Most professional liability insurance policies are written on a claims-made basis – that is, they cover only claims first made during the applicable policy period. A recurring issue under these kinds of policies is the question of when a claim was first made. This question can be particularly complicated if there were pre-policy period communications about a subject that subsequently results in a lawsuit. The question is whether the claim was first made at the time of the prior communications or at the time of the subsequent lawsuit. Two recent cases reached different conclusions about whether not pre-policy period communications represented a claim. As discussed below, these diverging decisions raise interesting issues.
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