Use Another Brush

ENR's editorial, "The Insurance crisis May Have a Cleansing Effect," paints construction wrap-ups with a dirty brush in an insurance marketplace where these programs should be accepted as a fresh new coat of protection (ENR 2/4 p. 48.) Your statement that "there is no incentive for subs to work safe" is incorrect. All contractors enrolled into a wrap-up provide their federal identification number as part of their policy application process. Contractors' loss experience on a wrap-up is recorded under their FEID number, which factors into their EMR and ultimately affects the premiums they will pay in the future. In addition, the statement that "no carrier is going to provide affordable coverage for potential exposure from a completed job" is also incorrect. Typically wrap-ups are implemented with Completed Operations coverage for at least 36 months after final project completion.

The misunderstanding regarding wrap-ups is evident in the construction industry. Consolidated insurance programs, or wrap-ups, are an excellent means for owners and contractors to save a significant amount on insurance costs, especially in the current "hard" insurance market where contractor premiums are sky- rocketing. CIPs are also an invaluable risk management tool that focuses on safety and claims administration. Furthermore, safety and loss control become part of the project culture as representatives of the owner, insurance company and insurance broker all have reps on site to enforce safety guidelines and communicate best practices. Safety means more than words in a project safety manual. Wrap-ups help get that message across in this tight construction labor market.



Think Before Acting

I agree with your editorial, "Beware of Drawing Premature Conclusions," that there's chatter in the general media about buildings being designed to resist all forms of terrorist attack (ENR 12/10/01 p. 48).

Imposing extreme requirements on ordinary building design could turn out to be costly and wasteful and at the same time create a false sense of safety. Two historical precedents come to mind.

During the dark days of the Cold War backyard bomb shelters and public fallout shelters were all the rage. I doubt these did anything to advance the science and technology of building. They didn't make the public any safer, just a lot more nervous. And whatever happened to the millions of tons of food and supplies stacked away in those structures?

Then there was Y2K There was a real concern; people prepared for it and genuine technological advances probably resulted. But doomsayers in the media caused needless widespread fear and consequently the wasteful stockpiling of everything from water to guns and ammunition.

In the post-9/11 era we would be wise to step back and weigh the engineering and construction costs against political and social solutions to determine cost effective ways to protect the public health and safety. Some improvements in buildings may be required but the responsible media should be calling, as ENR is, to avoid the kind of panicky reactions that we experienced in previous crisis.