New York Insurance Coverage Law Update

February 27, 2020 | Insurance Coverage

Court Rules “C/O” Company In Contract Not An Additional Insured

A construction worker sued Blue Woods Management Group, Inc. alleging that he was injured while working at premises owned by Blue Woods. Blue Woods sought additional insured coverage under its general contractor’s policy, which provided such coverage “where required by written contract,” and the insurer denied coverage. The Supreme Court, New York County, sustained the denial, reasoning that the contract signed by the general contractor identified the owner of the property that was entitled to additional insured coverage as “299 Owners Corp. c/o Blue Woods Management Group Inc.” The “c/o”, the court ruled, did not confer the title of owner on Blue Woods. [Greater New York Mut. Ins. Co. v. State Nat. Ins. Co., Inc., 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 52103(U) (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. Dec. 6, 2019).]

Watercraft Exclusion Precluded Coverage For Wrongful Death Lawsuit, First Department Rules

A wrongful death lawsuit against the insured alleged that he was negligent for not providing proper life preservers at his lake house and for failing to properly check and maintain kayaks he allowed renters to use on a nearby pond. The Appellate Division, First Department, held that the insurer had no duty to defend or to indemnify the insured, reasoning that the policy excluded coverage for bodily injury “resulting from the use, occupancy, renting, loaning, or entrusting” of watercraft while not ashore and that the kayak was not ashore at the time of the accident.  [Automobile Ins. Co. of Hartford, Connecticut v. Damadian, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 08808 (1st Dep’t Dec. 10, 2019).]

Property Owner and Manager Covered As Additional Insureds Under Contractor’s Policy Providing Coverage “With Respect To” Contractor’s Operations Even In Absence Of Contractor’s Negligence, First Department Rules

The underlying plaintiff sued a building’s owner and manager for injuries she allegedly suffered when she tripped and fell on a step while attempting to pass through a door leading from an interior vestibule to an outdoor passageway on the 14th floor. The underlying plaintiff alleged that she fell because the waterproofing applied to the walkway by the contractor was all the same color. The owner and manager sought additional insured coverage under the contractor’s general liability insurance policy, which provided such coverage for the owner and manager “with respect to operations performed by or on behalf of” the contractor. The trial court ruled that although the contractor had not been found negligent in the underlying personal injury action, the owner and manager were covered as additional insureds. The Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed, reasoning that the “broadly worded” additional insured endorsement was “similar” to additional insured provisions applying to liability “arising out of” the named insured’s operations.  Citing to the 2010 decision by the New York Court of Appeals in Regal Construction Corp. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, the First Department concluded that there was additional insured coverage for the owner and manager because there was a connection between the accident and the insured contractor’s operations even in the absence of negligence on the part of the contractor. [Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. State Nat. Ins. Co., 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 09399 (1st Dep’t Dec. 26, 2019).]

Auto Insurer Must Defend Insured Against Suit By Claimant Allegedly Injured While Unloading Tractor From Insured Truck, Third Department Decides

While a tractor was being unloaded from the back of a flatbed truck on the insured’s farm, the tractor rolled over the insured’s son. The son sued his father and the farm, and they tendered the suit to their commercial auto insurer. The Appellate Division, Third Department, held that the insurer must defend the father and the farm.  The court opined that the loading and unloading of the flatbed truck, a covered vehicle under the policy, constituted “use or operation” of the flatbed truck and that the insurer’s attempt to limit its “use” liability through policy language violated its obligation under New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law. Finding that the facts, as alleged in the son’s complaint and as elaborated upon during discovery, suggested “a reasonable possibility of coverage,” the court concluded that the insurer had a duty to defend. [Farm Family Cas. Ins. Co. v. Henderson, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 00021 (3d Dep’t Jan. 2, 2020).]

Share this article:

Related Publications

Get legal updates and news delivered to your inbox