Ill. Court's Duty-To-Defend Ruling Boosts Policyholders

By Jeff Sistrunk (January 23, 2015, 2:09 PM EST) -- An Illinois appeals court's recent ruling that three insurers must defend Illinois Tool Works Inc. in thousands of toxic tort suits even if the underlying claims are unfounded clarifies duty-to-defend standards under state law and gives policyholders an edge in seeking coverage for suits containing vague and ambiguous allegations, experts say.

In a unanimous decision, an appellate panel held that Travelers Casualty & Surety Co., the Travelers Indemnity Co. of Connecticut and Century Indemnity Co. have a duty to defend ITW and a subsidiary against a slew of suits alleging exposure to asbestos, benzene and other chemicals through welding products....

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