September 2020

Commercial Umbrella Explained

  • Umbrella

A commercial umbrella policy is the coverage often requested from businesses by their clients or via contract. Usually the umbrella can be obtained after the primary casualty terms are in place.

A commercial umbrella policy is like third base – we only pay attention to it when we are hurrying home. That’s because we usually have to wait until the primary casualty terms are in place before we can begin focusing on the umbrella – and by then, time is quickly running out!

Anecdotal evidence of this tendency can be found in the typical answer to any question of coverage found in a commercial umbrella – it follows form. Unfortunately, this answer is too often not accurate. A fact that you would rather not discover after a large claim is denied by the umbrella insurer even though it is covered by an underlying policy.

Excess, Umbrella – A Rose by Any Other Name

The confusion begins with what we name the form (alternately, excess liability policy or umbrella liability policy). An umbrella policy may be described as a specific type of excess liability policy — a policy whose value may be measured by comparing that particular form to the three objectives an umbrella is generally designed to achieve.
As you cannot determine the substance of a book solely by examining its title, similarly the title of the policy form — excess or umbrella — does not reveal the terms of coverage. Titles such as “Excess Liability Protection,” “Commercial Umbrella,” “Commercial Excess Liability Policy ” and “Commercial Umbrella Liability Coverage Form” are commonly used but reveal very little about what is covered by the umbrella policy.Read More »Commercial Umbrella Explained

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