Tag: Insurance

Is Late Notice A Big Deal? Ninth Circuit Asks For An Opinion From CA Supreme Court On Insurance Question

So, what’s the big deal if you’re a little “late” in giving your insurer notice of the claim or lawsuit against your company?  That’s the question, albeit in essence, that the Ninth Circuit has posed to the California Supreme Court recently in an Order Certifying Questions, Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co. Specifically, the … Continue Reading

One Unanticipated Cost of Being an Owner-Builder in California: Liability for Retained Control over Safety

Many times I hear from people who want to “save money” and serve as their own “owner-builder” under the exemption to the California Contractor’s Licensing law, which generally requires that any “construction” work over $500 to be performed by a licensed California contractor in the absence of an exemption.  (Bus. & Prof. Code section 7048).  … Continue Reading

“All Risk” Coverage Is Not Equal to “All Loss” Coverage Under Customary Provisions in California Builder’s Risk Policies

A common insurance question asked by our owner/developer clients when they discover that their completed project has defects is whether their own insurance will cover the cost to fix the defect or any damage from the defect.  While trying hard not to sound like the proverbial lawyer, we often have to say “it depends.”  What … Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage Decision a Major Victory for the Construction Industry

My partner, Scott Kaplan,  discusses the recent Oregon Court of Appeals in FountainCourt Homeowners’ Ass’n v. FountainCourt Development, LLC case in the Daily Journal of Commerce.  On August 6, the Oregon Court of Appearls, handed down a decision making clear that standard form liability insurance policies cover construction defect claims so long any “property damage” for … Continue Reading

No Duty By Insurer: Affirmation That There Must Be Damage To Other Property, Not Just Defective Workmanship In CA

California has held for at least a decade that in order for there to be insurance coverage under a standard Comprehensive General Liability for a claim arising out of a construction project, including a duty to defend by the insurer, there must be damage to other property, not solely to the property on which the … Continue Reading

Do You Understand all that Insurance Jargon in Contract?

In my latest Daily Journal of Commerce Construction column, I discuss insurance jargon in contracts and use Commercial General Liability or “CGL” policies as an example.  The terms “bodily injury,” “personal or advertising injury,” and “property damage” all have specific meanings in CGL policies.  Since this language is not always intuitive, it is best to … Continue Reading

Multi-Family Sellers Beware: Don’t “Alienate” Your Project from Insurance Coverage for Construction Defects

The apartment business is booming right now. Unfortunately, construction defects persist as well, particularly in garden-style and wood-framed construction. Most developers are savvy enough to maintain a good insurance program, but many do not understand (until too late) that the policies they bought may not cover the risk of construction defects.  As an owner-developer, neither your property … Continue Reading

Owners: Watch Out for New Endorsements

The new year brings a reminder that owners need to be careful about changes to their contractors’ and designers’ insurance policies. Many of the most important terms of an insurance policy are in “endorsements” added to the policy. For example, a policy may include an endorsement excluding claims between insured parties (say, a claim by … Continue Reading

Bah Humbug: California Supreme Court Won’t Hear Dispute Arising From Overbroad SB800 Decision

You may have recently heard that on December 11, 2013, the California Supreme Court denied the builder’s Petition for Review of the published decision in Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC, 163 Cal. Rptr. 3d 600, Cal. App. 4th 98 (2013). For builders and contractors, this is very frustrating news and undermines the … Continue Reading

Utah Reverses Course on Apportioning Costs of Defense to Policyholders

 A recent Utah Supreme Court decision could result in significant benefits to some policyholders in Utah’s construction industry. The case, Ohio Casualty Insurance Co. v. Unigard Insurance Co., 2012 UT 1, concerned a fight between two insurers about how to split the costs of defending a lawsuit brought against their policyholder, Cloud Nine. For policyholders, the most … Continue Reading

The Increasing Importance of Performance Bonds

There are now 25 states in the U.S. that hold that construction defects are not an “occurrence” and are therefore not covered under commercial general liability policies insuring contractors.  Couple this troubling statistic with the ever increasing number of policy exclusions and limitations, and we begin to realize that in many situations the contractor’s insurance … Continue Reading

Bond. Performance Bond.

Performance bonds—insurance-like arrangements in which a surety (the bonding company) contractually agrees to pay for the performance of a principal (the contractor) to an obligee (the owner) in case the principal fails to perform the obligations of its contract—should be used more often in construction agreements to provide owners with a source of funds to … Continue Reading

A Rose by any Other Name…. But Are You Really Insured?

Do you think you have adequate insurance protection for your project under an “additional insured endorsement” to another entity’s policy? Or through a “wrap” policy, known as either an Owner’s Controlled Insurance Policy (OCIP) or Contractor’s Controlled Insurance Policy (CCIP), because you are listed as “an insured”? Perhaps not under more recent policies. Check the … Continue Reading

You Are a Project Owner or Developer Who Wants to Build a Green Project? So, What Do You Actually Put in Your Contracts?

Despite the explosion of articles, seminars and webinars on green building and development during the last year or so, there is a dearth of information in the development world regarding what project owners and developers who do want to build a green project should actually put in their design and construction contracts. Here is what … Continue Reading

Negligence Claims Take Another Twist in Oregon

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the Oregon Court of Appeals strikes again with another iteration of the “economic loss doctrine” which defines when parties can sue each other in negligence for construction defects. In Abraham v. Henry (September 2, 2009) the Court held that parties to a … Continue Reading

The Risk of Builders Risk

Contractors and owners obtain builders risk policies to protect themselves from risks associated with construction. But a lack of care in understanding and negotiating the provision of the construction agreement governing the builders-risk policy and the policy itself may lead the parties to expose themselves to needless and significant liability. What owners and general contractors … Continue Reading

Is your project’s design work insured? Here’s an insurance policy to keep in mind

With all the stuff to worry about during a construction project, one of the areas that’s commonly overlooked is insurance coverage. Owners and contractors often assume that the parties they’re contracting with have adequate insurance, or that the information on an insurance certificate (which, by the way, isn’t binding on the insurance company) is an … Continue Reading