Between the Lines

A Discussion of Case Law and Statutory Law Affecting Commercial Lines of Insurance

Recent Posts

Posted In: Property Coverage

Is there Coverage for a Marijuana Business Under a Commercial Property Policy?

A Carrier Who Knowingly Insures A Marijuana Business Probably Can’t Rely On An Illegal Acts Exclusion, But The Exclusion Bars Coverage For A Landlord Whose Tenants Surreptitiously Grew Marijuana.   …

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Posted In: Excess Insurance, Other Insurance

Primary Policy with Excess “Other Insurance” Clause and “True Excess” Policy Cover Same Level of Risk Based on Policy Language

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Declines To Look Beyond Plain Language Of Policy To Consider Evidence Of Intent.  In Great Divide Ins. Co. v. Lexington Ins. Co., _ Mass. _ (2017),…

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Posted In: Claims Handling and Settlement

Court Finds an Unfair and Deceptive Practice When an Insurer Uses its Investigation to Confirm a Predetermined and Inadequately Supported Conclusion, Rather than Conduct an Objective Analysis.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 176D states that it is an unfair claim settlement practice for an insurer to “refus[e] to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Massachusetts Appeals Court Confirms the Right of a Liability Insurer Defending Without a Reservation of Rights to Control Defense and Settlement Even Where the Policyholder Disagrees with the Insurer’s Defense Strategy

The Court Also Confirms That Massachusetts Applies A Per Se Rule That A Reservation of Rights Creates A Conflict Entitling A Policyholder To Independent Counsel.  A dispute concerning liability insurance…

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Posted In: Policy Construction

Insurance for Airport Risks

The Devil is in the Details Three recent cases involving insurance for airport or aviation risks demonstrate that, as with insurance coverage generally, small details in insurance policies can have…

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Posted In: Intentional Conduct

Retaliation is “Inherently Willful,” and Therefore Excluded, Court Rules

An Insurer’s Duty to Defend a Town Ended When the Suit Against the Town Over an Airport Permit Was Reduced to an Excluded Retaliation Claim. Frustrated when the Norwood Airport…

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Posted In: Cyber Liability

Computer Fraud Policy Covers Wire Transfer Theft Induced by “Spoofed” Email

COURT REJECTS INSURER’S ARGUMENT THAT POLICY’S “DIRECT LOSS”  REQUIREMENT IS NOT MET IF THE INSURERED TAKES STEPS TO  INITIATE THE WIRE TRANSFER.   As email spoofing schemes have proliferated, so…

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Posted In: Cyber Liability

Court Finds No Cyber Coverage for Victim of Email Scam

How Can A Firm Protect Against This Risk?  Loss Was Not “Directly Caused” By Use Of Computer Where the Insured Authorized and Initiated a Wire Transfer to Scammer’s Bank Account…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

General Liability Insurer Has No Claim Against Workers Compensation Insurer For Defense Of Suit Barred By Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity

  Workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee against her employer for a workplace injury.  However, as a Massachusetts Superior Court judge recently concluded, the fact that a…

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Posted In: Policy Application

Attempt to Void Coverage Has No Teeth Due to Ambiguities in Policy Application

It is well-established that ambiguities in an insurance policy are construed against an insurer.  In Schultz v. Tilley, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has confirmed that this principle applies equally to…

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