Horizontal vs. Vertical Exhaustion of Insurance: Priority of Coverage and Settlement for Below Policy Limits

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

Conducted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide insurance counsel with a review of essential issues in horizontal and vertical insurance, the interrelationship between the liability of the primary carrier and the excess insurer, and best practices to resolve priority of coverage disputes.


Insurance counsel face challenging issues when insureds and their carriers disagree over who should pay a claim and the payment order among the applicable insurance policies.

Resolving insurance coverage disputes hinges on understanding the relationship between primary and excess insurers and when coverage from the excess insurance policy is triggered with multiple parties, contracts, and layers of insurance.

Also, unique challenges are present when the primary insurer settles a claim for less than the policy limits. Tapping the excess policies in these situations requires counsel to focus on the language of the policies and involves resolving many legal issues.

Listen as our authoritative panel of insurance attorneys discusses principles of vertical and horizontal insurance coverage, principles related to triggering excess policies, and ways to resolve issues with the excess carrier when the primary carrier settles for less than the policy limits.



  1. Overview of horizontal and vertical insurance coverage in the additional insured context
  2. The priority of coverage between the primary carrier and excess insurer and the triggering of excess insurance
  3. The dichotomy of views among states and recent case law
  4. Strategies for resolving issues when the primary carrier settles for less than the policy limits


The panel will review these and other vital issues:

  • When additional insured coverage involves both primary and excess policies, what are the best strategies for resolving vertical vs. horizontal exhaustion?
  • How can counsel resolve issues that arise between the excess carrier and primary carrier when the primary carrier settles for less than the policy limits?
  • What are the different rules for tapping excess insurance for continuous injury claims, and how should counsel best reconcile these rules?


Mullan, Brendan
Brendan V. Mullan

Crowell & Moring

Mr. Mullan focuses his practice on litigating and counseling insurers and reinsurers in all aspects of the dispute...  |  Read More

Waters, Celia
Celia B. Waters

Saxe Doernberger & Vita

Exclusively representing policyholders, Ms. Waters focuses her practice on complex insurance litigation matters with a...  |  Read More

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