• Posts by Adriana A. Perez
    Posts by Adriana A. Perez
    Associate

    Adriana’s practice focuses on advising policyholders in insurance coverage and reinsurance matters, and other business litigation. Adriana has represented clients in federal and state courts in insurance coverage ...

Time 4 Minute Read

The United States Supreme Court recently held in Great Lakes Ins. SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC, that choice-of-law provisions in maritime contracts, including maritime insurance policies, are presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law. In Great Lakes, a policyholder asserted counterclaims against its insurer under the state law of Pennsylvania, where the insurer had filed a federal-court action seeking a declaration of no coverage, even though the choice-of-law provision in the applicable maritime insurance policy designated New York law. The policyholder argued that Pennsylvania had the greatest interest in the dispute, and that enforcing the New York choice-of-law provision in the policy would contravene Pennsylvania’s fundamental public policy. The district court dismissed the policyholder’s counterclaims, but the Third Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and we explained here that the Court’s decision could have significant ramifications for insurance-coverage disputes both under maritime insurance policies and more generally if the Court adopted broad rules regarding the enforcement of choice-of-law provisions.  

Time 3 Minute Read

In HDI Global Specialty SE v. PF Holdings LLC, the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a district court ruling that the insurers of two apartment management companies did not have to cover a $54 million arbitration award against the companies for their alleged mismanagement of government-subsidized apartments. The Eleventh Circuit held that management companies’ failure to cooperate breached general liability insurance policies issued by the insurers.

Time 3 Minute Read

A federal court recently denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s claim for declaratory relief. The insurer argued that the policyholder’s declaratory judgment claim was redundant of its breach of contract claim. The Court ruled that “redundancy is not grounds for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6).”

Time 1 Minute Read

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently agreed to hear ACE American Insurance Company’s appeal of an Appellate Division decision finding that a war exclusion in a property insurance policy did not preclude coverage for Merck & Co., Inc.’s claim stemming from a 2017 cyberattack. We previously reported about this case here.   

Time 4 Minute Read

The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division recently upheld a lower court’s finding that the war exclusion in a property insurance policy did not preclude coverage for Merck’s claim stemming from a 2017 cyberattack. The decision is appropriately being heralded as a huge win for policyholders and an affirmance of New Jersey’s longstanding history of protecting policyholders’ reasonable expectations. We previously blogged about developments relating to the war exclusion and the Merck case when it was initially heard by the Appellate Division.

Time 3 Minute Read

On Monday, March 6, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an insurance coverage dispute, Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC.  Insurance cases are few and far between in the high court, so both policyholders and their insurers will be watching the Great Lakes case with great interest.  Notably, while the case involves the specialized area of maritime law, how the Supreme Court chooses to address the choice-of-law issue it presents could have much broader implications.

Time 9 Minute Read

As we have discussed in prior parts of this series, the insurance industry has developed an array of policies specifically tailored to cover cryptocurrency claims, and some of these policies may also cover certain NFT claims. Separate and apart from these tailored policies, policyholders with NFT claims also may look to traditional forms of insurance. 

NFTs are collectible and one of a kind, yet digital. The most common NFT is a type of visual art image like a digital painting, a photograph or generative designs (created by artificial intelligence). However, this high-level definition doesn’t do justice to just how pervasive these have become. In addition to traditional artwork, there are:

Time 2 Minute Read

Several of the largest brokers have developed a considerable bench. For example, Marsh has a Digital Asset Risk Team (DART);[1] Lockton has its Lockton Emerging Asset Protection Team (LEAP)[2] and Aon and others have their own teams.[3]

There are multiple advantages to procuring cryptocurrency insurance through brokers that have deep experience in this particular area of insurance. These may include:

Time 7 Minute Read

Last week’s discussion focused on the evolution of the insurance marketplace for digital assets. This section focuses on the marketplace as it now exists, providing examples of products being bought by companies and consumers facing cryptocurrency risks. 

Time 4 Minute Read

In the 18th Century, underwriting desks at what came to be known as Lloyd’s of London were developed to share or transfer risks associated with shipping.[1] Availability of risk sharing, or insurance, provided protection for maritime investors and facilitated increased levels of investment and thus increased levels of maritime activity. Risk transfer has become an essential part of the development of a marketplace for many products. 

In the early years of cryptocurrency, there were no insurance products specifically designed to cover cryptocurrency-related losses. Much like the presence of insurance fosters development of a marketplace, the absence of insurance hinders it.

Time 5 Minute Read

In the early years of cryptocurrency, there were no crypto-specific insurance coverages. Instead, policyholders sustaining losses were left to try to access coverage under traditional insurance policies such as:

Time 4 Minute Read

Who can incur losses associated with cryptocurrency or digital assets? The real question is who uses them. 

Among the most obvious users would be exchanges in which cryptocurrency is traded. It has been reported that the largest insurance market in the cryptocurrency industry consists of exchanges that insure against thefts from cryptocurrency hackers. Among the more prominent exchanges are Coinbase, Crypto.com and Gemini. Similarly obvious are the third-party custodians that store cryptocurrency and other forms of digital assets on consumers behalf such as BNY Mellon Crypto Currency or Fidelity Digital Assets. They provide safekeeping of digital assets including keys and ensure accessibility. 

Time 7 Minute Read

Crypto markets are experiencing the greatest crash in their history to date. The value of a Bitcoin (BTC) has plummeted 70% from its peak and Ethereum (ETH) has fallen 77%. Since last November, the value of cryptocurrency tokens has lost $2 billion in value.[1] As noted financial publication Barron’s put it: “Crypto is having a ‘Lehman moment,’ a shattering of confidence triggered by plunging asset prices, liquidity freezing up, and billions of dollars wiped out in a few scary weeks.”[2] Cryptocurrency companies are halting withdrawals and transfers, platforms are seizing up, and regulators are circling.[3]

Time 3 Minute Read

Recently, an Illinois federal judge ruled that where government shutdown orders due to COVID-19 in different states impacted one insured, that insured suffered separate occurrences in each effected state. Dental Experts, LLC v. Massachusetts Bay Ins. Co., No. 20 C 5887, 2022 WL 2528104 (N.D. Ill. July 7, 2022).

Time 3 Minute Read

Recently, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals handed down a victory for policyholders when it affirmed a Circuit Court’s order compelling an insurer to produce its underwriting manual in a breach of contract action.   In People’s Trust Insurance Co. v. Foster, No. 1D21-845 (Fla. 1st DCA Jan. 26, 2022), the policyholder, Mr. Foster, filed a breach of contract claim against his insurer, People’s Trust, after People’s Trust failed to pay his insurance claim for damage caused to Mr. Foster’s home due to a leaking water pipe. People’s Trust denied Foster’s claim because “Foster’s pipe damage predated the policy’s inception.”

Time 5 Minute Read

Policyholders have scored another victory in the Delaware Superior Court, this time on the issue of whether a “mergers and acquisition” endorsement required payment of a higher retention in two securities class actions. In August, we reported that, in CVR Refining, LP v. XL Specialty Insurance Co., No. N21C-01-260 EMD CCLD, 2021 WL 3523925 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 11, 2021), a Delaware Superior Court judge upheld a policyholder’s preferred forum in Delaware, denying five insurers’ motion to dismiss or stay the Delaware coverage action filed after the insurers had filed suit preemptively in Texas.

Time 2 Minute Read

We are pleased to announce that Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP insurance coverage partner Lorelie S. Masters is one of only eight attorneys throughout the nation shortlisted for the Best in Insurance & Reinsurance category for the Women in Business Law Awards 2021. The award honors “the outstanding achievements of women in over thirty different practice areas in business law from across Americas. These are individuals who stand out as leaders amongst their peers and who have been instrumental to innovative approaches in their field.”

Time 5 Minute Read

A Delaware Superior Court judge recently upheld a policyholder’s preferred forum in Delaware, denying five insurers’ motion to dismiss or stay the Delaware coverage action filed after the insurers had filed suit preemptively in Texas. The court in CVR Refining, LP v. XL Specialty Insurance Co., No. N21C-01-260 EMD CCLD, 2021 WL 3523925 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 11, 2021), held that, although the insurers (XL Specialty, Twin City Fire, Allianz Global Risks US, Argonaut, and Allied World) filed suit three days before the insureds, both suits were filed “contemporaneously” under Delaware law and that the insurers had failed to demonstrate any “overwhelming hardship” necessary to dismiss the case. The court also found that, since the insurers were all licensed to do business in Delaware, they could not show overwhelming hardship. Thus, the policyholder’s preference to litigate its insurance claims in Delaware must stand.

Time 3 Minute Read

The First Circuit recently held that a “Special Hazard and Fluids Limitation Endorsement” was ambiguous and therefore there was excess coverage for a fuel spill that occurred after a tanker-truck overturned.

In Performance Trans. Inc. v. General Star Indem. Co., the First Circuit reversed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of General Star Indemnity Company. The District Court held that the excess policy General Star issued to Performance Trans. Inc. precluded coverage for a spill that resulted in the leaking of thousands of gallons of fuel. The District Court relied on the existence of a total pollution exclusion to bar coverage and held that the policy’s Special Hazards and Fluids Limitation Endorsement could not create an ambiguity that would afford coverage.

Time 4 Minute Read

A Maryland federal court awarded summary judgment last week to policyholder National Ink in National Ink and Stitch, LLC v. State Auto Property And Casualty Insurance Company, finding coverage for a cyber-attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack.  This is significant because it demonstrates that insureds can obtain insurance coverage for cyber-attacks even if they do not have a specific cyber insurance policy.

Time 4 Minute Read

On December 9th, the Eleventh Circuit held that a loss of over $1.7 million to scammers was covered under a commercial crime insurance policy’s fraudulent instruction provision.

Time 3 Minute Read

On November 12, 2019, a federal court in Kentucky held that a vendor service agreement (VSA) between Live Nation Worldwide Inc. and its security vendor, ESG Security, extended coverage under an insurance policy issued by Secura Insurance to ESG, for Live Nation’s liability arising from a concert at a Live Nation facility.

Time 3 Minute Read

On August 27th, a California Appellate Court held that an employment practices liability insurance policy’s “wage and hour” exclusion must be construed narrowly to bar coverage only for claims related to “laws concerning duration worked and/or remuneration received in exchange for work.” In doing so, the court made clear that “wage and hour” exclusions do not preclude coverage for claims that go beyond the employee’s actual remuneration received in exchange for work.

Time 4 Minute Read

On Friday, August 9th, an Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s ruling and allowed an insureds’ claim for bad faith based on misrepresentations in the insurer’s quote for coverage to proceed to trial.

Time 3 Minute Read

Last week the Northern District of Illinois held in Magnetek, Inc. v. Travelers Indem. Co., 2019 WL 3037080 (N.D. Ill. July 11, 2019), that Travelers had a duty to defend Magnetek, Inc. under insurance policies issued to Magnetek’s predecessor, Fruit of the Loom (“FOTL”). A copy of the Magnetek decision can be found here.

Time 2 Minute Read

On June 17, 2019, the First Circuit held that an insurer’s duty to defend was triggered because the underlying complaint set forth claims that required a showing of intent as well as claims that sought recovery for conduct that “fits comfortably within the definition of an ‘accident.’” In Zurich American Ins. Co v. Electricity Maine, LLC, Zurich sought declaratory judgment that, under a D&O policy, it had no duty to defend the insured, Electricity Maine, an electrical utility company being sued in the underlying class action. Zurich argued it had no duty to defend because the underlying complaint failed to allege that Electricity Maine engaged in conduct that qualified as an “occurrence” or that caused “bodily injury” under the terms of the policy. The First Circuit disagreed.

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