Are You Playing Russian Roulette With The Insurance Related Provisions of Your Everyday Business Contracts?

Many times company leadership does not put much thought to the importance of reviewing the insurance related provisions of their business contracts, but if there is a single message I want to make clear in this post, it is that mitigation of risk is essential.

It is difficult to express in dollar value the importance of contract reviews especially given that you truly don’t know what has actually been saved if a problem or risk was mitigated ahead of time … which is the point of risk management. Unfortunately, and too often business leaders don’t see the value either and just let it go. In reality, it is like playing Russian roulette … it is not if, but when.

Here is a perfect example:

Recently a company was doing some capital improvements and adding a building extension. It was a 3 million dollar project where the contractor presented a “standard form” contract agreement for the project. Standard for who? The word “standard” should raise a red flag and can get you every time. You think, they are a large contractor they know what they are doing. That is exactly right, they know what they are doing … protecting themselves.

Needless to say, there was an accident. A subcontractor hit a sprinkler-head which caused water damage not only to the new construction but to the existing building. The section of the contract relating to indemnification and insurance was written poorly for this particular project and the owner was left holding the bag on $100,000 in repair cost.

Are the following words just a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” or do you understand how they work within the various provisions of your business contracts – additional insured, pollution liability, waiver of subrogation, and indemnification? Also important, will these contracts make insurance policies between the business parties respond appropriately?

Your turn to pull the trigger …