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Subrogation Defined

Bookmark and Share Subrogation occurs when an insurance company pays a claim and then uses the insured's right to sue the other party for causing the loss as a way to recover their funds. This seems reasonable, so why do business contracts commonly include a "waiver of subrogation" clause?

Business contracts often require that one party or the other be primarily responsible for providing insurance. The purpose of including a waiver clause is to have the party carrying the insurance waive any rights of recovery against the other party for claims covered by the insurance. The intent is to reduce risks significantly by preventing the insurance company from circumventing the contract's intent of making one party financially responsible for the losses through the purchase of insurance.

However, it's also possible that overly broad language in the contract might leave the insured agreeing to take on far more responsibility than is reasonable. In such a case, agreeing to a blanket-waiver of subrogation might not be in the best interests of you and your insurance company. The party that transfers all of its responsibilities onto the insurance of others distorts the basic principle of liability, which is that the guilty party should pay.

Whenever you're presented with a contract that requires you to purchase insurance for the interests of another and includes a waiver of subrogation, be certain to review the provisions with your attorney -- and with us.

Builder’s Risk Insurance Protection

Bookmark and Share A gas line explosion...A short circuit that fries electric wiring...Even a lightning strike...Any building site under construction or renovation is highly vulnerable.

Builder's Risk insurance will pay for loss or damage to a structure (and, in some cases, of the materials, fixtures and/or equipment used to build or renovate it) caused by a variety of perils - such as windstorms, hail, theft, and vandalism. The policyholder can also extend coverage to include;
  • Property in transit to the job site or stored at a secure offsite location.
  • Scaffolding, construction forms, and temporary structures on the site.
  • Removing debris from covered property.
  • Paying firefighters to save or protect property.
  • Replacing blueprints or construction plans.
As a rule, Builders Risk insurance does not cover losses due to mechanical breakdowns, floods, earthquakes, water damage, or rioting.

These policies are often written for a three month, six month, or 12 month coverage term. If the project is not completed by the end of the initial term, it may be extended in many cases, but usually only one time. Coverage ends when the property is ready for use or occupancy.

The amount of coverage, usually based on the project budget, should reflect the total completed value of the structure (including costs of materials and labor), but not the value of the land. Depending on the circumstances, either the building contractor, developer, or owner(s) can buy Builders Risk. If a bank issues a construction loan, it will usually require the borrower to purchase a policy. In many cases, showing proof of insurance might be mandatory under city, county and state building codes

Understanding Your “Triggers”

Bookmark and Share A "coverage trigger" is an event that causes your Liability policy to pay a claim. There are two basic types of "triggers": occurrence and claims made.

An "occurrence" trigger means that the policy will cover any injury or damage during the policy period. For example, if a roof that you installed four years ago collapsed last week, injuring five people, the occurrence trigger will apply and the policy will pay. It doesn't matter when the roof was built or when the claim was filed - only when the actual injury took place.

A "claims-made" trigger, as the name suggests, focuses on the date the actual claim is made. Underwriting and rating provisions might limit how far into your past the policy provides coverage. However, the key question is: "did the claim come in during the policy period?" If so, a "claims-made" Liability policy will pay. Using the example of the collapsing roof, it doesn't matter when the roof was built or when the event took place, the trigger won't apply until the claim is filed.

If this claim is made during the current policy period, your insurance company will pay it. However, suppose the claim isn't made for several weeks; and by the time it arrives, your current coverage has expired and you're into a new policy period? In this case, the "claims-made" policy will pay the claim, since it was made during the new period.

One type of trigger isn't necessarily better than the other. However, it's almost always wise to keep the current type in order to provide relatively seamless coverage.

If you're offered a Liability policy that offers broader coverage or more attractive pricing - but has a different trigger than your current insurance - consult with us before you make a decision. The only way to be sure you get the protection you need at a fair price is to consider all possible underwriting considerations and how the change in trigger might affect your liability needs.

Costly Code Compliance Mistakes

Bookmark and Share Complying with comprehensive legal and regulatory codes plays an essential role in constructing safe, energy-efficient, and "sustainable" buildings - and helps drive up the cost of Construction Insurance.

The International Code Council, a think tank of building officials and engineers, keeps writing increasingly complex building codes that cover every aspect of residential and commercial construction from foundation to roofs. Consider this: the ICC manuals doubled in thickness from 2003 to 2009. By adopting new ICC standards, local and state governments seek to limit their liability and protect their communities more effectively. The National Fire Protection Association and the International Fire Code Council have developed and adopted stronger building codes to protect building occupants and firefighters.

Continuing revisions and updates to building access standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act require extensive and costly improvements.

What was once seen as a moral obligation to sustainable building practices is becoming mandatory. You might have heard the terms Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, which distinguish the "greenness" of a building. More and more municipalities are requiring new buildings to meet the rigorous LEED design, construction, operations, and maintenance standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Compliance with all of these legal and regulatory requirements is boosting construction costs and lengthening timetables throughout the nation. At the same time, failure to comply with building codes has triggered a significant increase in the number and size of insurance claims - which keeps driving up premiums - and pressures contractors to recover their costs by raising prices.

To help you keep up with the potpourri of building codes, keep your Construction insurance program protecting you and keep your premiums under control, feel free to consult the professionals at our agency. We're here to serve!