Archives: Arbitrators

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March 2017 Reinsurance Newsletter

This quarter’s Squire Patton Boggs Reinsurance Newsletter focuses on the certified question sent to the New York Court of Appeals by the Second Circuit on Bellefonte. It also features regulatory updates on the US-EU Covered Agreement as it affects reinsurance and on the new duty to pay insurance and reinsurance claims in the UK. Finally, … 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

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

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

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

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 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

The Honorable Engagement Clause and Flexibility In Arbitration Award Relief

Those of you steeped in reinsurance know about the honorable engagement clause. It’s a provision found in the arbitration clause of some (mostly older) reinsurance contracts that gives guidance to the arbitration panel on how they should construe the disputed reinsurance contract. I use the term “guidance” loosely here because a typical honorable engagement clause … Continue Reading
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