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This program was recorded on November 9, 2020
Liability insurance is a contract by which the insurer makes only two primary promises to:
1) defend; and 2) indemnify its policyholder, usually written as only two sentences in the same paragraph buried halfway into a lengthy document and known as the insuring agreement – a very valuable
This course will explain how to bring order and understanding to lengthy and often confusing policy language, seemingly driven by secret code by quickly condensing the tome into an understandable two or three page summary. A clear understanding of a policy starts with the nugget, known as the insuring clause, in which “The Lord Giveth” by a remarkably simple, broad set of open promises. Then, in the whole rest of the policy contract, “The Lord Taketh Away” by attempting to limit the broad promises of the insuring clause through often lengthy, complex, confusing, and sometimes self-contradictory Definitions, Exclusions, Conditions, and Endorsements.
The policyholder bears the light burden of proof to show that the duty to defend is triggered by a third party claim, but the insurer bears the heavy burden of proof to implement the remainder of the policy take-backs.
Because insurance is a regulated industry, when a policyholder notifies its liability insurer of a third party liability claim, the insurer must conduct a thorough investigation and explain all bases upon which the insurer may deny coverage, under penalty of forfeiting contractual rights to later deny coverage. Thus, the insurer must do most of the work of clarifying the scope of any coverage challenge – a great aid to unsophisticated policyholders, victims, and their counsel.
This course will not attempt to resolve complex issues often raised regarding the duty to indemnify, but will highlight disturbing trends in new policy language.
Principal fields of study include: duty to defend, conflicts of interest, reservations of rights, Cumis counsel, lawyers’ ethical obligations, reasonableness of attorney fees, insurer reimbursement claims, good faith reliance on counsel, insurer good or bad faith, insurance coverage in construction defect, professional liability, personal injury, many business and personal torts, products liability, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, libel, slander, wrongful eviction, invasion of privacy, discrimination, sexual harassment, and pollution claims. Represented insurance companies or policyholders in coverage disputes. Defended policyholders for insurers in a wide variety of liability suits.
1 General Credit
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- Uniformity of Insurance
- Basic Insurance Statues
- Insurance Contract Basics
- Insuring Clause(s)
- Variety of Insuring Clause
- The Duty of Indemnity
- Reservations of Rights
- Challenging Provisions