Excess Insurance Disputes Among Policyholders and Primary and Excess Insurers

Allocating Multiple Layers of Coverage in the Wake of Qualcomm

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE seminar will analyze the controversial Qualcomm decision and other rulings post-Qualcomm, examine other critical issues involved in evaluating excess-limit exposures, and discuss appropriate claims practices and settlement strategies.


Excess carrier policy obligations encompass critical issues such as the excess insurer's right to challenge allocation, excess/primary relationships, horizontal versus vertical exhaustion of primary limits, and an excess carrier's duty when a primary insurer becomes insolvent.

The Qualcomm decision denied excess coverage where the underlying insurer neither paid nor was obligated to pay the full policy limit of liability. This has implications both from the claims resolution and insurance acquisition process, and courts continue to wrestle with the issue.

Counsel for policyholders must consider whether global compromises involving all insurers from the outset is crucial. An excess policy with language reducing restrictions on payments that could trigger the excess carrier’s payment obligation is necessary to protect the policyholder.

Listen as our authoritative panel of insurance counsel examines the key issues involved in excess insurance disputes, best practices for resolving claims disputes, and effective settlement strategies.



  1. Qualcomm case and settlement issues
    1. Global settlements
    2. Trends in policy language reducing restrictions on payments limiting excess carrier’s payment obligations
  2. Relationship between primary and excess insurers
    1. Application of their coverages
    2. Exhaustion of benefits: horizontal v. vertical
    3. Treatment of self-insurance retention
  3. Rights and obligations of excess insurance carriers toward one another


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • Does the Qualcomm ruling violate the insured's expectation of coverage or provide a windfall to the excess insurance carrier?
  • What are the trends in excess coverage policies post-Qualcomm?
  • What is the effect on the excess insurer's obligations when the underlying primary insurance carrier is insolvent?


Conley, Michael
Michael Conley

Offit Kurman

He represents policyholders with claims against insurance companies. His insurance coverage law experience includes...  |  Read More

John D. Green
John D. Green

Farella Braun + Martel

He represents insureds seeking insurance coverage under general liability and D&O policies for a wide variety of...  |  Read More

John T. Harding
John T. Harding

Morrison Mahoney

He practices in the area of complex insurance coverage and "bad faith" litigation. For more than a decade he...  |  Read More

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