Hamilton, NJ — New Day Underwriting Managers LLC, the leading specialty intermediary of environmental and construction-related professional liability insurance, and Berkley Construction Professional Underwriters, a provider of specialized construction professional insurance and pollution coverage, teamed on June 1 to “Investigate Mitigation/Rectification Coverage for Contractors.” The one-hour webinar hosted by New Day’s president Jeff Slivka provided in-depth insights into coverage trends, claims services as well as various terms included in standard Contractor’s Professional Liability (CPrL) insurance policies amongst competing carriers.
“The inclusion of rectification and mitigation coverage into the typical CPrL form has become an increasingly important risk financing tool for the construction industry over the past five years,” said Slivka. “Introduced to pay for the costs to remedy the challenges associated with design errors and ultimately prevent third-party claims, these coverage types can either be interchangeable or greatly nuanced depending on the carrier. Today, virtually everyone in the industry offers some level of this coverage. Our goal was to clearly define the products, their benefits and the steps involved with identifying and fixing onsite design and pollution problems as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.”
Joining Slivka during this live event were Berkley Construction’s Laila Santana, executive vice president & chief claims officer, and Ray Bustamante, executive vice president, who described mitigation coverage as a “proactive claims management tool” that has proven its value in “expediting project work, solving potential issues faster” and helping insureds to “avoid significant litigation.” Santana followed by outlining the “thought process” behind “getting the mitigation process going,” “resolving claims to avoid bigger losses down the line” and “determining causes before the issues are fixed and costs incurred.”
According to Santana, this process starts with the immediate “mobilization” of key parties and experts chosen specifically for their ability to “proactively diagnose and gauge” the scope of problems. As described by Bustamante, this is the pathway to a “total remedy and not just having the insurer taking it on the chin.” He added, “forensic technology experts are light years from where they were years ago. They now have the expertise to determine what’s wrong in hours rather than days or months. This is the opportune time to validate claims and the ideal tool for bettering work and protecting the reputation of construction companies.”
The panelists then cited the areas where claims have increased over the past few years. These ranged from commercial office complexes and schools to heavy industrial projects. Noted by the panel was the realization that claims were “not particular to any size project,” but rather that “losses happened as a whole in any type of project,” which didn’t necessarily “have to be complex.”
Santana concluded by punctuating the need for insureds to report early and understand their coverage terms. “The sooner the carrier is onboard, the better and smoother the process proceeds,” she offered.