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Evaluating Insurance Coverage When Policies Are Lost

For most businesses and organizations, one of the first calls to make after receiving a new claim or lawsuit is to the insurance carrier or coverage provider.  Insured policy holders rely on their insurers to provide a defense and to mitigate against the financial exposure created by liability claims.  What policy holders may not realize, however, is that they generally bear the burden of proving a policy existed before the insurer has any obligation to do anything.  In most cases, where the events in question occurred recently, locating a copy of the insurance policy is simply a matter of contacting the broker or reviewing a file cabinet of recent policies.

But what about new claims or suits involving conduct from years ago, where the policy information has been lost?  Over the past decade, state legislatures have re-opened the statutes of limitations to revive old claims, particularly those involving childhood sexual abuse.  As a result, child-serving organizations of all kinds are faced with the challenge of not only defending these matters from decades ago, but locating their insurance carriers from that period of time.  Coverage providers are, similarly, tasked with deciphering their coverage obligations under policies that have long been dormant.

Mollie Werwas and Jeanne Zeiger addressed these issues, including the current state of the law on lost policies and the practical implications for both policy holders and coverage providers, in their recent article for DRI’s For the Defense Magazine.  To read their article, entitled “Missing Pieces: Evaluating Coverage When Policies Are Lost,” please click here.

To learn more about DRI, please visit its website at www.dri.org.