Liability Insurance

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Can Fear or Emotional Distress Associated With COVID-19 Be a “Bodily Injury”?

With the United States now having the highest number of confirmed infections in the world, the nation now finds itself in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog post, we continue to explore potential COVID-19 insurance coverage issues, this time focusing on whether fear of contracting COVID-19 alone or emotional damages caused by … Continue Reading

No Coverage for Insured’s TCPA Defense Says Pennsylvania Federal Court

Policyholders will look to their insurers when they are sued for unsolicited faxing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Do they have insurance coverage?  That depends on the policy, but TCPA coverage is hard to come by.  That doesn’t stop policyholders from trying.  In a recent case, a Pennsylvania federal court put an end … Continue Reading

Businesses Scramble to Assess Insurance Coverage for COVID-19

COVID-19 has sickened hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in the deaths of thousands. Millions will likely be affected. Up until very recently, there was widespread belief that some countries may be spared the level of disruption seen earlier this year. Recent events have shown this is no longer a reasonable assumption. The WHO … Continue Reading

Duty to Defend Found on Claims Under California Credit Card Act

Among the various consumer data privacy laws are laws precluding companies from collecting and selling consumer credit card information.  When a company is accused of selling its customers’ credit card information to third-parties in a class action, does it have insurance coverage to defend it from that class action?  The Ninth Circuit recently addressed this … Continue Reading

The Facts Matter in Prospective Coverage Disputes Over COVID-19

There are two main questions in every insurance coverage dispute.  First, what are the actual facts that gave rise to the claim?  Second, what are the actual words contained in the specific insurance policy provisions relevant to the claim?  The facts and words matter because, more often than not, each claim and each policy has … Continue Reading

Failure to Allocate Between Covered and Non-covered Damages Bars Indemnity

Insureds often face lawsuits where the claimant is seeking a broad array damages some of which may be covered by insurance and some of which are not covered by insurance.  Because the duty to defend is very broad, insurance companies will typically defend under a reservation of rights concerning the allocation between covered and non-covered … Continue Reading

Privacy Exclusion Precludes Coverage for Claims of Breach of Driver’s Privacy Protection Act

As data privacy statutes proliferate, insurance coverage disputes are rising concerning whether liability policies cover the defense and indemnification of violations of data privacy statutes.  Many of these consumer data privacy statutes predate the mass electronic collection and storage of personally identifiable information.  The analysis is similar about whether there is coverage against lawsuits arising … Continue Reading

Court Finds No Insurance Coverage for TCPA Settlement

What happens when the Expected or Intended Exclusion and the Information Exclusion bump up against a policyholder’s suit for breach of contract, bad faith and improper denial of a claim based on an alleged TCPA violation?  You’ll have to visit our blog post on TCPAWorld.com to find out.  Suffice it to say that the insurance … Continue Reading

Claims By Tort Claimants Against Municipal Insurer Over Coverage for Sexual Abuse Dismissed By Federal Court

Typically, a claimant has no direct right of action against an insurance company especially prior to a judgment against the insured.  Even more typically, a claimant has no right to “cut-through” to the reinsurers based on an alter ego or fronting claim when the claimant is not the insured and is not in contractual privity.  … Continue Reading

The (Rock) Finer Points of the Absolute Pollution Exclusion

The pollution exclusion has had a long history of being interpreted by the courts throughout the US.  Many substances have been held to come within the pollution exclusion, resulting in a bar of insurance coverage for costs sustained by policyholders addressing those substances in waterways and the air.  In a recent case, the Fifth Circuit … Continue Reading

Violation of Statute Exclusion Bars Coverage Under Umbrella Policy

Many general liability polices contain an exclusion for violations of certain statutes involving the sending or communicating of information like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  The question a federal court in North Dakota faced was whether debt collection practices came within the statutory violation exclusion.… Continue Reading

No Coverage to Builder for Beetle-Infested Logs

Nearly all construction jobs require that the contractor purchase insurance.  Commercial general liability insurance (“CGL”) is often what is purchased.  CGL policies also typically have an exclusion for property damage to “your work.” In a recent case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed this exclusion in a case of damage caused by beetle-infested logs … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Grants Summary Judgment Obligating Coverage for Underlying Copyright Actions

In a recent cryptic coverage decision, a New York state intermediate appellate court reversed an order denying summary judgment to a media policyholder and held that the insurance companies were obligated to provide insurance coverage for underlying copyright infringement actions.  Although cryptic, the decision addresses exclusions and their applicability to media insurance policies.… Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Finds Duty to Defend Sufficient to Rebuff Claim of Illusory Auto Insurance Coverage

Some people who lease cars apply for car insurance with lower limits for themselves and higher limits to cover the leasing company’s requirements.  This is accomplished through a Lessor Liability Endorsement.  In a recent case, a putative class action was brought against insurance companies by lessees who sought damages alleging that the coverage provided was … Continue Reading

Security! Professional Services Exclusion Bars Coverage

In my experience, companies (and people) who buy insurance often do not understand what they bought.  Policyholders often confuse directors and officers insurance with professional liability insurance.  The assumption is that the purchase of insurance (often through a broker) should cover all of the policyholder’s risks.  Sadly, that is not the case.  In a recent … Continue Reading

Absolute Liquor Liability Exclusion Is Not Illusory

General liability policies sometimes contain exclusions that preclude coverage for losses that relate to the business insured.  Whether that renders the policy coverage illusory is a question for the courts.  In a recent case, the 11th Circuit addressed an Absolute Liquor Liability Exclusion involving a night club.… Continue Reading

Late Notice and Timely Disclaimer Sink Claim to Recover Judgment From Insurers

Under New York law (and the law of other jurisdictions), an unsatisfied judgment against an insured may be the subject of an action to recover the judgment against the insurance company.   Sounds simple, but the claimant, standing in the shoes of the policyholder, will be subject to all the defenses the insurance company can bring … Continue Reading

Nothing Cheesy About Needing to Allege Personal Injury for Coverage

Nearly all commercial general liability and excess liability insurance policies require in their coverage grants that the damages the insureds are legally obligated to pay are because of bodily injury or property damage.  It may seem simple, but for insurance to apply, the allegations made have to fit reasonably within the coverage provided.   In a … Continue Reading

Contra Proferentem and Ambiguity Preclude Subrogation Recovery

Here’s a typical scenario.  The general contractor or owner takes out a all-risk builder’s policy to cover a construction project.  Subcontractors are included as additional insureds where required by their subcontracts, but only “as their respective interests may appear.”  The policy has a subrogation clause, but the clause includes a provision precluding subrogation against additional … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Clears Up Confusion About Exclusions In Commercial Auto Policies

Like most liability policies, commercial auto policies have exclusions meant to preclude claims by employees against the employer-policyholder.  In a recent case in the Fourth Circuit, under West Virginia law, the court vacated a district court’s judgment of no coverage in favor of the insurer based on exclusions.… Continue Reading

Not an Accident When Victim is Intentionally Dragged By the Hair

When someone gets injured and sues, sometimes the defendant defaults and the claimant is left to pursue its remedies against the defendant’s insurance policy.  It’s basically a coverage suit, but brought by the claimant instead of the policyholder.  The same defenses to coverage also apply.  Paramount, however, is that the loss complained of has to … Continue Reading

Are Repair Costs Covered Damages Under a Liability Policy?

Liability policies cover sums an insured becomes legally obligated to pay to a third-party as damages for a loss.  Typically, there is no coverage in a liability policy for expenses incurred by the insured to repair damage to the insured’s own property.  Additionally, nearly every liability policy has an owned-property exclusion.  In a recent case, … Continue Reading

Is Faulty Workmanship an “Occurrence” Under a CGL Policy?

Manufacturers often face multiple lawsuits when their products fail to perform as expected.  Sometimes, the cause of the product’s failure is the faulty workmanship of a component manufacturer.  When that is the case, the product manufacturer will seek damages from the component manufacturer for the underlying product defect claims.  The component manufacturer will then turn … Continue Reading
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