Policyholders purchase insurance policies as a safety net, promising financial protection in times of need. However, that safety net can disappear when an insurer rescinds a policy—a devastating consequence for potentially innocent policyholders. We recently published a post following a Fourth Circuit decision addressing this issue. The Ninth Circuit has also addressed this issue, most recently in the decision discussed below.Continue Reading Policy Rescission: Avoid Relying Solely on the Broker

No policyholder wants to hear the word “rescission” in the context of an insurance claim. The reality, however, is that when policyholders complete applications for insurance, they are typically focused on obtaining the best policy terms for the best rate. Nuances about question wording, the breadth of the applicant’s representations or how a court may analyze the insurer’s questions or the policyholder’s answers usually take a back seat to the central importance of placing and renewing coverage at a realistic price. But once a claim is made, insurers look back at applications to assess the accuracy and completeness of all information received during the underwriting process, especially in signed applications. If the insurer discovers a misrepresentation, it can be used to rescind the policy, leaving the insured with no coverage. Continue Reading Avoiding Rescission of Insurance Coverage: An Insured’s Worst Nightmare  

An Alabama state court recently ruled that Protective Life Insurance wrongly denied California-based Apex Parks Group’s claim for unpaid key person death benefits. Apex, an amusement park company, insured its founder and CEO Alexander “Al” Weber Jr., who died unexpectedly in November 2016 while on vacation.  Eight months earlier, Apex purchased “key person” insurance coverage from Protective.  According to the complaint, Protective’s medical examiner had received Mr. Weber’s medical history prior to issuing the policy.
Continue Reading Alabama Jury Finds Policyholder Entitled To $10M Under “Key Person” Policy

Product recalls are on the rise in many industries. As regulatory and consumer protection standards are getting tougher, product supply chains are becoming more complex. This increases the risk of errors, defects and contamination at all levels of operation. Too often, these problems do not manifest themselves until after a product hits the market. All of this can lead to staggering expenses for food and product manufacturers facing the risks and realities of product recalls.
Continue Reading Product Recalls: Keeping Your Insurance Coverage Intact

Last February, a Pennsylvania federal court ordered rescission of an accidental contamination and government recall insurance policy issued to the H.J. Heinz Company after Heinz sought $25 million from its insurer for its business interruption losses sustained due to lead in its baby cereal. The district court based the rescission on findings that Heinz materially misrepresented its claim history when it purchased the policy. Heinz claimed the incorrect information was an inadvertent error by its new Global Insurance Director. Although a jury agreed that Heinz’s errors were unintentional, the district court found that even unintentional material misrepresentations were sufficient to void the contract.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Pours Salt In The Wound, Holds Heinz Policy Void Due To Application Misrepresentations