South Carolina Supreme Court Gives Life to

Doctrine of Reasonable Expectations

Over the last half century, the doctrine of reasonable expectations emerged in many jurisdictions as a mechanism to determine coverage based on the objectively reasonable expectations of the insured at the time of application.  For many years, South Carolina valiantly resisted the urge to join in the reasonable expectations movement.  Recently, however, signs emerged that the SC Supreme Court might be looking to rethink its position.  In 2011, the Court re-issued its controversial opinion in Crossmann Communities v. Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co., 717 S.E.2d 589 (2011) and adopted a time-on-risk allocation methodology based on the reasonable expectations of the insured.  The Court did not expressly adopt the doctrine in Crossmann, but the foundation had been laid that it may be willing to do so if given the opportunity.  Last week, the Court finally got that opportunity in Bell v. Progressive Direct Ins. Co., No. 27381 (S.C. April 9, 2014), and, as predicted, adopted the doctrine of reasonable expectations under certain circumstances.  READ MORE

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