Viewpoint: Strategic Management of Builder’s Risk Claims in Infrastructure Projects

The concept of builder’s risk insurance revolves around providing coverage for potential losses that occur during the construction or renovation of a building or infrastructure project. Builder’s risk insurance can also cover losses caused by delays in construction projects due to covered perils, which makes it especially significant in infrastructure projects.

This type of coverage offers comprehensive protection against unforeseen and accidental damages, subject to policy exclusions and limitations. Here are the key aspects of builder’s risk insurance and its significance in infrastructure projects:

Overall, builder’s risk insurance plays a vital role in infrastructure projects by providing financial protection, ensuring project continuity, and minimizing potential losses and liabilities associated with construction-related damages or delays. Its significance lies in safeguarding the interests of the parties involved and supporting the successful completion of construction projects.

Key Players in Builder’s Risk Claims

In a builder’s risk claim, several key players are typically involved, each with their specific roles and responsibilities.

Navigating Through the Roles of Policyholders and Insurers

It’s important to note that the specific players and their roles may vary depending on the circumstances of the claim and the policies and procedures of the insurance company. The roles described below provide a general overview of the typical players involved in a builder’s risk claim. The main players in a builder’s risk claim can include the policyholder, insurance company, adjuster, insured contractor or owner, contractors or subcontractors, engineers or consultants, third-party experts and legal professionals.

The following is a generic description of the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties in a typical builder’s risk claim to create a common knowledge base for readers to follow this paper. They, in no way and shape, can be considered a legal definition of the role of the parties.


The policyholder is the entity that purchased the builder’s risk insurance policy and has the primary responsibility of notifying the insurance company about the claim, providing relevant documentation, and cooperating throughout the claims process. The policyholder is typically the owner or the main general contractor of the infrastructure project (insured).

Insurance Company

The insurance company underwrites the builder’s risk insurance policy. They assess and process the claim filed by the policyholder. The insurance company’s role includes investigating the claim, determining coverage, evaluating the damages or losses, and negotiating a settlement. In larger infrastructure projects, typically more than one insurance companies are involved (insurer(s)).

Owner/Insured Contractor

In some cases, the insured contractor or project owner may be directly involved in the claims process. They provide relevant information, documentation, and assistance to the insurance company or claims person during the investigation and evaluation of the claim. Their role may also involve collaborating with the claims person to resolve issues or disputes related to the claim.


The construction claims person or adjuster represents the insurance company and is responsible for handling the builder’s risk claim. Their role includes assessing the claim, investigating the damages, determining liability, quantifying losses, negotiating settlements, and ensuring adherence to the policy terms and conditions. They typically retain other professionals on behalf of the insurer(s) to assist them in the loss adjustment.

Contractors or Subcontractors

Contractors or subcontractors who are involved in the construction project may play a role in the claims process. They may provide information, documentation, or expert opinions related to the damages, repairs, or delays. They may also be responsible for carrying out repairs or restoration work as part of the loss remediation.

Engineers / Consultants

Depending on the nature and complexity of the loss/claim, engineers or other specialized consultants may be engaged to assess the damages, evaluate the structural integrity, provide expert opinions, or assist in the quantification of losses. Their role is to provide technical expertise and support in the claims evaluation process.

Third Party Experts

In certain situations, third-party experts may be involved, such as forensic accountants, loss adjusters, and specialists in specific fields related to the claim. They assist in assessing the damages, determining the cause of the loss, or providing expert opinions to support the claim evaluation process.

Legal Professionals

In cases where there are disputes involved in the claim, legal professionals may be engaged to provide legal advice, negotiate settlements, or represent the parties involved in legal proceedings related to the claim.

The Anatomy of a Builder’s Risk Claim

A builder’s risk claim refers to an insurance claim made to cover damages or losses that occur during the construction or renovation of a building. The anatomy of a builder’s risk claim typically involves several key components:

The Focus on Infrastructure Projects

Builder’s risk claims in infrastructure projects present unique considerations and challenges compared to other types of construction projects due to their scale and complexity. Here are some factors to consider:

Obtaining appropriate builder’s risk insurance coverage for infrastructure projects is crucial when considering these unique factors and increased risk factors. Adequate coverage should address the specific risks associated with the project, including the scale, complexity, duration, and environmental factors to mitigate potential financial and operational impacts.

Case Study

We will now look at a fictionalized case study where a major loss event occurred on an infrastructure project triggering an assessment by a forensic engineer and a delay expert to assess the claim and resultant damages.

Project Background and Overview of “Northeast Big Move”

Incident Analysis and Immediate Response Strategies

Claim Incident

Assessment Process

Immediate Response

Facts Before the Incident

Expert Evaluation

Key Findings

Cause of the Loss

Damages and Schedule Impact

Claim Resolution, Settlement, and Lessons Learned

Claims Negotiation


Challenges and Lessons Learned

Conclusion: How Forensic Experts and Delay Experts Can Help

Builder’s risk insurance is essential in infrastructure projects to ensure continuity of the project in case of an incident. This article reinforces the importance of understanding the anatomy of builder’s risk claims in infrastructure projects and emphasizes that a comprehensive understanding of the process, key players, and unique challenges enables stakeholders to navigate claims effectively and protect their interests. It is important to work with experienced claims professionals who have expertise in infrastructure projects and who understand the unique challenges and requirements, such as:

Forensic Engineering Experts

Delay Experts

By implementing these practical tips and good practices, policyholders, contractors, and insurance companies can streamline the claims process and avoid common pitfalls in builder’s risk claims for infrastructure projects.