Readers will recall that I recently posted about the new Nevada legislation requiring liability insurance policies issued in the state to provide for defense costs outside the limits – in other words, expressly requiring that liability insurers’ payment of defense costs will not erode the limit of liability. This new legislation caused a great deal of concern, both among insurers and insureds. On July 21, 2023, and in response to the concerns, the Nevada Department of Insurance, acting through the state’s Insurance Commissioner, adopted an Emergency Regulation to aid the implementation of the new statute. The Emergency Regulation itself, as well as the Insurance Commissioner’s July 20, 2023, letter to the Nevada Governor explaining the regulatory action, can be found here. In addition, the Department has also separately published Guidance to Insurers with respect to the Emergency Regulation, which can be found here. Continue Reading Nevada Publishes Emergency Regulation for “Defense Outside the Limits” Bill
D&O insurance policyholders sometimes bridle when the insurers take steps to try to rein in burgeoning defense expense. In that situation, the D&O insurers will often try to remind the policyholder that because defense expense erodes the limit of liability, it is in everyone’s interest for defense expense to be monitored closely. An unusual coverage action in the Western District of New York reversed the usual concerns about insurer defense cost control. The policyholder sued its D&O insurer for breach of contract, bad faith, and intentional infliction of emotional distress not for failing to pay defense costs or full defense costs, but rather for allowing the policyholder’s defense expenses incurred in an underlying criminal action to exhaust the applicable limit of liability. While it is hardly a surprise that a court concluded that an insurer that paid out its full limits cannot be held liable for breach of contract – much less bad faith or infliction of emotional distress –there are still a number of interesting aspects to this dispute and to the court’s ruling.
Continue Reading News Flash: Insurer That Paid Full Policy Limits Did not Breach the Policy or Act in Bad Faith