How to Manage Risk Using Construction Insurance & Bonds – Part 11: Waterways Insurance

By AIA Contract Documents

April 10, 2023

One of the best ways to manage risk on construction projects is through insurance and bonds. Throughout the next several weeks, the AIA Contract Documents Program is going to release a series of articles pertaining to construction insurance. This is Part 11: Waterways Insurance.

What Type of Insurance is Typical for Waterway Issues on Construction Projects?

For construction projects located close to or involving water, project participants usually consider obtaining insurance to cover injuries to workers while those workers are engaged in maritime work, either on land or at sea. For these purposes, two of the prevailing statutes to consider are the Jones Act, and the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“Longshore Act”).

While both statutes are designed to compensate workers who are injured while on the job, the Jones Act generally deals with individuals who primarily work at sea, whereas the Longshore Act deals with individuals who primarily work on land. The Longshore Act covers workers “employed in maritime occupations, including longshore and harbor workers, ship repairers, shipbuilders, and shipbreakers.”[1] At its core, it “provides for workers’ compensation benefits to employees disabled from injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building certain vessels.”[2]

The Jones Act, on the other hand, provides that “if a seaman is injured in the course of employment, or if the seaman dies from the injury, the personal representative of the seaman may elect to bring a civil action at law, with the right of trial by jury, against the employer.”[3]

Do AIA Contracts Contain Insurance Requirements Related to waterways?

Yes. The Insurance and Bonds Exhibit to A101-2017 contains language whereby the parties can choose whether the Contractor will procure insurance related to waterways:

  • A.3.2.7 Jones Act, and the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as required, if the Work involves hazards arising from work on or near navigable waterways, including vessels and docks

Stay tuned for Part 12!

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.  

[1] Stephen D. Palley, et al, Construction Insurance: A Guide for Attorneys and Other Professionals, 122 (2011).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.