The Seventh Circuit held last week that a manufacturer’s insurer must cover its insured, a designer and builder of anaerobic digesters, under its errors and omissions policy for claims alleging breach of contract, despite an exclusion in the policy for claims arising out of the breach of an express or oral contract. The decision in Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Company v. DVO, Inc., No. 18-2571 (7th Cir. Sept. 23, 2019), illustrates the practical application of policy construction to avoid what would otherwise amount to an illusory promise of coverage.
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In an insurance coverage action pending in the S.D.N.Y., Hunt Construction Group (Hunt) contends that Berkley Assurance Company wrongfully denied defense coverage for claims arising out of the renovation of Hard Rock Stadium (home to the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football teams).

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On August 6, 2019, Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance lawyers Walter J. Andrews and Daniel Hentschel discussed the effect of eroding insurance policies in an article appearing in Florida’s Daily Business Review. The full article is available here. In the article, the authors discuss the potential risks associated with the use of eroding insurance policies

A Delaware court held that an appraisal action, which includes $39 million in attorneys’ fees, prejudgment interest, and costs incurred in defending litigation that arose out of Solera Holdings Inc.’s acquisition by Vista Equity Partners LP, constitutes a covered “securities claim” under Solera’s directors and officers liability insurance policy.

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The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas recently rejected a claim by a group of insurance companies (“Underwriters”) against American Global Maritime Inc. for more than $500 million that the Underwriters paid the named insured under an Off-Shore Construction Risk insurance policy for losses resulting from the an alleged off-shore oil rig failure.

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Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals recently ruled in James G. Davis Construction Corporation v. Erie Insurance Exchange1 that a subcontractor’s insurer was obligated to defend the general contractor against allegations that it was negligent in its supervision of the subcontractor. In doing so, the court reversed the trial court’s ruling that the general contractor was covered only for claims of vicarious liability for the subcontractor’s actions.

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In a decision of import to employers and contractors in particular, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has limited the scope of a commercial general liability policy’s “employer liability” exclusionary endorsement, finding that in the case of contractors and subcontractors, the exclusion applies only to bodily injury claims brought by persons who have contracted directly with the policyholder. United States Liab. Ins. Co. v. Benchmark Constr. Servs., Inc., No. 14-1832 (1st Cir. August 12, 2015) (“Benchmark”).

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The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey recently ruled in Cypress Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Adria Towers, L.L.C.1 that consequential damages to the common area and units of a condominium complex caused by a subcontractor’s defective work constituted “property damage” and an “occurrence” under the building developer’s standard-form CGL policies, even though the policies were unlikely to cover direct damages like replacement costs. The case serves as a reminder that not all damages are treated alike by insurance policies, and policyholders therefore should not assume that an adverse determination as to one type of loss will apply to all resulting loss.

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