A document that says "Insurance Coverage contents" is on a desk. The court’s analysis shows just how “exceedingly broad” is the duty to defend. It applies to determine who is insured, what is insured, and what is excluded, (among other things) and in any combination. (Credit: RAGMA IMAGES/ Shutterstock)

When policyholders get sued, insurance companies are supposed to step in to help and defend. An insurance company’s duty to help and defend its policyholder is “exceedingly broad.” That has been the law in New York and in most, if not every, jurisdiction in the United States for decades. But what does “exceedingly broad” mean in 2022? Two recent cases provide a helpful barometer for policyholders.

In a nutshell, the “exceedingly broad” duty to defend requires an insurance company to resolve all doubts in favor of defending, including:

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