Case Study #2 Wrongful Death Claim – Homeowner Policy

A college student fell to his death from a balcony of a home at a New Year’s Eve party. The decedent’s parents sued for wrongful death. The homeowner notified her insurer. Liability was evaluated as remote, but damages were substantial. Plaintiffs offered to settle for the $500,000 policy limit. The insurer refused to accept the settlement offer.

6/7/17
[Policyholder to dependent counsel and insurer]
This will confirm our two recent telephone conversations in which you assured me that [Insurer] will be fully responsible to either pay for any settlement reached, or any judgment which may be obtained against me or my son in connection with this matter. Your advice gave me great comfort knowing that [Insurer] will be solely responsible to pay whatever it takes. Please promptly respond to this email in writing that the foregoing is correct.
By copy of this email to [Insurer], I respectfully request that it also confirm that it will fund the settlement offer or pay any adverse judgment in any sum. Specifically I request that [Insurer] expressly waive the policy limit. As my lawyers, please assist me in getting [Insurer] to provide written confirmation of the above as well. I will of course pay my deductible and continue to cooperate.
Thanks very much. [Neither dependent counsel nor the Insurer responded.]

6/19/17
[Policyholder to dependent counsel and insurer]
I am once again requesting the written confirmation that I asked for in my 5/31/17 email to the Bremer firm, and in the below email of 6/7/17 to both the [dependent counsel] and [Insurer].
Thanks very much. [Neither dependent counsel nor the Insurer responded.]

7/24/17
[Policyholder to dependent]
As you probably saw, I sent a Coverage Questionnaire to [Insurer]. I am also attaching an Ethical Compliance questionnaire which I am requesting that your firm fill out and return. I am very troubled that this lawsuit has actually been filed and served against me and my son, and I want to make sure I have a full and complete understanding of everything that has transpired, as well as the role and relationships between and among Insurer, insured and Dependent Counsel. And, as you know, I am still waiting for you to provide a full Evaluation of the Claim, in response to my written request of 6/24/17. When you received my request, you responded that I’d get it as soon as possible, but it’s been a month…..
Thanks, [Neither dependent counsel nor the Insurer responded to the Questionnaires.]

10/3/17
[to Policyholder and Insurer]
Please be advised that this case has settled in its entirety for your $500,000 policy limit.
Thank you very much.

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