Insurers Hear A Smoke Alarm

Can they be dragged into the tobacco fray?

Drowned out by the cannonades of America's tobacco wars, the lawsuit initially attracted little attention. In January, Imperial Tobacco Ltd. sued American Home Assurance Co. and Commercial Union Assurance Co. of Canada in a Quebec court. Canada's largest cigarette maker--facing a lawsuit filed by allegedly injured smokers--claims that the two insurers are on the hook to pay for its defense costs and any judgments or settlements. The two insurance companies did not comment.

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