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Allocation is the assignment to individual policies of the obligation to defend or indemnify an insured when injury or damage has occurred during a succession of policy periods.

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It is also the determination of which elements of defense costs must be paid by the insurer and which elements may be subject to reimbursement by the insured, depending on covered and noncovered elements of the suit or claim brought against the insured. Some courts have ruled that an insurer is not obligated to pay the cost of defending noncovered elements of a claim.