Liability Insurance

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Sublimit in Primary Policy Quashes Excess Insurer’s Obligation to Follow

You would think that a following form excess liability policy simply follows the primary liability policy’s terms and conditions.  That may well be true, but excess policies may contain exclusions or provisions that limit the following requirements under certain conditions.  Recently, the Eleventh Circuit addressed this issue concerning an assault or battery claim.… Continue Reading

Broad Insurance Policy Construction Puts False Claims Act Claim Within Coverage for Medical Incidents

Court have always construed the duty to defend more broadly than the duty to indemnify.  That broad construction becomes amplified when coupled with an equally broad construction of the phrase “arising out of” in an insurance policy.  Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found such a broad construction under North Carolina law, leading to … Continue Reading

Is Shoddy Work an Occurrence Under CGL Policies? Not in Missouri

Commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies protect the policyholder against property damage caused by an occurrence.  Where the policyholder is sued for breach of contract and related claims because of shoddy design and construction issues, do those claims come within the scope of coverage as an occurrence?  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed this … Continue Reading

No Coverage for Breach of Contract Claim Under Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy

One of the most difficult things to understand as a policyholder is that a commercial general liability insurance policy (“CGL”) does not provide coverage for everything that might happen to the insured business, including being sued.  While the CGL policy has often been described as providing “litigation insurance” in addition to coverage for occurrences and … Continue Reading

Is a Failure-to-Accommodate Discrimination Claim an Occurrence for Duty to Defend Purposes?

General liability policies insure against fortuitous events, otherwise known as accidents or occurrences.  Intentional acts generally are not covered except under limited circumstances.  But what about discrimination claims?  Is a discrimination claim an occurrence under a general liability policy?  The Second Circuit recently had that question and, instead, decided to certify the question to to … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds Horizontal Exhaustion Not Needed – Vertical Exhaustion Rules

On April 6, 2020, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Montrose Chemical Corp. of California v. Superior Court, No. S244737.  It ruled that in the continuing loss context, California law permits a policyholder to seek indemnification under any excess policy once it has exhausted the underlying excess policies in the same policy period.  … Continue Reading

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
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