Policyholders are often surprised when their professional liability insurers contend they (that is, the insurers) have the right, after a determination of non-coverage, to seek recoupment of amounts paid under the policy. These disputes can be controversial enough even when the policy expressly provides the insurer with the right to seek recoupment; the controversy is greater when the policy does not expressly provide for recoupment but the insurer nonetheless seeks reimbursement in reliance on its reservation of its rights to seek recoupment.

A recent decision by the Sixth Circuit, applying Michigan law, explored these issues and ultimately affirmed the district court’s ruling that the insurer was entitled to recoup amounts paid in defense after the underlying complaint was amended to remove the only covered claims, even though the policy contained no express recoupment provision. The appellate court’s decision raises several interesting issues, as discussed below. A copy of the Sixth Circuit’s April 8, 2024, opinion can be found here. (Hat tip to Geoffrey Fehling of the Hunton Andrews Kurth law firm whose LinkedIn post linked to the appellate opinion, here).Continue Reading 6th Circ. Affirms Insurer’s Recoupment Right Even Without Express Policy Grant