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Claims professionals must have a firm grasp on the nuances of the terms “independent contractor” and “subcontractor” when grappling with injury-to-independent-contractor exclusions in commercial general liability (CGL) policies. These provisions typically exclude claims arising from bodily injury to an insured’s independent contractors or employees of the independent contractors. 

Growing numbers of insureds are arguing that third-party claimants are “subcontractors” rather than “independent contractors” in order to obtain coverage for the third-party claims, while avoiding application of the injury-to-independent-contractor exclusions. Because little case law interpreting these exclusions exists, it can be a challenge to effectively address claims that could potentially fall under these exclusions, and to place your company in an optimal position to win summary judgment in a possible coverage action.

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