Policy Limits

News & Analysis as of

New Jersey Trial Court Holds Storm Surge Not Subject to Flood Sublimit Where Policy Expressly Includes “Ensuing Storm Surge” in...

In recent years, many courts have held that storm surge is a species of excluded flood loss; we reported on a New York example in July. This week, in Public Serv. Enter. Group, v. ACE Amer. Ins. Co., 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub....more

Insurance Payout Goes Up In Smoke: Sixth Circuit Finds Manufacturing Marijuana Changes Use Of A Residence.

In Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. McDermott, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3012 (6th Cir. Feb. 24, 2015), a homeowner’s claim for a total fire loss was denied based on the policy’s “change of use” endorsement. On January 13,...more

Divided New York Court of Appeals Holds That Under Noncumulation Clause Only One Limit Is Available to Cover Multiple Claims

In Nesmith v. Allstate Insurance Co., New York’s highest court, over a two-judge dissent, held that under the noncumulation clause in a landlord’s liability policy, only one limit was available to cover claims by children...more

Court Confirms Standard for Appellate Opinion Dispositions - “Do Not Hide Elephants in Mouseholes”

In Ducoing Management, Inc. v. Superior Court (filed 2/10/2015 after rehearing, No. G050457), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, held that a reversal of a nonsuit judgment "in all other respects" also served to...more

California Appellate Court Finds No Malicious Product Tampering Coverage for Westland’s Ground Beef

In 2008, Windsor Food Quality Company, Ltd. (Windsor) purchased Westland/Hallmark Meat Company’s (Westland’s) ground beef as an ingredient to be used in its José Olé® frozen food products. On January 30, 2008, the U.S....more

Supreme Court of Missouri Reverses Grant of Summary Judgment for Primary Insurer on Insured’s and Excess Insurer’s Bad Faith...

Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Addison Ins. Co., No. SC 93792 (Mo. Dec. 9, 2014). Supreme Court of Missouri rules in an en banc decision that neither an excess judgment nor a failure to pay policy limits are essential elements...more

Illinois Court Issues Corrected Opinion On Expenses Being Included In Reinsurance Limit

As we previously reported, an Illinois appellate court recently concluded that the limit stated on certain reinsurance certificates applied to both indemnity expenses as well as defense expenses, relying on the often cited...more

Treaty Tip: Clarity In Reinsurance Contracts

Reinsurance agreements commonly contain a dollar limit on the liability of the reinsurer. Both the reinsured and the reinsurer benefit from clarity with respect to such limits. The reinsured benefits by knowing with precision...more

New Jersey Federal Court Gives “Direct Physical Loss” Expansive Meaning Under A Commercial Property Policy.

In Gregory Packaging, Inc. v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of Am., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165232 (D. N.J. Nov. 25, 2014), the district court concluded that a release of ammonia rendering a factory uninhabitable for several days...more

Competing Claims Challenges And The Right To Recover

Your insured is sued, along with several other additional or named insureds. You receive a policy limits demand that is reasonable, but the limit is insufficient to settle all claims against all of the defendants. What do you...more

Expenses Once Again Found To Be Part Of Coverage Limit In Battle Against Reinsurer

In November, an Illinois appellate court affirmed an order granting defendant MidStates Reinsurance Corporation’s (“MidStates”) motion for judgment on the pleadings because the reinsurer had fulfilled its obligation to pay up...more

New York District Court Rejects Excess Carrier’s Attempt to Stack Primary Limits in Continuous Exposure Case

Cases involving continuous exposure present unique challenges. Determining when the alleged injury occurred is critical in evaluating causation, damages, and statute of limitations defenses. The date and nature of the...more

Reinsurer’s Liability Capped At Amount Stated In Liability Clauses

In a case on which we previously reported on January 29, 2014, a federal court in New York recently ruled that a reinsurer was not required to pay amounts in excess of the sums stated in the Liability Clauses of two...more

Et tu, Buddy?: When Excess Insurers Sue for Bad Faith

Insurers don’t, as a rule, like bad faith suits. But life can play funny tricks—as when a judgment against an insured breaches a layer of excess coverage, because the primary carrier failed to settle within its policy...more

Seventh Circuit: Under Wisconsin Law, “Continuous or Repeated Exposure” Language Means That a Continuous Trigger Theory Applies

Yesterday, in Strauss v. Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., – F.3d – , 2014 WL 6435314, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21794 (7th Cir., Nov. 18, 2014), the Court of Appeals held that the use of the phrase “continuous or repeated exposure” in a...more

A Unilateral Scrivener’s Error Can Reflect a Mutual Mistake Requiring Policy Reformation (or, Don’t Expect $20 Million in...

October 29 marked the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s assault on New York and New Jersey. Although the insurance litigation arising from this storm is just beginning, we have already seen a number of decisions out...more

Third Circuit Holds That Insured Must Reimburse Insurer For Litigation Costs Paid In Excess Of Sub-limit

In CAMICO Mutual Insurance Co. v. Heffler, Radetich & Saitta, L.L.P., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that a $100,000 sub-limit for claims involving employee misappropriation, misuse,...more

Pro-Policyholder Opinion Drives Home Importance of Excess Policy Language When Settling with an Underlying Insurer for Less Than...

A reoccurring issue with excess insurance is whether a policyholder can trigger excess coverage by agreeing to a below-limits settlement with an underlying insurer, and filling in the gap between the settlement amount and the...more

IMO Industries Tackles New Jersey Law on Host of Insurance Coverage Issues

On September 30, 2014, New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled on a bevy of insurance coverage issues in the long-tail liability context, including exhaustion of primary policies, application of policy limits to multi-year and...more

New York State Court Rules That Darwin Has Duty to Defend but AIG Does Not, for Same Risk, Based on Differing Policy Language

New York state court Judge Shirley Werner Kornreich recently ruled that American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”) didn’t have to pay certain defense costs for various suits brought against QBE Holdings, Inc. and its...more

Why Won’t the Insurer Tell Me the Policy Limits?

Consider that most drivers in California maintain the absolute minimum amount of insurance. The limits for the minimum are hardly adequate in about 50% of all accidents. That means it is very important to determine whether...more

Class Action Against State Auto Concerning Homeowners’ Policy Limits Is One Worth Watching

Insurers typically adjust (or propose to adjust) the policy limits on a homeowners’ policy every year to take into account changes in the cost of construction. This is intended to help insureds make sure that sufficient...more

Excess Policy Attaches Notwithstanding Settlement with Underlying Insurers for Less Than Full Limits

Recently, a Texas Court of Appeals handed down a pro-policyholder opinion in the case of Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Highlands Insurance Co., in Receivership, Case No. 11-12-00029-CV (Tex. App. Aug. 29, 2014). The issue...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

Reinsurer’s Exposure Capped At The Certificate Limits: No Obligation To Pay Defense Expenses Above The Limits

A New York federal court recently was presented with a reinsurance dispute about the amount a reinsurer was required to pay under certain reinsurance Certificates. The issue was whether the reinsurer’s obligation was capped...more

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