The Wisconsin Supreme Court held last week in Steadfast Ins. Co. v. Greenwich Ins. Co. that two insurers must contribute proportionally to the defense of an additional insured under their comprehensive liability policies.
In 2008, torrential rainstorms battered the Milwaukee area for two days. The downpour overwhelmed the city’s sewer system, causing significant flooding in homes throughout the region. Out of those floods sprang several lawsuits against the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (“MMSD”) for negligent inspection, maintenance, repair, and operation of Milwaukee’s sewage system.
MMSD was an additional insured under liability policies covering two other water service providers responsible for the city’s sewer systems. The first policy was issued by Greenwich Insurance Company for United Water Services Milwaukee, LLC, and the second was issued by Steadfast Insurance Company for Veolia Water Milwaukee, LLC. After learning of the lawsuits, MMSD tendered its defense of the sewage suits to both insurers. Steadfast accepted the defense; but Greenwich refused, claiming that its policy was excess to Steadfast’s based on an “other insurance” clause in Greenwich’s policy.
Reprinted courtesy of Michael S. Levine, Hunton Andrews Kurth and David Costello, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Costello may be contacted at dcostello@HuntonAK.com