M.M. from Litchfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo association has just completed building a two mile hiking trail around the property. The trail meanders thru some very isolated and rugged areas. My question is: should the trail be patrolled during normal hours of use? A minor health issue or a fall could be tragic. I would think our insurance company would demand it if they were aware of the trail.
Mister Condo replies:
M.M., you have truly answered your own question with your final comment. Liability and Risk Management is indeed the forte of insurance experts. Alerting the insurance provider to the new trails is the duty of the Board. However, you are well within your rights to make sure that it is done and done quickly. If an accident were to occur and there were loss of life or injury on common areas that were not insured you can be certain that great financial hardship will follow. Any unit owner of record when the association was to experience such a loss could find themselves on the hook for their portion of the loss. My advice is to demand that the Board have the community association insurance professional assess the association’s risk and take action based upon that recommendation. At the very least, my guess is that very large “USE AT YOUR OWN RISK” signs will be required and additional coverage be added to protect the association. At worst, the underwriter may even insist that the trails are closed if they pose too great a risk to the association. Happy Trails!