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Patricia O'Connell
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Laura Foggan Discusses Ruling on Applicability of New York’s Prompt Disclaimer Insurance Law

July 1, 2014

Laura A. Foggan, chair of Wiley Rein’s Insurance Appellate Group, was quoted in a June 27 Law360 article about a recent New York Court of Appeals ruling that refused to change common law standards to parallel a state law requiring insurers to promptly disclaim coverage under New York policies for claims involving bodily injury or death from accidents in New York. 

“For New York, this would have been a big shift,” Ms. Foggan said of policyholders’ “creative” efforts to expand the law’s reach, in KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc. et al.  “Policyholders might have had a field day in challenging insurer disclaimers as too late, even where insurers reserved their rights and there was no harm to the policyholder from the passage of time.”

There was no need for the court to impose a new requirement that insurers must disclaim as soon as reasonably possible after learning of a claim and grounds for disclaimer. That would have altered existing law which provides adequate policyholder protection through waiver and estoppel principles, Ms. Foggan explained.

Ms. Foggan represented the Complex Insurance Claims Litigation Association in the case, filing an amicus brief on the group’s behalf in support of the insurers.