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How One Squirrel Taught us a Surprising Amount About Insurance Investigation Lessons Learned From the Iowa Supreme Court By Graham C. Mills

A recent decision issued by the Iowa Supreme Court, City of West Liberty, Iowa v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, highlights the importance for a policyholder to investigate a loss fully so that a wide range of evidence can be gathered and presented to show why there is coverage. The facts of City of West Liberty are a little unusual, but its lesson is not limited to Iowa insurance law...

February 28, 2019

You Make A Better Wall Than A Window: Why Policyholders Can Rest Assured That Insurers Should Pay Legal Bills For Claims With Potential For Coverage By Graham C. Mills, Alan H. Packer

Unfortunately, policyholders, such as manufacturers and contractors, routinely face the unnecessary challenge of how to access all of the insurance coverage which they have purchased. Frequently, the most pressing need is to get the insurance company to pay the legal bills when the policyholders have been sued. The recent Iowa federal district court opinion in Pella Corporation v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company should help a policyholder in a dispute to require its insurance company to pay those legal bills sooner rather than later by highlighting that the duty to defend arises from the potential for coverage, and the insurer may not force the policyholder to prove the damage to obtain a defense.

March 6, 2018

Buyer Beware: Primary and Excess Insurance Coverage is not Always Coextensive By Graham C. Mills

In Haering v. Topa Insurance Company, Case No. B260235 (Feb. 3, 2016), the Second District Court of Appeal examined which provisions of a primary insurance policy were incorporated by reference in an excess insurance policy, and which provisions were not. This question is often significant because excess policies tend to be brief and incorporate by reference the key terms of an underlying primary policy, which is a separate document often written by a different insurer. In theory, when an excess policy incorporates by reference the terms of a primary policy, both policies should work together to provide a continuous layer of coverage for the insured. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

March 29, 2016

Subcontractor Must Pay for General Contractor's Defense, Including its Litigation Mistakes, After Ignoring General Contractor's Tender Under Express Indemnity Provision By Graham C. Mills

A recent decision by the Court of Appeal, Valley Crest Landscape Development, Inc. v. Mission Pools of Escondido (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 468, reinforces the right of a general contractor to defense and indemnity by a subcontractor when the parties have contractually allocated risk to the subcontractor. To ensure compliance with that right, the Valley Crest court imposed a strong penalty against a subcontractor that defaulted on its obligation.

December 16, 2015

CLM Around the Nation: Employee Error Corrected in Duty to Defend By Graham C. Mills

..."notes made by an insurer's employee are evidence..."

December 15, 2014

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