Rachel Zucker

All articles by Rachel Zucker

 

Washington State Supreme Court Holds That Insurance Adjusters Cannot Be Liable for Bad Faith

In a highly anticipated decision, the Supreme Court of Washington closed the door on statutory bad faith claims against insurer-employed adjusters. The case is Moun Keodalah and Aung Keodala v. Allstate Insurance Company, Tracey Smith., and John Doe Smith, — P.3d – (2019, 2019 WL 4877438 (Wash. Oct. 3, 2019). The case arose out of a 2007 accident, when an uninsured motorcyclist struck the plaintiff’s truck, killing the motorcyclist and injuring the plaintiff. The police investigated the collision and determined
Continue reading...  

Texas Supreme Court Asked to Decide if Texas Recognizes Limited Exception to Eight-Corners Rule

In State Farm Lloyds v. Richards, the federal appellate court asked the Texas Supreme Court to decide whether Texas law recognizes a limited exception to the so-called eight-corners rule applied when evaluating an insurer’s duty to defend its insured for a third-party liability claim.[1] Under the eight-corners rule (referred to as the four corners rule in some jurisdictions), an insurer’s duty to defend is measured by the allegations of the complaint and the language of the policy.  Evidence outside of
Continue reading...  

Contractual Liability Exclusion Defeats General Contractor’s Bid Against Six Insurers for Defense and Indemnity in West Virginia

West Virginia’s highest court recently handed down a well-articulated decision on the scope of a CGL policy’s insuring agreement and exclusion for contractual liability, which could be influential to other courts who struggle with these commonly-litigated issues. On May 1, 2019, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals unanimously upheld summary judgment to six insurance companies in a declaratory judgment action relating to a property developer’s suit against its general contractor over construction defects at a shopping center. The insurers
Continue reading...  

South Carolina High Court Allows Malpractice Claim by Insurer Against its Assigned Defense Counsel

Early March, in a narrow, carefully worded opinion, a divided Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled that a liability insurer may sue an attorney it retained to defend its insured where the attorney’s breach of its duty to the insured proximately causes the insurer damage. The decision adds South Carolina to the growing list of states that recognize a malpractice cause of action by an insurer against its assigned defense counsel. See Sentry Insurance Co. v. Maybank Law Firm, LLC, — S.E.2d
Continue reading...  

FEMA Rescinds Prior Ruling that Halted National Flood Insurance Program during Government Shutdown after Wave of Backlash from Insurance Industry

In the midst of the partial federal government shutdown, on Wednesday, December 26th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the main source for flood insurance in the U.S., would have limited ability to issue new or renewal policies, or issue increased coverage on existing policies, although claims would be paid on policies that were in force before midnight on December 21, 2018.  A wave of backlash from the insurance, banking, and housing
Continue reading...  

Insured Can’t Claim Damages in Proof of Loss Were “Puffed” Up to Avoid Federal Jurisdiction: Federal Court Deems Damages Demand in Sworn Proof of Loss Submitted to Insurer More Credible than Complaint’s Unsworn Estimate

On October 10, 2018, a Florida federal court ruled that an insured’s precise damages estimate, set out in an exhibit to his complaint against his insurer, of $73,963.19, was less credible than his pre-suit demand in his proof of loss form of $100,709.34. The insured, Roger Ulloa, sued his insurer, Integon National Insurance Company, alleging it failed to fully pay his property damage claim in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Integon removed the case to federal court on the basis
Continue reading...  

Just the Fax: New Jersey Rules that Actual Property Damage is Required for Violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Proof of a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), without corresponding evidence of either “physical injury to tangible property” or “loss of use of tangible property,” is not enough for an insured to establish that the claims against it alleged “property damage” under a CGL policy, according to the New Jersey Appellate Division’s recent decision in Penn National Insurance Company v. Group C Communications, Inc., 2018 WL 3625424 (N.J. App. Div. July 31, 2018).  In Group C Communications,
Continue reading...  

Insurance Companies May Get the Last Say Regarding Arming Teachers

Three months after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and just days after the Santa Fe High School shooting, the debate continues to rage over whether the presence of armed teachers and/or officers would increase school safety, or just increase the risk of a shooting. The idea’s not new – arming teachers was the subject of serious debate after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, but the idea was quickly shut down in most areas by insurers.  Now, the spotlight
Continue reading...  

NY’s Highest Court Holds “Unavailability Exception” Unavailable for Pro Rata Allocation

Policyholders must pick up the tab for pollution claims in years when insurance was unavailable for those risks, the New York Court of Appeals ruled on March 27, 2018. In the closely-watched case KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance Am., Inc., the first-impression ruling decisively decided the applicability of the “unavailability” rule in policies that mandate pro rata allocation in the context of continuous environmental contamination and other “long-tail” claims implicating many policy periods. Under standard pro-rata allocation, the
Continue reading...