July 25, 2016 | By Kelly Mansfield |
I often receive requests from my clients to add an additional insured endorsement to their commercial general liability (CGL) policy due to a contract requirement. It is not uncommon for a general contractor, a customer, a mortgagee or a lessor to require that they be named as additional insured to a policy. However, the policyholder should understand the endorsement and how it modifies their CGL policy before adding the endorsement.
What is an Additional Insured endorsement?
An additional insured endorsement allows a person or organization that would not normally be covered on a CGL policy to be added as an insured on the policy. The endorsement modifies the policy to afford general liability coverage to the additional insured.
Those requesting to be added as an additional insured generally see the endorsement as further protection should a claim be brought against them for damages caused by the policyholder. However, there are several additional insured endorsements, and whether the endorsement provides the coverage that the requester is actually looking for depends on the actual endorsement that is added.
What are the different types of additional insured endorsements?
The additional insured endorsement used most commonly today is the Additional Insured Endorsement CG 20 10. While this endorsement provides coverage to an additional insured for ongoing operations, the endorsement does not cover completed operations. Prior to 1985, the CG 20 10 included coverage for an additional insured “with respect to liability arising out of ‘your work,’” which encompassed both ongoing operations and completed operations. However, in 1985 the endorsement was changed and removed coverage for completed operations.
If coverage for completed operations is desired, the Additional Insured Endorsement CG 20 37 should also be added. This endorsement provides coverage for completed operations, but needs to be added along with the CG 20 10 endorsement if both ongoing and completed operations are to be covered.
Organizations who have the CG 20 10 11 85 endorsement (the endorsement used prior to 1985) added to their policy do not need to add the CG 20 37 to their policy because the pre-1985 endorsement covers both ongoing and completed operations.
Blanket Additional Insured Endorsements
Some insurance companies offer a blanket additional insured endorsement, which allows automatic coverage for an additional insured under certain conditions. The automatic coverage applies to additional insureds for whom the insured is performing work, and for whom the insured has a written agreement in place which requires additional insured status. While the blanket endorsement offers convenience, the requirement for a written contract needs to be understood by the policyholder and the person or organization being added as an additional insured. Should there be upstream parties, such as a general contractor that does not have a direct relationship or contract with a sub-contractor, there is also an additional form that can be added to cover the upstream party.
What else should you consider before adding an Additional Insured endorsement to your CGL policy?
When an additional insured is added, the person or organization named as an additional insured has access to the coverage provided by your policy. In other words, your policy limits could potentially be exhausted in the event that an additional insured seeks coverage for a claim under your policy.
Further, the policy could cover losses that the policyholder is not intending to cover. There have been documented cases of the additional insured endorsement being interpreted by courts to include coverage for damages that the were not caused by the negligence of the policyholder.
In conclusion, it is important to understand additional insured endorsements before requesting that one be added to your policy. Asking questions to determine what coverage is needed, considering the scope of coverage provided, and considering potential consequences prior to adding coverage will help you to be selective when adding an additional insured endorsement and manage your risk wisely.
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