Indemnity Ins. Co., et al. v. W & T Offshore, Inc., No. 13-20512 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Anticipating that W&T, an energy exploration and development company, would seek recovery for its Removal of Debris (ROD) expenses as a result of Hurricane Ike under its Umbrella Policies, Underwriters sought a declaratory judgment that they were not liable for W&T's ROD damages. Because W&T's underlying insurance was admittedly exhausted by claims not covered by the Umbrella Policies, the insurers argued that they have no liability. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Underwriters, holding that the plain terms of the Umbrella Policies stated that it only takes effect if the underlying policies were exhausted by claims that would be covered under the Umbrella Policies themselves. The court reversed and remanded, concluding that a careful reading of the contract unambiguously precluded Underwriters' interpretation. W&T's interpretation fits neatly with (1) the plain text of the Coverage provision, (2) the definition of a Retained Limit, and (3) other contract provisions relating to coverage and payment.