Last week, in an exciting moment, the U.S. House of Representatives, voted 321 to 103 in favor of H.R.1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (“SAFE Banking Act”). If enacted into law, the SAFE Banking Act, would provide financial institutions, including insurers, a safe harbor to do business with “cannabis-related legitimate businesses” in the United States. In particular, the act would protect insurers, independent agents, and brokers from criminal and civil liability when offering insurance coverage to state-legalized cannabis businesses. The SAFE Banking Act would grant the cannabis business community access to many of the financial services most companies take for granted, like electronic payment processing, employer-sponsored 401(k) accounts and small business loans.

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The Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance recovery team secured a victory for firm client, The Children’s Place (“TCP”), obtaining a ruling from a New Jersey federal court in The Children’s Place, Inc. v. Great Am. Ins. Co., 2019 WL 1857118 (D.N.J. Apr. 25, 2019), in which the court allowed TCP to seek insurance coverage for a “social engineering scheme” that defrauded the company of $967,714.29.

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Hunton Andrews Kurth has selected Latosha Ellis, an associate in the firm’s Insurance Coverage practice, for the 2019 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinder Program. Pathfinder is a national yearlong program that trains diverse, high performing, early-career attorneys in critical career development strategies, including foundational leadership and building professional networks.

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Lawrence J. Bracken II, a partner in Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Insurance Coverage practice group, has been elected to the American College of Coverage Counsel (ACCC), which is the preeminent association of U.S. and Canadian lawyers who represent the interests of insurers and policyholders. The ACCC’s mission is to advance the creative, ethical and efficient resolution of insurance coverage and extracontractual disputes; to enhance the civility and quality of the practice of insurance law; to provide peer-reviewed scholarship; and to improve the relationships among the members of our profession.  The ACCC engages in a rigorous vetting process prior to inviting a lawyer to become a fellow.  ACCC fellows include many of the most prominent members of the insurance law bar.

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Hurricane Florence will affect the U.S. east coast later this week with significant damage to property and resulting business disruption.  Businesses far-removed from the impact zone also will be affected as manufacturing, retail, travel and supply chains, among other industries, are disrupted by the physical damage.  For those in the impact zone, knowing the fundamentals about your property insurance is critical.  For those in remote locations, now is a good time to refresh yourself as well, since post-storm disruptions and losses require prompt notice to insurers and fast action to help mitigate any resulting loss.  A failure on either front could jeopardize coverage.

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In a recent article appearing in Florida’s Daily Business Review (available here), Hunton Insurance Recovery Practice team head, Walter Andrews, explains why phishing and whaling scams should be covered by insurance.  In the article, Andrews notes that recent appellate decisions support policyholders’ reasonable expectations of coverage and reject insurers’ contentions that social engineering losses

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP insurance recovery partners, Lorelie Masters and Lawrence J. Bracken II, received rankings in the 2018 Chambers and Partners USA attorney rankings.  Lorie received “Band 1” recognition in the Policyholder Insurance category for the District of Columbia and a “Band 2” recognition in the Dispute Resolution: Policyholder Insurance category for the Nationwide regions, while Larry received “Band 4” recognition in the General Commercial Litigation category among Georgia attorneys.  Both designations are the product of the outstanding results Lorie and Larry have achieved in their respective fields, and are indicative of the level of expertise both bring to the insurance recovery practice at Hunton Andrews Kurth, LLP.

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