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Chester R. Ostrowski
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Earlier this week, the New Jersey Supreme Court resolved the issue of who bears the costs of property cleanup for environmental contamination when one of two insurers on the risk has become insolvent. In Farmers Mutual Fire Ins. Co. of Salem v. New Jersey Property-Liability Ins. Guaranty Association, No. A-42-11, 2013 WL 5311272 (N.J. Sept. 24, 2013), the state’s highest court held that, where both insolvent and solvent insurance carriers are on the risk for long-tail, continuous-trigger property damage, the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association Act (“PLIGA Act”) requires that an insured exhaust the policy limits of the solvent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2013 at Insurance Developments
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In a recent decision, New York’s highest state court affirmed an appellate division ruling that a priest’s separate acts of sexual abuse against a single victim over a period of approximately six years constituted multiple occurrences under the insured Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s several commercial general liability insurance policies. The Court of Appeals further held that any liability of the Diocese should be allocated among the applicable policies on a pro rata basis, thus requiring satisfaction of the self-insured retention (“SIR”) amount for each of the policies. The coverage dispute in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. National Union... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2013 at Insurance Developments
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Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a district court’s denial of a motion for summary judgment filed by four insurance companies in an action “seeking a declaration that South Carolina municipalities are entitled to assess municipal business license taxes based on, or measured by, the total flood insurance premiums collected in the particular municipality by insurance companies under an arrangement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (‘FEMA’).” Municipal Assoc. of South Carolina v. USAA General Indemn. Co., --- F.3d ---, 2013 WL 765710 (4th Cir. 2013). More specifically, the Court found that the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2013 at Insurance Developments
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In December 2012, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo approved a new law designed to address alleged shortcomings in the business practices of life insurance companies with respect to locating and paying beneficiaries of unclaimed death benefits. The law, which becomes effective June 17, 2013, is based upon the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ model Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act (“ULIBA”). Among other things, New York’s version of the ULIBA requires life insurance companies to compare both in-force and lapsed or terminated life insurance policies against the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, or an equally comprehensive database, on at... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2013 at Insurance Developments
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Back in March 2012, we reported a decision in which the Connecticut Supreme Court responded to three certified questions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and sua sponte overruled Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. v. Murphy, 206 Conn. 409, 538 A.2d 219 (1988), by determining that insurers now bear the burden of proving prejudice caused by late notice of an insured’s claim. To re-visit that post, click here. In light of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s responses to its certified questions, the Second Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s ruling that an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2012 at Insurance Developments
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In OneBeacon Am. Ins. Co. v. Commercial Union Assur. Co. of Canada, No. 11-2072 (1st Cir. July 11, 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Commercial Union Assurance Company of Canada n/k/a Aviva Insurance Company of Canada (“Aviva”) and against OneBeacon American Insurance Company (“OneBeacon”), finding that OneBeacon failed to carry its burden of demonstrating that Aviva had agreed to reinsure certain policies issued by OneBeacon in 1981 and 1982. Id. at 11-16. In making its determination, the three-judge panel noted that OneBeacon retained all of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2012 at Insurance Developments
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In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that an insurer cannot both deny coverage for an insurance claim and attempt to reserve the right to assert other defenses in the future. The ruling, explained in greater detail below, will likely encourage insurers to defend lawsuits filed against their insureds where coverage obligations are initially unclear. In Hoover v. Maxum Indem. Co., Nos. S11G1681, S11G1683, 2012 WL 2217040 (Ga. June 18, 2012), plaintiff James Matthew Hoover (“Hoover”) sustained a serious brain injury when he fell from a ladder while working for his employer, Emergency Water Extraction Services, LLC... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2012 at Insurance Developments
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In Du v. Allstate Insurance Co., 681 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2012), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that, “under California law, an insurer has a duty to effectuate settlement where liability is reasonably clear, even in the absence of a settlement demand.” Id. In so ruling, the Ninth Circuit rejected the district court’s determination that the duty to effectuate settlement is limited to situations in which a demand for settlement has been made and, thereby, eliminated “potential confusion as to the scope of insurers’ duty to settle.” Id. Appellant Yang Fang Du (“Du”) was... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Insurance Developments
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Nov 8, 2011