An Iowa federal court recently ruled that an insurer must pay its policyholder’s defense costs from the date of installation of the allegedly faulty product, even though the underlying suits failed to allege when damage purportedly occurred. The ruling opens the door under each of the policyholder’s successive liability policies from 2000 to 2008, allowing the policyholder to recover millions of dollars in defense costs.
The policyholder sought summary judgment concerning the date(s) on which the insurer’s defense obligation was triggered by fourteen of the fifteen claims asserted against it. The policyholder argued that the duty attached from the moment property damage potentially occurred, meaning the time when the underlying claimant installed or potentially could have installed the windows at issue in the underlying claims. The policyholder cited to the following evidence to support its claim: actual dates of installation (where available), dates of delivery, purchase or manufacture of the windows; and policy period referenced in the insurer’s claims notes as being potentially implicated by the claim.
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