Unlike a deductible, a self-insured retention (referred to an “SIR”) is, as the name suggests, a self-insured obligation of the insured before its insurer picks up coverage. The SIR needs to be exhausted by the insured (as the primary self-insurance component) before the carrier’s excess defense and indemnification obligations kick-in under the terms of the policy. However, an insured can generally exhaust an SIR by paying legal fees and costs associated with a claim.
Oftentimes, the language in the policy requires the SIR to be paid for by the named insured or an insured under the policy. This was an issue addressed by the Florida Supreme Court in Intervest Const. of Jax, Inc. v. General Fidelity Ins. Co., 133 So.3d 494 (Fla. 2014).
In this matter, a personal injury claimant asserted a claim against the contractor dealing with a residential home. The contractor hired a subcontractor to install attic stairs and the subcontract required the contractor to indemnify it. The owner of the house injured herself on the attic stairs and sued the contractor. The contractor, in turn, sought indemnification against the subcontractor that installed the attic stairs.