Commercial Liability

Commercial Liability: Third Party Bodily Injury or Property Damages arising out of your business operations noted in your policy.  Liability exposures include:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL) & Completed Operations: This general liability pertains to all types of business as protection in your day-to-day operations for damages you become legally obligated to pay during the project and once the project is completed. There are liability exclusions under a CGL that are specifically insured under their own liability coverages. These include (not limited to);


  • Professional Liability/Errors & Omissions Liability: individuals deemed as “professionals” such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, accounts require insurance to protect them for damages they become legally obligated to pay. These damages are a result of negligence in their work or decision-making causing third party bodily injury or property damages.


  • Directors & Officers Liability: protection for directors and officers serving a company should they be personally sued for damages as a result of their decision-making.


  • Pollution/Environmental Liability: insurance designed to respond to claims stemming from the release of pollutants/hazardous products into the environment.

Claims Examples:

Commercial General Liability:

Completed Operations – Contractor

Six months after a roofing contractor finishes work at a bank, melting snow enters through the roof and ruins multiple network servers.

General Liability – Contractor

During the installation of a railing by a metalworker, the day comes to an end and the metalworker fails to block off the open staircase he did not finish.  Early the next morning another contractor comes in and falls through the hole 10 feet and suffers severe back injuries.

General Liability – Building Owner.

The owner of a commercial building is away for a week’s holiday and a major winter storm comes through her town. She fails to hire someone to clear her walks and spread sand on the ice that formulated during the storm.  An elderly man slips and falls breaking a hip.

Professional Liability/Errors & Omissions Liability:

Engineer Error: Insufficient Field Review

Changes to a civil engineer’s recommended excavation method for a damaged municipal drain resulted in drain collapse when inappropriate backfill processes were used. The engineer was sued by the municipality for insufficient field review where the backfill process could have been corrected in time to avoid damage.

Contractor Installation Error

A quality control inspector was retained to perform quality control in the context of the construction of multiple office towers. The owner discovered the windows had been improperly installed and claimed against the inspector and other implicated parties for the costs of reinstalling the windows correctly.

Media Communications – Libel

A newspaper published an article regarding a municipal politician involved in a number of local scandals. The article made reference to the politician as being “infamous.” The politician instituted a Small Claims Court action against the newspaper alleging libel.

Medical – Blood Test Error

A patient alleged that she suffered damages to her biceps’ tendons following the blood test performed by a diagnostic laboratory. She sought damages for constant discomfort and the necessity to change her career as she had lost a significant range of motion of her arm.

Directors & Officers Liability:

Misrepresentation – Public & Private Companies

The chief financial officer and directors of a company were sued for misrepresenting the financial state of the company to lenders immediately prior to the bankruptcy of the company.

Insolvent Company – Public & Private Companies

Officers of an insolvent company who told suppliers, “when we get paid, you get paid,” were held personally liable.

Negligence and Breach of Trust – Not For Profit Organization

After filing for bankruptcy, a non-profit organization was sued for negligence and breach of trust for failing to repay a temporary operating fund provided by another organization for a fundraising event.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Not For Profit Organization

A member of a professional association sued the association and several of its directors and officers as a result of a disagreement with respect to licensing requirements. The member sought damages as compensation for the alleged breach of fiduciary duty, defamation and interference with economic interests.

Pollution/Environmental Liability

Equipment Leak

A piece of machinery was moved from the shop floor at a manufacturing plant as part of a process line re-organization, at which point a leak was discovered emanating from the equipment into an unsealed trench pit.

Oil release – Tank Liability

A trailer storing barrels of oil at a manufacturing facility flipped over when a support leg failed, resulting in a release of oil from the damaged barrels.

Toxic mould formed after water damage cleanup – Contractors & Consultants

A restoration contractor was hired to clean up and remediate a condominium complex after a water pipe had ruptured causing water damage to many suites. After the job was completed, the contractor was sued when it was discovered that areas of drywall and insulation were wet, and toxic mould had formed, resulting in bodily injury.

Environmental Fine for Pollution of River – Contractors & Consultants

During construction of a new aquatic centre a piling subcontractor struck and ruptured an existing water main, which led to the discharge of approximately 12 million litres of chlorinated water into a nearby river. In addition to cleanup and monitoring costs, the general contractor was fined under the Fisheries Act.

Risk Management Resources

Subcontractor Management Plan

Benefits of Commercial General Liability