In Berkley Assurance Company v. Hunt Construction Group, Inc., 465 F.Supp.3d 370 (S.D.N.Y., 2020), professional liability insurer Berkley sued its insured, Hunt, a construction management firm, seeking a declaration that it did not owe Hunt a duty to defend and indemnify against breach of contract claims. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Berkley’s motion for summary judgment and denied Hunt’s motion for partial summary judgment. Among other things, the court held that the policy’s automatic extended reporting period did not apply to Hunt’s first claim. The multiple claims provision barred Hunt’s second claim because the claims were related.
The court’s holding creates a potential trap for policyholders who wait to see how a claim develops before reporting it to their insurance carrier. This case demonstrates that waiting to see how a claim develops can result in a loss of coverage. Policyholders need to be aware of this trap and report all claims and circumstances immediately.