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

Insurer Sues ACE Unit Over Brewery Worker Death

July 28th, 2014 - When Anheuser Busch Inc. was sued by the estate of a woman whose late husband had once worked for the brewer, Zurich American Insurance Co. paid for the company’s entire defense. It also later paid that estate a confidential settlement over a claim that the husband contracted mesothelioma at the work site.

And now Zurich American wants Insurance Co. of North America to contribute to the defense and settlement expenses, because it co-insured Anheuser Busch.

In a lawsuit filed against the ACE unit in U.S. District Court in St Louis, Zurich American said that it provided bodily injury and excess liability coverage to Anheuser Busch between 1972 and 1980. From 1971 until 2008, INA provided bodily injury liability coverage to the brewer according to the complaint.

In 2008, the estate of Elizabeth Tansey sued Anheuser Busch in New Jersey state court. It alleged that Tansey’s husband was exposed to asbestos while working for Anheuser Busch, which operates a brewery in Newark, between 1971 and 1996, and that caused him to contract the lung disease that killed him in 2008.

After the suit was filed, Anheuser Busch tendered its claims to Zurich American. In turn, Zurich American tendered the claim to INA, as all the claims in the lawsuit allegedly pertained to it, as well.

To protect the interests of Anheuser Busch, Zurich American said it agreed to defend the company, subject to a reservation of rights, and that it paid the full amount of the confidential settlement that was reached in January.

Zurich American said that it demanded that INA contribute to defense costs and the settlement, but that its fellow insurer refused. It did not state the grounds on which INA took its position.

Under terms of their respective policies, Zurich American said that all or part of its coverage of the brewer was in excess to INA.  It asked the court to now order INA to pay its fair share of the suit.
 

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