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Negating Excess Insurance Coverage

Law360 (June 8, 2009, 12:00 AM EDT) -- Most companies and other policyholders with significant insurance needs purchase coverage in layers. Policyholders reasonably assume that excess insurers are obligated to pay if and when the policyholder’s liability exceeds any applicable liability limits of the underlying primary and excess coverage. Courts across the country have so ruled in cases stretching back more than 80 years.

But in a number of recent intermediate appellate court cases, including Comerica[1] in 2007 and Qualcomm[2] in 2008, insurers successfully have argued that certain language in some excess policies negates...
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