I harp on notifying a liability insurer in writing once a claim is asserted against you. As soon as possible. I harp on this because as an insured you want to remove any doubt or argument that the insurer was prejudiced due to a lack of timely notice.
In a recent opinion, Zurich American Insurance Co. v. European Tile and Floors, Inc., 2017 WL 2427172 (M.D.Fla. 2017), the insurer moved for summary judgment in a coverage action arguing that its insured failed to provide it timely written notice. Specifically, the insurer argued that the insured violated the clause in the liability policy that states:
2. Duties in the Event of Occurrence, Offense, Claim or Suit
- b. If a claim is made or “suit” is brought against any insured, you must:
- Immediately record the specifics of the claim or “suit” and the date received; and
- Notify us as soon as practicable.
You must see to it that we receive written notice of the claim or “suit” as soon as practicable.
- c. You and any other insured must:
- Immediately send us copies of any demands, notices, summonses or legal papers received in connection with the claim or “suit”;
- Authorize us to obtain records and other information;
- Cooperate with us in the investigation, settlement or defense of the claim or “suit”; and
- Assist us, upon our request, in the enforcement of any right against any person or organization which may be liable to the insured because of injury or damage to which this insurance may also apply.