Additional insured endorsements often require a causal connection between the named insured’s acts or omissions and the loss in order to trigger coverage to the additional insured. The intention is to provide coverage to additional insureds exposed to vicarious liability while avoiding coverage for the additional insured’s own negligence.
In Hanover Ins. Co. v Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., the First Department determined whether the Manhattan School of Music was entitled to coverage as an additional insured under a policy issued to Protection Plus. In the underlying personal injury action, a security guard employed by Protection Plus alleged that he slipped and fell on a recently mopped floor while working at the Manhattan School. The testimony revealed that the Manhattan School was responsible for having wet-mopped the hallway floor prior to the plaintiff’s fall. The trial court found that the security company who employed plaintiff was equally liable with the music school.
The insurance policy at issue provided that additional insured coverage applied to “any bodily injury caused, in whole or in part,” by the “acts or omissions” of the named insured. The court determined that the language in the endorsement was intended to provide coverage for an additional insured’s vicarious or contributory negligence, and to specifically exclude coverage for the sole negligence of any additional insured.
Accordingly, when coverage is limited to an injury “caused, in whole or part” by the “acts or omissions” of the named insured, an additional insured is entitled to coverage only when the damages are the result of the named insured’s negligence or some other act or omission by the named insured. Here, there was no negligence by the named insured and because the additional insured Manhattan School caused the wet floor condition which caused the plaintiff’s fall, the Manhattan School was not entitled to coverage as an additional insured under the policy.
Thanks to Jorgelina Foglietta for her contribution to this post and please write to Mike Bono with any questions.