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BT Policyholder Protection Blog
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08 Feb 2017 Coverage for Commotion: Insurance for Businesses Affected By Rioting and Vandalism

  Businesses can endure substantial property damage and, perhaps more importantly, lost revenue from civil disruptions caused by rioting and vandalism. Fortunately, business owners have a multitude of coverage options for these disruptions and should firmly resist an insurer’s attempt to deny or limit coverage.   Assume you own the fictional pub “Paddy’s Pub” on Sunny Lane in South Philadelphia. One evening, South Philadelphia residents peacefully march down Sunny Lane in protest of the latest government budgeting decision. At some point, rioting and vandalism ensue and a few residents begin vandalizing businesses on Sunny Lane—including Paddy’s Pub. To contain the situation, the police department shuts down Sunny Lane for the remainder of the day. What coverage may be triggered?   Commercial Property Coverage: Upon first…

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Green California Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
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07 Feb 2017 California Supreme Court Denies Insurance Industry’s Attempt to Deregulate Insurance in California

  On January 23, in Association of California Insurance Companies v. Dave Jones, the California Supreme Court rejected carriers’ attempt to deregulate the insurance industry in the state by stripping from the insurance commissioner much of the broad power to supervise insurer conduct. This case is a big win for policyholders.   The issue before the court was whether the California Department of Insurance can regulate the representations insurers make to their customers about the cost to replace a policyholder’s home. In 2010, the insurance commissioner promulgated a regulation — C.C.R. sec. 2695.183 — governing what an insurance underwriter must do in setting the replacement cost of a home when selling homeowners coverage. This was expressed as a series of tasks the carrier must perform…

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30 Jan 2017 Recent Trial Win Raises Interesting Issues on Relationship Between Insurance Agent and Policyholder

Disclaimer: Barnes & Thornburg represented the policyholder in this case and the policyholder has provided their consent for this case summary. NOTE THAT ANY CASE DECISIONS, COURT OPINIONS, RULINGS, AND/OR RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE.   CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER OR THE LAW FIRM.   Can an insurance agent’s statement and representations bind an insurance company? A recent Minnesota court said, “yes.”   In January 2015, Barnes & Thornburg client Prospect Foundry, LLC, was sued in Hennepin County District Court for breach of contract by its workers’ compensation insurer, Western National Mutual Insurance Company. Western National sought $245,000 in unpaid premiums. Prospect disputed the amount…

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27 Jan 2017 Franchisors: Don’t Forget About Insurance for Joint Employer Liability Claims

  By Matthew B. Gruenberg and Matthew B. O’Hanlon   Separate and apart from creating a brand and an offering that consumers enjoy, franchisors face everyday issues such as complex schemes that restrict the terms and conditions under which they may sell franchises and conduct business.  In addition, under expanding concepts of joint employer liability, issues exist as to whether franchisors may potentially be sued for, among other things, employment-related claims brought by employees of franchisees.   To protect against such claims, a best practice for franchisors is to take reasonable precautions by not exerting authority or control over the franchisee’s employment practices. These precautions include taking care not to retain or assume a general right of control over factors such as hiring, direction, supervision,…

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28 Nov 2016 Exercise Your Bargaining Power at Renewal Time

  Co-authored by Scott Godes and John Fischer.   As the end of the year approaches, many policyholders are facing Jan. 1 renewals of their insurance programs or are looking at replacing part or all of their programs with new policies or carriers. Some are considering augmenting their insurance programs with specialty coverages pertinent to their particular needs. This is a friendly reminder to those whose renewals are coming up (and an advance reminder to those with renewal dates throughout the year) that although insurance policies frequently are made up of boilerplate language on pre-printed forms, some carriers will amend their coverages with endorsements that can enhance the coverages offered. Also, not all carriers’ standard forms are the same.   The opportunity to obtain coverage enhancements is…

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17 Aug 2016 Upcoming Webinar on Aug. 23: What Keeps You Up At Night?

  It can be invaluable to implement a strong compliance program and back it up with a well-considered insurance program. Barnes & Thornburg’s compliance, insurance and white collar attorneys are hosting a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 3 p.m. (Eastern) that will introduce tools to evaluate and manage emerging risks – the ones that keep you up at night and how they can be covered by insurance.   Specifically, our insurance recovery attorneys will discuss insurance coverage that may be available for government investigation and litigation defense under a variety of policies, including directors and officers (D&O), professional errors and omissions (E&O), cybercrime, and commercial general liability policies. Reviewing your coverage may result in finding “hidden treasure” that might relieve your company – and individual…

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08 Aug 2016 Insurance, Indemnification, and Limitation of Liability Provisions in Business Contracts

  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?   Allocation of Risk   Fundamentally, the purpose of insurance, indemnification, and limitation clauses is to allocate risks. In general, insurance transfers risk from the contracting parties to a third party—an insurance company. Indemnification usually transfers risk between the parties to the contract. Limitation of liability prevents or limits the transfer of risk between the parties.   With those basic concepts in mind, think about the risks that arise out or relate to the contract. Take the time to imagine nightmare scenarios as well as other events…

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25 Mar 2016 Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster? Five Tips for Preparing for a Natural Disaster

  Spring is here, which means natural disaster season is here as well. While spring brings a welcome change in the weather in many areas of the country, it often also brings floods, tornados, hurricanes and other disasters that can cause substantial property damage and business disruption. Now is a good time for policyholders to make sure they are as prepared as they can be in the event of an unexpected property loss. Addressing a few basic but sometimes overlooked issues before being thrust into the chaotic aftermath of a natural disaster can go a long way toward making the insurance recovery process more efficient.   Review and understand your policies. Do you know where to find your company’s property insurance policies when you really need…

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15 Mar 2016 Capitalizing on Sites with Environmental Property Damage: Is there really a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow?

  When a company learns that it has a site suffering from environmental property damage, “profit” is the last thing on that company’s mind. Rather, the terms that company is more likely thinking about in this situation are those like losses, risk, environmental agency scrutiny, costly and lengthy remediation, bad press, etc. A recent article in the New York Times titled “Turning Polluted Properties Into Profits” takes an alternative view of the value of sites with environmental property damage.   The article discusses a new business model and group of investors who are actively seeking out these properties in order to buy them, clean them up, then sell them for a profit. However, as the article noted: “insurance is key.”   Finding insurance to help…

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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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