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Century disputes Anadarko environmental claims


HOUSTON--Century Indemnity Co. has filed suit in federal court seeking a declaratory judgment of its rights and obligations to pay unresolved and future environmental claims under excess casualty policies issued to Anadarko E&P Co. L.P. from 1977 through 1986.

Houston-based Anadarko, a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., has settled and resolved numerous claims from individuals alleging injury due to exposure to asbestos, benzene or silica from Anadarko's operations.

According to the complaint, filed last week, Anadarko has advised Century that it has incurred or may incur liabilities in connection with the alleged environmental contamination. It contends that because of prior claims asserted against it, its primary layer of insurance coverage has, at least in some years, been exhausted and it has demanded that Century pay certain defense costs or indemnify it for the costs and liabilities it has incurred and will incur.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Century claims, among other things, that the environmental contamination alleged in the underlying pollution claims against Anadarko was the result of discharges that were neither sudden nor accidental and therefore the insurer's pollution exclusions apply.

Moreover, Century claims that if it is obligated to reimburse or indemnify Anadarko, its obligation is limited to a proportionate share of such payment.

Philadelphia-based Century is the successor to CIGNA Specialty Insurance Co.