Following the basic notice requirements to provide timely and adequate notice of a claim contained in all insurance policies seems elemental to triggering an insurer’s duty to defend a policyholder. However, even sophisticated insureds can sometimes miss the simple notice provisions in their policies. This is why all insureds, no matter the level of their legal knowledge, need to pay close attention as to when and how to place their insurance companies on notice of a potential claim. If not, policyholders can easily lose out on significant coverage.
Harvard’s failure to meet this simple notice requirement lost the school $15 million of insurance coverage from its excess carrier for a claim stemming from a 2014 lawsuit filed against Harvard alleging unconstitutional admission policies. After the admission case was filed, Harvard tendered its defense to its primary insurer, AIG, with a policy limit of $25 million. Harvard additionally maintained an excess policy with Zurich with coverage of $15 million.