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Washington Weighs In On The Scope Of Insurance Regulators’ Authority

In January, we reported that California’s Supreme Court had embraced a problematic approach to the state’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act—one that allows the Commissioner of Insurance to create new statutory torts by...more

California’s High Court Gives Insurance Regulators New Tools To Broaden Authority

Nearly two years ago, a California appellate court invalidated a rule promulgated by the state’s Insurance Commissioner, on the ground that the regulator lacks authority to prohibit “deceptive acts or practices” which are not...more

Second Time Lucky: In Phantom Vehicle Cases, Ohio Insureds Can Now Corroborate Their Own Testimony

Hit-and-run drivers don’t always hit; some motorists recklessly cause accidents without making contact, then vanish from the scene. Victims in such cases can often obtain coverage under the uninsured motorist (UM) provisions...more

Minnesota Discovers Limits To Its Regulator’s Power Over Insurers

In Minnesota, the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce regulates the insurance industry, and he has a statutory right to conduct investigations “related to the duties and responsibilities entrusted to” him. Last month,...more

Too Soon! First Circuit Finds No Duty To Defend Before Suit Is Filed

Can something short of the filing of a complaint trigger an insurer’s duty to defend? It’s not an idle question. Uncertainty on this issue could produce an unintended breach, and, in some jurisdictions, breach of the duty to...more

The Ghost of Systems Past: “Big Data” Suits Loom, But Old Data Issues Remain Unresolved

2017 could be big for litigation over “Big Data” applications in insurance. This past year saw the filing of several “price optimization” class actions, and claims against a fraud detection tool, similar to the ones used by...more

Ask the Public Adjustor: Covering Life with Wisdom*

Dear Public Adjustor: I’m often proud of my dad, like when he stood up to the PTA about The Catcher in the Rye. But lately he has me worried. He’s sacrificed an entire season’s corn crop to build a ballfield in the...more

Title Bout: Second Circuit Limits Parties’ Control Over Construction Of Policies

Like other contracts, insurance policies are divided into parts, and most of the parts appear under headings or captions. A separate contract term (known as a “titles clause” or a “headings clause”) sometimes specifies that...more

Point of Interest: Sixth Circuit Complicates Sureties’ Duty Of “Good Faith”

A hefty body of law declares that “suretyship is not insurance,” and so that sureties are not subject to claims for the tort of insurance bad faith. E.g., Upper Pottsgrove Township v. Internat’l Fidelity Ins. Co., 976...more

Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Carriers May Pursue Justice

Workers’ compensation statutes impose liability without fault on the employers of men and women who are injured on the job. They also permit employers to recoup the costs they incur from any third parties who actually caused...more

HUD Advocates Broad “Disparate Impact” Liability for P&C Insurers

In February 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development adopted a “Discriminatory Effects Rule,” which established liability under the Fair Housing Act for conduct that is otherwise lawful, but which has a...more

Postdiluvian Perils: Second Circuit Weighs Coverage For Losses Suffered After The Waters Recede

As this blog has reported, exclusions and limits for flood coverage have generally held up against the tide of claims arising from Superstorm Sandy. Now that the water is gone, however, new losses have been discovered, and...more

Subcontractor Exception Torpedoes Insurers’ Defense To Faulty Workmanship Claim

As this blog has reported, a line of cases deciding coverage disputes over faulty workmanship runs against (or, at least, around) a basic rule for interpreting insurance policies. Under that rule, the scope of coverage is...more

No Health Insurers Need Apply: Health Plan Can’t Recover Medical Costs From NY No-Fault Insurer

Under no-fault laws, automobile policies typically must cover the cost of certain medical services provided to policyholders who have been injured in covered accidents. New York’s insurance laws also permit those costs to be...more

Ask the Public Adjustor: Covering Life with Wisdom*

I’ll come right out and admit it: I was a crasher at last night’s party. Though they helped me bluff my way in, every stitch of clothing I wore was borrowed, and the limo … it’s a long story, but let’s just say Uber. Then I...more

Round Up The Usual And Customary Suspects: Insurers May Determine UCR Prices By Shopping At Retail Outlets

For more than a decade, medical providers have tried to limit the discretion of automobile insurers to pay less than the billed amount for services and equipment offered to injured insureds. Most of these efforts involve...more

Colorado Takes A Stand Against Unauthorized Settlements

The “notice-prejudice” rule gives a pass to policyholders who breach the notice or cooperation provisions of their policies, if the breach is found not to have prejudiced the insurer. Sometimes, the late notice does not...more

Ninth Circuit Leaves it to Policyholder to Pay Eddie Haskell’s Attorneys’ Fees

Moral hazard lurks around the edges of many disputes about liability coverage. Everyone agrees in principle that insurance shouldn’t help bad actors benefit from their wrongdoing, but parties often clash over where the...more

Price Optimization Class Actions Produce First Rulings

In recent weeks, two courts ruled on motions to dismiss the first wave of class action lawsuits based on alleged price optimization of auto insurance rates. In both Stevenson v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 15-cv-04788 (N.D. Cal....more

We Don’t Feel Your Pain: Massachusetts Limits Recoveries By Workers Compensation Insurers

When an injured employee sues a third party for negligence, the law usually permits her employer’s workers compensation insurer to share in the recovery. Last month, in DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co., Nos. SJC-11854 and...more

“‘Tis As Easy As Lying”: Pennsylvania Court Rescinds Policy of Corporate Giant

Claims, arguments and tactics that are familiar from coverage disputes with consumers are increasingly being used against carriers by large corporate insureds—often with the assistance of well-known plaintiffs’ firms. Once in...more

The Gift of the Magistrate: An Insured Jeweler Gets a Jury for the Holidays

A jeweler was insured against the “physical loss” of its property, except when the property was sold under a “deferred payment” agreement, or when the loss was caused by a “dishonest act.” The jeweler regularly delivered...more

No Contractor Is An Island: Florida Court Narrowly Applies “Your Work” Exclusion

When an insurer issues a Commercial General Liability policy to a contractor, the policy typically excludes coverage for the cost of repairing or replacing the contractor’s own defective work, but covers the cost of repairing...more

Can Insurers Sue for 'Reverse Bad Faith'? Allowing claims would restore strategic balance in policy disputes

The insurance relationship is contractual, but when policyholders claim insurers failed to honor their obligations, they typically invoke the tort of "bad faith." When courts try to explain this anomaly, they cite features of...more

Wall-to-Wall Ads: Florida Court’s Broad Definition of “Advertisement” Expands Scope of Advertising Injury Coverage

“Advertising injury” can be tricky. In theory, the term applies to the type of harm that can be inflicted through advertising media—defamation, disparagement, violation of privacy rights or misappropriation of intellectual...more

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