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When an adult child is an insured under the parents' auto insurance policy, the insurer must give the adult child as well as the parents (who are the policyholders) notice of cancellation or nonrenewal.  Absent advance notice properly given, the insurance continues in effect despite the insurer's attempt to cancel it. Read More

Under Ins. Code 2071.1, an insured who is asked to submit to an examination under oath by a property insurer has, among others, the right to make a recording of the entire proceeding.  This decision holds that the statute allows the insured to videotape both the insured and the insurer's personnel during the examination. Read More

Under Ins. Code 11580.2(f), insured and insurer must arbitrate any dispute about whether the insured is entitled to recover damages from an uninsured motorist and the amount of those damages.  The trial court erred in denying the insurer's motion to compel arbitration.  The insurer did not waive arbitration by failing to pay the insured the amount that the insured claimed… Read More

Pep Boys extended their multiple-layer products liability insurance policies from one year to 17 months to align their insurance policies with their fiscal year.  Several of the extended policies stated that the policy was subject to a limit of” $x million in the aggregate for each annual period during the policy period.  This decision holds that the policy language cannot… Read More

The contamination exclusion in the Sharks business interruption insurance policy prevented the Sharks from showing any covered  physical loss or damage to property due to COVID-19.  If COVID stuck to surfaces making the premises unsafe, the alteration was an excluded contamination of the premises. Read More

This decision holds that some but not all claims for retaliation for whistleblowing activities, in violation of Lab. Code 1102.5, are not intentional acts for which insurance defense and indemnity is barred by Ins. Code 533.  In particular, under Lab. Code 1102.5(c), an employee is protected if he refuses to perform work duties if doing so is actually (not just… Read More

Acknowledging that both issues have generated a split of authority and are now before the Supreme Court for its review, this decision holds that (1) direct physical loss or damage to property, rather than mere loss of the property’s use, is a prerequisite for coverage under normal business interruption insurance policies, and (2) the ephemeral existence of COVID-19 or its… Read More

A motor carrier is required to carry vehicle insurance with a minimum coverage limit of $750.000.  Veh. Code 34631.5.  This decision holds that the statute regulates only the motor carrier and imposes no duty on an insurer that does not certify its insurance meets the statutory standards.  The carrier can obtain insurance from multiple insurers to meet its statutory obligation… Read More

An Ins. Dept. regulation requires insurance companies who sell variable life insurance—that is, a life insurance policy that also functions as an investment vehicle—to “adopt” and “use[]” standards in order to assess whether such insurance is “suitab[le]” to recommend and issue to potential investors. (Cal. Code Regs., tit.10, §2534.2(c);1 Ins. Code, § 10506(h).)  This decision holds that when the insured's… Read More

Interpreting Oregon law, the Ninth Circuit holds that a business interruption insurance policy that covered only losses due to direct physical loss or damage did not cover income lost due to COVID-19 government closure orders.  To fall within the policy's coverage, the loss must be due to a physical alteration of the property, which plaintiff didn't and couldn't allege. Read More

Fire insurance policies must be written on the statutory form that includes a one-year from inception of loss (semi-contractual) statute of limitations.  This decision holds that the insured cannot circumvent that limitations provision by bringing suit under the UCL for an injunction against denial of insurance coverage under similar circumstances.  To have standing to sue under the UCL, the plaintiff… Read More

The trial court properly granted summary judgment against the plaintiff insureds who sought coverage under their named peril property insurance policy for loss of their frozen embryos due to a failure of the refrigeration unit of the embryo storage company.  The insureds could not prove that the embryos had suffered physical damage.  The storage company refused to say, and the… Read More

Defendant disability insurer wrote plaintiff insured in 2015 that it had determined his disability arose from illness rather than accident and so would stop paying benefits in 2018 when he turned 65 as the policy allowed for illness-caused disability.  Plaintiff sued for breach of contract and breach of implied covenant in 2019, more than four years after the 2015 letter,… Read More

Emphasizing the difference between the broad duty to defend and the narrower duty to indemnify, this decision holds that the defendant insurer breached its contractual duty to defend plaintiff homeowner against a suit for damages caused by two pit bull dogs that the complaint alleged were owned by the homeowner.  The homeowners insurance policy contained an express exclusion of coverage… Read More

The allegation of temporary loss of use of property resulting from pandemic-related government closure orders—without any physical loss of the property—is not sufficient to support a claim against an insurer for business income coverage under a policy that requires the suspension be caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to” insured property.  Instead some physical alteration of the premises… Read More

In this case, plaintiff obtained a UIM arbitration award for the entire $1 million umbrella policy limit due to emotional distress plaintiff suffered from seeing the underinsured motorist hit her mother who was crossing the street with her.  Before the arbitration award, plaintiff made a 998 offer for a penny less than the umbrella policy limits, which the insurer refused. … Read More

This decision affirms a summary judgment for the insurer against a business interruption insurance claim by a casino due to COVID-19.  The decision holds that while it may be enough to overcome a demurrer for the complaint to allege simply that COVID-19 altered the surfaces of the plaintiff's business property, at the summary judgment stage much more is required to… Read More

This decision holds that a restaurant established that its business losses incurred due to government closure orders during the COVID-19 pandemic were within the basic coverage of its business interruption coverage but also fell within the virus exclusion and the exclusion for loss caused directly or indirectly by enforcement of an ordinance or law.  Hence, judgment for the insurer is… Read More

The no voluntary payment clause in plaintiffs' insurance policies barred its recovery for costs it incurred in complying with a settlement agreement and consent order with the government to remediate mercury contamination of water supplies.  Plaintiff had notified defendant of its receiving a notice of the federal government's claim for natural resources damages from the contamination, but then failed to… Read More

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