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Tag Archives: Insurance

High court orders judge to recalculate insurer’s liability  (access required)

An insurance company which provided coverage for a Myrtle Beach condo community may be responsible only for a portion of structural damage that unfolded over the course of years, the South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled. The court wrestled with how to apply the term “occurrence” to slow-motion water damage resulting from shoddy construction. Ultimately, the court adopted a formula for “dividing the loss among insurers… where proof of the actual property damage distribution is not available.” Attorneys involved in the case predict that the decision will help clarify what builders get in the way of coverage when insurance policies are negotiated.

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Insurance – CGL – Property Damage – Progressive – Allocation – ‘Time on the Risk’ (access required)

Crossmann Communities of North Carolina, Inc. v. Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. In condominiums built by the plaintiff-developer, the exterior components were negligently constructed, leading to water intrusion and damage to otherwise non-defective parts of the buildings. As one of several insurers which provided commercial general liability coverage to the developer, defendant’s liability is to be calculated based on its time on the risk. We affirm the trial court’s finding that coverage was triggered by an “occurrence.” We overrule Century Indemnity Co. v. Golden Hills Builders, Inc., 348 S.C. 559, 561 S.E.2d 355 (2002), and reverse the trial court’s application of Century. We remand for application of the “time on the risk” approach.

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Insurance – Civil Practice – Service of Process – Department of Insurance – Default (access required)

White Oak Manor, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co. S.C. Code Ann. § 15-9-270 requires that an action against an insurance company be served upon the Director of the Department of Insurance. As there are purposes behind this requirement aside from notice to the insurer that a lawsuit has been filed against it, the defendant-insurer could not waive such service via the “service of suit” clause in the parties’ insurance policy.

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Insurance – Auto – UIM – Rejection – Agency – Wife’s Implied Authority (access required)

Stiltner v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co. The plaintiff-wife had the implied authority to transact business concerning the defendant-husband’s auto insurance coverage, provided that her actions did not change the husband’s existing coverage and that she consulted with him before acting. However, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the wife actually did consult with her husband before she rejected underinsured motorist coverage on his insurance policy. We affirm summary judgment for the defendant-insurer on the issue of the existence of implied authority. Otherwise, we remand for a trial on the merits. We reject the insurer’s arguments that it is entitled to summary judgment on the grounds of ratification and estoppel.

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Insurance – Auto – Breach of Contract – Tort/Negligence – Insured – Duty to Defend & Indemnify (access required)

Hartsel v. Selective Insurance Co. of South Carolina In his individual capacity and as personal representative for two estates, plaintiff filed suit against an auto insurance company, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, bad faith, improper claims practices, and negligence, all based on two underlying wrongful death lawsuits involving one of plaintiff's decedents, Bennett. Plaintiff was not a party to the auto insurance policy at issue, and only one of his decedents - Mary - was. Mary had no interest in the underlying lawsuits, other than as a beneficiary of Bennett's estate; therefore, plaintiff did not state viable claims against the defendant-insurer.

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