Insurer’s Duty to Indemnify Not Ripe Until Underlying Lawsuit Against Insured Resolved

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The duty to indemnify is typically “not ripe for adjudication unless and until the insured or putative insured has been held liable in the underlying action.”

February 3, 2020
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

A liability insurer has two duties: 1) the duty to defend its insured; and 2) the duty to indemnify its insured.

With respect to the second duty – the duty to indemnify – this duty is typically “not ripe for adjudication unless and until the insured or putative insured has been held liable in the underlying action.” Hartford Fire Ins Co. v. Beazer Homes, LLC, 2019 WL 5596237, *2 (M.D.Fla. 2019) (internal quotation omitted).

For instance, Beazer Homes involved an insurance coverage dispute stemming from construction defects. An owner sued its general contractor for construction defects relating to stucco problems. The general contractor paid for the repairs. The general contractor then sued its stucco subcontractor to recover the costs it incurred. The subcontractor tendered the defense of the lawsuit to its commercial general liability insurer which is defending its insured-subcontractor under the commonly issued reservation of rights.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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