Book Review of "General Liability Insurance Coverage: Key Issues in Every State"

Why do I blog? For the swag, of course. Well, no, not really, but I did just receive a review copy of Randy Maniloff and Jeffrey Stempel’s new General Liability Insurance Coverage deskbook, and it is tremendous. The book bears the subtitle “Key Issues in Every State,” and that phrase on the book’s cover is a perfect example of truth in advertising. The authors take the primary key issues in handling general liability claims, from the beginning (whether there is a duty to defend) to the end (how should recovery from the insured be allocated among multiple insurers) and provide a detailed synopsis of the law, with citations to key authority, on each issue in every state. Although that sounds like a recipe for a dense, possibly impenetrable text, here at least, in these authors’ hands, it is not, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has read any of Randy’s annual reviews of a preceding year’s top insurance coverage decisions. The book is instead, if such a thing is possible in this context, a breezy read.

Substantively, I am more and more impressed each time I turn to it. In the first 24 hours it was on my desk, I referenced it as a starting point for research into the issues in two or three different cases. For someone like me and most other experienced insurance coverage practitioners, who are already more than conversant in the broad themes of insurance law, the devil is in the details on a daily basis; we spot the issues right off the bat, and then need to ascertain how a particular state’s law handles those issues. Randy and Jeffrey’s book provides a ready starting point for research into a particular state’s law, and in many cases, an answer right off the bat to how a particular state handles certain issues, such as whether an insurer can obtain reimbursement of defense costs or how that state determines the number of occurrences under a general liability policy.

For anyone who deals with insurance claims issues on a daily basis, whether as a coverage lawyer or a claims professional, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Insurance coverage, as a practice area, is such a research intensive activity that anything that reduces the time needed to research and answer a question makes the practice more fun and saves clients money, all at the same time. This book does that.

Now if you don’t write a blog, you can’t count on swag to get a copy, but you can get it here.