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20321 SW Birch St., Suite 200
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance typically protects insureds from liability to third parties arising out of covered business risks.  The CGL policy typically covers the named insured, e.g., the business entity, and its officers, directors and employees.  The named insured can often add “additional insureds,” e.g., subcontractors or distributors, sometimes for an additional premium.  The CGL policy typically protects the insureds against third-party liability claims for “bodily injury,” “property damage,” and “personal injury and advertising injury” as defined in the policy.  

“Bodily injury” is typically defined to require a physical injury, and excludes purely emotional or mental injury.  Similarly, “property damage” is typically defined to require physical damage and resulting loss of use to tangible property, but excludes purely economic loss.  “Personal injury” liability is a bit of a misnomer, and is typically limited by definition to specific torts like malicious prosecution, defamation and wrongful eviction.  “Advertising injury” liability is defined to include several specific “offenses” that arise in the course of the insured's advertising activities, such as disparagement and copyright infringement.

CGL insurance typically imposes two separate obligations on the CGL insurer: (1) to defend potentially covered claims against the insureds (by furnishing competent counsel and paying attorney fees and costs); and (2) to indemnify the insureds against third-party claims covered by the policy (by settling the claim or paying any judgment against the insureds).

Insureds buy CGL insurance as much for the peace of mind that comes from being able to rely on the insurer's superior resources for the prompt defense of third-party claims as they do for the indemnity coverage for settlements and judgments. Accordingly, California courts have held that the CGL insurer must defend potentially covered lawsuits fully and immediately.  All too often insurers delay assuming the duty to defend while they "investigate" a claim or the possibility of coverage for the claim. And, in some circumstances, insurers wrongfully deny having a duty to defend at all.

Although the insurance industry often touts their CGL policies as written in plain, easy-to-understand language, the policies are anything but easy for the lay policyholder to understand.  And insurance agents often do not spend the time necessary with the insurance-buying client to make sure that the client understands what is covered and what is not.

We have extensive experience arbitrating and litigating all types of CGL insurance claims, and we are nationally recognized experts in insurance bad faith law and litigation.  We can and will aggressively litigate your case to achieve maximum success.  No attorneys in California are better suited than we are to litigate your CGL insurance claims.

Call or email us to schedule a free consultation.