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Excess and Umbrella Coverages

A significant part of the coverage practice of Kunz Plitt Hyland & Demlong, P.C., involves excess and umbrella insurance coverage and the unique issues that arise from this coverage and the interrelationship between multiple layers of coverage and their attachment points. Our attorneys are frequently approached by insurance carriers for advice on exhaustion issues and coverage allocation questions. Complex case management issues can arise within these towers of interrelated coverages. Our attorneys are skilled in managing the bad faith issues that can arise in this context.

Umbrella coverage is perhaps most common in general liability and specialty coverage policies, but it is also found in matters of homeowner and auto insurance coverage. The proficiency in all areas of insurance coverage displayed by members of our firm enables us to skillfully negotiate complex coverage matters for our insurance and corporate clients.

Understanding the Legal Relationship between Layers of Coverage

From a legal standpoint, umbrella / excess coverage may be the most complex type of insurance coverage. There are unique interrelationships between the primary and excess layers within each tower of coverage. Often there are multiple layers of excess liability coverage, each with their own relationships to each other and to the primary coverage.

Perhaps most important to this area of representation is the evaluation and analysis of underlying exposures which may jeopardize the excess layer of coverage. Our lawyers carefully settle the exposure within our clients' layers of coverage by managing the demands by the next higher layer of coverage. Members of the firm assist clients with the valuation of large exposures, which may implicate excess coverage.

Litigation Involving Excess Coverage

Our firm assists clients in both day-to-day management of umbrella coverage and in complex insurance coverage litigation. Litigation involving excess coverage necessitates negotiating layers within the tower of coverage and investigating attachment points between competing duties and obligations to discover whether they have been reached.


Related to our work in excess coverage is our work in reinsurance matters. Similar negotiations and investigations of coverage attachment points are necessary for reinsurance companies. Our lead insurance coverage attorney, Steven Plitt, wrote the section on reinsurance in "Couch on Insurance."

Contact Kunz Plitt Hyland & Demlong to learn more.