Buyer Beware: Insurance Agents May Have No Duty to Sell Construction Contractors an Insurance Policy Covering Likely Claims

Glasses lying on Insurance Coverage document

Colorado follows the general rule that insurance agents have a duty to act with reasonable care toward their insureds, but, absent a special relationship between the insured and the insurer’s agent, that agent has no affirmative duty to advise or warn his or her customer of provisions contained in an insurance policy.

May 20, 2024
David McLain - Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell, LLC

Construction contractors in the market for insurance coverage have few legal protections if their insurance agent fails to provide insurance that covers likely claims against the contractor. As construction defect lawsuits continue to be a frequent occurrence throughout Colorado, we have seen an increase in the number and complexity of coverage endorsements and exclusions in insurance policies. Some of these exclusions result in insurance policies that are essentially useless to the contractor who purchased them. For example, we have seen dirt work contractors with earth movement exclusions or an earth movement sublimit that turns their $2 million policy into a $100,000 policy. We have seen contractors who primarily build tract homes in subdivisions with tract home exclusions. We have seen general contractors whose policies state that every subcontractor must name the contractor as an additional insured or else the general contactor’s policy converts from a seven-figure policy to a five-figure policy with eroding limits (meaning that the attorney’s fees, expert fees, and litigation costs reduce the coverage limits). The list goes on and leads to an unfortunately high number of contractors who pay significant sums for their insurance policies, finding themselves uninsured or underinsured.

Mr. McLain may be contacted at


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