In MF Global Holdings Ltd. et al. v. Allied World Assurance Co. Ltd. et al., No. 1:16-ap-01251 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Aug. 24, 2017), the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York ordered MF Global Holdings Ltd. and Allied World Assurance Co. Ltd. to arbitrate their $15 million errors-and-omissions coverage dispute in Hamilton, Bermuda. MF Global initiated an adversary proceeding against Allied World in the bankruptcy court after Allied World had refused to pay MF Global for amounts that MF Global returned to its customers’ accounts as part of a settlement of claims against MF Global’s former managers and directors. Allied World denied coverage under its “Bermuda Form” errors-and-omissions policy, claiming that this procedure was tantamount to deposit insurance, and not professional liability insurance, which is what errors-and-omissions coverage typically provides.
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Dick’s Sporting Goods (“DSG”) sued a Chinese insurer, PICC Property and Casualty Company Limited Suzhou Branch (“PICC”), seeking coverage under a products liability insurance policy for personal injury claims arising out of a burst exercise ball. In Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. v. PICC Prop. & Cas. Co. Ltd. Suzhou Branch, No. 2:16-cv-01635-DSC-RCM (W.D. Pa. July 28, 2017), a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania found that an insurance policy’s forum-selection clause required DSG to assert its claims in a Chinese court and, accordingly, recommended that DSG’s coverage claims be dismissed.

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The frequency and magnitude of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) (15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1, et seq.) investigations and claims continue to grow. Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that Halliburton Co. had agreed to pay $29.2 million in fines and penalties to settle allegations that its operations in Angola and Iraq violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal accounting controls provisions. In its press release, Halliburton vowed that it had “continuously enhanced its global ethics and compliance program” since first receiving an anonymous tip in December 2010, but the recent settlement serves as a reminder that even the most robust compliance program cannot guarantee that FCPA violations will not occur.

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The United Kingdom’s recent vote to sever ties with the European Union will have global economic consequences. The ramifications of an EU economic retraction resulting from financial uncertainty will undoubtedly reach Latin America.  The cross-border insurance industry will likely not be spared.  Multinationals with local operations must be proactive to get ahead of the storm – now is the time to review the unique aspects of their business and their target markets to pinpoint their ideal risk management structure, and to ensure that their insurance regimes sufficiently anticipate the shifting risks in this dynamic bloc.

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Yesterday, a federal court found that FIFA’s D&O insurer is obligated to reimburse and advance legal costs for the defense of Eduardo Li, one of the defendants in the FIFA racketeering and fraud prosecution. Li v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, No. 15-cv-6099 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 27, 2016). Li was the president of the Costa Rican soccer federation, an executive member of the soccer association for North and Central America (CONCACAF), and a member of FIFA standing committees. Along with other FIFA executives, he was indicted this past summer and charged with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.
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Globalization has inspired the development of cross-border business activities, as companies across several industries seek new markets for their goods and services.  The dynamic rewards have been accompanied by a corresponding increase in novel risks, and those who rely on traditional risk assessment mechanisms have often been left unnecessarily exposed.
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