Archives: Reinsurance Contracts

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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

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

The Assault on Bellefonte Accelerates

In a highly anticipated decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has certified an important question of reinsurance law to the New York Court of Appeals. The appeal had amicus briefs from reinsurance intermediaries supporting the cedent’s argument that the so-called “Bellefonte” rule should not apply. We discussed this in an … 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

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

7th Circuit Affirms Waiver of Removal Because of Reinsurance Agreement Service-of-Suit Clause

In December 2015, an Illinois federal court held that the language of a service-of-suit clause in a reinsurance contract was a voluntary removal waiver and sent a case removed to federal court back to state court. That case went up to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for review. The Seventh Circuit has now affirmed.… 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

Looking for Actual and Substantial Prejudice When Notice of Claim Is Late

Late notice of claim in both direct insurance and reinsurance are important issues. There are both contract and public policy issues that arise when considering if late notice will allow an insurer or reinsurer to avoid its obligations. We have authored a number blog posts here and IRMI.com commentaries on late notice issues in insurance … 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

Does an Insurance Examination Privilege Exist?

Under many states’ insurance laws, the formation of companies or the issuance of policies require filing and often approval by the state insurance regulator. Additionally, every insurance company licensed in a state will come under a periodic examination during which information will be requested and collected by the insurance regulator and will result in an … Continue Reading

Is a Reinsurance Contract an Insurance Contract for Discovery Purposes?

Litigators know that in federal court initial disclosures are required. Under FRCP 26(a)(1)(A)(iv), parties must provide to the other side for inspection and copying “any insurance agreement under which an insurance business may be liable to satisfy all or part of a possible judgment in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made … Continue Reading

Frontal Assault on Bellefonte at Second Circuit

Those of you who dabble in reinsurance disputes are familiar with Bellefonte Reins. Co. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 930 F.2d 910 (2d Cir. 1990) and its progeny. Many trees have been sacrificed explaining and arguing for and against the “rule” set in Bellefonte and its affect on claims expenses and limits in facultative certificates … 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

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

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

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

When US Taxation and Reinsurance Collide

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently affirmed a district court decision holding that the excise tax imposed under 26 USC § 4371 does not apply to wholly foreign retrocession contracts. The term “retrocession” refers to transactions in which one reinsurer buys or sells reinsurance to another reinsurer, and is sometimes referred … Continue Reading

The Added Value of Contract Wording Specialists

As you can tell from many of my blog posts, and certainly from my IRMI.com Commentaries on Reinsurance, negotiating a clear and unambiguous contract wording is a big part of dispute avoidance. Certainly, a significant number of reinsurance disputes result from less than stellar contract drafting. This is true also in commercial insurance. The failure … 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 Resurgence of the Defense of Late Notice in Reinsurance Disputes

One of the first things that a reinsurance claims person looks at when receiving a claim notice for the first time is whether the notice from the ceding insurer complies with the notice requirements of the reinsurance contract. In other words, is the reinsurer hearing about this claim for the first time after judgment has … Continue Reading
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