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16 Apr 2015 Minnesota Courts Address Statutory Procedures for Claims Against Insurance Companies – Part 2 of 2

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued opinions concerning separate statutory requirements for maintaining actions against insurance companies. In the first, the Court of Appeals addressed whether a defendant’s liability insurer could be added as a garnishee to the underlying lawsuit under Minnesota’s garnishment statute. Here, we discuss the second, in which the Supreme Court clarified when service of process on a nonresident insurer served under Minnesota’s alternative service of process statute is deemed to be “made” for purposes of applying a limitations period. Click here to read Part 1 of this post.   Meeker v. IDS Property Casualty Ins. Co., No. A13-1302, 2015 WL 1545281 (Minn. April 8, 2015) For limitations purposes, an action against a nonresident insurer…

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15 Apr 2015 Minnesota Courts Address Statutory Procedures for Claims Against Insurance Companies – Part 1 of 2

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued opinions concerning separate statutory requirements for maintaining actions against insurance companies. In the first, the Court of Appeals addressed whether a defendant’s liability insurer could be added as a garnishee to the underlying lawsuit under Minnesota’s garnishment statute. In the second, the Supreme Court clarified when service of process on a nonresident insurer under Minnesota’s alternative service of process statute is deemed to be “made” for purposes of applying a limitations period. For the sake of brevity, we’re discussing the opinions separately in a two-part blog post.   Michaels v. First USA Title, LLC, No. A14-0931, 2015 WL 1514018 (Minn. App. April 6, 2015) A policyholder defendant’s failure to provide timely notice…

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15 Apr 2015 Ken Gorenberg to speak at Chicago Bar Association seminar, “Insurance and Risk Management for Corporate Transactions”

Ken Gorenberg, from Barnes & Thornburg’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, will be speaking at an upcoming Chicago Bar Association seminar, “Insurance and Risk Management for Corporate Transactions,” on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 3 – 6 p.m. CDT.   The goal of the seminar is to provide in-house, corporate and litigation attorneys with a primer on the major insurance issues related to corporate transactions. Attendees can receive 2.75 hours of Illinois MCLE credit.   Ken will be presenting on “Analyzing Risk Transfer in Corporate Contracts,” and will be speaking about insurance, indemnity and limitation of liability clauses, all of which are used to allocate risk.   For more information, click here. Kenneth GorenbergKenneth M. Gorenberg is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg…

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14 Apr 2015 Spring Cleaning Tip for Risk Departments: Dust Off Those Old Insurance Policies

During this time of year, spring cleaning fever sets in and even corporate risk departments can benefit from the exercise. If your company has historic predecessors there may be legacy insurance policies that can provide coverage for long-tail claims, especially in the environmental and asbestos context. Therefore, taking the time to do an annual review of what records exist can save your company time and money in the future when it is faced with potential claims. It is prudent for your risk department to review its files (both hard copy and electronic) for evidence of such historical coverage, including the policies themselves. Doing so will not only capture policy records for future claims when the information is still easily obtainable, but it can also prevent…

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13 Apr 2015 Indiana Court of Appeals Opinion Supports Recovery of Expenses Incurred by Policyholder in Assisting Carrier in Defending an Insured Lawsuit

Defending a lawsuit can be a costly and time-consuming affair for a company, even when its liability carrier is providing and paying for a complete defense. The company’s obligation to cooperate with its carrier in the defense of the suit may include devoting significant employee time and company resources to gathering documents, assisting in discovery responses and preparing and appearing for depositions and trial.   A recent Indiana Court of Appeals opinion suggests that under certain policy language and in certain circumstances, companies may be entitled to reimbursement from their carriers for the cost of cooperating with these defense-related requests.   In T.R. Bulger, Inc., et al. v. Indiana Ins. Co., Case No. 46A03-1405-PL-188 (Ind. Ct. App. Mar. 9, 2015), the policyholder, an HVAC company,…

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10 Apr 2015 Indiana Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Significant Allocation Issue

Does an insurance carrier have to pay 100 percent of a settlement or judgment resolving a latent injury claim, or can it get away with paying just a fraction of the total cost? That is the issue currently under consideration by the Indiana Supreme Court.   On April 2, 2015, in Thomson, Inc. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., Case No. 49A05-1109-PL-470, the Indiana Supreme Court heard oral argument on an oft-disputed issue between carriers and policyholders over how indemnity costs are to be allocated in long-tail lawsuits alleging latent injuries incurred over numerous years or decades (for example, environmental or toxic tort suits). The outcome of this dispute could have a profound impact on the scope of the coverage available to policyholders for these…

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02 Apr 2015 5 Tips for Evaluating Cyberinsurance Policies

Scott Godes, partner and member of the firm’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, recently authored an article for Association for Financial Professionals titled, “5 Tips for Evaluating Cyberinsurance Policies.”   Scott noted that as more and more companies are under cyberattack, many are reconsidering changing their insurance budget to include cyberinsurance.  The article, aimed at finance professionals, discusses recent developments in cybersecurity and data privacy.   He also gave tips for evaluating cyberinsurance policies.  Some of the tips included:   Reevaluate whether your organization is carrying sufficient limits. Keep in mind that defense costs usually erode the limits of a cyberinsurance policy. When lawyers are called upon to defend against claims in developing areas of law, legal bills add up quickly. After the company pays defense…

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26 Mar 2015 Ken Gorenberg and Leslie Weiss to speak at upcoming Strafford live webinar A 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Two Barnes & Thornburg partners, Ken Gorenberg from the Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group and Leslie Weiss from the Corporate Department, will be speaking at a Strafford live webinar, “Drafting Enforceable Limitation of Liability Clauses in Business Contracts,” on Tuesday, April 14, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. EDT.   Ken and Leslie will be members of a panel that will provide guidance to business counsel for drafting and negotiating enforceable limitation of liability clauses in business contracts. This is an encore presentation with live Q&A.   The panel will review key issues such as: What considerations should business counsel take into account when drafting and negotiating limitation of liability provisions in contracts? What enforceability challenges do parties commonly face when seeking to invoke a limitation of…

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25 Mar 2015 Scott Godes Quoted in Cyber Risk Network’s article, “10 million settlement with consumers a ‘good deal’ for Target, insurers”

Scott Godes, partner and member of the firm’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, was recently quoted in Cyber Risk Network’s article, “10 million settlement with consumers a ‘good deal’ for Target, insurers.”   In a recent class-action lawsuit, Target Corp and consumers have agreed to a $10 million settlement after a data breach during 2013.  Consumers now will have to demonstrate harm by documenting direct losses from the breach, such as cost to replace identification.   Among other things, Scott is quoted saying, “The settlement should do nothing to consumers’ ability to prove harm and/or damages. The case never made it to a stage where there was showing of actual harm. At this point, there were only allegations of harm. The fact the case settled should…

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24 Mar 2015 THE TRUE VALUE OF INSURERS’ FLOAT

When a policyholder is forced to engage in several years of litigation over an insurer’s denial of property/casualty coverage, and ultimately prevails in proving the denial was erroneous, is it fair that the insurer is required to pay only what it owed in the first place? Should the insurer also be required to disgorge the true value of the money it kept during those years? Some states address this issue by imposing double-digit prejudgment interest rates on the insurer, thereby helping to reduce the insurer’s incentive to delay resolution of the claim. In other states, however, with relatively nominal prejudgment interest rates, the insurer is rewarded by delay.   In considering this issue, it’s important to understand the true value of a property/casualty insurer’s “float.”…

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