Court Construes Ambiguous Arbitration Clause Broadly And Compels Arbitration

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The dispute involved a claim for benefits under a policy insuring a marine construction site damaged in 2008 by Hurricane Ike. The insured contended that the policy did not provide for arbitration, but instead provided only for appraisal to set an amount of loss. The court disagreed, finding that the policy contained a clause entitled “Arbitration” and contained “multiple references to arbitration,” although that clause was ambiguous because the policy was silent as to “what precisely triggers arbitration.” The court then analyzed extrinsic evidence, including the language of a “draft” of the arbitration clause, and compelled arbitration, finding “ample evidence in the record to demonstrate [the parties’] intent to arbitrate any and all disputes under the policy.” Aker Kvaerner/IHI v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Louisiana, et al., Case No. 2:10-cv-00278 (USDC W.D. La. Feb. 10, 2014).


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