Last week, a Georgia federal jury popped a motor carrier liability insurer and its insured with a $21 million verdict in a wrongful death suit. According to the Complaint, the insured driver lost control of his tractor-trailer while driving on Georgia Highway 369. As a result, the trailer disconnected and overturned, injuring a pedestrian walking along the highway’s shoulder. The pedestrian eventually succumbed to his injuries, and his estate filed suit against the driver and the driver’s insurer under Georgia’s Direct Action Statute, which allows plaintiffs to name motor carrier insurers as defendants along with their insureds.
As reported on the January 31, 2020 posting to the Hunton Retail Law Resource Blog, the Florida legislature has introduced identical bills in the Florida House of Representatives (HB 963) and the Senate (SB 1670) (collectively the Act) that, if adopted, will require companies operating websites and other online services in the state to inform Florida consumers whether it is collecting personal information, and to provide an opportunity for the consumer to opt out of the sale of the personal information.
A Maryland federal court recently awarded summary judgment to National Ink and Stitch, finding coverage for a cyber-attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack. We discussed the significance of the decision in a January 27 blog post that can be found here.
Ruling on cross motions for summary judgment, a federal court in New York held that AIG Specialty Insurance Company (AIG) must cover the settlement of an underlying action against its insured, SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (SS&C), who was duped by e-mail scammers to issue millions in wire transfers. The court rejected AIG’s assertion that the loss resulted from SS&C’s exercise of authority or discretionary control of client funds where SS&C only had limited administrative authority and further held that, even if SS&C had exercised the requisite authority, the exclusion was ambiguous. A copy of the court’s decision can be found here.
The members of Hunton’s Insurance Recovery group present regularly on today’s hot topic insurance coverage issues. Upcoming insurance presentations for February 2020 include:
- Lorelie S. Masters will be moderating an ABA Section of Litigation webinar on “The Haze: Key Legal Issues For Cannabis Businesses” on February 6, 2020. This webinar was organized by Latosha M. Ellis.
- Kevin V. Small will be presenting on “Hot Topics in Representations and Warranties Insurance” at the NJSBA’s Insurance Law Section CLE Dinner Meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey on February 12, 2020.
- Lorelie S. Masters will be speaking on a panel on “Recent Critical Coverage Decisions/Hindsight in 2020: Looking Back at Key Insurance Developments and How They Impact Policyholders and Insurers” at the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s 28th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Mid-Year Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on February 21, 2020.
As crypto-asset losses continue to rise, the industry is taking steps to protect clients and investors through insurance. Crypto-exchange and custody provider, Gemini Trust Company, LLC (“Gemini”), recently launched its own captive insurance provider, Nakamoto, Ltd. Captive insurance is an alternative to self-insurance whereby a company creates a licensed insurance company to provide coverage for itself. According to a statement from Gemini, Nakamoto is “the world’s first captive to insure crypto custody” and allows Gemini “to increase its insurance capacity beyond the coverage currently available in the commercial insurance market” for cryptocurrency wallets not connected to the internet, commonly referred to as “cold storage.” According to Gemini, this move makes Nakamoto the world’s most insured crypto-asset cold storage solution, which signals an expectation of increased demand in the crypto market.
Innovation and developments in technology bring both opportunities and challenges for the retail industry, and Hunton Andrews Kurth has a sophisticated understanding of these issues and how they affect retailers. On January 23, 2020, our cross-disciplinary retail team, composed of over 200 lawyers, released our annual Retail Industry Year in Review. The 2019 edition, Spotlight on Technology, provides an overview and analysis of recent developments impacting retailers, as well as what to expect in 2020 and beyond. Topics discussed include: braille gift cards as the next wave of evolving accessibility litigation; enterprise software licensing audits; the intense FTC oversight of online user-generated reviews and influencer marketing; challenges around skilled immigration for staffing roles in a variety of technologically-driven professions in retail; the increase in retail bankruptcies and the “retail apocalypse”; M&A as an ongoing strategy for navigating growth; upcoming modifications of the FTC’s Made in the USA program; cyber insurance coverage for phishing schemes and coverage for privacy breaches; the intricacies in AI product liability cases; and key retail payment trends such as frictionless payments, mobile payments and the rise of voice commerce.
A Maryland federal court awarded summary judgment last week to policyholder National Ink in National Ink and Stitch, LLC v. State Auto Property And Casualty Insurance Company, finding coverage for a cyber-attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack. This is significant because it demonstrates that insureds can obtain insurance coverage for cyber-attacks even if they do not have a specific cyber insurance policy.
The members of Hunton’s Insurance Recovery group present regularly on today’s hot topic insurance coverage issues. Upcoming insurance presentations for January 2020 include:
- Latosha M. Ellis will be a panelist on an ABA Section of Litigation webinar on “The Vaping Injury Crisis: Products Liability & Insurance Coverage Issues for Nicotine and Cannabis Industries” on January 9, 2020.
- Walter J. Andrews and Andrea DeField will be presenting an Enquiron webinar on “Cyber Insurance: A Year In Review: What did we see in 2019 and what does that tell us about what to expect in 2020?” on January 23, 2020.
- Lorelie Masters and Andrea DeField will be presenting on “Cybersecurity and Cyber Insurance: What You Must Know” on January 30, 2020 in Hunton’s Charlotte office. The program is sponsored by Charlotte Women’s Mentoring Circle.
Additional January 2020 presentations and events that the Hunton Insurance Recovery group will be participating in include:
- Hunton’s Washington DC Office will be hosting the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s “Asserting Her Power: Overcoming Gender-Based Discrimination in a Male-Dominated Field” event and cocktail reception on January 9, 2020. Members of Hunton’s Insurance Recovery group will be in attendance.
- Lorelie S. Masters and Latosha M. Ellis will be speaking at the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s “Salon Conversation – Lifting the Next Generation and Building Your Legacy” event on January 23, 2020.
Following a bench trial, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found in The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. The Norfolk Truck Center that a commercial truck dealer’s social engineering loss arose directly from a computer, thereby triggering the dealer’s computer fraud coverage, notwithstanding that the scheme involved numerous non-computer acts in the causal chain of events. A copy of the decision may be found here.