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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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21 Apr 2015 UPDATE: Georgia Supreme Court Sides with Insurer in Settlement Rights Fight

I previously reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit had certified questions to the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding the rights of an insurer to refuse to consent to a settlement and, thereby, absolve itself of any payment obligation for any settlement entered into by the policyholder. See Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-11987 (11th Cir. Oct. 21, 2014). On April 20, 2015, the Supreme Court of Georgia sided with the insurer. See Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. S15Q0418 (Ga. Apr. 20, 2015). The opinion creates a Hobson’s choice for policyholders wishing to settle underlying lawsuits, even in cases where those insurers expressly agreed in their policies that they would…

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20 Apr 2015 Will Cyberinsurance Cover Target’s $19 Million MasterCard Settlement?

Another credit card in the mail? If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably received a new credit or debit card in the mail, attached by rubber cement to a cover letter explaining that your card number could have been compromised – so you ended up with replacement cards. You might even have received new cards more than once over the past five years. Perhaps you even received a new card with an explanation that after the data breach at Target Corporation, your “issuing bank” – the bank that issued you the credit or debit card – decided to send you a new card. And maybe you signed your card, called to activate it, replaced your old card, and didn’t give a second thought to it….

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17 Apr 2015 Best Practices in Managing Insurance Claims

Join Barnes & Thornburg insurance recovery attorneys on Tuesday, April 28, from 3 – 4:30 p.m. for a discussion regarding best practices in managing insurance claims.   During this webinar, featured speakers Kara Cleary, Adam Hollander and Andrea Warren will address:   The Importance of Choice of Law This overview will identify several fundamental variations in substantive state coverage law, different choice of law approaches throughout the country, and choice of law issues that all policyholders should consider to optimize their chances for a successful recovery.   Top Ten Tips for Pre-Litigation Coverage Practice This practical assessment will highlight the importance of initial communication with your carriers and provide best practices for getting your claim paid without litigation—or improving your position if coverage litigation is…

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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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