Posts from September 2017.
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In an article in the September issue of ABA Business Law Today, Hunton & Williams attorneys Lorie Masters, Sergio F. Oehninger, and Patrick McDermott discuss the increasing use of blockchain technology, the security of the technology, and insuring against the relevant risks. As they explain, the "potential disruptive uses of blockchain technology in the marketplace have been compared to that of the Internet." Thus, businesses across industries should consider their insurance would cover risks arising out of the use of blockchain technology. The authors point out that current ...

Time 2 Minute Read

Corporate policyholders should carefully consider insurance coverage implications when structuring mergers, acquisitions, or other transactions that may impact available insurance assets. A New Jersey federal court recently granted summary judgment for a surviving bank asserting coverage rights under a D&O policy issued to an entity that dissolved in a statutory merger, based in part on the wording of the parties' merger agreement structuring the transaction in accordance with the New Jersey Business Corporation Act ("NJBCA").

Time 2 Minute Read

Corporate policyholders should carefully consider insurance coverage implications when structuring mergers, acquisitions, or other transactions that may impact available insurance assets. A New Jersey federal court recently granted summary judgment for a surviving bank asserting coverage rights under a D&O policy issued to an entity that dissolved in a statutory merger, based in part on the wording of the parties' merger agreement structuring the transaction in accordance with the New Jersey Business Corporation Act ("NJBCA").

Time 6 Minute Read

Obscured by the recent hurricanes ravaging the Caribbean, Florida and Texas, Mexico suffered its own natural disaster earlier this week with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake.  Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the quake.

Time 1 Minute Read

In an article that first appeared in Electric Light & Power, Hunton & Williams attorneys Sergio F. Oehninger and Paul T. Moura discuss the growing Electric Vehicle (EV) industry and the risks posed due to the consequential strain on the power grid. As they explain, demand and investment in EVs will likely spur greater demand for supercharging stations that consume significant amounts of electricity. Urban centers and real estate owners are also expected to increase the supply of these stations in order to make these areas more attractive and accessible to EV owners, drone operators, and autonomous vehicle fleets. All of this growth will put increasing demands on electricity supply that can be difficult for businesses to control, leading to grid outages that can cause an interruption in business operations, an inability to access or restore system data, and significant losses of business income. All of this raises the question—Can businesses count on their insurance coverage to respond to the risks posed by EVs?

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Congratulations to Hunton & Williams insurance recovery lawyer, Patrick McDermott, on his confirmation by the DC Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors to the organization’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council.  The DC Bar Foundation launched the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council in November 2011 as an opportunity for younger attorneys to further the goal of access to justice within the community.  Members serve as ambassadors in order to promote DCBF’s mission and programs and to help raise additional resources to support local legal aid organizations.  Among ...

Time 2 Minute Read

Does the term "wrongful act" always require that the conduct at issue be "wrongful"? In at least one D&O insurance policy, the answer may not be as clear as it seems. A federal district court in Texas recently denied an insurer's motion to dismiss a company's coverage claim for nearly $5 million in costs the company incurred defending a statutory appraisal lawsuit filed by disgruntled shareholders, citing the D&O policy's "terribly" written definition of "wrongful act," which may have been written so broadly that it provides coverage for "acts" that are not actually "wrongful."

Time 2 Minute Read

Does the term "wrongful act" always require that the conduct at issue be "wrongful"? In at least one D&O insurance policy, the answer may not be as clear as it seems. A federal district court in Texas recently denied an insurer's motion to dismiss a company's coverage claim for nearly $5 million in costs the company incurred defending a statutory appraisal lawsuit filed by disgruntled shareholders, citing the D&O policy's "terribly" written definition of "wrongful act," which may have been written so broadly that it provides coverage for "acts" that are not actually "wrongful."

Time 3 Minute Read

Three significant insurance disputes are pending before the New York Court of Appeals, and Hunton partner Syed Ahmad discusses the importance of those cases in Law 360’s article titled 3 Insurance Cases To Watch At NY’s High Court.

Time 4 Minute Read

A federal district court judge has dismissed one of a poultry farm's claims for "remediation costs" against its insurer with prejudice, but allowed the other to proceed. In Rembrandt Enterprises, Inc. v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, Rembrandt brought suit against its insurer for losses it sustained after a bird flu epidemic broke out at its farms in 2015.  Regulators ultimately ordered Rembrandt to quarantine its facilities and put down millions of birds, forcing Rembrandt to spend millions of dollars to purchase new chicks to repopulate its farms.

Time 1 Minute Read

Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has entered an emergency order regarding insurance procedures for residential property policies to assist policyholders and streamline the claims process. The insurance commissioner’s order provides standardized requirements for claims reporting, grace periods for payment of premiums and performance of other duties by policyholders, and temporary postponement of cancellations and non-renewals. These include:

Time 1 Minute Read

Hunton & Williams' Insurance Recovery Team Head, Walter Andrews, was spotlighted in an article published in the Houston Chronicle last week regarding insurance for losses from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While the storms were devastating in their own unique ways – Harvey with extensive flooding; Irma with extreme wind and storm surge – both have substantially impacted local and national businesses.  As Andrews explains, "if you don't have any customers, or if they can't access your facilities, you don't have business.  Many businesses are facing vast amounts of lost earnings ...

Time 3 Minute Read

In football as in life, the best defense is often a good offense. But, that adage does not always play well in litigation. In Riddell, Inc. v. Superior Court, No. B275482, 2017 WL 3614305 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 23, 2017), the California Court of Appeal blew the whistle on such a tactic, holding that an insurer could not use discovery tools in a coverage dispute with its policyholder in order to prejudice the policyholder's defense in an underlying lawsuit.

Time 1 Minute Read

In an article published September 12, 2017 in South Florida’s Daily Business Review, Hunton & Williams insurance lawyers Walter Andrews and Andrea DeField explained why it is critical that policyholders act fast to maximize insurance recovery for their hurricane-related losses.  They also provided a checklist to guide policyholders through the claim process.  As Andrews and DeField explain, in addition to providing prompt notice to all potential insurers, policyholders should collect all loss-related receipts and document the damage with photographs.  Good organization of ...

Time 1 Minute Read

Hunton insurance lawyers Michael Levine, Syed Ahmad and Katherine Miller discuss how Hurricanes Harvey and Irma highlight the need for contingent business interruption insurance and why companies with this coverage should be considering how to obtain its benefit for income losses resulting from the recent storms. The article was published this morning in Risk Management.

For more information, please visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory center.

Time 2 Minute Read

Update: A federal district-court judge has denied a group of insurers' motion to dismiss Coca-Cola's claim for attorneys' fees in a cross-border insurance coverage dispute.

Time 1 Minute Read

In the wake of the continued aftermath from Hurricane Irma, Georgia Tech and Central Florida have decided to cancel their game, scheduled for this upcoming Saturday in Orlando. The cancellation joins a long and growing list of games cancelled due to hurricanes in recent weeks. Last weekend alone, Florida State and Louisiana Monroe; Miami and Arkansas State; South Florida and Connecticut; and Florida and Northern Colorado all had to scratch their contests due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma. The week before, Hurricane Harvey forced UTSA and Houston to cancel their game, while BYU and LSU had to relocate their game from Houston to New Orleans.

Time 1 Minute Read

Consulting firm Ernst & Young recently announced that it is collaborating with Microsoft, data security firm Guardtime, and shipping and logistics conglomerate Maersk to create a marine insurance platform based on blockchain technology. The companies anticipate that their blockchain-based product—to be implemented globally beginning in early 2018—will connect clients, brokers, insurers, and third parties to "distributed common ledgers that capture data about identities, risk and exposures" and integrate this information with insurance contracts. The platform's capabilities include: "the ability to create and maintain asset data from multiple parties; to link data to policy contracts; to receive and act upon information that results in a pricing or a business process change; to connect client assets, transactions and payments; and to capture and validate up-to-date first notification or loss data."

Time 1 Minute Read

The National Hurricane Center calls Hurricane Irma a “potentially catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane.” As the state of Florida begins evacuation procedures, Miami-based Hunton Insurance lawyers Walter Andrews and Andrea DeField provide commentary and analysis to the Daily Business Review on steps that South Florida insureds should take now in preparation for the impending storm. These include ensuring coverage for both windstorm and flood damage, as well as considering these often standard coverages in light of anticipated claims post-storm:

Time 3 Minute Read

In MF Global Holdings Ltd. et al. v. Allied World Assurance Co. Ltd. et al., No. 1:16-ap-01251 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Aug. 24, 2017), the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York ordered MF Global Holdings Ltd. and Allied World Assurance Co. Ltd. to arbitrate their $15 million errors-and-omissions coverage dispute in Hamilton, Bermuda. MF Global initiated an adversary proceeding against Allied World in the bankruptcy court after Allied World had refused to pay MF Global for amounts that MF Global returned to its customers' accounts as part of a settlement of claims against MF Global's former managers and directors. Allied World denied coverage under its "Bermuda Form" errors-and-omissions policy, claiming that this procedure was tantamount to deposit insurance, and not professional liability insurance, which is what errors-and-omissions coverage typically provides.

Time 2 Minute Read
Hunton & Williams Insurance Recovery partner, Michael Levine, was quoted in an August 29, 2017 article appearing in Business Insurance, regarding the rapid increase in lawsuits, and insurance issues, surrounding concussions in high school and college sports.  Among other things, the article discusses a coverage lawsuit filed by Great American Assurance Company against Conference USA in federal court in Dallas, Texas.  In the lawsuit, the insurer alleges that its policy did not afford coverage for football concussion injuries because the policy included a “limited event ...
Time 2 Minute Read

In a prior blog post, we discussed Kanye West's touring company's, Very Good Touring, Inc. ("Very Good"), lawsuit against its insurer, Lloyd's of London ("Lloyd's"), for withholding almost $10 million in coverage after the cancellation of shows on West's "Life of Pablo" Tour. On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Lloyd's responded by counterclaiming against Very Good and West, alleging that the loss was due to their failure to abide by policy conditions.

Time 3 Minute Read

It has been almost a week since Hurricane Harvey came barreling down the Texas coastline as a Category-4 storm. Since that time, parts of Texas and Louisiana have been inundated with flood waters as Harvey continues to wreak havoc. Despite the fact that many of those affected have been unable to reach their homes or business to fully assess the damage because of road closures and flood waters, insureds whose businesses or homes were in the storm’s path should notify their insurers in writing now. The initial written notice should include the following information:

  • Name and contact information for the insured;
  • The location of the loss;
  • The date and time of the loss (to the extent known); and
  • A brief description of the loss.

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