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Duty to Defend vs. Duty to Indemnify

Duty to Defend vs. Duty to Indemnify

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Quick Overview

In many insurance policies, the contract tells us that the insurer has the "right and duty to defend..." but what does that really mean? Is that the same thing as the duty to indemnify? Which is more important or valuable, if either is? Join us as Joe Junfola helps us to understand how the duty to indemnify works with the duty to defend. He'll deal with issues of long-term exposures and continuous damage and he'll explain the "four corners" test.


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Duration 1 hour
Location Online Webinar
Formats On-Demand
Instructor Joseph JunfolaJoseph Junfola

It is truly an axiom that the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify. Simply, if there is a reasonable potential for coverage under the policy (with the benefit of the doubt accruing to the insured) there is a duty to defend a suit.  The duty to indemnify, on the other hand, depends on the insured demonstrating that a loss is actually covered. In many instances, particularly construction defects and other types of long-term exposure or continuous damage claims, the duty to defend, typically unlimited, is more valuable than the duty to indemnify which is ordinarily subject to limits. By the end of this session, participants should be able to...

  • Define legal obligation.
  • Differentiate between potential coverage and actual coverage.
  • Contrast between the four corners test and the extrinsic information test.
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