In a March 13, 2019 article appearing in Law360, Hunton Insurance team head, Walter Andrews, explains the adverse impact of a Georgia Supreme Court ruling that attempts to clarify the rules governing settlement of insured liability claims under Georgia law.  As Walter explains, however, the decision stands to hinder settlements and potentially subject innocent insureds to staggering liability beyond that covered by their insurance.  In First Acceptance Ins. Co. of Georgia, Inc. v. Hughes, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that policyholders must make a “valid offer” – that is, one that contains definite time limits and other terms – before an insurance company is required to settle.  As Walter told Law360, the court took “an overly narrow approach” that is “disturbing and is likely to act as a deterrent to settlements in the future.” He goes on to explain that insurance companies will actually have less incentive to settle, “which means that fewer cases will settle and cases will linger longer in court, which is not in the interests of either the injured parties or the insured defendants.”

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The Georgia Supreme Court ruled this week that First Acceptance Insurance Co. need not pay a $5.3 million excess judgment against its insured, Ronald Jackson.  First Acceptance Ins. Co. of Georgia, Inc. v. Hughes, No. S18G0517, 2019 WL 1103831 (Ga. Mar. 11, 2019), even though Jackson’s insurer could have settled the claim for Jackson’s $50,000 policy limits.

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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.

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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.

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The Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled yesterday that a construction company’s builder’s risk policy issued by Assurance Company of America (“Assurance”) applied to cover a fire loss at a home under construction, even though the prospective purchasers of the home were residing in the home at the time of the fire and had already recovered from their homeowner’s policy.

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Last month, I wrote about State Farm’s “Dirty Little Secret.” After a non-jury trial, Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit (Leon County) declared that data submitted by State Farm Florida Insurance Company (“State Farm”) to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”), as required by Fla. Stat. 624.424(10), constituted a “trade secret” under Florida law. The Circuit Court released its written opinion on May 2, 2016.

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On March 30, 2016, Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit (Leon County) declared that the personal and commercial residential policy data and report submitted by State Farm Florida Insurance Company (“State Farm”) to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) constitute trade secrets under Florida law and are thus immune from public disclosure under Florida’s Public Records Act. Beginning in the first quarter of 2014, State Farm began filing its Quarterly and Supplemental Reporting System (“QUASR”) reports with “trade secret” designation. On May 15, 2014, State Farm filed a declaratory action in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit in and for Leon County, requesting that the Court declare: (1) State Farm’s QUASR data and report are trade secretes under 812.081 and 688.022, Fla. Stat.; and (2) that State Farm’s QUASR data and report are exempt from public disclosure under Florida’s Public Records Act because they are trade secret.

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Last week, Chubb announced that it would begin offering personal lines coverage in four states for costs related to cyberbullying. The coverage would reportedly insure costs for “psychiatric services, rest and recuperation expenses, lost salary, temporary relocation services, education expenses, professional public relations services, and cyber security consultants.”

The cyberbullying protection would cover expenses up