Archives: Liability Insurance

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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

Ohio Supreme Court to Confront Whether Return Premium Required Before Seeking Rescission

The Ohio Supreme Court recently accepted a case that presents two issues with significant implications for insurers seeking to void policies based upon misstatements in policy applications: (1) whether “an insurance policy sufficiently warns the insured of the consequences of warranty misstatements where the policy states that it ‘may be held void ab initio,’” and (2) whether … Continue Reading

Assigning Insurance Policies Can Get Tricky

Insurance disputes sometimes arise out of transactions.  Those of you who are involved in transactions, including transactions arising out of insolvencies, might be interested in a cautionary tale from a recent Illinois appellate court case addressing the assignment of insurance policies as part of an asset purchase agreement.  This drafting lesson may help avoid future … Continue Reading

Covered and Uncovered Claims — When Allocation Is Required

Plaintiffs usually don’t bring claims based on the defendant’s insurance coverage.  So it is not unusual for an insurer and policyholder to have a dispute about what claims are covered and what claims are not covered under the insurance policy and, if there are covered and uncovered claims, how to allocate the covered claims to … Continue Reading

Breach of Contract Exclusion Precludes Coverage

Liability insurance policies are meant to cover claims brought against insureds by third-parties alleging a fortuitous event that causes damages.  But most liability policies have exclusions that preclude coverage for certain events.  For example, many policies exclude coverage for property damage to property owned by the insured.  Another exclusion precludes coverage for damages resulting from … Continue Reading

Prior Publication Exclusion and the Duty to Defend

Remember my recent post on how broad the duty to defend was?  Well it’s still broad.  In a new opinion, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, under North Carolina law, reversed a district court’s order on a motion on the pleadings that had dismissed a policyholder’s complaint based on application of the “prior publication” exclusion.  … Continue Reading

The Consequences of Not Giving Notice of Disclaimer to Additional Insureds

Statutes and case law make it tough for insurance companies to disclaim coverage.  In most jurisdictions, if an insurance company receives a claim or tender it must respond quickly and with specificity to avoid losing the right to assert an exclusion or other basis to deny coverage.  Where the notice of claim comes in from … Continue Reading

Exclusion Relieves Insurer of Duty to Defend in Sex Trafficking Case

Human trafficking is a serious problem.  The current news cycle is filled with stories about human trafficking in the context of immigration and with recent criminal proceedings accusing the rich and famous of underage sex and sex trafficking.  In the mundane world of insurance, sex trafficking has become a coverage issue for insurance companies when … Continue Reading

Claims of False Advertising and Unfair Competition Are Not Disparagement or Defamation

Most commercial general liability policies include coverage for personal and advertising injury claims by third parties.  In a recent case, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether claims of false advertising and unfair competition brought against a competitor entitled the policyholder to a defense under its personal and advertising injury coverage.… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rules on Timely Disclaimers Where Two Insurance Companies Are Involved

Under New York law, the rules for a timely disclaimer arising out of an auto accident are found in Insurance Law section 3420(d)(2).  That section requires an insurer to disclaim liability as soon as is reasonably possible or otherwise the disclaimer is ineffective.  In a recent non-precedential appeal, the Second Circuit reversed the district court … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Holds Non-domiciliary RRG Not Covered Under New York Late Disclaimer Rules

The federal Liability Risk Retention Act allows for the creation of industry groups–Risk Retention Groups (“RRG”) or Purchasing Groups–that are exempt from certain state insurance regulation requirements outside the RRG’s state of charter.  Most states, if not all, have unfair claims practices acts and those statutes are expressly applicable to RRGs.  Many states also have statutes … Continue Reading

When Seeking Coverage for Trademark Infringement Policy Exclusions Matter

In a recent case, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a coverage dispute based on unambiguous exclusions barring coverage.  Nothing dramatically unique here, but it serves as a good example of the need to read and understand the insurance policy and all of its exclusions.  … Continue Reading

Breach of Cooperation Clause Shields Carrier From Duty to Indemnify

The cooperation clause in an insurance policy is an essential part of the insurance bargain.  If the policyholder does not cooperate in the reporting or investigation of a claim, the coverage the policyholder paid for may be lost.  In a recent case, a policyholder whose employees lied to investigators was found to have breached the … Continue Reading

Arbitration of Insurance Coverage Disputes

Coverage disputes between insurance carriers and policyholders are ripe for resolution through arbitration.  ARIAS•U.S. is working on a project to create an arbitration pathway, including modified rules and requirements for certified arbitrators, for these types of disputes and others.  But unless the parties agree or the insurance contract contains an arbitration clause, the arbitration option … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Sends Conflict Between Representations of Authorized Insurer Agent and Certificate of Insurance to Washington Supreme Court

Certificates of insurance are ubiquitous in construction projects and in many other industries.  But, as most jurisdictions hold, a certificate of insurance is not the functional equivalent of the insurance policy and cannot be used to amend, extend or alter coverage.  It is merely a piece of paper informing the recipients that insurance has been obtained.  … Continue Reading

No Coverage for a Claim of Impairment of Goodwill and Reputation Under Defamation Endorsement

When a business gets sued it looks to its various insurance policies for coverage and a defense.  But sometimes the insurance policy purchased does not fit the coverage sought.  That was the case in the Seventh Circuit where a restaurant company sought coverage for a claim brought by a television provider for damages when the … Continue Reading

Advertising Injury and Offering For Sale

Whether an activity is advertising such that it comes within the advertising injury coverage grant of a commercial general liability (CGL) policy is a difficult and complicated question.  Maybe it shouldn’t be, but the coverage grant combined with exclusions to avoid coverage for intellectual property infringement claims and coverage write-backs within exclusions makes it complicated. … Continue Reading
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