BATON ROUGE, La. -- A nationally recognized insurance group has asked a Louisiana court to deny a $18 million insurance claim from an Arkansas oil company.
Evanston International Insurance Co., and Gibraltar Casualty Company filed a complaint declaratory judgment in U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana on Aug. 17, after Murphy Oil USA, Inc. requested that the company pay about $18 million for insurance policies dating back as far as 1980.
According to the lawsuit, Murphy seeks to recoup funds from damages incurred at an alleged contamination to its property located in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. The company was sued by Claude Coulon Jumonville who alleged the property was damaged from oil and gas operations That lawsuit has been removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
Oil company seeks $18M from 30 year old insurance policy | morguefile
Evanston argues that the policies are no longer valid. In all, 13 insurance policies were written between 1980 and 1985 by then Associated International Insurance Company and International Insurance Company and International Surplus Lines Insurance Company. Those companies have, through mergers, since been acquired by Evanston and Gibraltar. Evanston and Gibraltar are known through the series of mergers as Evanston International Insurance Company and TIG Insurance Company.
In the filing, Evanston wrote, "Because the policies were in effect during multiple policy periods from June 15, 1980 to June 1, 1985—after the lease was terminated and operations by or on behalf of Murphy ceased—there was no property damage and/or an occurrence during those periods, so the policies do not provide coverage for the claims asserted in the Jumonville suit against Murphy.".
In the Jumonville lawsuit, Murphy Oil entered into a lease agreement in 1976 for drilling operations. By 1979 operation on the Pointe Coupee Parish site had ceased and the well had been plugged and abandoned.