PIA of Ga., Commissioner’s Office, Warn Against Altering ‘Certificates of Insurance’

July 15, 2005

Agents in Georgia have been contacting the Professional Insurance Agents of Georgia to discuss requests to make alternations to Georgia Certificates of Insurance. Jerry W. Duke, PIA of Georgia executive vice president has just warned members that making alterations to Certificates of Insurance could be a violation of the law. He cited a statement by Allen Hayes, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance clarifying the issue:

“It has been called to the attention of this department that in many instances large firms have preprinted ‘Certificate of Insurance’ forms for their corporate use,” the statement said. “These forms, generally speaking, are designed to simplify their internal procedure and/or set forth the required insurance limits which the firm would require of the borrower, a contractor, a subcontractor doing work for the firm, or other entity requiring evidence of insurance, and in many cases covers property, workers’ compensation, employers’ liability, general liability and automobile liability.

“Our examination of several of these forms indicates that, in some instances, an ‘Indemnity Agreement,’ tantamount to a complete ‘hold harmless’ agreement is incorporated within the body of these ‘Certificate of Insurance’ forms. Additionally, some forms appear to have been designed to broaden policy coverages.

“It is the opinion of this department that when an insurance company executes such a ‘certificate’ which contains more than a synopsis of the actual insurance contract in existence, it is going beyond the scope of its filings and is, therefore, in violation of the Georgia Insurance Code. Therefore, no insurer or agent should issue or sign a certificate of insurance that contains language that would alter any policy coverage, exclusion, provision or condition.”

Evans instructed all insurers to inform their personnel and agents of the contents of the department’s directive. Questions can be directed to Dan Champlin, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, 716 West Tower, Floyd Building, No 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30334, or phone (404) 656-9140.

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