Virginia Court Rules Against Kivalina in Favor of Insurance Company

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled against the Northwest Alaska village of Kivalina in favor of an insurance company in a case that legal experts say is the first in the nation on whether insurers may be liable for claims arising from global warming.

The court unanimously ruled Friday that Kivalina’s claims against AES Corp. were not covered by the Virginia-based energy company’s liability insurance carrier, Steadfast Insurance Co. The ruling upheld a lower court decision.

Kivalina, a native community on a barrier island northwest of Kotzebue, alleged in a 2008 lawsuit that greenhouse emissions by AES and other companies damaged the village by causing global warming. Steadfast claimed it did not owe AES a defense or indemnity coverage because the complaint did not allege an “occurrence” of property damage. No one was available at the Kivalina city office for comment.

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage contributed to this report.

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