California’s highest court held yesterday in Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co., that the state’s insurance notice-prejudice rule is a “fundamental public policy” for the purpose of choice of law analyses. This unanimous ruling, issued in response to certified questions from the Ninth Circuit, confirms and emphasizes California’s common law rule that policyholders who provide “late notice” may proceed with their insurance claim, absent a showing by the insurer of substantial prejudice. The California Supreme Court also extended the prejudice requirement, holding that a first-party insurer must show that it was prejudiced before denying coverage under a policy’s “consent provision,” which typically provides that the policyholder must obtain the insurer’s “consent” before incurring costs and expenses.
Reprinted courtesy of Hunton Andrews Kurth attorneys Lorelie S. Masters, Michael S. Levine and Michelle M. Spatz
Ms. Masters may be contacted at lmasters@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com
Ms. Spatz may be contacted at mspatz@HuntonAK.com