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Insurer's Duty to Defend: Navigating the "Eight Corners" Rule, Withdrawal From an Ongoing Defense and More

Advocating Complex Defense Duty Issues From Insurer and Policyholder Perspectives

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss three important aspects of a liability insurer's duty to defend: (1) determining an insurer's duty to defend from pleadings and other sources; (2) circumstances when an insurer can withdraw from a defense; and (3) sometimes overlooked issues where there is collusion in the insurer-insured-claimant relationship. The program will look at how various jurisdictions interpret these thorny issues and address arguments raised by both insurers and policyholders.


When deciding whether an insurer has a duty to defend, many jurisdictions follow the “eight corners” rule, analyzing the duty by comparing the "four corners" of the policy to the allegations in the "four corners" of the underlying complaint. But, some courts permit the introduction of extrinsic evidence to determine whether the insurer's duty to defend is implicated. This program will explore the approaches taken in various jurisdictions, highlight recent developments in the law and offer general guidelines for insurance professionals to consider when confronting the duty to defend.

Sometimes circumstances change after an insurer has agreed to defend its insured. If so, can the insurer terminate the defense? This program will evaluate this question in situations such as where the policy limits are exhausted by settlement or payment of the judgment and where a claimant's potentially covered claims in its suit against the policyholder are no longer an issue.

When defense under a liability policy is at issue, various parties--including the insurer, the insured, and the claimant that has made a claim against the insured--have an interest in whether the insurer will assume the insured's defense against the claimant's claim. Occasionally, two of the three parties will attempt to tip the scales to manipulate the defense obligation. Is this ever proper? What remedies does the odd party out have when the other two parties conspire to influence the defense obligation? The program will explore these questions and more.

Listen as our panel of attorneys guides in-house insurance professionals and coverage counsel regarding the scope of the insurer's duty to defend. The program will look at how courts interpret these thorny issues and address the types of arguments and defenses raised by insurers and their policyholders.



  1. Determining the duty to defend under the "eight corners" rule and beyond
  2. An insurer's withdrawal from an ongoing defense
  3. The role of collaborative efforts by the parties interested in a liability policy to influence defense or coverage outcomes


The panel will review these and other relevant issues:

  • What standards are courts applying to determine the duty to defend? What strategies are available to the insurer and the policyholder when information outside of the liability policy and the pleadings potentially impact whether a duty to defend exists?
  • Under what circumstances can a defending insurer terminate that defense if circumstances change?
  • Are there any circumstances where it is permissible for an insured and a claimant or an insurer and a claimant to cooperate to influence defense or coverage obligations? What can the parties do to protect their interests if those interests will be impacted by the cooperation between other parties?


Khambatta, Daisy
Daisy Khambatta

Kennedys Law

Ms. Khambatta has spent the last 20 years representing insurers and reinsurers in every aspect of their business,...  |  Read More

Klinger, Elaine
Elaine Whiteman Klinger

Kennedys Law

Ms. Klinger is a Partner in the Philadelphia office and has extensive experience in handling commercial litigation...  |  Read More

LaBarbera, John
John D. LaBarbera

Kennedys Law

Mr. LaBarbera's practice focuses on representing clients in all aspects of the insurance and reinsurance...  |  Read More

Tricarico, Michael
Michael J. Tricarico

Kennedys Law

A Partner in the firm’s New York office, Mr. Tricarico is a seasoned litigator who has represented a wide...  |  Read More

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