The Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision in Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., 2019 IL 124565 (2019), announced the standard for triggering general liability coverage for malicious prosecution claims under Illinois law.  In its decision, the court construed what appears to be a policy ambiguity against the policyholder in spite of the longstanding rule of contra proferentem, limiting coverage to policies in place at the time of the wrongful prosecution, and not the policies in effect when the final element of the tort of malicious prosecution occurred (i.e. the exoneration of the plaintiff).  The net result of the court’s ruling for policyholders susceptible to such claims is that coverage for jury verdicts for malicious prosecution – awarded in today’s dollars – is limited to the coverage procured at the time of the wrongful prosecution, which may (as in this case) be decades old.  Such a scenario can have costly consequences for policyholders given that the limits procured decades ago are often inadequate due to the ever-increasing awards by juries as well as inflation.  Moreover, it may be difficult to locate the legacy policies and the insurers that issued such policies may no longer be solvent or even exist.  A copy of the decision can be found here.


Continue Reading New Illinois Supreme Court Trigger Rule for CGL Personal Injury “Offenses” Could Have Costly Consequences for Policyholders

In a recent decision, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reiterated that the duty to defend broadly requires a liability insurer to defend an entire lawsuit against its insured, even where only some of the allegations are potentially covered.  The court further held that the insured has no obligation to apportion defense costs among multiple implicated policies.  The decision, Selective Way Insurance Company v. Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company, et al., can be found here.

Continue Reading Duty to Defend Broadly Applies to Entire Action; Insured Need Not Apportion Defense Costs, Says Maryland Appeals Court

On October 16, 2019, Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance lawyers Michael S. Levine and Daniel Hentschel discussed insurance coverage issues concerning blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in an article published by IRMI (Insurance Risk Management Institute, Inc.). The full article is available here. In the article, the authors discuss the potential risks associated with the use

Hunton Insurance Coverage practice partner Michael Levine will be speaking in an upcoming Strafford live webinar, “Depreciation of Labor in Property Insurance Claims: Guidance From Recent Cases,” scheduled for Wednesday, October 30, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT.
Continue Reading Hunton Insurance Coverage Partner Michael Levine to Present on the “Depreciation of Labor in Property Insurance Claims”

Recap of Hunton Insurance Recovery Group presentations in August and September 2019 focusing on key risk management techniques and strategies for maximizing recoveries under corporate insurance policies and enforcing indemnity rights under technology, sales, services, outsourcing, and other commercial contracts:

  • John Eichman and Sergio F. Oehninger presented a seminar on Electronic Crime – Insurance Coverage

The Seventh Circuit held last week that a manufacturer’s insurer must cover its insured, a designer and builder of anaerobic digesters, under its errors and omissions policy for claims alleging breach of contract, despite an exclusion in the policy for claims arising out of the breach of an express or oral contract. The decision in Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Company v. DVO, Inc., No. 18-2571 (7th Cir. Sept. 23, 2019), illustrates the practical application of policy construction to avoid what would otherwise amount to an illusory promise of coverage.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Says Contract Exclusion Renders E&O Coverage Illusory

Congratulations to Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP insurance recovery lawyer, Geoffrey Fehling, on his confirmation by the DC Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors to the organization’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council.

Continue Reading Hunton’s Geoffrey Fehling Confirmed to DC Bar Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council

A Florida district court recently held that an insurer wrongfully refused to defend a Miami-based strip club in a lawsuit filed by 17 models claiming that the club used their images to promote its business without their authorization. The insurer was required to defend the club for allegations of defamation under the policy’s personal and advertising coverage even though 16 of the 17 plaintiffs’ claims alleged conduct outside the covered policy period and no plaintiffs brought a cause of action for “defamation.” The decision highlights the broad duty to defend, in Florida and elsewhere, that policyholders should emphasize when pursuing coverage.

Continue Reading Miami Strip Club Entitled to Coverage for Models’ Defamation Lawsuit

Energy industry: is your insurance sufficient to handle a major cyber event? Larry Bracken, Mike Levine, and I address this question and more in our recent article for Electric Light & Power, found here.  In the article, we identify three major gaps in cyber insurance that we routinely see when analyzing coverage for energy industry clients. The first major gap is coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by a cyber event. Most cyber insurance policies exclude coverage for both bodily injury and property damage, even if caused by a cyber event. Meanwhile, many commercial general liability insurance policies now exclude cyber-related risks, thus creating a gap in coverage for these losses. The second gap we identify is coverage for fines and penalties, including those issued under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Even where cyber insurance policies expressly purport to cover fines and penalties, it is unclear if these may be deemed uninsurable as a matter of public policy in certain jurisdictions. Finally, we identify a gap in coverage for business income losses when the insured’s network, or that of a vendor on which they rely, goes down. That coverage is a key component of a robust cyber program, but one that is typically only offered for an additional premium.

Continue Reading Hunton Insurance Lawyers Discuss Cyber Risks to the Energy Grid in Electric Light & Power