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Construction Defects - Background, Reserving Methodologies and Trends Presented by: Ronald T. Kozlowski, FCAS, MAAA September 8, 2003 Casualty Loss Reserve.

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Presentation on theme: "Construction Defects - Background, Reserving Methodologies and Trends Presented by: Ronald T. Kozlowski, FCAS, MAAA September 8, 2003 Casualty Loss Reserve."— Presentation transcript:

1 Construction Defects - Background, Reserving Methodologies and Trends Presented by: Ronald T. Kozlowski, FCAS, MAAA September 8, 2003 Casualty Loss Reserve Seminar

2 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 2 California Population Growth and Housing Supply Shortage n In the late 70s through early 90s, California experienced unprecedented population and housing growth n CA population growth was twice the US population growth rate in many periods n Demand for housing exceeded supply n Construction of multi-family units (condos, townhomes) increased significantly n Builders stepped up production Unskilled construction labor cut corners - cheaper materials and built quicker Less supervision

3 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 3 Litigation Ensues n Aggressive plaintiffs bar n Success in early suits funded additional suits n Unfavorable legal decisions (discussed later) n Construction of multi-family units (condos, townhomes) encourages large cases multi-family units four times more likely to sue n Homeowners associations sold on idea by aggressive lawyers potential suits against condo Board if Board fails to take action

4 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 4 Major Exposed Classes of Business n Real estate managers n General contractors n Sub-contractors n Artisans (e.g., plumbers, landscapers, electricians) n Owners and developers n Architects and engineers n Manufacturers of construction and building products-roofing materials, plumbing systems, windows and doors, drywall, stucco and siding

5 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 5 CD Most Commonly Alleged Defects n Roofing n Sheet Metal Flashing n Lath & Plaster n Soils n Rough Framing n Waterproofing n Doors & Windows n Concrete n Painting n Masonry n Design & Plan Deficiencies n Site Work n Metals n Carpentry n Thermal & Moisture Protection n Finishes n Specialties n Mechanical n Electrical n Water Damage/Fungus/Dry Rot/Structural Pest Control

6 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 6 Important Legal Cases n I - Montrose Chemical Corp v. Superior Court (Canadian Universal Insurance Co) An insurer must defend an insured in case involving the discharge of hazardous substances Even if the complaint only alleges property damage that would trigger coverage n II - Montrose Chemical Corp v. Admiral Insurance Continuous trigger: all insurers with potential for property damage during policy period - Applies to duty defend only Does not address allocation among insurers

7 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 7 Important Legal Cases (Cont.) n Stonewall Insurance Co. v. City of Palos Verdes Estates First post-Montrose v. Admiral case to examine duty to indemnity in context of construction defect claims Continuous trigger of coverage determines the obligation of successive liability insurers to indemnity n Combined effects: Increased ALAE due to defense requirement More limits at risk; increased severity Multiple carriers on many claims Significant claim count increases

8 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 8 Important Legal Cases (Cont.) n Aas v. William Lyon Company Supreme court decision disallowing negligence claims for construction defects unless damage has actually occurred (a defect without resultant damage is not sufficient for a liability claim) Does not define property damage Claims for defects must be brought under home warranties instead Unfortunately, only removes one theory of liability and plaintiffs have been successful using other avenues against insurance policies

9 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 9 Important Legal Cases (Cont.) n Presley Homes v. American States Insurance Co Presley tendered its defense to subcontractors insurer via additional insured endorsement Insurer offered to pay share of Presleys costs, assuming it had duty to defend only on those suits where subcontractor was named insured Court ruled duty to defend applies where there is mere potential for coverage duty to defend applies to entire action Effects Shifts ALAE costs from contractor to subcontractor More defendants (claims), lower severity (ALAE only)

10 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 10 Statute of Limitations n Patent Defects Apparent with reasonable inspection Statute of limitations requires claim to be submitted within 2 to 3 years of project completion n Latent Defects Defect is not apparent by reasonable inspection More time is allowed to submit a claim, in some cases 10 years after completion (CA). For comparison purposes, AZ is 8 years, and WA is 6 years (confirmed by WA supreme court in September 2001)

11 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 11 Mold n Water damage, mold and construction defects are intricately related n Moving from personal lines to commercial lines as personal lines incorporate sub-limits or exclude mold entirely n If the mold is caused by excess moisture which was in turn caused by construction defects, the cost to clean up the mold and the cost of repairs to prevent future mold may be covered n Construction defect claims are currently property damage claims, but addition of mold could lead to bodily injury claims However, the standard pollution exclusion is currently being used to avoid bodily injury claims

12 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 12 Mold (Cont.) n Insurance Information Institute estimates 10,000 mold related lawsuits pending in U.S. - 20% involve construction defect n 52 mold related bills introduced in 20 states during 2003 legislative session n Mold allegations being thrown in as negotiating tool n Issues in CA, FL, LA, MI, NV, NY, NC, ND, TX, WA

13 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 13 EIFS n Exterior Insulating Finishing Systems (EIFS) n Synthetic stucco n Water gets trapped behind the stucco and rots the frame, plywood, and particle board n If installed correctly, could be a manageable risk n In the past, primarily a residential problem; may become a commercial problem in the future: in 1997, EIFS used only on 1.5% of residential, but on 22% of commercial construction; residential failures have not curtailed commercial applications n Some homebuilders insurance companies have taken action to exclude EIFS construction from commercial general liability policies; insurers of commercial builders have not taken the same action n Warm climates such as AL, Southern CA, FL, TX and NV

14 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 14 Reducing Exposures n Many carriers exited the market starting as early as 1992 n Some carriers reduced exposure to target classes like residential contractors but continued to write commercial contractors and subcontractors n Many carriers placed known and continuing endorsements or Montrose endorsements on policies beginning as early as 1996 Standard ISO Form denies coverage for claims that were know prior to the policy period Some carriers are even more restrictive, excluding claims first occurring prior to the policy period n New multi-family units in California drop from 18,681 in 1994 to 2,945 in 1999 n Today many contractors looking at self-insurance and captive options

15 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 15 Common Exclusionary Endorsements n Known loss provisions excludes coverage where insured was aware (ISO/2001) some exclusions apply to known and continuing deemer provision - property losses deemed to have occurred at a specific time; only one policy can be triggered n EIFS exclusion - appears on EIFS installation contractors and contractors tied to moisture (e.g., roofers, HVAC, plumbers, window installers) n Mold exclusions - applies to broad spectrum of contractors (e.g., roofers, HVAC, plumbers, window/sheetrock /siding installers, foundation workers, landscapers) n Earth movement exclusions - applies to contractors working on foundations or grading; applies to earthquake prone areas

16 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 16 Common Exclusionary Endorsements (Cont.) n Residential construction exclusions - carve out protection on mainly commercial contractors/subcontractors n Damage to Your Work exclusion - prevents policy from acting as warranty on insureds work n Subcontractor exclusion endorsements - can add back in damage caused by subcontractors work n Additional insured endorsements - adds contractor as an additional insured; questions as to whether applies to completed operations or losses caused by insureds own negligence (pre all; post ongoing) n Other insurance - if other insurance exists this policy is excess; recent court decision that should be treated as primary n Endorsements generally do not eliminate coverage but rather shift responsibility

17 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 17 Notice and Opportunity to Repair Legislation n Generally provide builder with written notice and description of alleged defects - 90 days before filing lawsuit n California - Calderon Act Homeowners association must provide notice of a claim to the developer and to the members of its association before filing a lawsuit Specifically, must give written notice to the builder against whom the claim will be made, including a list of defects Does not apply to single family homes Encourages parties to talk Final result is that filing of lawsuits gets delayed, increasing lag time Ineffective

18 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 18 Notice and Opportunity to Repair Legislation (Cont.) n California - Steinberg Mandatory Negotiation Bill Effective July 1, 2002 Builders, subcontractors, insurers and suing homeowners will be required to negotiate a solution to specific alleged defects in a timely manner before a lawsuit can be filed A construction defect expert will act as a referee Bill is supported by both builders and attorneys If cases go to trial, courts required to give these cases priority Intended to be an improvement over Calderon

19 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 19 Notice and Opportunity to Repair Legislation (Cont.) n Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, Washington and West Virginia have adopted n Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas are considering

20 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 20 Claim Coding - What is the accident date? n Due to Montrose, the claim can trigger any policy between the date of project completion or the date of third-party damage and the date of remediation n Insurers may not code claims consistently Record entire claim in policy period where project was completed or first effective policy thereafter. As policy limits are extinguished open up new claim on next policy Record a claim in every policy effective between completion and remediation Record expense on only one policy or multiple

21 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 21 Why are CD claims so complicated? n Reporting lag n Multiple claimants n Multiple defendants n Multiple insurance companies n Litigious environment n Additional insured endorsements

22 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 22 Issues to Address Exposures/Underwriting n Policy year n California and Other States n Developer/Contractor v. Subs/Artisans n Changes in mix by SIC codes, class, etc. n Primary and/or excess n Endorsements/coverage restrictions n Premium and exposures n Other mitigation efforts When setting reserves, it is critical to obtain background information on the following topics:

23 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 23 Issues to Address (Cont.) Coding/Availability of Data n By report year and accident year n Definition of CD claim n Coding of accident year n Limits n Reinsurance n Sub-classes additional insured endorsements EIFS mold

24 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 24 Issues to Address (Cont.) Claim Adjusting/LAE n Reserve setting practices e.g., independent or formula reserves n Treatment of ALAE as regards reinsurance (in or out of limit) n Changes in reserving methodology

25 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 25 CD Reserving Methodologies n Several methods are typically used to provide an overall picture of the companys reserve exposure and to test sensitivity n For starters, obtain a claim download to facilitate detailed claim analysis n Reserving methods include Accident year analysis Report year analysis, including varying runoff claim estimates using multiple claim reporting scenarios Exposure analysis Calendar year analysis Varied loss development approaches using both CD specific and non-CD loss development factors

26 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 26 Tillinghasts Best Practice Method n Combination of Report Year Loss Development and Frequency/Severity Method for Pure IBNR n Analyze accident year and report year data cumulative, incremental, loss development factor basis loss development - paid and reported, loss & ALAE separately claim count development - reported, CWP, CWNP paid/reported ratios severities - paid, paid-on-closed, reported count ratios - closed/reported, CWP/closed, CWNP/closed large loss data net/gross ratios

27 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 27 Tillinghasts Best Practice Method (Cont.) n Report Year Loss Development Straight-forward loss development methodology to estimate supplemental reserves on known claims Is past development appropriate for future? Changes in claims operations (e.g., movement to specialized units) Changes in reserving philosophy Pre- & Post-Montrose considerations Impact of large claims Managements opinion that future development will be less

28 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 28 Tillinghasts Best Practice Method (Cont.) n Frequency/Severity Method for Pure IBNR Estimate future claim counts Accident year loss development method Accident year loss development method w/ tempered LDFs Bornhuetter-Ferguson method using premium, risk factor, and claim frequency as initial expected claim count Reasonability check on calendar runoff Estimate CWP ratios select after reviewing accident year and report year data

29 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 29 Tillinghasts Best Practice Method (Cont.) n Frequency/Severity Method for Pure IBNR (Cont.) Estimate loss and ALAE severities using paid on closed claims using reported losses and estimated CWP make adjustments for large losses select trend factor

30 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 30 Trends n Claim counts Depends upon when reduced exposure Reported peaked in 2000 to 2001, started decreasing in 2002 mostly from mid 1990s accident years Some companies saw spike in (could be mold or additional insured claims) n Severity Appears to be decreasing Larger claims settled or in litigation Impacted by more defendants Depends on contractor or subcontractor - additional insured endorsement

31 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 31 Trends (Cont.) n New States AZ, CO, FL, NV, NM, NC, OR, SC, TX, WA and WY n Developer v. subcontractor developer used to pay 50% - 60%; now pays 20% - 30%1 developers may be running out of limits n ALAE/Loss ALAE currently ranges from 80% to 110% of loss Ratio rising - impacted by lower loss payments and possibly increasing AI exposure n CWP/Reported ratios Decreasing Quick coverage denials/shot gun approach 1 Thomas E. Miller, California Attorney

32 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 32 Trends (Cont.) n Reinsurance Lower severities leading to less recoveries

33 S:\21643\03TILL\Presentations\ConstructionDefects (final).ppt 33 Other Issues n Consideration of insolvent insurers Remaining companies to share loss California Insurance Guarantee Association - denies coverage if other insurance is available n General contractors running out of limits n Chapter 40 Nevada law which allows plaintiff to recover legal costs from defendant if plaintiff wins case


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