Filed Under:Agent Broker, E&S/Specialty Business

ADA Amendments: Broader Definition Likely to Cause Spike in Claims

Steps taken by federal officials to broaden the definition of “disability” is putting pressure on employers—and insurers are forecasting an increase in employment-practices liability (EPLI) claims.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, directed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to revise its regulations “to restore the intent and protections” of the original act, and to address what lawmakers felt was a too-narrow view taken by courts of the original ADA provisions.

In response to the changes, Mason says Chartis is training its underwriters to adjust to the expanded definitions of disability. Pollaro says Markel’s underwriters are taking a similar approach as they would with other emerging issues: a careful watch.

“You need to stay current without reacting for no reason,” he observes.

“They may think their general-liability policy offers coverage, but it’s very limited,” says Magnuson. “It’s best to discuss the issue with your broker to limit your damage. [Clients all] have their commercial-property policy—but they’re more likely to face an EPLI claim than one for fire.”

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS

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