Commercial General Liability
Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies are the backbone of insurance as they are intended to indemnify the policyholder against the occurrence of, among other things, accidental personal injury and damage to the property of others. In most instances, CGL policies also provide the policyholder with a defense against legal actions arising out of covered claims.
CGL policies are often combined with multiple layers of excess coverages that together operate as a liability “tower” of insurance tailored to the types and amount of risk to which a particular policy holder is exposed through its business operations.
Given the complex structure of a CGL tower made up of multiple policies, each providing certain coverage, a list of exclusions, various endorsements modifying the coverage, and each policy containing some ambiguity in the meaning of terms, it is not surprising that the policyholder’s understanding is often inconsistent with the view taken by the carriers regarding: (i) what is a covered loss; (ii) under which circumstances is it insured; (iii) to what extent does coverage apply; and (iv) the extent of carrier’s rights and obligations to defend legal actions. Moreover, it is not unusual that the individual carriers will take different views of the same underlying coverage in light of their own policy language.
Our attorneys have in-depth experience interpreting and applying CGL coverage to the full range of occurrences arising across a broad spectrum of commercial endeavors. Our deep experience in the field is effective in narrowing the gap between carriers and policyholders disputing a claim. And when the gap is untenable for our client, we have a nationwide track record in successful coverage litigation before multiple State and federal courts at trial and appellate levels.
We are accustomed to litigating cases involving every layer of insurance from primary through very high excess and umbrella coverages across the broad spectrum of coverages and exclusions found in all types of CGL forms for all sizes and kinds of commercial operations. We are successful in preserving our clients’ interests because we fully understand the complex legal obligations created by the various insuring terms, exclusions and endorsements comprising the CGL tower.
The complexity of CGL coverage issues in dispute is multiplied when, as is often the case in major liability litigation, numerous named and additional insureds are implicated with their own CGL towers underwritten by multiple carriers insuring the same risk under disparate types of liability coverages over multiple years of occurrences, or where there are overlapping policy periods combining occurrence and claims-made coverages.
Litigation of such complex CGL matters requires the acumen of our highly experienced coverage attorneys. We have filed numerous declaratory judgment actions and litigated numerous other coverage actions in the state and federal courts of over 20 states. Our wide range of experience in coverage analysis and insurance litigation involving CGL policies allows us to efficiently analyze claims regardless of the policy, industry or basis of liability involved.
Our firm is comprised of lawyers with significant experience, not only in representing insureds in coverage analysis and insurance litigation, but we are also often called upon to provide liability defense.