When seeking insurance coverage for “long-tail” mass tort and environmental claims that involve alleged exposures and injuries spanning multiple years, businesses often look to their occurrence-based commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies. These policies are designed to provide broad coverage for defense costs, settlements, and potentially adverse judgements. However, CGL policies generally cover “occurrences” during one-year policy periods and renew on an annual basis, which can complicate efforts to seek coverage for claims involving alleged injuries or property damage spanning decades. Moreover, for severe claims, businesses may need to obtain access to one or more of their excess CGL policies. Therefore, determining which policies to pursue, whether policies in multiple policy periods will respond, and how to access valuable excess coverage are factors that should always be considered with coverage counsel when facing long-tail exposures. Courts across the country are divided on how these questions should be answered. A recent decision issued by the Supreme Court of North Carolina in Radiator Specialty Co. v. Arrowood Indemnity Co., provides guidance to North Carolina policyholders attempting to maximize coverage for long-tail claims.
Continue Reading North Carolina Supreme Court Provides Guidance to Policyholders Attempting to Maximize Insurance Coverage for Long-Tail Claims