General Business Insurance Environmental

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If Rainwater Lands Where it Doesn’t Belong, It’s Still “Surface Water” in the Eleventh Circuit

The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a decision of the Southern District of Georgia, finding an insured’s claim for water damage fell within an exclusion for loss or damage caused by “surface water.” In Williams v. State...more

What Triggers Excess Coverage In An Environmental Case: Not Necessarily the Payment of the Full Underlying Policy Limits

More and more excess insurers are taking the position that a policyholder which settles with primary or low level excess insurers for less than the full amount of the policy limits has waived its right to obtain coverage from...more

Is There a Duty to Defend Pollution Claims? It’s the Complaint, Stupid

This Spring, cases from Florida and Wisconsin reaffirmed the general proposition that a liability insurer’s duty to defend must be determined from the specific claims in the underlying complaint against the insured, and not...more

Not So Fast: New York’s High Court Relieves Pressure on Liability Carriers to Disclaim Coverage “As Soon As Possible”

Under a New York statute, a liability insurer that denies coverage for a death or bodily injury claim must provide written notice of its decision “as soon as is reasonably possible.” Last year, in Long Island Lighting Co. v....more

If the Suit Fits: A Washington Court Clarifies Triggers for the Duty to Defend

Like many other federal and state environmental laws, Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) exposes property owners to strict liability, regardless of fault or intent, for certain types of environmental contamination. ...more

Washington Insurance Law 2014 Mid-Year Update

During the first six months of 2014, Washington judges issued several notable insurance-related decisions. Some of those decisions were favorable to insurers and could benefit insurers in future insurance claims and lawsuits...more

California Insurance Coverage Cases Raising Key Issues On The Horizon

This year, 2014, is lining up with interesting insurance coverage cases pending across the country which may lead to far reaching decisions. In California specifically, it is apparent to us that the Hartford Insurance...more

Policyholders with Long-Tail Claims Under Liberty Mutual Policies Should Be Prepared for 'Sea Change' in Claims Handling After...

On July 17, 2014, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company announced that it had entered into a multi-billion-dollar “retroactive reinsurance” arrangement with National Indemnity Company (“NICO”), a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway,...more

Forum-Shopping Insurance Companies' Latest Tricks

Decades ago, insurance companies tried to persuade trial courts in California to apply the law of some other state to multi-party environmental and asbestos insurance coverage disputes because the insurance companies believed...more

Another State Weighs in on Pollution Exclusions in General Liability Policies

In May 2014, Nevada became the latest state to interpret the breadth and applicability of the pollution exclusion contained within a third-party general liability policy. Although many states have considered this question,...more

Absolute Pollution Exclusions Are Absolute When There Has Been Pollution

Pollution exclusions first became routine in liability policies in the early 1970s. After a decade of often unsuccessful litigation trying to enforce those exclusions, insurers introduced a so called “absolute” pollution...more

There is No Need To Be Alarmed By Alarmist Readings of New York’s Most Recent Ruling On Waiver of Notice Defenses

The New York Court of Appeals recently reversed and remanded a lower court’s ruling that insurers had waived their late notice defense by not raising the defense until years after they first received notice of a pollution...more

Washington Court of Appeals Holds No Duty to Defend: An Invitation to Initiate Cleanup Is Not A Suit

On June 2, 2014, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a published opinion regarding what constitutes a “suit” in the context of environmental liability claims under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The court held...more

New York High Court Finds that New York Insurance Law §3420(d)(2)’s Prompt Notice Requirement Does Not Extend to Claims Limited to...

In KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., et al., — N.Y.3d –, (N.Y. June 10, 2014), a case involving two environmental damage claims, the New York Court of Appeals reversed an appellate decision which...more

Insurer Sues Chicago for Failure to Prevent Damages From Climate Change

UPDATE: Farmers Insurance has dropped its suit against Chicago and other area municipalities that had sought damages for claims it paid as a result of damage caused by flooded sewer systems overwhelmed by an extreme weather...more

Washington Court Rules Insurer’s Duty to Defend Environmental Liability is Triggered by Agency’s Explicit or Implicit Threat of...

A party faced with strict liability under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) for the costs of cleaning up environmental contamination often has insurance that might apply, but a lingering question has been at what...more

Use chemicals in your business? Read your insurance policy: You might not be covered.

A recent federal appeals court ruling underscores the need for businesses using potentially irritating chemicals to check their insurance policies for “absolute pollution exception” clauses. These increasingly common clauses...more

Seeking (and Finding) Coverage for Proposition 65 Claims

Navigating California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986—better known as Proposition 65—is becoming an increasingly difficult endeavor for California-based companies and companies that do business in...more

Responding To Litigation Risk From Climate Change - Informed Decision Making

In the last few weeks, several major organisations, including the OECD and the US federal government, have released reports on the need to deal with climate change risk. Significantly, the world's largest global insurance...more

A Slow-Burning Fuse: Climate Change From The Risk Management Trenches

This morning was the only professional session on climate change at the 2014 annual conference of RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society, the preeminent risk management trade group in the country. ...more

The Offshore Master Service Agreement

The offshore MSA is a fundamental contract for any operator or service company. It is the framework by which all work is performed offshore and, importantly, establishes which party assumes the risk of loss for people,...more

California Court Denies Summary Judgment on Known Conditions Exclusion

In its recent decision in Lennar Mare Island v. Steadfast Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26405 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2014), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California had occasion to consider the...more

How Many Occurrences? Determining the Number of Occurrences for Fracking-Related Claims in CGL Policies

The controversy surrounding the use of the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil and gas is well-documented. While proponents argue that fracking presents the opportunity for an...more

Insurance Recovery Law - Jan 30, 2014

California Court Recognizes Named, Additional Insureds Have Different Expectations - Why it matters: While the holding sounds straightforward – the reasonable expectations of an additional insured about the...more

Potential Recovery Opportunities Arising From Pollution Claims

Energy production in the United States is at an all-time high. In 2013, an average of 7.5 million barrels of oil were pumped every day, which bested the previous production record (2012) by one million barrels. Domestic oil...more

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