There was nothing ambiguous in former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s ruling in AIG Property Cas. Co. v. Cosby, No. 17-1505 (1st Cir. June 7, 2018), where, sitting by designation, Justice Souter ruled that AIG Property and Casualty Co. (“AIG”) must defend Bill Cosby in suits brought by eight women alleging that Cosby defamed them after they accused him of sexual misconduct.  Cosby held two insurance policies issued by AIG:  a homeowner’s policy and a personal excess liability policy (the “umbrella policy””).  Under each policy, AIG has a duty to “pay damages [Cosby] is legally obligated to pay [due to] personal injury or property damage caused by an occurrence covered[] by this policy anywhere in the world . . . .”  Both policies define “personal injury” to include “[d]efamation” and require AIG to pay the cost of defending against suits seeking covered damages.  Both policies also contain so-called “sexual misconduct” exclusions.  The homeowner’s policy’s exclusion bars coverage for liability or defense costs “arising out of any actual, alleged[,] or threatened . . . [s]exual molestation, misconduct or harassment[,] . . . or . . . [s]exual, physical or mental abuse.”  The umbrella policy contained similar wording.  However, that policy also contained another “sexual misconduct” exclusion under the “Limited Charitable Board Directors and Trustees Liability” coverage part.  That exclusion applied more broadly to claims for damages “[a]rising out of, or in any way involving, directly or indirectly, any alleged sexual misconduct” (emphasis added).

Continue Reading 1st Cir. and Former SCOTUS Justice Find Ambiguous “Arising Out Of” Requires Cosby Defense

In an article published September 12, 2017 in South Florida’s Daily Business Review, Hunton & Williams insurance lawyers Walter Andrews and Andrea DeField explained why it is critical that policyholders act fast to maximize insurance recovery for their hurricane-related losses.  They also provided a checklist to guide policyholders through the claim process.  As Andrews and DeField explain, in addition to providing prompt notice to all potential insurers, policyholders should collect all loss-related receipts and document the damage with photographs.  Good organization of post-loss expenses will help expedite any claim for Extra Expense loss, while photographs will help to avoid disputes over the extent of any physical damage after that damage has been disturbed or repaired.

For more information, please visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory center.

It has been almost a week since Hurricane Harvey came barreling down the Texas coastline as a Category-4 storm. Since that time, parts of Texas and Louisiana have been inundated with flood waters as Harvey continues to wreak havoc. Despite the fact that many of those affected have been unable to reach their homes or business to fully assess the damage because of road closures and flood waters, insureds whose businesses or homes were in the storm’s path should notify their insurers in writing now. The initial written notice should include the following information:

  • Name and contact information for the insured;
  • The location of the loss;
  • The date and time of the loss (to the extent known); and
  • A brief description of the loss.

Continue Reading The First Seven Days: Resources For Policyholders In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Harvey

As Texas and other Gulf coast areas make final storm preparations, now is a good time to gather insurance information and policies.  Hunton & Williams attorneys, Michael Levine and John Eichman provide important information in the linked article published by The Texas Lawbook concerning insurance issues that are likely to arise in the storm’s wake, including potentially applicable coverages that could go overlooked without proper guidance.

For more information, please visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory center.

As Texas and other Gulf coast areas make final storm preparations, now is a good time to gather insurance information and policies. Hunton & Williams insurance attorneys, Michael Levine and Andrea DeField provide important information in this linked Client Alert concerning insurance issues that are likely to arise in the storm’s wake, including potentially applicable coverages that could go overlooked without proper guidance.

For more information, please visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory center.

Since our first report last year, Lemonade Insurance, a tech start-up that planned to offer peer-to-peer insurance products, has launched in four states, offering homeowners and renters insurance in New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey. Lemonade’s cutting-edge use of technology and its alternative business model could prove disruptive to the insurance industry.

Continue Reading Industry May Sour Over Lemonade Insurance’s Sweet Formula

Last week, my partner, Syed Ahmad, commented on some of the biggest insurance rulings of the year in a Law360 feature article that can be found here.  Among those decisions is USAA Texas Lloyd’s Co. v. Menchaca, where the Texas Supreme Court ruled that that policyholders may recover for bad faith in the absence of coverage under their policy.  Ahmad also discussed the Connecticut appeals court decision in R.T. Vanderbilt Co., Inc. v. Hartford Acc. And Indem. Co., and its ruling that insurers may not force policyholders to act as an insurer during policy periods in which insurance was not available.  Finally, Ahmad discussed the Third Circuit’s ruling in General Refractories Co. v. First State Insurance Co., where the court gave a broad meaning to the phrase “arising out of” such that an exclusion for claims arising out of asbestos was to be read more broadly than referring only to claims from exposure to asbestos in its raw mineral form.  Significantly, however, the broad interpretation pertained only to the phrase “arising out of” and not the operative term “asbestos.”

Ride and homesharing technologies like Uber and Airbnb are now ubiquitous. Slice, an on-demand insurance provider, seeks to fill the gap between the demands of these on-the-go services and traditional insurance contracts, which may not cover home rental or car sharing. Slice users can pick and choose the dates for which they receive coverage. So, for example, a homeowner that rents her home to Airbnb renters for two nights can obtain coverage solely for those two nights.

Continue Reading On-Demand Insurance Offers A Slice Of The Pie To Ride – And Home-Sharing Apps

Policyholders are often surprised to hear that their policies cover more than the run-of-the-mill claim. For example, a general liability policy may cover a cyber-related loss. See our prior post. As a more recent example, a federal court in South Carolina found that a parent’s homeowners’ policy obligated an insurer to defend a college student against hazing allegations. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Ingraham, No. 7:15-cv-3212 (D.S.C. Mar. 14, 2017).

Continue Reading Defense Of Hazing Claims Against College Student Covered Under Parents’ Homeowners’ Policy