“Expected & Intended Injury” – But Not Damage!

This one comes from personal experience (and you know who you are if you’re reading this!).

General Liability is, obviously, not intended to cover incidents that are intentionally done with knowledge they will cause harm. But there is an exception to this: coverage applies if you knowingly cause injury in effort to otherwise preserve persons or property. Here is the (very brief) exclusion and exception from the 2013 CGL:

a. Expected Or Intended Injury “Bodily injury” or “property damage” expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured. This exclusion does not apply to “bodily injury” resulting from the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property.

The real-world example I was provided for something of this nature is a crane operator who has to drop a load to prevent a catastrophic failure. If they intentionally drop a load, and that injures someone, the CGL will provide coverage if that action was taken to prevent a larger event occurring.

As a side note, there is a bevy of case law regarding this “expected or intended” exclusion and how it applies, whether the language is ambiguous, and whether coverage hinges on the intention of the act or the intention of the damage. It’s definitely worth looking into.

However, for our purposes, what I wanted to discuss is what is not in the exclusion: specifically you will note the exception provides coverage only for “Bodily Injury”, which is only 1/2 of the CGL’s BI & PD coverage. I.e., the unendorsed CGL does not cover expected or intended┬áProperty Damage; only BI.

In the example of a crane operator dropping a load you can see how this could be incredibly problematic: you are almost assured to cause property damage in such a case. But, going by the strict “4 corners” of the policy, you’re not going to be covered for such even if your intent was to prevent a much large instance of property damage.

Thankfully, some carriers do offer proprietary wording to add this back, and such is even included on “enhancement” endorsements among even the smaller/mutual carriers of the world. However, even some national carrier brands don’t address this in their policy and, when I brought this to them, they were flummoxed how to respond. My key partners asked for language I could provide them (and this particular one eventually manuscripted!), while others essentially shrugged.

In the end this is an incredibly easy fix for a carrier – it literally takes adding only three words to the exception (“or Property Damage”). The fact that it does need to be manually added can be troublesome – it’s going to need approval. While troublesome, and likely frustrating to carrier personnel, it’s precisely these type of esoteric situations by which brokers live and die. A client can go to nearly any broker/carrier and get an unendorsed ISO policy; if you’re not giving them a reason not to then that’s precisely what’s going to happen.

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