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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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30 Jan 2018 Four More Things to Know About Certificates of Insurance

  Having previously posted “Four Things to Know About Certificates of Insurance,” I’d like to offer four more best practices to consider.   Follow up for renewal certificates   A best practice is to have a Certificate of Insurance state the policy period for each policy it describes. If you need that coverage to continue beyond the stated policy period, another best practice is to follow up for a renewal certificate. Consider whether this could be added as a term in the contractual requirement for a Certificate of Insurance. For example, let’s say your company embarks on a major expansion of its facility, and the work is expected to take 18 months. Your company hires a general contractor, and your agreement with the contractor requires…

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09 Jan 2018 New Year’s Resolutions for Policyholders

  The champagne bottles are empty, the football games are over, and the kids are back in school. That can only mean one thing – it’s time for New Year’s resolutions! If you are having a hard time coming up with the perfect resolution for 2018, here are some ideas for policyholders.   “I resolve to review at least the declarations pages of all my policies.” Confirm that the insured’s name is legally accurate and spelled correctly and that its address is up to date. Make sure the policy isn’t about to expire without renewal or replacement, unless you’ve already decided you don’t need the coverage anymore. Check that the coverages you selected during the application or renewal process are included and that the limits…

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09 Oct 2017 Four Things to Know About Certificates of Insurance

  One day, you’re asked to provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) to someone with whom you’re doing business. The next day, you request a COI from another business. Do you know exactly what you’re giving and receiving in these seemingly routine transmissions? Do you get charged a fee for a COI? Here are four key points to keep in mind.   A COI is not an insurance policy   A COI is a form, usually completed by an insurance broker or insurance company, to document the existence of the insurance policy(ies) it describes. A COI often will include language indicating that it does not constitute a contract with the certificate holder, confers no rights on the certificate holder, and does not amend, alter or…

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26 Jun 2017 Get Smart About Additional Insured Endorsements: Beware of the Proximate Cause Standard Recently Adopted in New York

  Businesses that give or receive “additional insured” endorsements may want to learn about a recent decision from the New York Court of Appeals.   Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Maxwell LLC hires Smart Corporation to do some excavation on Maxwell’s property. As required by their contract, Smart buys a commercial general liability (CGL) policy from Chaos Insurance Company with a standard endorsement saying that Maxwell is an additional insured with respect to injury or damage “caused, in whole or in part” by Smart’s acts or omissions. Maxwell doesn’t tell Smart that an electrical cable is buried in the excavation area, and Maxwell doesn’t turn the power off. Smart hits the live cable, and the ensuing explosion damages a nearby building owned by Control, Inc. Control…

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02 Jun 2017 Why Indemnification Provisions are Important

  In entering into contracts almost every day, businesses of all sizes and in all industries frequently flip right past the indemnification, insurance and limitation of liability provisions as mere boilerplate. These risk allocation provisions can be as important as price and other deal terms, yet many lawyers and contract managers don’t understand the pitfalls and opportunities they present.   If your job includes reviewing, drafting or negotiating contracts, you’ve probably seen these provisions. Are they boilerplate that you spend little time on? Do you fully understand exactly what they do? Do you negotiate or revise them? Read more here.   If you would like more information on indemnity clauses, Ken is presenting the following webinars:   Indemnification Provisions: When and How to Use Them…

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27 Mar 2017 Bad Faith Isn’t the Only Remedy Court Sanctions Insurance Company for Factually Incorrect Declaratory Judgment Complaint

  State laws vary considerably in the standards and remedies for bad faith by an insurance company and also on whether a policyholder can recover attorneys’ fees for an insurance coverage dispute in the absence of bad faith. A recent Illinois case is a reminder that court sanctions can be another remedy for an insurer’s misconduct in coverage litigation.   In American Access Cas. Co. v. Alcauter, 2017 IL App (1st) 160775, the insurance company filed a declaratory judgment complaint against its policyholder, Alcauter, seeking to avoid coverage for a $10,000 judgment in an auto accident case because Alcauter breached his duty of cooperation by failing to attend the hearing in the accident case against him. In Illinois, the underlying plaintiff is often considered a…

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08 Aug 2016 Insurance, Indemnification, and Limitation of Liability Provisions in Business Contracts

  If your job includes reviewing, drafting or negotiating contracts, you’ve probably seen these provisions. Are they boilerplate that you spend little time on? Do you fully understand exactly what they do? Do you negotiate or revise them?   Allocation of Risk   Fundamentally, the purpose of insurance, indemnification, and limitation clauses is to allocate risks. In general, insurance transfers risk from the contracting parties to a third party—an insurance company. Indemnification usually transfers risk between the parties to the contract. Limitation of liability prevents or limits the transfer of risk between the parties.   With those basic concepts in mind, think about the risks that arise out or relate to the contract. Take the time to imagine nightmare scenarios as well as other events…

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20 May 2016 New York Lets Policyholder Choose Which Insurers Must Pay “All Sums” for Claims Spanning Many Years

Businesses facing asbestos or environmental claims may be encouraged by a decision from New York’s highest court earlier this month. This new decision allows the policyholder to choose which of many policy periods should initially be responsible for the policyholder’s asbestos litigation, work its way up that particular coverage tower and then select another period and another as may be necessary. See In re Viking Pump, Inc. and Warren Pumps, LLC, Insurance Appeals, No. 59 (NY May 3, 2016). The policyholder does not have to prorate its claims equally among its many years of possible coverage. Id.   The problem is all too familiar   Your company may already be in a similar situation. If not, imagine your company faces numerous lawsuits by individuals alleging…

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03 Mar 2016 Sing The Jingle: Four Tips Inspired By Insurance Ads

  Advertisements for auto and homeowners insurance have become ubiquitous, and their humor often ranges from irritating to clever. You can probably hear one in your head right now. That humor is apparently intended to be the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down; valuable messages about insurance are sometimes conveyed subtly but effectively. As an insurance coverage lawyer, also known as a geek, I see how some of that information also can be useful in the business insurance context.   Double Check Your Coverage Before and After You Buy   Fifteen minutes may save you 15 percent (or more). Make sure you’re actually covered for “this” rather than “this.” The point is that your insurance program needs your time and attention. When…

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16 Nov 2015 2.4 Million Reasons to Monitor Claim Costs: Five Lessons From a Barnes & Thornburg Victory

Employers should regularly and carefully monitor the cost of claims even if those claims are handled by a major insurance company or third-party administrator. That is the key takeaway from the Nov. 10, 2015, decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and the earlier decision by a federal magistrate who presided over a bench trial and awarded $2.4 million to our client Georgia Operators Self Insurers Fund (Georgia Fund) for claims mishandling by its third-party administrator PMA Management Corp. That and other lessons are explained below.   Lesson #1: Monitor Claim Costs and Claim Handling   The Georgia Fund is a not-for-profit entity formed by most McDonald’s franchise owners in Georgia so they can self-insure their workers compensation risks. From 2008…

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