Contributed by Andrew Wooley
In Via Net v. TIG Insurance Co., the Supreme Court of Texas recently concluded it was not reasonable for a party to believe it was an additional insured under another party’s commercial general liability policy, based only on a certificate of insurance provided by the other party’s insurance broker. After noting that certificates of insurance generally do nothing more than acknowledge the existence of a policy and its general terms, and do not specify “the numerous limitations and exclusions that often encumber such policies,” the court stated “those who take such certificates at face value do so at their own risk.”
While the specific legal issue in Via Net was whether a party’s reliance on a certificate of insurance provided by another party’s insurance broker was sufficiently reasonable to toll the statute of limitations until the aggrieved party learned it was not, in fact, an additional insured, the lesson in the case for those who intend and expect to be named as an additional insured under someone else’s insurance policy is to require verification of that beyond a mere certificate of insurance, e.g., copies of the policy and the endorsement adding the party as an additional insured. The opinion in Via Net is available on Westlaw at 2006 WL 3759389 and is also available on the Texas Supreme Court’s web site at http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2006/dec/050785.htm.