Insurance Update

January 25, 2021 | Insurance Coverage

Courts ended 2020 with a flurry of insurance decisions.  Our January 2021 Update highlights some of these decisions, including several by state supreme courts.

We begin with a new twist on pandemic-related claims.  Within two days of each other, federal district court judges found, on the one hand, that Covid-19 business interruption losses were not covered by a pollution liability policy, and on the other hand, were barred by a pollution exclusion.  And yet, the decisions are entirely consistent.  See why.

Most people will probably agree that a bicyclist is not a pedestrian.  Yet the Washington Supreme Court found that a bicyclist could qualify as a pedestrian.  If you handle auto claims, you’ll probably want to read this one.

An easement dispute turns deadly.  See how the Montana Supreme Court decided the coverage issues.

Homeowners have been assigning their insurance claims to contractors.  The Oklahoma Supreme Court weighs in on the practice.

Insurance agents are sometimes sued for not having procured the specific insurance requested.  The Tennessee Supreme Court addresses whether a statutory presumption – that by paying premiums, the insured accepted the coverage provided – applies to insurance agents.

Captive insurance companies are exempt from certain regulations.  The Kentucky Supreme Court decides if captives are exempt from the requirements of the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.

The Ninth Circuit issued a pair of decisions reinforcing some rules of policy construction.  One case arose in the context of a golf cart accident, the question being:  Where does a negligent supervision claim arise for purposes of applying the “insured location” restriction in a homeowner’s policy?   The other case involved a claim by an injured employee.  Under a policy jointly issued to two companies, the court considered the interplay between the policy’s “any insured” language and the separation of insureds clause.

We hope that you find these cases both interesting and informative.

Rob Tugander and Greg Mann

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