Missing insurance policies? No Problem. Standardized form policy language may be used to establish the terms and conditions
In the 1930s, insurance industry groups were drafting standardized general liability insurance policy forms and endorsements. These insurance industry drafting groups included members of major property casualty insurance companies in the U.S. These groups operated under the auspices of insurance industry rating bureaus, including the Insurance Rating Board (“IRB”) and its predecessor the National Bureau of Casualty Underwriting (“NBCU”), the Mutual Insurance Rating Bureau (“MIRB”) and others. The IRB, MIRB and others merged in the early 1970s to form the Insurance Services Office (“ISO”).
In 1941, the first standard-form CGL policy form was created. The drafting groups in the rating bureaus revised the standard CGL policy form periodically, issuing updated CGL policy forms for use throughout the U.S. in 1943, 1947, 1955, 1966, 1973, 1986, and periodically thereafter. See, E. Anderson, J. Stanzler and L. Masters, Insurance Coverage Litigation, 2d Edition, Aspen Law & Business (1997) §§1.02, 15.02.
Standard forms were required to be used by members and subscribers of the NBCU and its successors, unless state regulatory authorities approved variations submitted to it. As affirmed in the case Century Indemnity Company v. Aero-Motive Manufacturing Company, 254 F. Supp.2d 670, 685-686 (W.D. Mich. 2003), the Court in that suit cited and relied upon case law that a member of the NBCU “was required to use NBCU CGL forms unless it applied for and received approval to deviate from those forms.” In addition, the instructions to the 1955 standard NBCU CGL form specifically provide in the section entitled “Standard Language” that each “form is expressed in standard language which may not be amended and no part of which may be omitted, except, (a) as indicated by these instructions, or (b) as indicated in reference notes shown below referring to specific portions of the form, or (c) by an endorsement . . . which states an amendment or exclusion of some provision of this form . . . , the form of which endorsement has been approved, if required, by the supervising authority of the state in which the policy is issued; provided, however, any major “Insuring Agreement,” which defines a particular class of insurance, and all other provisions of the policy relating solely and specifically to that class may be omitted from the printed policy form at the option of the company.”
So, if a policyholder has a declarations page of a missing insurance policy, or evidence of the elements of an insurance policy normally contained in the declarations page (the name of the insured and the insurance company, the policy period, the type of risks covered, the policy limits, etc.), then the terms and conditions for that missing insurance policy can be established through reconstruction by using the standard forms or wording utilized by the insurance company.