Archives: Arbitration

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The Interplay Between Subrogation, Arbitration and Insurance Insolvency

When an insurance company pays a loss on a claim, the insurance company often exercises its equitable right of subrogation to stand in the shoes of the insured and seek compensation from a third-party alleged to have caused the loss. In the property context, there may be an underlying contract that requires arbitration between the insured … Continue Reading

Exculpatory Clauses in Reinsurance Agreements

Exculpatory clauses appear in many contracts. They are often used to protect a contracting party from damages caused by its actions or the actions of others. For example, a hold harmless clause may protect one party from third-party suits caused by the alleged negligence of the other party. Exculpatory clauses, like hold harmless or indemnification clauses, … Continue Reading

Is a Private Commercial Arbitration a Foreign Tribunal Under 1782?

Insurance and reinsurance arbitrations outside the United States sometimes require the taking of evidence in the United States. Under federal law, “[t]he district court of the district in which a person resides or is found may order him to give his testimony or statement or to produce a document or other thing for use in … Continue Reading

What a Difference a Word Makes

Lack of precision in reinsurance contract wording has been known to engender anomalous results. Often a single word or phrase can cause a court or arbitrator to construe an agreement in ways unintended. In reinsurance arbitrations, when the panel majority decides how a contract operates based on its construction of a word or phrase, the … Continue Reading

The Dangers of Selecting an Exclusive Arbitral Forum

Arbitration clauses in commercial contracts often specify an arbitral forum before which any dispute must be arbitrated. Insurance and reinsurance contracts containing arbitration clauses are no different. Specificity about the arbitral forum (or the arbitral rules or the appointing authority in case of an impasse) in an arbitration clause has resulted in much case law over the … Continue Reading

Squire Patton Boggs Reinsurance Newsletter September 2016

The September 2016 edition of the Squire Patton Boggs Reinsurance Newsletter is out! In this issue, we cover the 6th Circuit’s decision on ex parte communications that resulted in an arbitration award being vacated. We also cover a Massachusetts federal court’s rejection of a pre-award challenge to an arbitrator and an Arizona federal court’s granting … Continue Reading

Ex Parte Communications and Vacating an Arbitration Award

When a reinsurance arbitration is conducted under non-neutral rules or practices, when and how ex parte communications are allowed to take place between a party’s counsel and a party’s party-appointed arbitrator are important items to resolve at the organizational meeting. A typical, but not universal, formulation is to cut-off ex parte communications when the first pre-hearing … Continue Reading

When a Reinsurance Contract Is an Insurance Contract

You know the old saying: if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck! So when a contract is called a Facultative Reinsurance Agreement is it a reinsurance contract or an insurance contract? Recently a Missouri appellate court addressed this issue to determine an appeal of the denial … Continue Reading

Are Pre-Award Challenges to Arbitrator Qualifications Still Possible?

One of the most vexing issues facing parties in reinsurance arbitrations is whether the other side’s party-appointed arbitrator qualifies under the arbitrator criteria set forth in the arbitration clause of the reinsurance agreement. The issue is frustrating because sometimes the arbitrator criteria is not as clear as it should be, which leaves room for creative appointments. … Continue Reading

Confirming a Reinsurance Arbitration Award After Payment Is Made

The Federal Arbitration Act provides that “[i]f the parties in their agreement have agreed that a judgment of the court shall be entered upon the award made pursuant to the arbitration, and shall specify the court, then at any time within one year after the award is made any party to the arbitration may apply to … Continue Reading

Umpire Disclosure and Vacatur

There is no doubt that the issue of arbitrator disclosures is a very important issue in reinsurance arbitrations and especially in arbitrations conducted under the traditional US party-appointed system. Disclosures are even more important in the selection of the umpire. A recent decision in a long-running reinsurance battle addresses the issue of the timeliness of … Continue Reading

Resolving Competing Arbitration Clauses

A typical reinsurance contract has one arbitration clause. But sometimes, the contract is endorsed and a second and different arbitration clause may appear. Which controls? That was the question faced recently in a Hurricane Sandy reinsurance dispute when a facultative certificate of reinsurance had an arbitration clause in its body at Section U, but had … Continue Reading

American Rule Prevails on Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award

Some contracts, including insurance and reinsurance contracts, include provisions providing that the successful party’s damage award will include all costs of the suit or arbitration, including attorney fees. This type of clause modifies the traditional default American Rule of costs and fees, in which each litigant pays its own attorney fees, win or lose. What … Continue Reading

Arbitration Means Arbitration Even If It Is About Arbitration

No one should doubt that the federal policy in favor of arbitration is broad and deep. It is evident in how difficult it is to vacate an arbitration award or avoid having to arbitrate a dispute where there is a broad arbitration provision. A recent case makes this even clearer.… Continue Reading

Evident Partiality As a Ground to Vacate An Arbitration Award

Most insurance and reinsurance arbitrations fall within the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) because they involve interstate commerce. But vacating an FAA arbitration award (there is no “appeal”) is an uphill battle. Only limited grounds exist to mount the challenge and very few challenges are successful. Evident partiality is one of those grounds.… Continue Reading

Confidentiality in Arbitration

Much has been said over the years about the benefits of arbitration as a private, confidential mechanism for resolving business disputes. For decades the courts, especially the federal courts, have touted the confidential nature of private commercial arbitration. Courts regularly defer to arbitration and there is a clear federal policy favoring arbitration. So why when … Continue Reading

Umpire Selection Impasse? Second Circuit Directs District Court to Appoint Umpire

You are involved in a reinsurance dispute in arbitration. Both sides have named their party-appointed arbitrators and have exchanged umpire candidates. One side rejects the other side’s candidates because the objecting party believes that one or more of the candidates does not qualify as an arbitrator under the terms of the arbitration clause in the … Continue Reading

Too Little, Too Late: Post-Arbitration Award Frustrations

Armchair quarterbacking or second-guessing an outcome after an event has occurred is a skill displayed by many. The same is true following a reinsurance arbitration award. It is very easy to second-guess the arbitration award or wish that some evidence or testimony was presented differently. Anyone who has ever had an arbitration award that was … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Closes an Open Question: Grant of Motion to Compel Arbitration Requires Stay Not Dismissal

Sometimes when a reinsurance dispute arises one of the parties may decide to file a complaint in court rather than demand arbitration. This may happen in spite of an arbitration clause in the reinsurance contract. Perhaps one of the parties was not a signatory to the arbitration agreement. Or perhaps one or more of the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Explains (Again) Why Courts Should Not Interfere With Arbitration

Arbitrators and judges have a natural tension. Judges, especially federal judges, wield enormous power and command authority and respect. Arbitrators, particularly in specialized industries like insurance and reinsurance, are typically former executive officers of companies and do not preside over anything other than the particular arbitral dispute to which they have been appointed. Arbitrators, again … Continue Reading

Remedies for Arbitration Clause Impossiblities

Reinsurance disputes, particularly collateral disputes over the technicalities of arbitration, are often caused by the words selected in the drafting of the reinsurance contract. Because there is no “right” arbitration clause perfect for every reinsurance agreement, arbitration clauses differ from company to company and from broker to broker. Every company and every broker has their … Continue Reading
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