Insurance Environmental

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NE Supreme Court Issues Insurer-Friendly Decision on the Applicability of the Pollution Exclusion

In interpreting the scope of the pollution exclusion, one question seems to appear in case after case — what exactly does the pollution exclusion exclude? In State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Dantzler, 289 Neb. 1 (2014),...more

With Sewers Backing Up, Messy Damage Claims are On the Rise

Many homeowners and other property insurance policies contain an exclusion to address one of the by-products of the increased frequency of severe weather: it bars coverage for property damage caused by “water which backs up...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Gubernatorial Nominations Being Announced, Senate Confirmation Session Set - Over the past...more

2014 Comprehensive Report

Historically, the “Short Session” of the North Carolina General Assembly focuses on state budget corrections and adjustments. Frequently, legislators will also work on additional legislation while they are in Raleigh. This...more

Be Careful With Pollution Insurance Coverage Disclosures – How Conditions Actually Disclosed Were Deemed Not Disclosed

A Massachusetts company learned the hard way that you need to pay close attention to policy endorsements when you negotiate them. In Market Forge Industries, Inc. v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, the Appeals Court of...more

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

From Second and State: The Week Ahead – June 23-27, 2014

We’ve turned the corner of the final 10 days before the June 30 budget deadline, so you can expect us to be full throttle between now and then – then meaning whenever the budget is completed. This week, it became clear in...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

Comment Periods Begin for Boston’s Newly Mapped Flood Hazard Areas

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has released proposed Flood Insurance Rate Maps (“FIRMs”) showing updated flood hazard areas for all of Boston, as well as nearby Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. Interested...more

Insurer Sues Municipalities Over Claims Stemming from Climate Change

Farmers Insurance has filed a series of class action lawsuits against several Chicago area municipalities for allegedly failing to address climate change in their storm water runoff plan. Farmers claims that this led to...more

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