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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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13 Jul 2017 Is a Claimant’s Misnomer the Be-All, End-All in an Insurance Coverage Dispute?

  Does your company have subsidiaries, a parent corporation, or a sister company? If so, one scenario you should consider is when a claimant that should have sued your company instead sues one of those other entities. Because you know the claimant’s grievance is ultimately with your company, your company defends and pays the claim despite not technically being named in the litigation. To make matters worse, you then realize the entity named as a defendant is not listed as a named insured under your insurance policy. If you find yourself in this situation, are you out of luck when it comes to getting insurance coverage for that claim?   Not always. Your insurance carrier will surely pounce on this technicality and try to convince…

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15 Jun 2015 Indiana Supreme Court Sets Up Future Coverage Battles Over Allocation, Defense Costs

  The Indiana Supreme Court recently declined to accept jurisdiction over a major insurance coverage dispute, leaving intact an Indiana Court of Appeals opinion that may now become a landmark decision on a number of insurance coverage issues in Indiana. The Supreme Court’s declination of jurisdiction over Thomson, Inc. v. Ins. Co. of N. America, 11 N.E.3d 982 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), on May 15, could have far-reaching effects that are helpful to policyholders in some respects, and potentially contrary to policyholders’ interests in others.   First, the good:   The Supreme Court left intact the Court of Appeals’ adoption of a policyholder-friendly test for determining whether defense costs are reasonable and necessary, and thus owed by the carrier as part of its duty to…

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13 Jun 2014 “Race to the Courthouse” Forum Shopping Strategy

  On behalf of a firm client, Barnes & Thornburg LLP attorneys Bob Devetski and John Fischer, working with local counsel, defeated Travelers’ “race to the courthouse” forum shopping strategy. Travelers’ strategy in the case is not an isolated incident, but seems to be a more prevalent practice of forum shopping to defeat their policyholders.   In 2011, rather than responding to the policyholder’s request for coverage of an environmental contamination lawsuit, Travelers filed a pre-emptive declaratory lawsuit in Iowa (whose law on the issue of insurance policy pollution exclusions Travelers believed is much more favorable to insurance companies). Travelers filed suit in Iowa a few days before the policyholder sued for coverage in Indiana, essentially winning the race to the courthouse of their choice….

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28 Apr 2014 Indiana Supreme Court Opinion Highlights Importance of Knowing Your Coverage Before You Need It

  In Groce v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 48S02-1307-CT-472 (Apr. 3, 2014), the Indiana Supreme Court has again held that the rule of caveat emptor, or let the buyer beware, applies to the purchase of insurance coverage.  The Court held that where an agent’s failure to obtain the coverage sought by the policyholder is “ascertainable from the policy itself,” the two-year statute of limitations on the policyholder’s claim against the agent for failure to obtain coverage begins to run when the policyholder receives a copy of the policy.   This rule presents three challenges for policyholders:  (1) many policyholders renew the same coverage year after year, such that the initial failure to obtain coverage could have happened years before the loss for which…

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