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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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16 Jul 2014 Insurance and indemnity issues arising out of AIA form agreements and contracts.

  On July 14, 2014, Charlie Edwards gave a presentation on indemnity and insurance issues for architects to the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  The presentation covered indemnity and insurance issues arising out of the standard AIA form agreements. It also covered insurance issues related to construction projects, such as additional insured status and forms, insurance implications of “flow-down” provisions in construction contracts and waivers of subrogation.   If you missed the presentation and would like to obtain copies of the materials, or have any questions on these topics, email Charlie Edwards.   Charles EdwardsCharles P. Edwards is co-chair of the firm’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery and Counseling Practice Group, which exclusively represents policyholders in insurance claims and litigation. Mr. Edwards has worked with a…

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11 Jul 2014 Reliance Insurance Co. Liquidation Claims: Recent Offers To Convert Claims To Cash

  For corporate policyholders with Reliance Insurance Company insurance policies, recent developments have created opportunities to sell or reevaluate the financial value of claims against the policies. First, some background. Reliance Insurance Company was placed in liquidation on Oct. 3, 2001, by Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The Reliance liquidation was, and still is, one of the largest insurance company liquidations in U.S. history. Reliance is paying its liabilities through a court-appointed Liquidator, namely, the Insurance Commissioner of Pennsylvania. Many insurance liquidations take decades to resolve (such as Ambassador, Midland, Home and others), and it is probable that Reliance will take at least 20 years to run-off all of its liabilities and pay the various classes of claimants until the assets are finally…

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03 Jul 2014 Scott Godes to present at ACC-SoCal’s Networking Cocktail Reception: “Be a Cyber Risk Hero – Understand the Risks and Learn Best Practices to Get Them Insured.”

Scott Godes, from Barnes & Thornburg’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, will be presenting on cybersecurity, data breaches and insurance coverage for those risks at the Association of Corporate Counsel Southern California Chapter (ACC-SoCal) “Networking Cocktail Reception: Be a Cyber Risk Hero – Understand the Risks and Learn Best Practices to Get Them Insured.“ The event will take place:   July 24, 2014, 5 p.m. PDT   The California Club 538 S. Flower Los Angeles, CA 90071   The overview of the presentation is:   Is cybersecurity a board-level concern for your company? What does that even mean? Can you get someone else to share in the financial risk of this burgeoning threat? In this CLE, you will hear about the latest risks, how much they’ll cost…

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27 Jun 2014 Minnesota’s Bad Faith and Insurance Interest Statutes Instrumental in Recovery for Barnes’ Client

  In February of this year, Christopher Yetka and Barnes & Thornburg obtained a $2,200,000 jury verdict against Delos Insurance Company in a hail and wind loss coverage claim on behalf of The Landings Homeowners Association, Inc.  The Landings is a nineteen building, fifty-eight unit, townhome complex between Target Field and the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The Landings purchased a replacement cost property policy from Delos that was in effect at the time a storm hit on May 10, 2011.  The storm was so severe that it halted the Twins game that was playing just a few blocks away, and generated hail up to two inches in diameter. The Landing’s expert testified that all of the roofs at the Landings were so heavily damaged…

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27 Jun 2014 Personal and Advertising Injury Coverage Is Fertile Ground for Policyholders

  Many policyholders overlook or don’t understand the “personal and advertising injury liability” section of a standard commercial general liability (CGL) policy. That section is fertile ground for policyholders, and this lesson is taught even from two recent California cases that policyholders lost.   In Street Surfing, LLC v. Great Amer. E&S Ins. Co., (9th Cir. June 10, 2014), the policyholder began selling a skateboard with the Street Surfing brand name and logo in December 2004. It purchased a CGL policy in August 2005. Street Surfing was later sued for trademark infringement, unfair competition and unfair trade practices by the owner of the “Streetsurfer” trademark. Importantly, the insurance company conceded that the lawsuit was potentially covered as arising from “[t]he use of another’s advertising idea…

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26 Jun 2014 Insurance Coverage and Risk Mitigation for the In-House Practitioner

  On June 25, 2014, Charlie Edwards and Kara Cleary, from Barnes & Thornburg’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, gave a presentation to in-house counsel and other corporate representatives regarding insurance coverage and risk management.     The CLE, called “Insurance Coverage and Risk Mitigation for the In-House Practitioner,”  addressed insurance issues and other risk transfer provisions that often get little attention in business transactions.  The topics addressed included the transferability of insurance rights in buy/sell transactions, tips for drafting contractual insurance requirements, as well as hot topics in Directors and Officers liability and recommendations to reduce risk to your company.     For those who missed the presentation, you can request the materials by emailing Charlie Edwards or Kara Cleary.        Charles EdwardsCharles P. Edwards is co-chair of…

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20 Jun 2014 An Expanding View On Satisfying The Self-Insured Retention

  Recent insurance coverage decisions have reminded insurance companies that, absent incredibly clear language otherwise, inconsequential requirements dictating satisfaction of self-insured retentions (SIRs) will not be enforced. As long as the insurer receives a “credit” equal to the amount of the SIR, courts have been reluctant to enforce requirements as to who pays the SIR or even whether the SIR gets paid. This makes sense. Insurers are responsible only for the amount in excess of an SIR; thus, it should make no difference who pays the SIR or even whether the SIR is paid. Either way, the insurer maintains the benefit of the SIR.   Many liability policies require that the insured satisfy an SIR before the insurer’s duty to defend and indemnify can be…

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13 Jun 2014 “Race to the Courthouse” Forum Shopping Strategy

  On behalf of a firm client, Barnes & Thornburg LLP attorneys Bob Devetski and John Fischer, working with local counsel, defeated Travelers’ “race to the courthouse” forum shopping strategy. Travelers’ strategy in the case is not an isolated incident, but seems to be a more prevalent practice of forum shopping to defeat their policyholders.   In 2011, rather than responding to the policyholder’s request for coverage of an environmental contamination lawsuit, Travelers filed a pre-emptive declaratory lawsuit in Iowa (whose law on the issue of insurance policy pollution exclusions Travelers believed is much more favorable to insurance companies). Travelers filed suit in Iowa a few days before the policyholder sued for coverage in Indiana, essentially winning the race to the courthouse of their choice….

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11 Jun 2014 Second Circuit Affirms The Broad Nature Of The Duty To Defend Under CGL Insurance Policies

  In a recent pro-policyholder insurance coverage decision, Euchner-USA, Inc. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, 2014 WL 2576348 (2d Cir. June 10, 2014), the Second Circuit applied New York law and reminded insurance companies that the duty to defend is “exceedingly broad.” An insurance company has the duty to defend a claim even if there is only a possibility of coverage in light of how the underlying complaint against the insured has been pleaded.   Euchner sought coverage from its CGL insurer, Hartford Insurance, for an underlying action initiated by a former employee. In the underlying action, the former employee alleged that she was sexually harassed and then coerced into accepting an independent sales position disqualifying her from receiving “employee” benefits. She later added an…

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06 Jun 2014 Are An Insurance Company’s Claims Documents Attorney Client Privileged?

  Can an insurance company refuse to produce relevant documents, simply because they were authored or received by an attorney? In a word, no.   These days, it seems that virtually everyone who works for or with an insurance company is an attorney or went to law school. Why is that? Years ago, many claims people did not even have a college degree, much less a J.D. after their names. Now, however, it seems that insurance companies have their former-lawyers-turned-claims-handlers refer out claims investigation, analyses, and handling to outside counsel. Could it be that the main goal for such an approach is to withhold claims documents from insureds in a coverage litigation? Cynical readers will say yes.   Simply having outside counsel create or receive…

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