Liability Insurance Coverages for Designers of Temporary Structures

by Michael G. Welbel, Shand Morahan & Co Inc, Evanston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Preparing for Construction in the 21st Century


A recent survey completed by the American Consulting Engineers Counsel (ACEC) indicates that in 1990 approximately 40 claims occurred per 100 firms. There also is an indication that claims are more likely to occur in a declining economic environment and construction economy. Therefore, it is extremely important that designers are adequately insured and understand the nature of their coverage so that they are prepared in the event of a claim. There are numerous types of coverages, but for the purposes of this paper and presentation I will focus on the coverages which have potentially the greatest impact on the designer of temporary structures - these are the professional liability and general liability coverages. There are two different forms of liability coverage - Claims-made and Occurrence. Most professional liability coverages, sometimes referred to E&O or malpractice insurance, are written on a Claims-made basis. In a Claims-made policy the event which triggers coverage is the making of a claim. This is compared to an Occurance policy where the triggering event is the occurrence of bodily injury or property damage. General liability policies are written on an Occurrence basis. To illustrate the distinction, consider a construction accident that results in bodily injury. For policies written on an Occurrence basis, the accident is the triggering event. For Claims-made policies, coverage is triggered at the time the claim is actually made. 'Claims made' caverage assumes various forms. Some Claims-made policies have the added requirement of notifying the insurer of the claim during the policy period to trigger coverage. We shall refer to this type of coverage as the 'claim-made and reported' type. Some of these policies allow the claim to be reported for a period of time after the expiration of the policy - typically 30 or 60 days. Not all policies, however, allow for the later reporting of claims.

Subject Headings: Liability | Insurance | Claims | Temporary structures | Structural design | Construction management | Industrial facilities | Consulting services

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