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Policyholder Insider Quarterly

Makers and Users of Smart Devices Beware: You May Have a Critical and Costly Gap in Your Insurance Coverage - The drumbeat of high-profile data breaches has led to rapid growth in the number of companies purchasing or...more

Second Circuit Affirms Application Of Illinois Notice/Prejudice Rule In Reinsurance Row

Granite State Insurance Company (“Granite State”) brought an action against Clearwater Insurance Company (“Clearwater”) regarding a dispute over reinsurance claims Granite State made, and which Clearwater denied based on late...more

Appellate Court Rules On Loss Allocation And Notice Disputes Concerning Reinsurance Claim

A New York appellate court affirmed the denial of summary judgment but with modifications. New Hampshire Insurance Company (“New Hampshire”) together with other insurers, settled with Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation...more

Down in the Dumps: Court Refuses to Apply Pollution Exclusion in Landfill Seepage Case

Claims involving potential coverage for pollution liability pose unique challenges for insurers. In many cases, the polluting activity occurred decades ago and over a large span of time, with only a fraction of the activity...more

Silica Dust Damage Held Barred by Pollution and Faulty Workmanship Exclusions in New York

Building construction frequently generates silica dust, a substance that can cause lung disease and other respiratory problems.  Abrasive sand-blasting or jack hammering as well as concrete drilling and block cutting can lead...more

Texas Supreme Court Revisits Additional Insured Coverage for Deepwater Horizon Disaster

In In Re Deepwater Horizon, No. 13–0670 (February 13, 2015), the Texas Supreme Court had occasion to consider the extent to which the scope of additional insured coverage is limited by the terms of a contract between the...more

Texas Supreme Court Incorporates Limitations From An “Insured Contract” Into GL Policy

In In re Deepwater Horizon, Cause No. 13-0670, Slip Op., Feb. 13, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court held that an allocation of liability found in an “insured contract” would determine the coverage provided to an additional...more

Insurance Recovery Law - February 2015 #2

Separate Contract Serves to Limit Insurance Coverage for Deepwater Horizon Spill, Texas Supreme Court Rules - Why it matters: The Texas Supreme Court rejected BP’s $750 million claim for coverage under Transocean...more

Virginia Court Nixes Claim Chinese Drywall Damage to HVAC Systems is Covered as Equipment Breakdown

In Travco Ins. Co. v. Ward, 284 Va. 547, 736 S.E.2d 321 (2012), the Virginia Supreme Court held that loss occasioned by the sulfuric gas released by defective Chinese drywall was excluded under the primary coverage grant of a...more

DRM client wins important case precluding termination of insurer insolvency before contingent or unliquidated claims can be...

The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled in In Re Ambassador Ins. Co., 2015 VT 4 (Vt. Jan. 23, 2015) that the liquidator of Ambassador Insurance acted unreasonably in setting a December 31, 2013 bar date for policyholder claims...more

Reinsurance Arbitration Award Confirmed, Reaching Result Contrary To Previous Award Against Different Reinsurer

On March 11, 2014, we reported on the First Circuit’s ruling in a contested arbitration between OneBeacon America Insurance Co. and certain of its reinsurers over reinsured asbestos claims. The reinsurers filed a declaratory...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- December 2014 #2

Ammonia Release Constitutes “Direct Physical Loss” Under Policy - Why it matters: A New York federal court recently ruled that the discharge of ammonia at a manufacturing plant – causing a facility shutdown for...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

Court Denies Renewed Attempt To Dismiss Defenses In Reinsurance Dispute Associated With Asbestos-Related Liabilities

In this case, plaintiffs sought leave to renew their motion to dismiss certain retention-related and assignment affirmative defenses based on provisions of certain Loss Portfolio Transfer (LPT) agreements, and to re-argue the...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

Newly-Published Regional Steel Case Raises More Questions Than It Answers

In May, California’s Second Appellate District affirmed a summary ruling that a Commercial General Liability insurer did not have a duty to defend a subcontractor who supplied faulty “seismic tie hooks” that were encased in...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

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

April 2014: Insurance Litigation Update

New York Court of Appeals Answers Important Questions About Whether an Increased Risk of Harm Constitutes a Physical Injury. Over the past fifteen years, the question of whether tort claims for medical monitoring fall within...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

Weekly Law Resume - January 2014: Insurance Coverage – Additional Insured Endorsements

Transport Insurance Company v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (January 13, 2014)- Ambiguities in an insurance policy are normally resolved “in favor of 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

2013 Review Of 3rd-Party Pollution Exclusion Decisions

Decades after its inception, the liability insurance policy’s pollution exclusion remains a much-litigated area of insurance law. In the third-party liability context, the provision precludes coverage for injury or damage...more

Oklahoma Court Enforces Terms of Pollution Buy-Back

In its recent decision in Star Ins. Co. v. Bear Prods., Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148559 (E.D. Okl. Oct. 16, 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma had occasion to consider the...more

Insureds Must Exhaust Coverage From Solvent Insurers

On September 24, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that policyholders must look to its solvent insurers before seeking benefits from the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (“Guaranty...more

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