Long a feature of directors’ and officers’ (D&O) liability insurance policies, the so-called “Bump-Up” Exclusion has gotten significant attention over the last few years. Because of the recent escalation in securities litigation that follows a majority of mergers and acquisitions, the Bump-Up Exclusion is of critical importance to publicly traded policyholders. Bump-Up Exclusion provisions are often found in a D&O policy’s definition of “Loss” and purport to exclude the amount of a settlement or judgment that represents an increase in the price paid to acquire an entity, where such consideration was alleged to be inadequate. A recent decision out of the Delaware state courts affirms again that D&O insurers will be held to the specific terms of their Bump-Up Exclusions.
Courts don’t look kindly upon insurance company shell games. In Preferred Contractors Ins. Co. v. Baker & Son Construction, the Washington Supreme Court slapped down an insurer’s attempt to manipulate the type of general liability “trigger” it wrote to sell coverage that was illusory.
Following the breakup of large utility holding companies by trust busters in the 1930s, General Electric created Ebasco (Electric Bond and Share Company), a construction company and consultancy that, among other things, assisted newly independent utilities throughout the United States to obtain broad excess-level occurrence-based liability insurance policies. These so-called Ebasco policies were attractive to utility policyholders because of their comprehensive insuring agreement, modest exclusions (e.g., no pollution exclusions), and the absence of aggregate limits. Illustratively, a $10 million Ebasco policy potentially could pay up to 20 times its limits (equivalent to $200 million) to fund cleanup of 20 contaminated sites, assuming an occurrence at each site happened during the policy period. For decades, Ebasco policies, primarily underwritten by London market insurers, have been the subject of litigation related to pollution, asbestos and human health claims.
Temperatures in Arizona this week reached over 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature in the Florida Keys was reported to reach sauna-like levels, threatening the life of habitat-sustaining coral. Atmospheric conditions are routinely blamed for violent storms and for wildfires that darken the skies.
For decades, affirmative action programs were implemented within educational institutions across the country with the stated goal of maintaining a diverse student body.
This practice was severely curtailed on June 29, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, striking down race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
It is a settled principle of insurance law that a liability insurer’s duty to defend is broader than its duty to indemnify. In most jurisdictions, if any portion of a complaint against a policyholder is even potentially covered, the insurer must defend the entire action.
What is subrogation? Why am I being asked to waive it? Should I care? To answer that last question, let’s take a quick run at the first two.
What Is Subrogation?
“Subrogation” refers to the act of one person or party standing in the place of another person or party. It is a legal right held by most insurance carriers to pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss in order to recover the amount the insurance carrier paid the insured to cover the loss. This occurs when (i) the insurance carrier makes a payment on behalf of its insured as the result of a covered accident or injury, and then (ii) the insurer then seeks repayment from the at-fault party.
The rare insurance dispute has appeared on the horizon for the nation’s highest court. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and agreed to take up the case of Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC, on appeal from the Third Circuit. The key issue: whether a choice-of-law provision in a marine insurance policy can be rendered unenforceable if its enforcement would conflict with the “strong public policy” of the forum state.
When Illinois enacted the Biometric Information Privacy Act in 2008 (BIPA), the concept of “biometric privacy protection” was foreign to many observers. Yet less than 20 years later, consumers are familiar with the concept of biometric privacy and class action plaintiffs’ lawyers have spotted an opportunity. As many other states and cities have enacted (or are in the process of enacting) analogous biometric privacy laws, class actions are likely to increase. And like night follows day, insurers will look for ways to avoid their obligations to cover these claims.
In the last decade, per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS) increasingly have become the subject of actual or potential liability for a widening group of companies, with potential liability arising from both private tort lawsuits and governmental enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. In a recent Practical Guidance® Practice Note, Insurance Coverage for PFAS Liability, our colleague Tamara Bruno provides a comprehensive breakdown of this rapidly growing area of coverage need.