Courts nationwide have issued a wide range of decisions on insurance coverage for lawsuits arising out of the opioid epidemic under commercial general liability policies. On August 17, 2023, a North Carolina federal court illustrated why coverage is also available under Directors and Officers (D&O) liability insurance policies. In The North Carolina Mutual Whole Company v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 1:22-CV-553, 2023 WL 5312234 (M.D.N.C.), the court determined a drug wholesaler’s D&O policy provides coverage for more than one hundred underlying lawsuits, rejecting the insurer’s argument that two exclusions, the contract and professional services exclusions, barred coverage.Continue Reading D&O Can Be a Source of Coverage for Opioid Suits
Extreme weather events—such as heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes—may create major protection gaps for insureds. In California, rising temperatures and massive heat waves have led the California Department of Insurance (the “Department”) to rethink risk solutions and insurance programs that protect the state’s communities from the risks associated with extreme heat. While the Department’s proposed solution applies only to coverage for local governments, Tribes, and public health agencies, it is a “hot” topic among many Californians, as insurance professionals and policyholders debate the Department’s proposed approval of parametric insurance.Continue Reading The Heated Debate Over the California Department of Insurance’s Heat Community Policy and Parametric Underwriting
Blockchain technology has been touted as inherently reliable for years. More recently, collectors of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have explored expanded uses for that novel technology. Some courts have bought in and, in doing so, recently authorized a use that perhaps no one had imagined when NFTs first entered the mainstream: service of process.
Continue Reading NFT Service Brings Litigation Into the Metaverse!
The surge in prices for eggs—the fourth most-purchased US grocery item—over the past months has surprised many American shoppers. Last December, a dozen eggs cost $4.25 on average; 120% higher than at the same time in 2021. The price hike stems from many factors, including supply chain issues and inflation. But the primary culprit is the outbreak of the deadliest bird flu in US history, which has killed millions of chickens. Grocery shoppers, however, are not the only ones feeling the economic impact of the ravage to poultry flocks. Livestock owners and businesses are also feeling the economic pinch, particularly in areas hit hardest by the bird flu. Insurance is a key component of risk management for livestock businesses and owners. Here, we explore how insurance can mitigate the risks to livestock owners and businesses of accidental or unexpected events that result in the death of animals or economic losses.Continue Reading Coverage for Rotten Eggs: Livestock Coverage in the Event of a Crisis
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (“PFAS”) are a class of substances that have increasingly become the target of federal and state regulation in everything from drinking water, groundwater, site contamination, waste, air emissions, firefighting foam, personal care products, food and food packaging, and now consumer and commercial products. PFAS are widely-used chemicals that have the unique ability to repel both oil and water, which led to their application in many products including items such as stain and water-repellent fabric, chemical-and oil-resistant coatings, food packaging materials, plastics, firefighting foam, solar panels and many others. The carbon-fluorine bond is the strongest in nature, making these compounds highly persistent in the environment.Continue Reading PFAS Regulation and Insurance Coverage Implications
In Yahoo, Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, PA., the California Supreme Court confirmed that contra proferentem and other rules of policy interpretation apply even to language insurers argue is “manuscript” as long as the provisions in question use standard-form policy terms. There, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to answer a certified question regarding whether a commercial general liability policy (CGL) covers defense costs related to claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) (47 U.S.C. § 227). Following a thorough and thoughtful assessment of California law involving fundamental rules of policy interpretation, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the policyholder, Yahoo, Inc. (“Yahoo!”). The authors of this article represented amicus curiae, United Policyholders, in support of Yahoo! before the California Supreme Court. Continue Reading Unanimous California Supreme Court Affirms Breadth of Policy-Interpretation Rules in Confirming That CGL Policies Cover TCPA Liabilities
As we have discussed in prior parts of this series, the insurance industry has developed an array of policies specifically tailored to cover cryptocurrency claims, and some of these policies may also cover certain NFT claims. Separate and apart from these tailored policies, policyholders with NFT claims also may look to traditional forms of insurance.
NFTs are collectible and one of a kind, yet digital. The most common NFT is a type of visual art image like a digital painting, a photograph or generative designs (created by artificial intelligence). However, this high-level definition doesn’t do justice to just how pervasive these have become. In addition to traditional artwork, there are:Continue Reading Digital Asset Insurance Coverage Series, Part 7: Insurance for NFTs
Several of the largest brokers have developed a considerable bench. For example, Marsh has a Digital Asset Risk Team (DART); Lockton has its Lockton Emerging Asset Protection Team (LEAP) and Aon and others have their own teams.
There are multiple advantages to procuring cryptocurrency insurance through brokers that have deep experience in this particular area of insurance. These may include:Continue Reading Digital Asset Insurance Coverage Series, Part 6: Brokers And Cryptocurrency Insurance
Last week’s discussion focused on the evolution of the insurance marketplace for digital assets. This section focuses on the marketplace as it now exists, providing examples of products being bought by companies and consumers facing cryptocurrency risks. …
Continue Reading Digital Asset Insurance Coverage Series, Part 5: How Companies And Consumers With Cryptocurrency Risk Approach Insurance
In the 18th Century, underwriting desks at what came to be known as Lloyd’s of London were developed to share or transfer risks associated with shipping. Availability of risk sharing, or insurance, provided protection for maritime investors and facilitated increased levels of investment and thus increased levels of maritime activity. Risk transfer has become an essential part of the development of a marketplace for many products.
In the early years of cryptocurrency, there were no insurance products specifically designed to cover cryptocurrency-related losses. Much like the presence of insurance fosters development of a marketplace, the absence of insurance hinders it.
Continue Reading Digital Asset Insurance Coverage Series, Part 4: History Of Insurance Coverage Specifically Designed For Cryptocurrency