Taking its lumps: How classification codes and insurance companies paint powder coating into a corner
What do enameling, lacquering, varnishing, and hot-dip galvanizing have in common with powder coating? Apart from being finishing methods, not much. Powder coating is by far a much safer, more environmentally sound way of treating a product. Yet industry classification codes and insurance companies lump powder coating companies in with other finishing methods that are more hazardous and risky to operate, which results in high premiums for general liability insurance. This article offers opinions from various people in the powder coating industry who would like to see a change, but in the meantime, are trying to make the most of the situation.
Mike and April Gorski have a story to tell with words that may be as familiar to other powder coaters as the lyrics to a Top 40 song. The husbandand-wife team started Carolina FabCoat, a powder coating job shop in Roebuck, S. C., in April 2002. When they spoke with an insurance agent about general liability insurance, their agent told them an underwriter would have to assess their risk in the same classification code as the one used for electroplaters. "My husband said, 'That's not right, we don't deal with any hazardous materials,'" April Gorski said. Mike Gorski sent the insurance agent some general information about the powder coating process in hopes the agency would make the differentiation between powder coating and electroplating, but the company wouldn't budge. "We were told the insurance industry just didn't have a classification for powder coating," April Gorski said. They renewed their policy with the same agent in March, but they're not happy to be classified as electroplaters. "I'm sure the premiums are much higher than what we need to pay," she said.