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Rhode Island Supreme Court Affirms Coverage Does Not Exist for Post-Cancellation Injuries Under Liability Policy

Blogs, Insurance Coverage

Mark Van Hoesen v. Lloyd’s of London, Nos. 2015-209-Appeal, 2015-227-Appeal, 2016 WL 1165428 (R.I. Mar. 24, 2016). The Supreme Court of Rhode Island recently rejected a claimant’s attempt to obtain coverage from a liability insurer for an injury suffered after the insured contractor’s policy was cancelled for non payment of premium. Plaintiff Mark Van Hoesen suffered serious injuries after falling through a railing on his deck on July 23, 2012. Mr Van Hoesen and his wife originally sued contractor Brian Leonard for negligent construction of the deck but substituted Lloyd’s of London as a defendant when Mr Leonard could not be located. Plaintiffs argued that Lloyd’s was liable for Mr. Hoesen’s injuries because Lloyd’s had issued Mr. Leonard a liability policy for the time period in which he constructed the deck. The court rejected this argument, finding that the terms of the policy specified that coverage was only available when the injury, not defective construction, occurred within the policy period. Mr. Leonard’s policy had been canceled in 2007 for failing to pay his premium, so Lloyd’s was not required to provide coverage for Mr. Hoesen’s 2012 injury.