Failure to Issue a Reservation of Rights, and to Address an Insured’s Affirmative Defenses in a Coverage Dispute, May Preclude Denial of an Otherwise Excluded Claim

A recent Florida state court opinion emphasizes the importance of an insurer’s obligations in the event of a liability claim against an insured and a subsequent coverage dispute with that insured. In Hurchalla v. Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Company, the insured was sued for tortious interference with business contracts. Although her liability policy did not insure against intentional acts, the insurer initially provided the insured with a defense. However, the insurer neglected to inform the insured that the
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Lax Claims Handling Basis for Award of Emotional Distress and Punitive Damages

In K.N.T. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 576 (Iowa Ct. App. July 9, 2015), the Iowa Appellate Court addressed emotional distress arising out of the claims process and whether lax claims handling warranted awarding punitive damages. Eleven-year-old K.N.T. was involved in a serious accident as a passenger in an all-terrain vehicle. She was in the hospital for twenty-three days and incurred approximately $250,000 in hospital expenses. K.N.T.’s mother filed an uninsured motorist claim. A claims
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