”Excess” and ”Primary” Carrier Status Accorded to Insurance Companies

In Florida Insurance Guaranty Ass'n v. Giordano, 485 So. 2d 453 (Fla. 3d DCA 1986), the widow of one killed in a gas explosion initiated a wrongful death action against an Illinois valve corporation which had conducted business in Florida and was insured by Reserve Insurance Company with a policy limit of $ 300,000. See 485 So. 2d at 454.

Reserve defended the claim for four years until the company was declared insolvent and the cause of action was transferred to and assumed by the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA). See id.

After discovering that the valve company was an Illinois corporation, FIGA attempted to assert that the Illinois Guaranty Fund (IGF), with statutory coverage limits of $ 150,000, was the "primary" carrier, and that FIGA, with statutory coverage limits of $ 300,000, was only an "excess" carrier with no obligation to the insured and no duty to defend the action. See id.