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Downstream Insurance Coverage in Complex Construction Projects: Vetting to Mitigate Risk

Interplay With Contractual Indemnity Between Owners, General Contractors, Subs, and Vendors

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide counsel for project owners, general contractors, and subcontractors on mitigating the risks associated with the upstream/downstream dynamics of complex construction projects. The panel will discuss strategies for vetting downstream insurance coverage and maximizing protection for the parties by balancing indemnification and other terms between owner, GC, and subcontractor insurance policies.


Parties to construction agreements typically rely on indemnification and additional insured provisions to manage risk between the various upstream and downstream parties to the contract. Most states now prohibit broad form indemnity terms, having passed anti-indemnity statutes that limit the scope of contractual indemnity provisions applicable to owners and general contractors for damages caused by the negligence of subcontractors and vendors.

Even with the inclusion of a savings clause, the contractual indemnity afforded upstream parties is limited, requiring parties to increasingly rely on insurance products to fill the risk gap. For smaller subcontractors, procuring insurance coverage that complies with the terms of their agreements poses a challenge in that it forces reliance on a broker to understand the coverage needs and sometimes predict them before a stated scope of work.

Counsel for owners, general contractors, subs, and vendors must be aware of the potential challenges in procuring and placing coverage in the face of a shifting coverage landscape and potentially unpredictable project environments.

Listen as our panel of experienced construction lawyers provides expert guidance on vetting downstream insurance coverage for complex projects, and offers critical insight on contract terms, pitfalls to avoid, and mitigating risk.



  1. Upstream/downstream risk
    1. Owner perspectives
    2. General contractor perspectives
    3. Subcontractor perspectives
    4. Vendor perspectives
    5. Design professional perspectives
  2. Risk mitigation regimes
    1. Contractual indemnification
    2. Insurance
  3. Vetting insurance coverage


The panel will review these and other critical issues:

  • What impact do anti-indemnity statutes have on transfer mechanisms between parties?
  • What other jurisdictional factors play into the coverage and underlying contract language addressing upstream/downstream risk?
  • What are best practices for vetting insurance coverage?


Buldas, James
James J. Buldas

Williams Coulson Johnson Lloyd Parker and Tedesco

Mr. Buldas’ practice specializes in representing closely-held businesses and publicly traded companies in claims...  |  Read More

Cahalan, Scott
Scott D. Cahalan

Smith Gambrell & Russell

Mr. Cahalan has substantial experience representing owners, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects,...  |  Read More

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