In asbestos insurance coverage litigation, the extent of an insurer’s liability to its insured often turns on whether the court determines that the underlying asbestos injury took place while the insured was conducting operations, such as asbestos installation or tear out, or after such operations were completed. This distinction is important to the insurer because under many general liability policies injuries taking place during operations may be held as not subject to aggregate limits, whereas injuries taking place after completion typically are held subject to aggregate limits.
Insureds often argue that all underlying asbestos injuries fall outside a policy’s definition of “products hazard” or “completed operations,” regardless of when the injury is held to have taken place, because the claimant’s initial exposure to asbestos took place while the insured was conducting operations. On the other hand, insurers often point to policy language that makes clear that any claim for an asbestos injury held to have taken place after the insured has completed its operations is, by virtue of its timing, a completed operations claim subject to the aggregate limits of the policy.
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