ATTENTION: CONTRACTORS…NY High Court Limits Coverage for Additional Insureds

Late June, the New York State Court of Appeals issued a ruling that will drastically affect both Contractors in the state, as well as insurance agents’ duties in presenting Additional Insured certificates.

“By a vote of 4 to 2 (the court was short one judge due to the recent death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam), the court held that additional insureds under Commercial General Liability Insurance polices have coverage only for occurrences “proximately caused by” the named insured. Previously, all that was required was for the occurrence to have some connection with the named insured’s work. Under this ruling, there is no coverage for the additional insured unless the named insured’s own negligence is the proximate cause of the accident.

It is unclear how this might affect the liability insurance market for contractors in New York. One outcome I can foresee is that owners and general contractors may start to reject the modern versions of the Insurance Services Office’s (ISO) additional insured endorsements. That is by no means a certainty, but it’s possible.” (Source: www.iiabny.org)

Only time will tell the depth of how this ruling will affect contractors in the state; however this could potentially make it even more difficult to find appropriate Liability coverage, especially in the Metropolitan areas.