In November, an Illinois appellate court affirmed an order granting defendant MidStates Reinsurance Corporation’s (“MidStates”) motion for judgment on the pleadings because the reinsurer had fulfilled its obligation to pay up to the policy limits of various unambiguous facultative contracts.
Continental Casualty Company (“Continental”) sought reinsurance coverage for excess third-party liability and commercial casualty policies issued for RSR Corporation and Borg-Warner Corporation. In the 1990s and early 2000s, environmental claims arose from injuries linked to asbestos and hazardous waste at these insured facilities. MidStates alleged that subsequent remittances to Continental were in line with the limits provided in the reinsurance certificates. Continental alleged that MidStates breached their contract as the reinsurance certificates did not include limits on expenses.
Relying on Bellefonte Reinsurance Co. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 903 F.2d 910 (2d Cir. 1990) and its progeny, the court found that the reinsurance certificates placed a limit on indemnity costs and expenses. Looking at the four corners of the contracts, the court found no indication that expenses were removed from the liability limit. The court found that even though only two of the five certificates included the language “inclusive of expenses,” this did not create an ambiguity. Instead, “this inclusion clearly appears to be an abundance of caution rather than an intention to exclude expenses from the liability cap.” Continental Cas. Co. v. MidStates Reinsurance Corp., No. 1-13-3090 (Ill. App. Ct. Nov. 4, 2014).