Illinois Federal Court Refuses to Extend NY Insurance Law 3420 to Policy Not Issued or Delivered in New York

An Illinois federal district court in Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company v. The Hockey Cup, LLC held that an insurer was excused from its defense obligations due to late notice, since the court found that New York Insurance Law Section 3420(a)(5)’s requirement that insurers show prejudice to deny coverage based on late notice did not apply because the policy was not issued or delivered in New York. 

The underlying lawsuit, in which the National Hockey League was one of the plaintiffs, alleged the insureds, A&R Collectibles, …

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Insurer Entitled to Reimbursement for Defense Costs Prohibited by Statute

In October 2017, the California Attorney General (AG) filed a complaint against Adir, doing business as department store chain Curacao, and its CEO under the state’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and False Advertising Law (FAL).[1]

Adir presented a claim based on the AG’s action under a directors and officers liability policy issued by Starr Indemnity and Liability Company. Starr initially denied coverage, but after receiving a letter from Adir, Starr agreed to provide a defense, subject to a reservation of rights. Starr later received …

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No Defense Owed to Insured for Mediation Involving Environmental Contamination

The Illinois Appellate Court recently held that the term “suit” in a commercial general liability policy does not include a pre-suit mediation between the insured and others over the allocation of costs incurred to remediate environmental contamination. As a result, the court ruled that the insurers had no obligation to reimburse the insured for its legal fees incurred in the mediation.[1]

The insured operated a manufacturing facility on a property that was eventually declared a Superfund site by the U.S. EPA. To avoid litigation …

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Texas Supreme Court Opens the Door for Statutory Damages After Appraisal

Good faith use of the appraisal process to resolve legitimate valuation disputes under a property policy is no longer an absolute defense under Texas law to claims for statutory delay damages. In a pair of decisions regarding appraisal, the Texas Supreme Court held that when appraisal is invoked after the commencement of litigation, the prompt payment of the award by an insurer precludes statutory bad faith claims under Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code, but potentially allows for statutory delay damages of interest and …

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Sixth Circuit Interprets ‘Direct Action’ Provision of 28 U.S.C. 1332 in the Context of Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Law

In Ljuljdjuraj v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 24108 (6th Cir. Dec. 19, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the ‘direct action’ provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) does not destroy diversity jurisdiction in an action brought against an insurer pursuant to Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Law where a “contract of liability insurance” was not implicated.

Elvira Ljuljdjuraj (EL) was driving a car owned by her friend, Bardhyl Mullalli, when she lost control of the …

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PA High Court Gives Green Light to Assignment of Bad Faith Claims

In Allstate Prop. & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3309 (Pa. Dec. 15, 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in deciding a certified question from the Third Circuit, ruled that statutory bad faith claims under 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8371 are assignable.

The underlying dispute arose from a motor vehicle collision involving an intoxicated driver, Zierle, who was insured by Allstate.  After settlement attempts failed, Wolfe, the tort claimant, sued Zierle for compensatory and punitive damages.  Following a …

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Insurance and ISIS, Inc.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and British governments have unveiled new measures for fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  These measures are designed to counter the terrorist group’s financial structure.

On the U.S. side, in an effort to starve ISIS of oil revenue, the U.S. Government in cooperation with others, have threatened sanctions against individuals and entities that purchase this black market oil or otherwise support ISIS.  Insurance companies need to be vigilant in this environment about ensuring they are up-to-date on …

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Drafting History or Purpose Does Not Undermine Plain Language: Illinois Federal Court Enforces Insured-Versus-Insured Exclusion

In Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America v. Bernhardt, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152416 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2014), the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America (Travelers), finding it had no duty to defend or indemnify Andrew Bernhardt in a breach of fiduciary duty and negligence lawsuit brought by Town Center Bank (TCB).  The underlying complaint involved several claims by TCB against Bernhardt originating from Bernhardt’s issuance of 26 questionable, high risk, …

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Accidental Death Benefits are Payable Drowning, Even if Seizure Involved, was Cause of Death

In Chanthavong v. Union Security Ins. Co., (11/04/2014), the deceased, Corey Carter, was found in April of 2012, having accidentally drowned in his bathtub. Carter held a group life insurance policy established by his employer through defendant insurer that was subject to the provisions off the Employment Retirement Income Security Act. Carter named his son D.D.C., minor-plaintiff, the beneficiary on the policy. The defendant paid the general life insurance policy in full, but denied the claim under the accidental death policy, claiming the death was …

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Californians – “Insurance on My Mind”

California voters had insurance on their minds during the mid-term elections with at least two insurance-related questions on the ballot.

The first was Proposition 45, entitled the “Healthcare Insurance. Rate Changes. Initiative Statute.”  If approved, this initiative would have required the state’s Insurance Commissioner to approve any rate increases for individual and small group health insurance plans before those rate hikes took effect.  If the state’s Insurance Commissioner determined that a rate hike was unreasonable or excessive, the commissioner could veto the hike.  The proposition’s …

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