Insurers need actual notice to require a duty to defend. If you are an insured and you have been served with a lawsuit the first thing you need to do is notify your insurer in writing. If you fail to notify your insurer you will have to prove to the court that you had a good faith reason for the failure. This is becoming harder and harder to do. Great American Ins. Co. v. C.G. Tate Construction Co., 315 N.C. 714 (1986). See also Kubit v. MAG Mutual Ins.