RT Specialty’s Environmental and Construction Professional (RT ECP) practice recently hosted an online panel, The Dos and Don’ts of Servicing Contractor’s Professional Liability (CPrL) Claims. The webinar was hosted by BJ Leonard, RT Specialty’s assistant vice president of claims.
“This has been an incredibly challenging year that has seen CPrL claims rise alongside its growing popularity,” Leonard said. “That’s why everyone that either possesses or is considering the purchase of this policy form needs to thoroughly understand the insuring agreements for each coverage part, as well as the conditions and obligations set forth in the policy to maximize the coverage benefits within these forms.”
Leonard said that insureds and brokers “should always err on the side of caution.”
“No matter if it’s a structural integrity problem or design error committed by subcontracted professionals, mistakes happen despite the level of due diligence,” Leonard said. “Contractors must realize that carriers have a vested interest in the project’s success, and while no-one wants to make a claim against a subcontractor or colleague before the job is done, business is business and the integrity and financial stability of the work must come first. This means always submitting a ‘notice of circumstance’ when issues arise and not waiting until challenges become unmanageable to file a claim.”
Transparency was stressed repeatedly by the panel of experts, representing two leading CPL carriers. That included highlighting the need to contact insurers within the documented policy period with information highlighting the nature and timing of the circumstance, service involved and the extent of the potential loss, RT Specialty said.
The webinar also highlighted the need to confer with carriers and counsels before settling disputes or seeking recovery. By way of an example, one of the panelists discussed similar mold issues faced by two different contractors. One worked with the insurer to overcome the problem once it was identified, while the other – who presented the carrier with a bill for the remediation work without prior notice or consent – was denied coverage.
“No-one, including the insurer, wants to see a claim nullified,” Leonard said. “That’s why it’s so important to meticulously follow the guidelines for filing claims and then work with the carrier to investigate, identify and overcome the problem. The successful, financially rewarding completion of projects work in everyone’s best interests.”