The Basics of Additional Insured Endorsements

Learn what an additional insured endorsement is and why it is so important when it comes to protecting your company from third-party risk.


Published February 20, 2018   •   3 minute read

The intent of an additional insured (AI) endorsement is to change the 'Who Is An Insured' section of a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy (i.e.: vendor) to extend the vendor's CGL coverage to the additional insured for the negligent acts or omissions of the vendor or those acting on the vendor’s behalf.

While Additional Insured status is most commonly requested on CGL insurance, it is frequently requested on other insurance lines such as professional liability and commercial automobile insurance, too. The focus of this article will be on CGL coverage.

What Is an Additional Insured Endorsement? 

An endorsement is an addendum added to an insurance policy that modifies the coverage.  Endorsements may broaden or restrict the coverage provided by an insurance policy.  One example of a policy addendum that broadens the ‘Who Is An Insured’ is an additional insured endorsement.  An additional insured is typically someone who is doing business with the named insured.

For example, in construction, on a subcontractor's CGL insurance policy, the subcontractor is the “named insured” and they can name the general contractor that they are working for (and any other required entities) as additional insured on their policy by way of an endorsement.  This allows the general contractor to look to the subcontractor’s insurance policy if they are named in a suit related to work the subcontractor performed.  An additional insured has many of the same responsibilities as the named insured, but the additional insured does not pay premiums, receive notices of cancellation, or negotiate the terms of the policy. 

So, Why Does  an Entity Seek Additional Insured Status? 

  • Additional insured status seeks to place the financial responsibility of a claim onto the policy of the party most likely to cause the claim.
  • Reduce the impact on the loss history of the additional insured. Meaning that if a loss does occur due to the negligence of another party (vendor), the additional insured can avoid asserting the claim under its own policy, thus keeping the lost history lower, particularly if it is not the party directly responsible for the claim.
  • By naming a person or organization as additional insured on your policy, you are making sure those appropriate entities are going to be picked up if something were to happen.  

What Could Go Wrong? 

There are two factors to consider for review if you hope to attain adequate additional insured coverage: 

  1. Acquire the correct endorsement form
  2. Confirm the language on the form is accurate

If you are trying to get an additional insured endorsement for a person or organization, you will need to know if the entity needs to be additional insured for ongoing operations, completed operations, or both; that will determine which endorsement form you are looking for (CG 20 10, CG 20 37, etc.) and should inform your decision to either accept or not accept an insurer’s proprietary endorsement.

The endorsement will need to be carefully reviewed to determine if the language is appropriate to provide the entity coverage that meets their expectations and contractual obligations. If the language is wrong or is written ambiguously, it will affect the scope of coverage for that person or organization if a risk event occurs. 

Failing to review the verbiage of the endorsement could be severely detrimental to your company.  For example:

Let’s say company A is doing work for company B, and company B has been named as additional insured for company A through the CG 20 10 (ongoing operations only) endorsement. If a claim arises after the work has been completed on the project, the insurance would not cover the claim, as that endorsement does not provide coverage for completed operations. These are things that need to be considered when dealing with additional insured endorsements.

Additional Insured Endorsements are one of the critical fundamentals to monitor when it comes to vendor insurance review.

To read about the other 8 fundamentals of vendor insurance download the free guide "The 9 Fundamentals of Vendor Insurance Review". 


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