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Modifying insurance certificates

Certificates cannot vary from contract

Some business transactions require proof of insurance. This is normally provided through a certificate of insurance. Construction contracts, leases, and arrangements for special events are all things that can require a certificate of insurance.

Certificates of insurance are not the same as an insurance policy. They are issued for information only; they do not amend, extend, or change coverage. There should be no variation in the information presented on the certificate from the coverage or conditions that are a part of the contract. Insurers that do business in Oregon must file their contract forms for approval before using them.

Agents who represent coverage on the certificate that is not in the contract or in the process of being endorsed to the contract could be disciplined for intentionally misrepresenting the terms of the contract. Penalties can range from a fine to revocation of a license.

For example, a contract or lease often requires that the certificate holder be listed as an additional person covered by the policy. The policy contract must either have a blanket additional insured endorsement or the insurer must add the person.

Often, the contract will require notice of cancellation with a specific number of days' notice. The certificate states only that the insurer will deliver notice "in accordance with policy provisions" and can be altered only by a change in the contract.

Key links

ORS 742.003 covers the filing and approval of policy forms

ORS 744.074 (1) (e) outlines the potential violation for issuing a certificate of insurance that misrepresents the policy