Fashion is sexy; insurance is not. So it’s easy to think of the two separately. But there are many points of intersection. Some of those intersections are not industry-specific: like other industries, fashion—design houses, retailers, textile manufacturers, modeling agencies—carries property, D&O, cyber, and many other lines of insurance. But unique aspects of the fashion world, and recent litigation trends affecting it, underscore the importance for the fashion industry to understand insurance in order to maximize successful recovery of insurance assets. Here, we comment briefly on three areas: IP, employment, and antitrust.
The news has been rife of late with announcements of intended mergers, including Amazon and Whole Foods, Sprint and Comcast, and the National Enquirer and Time Inc., to name a few. Although such deals are nothing new, the use of representations and warranties insurance (R&W insurance) is increasingly becoming a key component in the decision-making process for buyers and sellers alike. R&W insurance provides coverage for breach of representations or warranties contained in deal documents in addition to, or as a replacement for, indemnity provisions. R&W policies allow buyers and sellers to shift enough of the risk to third-party insurers to provide the certainty necessary to close the deal.
In a typical transaction, the seller agrees to indemnify the buyer for losses resulting from breaches of reps and warranties, usually subject to a cap. The seller will often commit to placing an agreed upon amount in escrow to secure its indemnification obligation. However, tying up funds in escrow can sometimes present a significant obstacle to closing the deal.
A great deal of premium exchanges hands to buy the Difference in Condition (DIC) or “drop-down” component of excess Side A DIC coverage. Yet policyholders, brokers, and to a large extent, D&O liability carriers have surprisingly little understanding of just how that standard coverage feature is triggered—or how it works in practice. Recent experience with the drop-down provision suggests that it can be a highly valuable tool to help resolve disputes in which one or more carriers is refusing to meet its coverage obligations. But triggering the coverage is fraught with difficulties.
If the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland bought insurance and suffered a loss he almost certainly would be an unhappy customer. Why? Recall his famous opening line in the Disney version of the story: “I’m late, I’m late for / A very important date. / No time to say hello, good-bye, / I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” In the world of insurance claims—often compared to Wonderland—being late is an increasingly intolerable trait. Indeed, even the diligent may find themselves upside down and out of luck.
Policyholders today usually are aware that insurance policies contain some form of notice provision. Nonetheless, the many different forms of timing provisions and the varying requirements the law places upon them can be bewildering and can lead to unexpected and unsatisfactory results.
We are pleased to share with our readers the recent awards and accolades Pillsbury’s Insurance Recovery & Advisory group has earned:
The practice was ranked in Washington, DC for Insurance: Policyholder, and we had several individual rankings, including:
Insurance: Policyholder; Washington, DC:
- Peter Gillon
- David F. Klein
- Mark J. Plumer
Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder; Nationwide:
- Mark J. Plumer
Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder; New York:
- Joseph Jean
- Tamara Bruno
- Vincent E. Morgan (Band 1)
The Flint, Mich., water crisis returned to the news recently as criminal charges were brought against additional government employees resulting from the crisis. Meanwhile, a federal court in Pennsylvania recently issued a ruling in an insurance case that, like Flint, related to alleged contamination in drinking water stemming from corroded pipes. The decision rejects two insurers’ attempts to avoid coverage and serves as a good reminder of some fundamental insurance law principles—the duty to defend is broad, ambiguous policy language usually is construed against the insurer, and policies should be interpreted in favor of their purpose to provide coverage. It is also a reminder that the pollution exclusion is not nearly as all-encompassing as insurers like to think it is.
We put lights on the front of trains so we can see them approaching in a tunnel. And we buy insurance for the accidents that occur despite such precautions. General contractors try to manage their project risks by taking precautions to avoid accidents, but they also require subcontractors to name them as “additional insureds” on their general liability or project-specific insurance should an accident happen. Suppose you’ve done that. An accident follows: Your subcontractor injures a person on the project site as a result of your own workers’ failure to warn. You’re covered, right? Better slow down.
An all-too-common problem in the construction industry occurs when a company that is supposed to name another company as an additional insured on its policy fails to do so. The company that expects to be an additional insured (typically an owner or upstream contractor) sometimes does not follow through to ensure that it is actually added to the policy through an endorsement, or may rely on a Certificate of Insurance, which is not proof of coverage.
On May 12, 2017, a massive ransomware cyber-attack infected over 100,000 computers in more than 150 countries. This malware, a Trojan virus known as “WannaCry,” encrypts files, and then threatens to destroy them, unless the victim pays a ransom. Colleagues Jamie Bobotek and Peri Mahaley opined about this recent attack and stress the necessity to take the time now to review and confirm your cyber-privacy insurance in a Pillsbury client alert.
Imagine you are a prime contractor to a Department of the United States of America supplying logistical support for the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. As the prime, you are kicking on all cylinders, including purchasing comprehensive Employer’s Liability, Workers’ Compensation and Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance to cover your own employees against a worker injury claim abroad.
Then the phone rings.
A 30-year-old American worker hired by your subcontractor working on base encountered a swarm of bees while painting; he fell and was crippled. The sub isn’t paying his medical expenses and is apparently nowhere to be found. The injured employee’s bulldog lawyer is on the line threatening to sue your company directly for his client’s devastating injuries.
How can this be?
DBA coverage is workers’ compensation insurance that employers may turn to in the event that an employee is injured while working on a contract financed by the U.S. Government and performed outside the United States. Section 5(a) of the Act provides that “a contractor shall be deemed the employer of a subcontractor’s employees if the subcontractor fails to secure the payment of compensation.”