Archives: Insurance News of Note

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Raccoons as legal roadkill: The Western District of Pennsylvania denies coverage for damage caused by masked bandits

Reviewing philosopher Mark Rowlands’ 2012 work Can Animals Be Moral?, Jessica Pierce wrote in the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, “The question, ‘Can animals be moral?’ has suffered the worst kind of philosophical denial: an almost complete lack of interest by ‘serious’ philosophers.” No longer.  In an effort to apply “general canon[s] of contract interpretation,” the … Continue Reading

Will your EPLI policy cover “wage and hour” claims in the wake of the California Court of Appeal’s decision in Southern California Pizza?

It has long been acknowledged that typical Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policies exclude coverage for “wage and hour” claims.[1] [2]  However, a recent California Court of Appeal decision, Southern California Pizza Co., LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London Subscribing to Policy Number 11EPL-20208,[3] narrows the definition of what is a wage and hour … Continue Reading

In historic vote, U.S. House passes SAFE Banking Act; but, what will U.S. Senate do?

In a historic moment, the U.S. House of Representatives, yesterday, voted 321 to 103 in favor of H.R.1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, also known as the “SAFE Banking Act.”  If ultimately enacted into law, this legislation would provide insurers, as well as banks and other institutions, a “safe harbor” to … Continue Reading

Review state cannabis regulations for insurance requirements

Like any business, a business operating in the U.S. cannabis industry needs both first-party and third-party liability insurance.  Unlike other types of businesses, however, a cannabis-related business’ insurance needs may be dictated at least in part by state regulations.  Although not every state that has legalized cannabis for medical and/or adult use has promulgated specific … Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence: The New Frontier for Assessing Insurance Coverage

U.S. and international businesses are accelerating their use of artificial intelligence (AI)[1] at an unprecedented rate. The second AI Index Report published in December 2018 by a Stanford University-led group concluded that “AI activity is increasing nearly everywhere and technological performance is improving across the board.” The AI Index Report further found that “the number … Continue Reading

Lightening the load: New York Appellate Division rejects heightened pleading standard for policyholders seeking Bi-Economy Market consequential damages

In a recent unanimous decision, the Appellate Division First Department provided clarity on the pleading requirements for policyholders seeking special or consequential damages allowed under the landmark decision of Bi-Economy Market v. Harleysville Insurance Company of New York, 856 N.Y.S.2d 505 (N.Y., Feb. 19, 2008). Under Bi-Economy, policyholders may seek special or consequential damages resulting … Continue Reading

Federal court’s E-Cig decision provides cautionary tale

Every policyholder in every industry should make sure that it in fact has obtained insurance covering the actual, specific risks presented by its line of business. That point is the critical one driven home by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in United Specialty Insurance Company v. E-Cig Vapor Emporium, LLC, … Continue Reading

Federal crop insurance grows: Hemp to be covered

Federal crop insurance will soon be available for hemp.  The federal Agriculture Improvement Act (H.R. 2) (the Act) – which has been approved by both houses of Congress and is now just awaiting the president’s signature – will amend the Federal Crop Insurance Act, 7 U.S.C. §1501, et seq., so that hemp will be a … Continue Reading

CannaBeware: Make sure insurance actually covers the risks your business faces

It should go without saying that when a business purchases any insurance policy – including, but not limited to, a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy – the business expects the policy to provide coverage for its line of business and the specific risks it faces. Cannabis-related businesses are no different. However, they must be … Continue Reading

Final Mass. “adult-use” marijuana regulations require “Marijuana Establishments” to have liability insurance

As part of its “adult-use” marijuana regulations, which are expected to take effect next week, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will require that “Marijuana Establishments” – which include cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers – procure commercial liability insurance in established amounts. Massachusetts’ new regulations are the most recent reminder that cannabis-related businesses must be aware of state regulations and their … Continue Reading

Should the Cannabis Industry Fear the Sixth Circuit and K.V.G.?

Although any case has the potential to go sideways, the appeal in K.V.G. Properties, Inc. v. Westfield Insurance Company – which involves a policyholder’s right to insurance coverage for property damaged by a third party’s marijuana growing operation – should not be cause for alarm in the cannabis industry. As driven home by the opening … Continue Reading

Recent New York decision offers hope for long-overdue end to Resolute’s free pass

In a promising development for policyholders, a New York state trial court recently signaled a potential end to the free pass courts often have provided to third-party claims administrators (TPAs), such as Resolute Management, Inc. (Resolute), that has enabled TPAs to act with near impunity when handling or adjusting claims on behalf of their insurer clients. … Continue Reading

“Myopic” ruling limits policyholders’ ability to recover for common law bad faith in West Virginia

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has made it harder for policyholders to prevail on claims of common law bad faith against insurers in that state. In State of West Virginia ex rel. State Auto Property Insurance Companies v. Stucky, No. 17-0257, 2017 WL 4582607 (W. Va. Oct. 10, 2017), West Virginia’s highest … Continue Reading

Marijuana and the “Illegal/Dishonest Acts Exclusion”: Making Sense of K.V.G. Properties, Inc. v. Westfield Insurance Company

A recent federal court decision in “a property loss insurance case” involving the unauthorized growing of marijuana could have a negative impact on the enforceability of insurance policies sold to legitimate marijuana-related businesses. How much of an effect remains to be seen, but there is reason to think it should be minimal. At issue in … Continue Reading

Beware the Fine (Thumb) Print: Insurance Coverage for Class Actions Under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, and Similar Biometric Privacy Statutes

Since July 2017, national, regional and local businesses operating in Illinois have been hit with a virtual storm of class actions under the Illinois Biometrics Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 740 ILCS 14 et seq.  BIPA regulates how businesses may record and store biometric data from customers or employees, and these actions create the potential for significant … Continue Reading

In Wake of Disasters, Do Not Just Assume No Coverage Available for Cannabis-Related Losses

As reported extensively in the media over the past week, the cannabis industry has been hit hard by recent natural disasters. While companies doing business in this industry may face some unique challenges in purchasing insurance, and when attempting to obtain coverage for losses, insurance coverage – contrary to certain media reports – nevertheless may … Continue Reading

“Smoking Gun” Still Not Necessary To Prove Insurer Violated Pennsylvania’s Bad-Faith Statute

In Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company, No. 28 WAP 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirmed that, to prevail on a claim pursuant to Pennsylvania’s bad-faith statute, a policyholder does not have to prove that an insurance company acted with a “motive of self-interest or ill-will.”  While the Pennsylvania Superior Court had reached the same … Continue Reading

When Assessing Insurance Needs, Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Must Consider Pennsylvania Regulations

Pennsylvania’s burgeoning medical-marijuana industry is and will be carefully regulated. When purchasing insurance, medical-marijuana dispensaries should pay careful attention to the Commonwealth’s regulations, in particular to the regulations relating specifically to dispensaries. Pennsylvania’s medical-marijuana regulations are only temporary, and most of them (including the ones relating to dispensaries) will expire in 2018 Certain of those … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit pollution-exclusion opinion a cautionary tale for natural gas industry

The interpretation and application of a pollution exclusion in a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy is often a fact-specific and jurisdiction-specific exercise. That said, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit’s recent decision, applying North Dakota law and interpreting such an exclusion in a CGL policy, should command the attention of the entire … Continue Reading

Lumbermens Liquidation: Deadline to File Liquidated Claims Extended to 2017

The deadline for submitting documentation to establish “closed” or “liquidated” claims in the Lumbermens Liquidation has been extended to November 10, 2017. To learn more about this important deadline extension, read our full alert on this topic by clicking here.… Continue Reading

The Cosby Show: The Insurance Coverage Episode

On November 8, 2016, the District Court in the District of Massachusetts held that AIG has a duty to defend Bill Cosby against pending defamation claims under both Massachusetts and California law. The court rejected AIG’s contention that the defamation claims fall within the exclusion for sexual misconduct since they were “arising out of” claimants’ … Continue Reading

Fair presentation and contracting out under the Insurance Act 2015

Following on from our previous alert on the Insurance Act 2015 and the key advantages it offers to policyholders of commercial insurance, we have prepared a second alert looking at what might constitute the knowledge of the insured for the purpose of complying with the duty to make a fair presentation, and the possibility of … Continue Reading

‘Sorry, But You Have Nothing in Common’: The New York Court of Appeals’ Recent Rejection of the ‘Common Interest Doctrine’ Outside the Context of Litigation

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, recently rejected an attempt to apply the “common interest doctrine,” an exception to the general rule that communicating privileged information to a third party waives the attorney-client privilege, to situations where separately represented parties communicate attorney-client privileged information in connection with transactions or other circumstances … Continue Reading

Colorado Supreme Court Holds That An Insurer Need Not Show Prejudice If Denying Coverage For A Settlement Prior to Notice of Claim

On Monday, April 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of Colorado ruled that policyholders could not be indemnified for a settlement incurred before providing their insurers of notice of the claim—even if the insurer did not suffer any prejudice from lack of notice. In a 4-3 decision in Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co., No. … Continue Reading
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