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Reinsurance Trial Resolved after 10 Days and 15 Witnesses: “Follow the Fortunes” Cannot be Read into Reinsurance Contracts! Reinsurers Can Voluntarily Pay!

An insurer and reinsurer litigated their breach of contract actions against each other under two facultative reinsurance certificates in a New York federal court culminating in a 10-day bench trial presenting 10 fact witnesses and five experts. Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. (N.D.N.Y., March 29, 2019). The heart of their dispute was the reinsurer’s liability for additional loss expenses; that is, whether it must pay for expenses the ceding insurer incurred to investigate, adjust and litigate

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The Evolving Impact of Burlington v. NYC Transit: In New York, is Proximate Causation Necessary to Trigger the Duty to Defend an Additional Insured?

In previous blog posts this year, and to keep up with how courts are interpreting the New York Court of Appeals 2017 decision in Burlington Ins. Co. v. NYC Transit Auth., 29 N.Y.3d 313 (2017), we discussed the trial court’s decision in M & M Realty of New York, LLC v. Burlington Ins. Co. and the First Department’s reversal in the same case. Recently, a New York Supreme Court Judge decided American Empire Surplus Lines Ins. Co. v. Arch Specialty

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Second Circuit Holds That Policy May Be Rescinded Before a Claim is Submitted for Coverage

The Second Circuit has held that an insurer need not wait until a claim is submitted under its policy in order to seek rescission of the policy based on a material misrepresentation by the insured. U.S. Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Orion Plumbing & Heating Corp., 18-2286-CV, 2019 WL 1253325. The dispute arose under a policy issued in May 2012, which was later cancelled as a result of the insured’s failure to pay premiums. However, an incident involving bodily injury occurred prior

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Eleventh Circuit: When an Insurer Has a Duty to Defend, Its Duty to Indemnify Is Not Ripe Until Resolution of the Underlying Lawsuit

With limited exception, an insurer that owes a duty to defend to its insured cannot litigate whether it also has a duty to indemnify the insured for the same matter until after the insured’s liability has been resolved. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, applying Florida law, affirmed this principle and held that an insurer’s duty to indemnify is not justiciable until the insured’s liability has been adjudicated in the underlying case. Mid-Continent Cas. Co.

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Supreme Court of Georgia Raises the Bar for Bad Faith Claimants

In a long-anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court of Georgia clarified the state’s law on the prerequisites for an insured to sue its insurance carrier for bad faith failure to settle. The court asked the parties to address a specific question: does an insurer’s duty to settle arise only when an injured party presents a valid offer to settle within the insured’s policy limits or, even absent such an offer, does a duty arise when the insurer knows or reasonably should

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South Carolina High Court Allows Malpractice Claim by Insurer Against its Assigned Defense Counsel

Early March, in a narrow, carefully worded opinion, a divided Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled that a liability insurer may sue an attorney it retained to defend its insured where the attorney’s breach of its duty to the insured proximately causes the insurer damage. The decision adds South Carolina to the growing list of states that recognize a malpractice cause of action by an insurer against its assigned defense counsel. See Sentry Insurance Co. v. Maybank Law Firm, LLC, — S.E.2d

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Wisconsin Top Court Limits “Knowing Violation” Exclusion By Looking Beyond Facts Alleged in Complaint

In a decision that could expand the scope of the duty to defend, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently held that a “knowing violation of the rights of another” exclusion did not apply even though the facts alleged suggested that it should. The court looked beyond the four corners of the complaint, which alleged willful and intentional conduct, and held that the insurer owed a duty to defend because some causes of action asserted in the complaint could potentially be satisfied

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