Employment Practices Liability Insurance and ADA
It is unfortunate that few Insurance Agents and/or Brokers are aware of the coverage enhancements available in modern Employment Practice Liability Insurance (EPLI) policies for accusations and claims from 3rd party ADA. And even more unfortunate is that many business owners do not know what is available coverage wise and how inexpensive those great enhancements can be.
3rd Party ADA Claims are nothing new in the realm of Employment Practices Liability and are traditionally explained in the following example:
A delivery carrier is delivering a package to the business. Unbeknownst to the business owner, the delivery professional makes an unwanted to unappreciated advance toward one of the employees of the business owner while he/she is signing for the package. This employee can now make a claim of a hostile work environment toward the business owner for the actions of the delivery professional (the 3rd party).
This is the type of example used by 100’s (if not 1,000’s) of agents and/or broker everyday. However what about other 3rd party type claims?
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Claims from 3rd Parties
Customers and/or Guests of a business or to a business location can file ADA claims whether they actually become customers of the business or not. These types of claims are typically due to the ADA compliance of the space (building, suite, office, etc.) occupied by the business. These claims can cost a business 10’s of thousands of dollars and countless hours to defend. Then there are the damages and cost to remedy the space – but what if you are a tenant business and NOT the landowner?
Many business owners have heard horror stories where someone was blindsided by an ADA claim and was either devastated or completely put out of business; fortunately there is a preventative measure that can be taken and that is to ensure that your policies contain ALL the necessary bells and whistles.
The Number of Title III Lawsuits Tops 10,000 in 2018
The number of lawsuits filed in California increased by 54% from 2751 in 2017 to 4249 in 2018. This record-breaking California number does not even include the many state court filings.
According to ADA Title III, the number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court in 2018 hit a record high of 10,163 – up 34% from 2017 when the number was a mere 7,663. This is by far the highest number of annual filings since we started tracking these numbers in 2013, when the number of federal filings was only 2,722. In other words, the number of cases has more than tripled. The chart below shows the explosion in these types of suits
What is Causing the Drastic Increase in ADA Lawsuits?
There were close to 5,000 ADA lawsuits filed in federal court for alleged website violations in the first six months of 2018. According to an analysis by Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm that specializes in defending such cases. The firm predicted that the number of lawsuits will climb approximately 30% from 2017 to nearly 10,000 by the end of the year.
With online sales, reservations and job postings now a huge part of technology, advocates for the disabled say websites need to be as accessible to everyone, just as brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants and schools are.
Coverage IS Available for 3rd Party ADA Claims
The precaution to protect against 3rd Party ADA claims is already available to most business owners, but is sadly not offered by their Agent and/or Broker. Many EPLI policies can actually be endorsed to provide coverage for the business owner for these exact types of cases. As one would expect, the coverage provides for Defense Cost and Damages; however does not cover the remediation needed to bring a subject space up to compliance. Even with this, the cost of the coverage is typically minimal as compared to the cost of not protecting one’s business.
If you’d like to get a quote or are unsure if your current policy covers 3rd Party ADA claims, please visit our EPLI page.
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As one of the fastest growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more.
We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business. Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive EPLI insurance quote!
Matthew Davis, MBA, CPCU, AAI
Coverage can also be provided on a standalone basis for Property Owners, Landlords, Property Managers, and Real Estate Professionals – Ask us how we can help with those as well.