Archives: Allocation

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Is “occurrence” an ambiguous term?

There’s a famous (apocryphal?) story about Cato the Elder, one of the leaders of ancient Rome.  Cato was obsessed with destroying Carthage (now Tunis), the Roman Empire’s rival. He would end every speech (and apparently most conversations) with “Carthago delenda est” – Carthage must be destroyed.  The story goes that when Demosthenes (a prominent Greek … Continue Reading

Enforcing insurance coverage for “intentional” business torts

The other day, I was talking with a lawyer who represented a plaintiff in litigation relating to a failed business transaction. He was lamenting the fact that, if he were to take judgment against the defendants, there wouldn’t be insurance to help satisfy the claim, since, according to him, “no insurance company is ever going … Continue Reading

Insurance insolvency and allocation-of-loss

A few years back, we wrote about the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Farmers Mutual Ins. Co. v. New Jersey Property-Liability Guarantee Assn.  In Farmers, the Court held that, in the context of long-tail claims, any damages or defense costs allocated to insolvent policies could not be assigned to the policyholder. When dealing with disputed … Continue Reading

Beware the differences between indemnity agreements and insurance policies

I used to know a guy who worked for a major, nationally known public adjustment company.  In years where there were no major hurricanes or tornado incidents, he would literally walk around looking like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He never overtly wished death or destruction on anyone (as far … Continue Reading

The Allocation of Defense Costs in Long-Tail Claims

The great CLE instructor Jim McElhaney, a Professor Emeritus at Case Western, used to tell the story of a “professional expert” testifying at trial on cross-examination.  The guy was apparently a kindly old gentleman with an Irish brogue, and also an engineer, and indeed made most of his money in the litigation game. “You’re a … Continue Reading

Contribution claims between insurance companies

Settling complex insurance claims involving multiple carriers can be like playing three-dimensional chess. (Since I can’t even play one-dimensional chess, that means it’s really difficult.) I once had a multimillion-dollar environmental insurance coverage settlement fall apart because one of the participating carriers would not assume an extra 1% of the coverage, despite (or perhaps because … Continue Reading

Insolvent Carriers and Allocation of Loss

When I started in this business (yikes, a long time ago), we used to argue with insurance companies a lot about scintillating issues like whether environmental cleanup costs constituted “damages” under CGL policies, and whether “sudden” meant “abrupt” for purposes of the pollution exclusion. In fact, many coverage lawyers have sent their kids to college … Continue Reading

Potential pitfalls in settling with insurance companies

Here’s an interesting situation that recently came up.  A general contractor (Aristone) got sued in a construction defect case involving continuous water damage to a building over several policy periods, involving several insurance companies.  One of Aristone’s carriers – OneBeacon – stepped up to provide a defense.  Another – Pennsylvania Manufacturers – took a “no … Continue Reading
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