A federal trial court ruled that an insurer has a duty to defend an insured in a superfund administrative action if the allegations are “potentially covered.” The U. S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island rejected the defendant insurer’s position that a duty to defend attaches only where there exists a “reasonable possibility of coverage.” The court stated that Rhode Island applies the “pleadings test” as does most other jurisdictions. This means that when a complaint contains a statement of facts that brings the case “potentially” within the risk of coverage, the insurer, unequivocally, has a duty to defend. The court added that where it is unclear if there was an occurrence during the policy period, the ambiguity must be resolved in favor of the policy holder.

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