In a case on which we previously reported on January 29, 2014, a federal court in New York recently ruled that a reinsurer was not required to pay amounts in excess of the sums stated in the Liability Clauses of two facultative certificates, even though the word “limit” was not used. Rather, the reinsurer’s liability was stated as a percentage share of the underlying policy limit. The reinsured argued that certain defense expenses must be reimbursed, even though they exceeded the agreed-upon percentage share, because the facultative certificates were silent on whether defense expenses count toward the amount reinsured. Applying Second Circuit and New York law, the court concluded that the contract was unambiguous and that the reinsurer’s overall liability for both indemnity and defense expenses was capped at the amount stated in the Liability Clauses of the facultative certificates. The Court ruled that a percentage share of an underlying policy limit is itself a limit on liability. The court also denied the reinsured’s request for discovery regarding the “custom and practice” related to limit-of-liability provisions in reinsurance contracts. Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Clearwater Insurance Co., Case No. 6:13-cv-01178 (USDC N.D.N.Y. Nov. 20, 2014).

This post written by Catherine Acree.

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