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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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23 Jan 2017 Where There is No Meeting of the Minds About the Scope of Coverage, Must the Insurer Pay the Claim?

  Authored by David E. Wood and John L. Corbett   When a consumer buys an insurance policy and an important limitation on coverage is not expressed clearly and conspicuously, many courts will not enforce that limitation. Some courts hold that provisions in a preprinted policy offered to the consumer on a take-it-or-leave-it basis – that is, a contract of adhesion – are unenforceable to the extent they contradict laws governing insurance or public policies established by the courts. Other courts conclude that where a policy excludes a certain risk by way of small print or technical language, the policy is considered ambiguous and construed against the drafter (the insurance company). Those rules of construction rest on the assumption that the parties to the insurance…

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02 Jun 2016 When is “Wrongful” Eviction Intentional and Therefore Not Covered?

On May 23, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued an unpublished decision addressing what actions by a rental home owner would be considered an “occurrence” triggering coverage and whether the actions would constitute an intentional act to exclude coverage.   In State Farm Fire & Cas, Co. v. Otten, No. A15-1574, 2016 WL 2946110 (Minn. Ct. App. May 23, 2016), the court focused on whether an insurance policy covered or excluded the personal injury resulting from the rental home owners’ wrongful eviction of their tenant. The rental home was insured by State Farm’s Rental Dwelling Policy. This policy allowed coverage for personal injury resulting from an “occurrence,” which specifically included wrongful evictions, but excluded coverage for personal injury resulting from intentional acts. The Minnesota Supreme…

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07 Nov 2014 Chris Yetka Publishes Article on Insurance Coverage for Punitive Damages in “The Brief”

If your company is concerned about whether punitive damages are insurable, or whether your “punitive wrap” insurance policy will cover a claim for punitive damages, Chris Yetka, Barnes & Thornburg partner, just examined these questions in a bar journal article. A Minnesota company policyholder, with manufacturing facilities in Iowa, is sued in Iowa for injuries caused in that state. The claim includes punitive damages, which are awarded. The company has insurance coverage for punitive damages, “to the fullest extent allowed by law.” Citing Minnesota law (where as a matter of public policy punitive damages cannot be covered by insurance where they are assessed directly against the wrongdoer), the insurance carrier denies coverage. Iowa law, however, allows coverage for punitive damages. Because most of the company’s…

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