Insurance, like anything else, has a range type and quality. For contractors, I try to add special value to the insurance program in 4 areas.
Coverage, certificates, audits, and contracts.
1) Coverage – I am an unashamed insurance nerd. Commercial insurance policies and coverage forms, especially for contractors, are fascinating to me. Sometimes insurance companies sneak certain forms on their policies, endorsements like the Designated Work Exclusion or the Contractual Liability Limitation, that significantly strip down coverage. I catch these harmful exclusions and negotiate them out of the policy for little or no additional premium.
2) Certificates – Certificates and verifying coverages is essential for contractors to do work. I’ve heard of contractors arriving to the construction site, and having to wait in their cars for the insurance agent to get the COI to the GC. In recent years, project owners and GC’s have started requiring the specific insurance forms and even highlighted wording as evidence of coverage. This kind of detailed analysis is not for the faint of heart, and my team is up to the task.
3) Audit Assistance – An insurance audit can be intimidating. The insurance company sends an auditor to review sales figures, payroll, DWC forms and many other items. If you don’t have all your items in order or if you accidentally show incorrect information, the insurance company can apply a generous additional premium or reclassify your risk in a less favorable class code. Considering how important it is to have a smooth audit, I assist contractors through the various steps of the audit process.
4) Contract Review – Your contract with GCs or project owners can hold serious weight in a courtroom. In a society as litigious as ours, entering into a subcontractor agreement that is one-sided could lead to disaster in the event of a claim. Though I’m no lawyer, I am familiar with indemnification language and enjoy helping businesses negotiate fair and reasonable wording into their contracts.