CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE WARS
We are now entering a phase of business where owners are relying on third party associates to handle their certificates of insurance in an attempt to limit their own risk and alleviate the pain of requesting these documents.
But how did we get to this point?
The following is from a publication that was produced by the ACEC Risk Management Committee, and was principally authored by a/e ProNet Member Karen Erger:
Here is a short history of a typical certificate war: The design firm is awarded a new project. Corks pop. The team assembles. Spirits and expectations are high. The first sign of trouble is a call or an email from the project owner’s certificate checker: Your certificate of insurance is not in compliance with the insurance requirements set forth in our contract. Please reissue. The design firm calls its broker, confident that this little paperwork glitch will be simple to fix. But there is bad news. This is not a case of a misspelled name or a typo. The certificate checker is correct: The design firm’s insurance program does not, in fact, comply with the contract requirements.
This is never a good moment, but the design firm rallies and asks how much it will cost to purchase compliant coverage. But then comes an even worse moment, when the broker explains that the contract requirements are impossible to satisfy. The coverage the owner wants is no longer available, is not available from a stable and financially-sound carrier, or, all too often, never was available at all. The design firm tries to make the owner see reason, but sometimes this drama ends with calls and emails to the design firm, its broker, or both, threatening to award the job to another firm if a compliant certificate is not produced today.
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