Corporate policyholders should carefully consider insurance coverage implications when structuring mergers, acquisitions, or other transactions that may impact available insurance assets. A New Jersey federal court recently granted summary judgment for a surviving bank asserting coverage rights under a D&O policy issued to an entity that dissolved in a statutory merger, based in part on the wording of the parties’ merger agreement structuring the transaction in accordance with the New Jersey Business Corporation Act (“NJBCA”).
Obscured by the recent hurricanes ravaging the Caribbean, Florida and Texas, Mexico suffered its own natural disaster earlier this week with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the quake.
Congratulations to Hunton & Williams insurance recovery lawyer, Patrick McDermott, on his confirmation by the DC Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors to the organization’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council. The DC Bar Foundation launched the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council in November 2011 as an opportunity for younger attorneys to further the goal of access to justice within the community. Members serve as ambassadors in order to promote DCBF’s mission and programs and to help raise additional resources to support local legal aid organizations. Among other contributions to the DC community, the Foundation is the largest funder of legal services in DC, and the Young Lawyers Network is a huge supporter of that work.
In an article that first appeared in Electric Light & Power, Hunton & Williams attorneys Sergio F. Oehninger and Paul T. Moura discuss the growing Electric Vehicle (EV) industry and the risks posed due to the consequential strain on the power grid. As they explain, demand and investment in EVs will likely spur greater demand for supercharging stations that consume significant amounts of electricity. Urban centers and real estate owners are also expected to increase the supply of these stations in order to make these areas more attractive and accessible to EV owners, drone operators, and autonomous vehicle fleets. All of this growth will put increasing demands on electricity supply that can be difficult for businesses to control, leading to grid outages that can cause an interruption in business operations, an inability to access or restore system data, and significant losses of business income. All of this raises the question—Can businesses count on their insurance coverage to respond to the risks posed by EVs?
Three significant insurance disputes are pending before the New York Court of Appeals, and Hunton partner Syed Ahmad discusses the importance of those cases in Law 360’s article titled 3 Insurance Cases To Watch At NY’s High Court.
Does the term “wrongful act” always require that the conduct at issue be “wrongful”? In at least one D&O insurance policy, the answer may not be as clear as it seems. A federal district court in Texas recently denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss a company’s coverage claim for nearly $5 million in costs the company incurred defending a statutory appraisal lawsuit filed by disgruntled shareholders, citing the D&O policy’s “terribly” written definition of “wrongful act,” which may have been written so broadly that it provides coverage for “acts” that are not actually “wrongful.”
Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has entered an emergency order regarding insurance procedures for residential property policies to assist policyholders and streamline the claims process. The insurance commissioner’s order provides standardized requirements for claims reporting, grace periods for payment of premiums and performance of other duties by policyholders, and temporary postponement of cancellations and non-renewals. These include:
A federal district court judge has dismissed one of a poultry farm’s claims for “remediation costs” against its insurer with prejudice, but allowed the other to proceed. In Rembrandt Enterprises, Inc. v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, Rembrandt brought suit against its insurer for losses it sustained after a bird flu epidemic broke out at its farms in 2015. Regulators ultimately ordered Rembrandt to quarantine its facilities and put down millions of birds, forcing Rembrandt to spend millions of dollars to purchase new chicks to repopulate its farms.
Hunton & Williams’ Insurance Recovery Team Head, Walter Andrews, was spotlighted in an article published in the Houston Chronicle last week regarding insurance for losses from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While the storms were devastating in their own unique ways – Harvey with extensive flooding; Irma with extreme wind and storm surge – both have substantially impacted local and national businesses. As Andrews explains, “if you don’t have any customers, or if they can’t access your facilities, you don’t have business. Many businesses are facing vast amounts of lost earnings during the time it takes to repair hurricane-related damage.” Local business owners facing huge losses have a financial lifeline in the form of business-interruption coverage in their property policies. Likewise, distant businesses impacted by the storms likely have contingent business interruption coverage that will apply if a business or customer they depend on suffered damage from one of the storms – even if that damage occurred hundreds of miles away from the insured business.
For more information, please visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory center.
In football as in life, the best defense is often a good offense. But, that adage does not always play well in litigation. In Riddell, Inc. v. Superior Court, No. B275482, 2017 WL 3614305 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 23, 2017), the California Court of Appeal blew the whistle on such a tactic, holding that an insurer could not use discovery tools in a coverage dispute with its policyholder in order to prejudice the policyholder’s defense in an underlying lawsuit.