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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

One insurer may recover equitable contribution from another insurer only if the two insurers share the same level of liability on the same risk as to the same insured.  Here, a business' CGL insurer sought equitable contribution from the same business' workers compensation insurer.  Dismissal of the complaint was affirmed because the two insurers did not insure the same risk. … Read More

The court that wrote Inns-by-the-Sea v. California Mutual Ins. Co. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 688 affirms summary judgment for the defendant insurer in the COVID-19 case.  While the plaintiff introduced sufficient evidence to show that COVID-19 airborne particles might have caused physical damage to the motel, the plaintiff couldn't show that its business losses were due to that contamination rather than… Read More

Following Marina Pacific Hotel & Suites, LLC v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 96, this decision holds that a complaint alleging that COVID-19 physically changes the business premises by virus-infected droplets adhering to surfaces and transforming them into disease-spreading modalities states an actionable claim for coverage under standard CGL business interruption coverage language. Read More

The supplementary payments provision of this contractor's CGL policy provided that if the insured contractor faced liability for personal injury or property damage pursuant to an indemnity provision in one of the insured's contracts, the insurer would pay for the insured's defense but count any recovery by the indemnitee as damages against the $1 million limit on coverage.  The supplementary… Read More

Under FRCivP 24(a), a would-be intervenor must show that it has a significant protectable interest as to the property or transaction involved in the dispute which may be impaired by resolution of the case as well as that the motion to intervene was timely and the existing parties don't or can't protect the intervenor's interest.  Here, the plaintiff sought a… Read More

Under a manuscript endorsement, Yahoo's insurance policy provided covereage for “injury . . . arising out of . . . [o]ral or written publication, in any manner, of material that violates a person’s right of privacy.”  This decision holds that the "restrictive relative phrase" "that violates a person's right of privacy" might under standard rules of English usage and the… Read More

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