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Insurance Coverage for Long-Tail Liability Claims: Introduction to Trigger, Allocation, and Exhaustion

(247 reviews)

Produced on May 02, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Beginner
Topics covered in this course: Insurance

Course Description

In May 2016, the New York Court of Appeals issued its long-anticipated decision in In re Viking Pump, holding that insurance policies spanning a multi-year period jointly and severally covered asbestos-related liability, and that excess coverage could be tapped immediately upon the exhaustion of the directly underlying primary insurance.

These “ all-sums” and “vertical exhaustion” rulings, generally favorable to policyholders, will be hugely influential in New York and elsewhere. It is essential that policyholders facing claims involving progressive bodily injury (such as exposure to hazardous substances) or continuous property damage (such as environmental contamination) understand the issues of trigger, allocation, and exhaustion: (1) When the covered injury or damage occurs over a prolonged period of time, which policies respond? (2) If multiple policies are triggered, how are the covered damages allocated among them? and (3) Under what circumstances is excess coverage available?

This course, presented by Benjamin D. Tievsky of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s policyholder-side Insurance Recovery & Advisory Group, introduces the audience to these important coverage issues, explores approaches taken in various jurisdictions, addresses recent developments in case law, and offers practical guidance for dealing with trigger, allocation, and exhaustion.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how long-tail claims can give rise to complex coverage issues that may limit access to primary and excess coverage
  2. Learn about the basic approaches to trigger, allocation, and exhaustion, including recent case law developments in major jurisdictions
  3. Develop tools to identify potential issues before they are raised for the first time in a coverage dispute

Credit Information

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Benjamin Tievsky

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Benjamin D. Tievsky is Counsel in the Insurance Recovery and Advisory Group at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, based in the firm’s New York office. He represents policyholders exclusively in insurance coverage matters involving general and excess liability, cyber exposures, environmental liabilities, director and officer claims, and first party losses involving property damage and business interruption.

Mr. Tievsky has represented insureds in an array of industries, including public utilities and companies in the natural resources, pharmaceutical, transportation, entertainment and technology spaces. Among other types of claims, he has helped policyholders obtain coverage for federal- and state-mandated environmental investigation and remediation. Additionally, he has significant data breach counseling experience, assisting victims of cyber-attacks in all aspects of claim-building, negotiation and, when necessary, litigation.  He also closely follows insurance-related developments in the legal cannabis industry and has cultivated expertise in this rapidly growing and evolving field.

Prior to law school, Mr. Tievsky pursued doctoral studies in Jewish and Greco-Roman law in late antiquity.


James L.

Well done

rosemarie p.

Made a complex issues digestable.

Corey E.

Thank you

Andrew P.

Good explanation of a complex topic.

Glen B.

Nicely done.

Rick K.

very good

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