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Damages or Injury “Likely to Occur” or “Imminent” May No Longer Trigger Insurance Coverage

Date: December 22, 2016  /  Author: Masaki J. Yamada  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Memorable Quotes, Rants and Raves, Damages, Construction Defect, Claims  /  Keywords: Damages or Injury “Likely to Occur” or “Imminent” May No Longer Trigger Insurance Coverage 1  /  Comments (0)

Washington Courts allow an insurer to determine its duty to defend an insured against a lawsuit based only on the face of the complaint and the limitations of the insurance policy.  This is otherwise known as the “eight corners” rule (four corners of the complaint plus the four corners of the policy).  In other words, the insurance company is not permitted to rely on facts extrinsic to the complaint in order to deny its duty to defend an insured.  See Truck Ins. Exch. v. VanPort Homes, Inc., 147 Wn.2d 751, 763 (2002).  The laws in Washington provide greater protection to the insured over the insurer when it comes to the insurer’s duty to defend.  The duty to defend a claim is triggered if a claim could “conceivably” be covered under the policy.  See Woo v. Fireman’s Insurance, 161 Wn.2d 43 (2007).  If there is any ambiguity in a policy with regard to coverage, the ambiguity is interpreted in favor of the insured.