Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

What Triggers An Insurer’s Duty To Defend In Nevada?


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A primary insurer’s right and duty to defend attaches upon notice of a demand and continues through the litigation to final resolution of the claim.  Allstate Ins. Co. v. Miller, 125 Nev. 300, 309, 212 P.3d 318, 325 (2009).

An insurer’s “duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify. In other words, as a general rule, an insurer’s duty to defend is triggered whenever the potential for indemnification arises, and it continues until this potential for indemnification ceases.” Benchmark Ins. Co. v. Sparks, 254 P.3d 617, 620-21 (2011) (internal citation omitted).

If there is any doubt about whether the duty to defend arises, this doubt must be resolved in favor of the insured.  “The purpose behind construing the duty to defend so broadly is to prevent an insurer from evading its obligation to provide a defense for an insured without at least investigating the facts behind a complaint.”  United Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Frontier Ins. Co., 120 Nev. 678, 687, 99 P.3d 1153, 1158 (2004).