Archives: Duty to Defend

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What Happens When a Policyholder Settles Without Involving Its Insurer?

Nobody likes to get sued.  When a lawsuit or a demand letter comes in, the first thing that crosses the mind of the party being sued (or claimed against) is how can I resolve this quickly?  That may be a reasonable visceral reaction to the suit, but what happens when insurance is involved?… Continue Reading

Is a Failure to Disclaim Coverage an Unfair Claim Settlement Practice for a Risk Retention Group?

The application of New York Insurance Law § 3420(d)(2), which requires notice of disclaimer as soon as reasonably possible under a liability policy, has resulted in quite a few cases testing its outer limits and proper implementation.  In a recent case, a New York intermediate appellate court was asked to address § 3420(d)(2)’s application in the … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Looks to Policy Language Again to Allocate Risk Proportionately to Insurers

On March 27, 2018, New York’s highest court finally brought closure to an appeal of a 2014 decision denying an insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment in its coverage litigation with its policyholder.  The Court of Appeals’ decision in Keyspan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. is available here.  In affirming the Appellate … Continue Reading

Errors and Omissions and Directors and Officers Clash Gets Some Clarity From the Second Circuit

Most companies that provide specialized or professional services, like stock exchanges, carry both directors and officers liability insurance (“D&O”) and errors and omissions insurance (“E&O”). These coverages are meant to be complimentary and not overlapping.  D&O covers “wrongful acts” by directors and officers.  E&O covers negligent acts in performing professional services.  D&O policies typically exclude … Continue Reading

Lack of Inclusion Means Timely Notice of Disclaimer Is Not Required

Typically, courts are strict when it comes to insurance companies disclaiming coverage.  Generally, a disclaimer must be specific and timely for it to have any chance of being effective.  In many cases, an insurance policy has an exclusion that the insurance company contends precludes coverage.  In other cases, the coverage alleged is just not provided … Continue Reading

Why Suing Every Insurance Company in Sight Does Not Always Work

There is a common misconception that suing everyone in sight is a good idea.  Yes, if you don’t know exactly what related companies (or individuals) ultimately may be responsible for the loss it may make sense to cast a wider net (especially if the limitations period is approaching).  But if it is obvious who the … Continue Reading

Failure to Comply With Protective Safeguards Endorsement Results in Loss of Coverage

A Protective Safeguards Endorsement (“PSE”), as defined by my friends at IRMI, is “[a] property insurance endorsement that makes it a condition of coverage that the protective safeguards cited in the endorsement (such as an automatic sprinkler system or night watch guard) be in operation at all times except when the insurer has been notified of … Continue Reading

The Peril of Settling Without Insurer Consent

In an earlier blog post we discussed a Georgia case where settlement occurred without consent from the insured.  In that case, the court held that when a policyholder settles without consent in the face of a consent to settle clause, the policyholder will not succeed in seeking a recovery for that settlement from the insurance … Continue Reading

When Notice of Claim Is a Condition Precedent a Default Judgment May Not Help

Notice of claim or suit requirements in insurance policies are often viewed as a condition precedent to coverage.  If the insured’s carrier is not given notice of the claim in a timely manner, the insurer may have no obligation to defend or indemnify the insured.  But what happens if a claimant sues an insured defendant … Continue Reading

New York’s 3420(d)(2) Cannot Be Used Between Insurers

We have written a number of blog posts involving New York Insurance Law Section 3420(d)(2), which requires insurance companies to disclaim quickly or waive the right to disclaim.  Parties have tried to rely on 3420(d)(2) in a variety of ways.  In a recent case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to address the … Continue Reading

Privity and Additional Insured Coverage

When a worker is injured on a construction job and sues the relevant parties, a side battle often ensues over which carrier has the duty to defend and indemnify the owner, general contractor or subcontractor based on the language in the various construction contracts requiring some or all of those parties to be named as … Continue Reading

Additional Insured Endorsement Clarified By New York Court of Appeals

The New York Court of Appeals recently issued an important decision on how the Additional Insured endorsement to a Commercial General Liability insurance policy should be interpreted.  It did  so in a split decision and by reversing a decision by the Appellate Division. A vigorous dissent accompanied the opinion.  Commentators are already discussing the ramifications of … Continue Reading

Battle of Other Insurance Clauses In CGL Policies for Contractors

A recent Summary Order from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals highlights the difficulties that often arise with other insurance clauses and additional insureds. Which carrier has the primary duty to defend and indemnify an underlying action is a question that turns up with frequency when there are multiple parties sued and multiple possible applicable insurance … Continue Reading

Notice to Carrier Means Notice to Carrier

Notice requirements in liability insurance policies typically require that notice of a claim or lawsuit be given as soon as practicable and in writing to the insurance company. While the exact language differs from policy to policy, the concept of written notice to the insurance company without delay is fairly common. In the normal circumstance, where … Continue Reading

Replacing a Roof Is Not Demolition

Many liability insurance policies exclude coverage for bodily injury or property damage arising out of structural alterations that involve changing the size of or moving buildings or other structures, new construction or demolition operations performed by or on behalf of the named insured. Construction insurance policies typically cover these risks, not general liability policies. A … Continue Reading

Duty to Defend Does Not Extend to Claim Where No Suit Is Filed

Case law in nearly every state provides that the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify. Typically courts look to the allegations in the complaint and compare those allegations to the coverage grants in the policy to determine if the allegations are sufficient to bring the claim within the possibility of coverage … Continue Reading

The Distinction Between the Duty to Pay Defense Costs and the Duty to Indemnify Defense Costs

Common forms of commercial general liability policies typically include provisions requiring the insurer to defend the insured regardless of whether the claim is valid or not, as long as the claim is within the coverage grant of the insurance policy. The typical language provides that the insurance company has the right and duty to defend … Continue Reading

California Weighs In on Enforcement of Other Insurance Clauses

On Monday, in Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London v. Arch Specialty Ins. Co., 16 C.D.O.S. 3833 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 11, 2016), the California Court of Appeal (Third District) rejected Arch Specialty Insurance’s attempt to enforce “other insurance” clauses in the conditions and coverage grant of the relevant policies.… Continue Reading

The Dichotomy Between Intent to Injure and Intentional Conduct

Most liability policies require that the claim arise from an accident or occurrence typically defined in a way that the accident or occurrence is a fortuitous event and not an intentional act. The typical automobile accident or slip and fall are accidents; nothing premeditated or planned, no intent to cause harm, no intent to drive … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Rules On An Insurer’s Duty to Defend EPA Proceedings

In McGinnes Indus. Main’t Corp. v. The Phoenix Ins. Co. (Case No. 14-0465), the Texas Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote joined the majority of other courts to have considered the issue and  answered in the affirmative a question certified to it by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: Whether the EPA’s PRP letters and/or unilateral … Continue Reading

OCIP and CCIP Policies and the Duty to Reimburse for Defense Costs

I have run across a number of interesting situations involving owner controlled or contractor controlled insurance programs (“OCIP” or “CCIP”) that have developed into actual coverage disputes or potential disputes (can’t talk about the potential one!). For those who don’t know, an owner controlled or contractor controlled insurance policy or program is essentially a way … Continue Reading
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