Mealey's Insurance

  • April 02, 2020

    Insurer Has No Duty To Defend, 1st Circuit Panel Says In Affirming

    BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 1 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a commercial general liability insurer, agreeing with the lower court that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured apartment management company against an underlying suit arising  out of water and mold damage (Clarendon National Insurance Company v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 19-1212, 1st Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10257).

  • April 02, 2020

    In Camera Review Of Insurer’s Claim File Is Necessary In Oil Spill Coverage Suit

    LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on March 31 determined that an in camera review of an insurer’s claim file is warranted to determine whether the information in the claim file related to an insured’s coverage claim for an oil spill is privileged (Central Crude Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-308, W.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56560).

  • March 31, 2020

    Judge Denies Reconsideration In Reinsurance Dispute Over Credibility Of Testimony

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on March 30 denied reconsideration to an insurer of its earlier challenge in a reinsurance dispute over asbestos claims on whether testimony proved the value that the insurer placed on its insured’s agreement that the policies contained aggregate limits (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 12-196, Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-743, N.D. N.Y.).

  • March 31, 2020

    2nd Indian Tribe Sues Insurers In Oklahoma Seeking Coverage For Coronavirus Losses

    DURANT, Okla. — Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is one of two Native American Indian tribes to sue its insurers on March 24 in an Oklahoma court, arguing that they are responsible for its losses and expenses related to the COVID-19 infection and coronavirus pandemic that has allegedly damaged its property and prevented it from being used for its intended purpose (Choctaw Nation Department of Commerce v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-35, Okla. Dist., Bryan Co.).

  • March 31, 2020

    Vermont High Court Affirms Trial Court’s Ruling For Insurer In Mold Suit

    MONTPELIER, Vt. — A Vermont Supreme Court panel on March 20 affirmed a trial court’s ruling in favor of a homeowners insurers in a mold coverage suit because the insured failed to carry her burden of proving that the mold discovered in her home was covered under the policy at issue (Tatese Birch v. Vermont Insurance Co., No. 2019-328, Vt. Sup., 2020 Vt. Unpub. LEXIS 27).

  • March 30, 2020

    COMMENTARY: Tracking The Flurry Of COVID-19 Related Legislative & Regulatory Activity Impacting Insurers

    By Scott M. Seaman and Judith A. Selby

  • March 30, 2020

    Reinsurer Asks Judge Not To Reconsider Rulings Over Credibility Of Testimony

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In a March 30 opposition brief, a reinsurer calls an insurer’s motion for reconsideration “a third bite at the apple” that “does not meet the extraordinarily high standard” for that motion and, as such, maintains that a New York federal judge should not reconsider whether testimony proved the value that the insurer placed on its insured’s agreement that the policies contained aggregate limits (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 12-196, Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-743, N.D. N.Y.).

  • March 30, 2020

    Judge Confirms Final Award In Billings Dispute Over Asbestos Claims

    CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on March 25 granted an insurer’s petition to confirm a final award in a reinsurance dispute over billings for asbestos claims, finding that the final award superseded an interim final award, which was never “mutual, final, and definite” (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-4341; Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 19-7080, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53923).

  • March 30, 2020

    Insureds:  Denial Of Reality Of Coronavirus’ Physical Damage Could Endanger Public

    NAPA, Calif. — Owners, operators and managers of two Napa Valley, Calif., restaurants on March 25 sued their insurers in a California superior court, seeking a declaration that their insurance policy provides coverage for any current and future civil authority closures of Napa County restaurants because of physical loss or damage from the coronavirus and provides business income coverage in the event that coronavirus has caused a loss or damage at their restaurants (French Laundry Partners, LP, et al. v. Hartford Fire Insurance Company, et al., Calif. Super., Napa Co.).

  • March 30, 2020

    No Coverage Owed For Son’s Exposure To Secondhand Smoke, Panel Affirms

    CINCINNATI — No coverage is owed for a son’s exposure to secondhand smoke as a result of his father’s smoking because the father intended to smoke in front of the son, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 27, noting that there was there was no occurrence as required for coverage to exist under the policies at issue (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Estate of Hugo Bobzien Jr., et al., No. 19-5457, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9654).

  • March 30, 2020

    Chickasaw Nation Indian Tribe:  Policies Cover Losses Related To Coronavirus

    ADA, Okla. — The Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce on March 24 sued its insurers in Oklahoma court, seeking a declaration that its insurance policies cover its losses and expenses that are related to the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 infection (Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-35, Okla. Dist., Pontotoc Co.).

  • March 27, 2020

    Underlying Suit Did Not Arise Out Of Pollution Condition, Judge Says

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia federal judge on March 25 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss after determining that no coverage is afforded for an underlying product contamination suit because the contamination was not caused by a pollution condition as required under the policy at issue (Atlantic Bulk Carrier Corp. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 19-318, E.D. Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52297).

  • March 27, 2020

    Earth Movement, Water Damage Exclusions Bar Coverage, Judge Says

    DOVER, Del. — A Delaware state judge on March 18 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that no coverage is owed for a pedestrian bridge and wall that was damaged during a rainstorm because the policy’s exclusions for earth movement and water damage preclude coverage (Eric Monzo, et al. v. Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. K18C-11-003 NEP, Del. Super., Kent Co., 2020 Del. Super. LEXIS 144).

  • March 27, 2020

    Insurer Failed To Prove It Is Entitled To Offset In Oil Spill Contamination Suit

    BROOKLYN, N.Y.  — An insurer failed to prove that it is entitled to offset any liability owed to a former client for a severed fuel oil line as the result of its settlement with the client’s insurer, the a New York appellate panel said March 18 (Richard Bennett, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 2018-11072, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1941). 

  • March 26, 2020

    Breach Of Contract Claim Fails, Bad Faith Claim Proceeds In Ammonia Leak Dispute

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on March 25 determined that an insured’s breach of contract claim cannot proceed but said that the insured’s bad faith claim can proceed because questions of fact exist regarding the insurer’s investigation and handling of the insured’s claim for product contamination following an ammonia leak in its warehouse (SatisPie LLC v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 17-6234, W.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51861).

  • March 25, 2020

    No Coverage Owed For Underlying Mold Exposure Suit, Judge Determines

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying suit alleging injuries as a result of mold exposure in an insured building because the policy’s fungi or bacteria exclusion clearly precludes coverage, an Illinois federal judge said March 24 (Penn-Star Insurance Co. v. Zeller Properties Inc., et al., No. 17-1264, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50548).

  • March 24, 2020

    California Federal Magistrate Judge Stays Water Damage Coverage Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge on March 22 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to stay a water damage coverage suit after determining that the parties will not be prejudiced by a stay (Lawrence Lui, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 19-6337, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49946).

  • March 23, 2020

    Property Damage Caused By Falling Cliff Excluded By Earth Movement Exclusion

    GREENBELT, Md. — An earth movement exclusion bars coverage for property damage claims submitted by insureds after their home was torn down following the collapse of a portion of a cliff because the falling of the cliff was clearly caused by earth movement, a Maryland federal judge said March 20 (James McWhorter, et al. v. Bankers Standard Insurance Co., No. 18-2452, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48668).

  • March 23, 2020

    Insurer Met Indemnity, Defense Obligations To Insured, Panel Affirms

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 13 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of an insurer because the insurer met its defense and indemnity obligations to its insured in an underlying suit arising out of the insured’s scrap metal shredding facility (QBE Specialty Insurance Co. v. Scrap Inc., Nos. 18-13926, 19-13894, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8015).

  • March 20, 2020

    No Coverage Owed For Insured’s Water Damages, 6th Circuit Majority Says

    CINCINNATI — The majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 20 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insurer was materially prejudiced by an insured’s late notice of a claim for water damage caused by burst water pipes because the insurer was not able to view the damage to the home as a result of the homeowner’s decision not to provide notice of the claim until after demolishing and repairing the damage (Timika Keathley v. Grange Insurance Company of Michigan, No. 19-1242, 6th Cir.).