State and federal courts across the country are grappling with insurance coverage litigation, as insureds who suffered business losses due to government-mandated shutdowns look to their property insurers for relief. These cases present the following key issue for courts: does the alleged presence of the COVID-19 virus on property constitute physical damage to that … [Read more...] about Same Virus, Different Outcomes
Legal Case Law
In a recent facultative reinsurance dispute over the payment of an asbestos settlement, a New York federal court found the term “exhaustion” ambiguous and granted summary judgment to the cedent requiring the reinsurer to pay its share of an asbestos settlement. In Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., No. 14 Civ. 4718 (PGG) (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 19, 2020), the … [Read more...] about Exhaustion Found Ambiguous Causing Reinsurer to Follow the Settlement
On September 15, 2020, the UK’s High Court issued its highly-anticipated ruling on the “test case” for COVID-19 business interruption insurance coverage. The case was brought by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on behalf of several policyholders – many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – to determine how the Court would rule on several different policy wordings … [Read more...] about UK High Court Rules on Business Interruption Insurance Test Case
Some thoughts Most readers are familiar, at least to some extent, with the jury’s verdict earlier this year in Lanzo v. Johnson & Johnson. In that case, a New Jersey state court jury awarded $117 million in compensatory and punitive damages against J&J and Imerys after concluding that asbestos-contaminated talc, supplied by Imerys and used to make Johnson’s Baby … [Read more...] about Avoiding the Next Lanzo: Some Thoughts
Recently, while on a family vacation, I drove past the Yellowstone Imerys talc-mining operations in Montana near Yellowstone National Park. The operation is set against a beautiful backdrop in one of the most naturally stunning areas of the country. The tranquil setting stands in stark contrast to the company’s current turmoil as a defendant in one of the highest profile mass … [Read more...] about Lanzo v. Johnson & Johnson, et al. Is this the Beginning or the End?
Joanne McGovern (Claims Regional Vice-President for ProSight Specialty Insurance), joined Laura Besvinick and Julie Nevins (both of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan) to discuss the dynamics of claims handling in Florida, the hallmarks of good faith claims-handling, and avoiding bad faith claims. Bad faith claims have become something of a “cottage industry” in Florida. Certain … [Read more...] about Florida Bad Faith Claims: Best Practices In Claims Handling
In the Fall 2016 edition of AIRROC Matters, we discussed a series of contentious arbitration disputes between Meadowbrook and National Union that led to a noteworthy Sixth Circuit decision concerning the involvement of courts in arbitration proceedings and the impact of ex parte communications. In August 2016, in Star v. National Union, 2016 WL 4394563, at *1 (6th Cir. 2016), … [Read more...] about Sixth Circuit Follow-Up: Court Interventions in Arbitration Proceedings
In the Spring 2016 issue of AIRROC Matters, we featured Part 1 of a multipart arbitration series by Michael Goldstein and Dan Endick titled, “When Courts Peek Under the Arbitral Veil: the Role of the Courts in Managing Your Reinsurance Arbitration”. The following article is Part 2, “Who’s Your Counsel.” The final article in the series – Part 3 – will appear in a subsequent … [Read more...] about Lifting the Veil on Arbitration Proceedings: Who’s Your Counsel: Disqualification of Counsel by Courts
Arbitration in general is intended as an alternative to litigation in the courts. For good reasons, courts rarely intervene in pending arbitrations and instead require the parties, under most circumstances, to wait for a final award before seeking redress for perceived grievances in the arbitration process. Indeed, the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq. (“FAA”), … [Read more...] about When Courts Peek Under the Arbitral Veil: The Role of the Courts in Managing Your Reinsurance Arbitration
In the 1990 landmark decision of Bellefonte Reinsurance Co. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 903 F.2d 910 (2d Cir. 1990), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the reinsurer’s liability was capped at the dollar amount stated in the “Reinsurance Accepted” provision of the applicable facultative certificate. In doing so, the court relied on the portion of the … [Read more...] about Assaulting the Bellefonte Citadel: Reinsurers Win…Not So Fast
In 2014, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) remained a hot national topic. Often making headlines, fracking also made its mark in litigation where key battles wound their way through the courts. Reviewing just some legal developments confirms the industry faces unique, sometimes prejudicial, challenges despite continued growth. For example, the Eighth Circuit’s decision in … [Read more...] about Hydraulic Fracturing: A Retrospective of Key Legal Disputes in 2014 and Predictions for the Future
For centuries the venerable duty of utmost good faith has served as a bedrock principle of the reinsurance industry: a standard that has set reinsurance contractual relationships apart from other commercial transactions governed by “caveat emptor.” However, a number of commentators in the industry have questioned whether the duty of utmost good faith has been in … [Read more...] about Is the Duty of Utmost Good Faith in Runoff?