What’s the purpose of a certificate of insurance?

What is the purpose of a certificate of insurance for my architecture/engineering firm?

A certificate of insurance is for informational purposes, similar to your auto ID cards.  It is helpful information for your firm’s clients.  It provides information for about your firms insurance policies that coincide with the contract you have with your client.

Certificates of insurance include information about your firm’s insurance policies in place.  The certificate includes your insurance agents contact information and your firm’s address.  The certificate of insurance main purpose is to provide information about your firm’s insurance policies.  It refers to which insurance company provides each type of coverage.  Within each policy there is the policy number, effective date and limits of liability.

The policies that the certificate of insurance may highlight are Commercial General Liability, Automobile Liability, Umbrella/excess liability, Workers Compensation and other types of coverage such as Professional Liability.

In the description of operations box wording may be included such as additional insured, waiver of subrogation or project name and number.

It is very important to remember that this does not replace the policy and endorsements.  The certificate of insurance is not a contract; the policies themselves are the contract between the insured and the insurance company.

Additionally, insurance policies may need to be endorsed for changes such as additional insured and waiver of subrogation; the certificate of insurance cannot provide or replace those endorsements.

It is important to note the certificate of insurance does not provide notice of cancellation for non-payment of premium.  However, many companies will provide 30 day notice of cancellation.

Insurance certificates of insurance are helpful information that highlights what policies your firm has in place with a specific agent.  If you do have questions please call or email your Professional Underwriters agent.

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