The Second Circuit recently held that competing “anti-concurrent cause” provisions in a commercial property policy present a potential ambiguity that could result in favor of coverage for losses sustained by Madelaine Chocolate after storm surge from Hurricane Sandy combined to cause substantial damage to Madelaine’s property and a resulting loss of income.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently construed the undefined term “advertising idea” in a case of first impression in the Commonwealth, holding that a footwear company’s insurers must provide a defense against an underlying claim alleging unfair use of a former Olympian’s name to promote a line of running shoes.
Hurricane Florence has yet to make landfall, but the storm has already wreaked havoc on this weekend’s college football schedule, concerts, and other events. West Virginia and NC State postponed their Saturday game indefinitely. Rescheduling remains to be seen. UCF and North Carolina cancelled their game outright, as did East Carolina and Virginia Tech. Other teams relocated their games or changed dates and start times, with many offering free tickets to fans who can accommodate the last-minute changes. The NFL also is keeping a close eye on the situation, as the storm could impact Sunday’s game between the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts at FedEx Field. Meanwhile, non-sporting events also have been cancelled, including Alan Jackson’s concert at the North Charleston Coliseum, the Zac Brown Band’s concerts in Charlotte and Raleigh, and J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival, which alone will require the refunding of some 30,000 tickets.
In a victory for policyholders, a recent decision from the Western District of Texas narrowly construed a common breach-of-contract exclusion and held that the insurer had a duty to defend its insured against an underlying lawsuit over construction defects. The allegations potentially supported a covered claim, as the conduct of the insured’s subcontractor could have been an independent, “but for” cause of the property damage at issue, thereby triggering the insurer’s duty to defend.
Whether a policyholder’s losses are “direct” or “indirect” can be coverage-determinative. Most financial institution bonds exclude “indirect” or “consequential” losses. A recent decision in Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Arch Ins. Co., No. CV C14-0545RSL, 2017 WL 5289547 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 13, 2017) addressed the issue of “direct” versus “indirect” losses in a dispute under a financial institution bond issued by Arch Insurance Company (Arch) to Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu). The court held that WaMu’s losses resulting from its purchase of fraudulent loans were “direct” losses, and that WaMu’s sale and contractual obligation to repurchase the fraudulent loans did not convert its losses from direct to indirect. Continue Reading WaMu’s Losses on Fraudulent Mortgages Are Covered; Not “Indirect” as Carrier Argued
An eye-popping settlement in Georgia serves as a cautionary tale for insurers who refuse to provide a straight answer when responding to a demand for policy limits and as a lesson for insureds dealing with recalcitrant insurers: Don’t just take “no” for an answer.
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.
In the wake of the continued aftermath from Hurricane Irma, Georgia Tech and Central Florida have decided to cancel their game, scheduled for this upcoming Saturday in Orlando. The cancellation joins a long and growing list of games cancelled due to hurricanes in recent weeks. Last weekend alone, Florida State and Louisiana Monroe; Miami and Arkansas State; South Florida and Connecticut; and Florida and Northern Colorado all had to scratch their contests due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma. The week before, Hurricane Harvey forced UTSA and Houston to cancel their game, while BYU and LSU had to relocate their game from Houston to New Orleans.
Update: A federal district-court judge has denied a group of insurers’ motion to dismiss Coca-Cola’s claim for attorneys’ fees in a cross-border insurance coverage dispute.
Hunton & Williams Insurance Recovery partner, Michael Levine, was quoted in an August 29, 2017 article appearing in Business Insurance, regarding the rapid increase in lawsuits, and insurance issues, surrounding concussions in high school and college sports. Among other things, the article discusses a coverage lawsuit filed by Great American Assurance Company against Conference USA in federal court in Dallas, Texas. In the lawsuit, the insurer alleges that its policy did not afford coverage for football concussion injuries because the policy included a “limited event coverage endorsement,” which limited bodily injury coverage to a list of sports that apparently did not include football. As Mr. Levine noted, the use of policy endorsements to limit coverage for bodily injury claims to those arising in some sports, but not when they arise in football – where injuries are most likely to occur – is troubling. Football is where the coverage is needed most; yet the insurer apparently removed it using a policy endorsement that purports to afford coverage, not restrict it. As Mr. Levine notes, cases like this underscore the need for policyholders to carefully review all policy endorsements to ensure that the policy when read as a whole actually provides the coverages that are needed the most.