One factor is that there are so many more unique claims which ultimately get tagged to the general liability (GL) carrier. Just about anything that goes wrong – other than traditional property losses such as fire, wind, flood, etc. – is considered a GL claim. While it used to be that the owner or manager had to be negligent in order for a GL claim to be paid, that’s hardly the case anymore. Carriers have traditionally been the most concerned with “typical” GL claims including slip-and-falls, violent attacks, and sexual assaults; they now have to also deal with unique, obscure claims for which a GL carrier is ultimately held liable. This diminishes any chance of the account being profitable.
Here are some examples of fairly obscure claims, both of which settled for well over $1,000,000:
a. At a property for elderly tenants, a woman wanted to take a bath. She drew the bathwater, didn’t realize how hot the water was until she got into the tub, and couldn’t get out fast enough before she was scalded.
b. A motorcyclist was trying to enter a gated apartment community but didn’t know the appropriate gate code. The motorcyclist was closely following the car in front whose driver had the access code. Unfortunately for the motorcyclist, once the car passed through the entrance, the gate “arm” closed abruptly and knocked him off his motorcycle, causing injury. The claim eventually closed for nearly $1,000,000.
Again, these “once in a lifetime” claims are particularly present in the multi-family sector, with many of these claims eventually closing with substantial defense and indemnity payments. When reviewing five years of loss runs, it is not uncommon to see at least one of these type of claims (paid or reserved) for between $500,000 to $1,000,000, as well as one or more of the “traditional” claims mentioned above, on the even very best habitational property risks.
Legal Disclaimer. Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Discussion of insurance policy language is descriptive only. Every policy has different policy language. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. Please refer to your policy for the actual language.
(c) 2017 AmWINS Group, Inc.
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