Posts from November 2017.
Time 6 Minute Read

A prior post in the Blog’s Bermuda Form Arbitration Series discussed several strategic considerations for the discovery and briefing stages of Bermuda Form arbitrations. This post focuses on the final stages of arbitration: The final hearing, and awards of interest and costs.

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The Final Hearing

The presentation of evidence in the “final hearing” of a London arbitration differs substantially from traditional trial practice in the United States. A party’s direct or affirmative evidence is presented in writing in witness statements. Witnesses are presented live only for cross-examination. A party should offer all its witnesses for cross-examination; if a party does not do so, it risks that the arbitrators will not give a witness’s direct evidence much weight. This rule does not apply if the parties agree that a witness need not be presented for cross-examination.

Time 3 Minute Read

The Fifth Circuit recently upheld the dismissal on summary judgment of a policyholder’s claim under a commercial crime insurance policy, affirming the trial court’s narrow interpretation of the terms “owned” and “loss,” concluding that the policyholder did not “own” the funds at issue or suffer a “loss” when it loaned those funds to the fraudsters. In so holding, the court ignored state court precedent concerning construction of those same terms.

In Cooper Industries, Ltd. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 16-20539 (5th Cir. Nov. 20, 2017), Cooper invested its pension-plan assets into what proved to be a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Over the course of many years, Cooper invested more than $175 million into various equity and bond investments managed by fraudsters who used the investment funds in furtherance of the Ponzi scheme. After discovering the fraud, Cooper recouped a large portion of its investment and sought coverage from its commercial crime insurer for the unrecovered $35 million. The policy limited coverage to “loss” of property that Cooper “owned.” Neither term was defined in the policy.

Time 4 Minute Read

Whether a policyholder’s losses are “direct” or “indirect” can be coverage-determinative. Most financial institution bonds exclude “indirect” or “consequential” losses. A recent decision in Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Arch Ins. Co., No. CV C14-0545RSL, 2017 WL 5289547 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 13, 2017) addressed the issue of “direct” versus “indirect” losses in a dispute under a financial institution bond issued by Arch Insurance Company (Arch) to Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu). The court held that WaMu’s losses resulting from its purchase of fraudulent loans were “direct” losses, and that WaMu’s sale and contractual obligation to repurchase the fraudulent loans did not convert its losses from direct to indirect.

Time 3 Minute Read

In Centurion Med. Liab. Protective Risk Retention Grp., Inc. v. Gonzalez, No. CV 17-01581 RGK (JCx), 2017 BL 392431 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 1, 2017), Centurion Medical Liability Protective Risk Retention Group sought a declaration that it owed no duty to defend a lawsuit alleging that its insureds—a group of medical practitioners—committed professional negligence during the delivery of a newborn child.  Centurion argued that it had no defense obligation because its insureds did not notify Centurion of the lawsuit within 20 days after it was filed, as required under the policy.

Time 2 Minute Read

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, in Innovak International v. The Hanover Insurance Co., recently granted summary judgment in favor of Hanover Insurance Company finding that it had no duty to defend Innovak against a data breach lawsuit. Innovak, which is a payroll service, suffered a breach of employee personal information, including social security numbers. The employees then filed suit against Innovak alleging it had negligently created a software that allowed personal information to be accessed by third parties. Innovak sought a defense for the lawsuit from its commercial general liability carrier, Hanover Insurance Company. Innovak argued that the employee’s allegations triggered the personal and advertising injury coverage part of the policy, which covers loss arising out of the advertising of the policyholder’s goods or services, invasion of privacy, libel, slander, copyright infringement, and misappropriation of advertising ideas. The court disagreed and found the employees’ allegations did not involve a publication that would trigger coverage under the commercial general liability policy.

Time 4 Minute Read

A prior post in the Blog’s Bermuda Form Arbitration Series discussed several strategic considerations for London arbitrations involving the Bermuda Form, including considerations for initiating the arbitration, selection of arbitrators, and selection of counsel. This post focuses on strategic considerations for the discovery and briefing stages of London arbitrations.

Time 2 Minute Read

In a recent brief filed in the Sixth Circuit, American Tooling Center, Inc. argued that the appellate court should reverse the district court’s decision finding no insurance coverage for $800,000 that American Tooling lost after a fraudster’s email tricked an employee into wiring that amount to the fraudster. As we previously reported here, the district court found the insurance policy did not apply because it concluded that American Tooling did not suffer a “direct loss” that was “directly caused by computer fraud,” as required for coverage under the policy. The district count pointed to “intervening events” like the verification of production milestones, authorization of the transfers, and initiating the transfers without verifying the bank account information and found that those events precluded a “finding of ‘direct’ loss ‘directly caused’ by the use of any computer.”

Time 9 Minute Read

In this post in the Blog’s Bermuda Form Insurance Arbitration Series, we discuss the use of London-based arbitration to resolve disputes involving the Bermuda Form.

Time 12 Minute Read

In this post in the Blog’s Bermuda Form Insurance Arbitration Series, we discuss additional features of the Bermuda Form that policyholders should take into consideration.

Time 8 Minute Read

In this post in the Blog’s Bermuda Form Insurance Arbitration Series, we discuss some key features of the Bermuda Form that policyholders should take into consideration.

Time 2 Minute Read

In a recent insurer’s failure-to-settle case, Hughes v. First Acceptance Ins. Co. of Ga., the Georgia Court of Appeals reaffirmed that there is no hard-set rule conducive to summary judgment; rather, the court ruled that a jury should determine whether the insurer’s actions had been “reasonably prudent.”  Plaintiff Robert Jackson allegedly caused a five-vehicle collision that resulted in his death and the serious injuries of others, including Julie An and her minor child, Jina Hong.  An and Hong, through their counsel, communicated with Jackson’s insurance company, First Acceptance, stating that they were “interested” in settling their claims within Jackson’s policy limit of $25,000.  Counsel also requested that the insurer send him policy information within 30 days.  An later claimed that this communication represented an offer of settlement, when, 41 days later, they sent First Acceptance a letter withdrawing their “offer” and stating their intent to file suit due to the insurer’s failure to respond.  An and Hong then filed suit and were ultimately awarded $5,334,220 in damages.  First Acceptance paid $25,000 towards the award, leaving Jackson’s estate exposed to over five million dollars in damages.

Time 2 Minute Read

Last week, Golden Bear Insurance Company became the first admitted insurer approved by the California Department of Insurance to provide insurance coverage for marijuana companies. Golden Bear will now begin offering first- and third-party insurance coverage specifically targeting marijuana companies in the state.

Time 2 Minute Read

Insurance giant Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty S.E. announced yesterday that it has launched a blockchain prototype for a global captive insurance program. The project focuses on professional indemnity and property insurance for a customer with a captive insurance program with local subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Switzerland. Captive programs are complex programs used frequently by multinational organizations to self-insure their risks. These organizations create their own self-insurance programs, or ‘captives,’ which aggregate assets or insurance exposures from their global operations.  The programs collect premiums from each operating unit much like an ordinary insurer.  The captive entity likewise pays out claims as they arise. Allianz administers the captive insurer as a “fronting insurer,” using the insurer’s diverse multi-national network to ensure global reach and compliance.  Blockchain technology automatically connects all parties involved in the insurance program by using its distributed ledger technology, which is shared among all program participants and can record transactions and data entries. Updates and changes to the data are shared in real-time across all users. This creates a much faster, transparent, secure and efficient means of distributing information, conducting business processing and recording transactions across multiple parties.

Time 2 Minute Read

An eye-popping settlement in Georgia serves as a cautionary tale for insurers who refuse to provide a straight answer when responding to a demand for policy limits and as a lesson for insureds dealing with recalcitrant insurers: Don’t just take “no” for an answer.

Time 6 Minute Read

The commercial insurance programs of many multi-national and United States businesses include “Bermuda Form” policies, a special policy form developed in Bermuda in the mid-1980s that includes unique provisions and provides for arbitration of disputes, usually in London under the substantive law of New York. These provisions provide challenges for United States policyholders and “stack the deck” in favor of the insurance companies that are repeat players in “Bermuda Form arbitrations.”   Policyholders should carefully consider purchase of Bermuda Form policies and ensure that they are structured as favorably as possible for the policyholder.  Presentation of claims under Bermuda Form policies can present special challenges.  Therefore, if claims arise, policyholders should consult counsel with expertise with Bermuda Form policies to ensure that the claim is presented with an eye toward the unique definition of “occurrence” and other provisions included in Bermuda Form policies.

Time 2 Minute Read
A recent article published by Securityroundtable.org highlights the vulnerabilities businesses face in a world of e-commerce and interconnectivity, and how proper planning through a tailored cybersecurity program that includes - among other components - appropriate insurance coverage for cyber risks can help prevent a successful attack and mitigate the financial impact should one occur. Whether the issue is prevention or risk mitigation, cybersecurity should be at the top of the corporate agenda. As discussed in the Securityroundable.org article, Lisa Sotto, chair of the ...
Time 1 Minute Read
Homeowners and businesses are beginning the painful recovery process following the devastating fires in California. Insurance money will be critical to that process. Read Lorie Masters' and Michael Levine's article in Law360 about how you can protect your right to access those critical funds.
Time 2 Minute Read

On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted Travelers’ motion to dismiss Posco Daewoo America Corporation’s suit for coverage under the computer fraud provision of its crime insurance policy.  Distinguishing itself from precedent like Medidata, Principal Solutions Group, Apache and American Tooling Center, Daewoo did not seek coverage for money fraudulently transferred or stolen from its own accounts.  Instead, Daewoo sought coverage for amounts that had been designated for payment to Daewoo by a third party supplier, Allnex, and stolen from Allnex after a criminal impersonated a Daewoo employee.  The Court held that the crime policy did not cover the lost sums because Daewoo did not “own” the money stolen from Allnex.

Time 1 Minute Read

In a recent Client Alert, Hunton & Williams insurance attorneys Lorelie Masters, Michael Levine, and Geoffrey Fehling discuss the importance of reviewing historical liability insurance policies and the potential benefit these policies can have on minimizing exposure to environmental hazards. In Cooper Industries, LLC v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, et al., No. L-9284-11 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. Oct. 16, 2017), a New Jersey trial court held that an electrical products manufacturer was entitled to coverage rights under commercial general liability policies issued to a predecessor company for environmental remediation costs stemming from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup of a 17-mile stretch of the Passaic River in New Jersey.

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