A recent New Jersey Supreme Court holding that insureds shouldn't be left holding the bag for an insolvent insurer's share of cleanup costs in long-running environmental contamination is a major win for policyholders and will be an important tool in settlement talks, attorneys say.
Calling the decision “huge,” Anderson Kill shareholder Robert D. Chesler said he is representing policyholders in two cases in which liquidated carriers are respectively tied to 50 percent and 40 percent of the coverages at issue. The opinion should help numerous policyholders in the state in such situations, he said.
“Over the past couple of decades, insurance companies have absolutely refused to take responsibility for those liquidated years, so you've got a big burden on the policyholder,” Chesler said. “This blows it out of the water and switches the duty to the insurance company.”