Article Date: 03/21/2014

State Supreme Court: CGL Insurer Has Duty to Defend Its Insureds, Irrespective of What Its ‘Other Insurance’ Clause Provides and What Other CGL Coverage May Be Available

By Scott Turner


A state supreme court has held that a commercial general liability (CGL) policy’s “Other Insurance” clause could never relieve the issuing insurance company of its duty to immediately defend its insured, including additional insureds, even though that clause provided its coverage was excess to any other, available, primary CGL coverage and other primary policies were, in fact, available to cover the claim. Thus, “Other Insurance” clauses only can govern the later division of responsibility between those insurers for the cost of defending the insured. They cannot be used against an insured to deny a tender of defense.


The ConstructionPro Week summary of this case is available to ConstructionPro Network members and includes:

  • The citation for the case
  • The details of the case
  • Author’s commentary
  • A link to the complete PDF copy of the original opinion

Here is a portion of the author's commentary:

"This holding is something of a two-edged sword for additional insureds like VP & PK. 


"On one hand, it will tend to significantly reduce the risk of the additional insured getting caught in the cross fire between its own insurance company denying coverage because the insurance company contends it is excess to the additional insured (AI) coverage provided by the subcontractor and the subcontractor’s insurance company denying coverage because its AI coverage only covers liability arising out of their named subcontractor’s work -- and arguing the claim does not arise out of the subcontractor’s work. This approach at least clearly requires one of the two insurers -- the insured’s own -- to immediately defend."



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