Insurance Lingo: Waivers of Subrogation

So you’ve got a nice new contract with a much larger customer now. And you read the paperwork as it comes over and it says that you agree to a Waiver of Subrogation. Waiver of Subrogation! What in the world is that?

Hi, I’m Jeff Gordon from Gordon Atlantic Insurance and a waiver of subrogation is something that we see commonly with contracting relationships.

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What is Subrogation?

But let’s talk about what subrogation is first and then we’ll talk about how to waive it. So subrogation actually is the process in which an insurance company may pay a claim and then say that their customer was not the responsible party.

Waivers of Subrogation

Subrogation happens when a broker pays for their clients and then say they were not the ones at fault.

Subrogation in the Auto Industry

A classic example of subrogation is the car accident scenario. Roughly speaking, half the car accidents that happen are the other driver’s fault.

Waivers of Subrogation

Waivers of Subrogations are particularly used in the automobile industry.

So after the car has been fixed and after the claims were paid and everybody goes about their business, the lawyers in the background from company A could say “hey, your driver was responsible for this and our bill was $2745 dollars. Pay it.”

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Company B says “OK, we’ll pay it” because they know they’re going to lose if they go to court. They know who was responsible. So subrogation is a recovery process.

What a Waiver of Subrogation Means for Your Business

So what’s a waiver of subrogation? A waiver of subrogation says “if I’m a contractor and I hurt myself on your premises, my worker’s compensation will pay for my lost wages and my medical and all that stuff. But they can’t come after you.”

And so a waiver of subrogation oftentimes comes with a cost because underwriters know that when they grant this, they’re not going to be able to recover and that’s part of where they get their money to pay other claims.

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Don’t Let Waivers of Subrogation Scare You

This is fairly common in contracting operations, but don’t let it scare you. It’s not terribly expensive, but often it will come with a cost. We see it most commonly with worker’s compensation and with general liability and oftentimes in contracting operations. But it’s not scary. It’s not crazy. It’s actually quite simple when you understand the terms.

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