Recent Changes In Insurance Status Affects Companies Seeking Additional Insured Status
Friday, July 25, 2014
For those companies that are seeking additional insured status, keep in mind that there have been major changes in how that insurance status is written. The Insurance Services Office, the drafter of many "standard form" insurance policies and endorsements, has been paring back coverage for additional insureds for many years. It rolled out major overhauls to its standard form additional insured endorsements recently. Insurance companies, too, have been tightening their own company forms, to the extent that they don't use the ISO forms.
This area of insurance has evolved substantially over the years. As one commentator has noted: "Twenty years ago, additional insured endorsements came in two flavors: The short form and the long form. Today there are more flavors than found in Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop." 4 Bruner & O'Connor Construction Law, § 11:167. In fact, the ISO publishes 31 different types of additional insured endorsements; exactly the same number of flavors in Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops. We continue to see companies requiring that they be added as additional insureds to their co-parties' insurance without much thought as to what that means or what coverage they have as an additional insured.
When considering which form to use and what coverage is needed, companies should ask the following questions:
What forms are available?
- Which is best for the particular circumstances?
- Does the in-place insurance permit adding additional insureds? If so, are there any requirements, such as a written agreement?
- What coverage does the additional insured need?
- Is there a deductible/SIR? If so, who pays it?
- Is the additional insured covered for its own negligence? Does the law permit that?
- How does the additional insured confirm it has been added as an additional insured?
- How does the additional insured confirm what coverage is provided to it as an additional insured?
- Is the additional insured covered for completed operations?
- Is the additional insurance primary and non-contributing?
- Is there a professional services exclusion or other exclusions that might negate coverage for the additional insured?
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Improvements and Betterments coverage is a type of property insurance for an insured who is leasing space from another. It is common for a tenant to lease commercial space from a landlord and require permanently installed fixtures or makes improvements in order to carry on operations. The tenant does so at their own expense. The landlord will often provide the insurance coverage on the building shell, but the tenant will need to maintain the coverage under their insurance policy. Because these improvements and betterments are permanently installed, they are covered under the tenant's policy separately from the tenant's personal property coverage.
The issue the landlord should be aware of is what happens when the tenant leaves? Improvements and betterments are permanently attached the building. The Landlord must take care when addressing these issues with the next tenant. There are two criteria in order for improvement and betterment coverage to qualify for coverage on ISOs commercial property and businessowners forms. The alteration must be part of the real property (building) and must be "made or acquired" at the tenant's expense. If the next tenant enters into a lease requiring them to carry the improvements and betterments, would they meet the criteria for the improvements and betterments coverage? The answer is no! They did not make or acquire the improvements at their own expense.
This issue could be resolved by providing the coverage under the building coverage and having the coinsurance clause suspended on the limited limit. Understanding the exposures assumed in a lease and how the tenant's policy responds is critical in preventing an uninsured loss.
Contact info@myCOItracking.com for cost effective solutions on how to track and manage your Certificates of Insurance.
Case: Johnson Controls, Inc. v. London Mkt., No. 2007AP1868, 2010 Wis. LEXIS 45 (June 24, 2010)
Issue: When does an umbrella or excess liability policy not follow form?
Claim: A manufacturer purchased three layers of excess coverage through Travelers and a fourth layer through a group of London insurers. The manufacturer was identified as a potentially responsible party for a $150 million pollution claim and filed suits against insurers that refused to defend. Travelers settled and paid an amount less than the full underlying limits. The London insurers were then looked at for excess defense coverage. The London insurers argued that its high-level excess policy was for indemnification only and that it did not have a duty to defend.
Results: The Supreme Court of Wisconsin did review the policy and agreed that the insuring agreement did not state a duty to defend; however, it did contain a following form provision. The Travelers form stated that Travelers "shall have the right and duty to defend any suit against the (manufacturer) seeking (covered) damages." Based on the following form provision on the London's policy, the duty to defend would apply. The courts looked next at the "except as otherwise provided herein" under the London's policy follow-form provision. This would "turn off" any follow-form provision in any situation where there was an inconsistency between the Travelers and London policy terms. The courts found that the Travelers policy provided duty to defend, but the London policy was silent on the issue. There was nothing inconsistent between the two policies to stop the incorporation of the duty to defend provision into the London policy.
Most contractors have a standard practice for obtaining an additional insured status under other parties' liability policies. It is still common for contractors to require the additional insured coverage to extend to completed operations. This standard practice protects the contractor and owners from losses that occur during the course of construction as well as claims arising out of the completed project (damages found after the project is completed).
The Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) and others in the industry advised that it was never the intention for the insurance industry to provide additional insureds with completed operations coverage. In 1993, ISO changed the coverage provided to additional insureds by revising many of their additional insured endorsements. They specifically revised the endorsements by removing the "your work" reference. This change would rule out the additional insured claims for completed operations. ISO amended their additional insured endorsement to apply only to the liability arising out of the contractor's "ongoing operations" for the additional insured. This caused a huge gap for many and forced ISO to correct this. In 2001, ISO developed an additional insured form that provided coverage for completed operations.
What does this really mean? Often times damage resulting from a subcontractor's work does not arise for years after the work has been completed. When that claim occurs, a suit is often filed against both the general contractor and the subcontractor. The general contractor will tender the defense back to their subcontractor. Assuming the loss is a covered loss and filed in a timely manner, the coverage afforded the general contract by the subcontractor is dependent upon the additional insured endorsement issued. If that subcontractor has the general contractor listed as an additional insured for their "ongoing operations" only, the general contractor will have no coverage under the subcontractor's policy. If the subcontractor has the general contractor listed as an additional insured for their completed operations or "your work", the general contractor may have coverage under the subcontractor's policy.
Although the contractors still require the additional insured status to respond to completed operations claims, they are continuously faced with the challenge of understanding if the correct additional insured endorsement and wording is used.
Contact Christine Lang at Christine@myCOItracking.com for cost effective solutions on how to track and manage the additional insured status on your certificates of insurance.
The process of tracking and managing certificates of insurance takes time and can be very complex. The amount of resources drained on this task often leaves companies asking, "Does tracking my incoming certificates of insurance really make a difference?"
Ask any CFOs, Legal Advisors, or Risk Managers this question and you will find a common answer - it eliminates risks that can have a financial impact on their company. Most companies issue contracts that contain basic information including the product/services being required, payment obligations, indemnification agreements, and insurance requirements. These insurance requirements are designed to reduce litigation and financial exposures. If you are collecting certificates just to confirm they were received, there is no guarantee that the requirements have been procured. Tracking and managing certificates of insurance to confirm all limits, endorsements, and insurance requirements are in place provides the most impact. This allows your business to transfer costly litigation and/or other exposures to your vendors (subctontractors, suppliers, tenants, etc.). Therefore, tracking and managing certificates of insurance does have significant impact on your company's litigation expenses and financial exposures.
Email Christine Lang for cost effective solutions on how to track and manage your certificates of insurance.
By Ashley Furness, CRM Software Analyst for SoftwareAdvice.com
The move for greater inter-departmental business alignment has advanced beyond sales and marketing. Companies have started to identify ways to leverage customer service for marketing, product development and other revenue-generating activities.
Experts discussed one such strategy with me recently--using support agents to create buyer personas. These hypothetical customer profiles define what the potential customer values, wants, fears, and objects to when they shop for your product. Since customer service interacts with your real customers all day, they possess insights that could help refine the persona.
Here's two specific buyer persona traits your team can easily glean from customer service.
Identify the Preferred Communication Channel
Companies develop buyer personas, in part, to tailor marketing content to unique groups of target customers.
A water bottle maker, for example, might have at least two kinds of customers: Athletes and Working Professionals. The athlete is most concerned with how long their beverage will stay cold in their gym bag and if it's sturdy enough to take knocks from cleats and weights. On the other hand, the professional is more worried about whether it fits in their cup holder and is easy to grip. This is two entirely different kinds of content: a blog about a sports team that stuck their team logo on the bottle, or an email campaign that features images of professionals filling up at the water cooler.
The details mentioned above would likely be identified through sales interactions and customer interviews, but the company could learn one useful point from customer service about marketing to Athletes or Professionals: their communication channel of choice. If the professional interacts with customer service on social media and through email, marketing knows they probably should cold call this persona.
Determining Technical Savvy
The types of questions customers submit to customer service can also reveal a persona's technical savvy. This can also be really useful information for marketing during the lead nurturing process.
One persona might ask more technical, functionality questions (depending on the product, of course); while another might call more with basic how to queries. These details again could affect the kind of content marketing creates for that persona.
Enable this Documentation through Process
These examples illustrate how customer service can help refine the way companies communicate with buyer personas. But companies need to build this kind of information gathering into their current customer service process.
Experts suggested adding custom fields to the customer support ticketing system. These could include fields with a drop-down list of communication channels, or a "question type" field. Management should survey reps to find out the most common kinds of questions to standardize responses.
Once personas are identified, you can also add a field with the "persona type" for each support call. This can be useful for identifying which personas produce the highest volume of support calls. Depending on what percent of sales that persona contributes, the company might decrease marketing investments for that profile if spend exceeds customer support costs.
How does you company align marketing and sales? Let us know by commenting here.
Ashley Furness is a CRM Analyst for Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. http://www.softwareadvice.com/crm/