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Vol. 8 - Issue 7
August 21, 2019

No Latin Love: Court Declines To Apply Contra Proferentem 
I’ve been saying forever that all policyholders speak Latin.  And this is no surprise.  They sometimes argue that contra proferentem supports their pursuit of coverage.  This is the Latin maxim, meaning against the offeror, that generally provides (putting aside some other issues) that, if policy language is ambiguous, it is construed against the insurer and in favor of the insured.  So, as policyholders sometimes see it, they do not have to prove what the policy language means, only that it has two different reasonable interpretations.  If so, it is construed in favor of coverage.  In Universal Cable Products, LLC v. Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-56672 (9th Cir. July 12, 2019), the appeals court addressed whether contra proferentem applies when the policy language at issue was proposed by the insured and the insured is a sophisticated entity.  The court held, under this scenario, contra proferentem did not apply as a factor to be considered in the determination of coverage.  If you have this issue – an insured that proposed the policy language at issue – it is worth looking at the ins and outs of the decision.   

Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity” Turns 75!

The Wall Street Journal recently had a story about the 75th anniversary of “Double Indemnity,” Billy Wilder’s classic film about an insurance salesman, who helps a housewife murder her husband for insurance money.  In 1998, the film was ranked No. 38 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American films of all time.  There are a bunch of movies with ties to insurance.  Here is one person’s list of the 25 best insurance movies of all time (proof that you can find anything on the internet).  No surprise, “Double Indemnity” is number one.




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