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The Road to Insurance Recovery

Insights for Policyholders

The coronavirus or COVID-19 global outbreak has struck fear in the hearts of many of us. As the disease spreads, however, it brings with it not only health concerns, but also serious financial consequences for commercial enterprise. And with any potential loss of business comes the inevitable question: Will my insurance cover this?

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Posted in Excess Coverage

Excess insurance, while great for mitigating risks of large losses to policyholders, does not always cooperate during litigation.  This is particularly true during settlement negotiations, as excess insurers do not have an obligation to settle in good faith until it’s their turn to defend. This was the decision of the Seventh Circuit in Fox v. Am. Alt. Ins. Corp., 757 F.3d 680 (7th Cir. 2014). In Fox, the plaintiff twice made demands for settlement, both before and after a jury verdict came down, that was in excess of the primary policy. But, as the excess insurer had no duty to defend until the primary policy was “exhausted,” meaning actually paid out, the Seventh Circuit found that in neither demand had the excess insurer violated their duty to settle in good faith.

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Nancy Sher Cohen, leader of our Los Angeles office and a leader of our Insurance Recoveries and Counseling practice group, recently sat down with Burford Capital's Andy Lundberg to discuss topics of concern for clients pursuing or considering complex insurance coverage claims. Areas covered include the future of insurance coverage litigation, budgeting for and managing the expense of big coverage litigation, use of alternative fee arrangements, and how legal finance could help policyholders manage cash flow.

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Posted in Policyholder

Corporate officers and directors should be able to lead confidently and sleep at night without worrying that their personal assets may be at risk because of personal liability. D&O insurance provides such “sleep at night” coverage for claims alleging breach of their duties.  However, there are a few key issues to consider when purchasing a D&O policy that can maximize coverage.

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Posted in Policyholder

The Midwest is experiencing record-breaking flooding this year, bringing back memories of the devastating and costly floods of 1993.  Without a doubt, business losses and business interruption claims will be substantial.  This post explores when an insured might have coverage for business interruption even if it does not incur significant flood-damage to its own property.  As with any coverage claim, the merits will depend on the specific language in the policy and the specific circumstances of the claimed loss.  But, here’s a rundown of some common policy provisions and issues to keep in mind.

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Posted in Policyholder

In an Opinion dated May 29, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, ruled in Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Ethel Mitchell that multiple insurers must provide coverage to a defendant county and its officials sued in a §1983 wrongful imprisonment lawsuit, including certain insurers who issued policies in post-conviction years.

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Posted in Uncategorized

For several years, Lathrop Gage’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling team has been front-and-center at RIMS’ annual conference. This year’s event – taking place April 28-May 1 in Boston – is no exception!  We will have a team onsite at booth #549 on the tradeshow (please come by and see us if you’re there), and we have several speaking engagements lined up.

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Posted in Cyber Insurance

This month, when many are working with inspiration towards their New Year’s resolutions, we urge each business policyholder to set a goal fitting of our modern high-tech age: checking its cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance is something of a fluid catch-all term, but insureds generally seek it to provide coverage for computer-based perils, such as those arising from unauthorized computer access (“hacking”), malicious software (“malware”), email fraud (“phishing” or “spoofing”), network failure or inaccessibility (“ransomware”), and the resulting breach or disclosure of protected data. Such insurance can be either first-party (covering the insured’s own losses arising from, say, a computer system malfunction, a disgruntled employee, or a cyber criminal) or third-party (covering the insured’s liability to, say, its consumers for a data breach or the government for regulatory fines).

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Lathrop Gage Partners Bill Beck and Mike Abrams were recently profiled by Super Lawyers for their success in securing compensation for individuals who have been wrongfully convicted, individuals who have often spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. Lathrop Gage’s Civil Rights Insurance Recovery Practice group leads the nation in securing insurance proceeds for wrongfully convicted persons, recovering over $150 million for wrongfully convicted individuals and their families since 2004. Additionally, the firm has partnered with the Midwest Innocence ...

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Interviewed by Alana McMullin and David Scheidemantle of Lathrop Gage’s Insurance Recovery & Counseling Group.

In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit considered whether a “criminal acts” exclusion in a first-party commercial insurance policy barred coverage for damage to leased property caused by the insured’s tenant in the operation of a marijuana cultivation business.  K.V.G. Properties, Inc. v. Westfield Insurance Co., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 232296, 2018 FED App. 0178P, 2018 WL 3978211 (6th Cir. Aug. 21, 2018).  Marijuana remains illegal as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law but is protected in certain circumstances under the law of Michigan, where the insured property was located.  Fatal to the insured’s case, it had pleaded in an eviction proceeding that the tenant’s activities were illegal, which the Sixth Circuit took as an admission that the tenant’s conduct was illegal under Michigan as well as federal law, landing the claim within the confines of the criminal acts exclusion.  While paying lip service to black letter law that the insurer bears the burden of establishing the applicability of an exclusion, the court nevertheless ruled against the insured because it had provided no evidence that the tenant had complied with Michigan’s marijuana laws.  The court left open whether the exclusion still would have applied had the insured made such a showing (and hinted the outcome might have been different had the insured done so).

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About this Blog

Lathrop GPM is one of the largest law firms in the United States representing policyholders, providing policyholders with the necessary guidance and legal counsel to handle everything from negotiating coverage and managing risk to litigating insurance disputes and recovery. The Road to Insurance Recovery blog is dedicated to helping readers better understand and manage the complexities of the modern business insurance policy.
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