Maritime Insurance Results

Maritime Coverage Claim Denial Representative Cases

The following are examples of actual verdicts and settlements obtained by Pillsbury & Coleman in cases involving maritime coverage claim denials or underpayments. Additional results can be reviewed when you speak with an attorney at our firm. If the plaintiff or insurance company names do not appear it is because confidentiality agreements are in place restricting that information.

Matson Navigation Company and other Maritime Shipping Company v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s London & London Market Companies, and Other Insurers

Case Issue Maritime asbestos claim
Result Achieved a “first impression” ruling regarding P&I policy reimbursement. Recovered full value of maritime asbestos settlement in several cases for claims paid by shipping companies. Also recovered the majority of attorney’s fees paid by a client to obtain recovery from insurer.
Summary Under California law, it has been clear for some time that an insurer who issues a comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy is required to reimburse its insured for “all sums” (i.e., the entire loss) when a covered loss results from a continuous or progressive injury that triggers coverage under a number of consecutive annual CGL policies. Furthermore, the insured is entitled to select a policy of its choosing from the policies in effect at the time to cover the entire loss (up to policy limits). The selected insurer can then seek to recoup part of its payment by pursuing equitable contribution from the insurers that issued other triggered policies at that time.

In practice, however, insurers who issued the maritime equivalent of CGL policies (“Protection & Indemnity” maritime liability insurance policies) had agreed amongst themselves that each company would pay only its “allocable share” of any loss, rather than “all such losses,” as promised in the maritime policies. This forced insured companies to simultaneously pursue many separate claims against a multitude of insurers, each of which would apply a separate deductible. The result was that it was often impractical to pursue an insurance payout at all.

In a wrongful death claim brought by the heirs of a seaman who died from mesothelioma after having been exposed to asbestos while serving on company’s ship some 40 years prior, Pillsbury & Coleman won a victory that established an important precedent for insureds under maritime liability policies.

An arbitrator rejected the insurers’ argument that, since the seaman’s asbestos disease developed slowly over a 40-year period, the shipper should not be able to recover more than 1/40th (or 2.5 percent) of its loss. A court in San Francisco held that there is no basis for distinguishing P&I policies from CGL policies. That is, the P&I insurer, like a CGL insurer, must reimburse the insured for its entire continuing loss (up to policy limits), not just an allocable portion of that loss.

Similar results were achieved in another maritime injury and wrongful death case for the heirs of two former tugboat captains similarly exposed to asbestos at work.

Tough Negotiators, Passionate Litigators

To discuss your insurance-related concern, contact Pillsbury & Coleman, LLP. From our law offices in San Francisco, we represent clients throughout California and across the nation.