Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked the Washington State Supreme Court to resolve a conflict between two Washington state insurance law principles, namely, the conflict between (1) the rule that an insurance company is bound by representations made by its authorized agents, and (2) the rule that certificates of insurance cannot affect insurance coverage, at least not when the certificate states that it does not change the terms of the underlying insurance policy. Continue Reading State Supreme Court asked to Resolve Conflicting State Insurance Laws – T-Mobile USA v. Selective Insurance: Take Two

The answer to the above question on Certificates of Insurance1 is found in another long-awaited answer to a certified question2 that was tendered nearly a year ago from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Washington Supreme Court in T-Mobile USA v. Selective Insurance Company of America. The question certified was:

Under Washington law, is an insurer bound by representations made by its authorized agent in a certificate of insurance with respect to a party’s status as an additional insured under a policy issued by the insurer, when the certificate includes language disclaiming its authority and ability to expand coverage? Continue Reading Can a Certificate of Insurance Change the Terms of An Insurance Policy?

Answer: It depends, on several factors, such as:

  1. The applicable state law,
  2. the insurance company’s prior position, or positions (e.g., did it accept or deny coverage?),
  3. how it expressed that position, or positions (e.g., did it accept coverage under a reservation of rights, or did it deny coverage based on a specific ground and reserve its right to assert other grounds for denying coverage?),
  4. whether the policyholder detrimentally relied on the company’s prior coverage position,
  5. whether the policyholder has been prejudiced by the insurance company’s change in its coverage position or the stated basis for its position, and
  6. whether a lawsuit has been filed. Continue Reading Can Your Insurance Company Change Its Position Regarding Coverage For Your Claim?