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Lloyd’s of London Announces Opening of Brussels Office to Safeguard Business Post-Brexit

On 30 March 2017, Lloyd’s of London confirmed that it will establish a new subsidiary in Brussels, which will be operational for the 1 January renewal season in 2019. The announcement follows on immediately from the UK Government’s formal triggering of the Brexit process on 29 March 2017. Lloyd’s move is specifically designed to avoid the … Continue Reading

Notice to Carrier Means Notice to Carrier

Notice requirements in liability insurance policies typically require that notice of a claim or lawsuit be given as soon as practicable and in writing to the insurance company. While the exact language differs from policy to policy, the concept of written notice to the insurance company without delay is fairly common. In the normal circumstance, where … Continue Reading

The US/EU Covered Agreement — Why Is It Relevant to Disputes?

On January 13, 2017,  Federal Insurance Office (“FIO”) submitted to the US Congress a Covered Agreement negotiated with the EU  addressing:  (1) group supervision;  (2) reinsurance;  and (3) exchange of information between regulators.  Once fully implemented, the Covered Agreement eliminates EU collateral and local presence requirements for US insurers operating in the EU, and eliminates … Continue Reading

Important New Law in the UK Relating to Payment of Insurance Claims

At the moment, English law says that insurers and reinsurers are not under a positive duty to pay valid claims within a reasonable time.  If an insurer/reinsurer delays in paying a claim, or fails to pay at all, an insured/reinsured can only claim the sums due under the policy and interest.  An insured/reinsured cannot claim … Continue Reading

Breasting Dolphin Piles and Fortuity Under All-Risk Policies

An all-risk policy is meant to cover a loss triggered by any conceivable cause not excluded under the policy. While the burden is on the policyholder to establish a prima facie case for coverage, the policyholder need only show (1) the existence of an all-risk policy, (2) an insurable interest in the subject of the insurance contract, and … Continue Reading

Failure to Disclose Loss History Results in Rescission

When a policyholder, particularly a commercial policyholder, applies for insurance coverage, a key part of the application process is the disclosure of the policyholder’s relevant loss history. When an insurance company receives an application for insurance, that loss history is a critical part of the insurer’s underwriting process to determine whether it is willing to write … Continue Reading

Replacing a Roof Is Not Demolition

Many liability insurance policies exclude coverage for bodily injury or property damage arising out of structural alterations that involve changing the size of or moving buildings or other structures, new construction or demolition operations performed by or on behalf of the named insured. Construction insurance policies typically cover these risks, not general liability policies. A … Continue Reading

How To Void an Insurance Claim By Really Trying

Nearly every insurance policy has a clause that requires the insured to cooperate with the insurer in the investigation of the claim. Most insurance policies also provide that the insured should do everything necessary to secure, and do nothing to impair, the insurer’s subrogation rights. This is especially important when property damage is alleged. These … Continue Reading

Duty to Defend Does Not Extend to Claim Where No Suit Is Filed

Case law in nearly every state provides that the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify. Typically courts look to the allegations in the complaint and compare those allegations to the coverage grants in the policy to determine if the allegations are sufficient to bring the claim within the possibility of coverage … Continue Reading

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

Florida Property Insurers Must Pay All Losses If Any “Concurrent Cause” Is Covered

In the latest of a string of recent decisions adverse to insurers, the Florida Supreme Court held that, where a residential property incurs damage due to the cumulative or combined effects of multiple “concurrent” causes, any of which a homeowners policy covers, the insurer must pay the entire loss even if its policy expressly excludes … Continue Reading

Insurance Archaeology and the London Market

Long-tail coverage disputes often involve multiple policies issued over multiple policy periods over multiple layers of insurance. Sometimes the potential relevant policies go back decades or more. Locating these ancient policies is an enormous task. Locating the placing, underwriting and claims files that go along with these policies is even more difficult. Compound all of … Continue Reading

Insurable Interest and Life Insurance

There’s lots that has been and will be written about the changes in the definition of insurable interest in the context of life insurance. Traditionally, an owner of a life insurance policy had to have an insurable interest in the life of the person insured. Typically that meant the policyholder herself, or her spouse or … 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

Contractual Privity and Reinsurance

In most jurisdictions a policyholder cannot bring a direct action against a reinsurer because of the lack of contractual privity. Yes, there are some quirky statutes and jurisdictions that allow a direct right of action under certain circumstances, but the general rule is that where there is no contractual relationship between the reinsurer and the … Continue Reading

Disclaimers and Late Notice When to Raise and When Waived

When an insurance company decides to disclaim coverage it has to be very careful about timing the notice and the substance of the disclaimer. Courts have been generally strict in finding that a carrier’s failure to specify a ground for disclaimer precludes the carrier from raising that ground subsequently as an affirmative defense in a coverage action. … Continue Reading

Additional Insured By Written Contract Clause Construed to Bar Coverage

Commercial construction projects necessarily involve many moving parts, including multiple parties from the owners to the construction managers to the project financiers to the contractors and to the sub-contractors. These moving parts generally result in a web of interrelated insurance policies covering the project. Typically, when there is no controlled insurance program, contractors and sub-contractors … Continue Reading

Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies New York’s Injury-in-Fact Trigger of Coverage for Asbestos Losses

Whether coverage for asbestos personal injuries is triggered under an injury-in-fact theory or under an exposure theory makes a world of difference to which insurance policies must respond to the asbestos losses. Asbestos, as we know, causes asbestos-related diseases that often manifest 20 or 30-years after the initial significant exposure to asbestos fibers. Most experts … Continue Reading

The Distinction Between the Duty to Pay Defense Costs and the Duty to Indemnify Defense Costs

Common forms of commercial general liability policies typically include provisions requiring the insurer to defend the insured regardless of whether the claim is valid or not, as long as the claim is within the coverage grant of the insurance policy. The typical language provides that the insurance company has the right and duty to defend … Continue Reading

New York Appeals Court Holds No Allocation of Environmental Losses to Insurers for Uninsured Years

In a case of first impression, a New York intermediate appellate court has held that the policyholder, rather than existing insurers, must be allocated  environmental cleanup costs for periods of time when environmental cleanup insurance was not available in the marketplace. The decision reverses the denial of the insurer’s partial motion for summary judgment.… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Gives Amtrak a Possible Second Chance for Sandy Relief

Natural catastrophes have wide-ranging consequences and obtaining insurance coverage for alleged damages arising from natural catastrophes takes time. There are still Katrina cases percolating through the legal system.  In this case, decided by the Second Circuit on the last day of August 2016, nearly four years after Sandy, issues concerning flood sublimits, ensuing loss exceptions … Continue Reading

The Impact of Reinsurance on Homeowners Insurance Rates

Most of our posts discuss disputes involving specific claims or specific insurance or reinsurance contracts. But sometimes disputes arise in the regulatory context. This post is about the cost of catastrophe reinsurance protection, which factors into homeowners insurance rates rates used to develop the premiums charged to policyholders. This is especially relevant in states where natural … Continue Reading
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