After 17 years of overseeing the “Ask an Expert” service of the IIABA Virtual University, I learned that very few agents could tell the difference between ISO and non-ISO forms. When an agent submitted a question to the service, they were told that we needed the full ISO policy form number unless it was not an ISO form, in which case we needed a copy of the proprietary form. All too often, we’d be provided a policy form number the agent thought was an ISO form, but it clear wasn’t. So, how do you tell the difference?

To answer that question, I wrote an article about three basic tests that can usually be used to determine if a form is an unaltered ISO form or not:

Is It ISO or Is it Memorex Insurance Company?

One of the tests in the article is the form number structure. You can read about it by clicking the link above. But aside its value in distinguishing between ISO and non-ISO forms, the form number tells you something about the form before you even examine it.

For example, I wrote two articles about the importance of reviewing policy deliverables because carriers will sometimes attach exclusionary or limiting policy forms that the agent may be able to negotiate for removal or replacement by less onerous forms:

Be Careful What You DON’T Ask For

Be Careful What You DON’T Ask For (sequel)

How these three articles work together to make the primary point of this article is that you can often tell if an endorsement is “bad” simply by the form number. To illustrate, if you have an ISO CGL policy and one of the endorsements added by the insurer has a form number of the structure “CG 21 ## MM YY,” the “21” category of CGL endorsements tells you that this form excludes something because the “21” category is “Exclusion Endorsements.” This should be a red flag to the agent or insured that this form is problematic and an effort to have it removed or replaced is advisable if possible.

ISO maintains the following lines of insurance:

COMMERCIAL LINES

  • Agricultural Capital Assets (Output Policy)
  • Businessowners
  • Capital Assets (Output Policy)
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Inland Marine
  • Commercial Property
  • Commercial Umbrella
  • Crime And Fidelity
  • E-Commerce
  • Employment-Related Practices
  • Equipment Breakdown
  • Farm
  • Financial Institutions
  • General Liability
  • Management Protection
  • Market Segments (All Programs)
  • Medical Professional Liability
  • Professional Liability (Other Than Medical) – Insurance Agents And Brokers Professional Liability
  • Professional Liability (Other Than Medical) – Lawyers Professional Liability
  • Professional Liability (Other Than Medical) – Real Estate Agents And Brokers Professional Liability

PERSONAL LINES

  • Dwelling Property
  • Homeowners
  • Motorcycle
  • Personal Auto
  • Personal Liability
  • Watercraft

Below is a listing of the four major ISO commercial lines of insurance and what the category numbers mean.

BUSINESSOWNERS

AP          Applications

DS           Declarations and Scheduled

IN           Index

00           Coverage Forms

01           Amendatory Endorsements

02           Cancellation and Suspension Endorsements

03           Deductible Endorsements

04           Additional Coverages

05           Additional Coverages

06           Additional Coverages

07           Special Trade Contractors Endorsements

08           Professional and Errors and Omissions Liability Endorsements

10           Causes of Loss

12           General Endorsements

14           Additional Coverages

16           Additional Coverages

17           Condominium Coverage

COMMERCIAL AUTO

AP          Applications

DS           Declarations and Scheduled

00           Coverage Forms

01           Amendatory Endorsements

02           Cancellation and Suspension

03           Deductible Endorsements

04           Additional Coverages for Commercial Auto

05           Amendatory Endorsements

20           Special Types of Endorsements

21           Uninsured Motorists Endorsements

22           No-Fault Endorsements

23           Commercial Automobile Endorsements

24           Public Transportation Endorsements

25           Garage Endorsements

26           Single Interest Endorsements

31           Uninsured Motorists Endorsements

60           Reserved for future use

99           Common Coverages and Rating Procedures Endorsements

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

AP          Applications

DS           Declarations and Schedules

00           Coverage Forms

01           Amendatory Endorsements

02           Cancellation and Suspension Endorsements

03           Deductible Endorsements

04           Additional Coverages

10           Causes of Loss

11           Builders Risk Endorsements

12           General Endorsements

13           Value Reporting Form and Related Endorsements

14           Additional Covered Property / Property Not Covered

15           Time Element Endorsements

16           Applications, Worksheets and Rating Identification

17           Standard property Policy Condominium Endorsements

19           Supplemental Schedules

60           Leasehold Interest Factor Tables

99           Miscellaneous Endorsements

GENERAL LIABILITY

AP          Applications

DS           Declarations and Schedules

00           Coverage Forms

01           Amendatory Endorsements

02           Termination and Suspension Endorsements

03           Deductible Endorsements

04           Additional Coverage Endorsements

20           Additional Insured Endorsements

21           Exclusion Endorsements

22           Special Provisions For Certain Types of Risks Endorsements

23           Risk Specific Endorsements

24           Coverage Amendment Endorsements

25           Amendment of Limits Endorsements

26           Amendatory Endorsements

27           Claims-Made Only Endorsements

28           Miscellaneous Coverage Parts Endorsements

29           Miscellaneous Coverage Parts Endorsements

30           Underground Storage Tank Endorsements

31           Miscellaneous Coverage Parts Endorsements

32           State Specific Endorsements

33           Miscellaneous Coverage Parts Endorsements

99           Miscellaneous Endorsements

For a more exhaustive listing of lines of insurance, contact your carriers.

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Bill Wilson

Founder at InsuranceCommentary.com
One of the premier insurance educators in America on form, coverage, and technical issues; Founder and director of the Big “I” Virtual University; Retired Assoc. VP of Education and Research from Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Reprint Request Information

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