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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

ACE Group Unit Joined with Other Insurers in Asbestos Coverage Lawsuit

November 20th, 2012 - A leading national manufacturer of automobile mufflers has sued ACE Property & Casualty Co. and and five other insurers in an attempt to force them to cover it in a number of asbestos claims.

Maremont Corp. filed suit in Delaware State Court against the ACE Group unit and co-defendants AIU Insurance Co., Federal Insurance Co., Great Northern Insurance Co., St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. and Zurich Insurance Co. All of the insurers had during the early- and mid-1980s sold liability policies to Loudon, Tennessee-based Maremont, according to the complaint.

Maremont is an automotive parts maker that specializes in aftermarket automobile mufflers. In 1979 it was acquired by two foreign companies, Alusuisse of America Inc. and Swiss Aluminum Limited. It is today a wholly owned subsidiary of Meritor Inc.

ACE American was named party to the suit as a successor to Aetna Insurance Co., which has sold liability policies to Maremont’s then-owners in 1981.

Plaintiffs said that, upon information and belief, each of the defendants had sold to Swiss Aluminum at least one excess or umbrella liability policy that included coverage for product liability claims. Maremont is now mired in what it called “thousands” of lawsuits and claims over sickness, disease and wrongful death tied to exposure to asbestos, and said that it is entitled to defense and indemnity coverage from the defendants in battling those actions once the underlying policies have been exhausted.

Maremont said each of the defendants’ policies obligate them (or will soon obligate them) to pay all damages that the plaintiff incurs as a result of liability by way of judgments or settlements. However, it said that each of the defendants has failed to acknowledge contractual obligations to the company.

Maremont asked for a declaration from the court that ACE and the other insurers are obligated to defend and indemnify it upon exhaustion of the liability limits of the underlying policies.

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