Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance Winter 2019 - Page 6

TREE LIABILITY If A Tree Falls . . . BY ROBIN MANOUGIAN, VICE PRESIDENT, JOHN MANOUGIAN INSURANCE AGENCY, A DIVISION OF JGS INSURANCE N amed storms aside, seasonal storms can pack a wallop that can lead to not only damaged property but also discord among friends and neighbors if the handling of downed trees is not understood or done properly. This past summer’s storms resulted in a fair amount of damage in a number of areas across the country, and so it should come as no surprise that agents and carriers were besieged with calls about downed trees. But the financial question of whose responsibility it is to insure the losses and clean up the debris from uprooted trees and limbs is always a hot, if not perplexing, topic. The old saying goes, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It does. And the ruckus it causes is more than audible when the tree falls onto someone’s property, though bickering and a litany of frustrated questions are more likely the sound you’ll hear. 6