question about VOIP and liability

I am wondering if anyone has actually talked with your liability insurance
underwriters about the pros and cons with this VOIP and security
communications issues. I know all of the techy types drewl all over new
technologies and how cool it is and how we can make it work and all that.
Hell, give us enough parts and we'll build a helicopter out in the parking
lot. I know there are waivers and disclaimers being presented, signed etc.
That is a step towards defending your company and you if your corporate vail
can't be broken, ha ha. :o[ Even those written by attorneys aren't worth
the paper they are written on in a high profile personal injury case when
the company knowingly hooks up to something known to be unreliable and
thinks it is ok because we stuck something in the customers face and had
them sign it. The industry somehow needs to bring together the powers to be,
manufacturers, insurance and attorneys, ANSI, approval labortories, internet
providers, the bells, cable providers, etc. and come to some conclusions
about this soon. Why is the industry letting this technology speed pass
without getting on board? Do we really think waivers are all that is
necessary? I know this is wishful thinking, however, I feel that every time
someone connects to this technology, right now, is simply another nail in
their company's coffin. Have a serious talk with your insurance company
and/or the homeowners insurance company or the insurance company that is
carrying a multi million dollar policy on inventory for your customer about
the pro's and con's of connecting to this new technology and see if they
will bless it. Chances are it won't be a problem as long as there are alot
more dollars spent on additional coverage by you and your customer. At this
time that is just an assumption but I would be interested to hear the
outcome of your conversations with your attorneys and insurance companies
about this issue since I am more interested in protecting what I have over
putting on that one account that is questionable.
Reply to
Bob Worthy
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Not a lawyer, so not sure how protected you'd be with a waiver since you are acknowledging that VOIP is not reliable. IMO..if it don't work reliably...don't use it..period.
|I am wondering if anyone has actually talked with your liability insurance | underwriters about the pros and cons with this VOIP and security | communications issues. I know all of the techy types drewl all over new | technologies and how cool it is and how we can make it work and all that. | Hell, give us enough parts and we'll build a helicopter out in the parking | lot. I know there are waivers and disclaimers being presented, signed etc. | That is a step towards defending your company and you if your corporate vail | can't be broken, ha ha. :o[ Even those written by attorneys aren't worth | the paper they are written on in a high profile personal injury case when | the company knowingly hooks up to something known to be unreliable and | thinks it is ok because we stuck something in the customers face and had | them sign it. The industry somehow needs to bring together the powers to be, | manufacturers, insurance and attorneys, ANSI, approval labortories, internet | providers, the bells, cable providers, etc. and come to some conclusions | about this soon. Why is the industry letting this technology speed pass | without getting on board? Do we really think waivers are all that is | necessary? I know this is wishful thinking, however, I feel that every time | someone connects to this technology, right now, is simply another nail in | their company's coffin. Have a serious talk with your insurance company | and/or the homeowners insurance company or the insurance company that is | carrying a multi million dollar policy on inventory for your customer about | the pro's and con's of connecting to this new technology and see if they | will bless it. Chances are it won't be a problem as long as there are alot | more dollars spent on additional coverage by you and your customer. At this | time that is just an assumption but I would be interested to hear the | outcome of your conversations with your attorneys and insurance companies | about this issue since I am more interested in protecting what I have over | putting on that one account that is questionable. | |
Reply to
Crash Gordon
I understand what you are saying. But even with POTS line, there is a huge security issue. This is why alarm companies have $250 limited liability clauses in their contracts.
Whether the transmission is by POTS, Radio, Cellular, NetworkIP, etc., the customer is ultimately responsible to make sure the method of transmission is working at ALL TIMES. Even POTS can be unreliable, depending how far away you live from the nearest telco switch station.
Jim Rojas
Reply to
Jim Rojas
Which is useless when there is proof of negligence. Believe me when I say this since I have been involved as an expert witness, in Florida, Texas, and Arizonia and seen the court system in action.
I agree with you whole heartedly and there may be an assumed level of reliability on using the POTS lines but there is to much floating around the industry about the unreliability of VOIP and we still are will to connect to it. Now what is the exposure to both the user and the company? That is why I asked about direct communications with the insurers and what their feeling are. They don't care about the technical pitfalls, they only care about their exposure and that is where we get in trouble. It is alot easier to decline when the insurance company won't insure it rather than trying to kid ourselves that a waiver is somehow going to make everything ok.
Reply to
Bob Worthy
Channel 11 WPIX news in NYC just ran a hatchet job story about a BRINKS customer in New Jersey and VoIP. Look for "Help me Howard" on their website and follow the link to the BRINKS story.
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Bob Worthy wrote:
Reply to
Everywhere Man
doesn't brinks have a clause in their contract that states it is the subscribers duty to maintain a pots line?
Reply to
Don
Yes Brinks has that clause in it's contract and yes Cablevision warns customers that VoIP does not work with all alarm systems but why let the truth get in the way of a Help me Howard report? Has anyone ever seen a news station consumer advocate report where the company (regardless of industry) wasn't wrong?
D> doesn't brinks have a clause in their contract that states it is the
Reply to
Everywhere Man
TF- Great info! I'm letting some of my jack--- customers view the video- Trying to convince them about Optimum Voice is like banging a bag of crap against a balloon! THEY JUST WON'T LISTEN! OR are too stupid to comprehend- maybe they're VISUAL LEARNERS!
Reply to
secure15
I think every contract I have *ever* read makes the client responsible for a working means of communication between the system and the CS. Kinda a dumb story...musta been a slow newsday for pix.
| Yes Brinks has that clause in it's contract and yes Cablevision warns | customers that VoIP does not work with all alarm systems but why let | the truth get in the way of a Help me Howard report? Has anyone ever | seen a news station consumer advocate report where the company | (regardless of industry) wasn't wrong? | | | D| > doesn't brinks have a clause in their contract that states it is the | > subscribers duty to maintain a pots line? | >
| > > Channel 11 WPIX news in NYC just ran a hatchet job story about a BRINKS | > > customer in New Jersey and VoIP. Look for "Help me Howard" on their | > > website and follow the link to the BRINKS story. | > >
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| > > | > > Bob Worthy wrote: | > >> I am wondering if anyone has actually talked with your liability | > >> insurance | > >> underwriters about the pros and cons with this VOIP and security | > >> communications issues. I know all of the techy types drewl all over new | > >> technologies and how cool it is and how we can make it work and all that. | > >> Hell, give us enough parts and we'll build a helicopter out in the | > >> parking | > >> lot. I know there are waivers and disclaimers being presented, signed | > >> etc. | > >> That is a step towards defending your company and you if your corporate | > >> vail | > >> can't be broken, ha ha. :o[ Even those written by attorneys aren't worth | > >> the paper they are written on in a high profile personal injury case when | > >> the company knowingly hooks up to something known to be unreliable and | > >> thinks it is ok because we stuck something in the customers face and had | > >> them sign it. The industry somehow needs to bring together the powers to | > >> be, | > >> manufacturers, insurance and attorneys, ANSI, approval labortories, | > >> internet | > >> providers, the bells, cable providers, etc. and come to some conclusions | > >> about this soon. Why is the industry letting this technology speed pass | > >> without getting on board? Do we really think waivers are all that is | > >> necessary? I know this is wishful thinking, however, I feel that every | > >> time | > >> someone connects to this technology, right now, is simply another nail in | > >> their company's coffin. Have a serious talk with your insurance company | > >> and/or the homeowners insurance company or the insurance company that is | > >> carrying a multi million dollar policy on inventory for your customer | > >> about | > >> the pro's and con's of connecting to this new technology and see if they | > >> will bless it. Chances are it won't be a problem as long as there are | > >> alot | > >> more dollars spent on additional coverage by you and your customer. At | > >> this | > >> time that is just an assumption but I would be interested to hear the | > >> outcome of your conversations with your attorneys and insurance companies | > >> about this issue since I am more interested in protecting what I have | > >> over | > >> putting on that one account that is questionable. | > > |
Reply to
Crash Gordon
Let's not make this more complicated than it really is. The real question is, does your insurance company have the right to deny coverage if you connect an alarm system to a VOIP service? I've read my policy, and the answer is no.
Naturally, your insurance company's lawyers want to be on the strongest legal footing possible. Meaning, they want your contract to be up to snuff, and they want you to fully disclose weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the system to avoid a charge of failure to warn or misrepresentation. But the bottom line is, do they have the right to deny coverage?
It's pointless to talk to your insurance agent about stuff like this, because the VOIP issue probably hasn't been litigated in your state yet, and the agent won't know what you're talking about. Your contract should contain a limitation of liability, which applies even if you are negligent. Those are magic words to insurance companies: even if the insured is negligent, their exposure is limited to a few hundred bucks.
That leaves the question of gross negligence, which generally isn't covered under the limitation of liability. First of all, that's probably not your problem, since your insurance company still needs some reason to deny coverage, something that is spelled out in the policy they sent you. However, you can probably use a waiver to get rid of a gross negligence claim.
You need to explain to your subscriber, in plain English that any moron can understand, why VOIP is not as reliable as regular telephone service. You need to tell them that regular telephone service is not guaranteed to be working either. And, if you can, you need to offer them an alternative like radio at an extra charge. If it's written in plain English and explains the options and their limitations, they can hardly come back later and say they didn't understand.
Nobody is forcing them to buy a system from your company. You are not a public utility. They can shop around and compare the security offered by different providers, and choose the system and the price tag that is right for them. Talk it over with a lawyer who does business in your state, and pay him for his advice. Why rely on what a bunch of alarm guys tell you?
- badenov
Reply to
Nomen Nescio
All of the blather in ASA about VoIP is not going to change the fact that VoIP or something like it is going to replace the vast majority of POTS lines in the not too distant future. Some telco's are already using VoIP to handle their long distance calls rather than paying for conventional lines.
I remember when I was just getting started nearly 30 years ago "high security" systems used leased telephone lines to connect to the monitoring facility or, in some cases, to the police department. When the telcos stopped offering new leased lines the industry fretted over the loss of secure lines (as though leased lines weren't easy to subvert). Eventually, most installations went to digital communication, sometimes backed up by RF telemetry and later via cellular. As I recall the sky didn't fall. I doubt it will this time either.
Now some folks are all upset about VoIP. Get over it. The fact is that more and more of your clients *are* going to choose VoIP no matter what you tell them. Learn to deal with it. There are monitoring options for VoIP which will work as long as you provide power to the modem and router. True, the VoIP connection won't work if the DSL or cable connection goes down. But that's not much different from the problem of down phone lines. After a bad storm, both are subject to outages.
This isn't a threat to your businesses. It's an opportunity to expand your product offering. If you don't find ways to deal with it, competing services like Next Alarm ($8.95 a month for monitoring burglary and fire) will beat you to it. Come to think of it, they already have. ISTR they offer a TCP/IP monitoring solution that works where the customer chooses VoIP.
Regards, Robert L Bass
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Reply to
robertlbass
Leased lines offer something that is impossible to do with digital communicators: Line security. While this isn't critically important to 99% of alarm users out there, it is very important to customers who need intrusion detection systems the most. Two-way supervised radio is subject to frequent service outages in some areas, and network communicators are exactly as unreliable as the computer network that they are connected to. I was speaking to a DSS rep eariler this week about this very issue. It's a problem.
Before any of you ask who DSS is: see
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J.
Reply to
J.
No argument there. As for the "blather in ASA about VoIP", let's put it down to the fact that a group of professionals are discussing the options available today to deal with it.
"Leased lines" are impossible to "subvert". You'd not only have to be a genius to figure out all the parameters, the perp would have to know exactly what the customer has installed (equipment wise) and then be able to match the account codes and transponder ID.
Now, you see?? This is where you confirm that your "knowledge" of systems is about as "Mickey Mouse" as your website. Digital communication (using standard telephone lines) has been an industry standard for *all* of the so called "30 years" you've been in the business. How many McCullogh Loop systems did you *ever* work on?
Nope. The sky didn't fall.
Uh-huh. And they should be. Customers I know that have switched to VOIP have switched back to POTS within 3 to 4 months. They complain about noise on the line, and frequent service interruptions.
Outages of POTS lines are extremely rare. In fact, in all my years in the trade I can only count one (and that happened during a tornado in Edmonton).
"Next Alarm" isn't even listed as an approved central station. They're a "Dealer" that sell third party monitoring services (very much like you used to do). In fact, they won't even help your customer reprogram their alarm panel (if it's locked out). They will sell them a communicator module (they call it a "redirector") that they have to install. Will their "redirector" be able to transmit more than a generic "alarm" or "fire" signal? What about "openings and closings"? Do you have any idea how they deal with "fail to communicate" troubles that the customers panel will initiate when they disconnect the telephone line and hook up Next Alarm's module? Who services their equipment when it fails to test? What is the test transmission cycle? Daily, weekly, monthly... never?? Is their communications "module" (redirector) UL listed? What central stations do they use? All they say on their website is that they're "UL Listed". For what? "Fire"? That basic listing can be obtained by any CS that installs equipment to the minimum standard. What about SIA certified operators?
You "recall"?? You mean you don't "know"?? I certainly wouldn't count their "service" as any more reliable than VoIP.
Reply to
Frank Olson
The Prophet Malignantis Nodulus speaks. Everybody see that? You heard it here first..... No more POTS lines according to Pestilential Porkpie!!!
Reply to
G. Morgan

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