Actual Notice of a Claim Triggers An Insured's Duty to Defend
In Cincinnati Cos. v. West American Insurance Co., 183 Ill. 2d 317, 328, 701 N.E.2d 499, 504, 233 Ill. Dec. 649 (1998), the supreme court clearly stated that actual notice of a claim triggers an insured's duty to defend. Cincinnati, 183 Ill. 2d at 328, 701 N.E.2d at 504.
The court adopted this rule for a number of reasons:
(1) the insurer is in a better position than the insured to know the scope of the insurance contract and insurance law;
(2) the insurer, having received consideration for including the insured on its policy, should not be allowed to avoid its responsibilities as a result of the insured's ignorance;
(3) the state has an interest in having insured persons adequately represented in litigation. Cincinnati. 183 Ill. 2d at 328-29, 701 N.E.2d at 504-05.