Importance of Named Insured

Both Agents and Insured need to be VERY CLEAR about who is the NAMED INSURED on a policy.  This often requires tedious research. Even if the board members are confident they know their official name or whether or not a partnership exists, sometimes they find out later they don’t. Generally, this is not a big deal until there is a BIG CLAIM. Better to be safe than sorry!

Below are statements I hear all the time, and I believe they are potential examples of shared liability exposures.

” The RFD has nothing to do with the Fire Dept., we just buy the trucks they drive to calls & service.”  

” The City/Village has nothing to do with the Fire Dept., we just own the fire hall they service the RFD’s trucks in, and operate out of.”  

” RFD has nothing to do with the City/Village, we just allow the fire dept. who uses our trucks, park them in the Fire Hall owned by the City/Village.” 

If a Fire Dist. owns the trucks, the Fire Dept. VOLUNTEERS work on/drive the trucks and the City/Village owns the Fire Hall and only one of them is NAMED INSURED on the policy:

  • Are the other two entities who are not named covered for their own actions relating to Fire Service on their own policy?
  • If they are not listed as named insured, DO THEY HAVE A General Liability and Errors and Omission policy?
  • If there other two entities not named have no to General Liability or Errors and Omission policy, could they be ordered to cut the damages check from their own funds?
  • If they are not a public entity, such as a VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPT. created as a not for profit, and do not have a General Liability and Errors and Omission policy, are they PERSONALLY EXPOSED for actions taken on behalf of the public entity?
  • Could a carrier still subrogate for a Named Insured. VS Department if the department was listed as a ADDITIONAL INSURED?
  • Is this a potential E&O claim for an AGENT? If all members of this interlocal agreement are not listed as Named or Additional Insured?
  • Would it stop subrogation of a interlocal partner if they are listed as a Named or Additional named insured? If so that is a pretty expensive error.
  • Are you sure all additional insured are named if they are not actually listed as named insured?

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. Recently wrote about the importance for Fire Law Blog.

“Where there are multiple separate entities involved in providing fire protection, gaps in insurance coverage could leave one or more of the entities vulnerable to such a subrogation lawsuit.”

Full article below.

So, take some time to look at your policy(ies) to determine if accurate and that all operations and entities you are intending to cover are indeed covered.

If you an insured, ask your agent for guidance or you are welcome to ask us to walk though a few things with you. We welcome questions from agents as well.