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Argued: February 20, 2001

This appeal involves a dispute as to primacy and apportionment of coverage between two umbrella carriers, U.S. Fire Insurance Company (“U.S. Fire”) and Lexington Insurance Company (“Lexington”). The insurance coverage dispute arises out of an accident that occurred on November 15, 1993 at Ball-In-Con Glass Packaging Corp. in Carteret, New Jersey, in which Ramon Perez (“Perez”), an employee of Ball-In-Con, sustained a paralyzing injury while driving a forklift in the process of unloading pallets from a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer was owned and operated by Blue Diamond Company (“Blue Diamond”). Sonoco Products Company, Inc. (“Sonoco”) loaded the pallets onto the tractor trailer.

At the time of the accident, Blue Diamond was insured by two policies: a primary motor vehicle liability policy with limits of $1,000,000 per accident issued by the Fire and Casualty Insurance Company of Connecticut (“FCICC”), and an excess policy with limits of $4,000,000 per occurrence issued by U.S. Fire. The absolute minimum annual premium for the FCICC primary policy was $708,599; the minimum annual premium for the U.S. Fire excess policy was $160,000.

 
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