You just got a large claim into the Subrogation Department and you are tasked with determining whether or not a subrogation claim exists. It is a large loss. This is good. You’re doing the happy dance into investigation. After your investigation, liability is clear and it points to the General Contractor messing up. There is potential breach of contract and negligence claims. The insured/property owner is negligent free and it looks like a homerun.

You type a well-written demand letter to the General Contractor, but it comes back. The denial letter from the General Contractors insurer. There is a waiver of subrogation clause in the contract between the insured/property owner and the General Contractor. Everyone knows the insurer “stands in the shoes” of the insured. Game over. Do not collect $200 as you pass go.

Under Ohio law, waiver of subrogation clauses are valid.

If a contractual relationship exists between the insured and the [potential] at-fault party, an adjuster needs to review the contract carefully to see if there is a waiver of subrogation clause. Under Ohio law, waiver of subrogation clauses are valid. Parties to a contract may modify or extinguish the right to legal subrogation. And since the insurer “stands in the shoes” of the insured, the insurers right to bring a claim against the potential at-fault party is destroyed. But be sure to read the waiver language carefully. The waiver may not apply to certain situations, damages, or both.

So what is the lesson? Do work up front by reviewing the contract to determine if a waiver of subrogation clause is contained in the contract. If it is, closure of the claim is the next step and you are not wasting your valuable time and getting your hopes up on a large subrogation claim.