Attorneys: Schoumacher, Bruce H.
Changes Made in Commercial General Liability Form
In December 2007, the Insurance Services Office issued a new edition of its commercial general liability form. There were three major changes in the basic form. First, the supplementary payment section was modified. The supplementary payment section for years has stated that the policy will cover "all costs taxed against the insured in a 'suit.'" The word "costs" has been modified to "court costs" so that any attorneys' fees and expenses which may be assessed against the insured are not covered by the policy.
The purpose of the change for supplementary payments is to assure that the payment of court costs does not affect the limits of liability of the policy. If the court awards the plaintiff his or her attorneys' fees, these fees may be a damage covered by the policy, and hence, are paid by the insurer in accordance with the limits of liability.
Second, a new exclusion "q." has been added to cover violation of communication laws. Previously, this exclusion had been an endorsement. Under this exclusion, there is no coverage for claims arising under "do not call" and similar laws, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 477 U.S.C. § 227.
Third, the employment-related practices inclusion has been changed. As a result of at least two cases which held that the exclusion did not exclude coverage for malicious prosecution claims, it has been modified to exclude coverage for such claims. Further, the exclusion has been changed to clarify that it arises to injuries occurring before, during or after employment.
Besides the changes in the basic form, changes have been made in a number of the ISO endorsements, including a new optional total pollution exclusion endorsement. The products completed operations form does not contain a pollution exclusion. This new endorsement may be used to make the exclusion applicable to the products completed operations coverage.
Another new optional endorsement is for snow plow operations. Under this endorsement, occurrences due to faulty snow plowing are covered within the products completed operations hazard part of the commercial liability policy. Thus, slip and fall cases arising from careless snow plowing may be covered under the commercial liability policy pursuant to this optional endorsement.
* * *