Deciphering Additional Insured vs. Designated Insured Endorsements on a Business Auto Policy

The labyrinthine lexicon of insurance terminology can often leave one feeling as if they're grappling with an enigmatic foreign language. For businesses seeking coverage to fulfill their contractual commitments, the seemingly synonymous terms "additional insured" and "designated insured" might be misleadingly similar, yet they possess nuanced connotations within the realm of a Business Auto Policy (BAP). These phrases assume an indispensable role in delineating the breadth of coverage bestowed upon the entities involved. Let's delve into the disparities to unravel the disparities between additional insured and designated insured endorsements within the context of a BAP.

Additional Insured: Extending the Veil of Protection Beyond the Principal Policyholder

The concept of an additional insured stems from the desire to extend insurance coverage beyond the primary policyholder. In the context of the BAP, an additional insured is an entity or individual other than the policyholder who gains limited coverage under the policy. This often occurs when one party (the policyholder) is contractually obligated to make another party (the additional insured) for potential claims arising out of the policyholder's automobile related operations.

To illustrate, consider a scenario where a real estate owner engages a subcontractor to perform certain tasks that involve the use of vehicles. In this case, the building owner contractually requires to be included as an additional insured on the subcontractor's BAP. By doing so, the building owner ensures that they are covered in case of accidents or incidents caused by the subcontractor's vehicles during the project.

Designated Insured: An Illusion of Coverage

While an additional insured enjoys limited coverage under the primary policyholder's BAP policy, a Designated Insured merely presents the illusion of providing coverage. Upon closer inspection of ISO’s Designated Insured endorsement (CA 2048), one discerns the following provision:

"Each person or organization indicated in the Schedule is an 'insured' for Liability Coverage, but solely to the extent that said person or organization qualifies as an 'insured' in accordance with the Who Is An Insured Provision contained in Section II of the Coverage Form."

In other words, one is deemed an additional insured solely if one already satisfies the definition of Who Is An Insured. This circular provision falls short of amending the policy. To further buttress the lack of coverage modification, the endorsement iterates:

"This endorsement does not amend the coverage provided in the Coverage Form."

This concise sentence encapsulates the essence of the endorsement's insignificance. If it brings about no alteration, then why do insurers incorporate it into their policies? More critically, why do agents and brokers issue certificates signifying designated insured status when the contract expressly calls for additional insured status?

The distinction between additional insured and designated insured within the confines of a BAP is profound. Recognizing that additional insured status confers limited coverage upon third parties as stipulated in written agreements, while designated insured status offers no such protection, marks the difference between a satisfied policyholder and one contemplating legal recourse against your agency.

Next Blogs