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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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26 Nov 2014 Thankful for Our Policyholder Clients and Insurance Professional Colleagues

This Thanksgiving, Barnes & Thornburg’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery and Counseling Practice Group is thankful for our clients and colleagues who have made us one of the largest and most recognized insurance recovery practices in the country.   Just this week, we appeared in Law360’s list of 100 law firms with the most insurance partners. Importantly, the vast majority of those firms represent insurance companies. We don’t. We exclusively represent corporate and individual policyholders, who we have helped recover hundreds of millions of dollars from insurance companies.   And we are among the nine nominees for Best Policyholders’ Counsel of the Year at Advisen’s Management Liability Awards dinner next week in New York.   We are also one of the very few policyholder practices that is…

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25 Nov 2014 Do We Have Coverage for This? Sometimes it’s worth getting a second opinion

Do you have coverage for claims?  Here is a perfect example of a situation where you might not want to take no for an answer. Recently, a firm client received a letter from the U.S. E.P.A. advising of an underground environmental contamination which appeared to be coming from their property and would require significant remediation.  When the firm client called its insurance broker, he advised that the client had no coverage for the claim, because it was excluded from coverage by the pollution exclusion in their commercial general liability policy.   When the client turned to Barnes & Thornburg LLP for help, we submitted the claim to several of the client’s commercial general liability insurers.  With the notice of claim, we provided the insurers with…

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24 Nov 2014 SOFT INSURANCE MARKET

For those policyholders approaching year end renewals, bear in mind that the insurance, and importantly the reinsurance, markets remain soft. A lack of major 2014 hurricane activity and other catastrophic casualty losses have left the insurance market soft and driven down the internal costs of insurance (such as the cost of reinsurance premiums). Casualty insurers are posting major profits and are actively seeking new policyholder markets.   At renewal, policyholders should be presented with multiple, competitive options for casualty insurance by their brokers. Keep in mind that policyholders are in a strong position to negotiate terms and conditions of their insurance, including choice of their own defense counsel and scope of D&O coverage in particular. As the financial claims fallout from the recession has essentially…

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20 Nov 2014 Scott Godes to Present at the Comprehensive Conference on Cybersecurity Law Presented by Law Seminars International

Lately, large-scale cyber attacks and data breaches have been in the news – from Target to Home Depot. Consumer information, however, is by no means the only data risk as companies collect, store and mine exabytes of data for purposes ranging from health care monitoring to location tracking for push advertising. The challenge for every company is to accurately assess cybersecurity risks and address them in a cost-effective way.   Join Scott Godes, a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, at this year’s Comprehensive Conference on Cybersecurity Law, January 12-13 in Seattle, WA. Scott will be speaking about insurance coverage, trends in coverage options and costs as well as tips for evaluating policies.   To learn more, click here. Scott GodesScott N. Godes is a veteran trial…

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17 Nov 2014 Scott Godes to Speak About Insurance Coverage for Asbestos Claims at ACI’s 18th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation

Scott Godes, a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, will be speaking at the upcoming American Conference Institute’s (ACI) 18th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation held January 15-16 in Philadelphia.   Scott’s session is Insurance Coverage Issues: Pursuing Claims Against Bankrupt, Dissolved, or Defunct Entities; Issues Involving Joint Insurers and Non-Settling Insurers; Trigger, Exhaustion and Allocation Nuances; Assignment of Policies and Proceeds; and Developments with Respect to CUMIS Counsel.   The presentation will include: A review of the Continental Casualty (aka Keasbey) case that allowed plaintiffs to proceed against a company not in business anymore but still had an insurance policy in place Developments in the law regarding asbestos claimants’ ability to proceed against defunct entities In-depth analysis of what happens to insurance…

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14 Nov 2014 Inaugural ABA Women in Litigation Conference

Kara Cleary and Andrea Warren, from Barnes & Thornburg’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, attended the inaugural ABA Women in Litigation conference in Chicago on November 5-7, 2014. The conference partnered with the Women in Insurance Network to provide outstanding panels and networking sessions involving coverage litigators, in-house counsel, brokers, judges and other industry representatives.   Kara and Andrea’s work in the Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group led them to particularly appreciate the panels relating to cyber coverage, as well as coverage in the context of product liability suits and contractual indemnification obligations.   One panel discussing general litigation strategies made clear the importance and efficiencies created if a company can use a single database to house and manage claimant information and litigation documents when dealing with…

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13 Nov 2014 Discovery Warnings From In Re Hurricane Sandy Cases

A recent federal court decision provided evidence yet again that policyholders likely will have to fight hard against insurance companies that have denied coverage and often engage in unacceptable litigation practices. On November 7, 2014, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a Memorandum & Order in the In Re Hurricane Sandy Cases, Case No. 14 – MC – 41. United States Magistrate Judge Gary K. Brown’s Order provides discovery warnings to insurance companies involved in discovery disputes. One crucial lesson is that draft expert reports, which were prepared in the ordinary course of business and not in anticipation of litigation, may not be withheld as protected work-product.   This Order shines a light on discovery violations that often…

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07 Nov 2014 Chris Yetka Publishes Article on Insurance Coverage for Punitive Damages in “The Brief”

If your company is concerned about whether punitive damages are insurable, or whether your “punitive wrap” insurance policy will cover a claim for punitive damages, Chris Yetka, Barnes & Thornburg partner, just examined these questions in a bar journal article. A Minnesota company policyholder, with manufacturing facilities in Iowa, is sued in Iowa for injuries caused in that state. The claim includes punitive damages, which are awarded. The company has insurance coverage for punitive damages, “to the fullest extent allowed by law.” Citing Minnesota law (where as a matter of public policy punitive damages cannot be covered by insurance where they are assessed directly against the wrongdoer), the insurance carrier denies coverage. Iowa law, however, allows coverage for punitive damages. Because most of the company’s…

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04 Nov 2014 Know Your Rights: Policyholders’ Defense and Settlement Rights

In Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-11987 (11th Cir. Oct. 21, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified questions to the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding the extent to which an insurance company was bound by a settlement to which it refused to consent. This case represents one of an increasing number of disputes between policyholders and their insurance companies over the defense and settlement of underlying lawsuits. Having lost the battle to narrow the scope of their defense and settlement obligations in many states, insurance companies appear to have opened a new front:  attempting to reduce the cost of their defense and settlement obligations.  This may take the form of refusing to consent to…

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31 Oct 2014 Scott Godes Elected to American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC)

Scott Godes, a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, has been elected to the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC).   ACCEC brings together preeminent lawyers representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders to improve the quality of the practice of insurance law and to increase civility and professionalism in our field.   Scott is a veteran trial lawyer with experience in insurance coverage matters and technology issues. He is a member of Barnes & Thornburg’s Litigation Department, the Policyholder Insurance Recovery and Counseling Group and the Internet & Technology Law Group.   Learn more about the ACCEC. Scott GodesScott N. Godes is a veteran trial lawyer with experience in insurance coverage matters and technology issues. He is a partner in Barnes &…

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