A federal court in Louisiana held that coverage was afforded under successive claims-made-and-reported polices even though the claim was made during one policy period and reported during the next because of the deletion of certain wording by endorsement in the second policy. Boyce v. CUSA, LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33349, at *2 (W.D. La. Mar. 1, 2019).
A plaintiff sustained injuries during the pendency of the first policy on the insured’s property and the insured gave its insurer notice of its claim. The insurer contends the claim was not reported until after the second policy incepted. The plaintiff sued the insured and the insurer. The insurer moved for summary judgment arguing that coverage was not afforded under either claims-made-and-reported policy because the claim was made during the first policy period and reported during the second. The plaintiff argued that the insurer’s deletion of policy wording by endorsement amended the insuring agreement by allowing coverage for prior wrongful acts even those known and reported to the insurer. The insurer countered that deleted language cannot be relied upon when interpreting an insurance contract and, thus, had no effect on the requirement that the claim both be made and reported during the policy period.
The court found the insurer’s failure to offer an explanation for the deletion of the wording to be relevant, and further found that the non-Louisiana cases cited by the insurer in support of its contention that deleted wording may not be considered and were not to be taken into account. Although the court deemed the policy language to be ambiguous without regard to the deleted wording, its reasoning suggests that policy wording deleted by endorsement may be considered by a Louisiana court when construing a policy.