- Alarm Monitoring Services
- Appraisers (Non-Real Estate)
- Consultants (Except Environmental Or Financial)
- Delivery Firms
- Direct Marketing And Mailing Services
- Document/Information Services
- Employment Agency
- Excavation Notification Services
- Marketing Consulting/Marketing Research Firms
- Mortgage/Loan Brokers and Bankers
- Premium Finance Services
- Property Managers
- Publishers - Directories, Multiple-Listing Services
- Research Organizations
A carrier hired an adjuster to investigate a workers compensation claim in which an 18 year old man had been blinded by ammonia when he disassembled a spraying unit. When the injured party sought to introduce the sprayer as evidence, the employer advised he had disposed of the unit, alleging that the adjuster had told him to. A claim was brought against the adjuster on allegations of spoliation of evidence, and the adjuster's carrier paid over $3 million to settle, after a very expensive defense.
An adjuster hired by the insurance carrier of a trucking firm negotiated a settlement under $50,000 for a claim involving a trucker who fell asleep and struck a parked car, killing an undocumented immigrant and injuring four others. The decedent's parents sued the adjuster, alleging they had been coerced into settling for too little. The adjuster's carrier defended and paid an additional settlement of about $40,000.
ALARM MONITORING SERVICES
Two bank tellers were killed during the robbery of a bank branch in which the alarm monitoring service's silent alarm had been installed. The decedents' survivors sued the alarm monitoring service, as well as law enforcement and the bank, alleging the response to the scene had been too slow. Because the alarm company's policy contained contingent bodily injury/property damage coverage, its carrier defended the case. The litigation was long, arduous and expensive.
APPRAISERS (Non-Real Estate)
A lender retained an appraiser to evaluate the potential borrower's inventory for use as collateral for a loan. When the borrower defaulted and the liquidated collateral brought less than the remaining amount of the loan, the lender sued the appraiser for $1.8 million, alleging it made the loan in reliance upon the appraisal, which was alleged to be incorrectly determined by the appraiser. Defense and settlement were very costly.
CONSULTANTS (Except Environmental or Financial)
A kitchen consultant designed the kitchen of a hospital whose employee sued for injuries resulting from hitting his knee on the door of a piece of kitchen equipment. The employee named the consultant as well as the equipment manufacturer and the hospital, alleging the kitchen layout and equipment weren't safe. Although the case was resolved in favor of the consultant when evidence showed the plaintiff had in reality injured his knee in a sports accident before he came to work that day, the consultant's carrier spent nearly $30,000 defending the case.
A lawyer enlisted a litigation support services consulting firm to help him find an expert for a motorcycle accident case. The expert opined that the motorcycle's brakes were faulty, but shortly before trial, he realized he had examined the wrong set of brakes. His change of opinion ruined the case for the lawyer, who had spent hours preparing for trial based on the first opinion. The lawyer sued the consultant for negligently referring the expert. The consultant's carrier paid the lawyer over $20,000 to settle.
A company provided consulting services to architects and developers for large live entertainment venue halls. After the construction of a symphony hall, the owner sued the consulting company and others, alleging the sound quality in the hall was defective. Defending the case was expensive because of the potentially high exposure for the plaintiff's lost profits claim. The suit settled favorably for the consultant, with the architect paying the bulk of the settlement for providing faulty specifications for the sound equipment.
A document delivery firm accidentally delivered a food processor's bid to a government agency without the supporting exhibits. When the contract was awarded to the food processor's competitor some six months later, the food processor sought damages from the delivery firm for its lost profit. The claim was favorably resolved but legal fees were incurred.
DIRECT MARKETING AND MAILING SERVICES
A large retailer hired a bulk mailer to address and mail a mass promotion. In modifying the retailer's computer records for the job, the bulk mailer made a mistake, causing several million documents to be sent to the wrong addresses. The carrier paid nearly $300,000 for new catalogs and other damages.
A glitch in the address data base of a fulfillment mailer caused a million pieces of mail to go out with the wrong zip codes. The mailer’s carrier paid about $700,000 in defense costs, postal penalties and other damages to the insured's client.
A mailer was contracted to match five mailing lists with five product codes to generate five mailings of a retailer's products for a market research project. The mailer correctly matched lists and codes for groups 1, 3, 4 and 5, but the people on mailing list 2 received no mailing and the people on mailing list 4 received two. The error invalidated the research, and the mailer was sued. The insurance carrier for the mailer paid $300,000.
An employer retained an information services company to check prior employment, criminal record and other background information for a prospective employee. The company hired the employee but then fired him two weeks later when they received a report from the information services company stating he had been convicted of possession of a concealed weapon. He sued the information services company, and, although the case was successfully defended, litigation costs were significant.
An executive was treated at a hospital for injuries he received in a car accident. His employer requested and received his medical records from a document service used by the hospital. Because the records showed the executive had illegal drugs in his system at the time of the accident, he was fired. The executive sued the document service for negligently releasing his records, and the service’s carrier defended the suit. Over $10,000 in defense fees were expended before the case was settled.
A head hunter for high-dollar management positions for corporate clients placed a woman with a management background as a senior officer in a prominent company. The agency subsequently discovered that it had neglected to check her credentials, and when it did so, it learned that, contrary to her representations, she did not possess the requisite college degrees. The agency’s carrier defended a claim from the employer, which resulted in payment of significant damages.
An employment agency recruited a California resident to move to England to take a position there with a British company. Once there, however, she couldn't get a work permit, and eventually the British company terminated the contract with her and hired a British subject. The employee sued the agency for negligence. The agency’s carrier defended the suit by the California-based individual to recover damages resulting from giving up her old job.
EXCAVATION NOTIFICATION SERVICES
A contractor notified an excavation notification service of a location where it planned to dig. The service checked its maps and contacted what it thought were the appropriate utility companies. Unfortunately, it failed to contact the water department, and the excavation ruptured a water main, causing almost $80,000 in damages. Because the notification service's insurance policy provided contingent property damage coverage, the carrier paid nearly $50,000 to settle the water department's claim.
A construction company consulted an excavation notification service to see if there were any utility or telephone lines in the area in which it planned to excavate. When it subsequently severed a telephone line, it claimed the notification service had led it to believe there were no telephone lines there. The notification service was named in the phone company's suit for $500,000. The trial court found the phone company and the construction company to be solely at fault, but the notification service’s carrier defended the claim at a cost of over $30,000.
MARKETING CONSULTING/MARKETING RESEARCH FIRMS
A baby food company retained a marketing consultant to direct television stations to the most effective times to air its commercials. Due to the consultant's clerical error, the wrong products were televised, and/or some products were advertised at the wrong time of day. The marketing consultant's carrier negotiated and settled the baby food company's $100,000 claim for $85,000 but not before defense costs of over $50,000 had been incurred.
A marketing consultant prepared a list of random telephone numbers to be randomly broken into four lists and sent to four field services for a market research project. The consultant mistakenly sent the same list to two of the four services, so that one list was never sent at all. Furthermore, the lists were not completely random. As a result, the data was unusable. The marketing consultant's insurance carrier paid $50,000 to settle the claim.
MORTGAGE/LOAN BROKERS AND BANKERS
A couple applying for a mortgage loan repeatedly asked the broker if there were any charges other than closing costs and points for their assumption of an FHA loan. They claimed they were assured there were none, but several months after the closing, the FHA notified them they had to pay for mortgage loan insurance during the life of the mortgage. They brought suit against the broker for payment for the insurance or rescission of the loan, which the broker’s carrier defended. The case was favorably resolved but defense costs were significant.
A mortgage broker confirmed in writing to a potential mortgage refinancing borrower that very favorable terms were available for a limited time. The broker then misplaced the paperwork, and by the time he found it, the good terms had expired. The broker’s carrier defended the subsequent claim, which settled for almost $10,000 but the costs of defense were twice that!
After a mortgage broker originated and closed a loan for a couple purchasing rural property, the new owners discovered a previously undisclosed lien on the property. In the ensuing litigation, the mortgage broker's insurance carrier successfully defended by asserting a claim against the title company that failed to detect the encumbrance.
PREMIUM FINANCE SERVICES
An elderly lady who had always paid for the homeowner's policy on her mobile home in a lump sum was offered a payment plan by her agent. She agreed to it, and the agent took care of the paperwork. Unfortunately, he didn't provide the correct Truth in Lending information, and she alleged that she only learned that she was paying a very high interest rate after she had made several payments and only after she specifically inquired. She sued the premium finance company as well as her agent, alleging the rate had been kept from her deliberately. The premium finance company's carrier paid over $50,000 to settle the claim; defense costs were very high too.
A car owner's policy, financed through a premium finance company, was cancelled by the premium finance company for failure to make the installment payments on the loan. Proper notice of cancellation was sent. The car owner then had an automobile accident, and when coverage from his auto insurance carrier was denied, he sued, alleging the finance company had previously accepted late payments, leading him to believe he would still have coverage even in the face of further late payments. The finance company’s carrier defended and favorably resolved the case, but defense fees were significant.
A printer’s small correction to the ingredients on a label printed for packages of frosted chocolate cookies crowded off one line of the bar code. The missing line went unnoticed, the labels were affixed to the cookie packages, and the cookies were shipped to various retail stores. Unfortunately, when the scanning troubles began, many stores demanded reparations. The printer's insurance carrier prevented a suit by stepping in and paying damages as the claims came in.
A printer was hired to print a series of baseball contest cards to promote a sporting event. Each card had a scratch-off area to reveal numbers or symbols which could be used to win a contest. A sports writer discovered and published the information that the cards could be taken into a dark room and illuminated with a flash light so that the numbers or symbols shone through. The printer was sued for using the wrong level of opacity to conceal the numbers. The printer's carrier paid to defend and settle the suit.
The owners of a mall retained a commercial property management company to manage the mall and collect rent from the tenants. The anchor tenant, a large clothing retailer, sued the mall owner and the management company, alleging that it had been overcharged nearly $175,000 in rent due to the management company's negligent miscalculation of the floor space it rented. The management company’s carrier defended and settled the case for over $150,000 to the retailer.
Plaintiff apartment complex owner claimed the insured, a property management company, mismanaged the complex, causing the authorities to shut down its operations, pending repairs, resulting in a loss of millions. The property management company’s carrier defended the claim, which was settled for $850,000 after $100,000 was spent in defense.
PUBLISHERS - DIRECTORIES, MULTIPLE-LISTING SERVICES
A restaurant franchisee contracted with a phone directory publisher for placement of an ad in a local directory. Although the franchisee later asked the publisher to cancel the ad because the franchisor had not authorized the ad's text, the publisher erroneously printed it, causing the franchisee to lose its contract with the franchisor. The franchisee sued the publisher for over $200,000 for negligent interference with prospective business relationships (lost future customers), and the publisher’s carrier defended. A judgment of nearly $200,000 was entered against the publisher at trial.
A pet store contracted with a directory publisher to place an ad in a local phone directory stressing a specialty in exotic birds. When the directory was published, a typographical error resulted in a reference to "erotic birds." The pet store sued the publisher for $72,000 because of the lost business and harassment from obscene phone calls. Defense fees were significant although the outcome was successful.
A research firm hired by a developer reported that a planned housing development was not in a flood plain. However, after the developer had built two of the four phases, he discovered the property was indeed within a flood plain. Although there had been no flooding, he argued the existence of the possibility reduced the property values. He sued and the research firm's carrier defended. The case settled for a payment in excess of $300,000 plus defense costs.
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*Some of the above are claims AXIS PRO has handled. In others, AXIS PRO was not directly involved. Coverage for these claims is not to be inferred from this list but must always be determined in reference to a particular insurance policy, which is the controlling document, as well as the facts and circumstances of each claim and applicable law.