News Alert: Firm Helps Secure Important Ruling for
Decision Important to Future of Insurance Industry
effect on the privatization effort and the
stability of the workers' compensation insurance
market in West Virginia if the standard workers'
compensation insurance policy was held to give an
insured employer coverage for "deliberate intent"
claims even though the insured employer did not
inquire about, request, or pay for such coverage.
Imagine the risk management implications and the
effect on premiums for workers' compensation
insurers. Imagine the conversations insurers or
their agents would have to have with insured
employers. Imagine the exposure to workers'
compensation insurers to claims for bad faith and
violations of the West Virginia Unfair Trade
Practices Act for those claims the insurer denied
where the insured employer did not purchase
"deliberate intent" coverage.
thanks to the efforts of West Virginia Employers'
Mutual Insurance Company (BrickStreet) and the
litigation team at Spilman Thomas & Battle,
PLLC, workers' compensation insurers in West
Virginia will not have to face these issues. In
Virginia Employers' Mutual Insurance Company v.
Summit Point Raceway Associates, Inc.
Op. No. 101414 (W.Va. Nov. 18, 2011), the Supreme
Court of Appeals of West Virginia addressed two
key issues: 1) did BrickStreet have a duty to make
an offer of "deliberate intent" coverage like
automobile insurers must make for underinsured
motorists' coverage; and, 2) was the Part Two -
Employers Liability Insurance provision in the
workers' compensation policy ambiguous, thereby
leading to automatic coverage for "deliberate
intent" claims? While the first issue affected
BrickStreet only, the second issue was a much
larger issue, and affected the entire West
Virginia workers' compensation insurance
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recent coverage of this topic by The State
, which can be viewed here