Many companies acquire other businesses to grow or expand their product lines. In some cases, those acquisitions also come with environmental hazards and potential lawsuits. Does an insurance company have a duty to defend a former insured in cases claiming that individuals were injured by exposure to toxic substances even though the exposure may have occurred before the insured owned the company? According to a recent case decided by the Appellate Court of Illinois, the answer is yes. [Ill. Tool Works Inc. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co., 2015 IL App (1st) 132350 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2015)]

Illinois Tool, which manufactures and distributes tools, equipment and finishing systems, was insured by Travelers Casualty & Surety Company and Century Indemnity Company from 1971 through 1987. In 1993, as part of its expansion plans, Illinois Tool purchased a company that made welding products.

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