In an important case in favor of insureds, the court found that any ambiguity between a declaration page and a full policy shall be read in favor of the insured and in favor of coverage. In Bel v. Scottsdale Ins. Co, there was dispute as to whether a hunting club was provided coverage after Hurricane Laura. The insurance company, Scottsdale, asserted that there is no coverage because the “plain terms of the most relevant provisions” establish that commercial property insurance was only purchased for the animal shelter under the 2020 policy. However, the plaintiff’s duck hunting lodge was listed within the commercial property declaration page. The court would go on to hold that these ambiguities must be read in favor of property insurance coverage for the hunting lodge. The court need not inquire into other evidence of the parties’ intent, such as the requests behind the change endorsement, because these requests failed to result in policy terms that unambiguously exclude the coverage at issue. Bel v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., No. 2:20-CV-01583, 2021 WL 2125106, at *2 (W.D. La. May 25, 2021).
Similarly, the Louisiana Wester District Court also ruled that any ambiguity as to what is owed under the policy shall be interpreted in favor of the insured. In Richardson v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., there was an ambiguity under the “Loss Settlement” provision, which purports to limit recovery to “actual cash value at the time of loss but not more than the amount required to repair or replace the damaged property.” The insurance company felt that provision limited any recover to the actual case value of the home at the time of hurricane Laura. The insured felt they were owed the full value of the replacement cost. The court went on to hold that the ambiguity arises because the replacement cost is what is sought here, and it would rarely—if ever—be less than the actual cash value of a damaged thing. The court also found it unlikely that a policy purchaser would interpret such a clause as limiting coverage to ACV, especially for total loss of a dwelling and especially where the declarations page sets forth a policy limit for that dwelling but provides no indication that recovery could be less even upon a total loss. Richardson v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., No. 2:21-CV-00673, 2022 WL 354424, at *2 (W.D. La. Feb. 4, 2022)
In another favorable decision for commercial insureds, the Western District court found that a commercial business may recover “inconvenience” damages from an insurer’s failure to pay within 60 days. In, Club Tabby LLC v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., Club Tabby asserted that it had suffered “mental anguish, aggravation and inconvenience” as a result of Scottsdale's delayed and withheld payments. The court agreed with Scottsdale that business entities are incapable of experiencing human emotions and cannot recover mental anguish and aggravation. However, Club Tabby asserted that the delay hindered its reopening. The court found that this assertion sufficiently encompassed within the complaint's allegation of “inconvenience,” and that any damages in this category are of a sufficient economic nature that a business entity might recover on that basis. Club Tabby LLC v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., No. 2:21-CV-00403, 2022 WL 278933, at *2 (W.D. La. Jan. 28, 2022)