In Columbia Casualty, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that statutory damages for violations of the TCPA were firmly within the “property damage” and “advertising injury” coverage provided by a CGL policy. The Court rejected an argument that TCPA statutory damages are considered fines or penalties precluded from coverage under a CGL policy, abrogating Olsen v. Siddiqi, 371 S.W.3d 93 (Mo.App. E.D. 2012).
The insurer, Columbia Casualty Company, refused to defend its insured, Hiar Holding, LLC, in a class action brought against Hiar for alleged violations of the TCPA. The class plaintiffs alleged hotel pro- prietor Hiar used a marketing services company to send approximately 12,500 unsolicited advertising facsimiles, approximately 10,000 of which were received. The class plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and statutory damages under the TCPA of $500 per occurrence. Columbia refused to defend, on the basis that the claims were outside the policy coverage provisions or otherwise excluded from coverage. Columbia rejected a settlement offer to Hiar for an amount within its coverage limits ($1,000,000 per occurrence, or $2,000,000 aggregate). Hiar defended at its own expense before agreeing to a class-wide settlement of $5,000,000 (with liability limited to insurance assets).
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