Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
Insurance Bad Faith Claim Handling Expert Serving Clients Nationwide

February 2019 Archives

Corroborating UIM Claims

Under South Carolina law, insureds can receive the benefit of uninsured motorist coverage for injuries that are caused by a phantom driver, provided that the insured can establish three conditions set forth in S.C. Code Anno. ยง38-77-170. One of the three conditions requires that there either be physical contact with the unknown phantom vehicle or that the accident was witnessed by someone other than the owner or operator of the insured vehicle.

Once is Enough!

The Kentucky Supreme Court in Allstate Insurance Co. v. Smith, 487 S.W.3d 857 (Ky. 2016) held that the insurer had a duty to advise its insured of the availability of underinsured motorist coverage when the policy was initially purchased. However, the insurer had no duty to advise the insured of the availability of UIM coverage after the insured renewed the policy for the first time. Although it was undisputed that the designation of UIM coverage was not listed on the declarations page of the insured's policy, the evidence also showed that Allstate sent a form to the insured with each renewal, notifying the insured about the ability to purchase higher limits for UM and UIM coverage.

In Louisiana, Insurers Are Not Vicariously Liable For The Negligence Of A Roofer Who Was Provided To The Insured Under The Insurance Company's "Direct Repair Contractor Program"

In Rubin v. American Insurance Co., 193 So. 3d 408 (La. App. 2016), American Insurance Company had a direct repair contractor program which was a list of approved contractors. If the insured used one of the approved contractors, the program provided that AIC would "be responsible" for the roof it provided. In this case, the insureds agreed to use the approved contractor provided by AIC to repair a roof damaged by a hail storm. The insureds alleged that the roofer was negligent when it removed the roof, but did not adequately protect the roof thereafter, nor did the approved contractor return to the job for several days while it was raining. It was alleged that mold grew in the house because of this negligence. The insureds sued AIC, alleging that AIC was responsible for the contractor's negligence under theories of vicarious liability or joint venture. The case was tried to a jury, which rendered a verdict in favor of the insureds, although the jury found that the insurance company was not, itself, negligent. The trial court then granted AIC's motion for a directed verdict as to the complaint.

The Ohio Supreme Court Broadly Interprets An Abuse Or Molestation Exclusion, Finding That It Could Apply Vicariously

In World Harvest Church v. Grange Mutual Casualty Co., 148 Ohio St. 3d 11, 68 N.E.3d 738 (Ohio 2016), reconsideration denied, 146 Ohio St. 3d 1473, 54 N.E.3d 1270., the Ohio Supreme Court upheld an abuse or molestation exclusion in a CGL policy which stated that there was no coverage under the policy for abuse or molestation "by anyone." The Court found the policy language to be simple and unambiguous. The Court found that the language of the policy excluded coverage for abuse "by anyone," including any liability premised upon the negligent employment, supervision, or retention of persons who committed the abuse or molestation.

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