What is the difference between “first-party” and “third-party” insurance?

“First party” coverage is for losses suffered directly by the insured. Examples include life, health, disability and ERISA group policies.  If the insured is seeking coverage against loss or damage sustained by the insured, the claim involves first party insurance. “Third party” coverage is for losses suffered by other persons for which the insured may be legally responsible.  If the insured is seeking coverage against liability of the insured to a third-person, the claim involves third party insurance.  Examples include homeowners, commercial general liability, and directors and officers policies.