Archives: Insurance News of Note

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Stadium Owners Watching Closely To See if Insurer Fumbles Reggie Bush Claim

San Francisco 49ers running back Reggie Bush reportedly intends to sue the city of St. Louis after slipping on a concrete surface behind the St. Louis Rams’ bench during a recent game, injuring his knee and ending his season. If a lawsuit is brought, St. Louis (which owns the Rams’ stadium where the injury occurred) … Continue Reading

Eastern District of New York ultimately arrives at right outcome when interpreting “Employer’s Liability” exclusion in CGL policy

In Hastings Development, LLC v. Evanston Insurance Company, No. 14-cv-6203 (ADS)(AKT) (Oct. 30, 2015), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York correctly determined that an “Employer’s Liability” exclusion in a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy only applied and precluded coverage when an insured is sued by its own employee(s) and not … Continue Reading

PA Policyholders May Find Road Blocks In Obtaining Coverage For Misappropriation of Advertising Ideas under CGL Policies

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for Pennsylvania policyholders to obtain coverage for the misappropriation of advertising ideas under standard commercial general liability policies. In The Hanover Insurance Company v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., No. 14-3705 (Oct. 23, 2015), the Third Circuit … Continue Reading

Beware of Good Intentions: Insurer Cannot Escape Duty to Defend by Interpleading Policy Limits That Were Not Subject to Competing Claims

On October 6, 2015, the United States District Court, Northern District of California held that an insurer breached its duty to defend by interpleading remaining policy limits and ceasing its defense of its insured.  Doublevision Entertainment, LLC v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Company, N.D. Cal., No. C 14-02848 WHA. Despite language in the policy stating that … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds That Terms of Insurance Policy Renewal ‘Must be the Same or Nearly the Same as the Initial Contract’

Recently, resolving an insurance-coverage dispute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that “for a contract to be considered a renewal, it must contain the same, or nearly the same, terms as the original contract.”  The court’s precedential ruling in Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. F&M Equipment, Ltd., No.14-1897 (Oct.15, 2015), which is … Continue Reading

Insurers Beware: Respond Promptly or Lose the Right to Control the Defense

The tables may be turning. Insurers often seek to avoid their coverage obligations by invoking time limitations in their policies for providing claim notifications. On the other hand, these same insurers routinely take their sweet time in responding to claims, contending that they need time to “investigate” even before making a decision whether or not to … Continue Reading

If not “determinative,” then at least compelling: Other, specific exclusionary language available on market undermines application of pollution exclusion

Recently, in a non-precedential order, an Illinois appellate court correctly held that a “Pollution and Health Hazard Exclusion” in a commercial general liability policy did not preclude coverage for mold-related bodily injury claims. See In re Liquidation of Legion Indem. Co., 2014 IL App (1st) 140452-U (Sept. 30, 2015) (applying Texas law). That court held, … Continue Reading

Host of insurance-coverage questions tied to Legionnaires’ disease

A recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York has, according to published news reports, been responsible for the death of 12 people. According to those same reports, more than 100 other people have become ill as a result of the outbreak, which has been traced to a rooftop cooling tower(s). For better or worse, … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Politsopoulos represents victory for policyholders across Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued a long-awaited decision in Mutual Benefit Insurance Company v. Politsopoulos, No. J-85-2014, delivering the insured in that case, and policyholders across Pennsylvania, a big victory. As explained more fully in Reed Smith’s recent Client Alert – “’The” insured versus “any” insured: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court limits the application of … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s misapplication of the pollution exclusion and disregard for policyholders’ business and purpose in purchasing insurance

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two opinions in which it held that pollution exclusions barred coverage for third-party claims resulting from alleged contamination of water due to the seepage of cow manure and septage, respectively. As addressed in Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson's dissents to the two decisions, the majority's opinions in both cases - Wilson Mutual Insurance Co. v. Falk, Nos. 2013AP691, 2013AP776, 2014 WL 7375656 (Wis. Dec. 30, 2014), and Preisler v. General Casualty Insurance Co., No. 2012AP2521, 2014 WL 7373070 (Wis. Dec. 30, 2014) - were faulty for a number of reasons.… Continue Reading

Reed Smith’s Insurance Recovery Group Ready to Help Policyholders after U.S. Congress Fails to Extend TRIA

Last week, the U.S. Congress adjourned for the year without making any provision for extending the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act ("TRIA"). Absent some sort of extension, TRIA thus will expire next week - on December 31, 2014. As a result, insurers will no longer be required to offer terrorism insurance, and even those insurers that do offer the coverage may well reassess their risk and price the coverage at substantially increased premium rates.… Continue Reading

You Can Assign Your Bad Faith Claims in Pennsylvania

This week, in a 5-1 decision resolving a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted the positions advanced by Reed Smith LLP on behalf of United Policyholders, concluding that policyholders are permitted to settle claims against them by assigning to plaintiffs and other claimants their rights to both statutory and common law-based bad faith claims against their insurance companies.… Continue Reading

Potentially Fraudulent Insurance Company Practices Are Exposed In Superstorm Sandy Litigation

We recently marked the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. With that anniversary came an influx of litigation in response to insurance companies denying or overly limiting coverage. That litigation recently revealed highly questionable practices within the industry.… Continue Reading

Deputy Secretary of Treasury Encourages Financial Institutions

Top-ranking U.S. officials continue to stress the importance of securing adequate protection in the event of cyberliability losses. Most recently, those efforts have been directed to financial institutions, an industry particularly susceptible to cyber attacks. On December 3, 2014, United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Sarah Raskin, delivered a speech at the Texas Bankers' Association Executive Leadership Cybersecurity Conference wherein she provided banks with a simple checklist to consider before a cyber attack occurs. Notably, one item on the Deputy Secretary's checklist was cyberliability insurance - coverage at which the Deputy Secretary recommended all banks take a hard look.… Continue Reading

On the Coattails of United States v. Trek Leather, Make Sure You Have Suitable D&O Coverage

Corporate directors and officers have a long list of things that can keep them up at night. Personal liability for civil fines and penalties arising out of negligence or even gross negligence committed in the course of their service to the company should not be one of them. But recently, in United States v. Trek Leather, Inc., 767 F.3d 1288 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (en banc), a federal appeals court held that the government could hold a corporate officer liable for a civil penalty based on gross negligence committed by the officer or his or her agents acting in the scope of their duties to the company, and without the government establishing fraudulent intent or attempting to pierce the corporate veil.… Continue Reading

As Federal and State Agencies Warn of Increased Cyber Threats, Insurance Incentives for Compliance with NIST Cybersecurity Framework May Be on the Horizon

Since the President's February 2013 Executive Order directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to lead the development of a voluntary framework to address and reduce cyber risks, the agencies and stakeholders involved have been exploring whether to tie the February 2014 Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (the NIST Framework) to incentives such as cyberliability insurance. For example, in a Report to the President on Cybersecurity Incentives, the Treasury Department suggested that "[c]yber insurance can promote adoption of stronger security measures" because, among other reasons, "insurers could require policyholders to comply with minimum security standards as a condition of insurance coverage, including adoption of the Framework." The Treasury Department held a public meeting on November 6 that included a discussion of developments in the market for cyberliability insurance and the NIST Framework.… Continue Reading

Predictable Responses to Benmosche Leak

This morning’s WSJ report that Robert Benmosche, recently appointed CEO of AIG, is unhappy with government pay restrictions, has elicited predictable, less than sympathetic responses. “Tiny Violins” is the headline from the Daily Beast.  New York Magazine’s Daily Intel responded with sarcasm: Apparently, someone told Robert Benmosche that running the world’s largest and most [expletive withheld] insurer … Continue Reading

When will the chickens come home to roost? Insurers Use Reserve Releases to Buff Up Underwhelming Financials

Releasing reserves based on early developments is an optimist’s view, [Evan Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of ACE Limited] said. “Good news comes early in the casualty business. The bad news always comes late,” he said. “I do think some companies have released reserves early in an effort to goose earnings,” he said. “It … Continue Reading

Insurers Wait for a Hard Market: If Only Wishing Could Make It So

P&C insurance companies are in a tough spot right now. According to a recently released Insurance Services Offices report, their margins have dropped below break-even.  Investment income has fallen through the floor, and the commercial mortgage backed securities market hasn’t even begun to take the hit that analysts predict it will. On top of that, premiums are shrinking, … Continue Reading

The Path of the Umbrella

As Travelers takes AIG’s spot in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or rather Dow Jones Non-Industrial Average take a moment to check out the path of the iconic red umbrella as it passed from Travelers to Citibank (ironically, Travelers former parent also exiting the Dow) and back again.… Continue Reading
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