Connecticut Appellate Court Breaks New Ground on Policy Exhaustion

Pen resting on insurance policy

The case marks a further step away from Judge Augustus Hand’s almost-century-old ruling in Zeig v. Massachusetts Bonding & Ins. Co.

April 26, 2021
Eric B. Hermanson & Austin D. Moody - White and Williams

The Connecticut Appellate Court recently issued a wide-ranging opinion, Continental Casualty Co. v. Rohr, Inc.,[1] which significantly extended the current restrictive view on when a general liability policy can be considered exhausted so as to trigger overlying excess coverage. The case marks a further step away from Judge Augustus Hand’s almost-century-old ruling in Zeig v. Massachusetts Bonding & Ins. Co.,[2] which held that an underlying policy could be “exhausted” by a below-limits settlement as long as the insured was willing to “fill the gap” between the settlement amount and the limits of the policy.[3]

In recent years, courts in California and elsewhere have increasingly walked back Zeig’s broad ruling – holding in Qualcomm v. Certain Underwriters,[4] for example, that an insured’s below-limits settlement with primary carriers does not exhaust the limits of primary coverage, or allow the insured to access overlying excess coverage.[5]

Reprinted courtesy of Eric B. Hermanson, White and Williams and Austin D. Moody, White and Williams

Mr. Hermanson may be contacted at hermansone@whiteandwilliams.com
Mr. Moody may be contacted at moodya@whiteandwilliams.com



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