For the second year in a row, Georgia appellate courts have emphasized that even if the slightest doubt exists as to whether a liability insurance policy provides coverage for a loss, an insurer should provide a defense to the insured for the lawsuit or face potentially detrimental consequences out of the insurer's control, which the insurer will have little or no ability to alter after a judgment has been rendered against the insured. Several other recent decisions have made significant changes to insurance law as well. Some of the decisions indicate that it is becoming increasingly difficult for an insurer to prevail on the defense of a lack of timely notice as a matter of law. In other cases, the courts have interpreted the phrases "arising out of" and "using" in insurance policies very broadly to find coverage. In one interesting case, a divided court of appeals upheld the enforceability of appraisal provisions in auto policies, distinguishing them from invalid arbitration clauses and further held that an insurer's payment of the appraised value of the auto precluded claims of fraud, breach of contract, and RICO violations.
In other insurance developments, Georgia's Insurance Commissioner promulgated emergency regulations barring an insurance company from using a twelve-month suit limitation and imposing two years as the minimum time for bringing suit on a policy. These emergency regulations have changed the longstanding prior practice that had been consistently enforced by the courts.
Schatz, Stephen M.; Cotter, Stephen L.; and Wolff, Bradley S.
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 58:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol58/iss1/10