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Category: Insurance Law


Case Alert Update: SDV Case Tabbed as One of New York’s Top Three Cases to WatchJan 08, 2018

Argument before the Court of Appeals has now been scheduled for February 7, 2018, in Gilbane Building Co. v. St. Paul Insurance, with a long anticipated decision by New York’s highest court to be issued shortly thereafter. In its September 18, 2017 edition, Law360.com highlighted three major cases with significant implications on insurance coverage that will soon be decided by the New York Court of Appeals. Gilbane presents an opportunity…

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Florida Supreme Court: Notice of Right to Repair is a CGL “Suit;” SDV Amicus Brief Supports DecisionJan 05, 2018

The New Year started off with a bang for Florida construction insurance policyholders.  In late December, the Florida Supreme Court acknowledged a contractor’s right to a CGL defense during Florida’s right-to-repair process.  Under Florida law, a property owner may not sue a contractor for construction defects without first providing written notice and an opportunity to repair. Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co. decided that the notice to repair is…

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New York High Court: “Issued or Delivered” Includes Policies Insuring Risks in New YorkDec 06, 2017

On November 20th, the New York Court of Appeals expansively interpreted the language of New York Insurance Law § 3420 by holding that the statute, which applies to policies “issued or delivered” in New York, extends to policies insuring risks in New York, not just policies that originated from or were actually handed over to the insured in the state.  This case affords policyholders and injured parties the protection intended…

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New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Coverage Gap DisputeOct 26, 2017

On Tuesday, October 24, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments in a 17-year-old battle between Honeywell International Inc. (Honeywell) and two excess insurers, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. (St. Paul) and parent Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. (Travelers) over whether Honeywell will have to help cover the costs of asbestos-related injury suits that were filed against it after insurers began to universally exclude coverage for asbestos-related liabilities…

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The Dog Ate My Exclusion! – Georgia Federal Court: No Reformation to Add Pollution ExclusionSep 26, 2017

While schoolchildren know that the classic “the dog ate my homework” excuse doesn’t work, insurance companies are willing to try a variation of that excuse. Ace American Insurance Company (Ace), sold a property policy (the Policy) to Exide Technologies, Inc. (Exide).  Exide sought coverage under the Policy for acid damage at its former battery factory. Ace denied  coverage, citing to the pollution exclusion. The only problem? The Policy contained no…

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Affirmed: Insureds Bear the Burden of Allocating Covered Versus Uncovered LossesSep 25, 2017

The Second Circuit recently affirmed that an insured bears the burden of distinguishing between covered and uncovered damages in a claim against an insurance company.  In Uvino v. Harleysville, the insureds tried to argue that the burden shifted to the insurer, but they were unsuccessful due to the insureds’ failure to present any evidence on the allocation issue in the underlying case or in the trial of the coverage case.  This…

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Captive Owners Face the Music in Long-Awaited Tax Court DecisionSep 05, 2017

The United States Tax Court recently made it harder for business owners to form captive insurance companies for the sole purpose of obtaining tax benefits. In Benyamin Avrahami and Orna Avrahami v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the owners of a jewelry business formed a captive that collected exorbitant premiums, which the owners then attempted to write off as business expenses.  An investigation by the Tax Commissioner revealed that the owners…

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Federal Court: Auto Liability Carrier Must Cover Suit Involving Independent Contractor Despite “Employee Exclusion”Aug 24, 2017

Motor carriers, particularly those that engage independent contractors, should keep in mind that the issue of worker classification, and how those contractors are treated by the motor carrier, could have a profound impact on whether claims are covered under their automobile liability insurance programs. A recent federal court decision, Spirit Commercial Auto Risk Retention Grp., Inc. v. Kailey, both highlights the importance of worker classification in the transportation industry (and…

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Minnesota District Court Bars Insurer from Retroactively Allocating Jury Award to Fit Sexual Abuse ExclusionAug 10, 2017

The District of Minnesota recently held that an excess insurer, who has the opportunity to participate in the defense of an underlying claim, is barred from speculating to the allocation of the jury award to make it fit within a policy exclusion. In RSUI Indem. Co. v. New Horizon Kids Quest, Inc., Civ. No. 16-28 (D. Minn. 2017), a daycare center was sued for negligent supervision when a three-year-old left…

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Affirmed: Nationwide Acted in Bad Faith by Failing to Settle Within LimitsJul 11, 2017

The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed that Nationwide acted in bad faith by refusing to settle a claim against its insured for the policy limits of $100,000, exposing the policyholder to a $5.83 million verdict. The evidence at trial indicated that Nationwide knew its insured could be liable for damages in excess of the policy limits, but failed to even respond to a reasonable settlement demand in a timely fashion. This…

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Insurance Salesman had No Fiduciary Duty to PolicyholdersJul 10, 2017

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a life insurance salesman had no fiduciary duty to his customers where the customers retained decision-making authority regarding which policies to purchase.   In Yenchi v. Ameriprise Fin., Inc.,  the Court returned a 4-2 verdict, overturning the lower court’s finding that it was possible that a fiduciary relationship existed between the parties. Click here to read the Case Alert.

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Manufacturing Law WebinarNov 29, 2016

On December 15, from 11:00 am-2:15 pm EST, SDV Partner Gregory Podolak will be on the faculty of an NBI webinar on “Manufacturing Law”. Greg will be discussing the various insurance coverage issues that many manufacturers face and the best strategies on how to handle them. For more information about the webinar, and how to register, click here.  

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Massachusetts District Court Narrowly Interprets Cosby’s Abuse ExclusionNov 14, 2016

The Massachusetts District Court found that Bill Cosby’s homeowner’s liability policy covered the costs of defense for defamation claims related to allegations of sexual assault, even though the policy included a broad sexual abuse exclusion. The policy provided coverage for “damages [Cosby] is legally obligated to pay for personal injury or property damage caused by an occurrence …”. But the policy also excluded coverage for “personal injury arising out of…

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Florida Supreme Court: Insurer Bad Faith Not Needed for Attorney’s FeesOct 14, 2016

SDV Southeast Managing Partner Gregory Podolak has another new article out this week, this one for Insurance Matters, the newsletter of the Florida Bar’s Insurance and Surety Committee: Florida’s insurance attorney fee recovery statute – Fla. Stat. § 627.428 – has long been a policyholder litigation tool designed to level the playing field between the resource and experience rich insurance industry, and its policyholder counterparts. The latest challenge to its…

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Driverless Cars Will Fuel Surge in Product Liability CoverageAug 08, 2016

The rise of autonomous vehicles are creating quite a stir in today’s insurance environment. Law360.com interviewed SDV’s Brendan Holt, who regularly advises clients on risk transfer involving emerging technologies, including autonomous and unmanned vehicles, to get his take on the subject… Insurers are also waiting for concrete information on the potential risk exposures faced by the first wave of autonomous vehicles to roll in before they start underwriting policies for…

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