Is My Employee Covered On An International Business Trip?

I had a client call last week to ask  if his business would be covered by his general liability insurance policy if his employee was traveling internationally and caused bodily injury or property damage to a client of theirs. Truthfully, I didn’t know the sure answer to his question. This was the first time anyone had ever asked it. If this was in the United States, the answer would be easy….yes. However, would coverage apply internationally? 

I reviewed the Coverage Territory on the standard commercial general liability policy form and found “Coverage Territory” means: 

a. The United States of America (including its territories and possessions), Puerto Rico and Canada;

b. International waters or airspace, but only if the injury or damage occurs in the course of travel or transportation between any places included in a. above;

c. All other parts of the world if the injury or damage arises out of:

(1) Goods or products made or sold by you in the territory described in a. above;  

(2) The activities of a person whose home is in the territory described in a. above, but is away for a short time on your business; or

(3) “Personal and advertising injury” offenses that take place through the Internet or similar electronic means of communication  

provided the insured’s responsibility to pay damages is determined in the United States of America (including its territories and possessions), Puerto Rico or Canada, in a “suit” on the merits according to the substantive law in such territory, or in a settlement we agree to. 

Unless you’re a lawyer or an insurance agent or something, this might look like a foreign language to you. Let me translate. Under, c.(2) above, my client would have coverage in a general liability claim since his home is in the United States he and is away for a short time on business. Note, however, that my client’s responsibility to pay damages would have to be determined by a U.S. Court, not an international court. 

And you thought that all insurance agents do all day is run quotes and punch numbers, didn’t you?

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About Jim Kinmartin - Business Insurance & Risk Management Broker

Jim is a California licensed Property & Casualty AND Accident & Health insurance agent working at the ISU - Olson Duncan Insurance brokerage in Torrance, CA. He grew up in Fullerton, CA and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Long Beach, CA. Have questions? Just ask! Or, follow Jim on Twitter at @JimKinmartin

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