By Kari Dybdahl

Have you ever been speaking with your insurance agent or insurance company and found yourself completely confused? Don’t worry; you are not alone. Insurance industry jargon can seem like a whole different language, but I’m here to help.

In this blog post, I’ll explain seven common insurance terms you might encounter when dealing with insurance for your business.

1 | Additional insured v. additional named insured

An additional insured applies to a third party for whom you are performing work. This party does not have an insurable interest in your company; however, they do hold liability for the work you perform and may require that they are listed on your insurance policy as an additional insured. For example, if you perform work on a commercial property, the property owner or manager will likely want to be protected against claims resulting from “your work.” For more information on “your work” and what that means to you, check out this post.

An additional named insured means you have common ownership in another company and would like the current policy to extend coverage to this other company as well.

The main difference between an additional insured and an additional named insured is made clear by how each can receive coverage under the policy when a claim or lawsuit comes in. For the policy to respond for an additional insured, the additional insured and the first named insured on the policy must be named in the suit.

An additional named insured may receive policy coverage if they are named in a suit even without the first named insured being included. Therefore, an additional named insured has slightly broader privileges under the policy when it comes to triggering coverage.

2 | Aggregate limit

A policy’s aggregate limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay out during the designated policy period. This is different than a per occurrence limit. The aggregate limit is the most the carrier is responsible to pay over the course of one full policy term. Once this limit is reached, they will not pay a cent more even if you have additional claims or expenses during that policy term. The per occurrence limit listed on the policy is the maximum the carrier would pay for each individual occurrence, loss, or claim until the aggregate limit has been exhausted.

3 | Blanket

This term generally applies to specific wording in the insurance policy or added endorsements related to standard contractual obligations or requirements. The wording essentially grants specific coverage to another party if it is requested or required in a written contract or agreement.

For example, I mentioned that commercial clients may require that you list them as an additional insured. Often, you can add an endorsement on your insurance policy that provides additional insured status on a blanket basis.

In that case, when a third party requests to be an additional insured on your policy, they are provided that status “automatically” as long as it is written into your contract with the third party. This simplifies the contractual agreement phase for both yourself and your insurance team.

4 | Declarations page

A declarations page (or dec page) is part of the insurance policy issued to you and is usually found in the beginning of the policy. The declarations page is a snapshot of your insurance policy, usually about two pages long, that will list your entity name (first named insured), address, policy limits, coverage provided, effective and expiration dates of the policy, insurance carrier, all forms and endorsements on the policy, and any retroactive dates. It is a very important tool to efficiently see the insurance coverage offered by your carrier.

5 | Loss run

The loss run is the history of your claims activity with the insurance carrier for the time you had insurance coverage with them.

This report tracks any claim that you file with the insurance carrier during that policy term. It will show the claimant, date of the loss, a description of the claim, whether the claim is open or closed, the amount of defense or legal fees paid, the amount of indemnity paid to the claimant, and any money set aside by the carrier for anticipated indemnity or defense, aka “reserves.”

Insurance agents and brokers, as well as underwriters and insurance companies, use loss run reports to judge your risk as a contractor and analyze the risk management processes in your company.

6 | Submission

For insurance professionals, “submission” refers to the information about your company that is needed to underwrite and quote your insurance.

In general, a submission includes an application, financial statements, resumes of key personnel, a description of your company, a list of vehicles, a list of property and equipment you own or rent, a list of employees with their associated payroll, and loss runs reports for the insurance coverage you are looking to purchase.

Submission items needed to quote your insurance vary depending on the insurance carrier and the lines of coverage you are requesting.

7 | Combined form

A combined form is an insurance policy that combines multiple lines of coverage into one policy with one policy number. These lines of coverage often share limits of insurance, including the occurrence and aggregate limit.

An example of a combined form would be the liability insurance package available to restoration and remediation contractors that combines your Commercial General Liability (GL) with Contractor’s Environmental Liability (aka Contractor’s Pollution Liability or CPL coverage) and Professional Liability (aka Errors & Omissions Coverage). Often, these combined form policies also include bailee’s coverage and lost key coverage. In many cases, a combined form is more cost-effective and broadens your liability insurance. These policies can be accessed by insurance wholesale brokers specializing in the cleaning and restoration industry.

For more information, check out, www.restorationinsurance.com. If you’re ever wondering what insurance terms mean, never hesitate to reach out. I would love to discuss.


Kari Dybdahl has a decade of experience in the environmental insurance industry assisting clients from carpet cleaners to municipalities. She has received multiple awards and recognition for her work placing compliant insurance for Crawford Contractor Connection members, ICRA members, and many others. Dybdahl designs custom insurance programs alongside Dave Dybdahl. Please reach out to Kari A. Dybdahl with any questions at 608-824-3341 or kari@armr.net.