American States Insurance Company provides property-casualty insurance services. The company was incorporated in 1929 and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. American States Insurance Company operates as a subsidiary of Safeco, Corp.
500 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1213
Founded in 1929
CGL Insurer Must Defend Food Truck Lessor against Products Liability Claims
Feb 28 14
The California Court of Appeal held a food truck lessor insured's commercial general liability (CGL) insurer, rather than an auto insurer, had a duty to defend and indemnify the insured against products liability claims. Royal Catering Co. leased one of its food trucks to Esmeragdo Gomez, who, along with his wife Irais Gomez, operated the truck. The Gomezes' food truck had only two seats and two seatbelts. The truck was not equipped to transport persons other than a driver and a cook. One day, while Esmeragdo was driving and Irais was cooking, a traffic collision resulted in Irais being burned by hot oil that splashed out of the truck's deep fryer. The Gomezes sued Royal, alleging products liability claims. American States Insurance Co. provided auto insurance for Royal's trucks, and Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America provided Royal with CGL insurance. American States defended Royal under the auto policy, while Travelers declined coverage. American States paid $500,000 to settle all claims under the auto policy. Thereafter, American States sued Travelers, and Travelers cross-complained against American States; both insurers sought to establish Royal's coverage under the other company's policies. American States moved for summary judgment, arguing Travelers had a duty to defend and indemnify Royal in the Gomez action because the Gomezes' food truck was 'mobile equipment' and, thus, not subject to the auto exclusion in the Travelers' CGL policy. Travelers moved for summary adjudication, arguing it did not have a duty to defend or indemnify Royal in the Gomez action under the CGL policy because the auto exclusion in its policy precluded coverage. The trial court granted Travelers' motion for summary adjudication and denied American States' motion for summary judgment.