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If the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland bought insurance and suffered a loss he almost certainly would be an unhappy customer. Why? Recall his famous opening line in the Disney version of the story: “I’m late, I’m late for / A very important date. / No time to say hello, good-bye, / I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” In the world of insurance claims—often compared to Wonderland—being late is an increasingly intolerable trait. Indeed, even the diligent may find themselves upside down and out of luck.

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Policyholders today usually are aware that insurance policies contain some form of notice provision. Nonetheless, the many different forms of timing provisions and the varying requirements the law places upon them can be bewildering and can lead to unexpected and unsatisfactory results.

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What a difference a word makes! Today’s words are “the,” “an,” “any,” and especially “you.”

Most Commercial General Liability policies include a coverage enhancement known as a “separation of insureds” or “severability of interests” clause. This clause states that the policy’s coverage is to apply “separately” to each insured against whom a claim is made. When reviewing coverage for a CGL claim in which more than one insured is involved, it’s vital to consider the separation of insureds provision. This clause is too frequently overlooked. Continue reading →