Construction Defects and Insurance Coverage: When Is the Duty to Defend Triggered?
In Florida, an insurance company may have a duty to defend and/or indemnify its insured. The insurance company’s duty to defend its insured (as in defending the insured in a lawsuit) is broader than its duty to indemnify (as in paying for damages caused by the insured). The duty to defend is separate and apart from the duty to indemnify. An insurance company’s duty to defend is triggered solely by the allegations in the complaint, even if those allegations are incorrect or meritless. Jones v. Fla. Ins. Guar. Ass’n, Inc., 908 So. 2d 435, 443 (Fla. 2005). This body of law holds true even where a complaint alleges facts which fall partially within and partially outside coverage of the applicable insurance policy. Trizec Props., Inc. v. Biltmore Const. Co., 767 F.2d 810, 811-12 (11th Cir. 1985). In that scenario, the insurance company is obligated to defend its insured for the entire case. Any doubts as to whether the allegations in the complaint trigger a duty to defend must be resolved in favor of the insured and against the insurance company. Lawyers Title Ins. Corp. v. JDC (America) Corp., 52 F.3d 1575, 1580-81 (11th Cir. 1995). Read the article…………….
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