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To Trigger the Duty to Defend, the Insured Must Timely Ask For It

Insurance Coverage / May 15, 2023

Maple Manor Rehab Ctr, LLC v Evanston Ins Co, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued April 27, 2023 (Docket No. 359147) illustrates the importance of reporting requirements under liability insurance policies.

In Maple Manor, unpub op at 2, the policy required the insured – as a “condition precedent to coverage” – to  give the insurer written notice of any claim “as soon as practicable,” and to “immediately forward” the insurer “every demand, notice, summons or other process received by him/her or by his/her representatives.”

The insured in Maple Manor breached this provision by defending the underlying wrongful death suit for 18 months before reporting the claim to its liability insurer, Evanston. The Court of Appeals found that this delay was fatal to Maple Manor’s bid for liability coverage.

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