Comprehensive General Liability Policy(全面的一般责任保险)

CGL Minimium Premium

Bodily Injury vs Personal Injury

December 25, 2013 at 11:13am

We are often asked to review the insurance terms in a well penning standard contracts, leases and such. It's quite common for these documents to specify that parties carry certain types of insurance, and liability insurance is almost always mentioned. The lawyers who drafted these contracts may be good lawyers, but they are frequently guilty of serious errors in the wording they use in defining insurance requirements.

One common mistake is to include a requirement for insurance covering "Personal Injury", when in fact what they really want is insurance covering "Bodily Injury". To an ordinary street person they might sound the same, but they have contrasting and distinct meanings in a liability insurance policy.

The standard Public Liability and Comprehensive General Liability (PL or CGL) policies that almost every business has covers claims for bodily injury. Bodily injury means obvious physical bodily injury (bloody injury, bruises, broken bones) or death. Selective policies may extend to cover mental or emotional injury, but normally such coverage attaches only when such injury is claimed as a consequence of a bodily injury claim (so called physical-mental claims). Claims solely for non-tangible psychiatric injuries that arise from purely psychiatric causes, such as stress, anxiety, and fear only (known as mental-mental claims) won't be covered as bodily injury.

Now let's assume CGL policy is a standard Insurance Services Office (ISO) form. This policy has a separate section that provides, in addition to bodily injury coverage, coverage for "personal injury" claims. This section defines "personal and advertising injury" to mean injury, including consequential "bodily injury", arising out of one or more of the following offenses:

1. The use of another's advertising idea in your "advertisement"; or

2. Unintentional Infringing upon another's copyright, trade dress or slogan in your "advertisement".

3. The wrongful eviction from, wrongful entry into, or invasion of the right of private occupancy of a room, dwelling or premises that a person occupies, committed by or on behalf of its owner, landlord or lessor;

4. Oral or written publication, in any manner, of material that slanders or libels a person or organization or disparages a person's or organization's goods, products or services;

5. Oral or written publication, in any manner, of material that violates a person's right of privacy;

6. False arrest, detention or imprisonment;

7. Malicious prosecution;

As you can see, none of these covered personal injury offenses arise from tangible injury. That's the key distinction between bodily injury and personal injury...tangible versus non-tangible injury. Personal injury coverage in the CGL or PL policies are valuable extra protection most policyholders don't know much about. Of course, there are some pertinent exclusions to consider as well. There is generally no personal injury coverage for intentional acts that could knowingly lead to a claim.

There is also no coverage for claims "arising out of oral or written publication of material, if done by or at the direction of an insured with knowledge of its falsity." So if the insured knew that her comments were false and this knowledge of falsity could be substantiated, the insurer would likely have a good reason to deny coverage.

Bloggers or web publisher should beware; judges often enforce these personal injury exclusions.

Going back to the original point, though, personal injury and bodily injury are clearly not the same thing. When reviewing or negotiating leases or contracts, beware of requirements for insurance for "personal injury" when it's clear that what is really wanted is bodily injury coverage.

Scope of Coverage - SPA-ACE CGL Policy reads:-

Subject to the terms, exclusions, definitions, conditions and limitations of the Policy.
ACE will indemnify the Insured  for all sums which the Insured becomes legally liable  to pay as Compensation in respect of:
  • 1. Personal Injury or
  • 2. Property Damage

occurring within the Policy Territory during the Policy Period as a result of an Occurrence happening in connection with the Business

  • Broad form liability policy covering the Third Party liability incurred by the insured arising from their Business in relation to their
  • 1. Premises & Occupational Liability claims; and
  • 2. Product & Completed Operations Liability claims.

Policy provides indemnity for:

  • - Damages for personal injury (inclusive of bodily injury & advertising injury)
  •   claims.
  • - Damages for property damage claims;
  • - Defense Costs and Expenses

- investigation costs;

- All costs incurred by Principle Insurer in the defense of the claims.


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SPA is a registered malaysian insurance agency representative. This guide is designed to provide you with general information in the event of the Comprehensive General Liability Insurance product offer and acceptance, underwriting, scope of coverage, claim in Malaysia that may be covered by this insurance program. This guide was written on May 4, 2010, and is not continuously updated and monitored and may be out of date by the time you read it. This guide does not constitute legal advice, which is given only in the context of an attorney/client relationship after giving specific consideration to the unique facts of the matter, including the specific policy language. Note that policy language differs and may require different or additional steps. The steps in other jurisdictions may not be the same. For specific advice, consult with an attorney (lawyer) licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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