Consent required for assignment of rights unless assignment occurs after identifiable loss

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Shepard, Chief Justice.

Five corporations seek insurance coverage from insurers who issued liability policies for their predecessors. The underlying litigation involves bodily injury claims relating to the operation of an industrial blast machine. The corporations say that coverage rights passed to them through the same corporate transactions that brought them the blast machine assets. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to the current holder of the assets. Each of the implicated insurance policies contains a provision that bars assignment of the policy without the consent of the insurer.

Conclusion (slip op. at 13):  We reverse the trial court’s summary judgment determination and direct entry of judgment for the Insurers on the issues at contest in the present appeal.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 2):  We hold that consent is required for any assignment of policy rights, unless the assignment occurs after an identifiable loss, in which case the right to receive payment on that claim may be transferred without consent. Because the corporations neither obtained consent nor made a post-loss assignment, we direct judgment for the insurers.

Dickson, Sullivan, and Rucker, JJ., concur; Boehm, J., not participating.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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