You don’t have to be a construction expert to understand how Apple Park, the circular building that serves as the new hub for Apple employees, can pose unique structural obstacles. Designed by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, it is a breathtaking work of architecture unlike anything in Silicon Valley—and unlike anything else on this planet.
Dubbed “The Spaceship,” the corporate campus is 1-mile in circumference, sits on 175 acres, stretches across 2.8 million square feet, and houses roughly 12,000 Apple employees. To prepare the blueprint’s framework of this futuristic office park, the world’s most valuable company called on the experience of Scaffold Solutions. Armed with market-leading scaffold coverage from ProSight Specialty Insurance, the scaffold company’s team had the freedom and peace of mind to creatively tackle the distinctive risks of this grand project.
INSURANCE FOR NICHE MARKET
Scaffold Solutions, a 10-year-old, California-based outfit with elite experience working on some of the country’s most impressive buildings, needed an inventive insurance policy to meet the needs of Apple Park. While Scaffold Solutions did the heavy lifting, ProSight, an insurer specializing in covering niche markets, provided the necessary insurance for things to run smoothly.
“When construction contractors are working with a company as large and sophisticated as Apple, price isn’t the only thing that will help land the contract,” says Jake Morin, niche president of construction at ProSight Specialty Insurance. “Companies of such size pay special attention to detail, and with so much on the line, companies want to know they are dealing with the highest level of contractors and subcontractors. Services like thorough background checks and rigorous drug testing can help put a bid above the competition because there is proof the contractor is less of a risk. Projects like Apple Park have strict non-disclosure agreements and they want to know the people on the job aren’t going to take advantage of their situation.”
In this instance, Scaffold Solutions was tasked with building the support frame for a construction crew the size of a small army. The scaffold company is no stranger to massive construction projects, but the disk-shaped layout of Apple Park meant they would have to—as Apple used to say—“Think Different.”
“Our sequencing was hampered because the curvature of the design gave us limited accessibility,” Ed Sanchez, president and CEO of Scaffold Solutions, says. “We weren’t able to operate normally and sometimes we even had to construct platforms just to move our equipment in. But, we love those challenges. After all, they don’t work with us because we’re second best. But, we knew we could be more inventive with our workflow because of the protection of our scaffold coverage.”
PARTNER FOR COVERAGE
Having worked in and around the construction industry since he was 14 years old, the CEO knows how to spot a good partner. He says ProSight’s open lines of communication make it much easier to maintain his high standard of performance.
“I felt like ProSight talks to me like a person and not like a file number,” Sanchez explains. “With others in this business, you sometimes get a very corporate feel and a lot of mumbo jumbo that doesn’t make sense. Here, I was able to get clarity on the specifics of my policy which meant I understood exactly where my exposures were.”
Even though Sanchez has the utmost confidence in his team of 130 expert employees, his line of work means he knows the importance of complete support. ProSight and Scaffold Solutions have a solid track record together and Sanchez knows ProSight’s comprehensive coverage is rivaled only by its invaluable counsel.
“In this industry, there are always curveballs somewhere. Things change, plans change, and regulations change, but ProSight is accountable,” says Sanchez. “If I’m ever in a position where I need advice, guidance, or clarity, I can always call on them and they will have the answer for me. And, if they don’t know it, they find out, quickly. Partners like that are priceless.”
While a typical insurance package might provide limited coverage of a workplace accident, ProSight Specialty Insurance’s wide-ranging policy fit the atypical needs of Scaffold Solutions in the Apple Park project.
“In addition to facilitating background checks and drug tests, our scaffolding policy allows Allied Insurance Brokers to provide assistance with ISNetworld and Avetta compliance, helping to display a company’s record of safety and adherence to all different types of regulations,” Morin says. “On top of that, our policies also include SecureFleetSM, our exclusive program which uses advanced tracking and video recording to reduce fleet accidents and, in turn, save money. “
Sanchez has never had to file a claim with ProSight, though he has notified the insurer of the occasional incident. Sometimes, construction companies dread having to notify insurance companies of minor incidents for fear of higher premiums. With ProSight, Sanchez has been able to report incidents in which there is no obvious injury without fear of getting nickeled and dimed. This way, if a minor incident were to turn into an insurance claim later, ProSight would have all the necessary info properly assessed and adjudicate the situation.
At the end of the day, it was another one in the win column for Scaffold Solutions. The company, which has completed builds for Facebook’s headquarters, Google’s headquarters, and Levi’s Stadium, saw the Apple Park project successfully launch this past spring.
Overall, Sanchez says ProSight’s direct approach to business allowed Scaffold Solutions to key in on the most important tasks at hand with none of the residual headaches.
“Other insurance companies are hands-off,” Sanchez says. “They try to pass the buck to other companies and don’t want to accept liability. We need better. ProSight gives us better. They keep us in position to grow. They have an aggressive and direct nature that saves us time and allows us to focus on what we need to do.” ■
About the Author
Erin Cullen is the president of the construction, real estate, professional services, and ocean marine niches for ProSight Specialty Insurance. Cullen’s oversight of ProSight’s construction programs includes general contractors, luxury home builders, specialty trade contractors, crane, scaffold, solar contractors, equipment dealers, builder’s risk, and construction managers. Cullen’s career has been focused in property and casualty lines, addressing a diverse scope of risk with varying exposures and project size. www.prosightspecialty.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2017
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