Insurance companies often have their backs against the wall in any dispute. Typically, in a coverage or premium action brought by the insurance company, it bears the burden of proving its insurance contract and any exclusionary endorsements. In inter-company disputes that may be a bit easier and the rules may be a bit looser (e.g., reinsurance arbitrations), but in court, the policy has to be proven by the best evidence available.
Even if the dispute is just about one aspect of the policy, most courts require that the entire policy be proven, including all endorsements and other addenda. That can be problematic when the “original” policy was issued through a broker or agent and delivered to the insured. Often times, the “home office” copy may not contain all the pieces of the actual policy issued to the insured.
In this blog post, I will talk about a case we had many years ago and the challenges of proving an older, continuous policy, and a recent case in a New York intermediate appellate court where issues arose on appeal with the evidence presented about the policy.