A football field has only four corners.  But, what if you compare two different fields?  Now, you have eight corners.  In this short example, a Virginia federal court compared only two documents, each with four corners, to decide an insurer had no duty to defend its insured.

A supplier/insured provided a chiller unit to a prime contractor.  When the unit didn’t perform as expected, the prime sued the supplier/insured who then, in turn, sought defense and indemnity from the insurer.  The court needed only two documents to support its conclusion:

(1) the complaint by prime against supplier/insured and
(2) the insurance policy between insurer and supplier/insured.

(Together, the four corners of each document totaled eight corners.)

To decide if an insurer has a duty to defend, a Virginia State or Federal Court may only look at the allegations in the complaint and the insurance policy to determine if a judgment against the insured will be covered by the policy.  If there is a possibility of coverage, then the insurer must defend the insured.

Western World Ins. Co. v. Air Tech, Inc., Case No. 7:17-cv-518 (March 29, 2019)

Published On: August 15, 2019

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