• September 30, 2010

If you’ve got year-to-year claims-made insurance policy, it seems fairly clear that your insurance premiums for policies to come will be influenced by claims you’ve made on your insurance in past years.  Therefore, you might think twice before running to your insurer to notify it of a somewhat vague and possibly frivolous claim.   Maybe, if you ignore it, it will go away?

But probably not.  And the up-front quick assessment of “frivolous” may be wrong.  And the delay in giving your insurer notice of a claim may strip you of insurance coverage.

In Chartis Specialty Ins. Co. v. Restoration Contractors, Inc., et al., U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.)  awarded summary judgment to the plaintiff insurer who sought a declaratory judgment of no coverage for failure to give timely notice of a claim.

Insured’s assessment of the claim as frivolous and, on that basis, its decision not to promptly notify its insurer of the claim may have been short-sighted.

The case is useful to review just what a “claim” is under Minnesota insurance law.  A letter from Robert E. Dolan, Jr. of Yeager, Jungbauer & Barczak, PLC on behalf of a minor child who says she was injured, that your business is responsible, and that you should notify your insurer… that’s a claim notwithstanding that there is no demand for money nor a statement of the dollar amount of injuries.

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