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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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13 Jul 2017 Is a Claimant’s Misnomer the Be-All, End-All in an Insurance Coverage Dispute?

  Does your company have subsidiaries, a parent corporation, or a sister company? If so, one scenario you should consider is when a claimant that should have sued your company instead sues one of those other entities. Because you know the claimant’s grievance is ultimately with your company, your company defends and pays the claim despite not technically being named in the litigation. To make matters worse, you then realize the entity named as a defendant is not listed as a named insured under your insurance policy. If you find yourself in this situation, are you out of luck when it comes to getting insurance coverage for that claim?   Not always. Your insurance carrier will surely pounce on this technicality and try to convince…

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06 Mar 2017 Overcoming That Sinking Feeling Beating Earth Movement Exclusions in CGL Policies

  Co-authored by John Corbett and Andy Detherage.   The recent rainstorms in California rightly have been hailed as the end of a lengthy drought.  The inches of rain which fell in the span of a week have filled reservoirs and raised the water table in the parched ground.  Such a large volume of water, however, increases the danger of landslides in California’s notoriously unconsolidated hillsides and bluffs, and with it, the possibility of disputes over whether particular ground movement claims are covered by their liability policies.   Let’s look at a hypothetical example.  XYZ Construction is laying pipes under an existing street at the top of a bluff.  In the course of digging trenches to hold the pipes, one of XYZ’s diggers accidentally breaks…

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11 Oct 2016 When the Damage is Done Are You Prepared to Litigate Against Your Insurance Company?

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, there will certainly be a wave of claims and possible denials of coverage by insurance companies.  Before the storm hit, we heard a great deal about “preparedness” for the storm.  But, how prepared is your company if it has to litigate a claim against its insurance company?  Litigation against any party is often a costly and lengthy process.  Insurance coverage disputes are no different and often involve more aggressive tactics by the insurance company early in the case.   Here are some best practices for companies facing insurance coverage denials:   Re-review the denial letter and consider whether litigation is the best strategy You may want to consider other tactics against the insurance company, like using renewal time or…

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07 Mar 2016 Join us: Insurance Considerations in Mergers and Acquisitions

  Mark your calendar and join us for an insurance webinar on Wednesday, March 16 at 3 p.m. (Eastern) to help your company identify and navigate important insurance coverage issues in M&A deals. Reflecting the collaboration that is valuable in many transactions, attorneys from our Insurance Recovery and Counseling Practice Group are teaming up with our corporate attorneys for this online roundtable and live Q&A.   Topics will include: Buyer’s Insurance Due Diligence: How a buyer can assess the seller’s insurance coverage program, as well as its own. M&A Contract Terms Relating to Insurance: What coverages the parties will require and the wording of those requirements in the agreement. Underwriting and Modification of Insurance to Accommodate the Deal: What the buyer or seller may want…

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03 Mar 2016 Sing The Jingle: Four Tips Inspired By Insurance Ads

  Advertisements for auto and homeowners insurance have become ubiquitous, and their humor often ranges from irritating to clever. You can probably hear one in your head right now. That humor is apparently intended to be the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down; valuable messages about insurance are sometimes conveyed subtly but effectively. As an insurance coverage lawyer, also known as a geek, I see how some of that information also can be useful in the business insurance context.   Double Check Your Coverage Before and After You Buy   Fifteen minutes may save you 15 percent (or more). Make sure you’re actually covered for “this” rather than “this.” The point is that your insurance program needs your time and attention. When…

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20 Nov 2015 Barnes & Thornburg Bronze Sponsor of the 2015 ABA Women in Litigation Conference Kara Cleary and Andrea Warren Provide Some Key Takeaways for Policyholders Discussed at the Conference

Barnes & Thornburg was proud to be a bronze sponsor at this year’s ABA Women in Litigation Conference held in Chicago from Nov. 11-13. Kara Cleary and Andrea Warren of the firm’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling Practice Group attended the conference, which featured a host of excellent panels ranging from hot topics in insurance coverage to product liability litigation, as well as jury selection and trial tips. A large focus of the conference also was dedicated to empowering female litigators in the courtroom and at their firms. Some key takeaways include:   the rise of privacy claims and types of policies that can respond; the rise of false claims act suits and potential coverage issues relating to the same; and jury selection tips for insurance…

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26 Aug 2015 PENNSYLVANIA HIGH COURT EXPANDS CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH INSUREDS MAY SETTLE UNDERLYING CLAIMS WITHOUT INSURER CONSENT

Liability policies often contain a “cooperation clause” pursuant to which an insurer who has agreed to defend an insured from an underlying lawsuit purports to have the right to approve any settlement to be entered into by the insured. A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, has expanded the circumstances under which an insured may settle underlying claims without insurer consent in situations where the insurer has reserved its rights and refuses to consent to a non-collusive, objectively reasonable settlement under policy limits.   In The Babcock & Wilcox Company et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to determine whether “an insured forfeits insurance coverage by settling a tort claim without the consent of its insurer,…

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15 Jul 2015 Five Tips: Insurance Fundamentals for In-House Counsel

Many of our posts address specific issues for risk managers and in-house attorneys with insurance coverage experience. Recognizing that some in-house lawyers are relatively new to the insurance world, we thought some may appreciate a summary of some of the fundamental issues in insurance coverage. Today, we offer five sets of distinctions between related concepts at the heart of many insurance matters:   First-Party vs. Third-Party Coverage   First-party coverage pays you for loss or damage to your own property. For example, if your plant suffers a fire, you may want to make a claim under the property policy for damage to the building, equipment and machinery. The same policy may include business interruption coverage that can replace some of the profits lost while the…

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05 Jun 2015 Are we seeing a revival in Michigan environmental insurance coverage?

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, on Feb. 3, 2015, ruled in favor of a policyholder seeking insurance coverage for “Superfund” cleanup costs:  Decker Manufacturing Corp. v. Travelers Indemnity, No. 1:13-CV-820. The court rejected the insurer’s pollution exclusion defense:   “Under this approach, the relevant discharge is the discharge from the Landfill into the environment rather than the placement of waste into the Landfill.  Travelers has not met its burden of showing that the pollution exclusion applies.  Accordingly, Travelers’ Motion for Summary Judgment on the pollution exclusion will be denied.  Moreover, because there is no evidence to suggest that Decker was on notice of any problems at the Landfill or that Decker ‘intended or expected’ that its wastes would be discharged…

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18 Mar 2015 Barnes & Thornburg Represents Simon Property Group in $200 Million Summary Judgment Victory

A Barnes & Thornburg team led by Andrew Detherage and Charles Edwards represented Simon Property Group in obtaining summary judgment awarding Simon $200 million in insurance coverage from 16 insurance carriers for flood damage to the Opry Mills mall in Nashville, Tennessee. The court rejected the insurers’ argument that a $50 million sublimit applied. Read the full announcement here. 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 wide variety of policyholders and their insurance claims regarding D&O insurance matters, complex commercial disputes, contract disputes, lost property, errors and omissions, and professional liability matters.More Posts – Website

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