While schoolchildren know that the classic “the dog ate my homework” excuse doesn’t work, insurance companies are willing to try a variation of that excuse. Ace American Insurance Company (Ace), sold a property policy (the Policy) to Exide Technologies, Inc. (Exide). Exide sought coverage under the Policy for acid damage at its former battery factory. Ace denied coverage, citing to the pollution exclusion. The only problem? The Policy contained no pollution exclusion!
Exide had procured policies from other insurers for several years prior to the inception of the Policy, all of which contained pollution exclusions. Exide instructed Marsh USA Inc. (Marsh), its broker, to procure insurance “on the same or better terms and conditions.” The resulting policy contained no pollution exclusion, and Exide sought coverage under the Policy for pollution-related losses.