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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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09 Jan 2018 New Year’s Resolutions for Policyholders

  The champagne bottles are empty, the football games are over, and the kids are back in school. That can only mean one thing – it’s time for New Year’s resolutions! If you are having a hard time coming up with the perfect resolution for 2018, here are some ideas for policyholders.   “I resolve to review at least the declarations pages of all my policies.” Confirm that the insured’s name is legally accurate and spelled correctly and that its address is up to date. Make sure the policy isn’t about to expire without renewal or replacement, unless you’ve already decided you don’t need the coverage anymore. Check that the coverages you selected during the application or renewal process are included and that the limits…

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02 Jan 2018 Sold! Close Your M&A Deal Confidently by Funding Post-Closing Liabilities Through Insurance

  When a company merges with another entity and becomes a single entity, or where a company is acquired by another organization, it is critical that both parties understand their insurance programs to ensure that transactional risks are properly covered. Companies sometimes do not give adequate consideration to the possibility of future claims following a merger or sale, and do not place into the deal a funding mechanism for post-closing claims.   This article offers some ideas to consider when planning an insurance solution to such claims as part of due diligence.   Tail policies cover actions taken before the closing   If you sit on the board of a company, the completion of an M&A deal does not insulate you from being sued for…

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26 Dec 2017 Payback: Can Settlements of False Claims Act Claims Be Covered Under D&O Policies?

In recent years, corporations have seen a dramatic upswing in claims alleging violation of the federal False Claims Act (FCA). Dating from the Civil War, the FCA at one time was a sporadically used civil law that made government contractors liable for fraudulent claims on the government. After the law was reformed in the 1980s to make it easier for individuals to sue on behalf of the government, employees and shareholders of corporations transacting with the federal government began viewing it as a powerful whistleblower statute.   With the increase in lawsuits alleging violations of the FCA, insurance companies have become more aggressive in denying outright any obligation to pay settlements of FCA claims on the grounds that they seek uninsured restitution or disgorgement. Contrary…

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27 Nov 2017 When Should an Accident be an Accident?

  Standard commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies provide coverage for damages the policyholder is legally obligated to pay because of property damage or bodily injury caused by an “occurrence.” CGL policies typically define “occurrence” as an “accident.” Courts define an accident as “an unexpected happening without an intention or design.” Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Harvey, 842 N.E.2d 1279, 1283 (Ind. 2006).   Simple, right? Unfortunately, a trilogy of cases from the Indiana Supreme Court have caused confusion on this issue, particularly where the policyholder may have errors and omissions (E&O) coverage.   In Harvey, a 16-year-old girl, Brandy, fell into a river and drowned after being intentionally pushed during an altercation with a boy, Toby. Toby admitted that he intended to push Brandy, but…

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15 Nov 2017 Tenth Circuit Holds that Governmental Investigation of Potential Criminal Violations is Not a ‘Claim’ Under a D&O Policy

  D&O insurance policies are key components of a corporation’s risk transfer portfolio, purchased to protect it against lawsuits presenting significant liability exposure to itself and its key officers and directors.   In recent years, as an alternative to targeted formal litigation and discovery in uncovering corporate wrongdoing, federal and state governments have increasingly utilized informal investigations. This trend has created an expensive new financial exposure in the business world, particularly for large corporations, which are often the targets of such inquiries, and corresponding questions about how D&O insurance policies cover such costs. Although many D&O policies have evolved to explicitly protect policyholders from the costs of responding to government investigations, many have not been amended, forcing courts to determine whether the existing language is…

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26 Jun 2017 Get Smart About Additional Insured Endorsements: Beware of the Proximate Cause Standard Recently Adopted in New York

  Businesses that give or receive “additional insured” endorsements may want to learn about a recent decision from the New York Court of Appeals.   Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Maxwell LLC hires Smart Corporation to do some excavation on Maxwell’s property. As required by their contract, Smart buys a commercial general liability (CGL) policy from Chaos Insurance Company with a standard endorsement saying that Maxwell is an additional insured with respect to injury or damage “caused, in whole or in part” by Smart’s acts or omissions. Maxwell doesn’t tell Smart that an electrical cable is buried in the excavation area, and Maxwell doesn’t turn the power off. Smart hits the live cable, and the ensuing explosion damages a nearby building owned by Control, Inc. Control…

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02 Jun 2017 Why Indemnification Provisions are Important

  In entering into contracts almost every day, businesses of all sizes and in all industries frequently flip right past the indemnification, insurance and limitation of liability provisions as mere boilerplate. These risk allocation provisions can be as important as price and other deal terms, yet many lawyers and contract managers don’t understand the pitfalls and opportunities they present.   If your job includes reviewing, drafting or negotiating contracts, you’ve probably seen these provisions. Are they boilerplate that you spend little time on? Do you fully understand exactly what they do? Do you negotiate or revise them? Read more here.   If you would like more information on indemnity clauses, Ken is presenting the following webinars:   Indemnification Provisions: When and How to Use Them…

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30 May 2017 Check Your Policy When an Insurer Says a Self-Insured Retention Applies to Its Duty to Defend

  Has your insurer informed you that, notwithstanding its duty to defend you under a third-party liability policy, it won’t start defending until and unless you satisfy a self-insured retention of a specified amount?   Don’t necessarily believe it. In fact, California law is clear that absent an expressly written policy provision stating that no duty to defend arises until and unless an insured meets a self-insured retention, satisfaction of such retention is not a condition precedent to an insurer’s duty to defend.  Indeed, as California courts have said, “in the absence of clear policy language so providing, to require the exhaustion of a self-insured retention before an insurer will have a duty to defend would be contrary to the reasonable expectations of the insured…

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27 Mar 2017 Bad Faith Isn’t the Only Remedy Court Sanctions Insurance Company for Factually Incorrect Declaratory Judgment Complaint

  State laws vary considerably in the standards and remedies for bad faith by an insurance company and also on whether a policyholder can recover attorneys’ fees for an insurance coverage dispute in the absence of bad faith. A recent Illinois case is a reminder that court sanctions can be another remedy for an insurer’s misconduct in coverage litigation.   In American Access Cas. Co. v. Alcauter, 2017 IL App (1st) 160775, the insurance company filed a declaratory judgment complaint against its policyholder, Alcauter, seeking to avoid coverage for a $10,000 judgment in an auto accident case because Alcauter breached his duty of cooperation by failing to attend the hearing in the accident case against him. In Illinois, the underlying plaintiff is often considered a…

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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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