Excess insurance, while great for mitigating risks of large losses to policyholders, does not always cooperate during litigation.  This is particularly true during settlement negotiations, as excess insurers do not have an obligation to settle in good faith until it’s their turn to defend. This was the decision of the Seventh Circuit in Fox v. Am. Alt. Ins. Corp., 757 F.3d 680 (7th Cir. 2014). In Fox, the plaintiff twice made demands for settlement, both before and after a jury verdict came down, that was in excess of the primary policy. But, as the excess insurer had no duty to defend until the primary policy was “exhausted,” meaning actually paid out, the Seventh Circuit found that in neither demand had the excess insurer violated their duty to settle in good faith.

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