Having a Certificate of Insurance on file isn't enough.
Once we finally receive the much sought after Certificate of Insurance and file it away we sigh with relief. Well, not so fast...
Most COIs are never reviewed once they are received; in fact, it's probably safe to say that most COIs are probably never reviewed at all but simply filed away. It's important to take a few minutes to review the following before filing and moving on.
- Certificate Holder (your organization):. Is this information correct as it appears on the COI? It is important that you as the Certificate Holder have the correct entity name or name(s) shown.
- Policy Effective/Expiration Date(s): There should be a current policy period shown.
- Date: The date shown in the upper right-hand corner of the COI should be today's date.
- Signature: There should be a signature from an authorized representative shown in the lower right hand corner of the form.
- Policy Number: Without this information you have nothing to reference.
- Named insured: The organization from which you've requested a COI. Is it correct?
- Coverage provided: Are the coverages you've requested shown on the COI?
- Policy limits: Are the limits you've requested shown on the COI?
- Name of the issuing insurance carrier: Is a carrier indicated for every policy listed?
- Additional requirements: If you ask for specific language in the Description of Operations box, such as for Additional Insured, does it appear as your require?
It's also a good idea to have another person or persons within your organization review the COI as one or more of the above items are often missed or overlooked.
It's important to remember a Certificate of Insurance is NOT an insurance policy, and does not serve to provide, endorse, amend, extend or alter in any way the terms of an insurance policy. Only an endorsement, rider or amendment to the policy can effect changes in coverage. Reference to a contract between the client and a third party on a certificate does not provide coverage.