From business interruption to biometric privacy, the first half of 2021 has already seen its fair share of significant insurance rulings. Law360 recently interviewed Hunton insurance counsel Geoffrey Fehling for an article analyzing the biggest insurance coverage cases and how they have impacted the legal landscape for policyholders and insurers.
One such landmark decision—discussed previously on this blog and in a Hunton insurance team client alert—resolved a coverage dispute in favor of Dole Food Company and its officers and directors on a claim seeking coverage for tens of millions of dollars in losses under the company’s D&O policies. In Dole, the Delaware Supreme Court issued several important rulings, finding that Delaware public policy does not preclude coverage for alleged fraud, the insurer’s “profit” and “fraud” exclusion did not bar coverage because there had been no “final adjudication,” and the “larger settlement rule” applies to the parties’ allocation dispute.
Most significant, however, may have been the court’s ruling that Delaware law governs the interpretation of D&O insurance issued to a company incorporated in Delaware, even when the company is based in another state. According to Geoff, the court in Dole “sent a powerful message that those corporate policyholders and their officers and directors deserve the benefits of Delaware law, which is policyholder-friendly on many important coverage issues.”
In its ruling, the court endorsed taking a consistent approach to interpretation of D&O insurance issued to Delaware corporations, which protects Delaware corporations and helps them attract talented directors and officers. “Given Delaware’s leading role in corporate law and governance,” Geoff added, “the choice-of-law decision [in Dole] also may influence courts in other states grappling with similar issues under D&O insurance policies.”
Read the full article here.