Antics with semantics favors and/orian reinsurers.

Claims under general liability insurance occurring over decades cannot be wrapped up as a single "disaster and/or casualty" for reinsurance purposes, the New York Court of Appeals held in Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, 2001 WL 1222464, decided October 16.

Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. insured Koppers Co. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., chemical manufacturers, under general liability policies, and it laid off part of the coverage to reinsurers, including Lloyd's, London and Overseas Insurance Co. and L'Abeille Cie d'Assurances. The reinsurance treaties obligated the reinsurers to pay Travelers for "each and every loss," which was defined as "all loss arising out of any one disaster and/or casualty under coverage of any or all insureds" of Travelers. "Disaster and/or casualty" was defined as "each and every accident, occurrence and/or causative incident, it being further understood that all loss resulting from a series of accidents, occurrences and/or causative incidents having a common origin and/or being traceable to the same act, omission, error and/or mistake shall be considered as having resulted from a single accident, occurrence and/or causative incident."

Both Koppers and DuPont operated numerous industrial and waste disposal sites that over decades were involved in losses from environmental injury claims. Travelers paid claims and then sought to cede part of its liability to the reinsurers. Travelers claimed that the payments were premised on the theory that pollution at the various sites had a "common origin" or was "traceable to the same act, omission, error and/or mistake," namely deficient environmental policies or enforcement of those policies.

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