to get to work!

If you haven’t volunteered with the North County Food Bank before, I highly recommend it. We excited to help the North County Food Bank by sorting fresh plums into five pound bags for distribution to the community in Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido and throughout San Diego. Here is a great video about the people in our community benefiting from this program.

In addition to that, the North County location also servers as the Diaper bank for San Diego. Many young working moms are in need of diapers to send with their kids to day care to be able to get back into the workforce to make a difference. We at Alta Vista were excited to donate dozens of diapers, as well as our time this week! With 3 kids of my own (thankfully all out of diapers!) I know how expensive it can be to have kids in day care and keep them fed and in diapers. Here is the link if you would like to donate to this valuable community resource.

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Vista Boys & Girls Club – Alta Vista Insurance Toy Drive December 2021

It was fun for everyone to support a local vista family in need for Christmas this year! For the past several years it’s been our pleasure to support a local family through the Vista Boy’s and Girls Club. We hope our our clients, friends and family enjoy this Christmas season. God Bless Us Everyone! ~ Morgan

Good morning! Boys and Girls Club Vista thanks you all for supporting a local family in need this Christmas!!! Here’s a couple of pictures of all of the presents you purchased in preparation for delivery at the office, and then as they were delivered to BGCV Although we aren’t able to see the family, I’m sure they will be ‘all smiles’ on Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!
at the Vista Boys and Girls club. I am so happy to work with you all on these fun projects. My 2022 resolution is to try to get together quarterly as a group like we did at Caio’s and to do a service project together with all of you like this next year. It doesn’t always have to be money. Hopefully we can volunteer time at the food bank, solutions for change, womens resource center, Vista Boys and Girls Club, or some of the other excellent community service organizations we are blessed to have here in San Diego that need our support.
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Vista Chamber of Commerce

During these difficult times, we are proud to sponsor our community and members of the local Vista Chamber of Commerce here in Vista.

With COVID-19, and the stay at home order, the Chamber is offering virtual coffee and conversation events.

Several of our agents have been Vista Chamber Ambassadors in the past, and as we start getting back to business, we look forward to supporting our community in this capacity again!

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Boys & Girls Club – Adopt A Family

Boys and Girsl Club Vista Adopt A Family!
Alta Vista Staff Adopt A Family For Christmas!

This year has been filled with many ups and downs and uncertainties. But one virtue has remained a beacon of hope, kindness. One simple gesture can change the course for any person. I’m overwhelmed and amazed at our support for such a great cause during this difficult time. Our agency staff rallied together to make a difference for a couple local families through our support of the Boys & Girls Club of Vista’s Adopt a Family Program! Santa delivered a sleigh filled with toys and presents today for the families to put a smile on everyone’s face during the holiday season. Thank you to my AVIA family for making a difference in someone’s life and creating positive change for our community.

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