Steuart Thomsen

Steuart Thomsen

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

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Insurance Industry Sweeps Retained Asset Account Doubleheader

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Ass. Co. of Canada, No. 13–2090, 2014 WL 4197947 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2014), that an insurer, acting as a claims administrator,...more

8/29/2014 - Appeals Employee Benefits ERISA Insurers Life Insurance Retained Asset Accounts

Florida Court of Appeal Holds Insured’s Death Alone Does Not Trigger Unclaimed Property Law Obligations

In an opinion filed August 5, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal held that Florida’s unclaimed property law does not make life insurance proceeds due and payable at the time of the insured’s death and does not impose an...more

8/7/2014 - Insureds Life Insurance Unclaimed Property

Idaho Unclaimed Property Rule: Insurers Must Confirm Whether Insureds Have Died

In a recently issued notice of rulemaking, the Idaho State Treasurer’s Office has proposed a temporary rule that, if permanently adopted, would alter two key definitional provisions in the state’s unclaimed property laws...more

7/2/2014 - Abandonment Annuities Life Insurance Proposed Regulation Unclaimed Property

First Circuit: Proof of Death Prerequisite to Payment of Life Benefits

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has confirmed that proof of death is a reasonable requirement for payment under a life insurance policy, and is a prerequisite to monies becoming “payable” under unclaimed...more

5/29/2014 - Class Action Denial of Benefits Life Insurance

Life Insurance Unclaimed Property Litigation in 2014: Will Regulator Positions Withstand Judicial Scrutiny

Amidst ongoing multistate unclaimed property audits of many life insurers, and despite many regulatory settlements, the insurance industry and state regulators continue to disagree over the application of unclaimed property...more

5/27/2014 - Death Master Files Life Insurance Preliminary Injunctions Unclaimed Property

Cost of Insurance Litigation -- District Court Says Stick to Enumerated Factors

In a class action challenging a cost of insurance (COI) rate increase, a New York federal district court has stated that an insurer may only consider factors specifically enumerated in the policy when raising COI rates on a...more

5/1/2014 - Class Action COI Rates Premiums Summary Judgment

Access to Recent DMF Data Restricted to Certified Persons Starting Today

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS) put into effect a certification program required for any person or entity seeking to access information during the three-year period...more

3/27/2014 - Data Protection Death Master Files Social Security

Legal Alert: NCOIL Unclaimed Property Task Force Springs Into Action; Co-Chair Keiser Seeks Proposed Changes to Model Unclaimed...

On Friday, March 7, 2014, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ (NCOIL) Unclaimed Property Task Force (Task Force) met in-person at NCOIL’s spring meeting. Led by the Task Force’s Co-Chair George Keiser (ND), the...more

3/11/2014 - Life Insurance Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act

Are we headed toward “Basic writ small”?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the closely watched Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., No. 13-317, which places in the Court’s crosshairs the continued viability of the fraud-on-the-market...more

3/7/2014 - Basic v Levinson Fraud-on-the-Market Halliburton Halliburton v Erica P. John Fund SCOTUS

No SLUSA Protection Absent Material Connection With Sale/Purchase of Covered Security

In Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice, the U.S. Supreme Court held on February 26, 2014, that the victims of Allen Stanford’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme can proceed with their claims against law firms, insurance brokers,...more

3/3/2014 - Banks Chadbourne & Parke LLP v Troice Fraud Ponzi Scheme SCOTUS SLUSA

NCOIL Holds First Unclaimed Property Task Force Meeting; Cooperation With NAIC Proposed

On Monday, February 17, 2014, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ (NCOIL) Unclaimed Property Task Force (Task Force) conducted its first conference call. Co-chaired by two past NCOIL presidents, Representatives...more

2/19/2014 - Insurers Legislative Agendas NAIC

Insurance Topics We Will Be Watching in 2014

With the first month of the year behind us, this report outlines major insurance topics that we will be watching throughout 2014. Forces, trends and events that we believe will affect regulation, transactions and...more

2/7/2014 - Affordable Care Act Casualty Insurance Federal Insurance Office Healthcare Healthcare Reform Insurance Reform Insurers NAIC Property Insurance Reinsurance

State Attorney General Parens Patriae Actions Are Not Removable to Federal Court as CAFA “Mass Actions”

This week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp. that parens patriae actions in which the State is the sole plaintiff are not “mass actions” under the Class Action Fairness...more

1/17/2014 - CAFA Class Action Mass Action Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Parens Patriae Removal Rule 23 SCOTUS

West Virginia Trial Court: No Duty to Search the Death Master File

In a substantial victory for the life insurance industry on the unclaimed property issue, a West Virginia Circuit Court has held that insurers have no duty to search the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File...more

1/7/2014 - Death Master Files Life Insurance Unclaimed Property

Legal Alert: Cost of Insurance Litigation – Insurers Retain Discretion to Set COI Rates in Two Key Victories

In the first federal appellate decisions addressing cost of insurance (COI) charges in life insurance policies, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals handed two victories to insurers in opinions issued December 13, 2013. In...more

12/19/2013 - Class Action COI Rates Insurers Life Insurance Motion to Dismiss Premiums

CFPB Releases Preliminary Report on Arbitration Agreements But Defers Final Analysis and Recommendations

On December 12, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its preliminary report on the use of arbitration clauses in consumer financial products and services. The preliminary report focuses on...more

12/16/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements CFPB Credit Cards Prepaid Payment Products

Legal Alert: Federal District Court Validates Insurer's Retention of Policy Proceeds Until Receiving Proof of Death

On August 20, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed a putative class action over an insurer’s alleged failure to timely pay life insurance policy death benefits to beneficiaries....more

8/23/2013 - Death Benefits Insurers Life Insurance

From Insurer's Shield to Insured's Sword: California Supreme Court Authorizes Policyholder Unfair Competition Law Claims for...

On August 1, 2013, the California Supreme Court ruled in Zhang v. The Superior Court of San Bernardino County, No. S178542 (Cal. Aug. 1, 2013) that insurance practices violating the state’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act...more

8/7/2013 - Fraud Insurers Misleading Impressions Misleading Statements Unfair Competition Unfair Insurance Practices Act

Legal Alert: In a Class of Their Own: the Impact of the Supreme Court's October 2012 Term on Class Actions

During its recently concluded October 2012 term, the Supreme Court of the United States decided seven cases that are likely to have a significant impact on class action practice. This term’s decisions addressed evidentiary...more

7/10/2013 - CAFA Class Action Class Action Arbitration Waivers Databases DMV Evidentiary Rulings Non-Solicitation Agreements SCOTUS Securities Fraud

Delaware VDA Program First Enrollment Deadline Is Fast Approaching

The first stage of the Delaware Secretary of State’s Voluntary Disclosure Agreement program (the “Delaware VDA Program”) for unclaimed property reporting closes on June 30, 2013. Companies that enter into the Delaware VDA...more

6/24/2013 - Deadlines Unclaimed Property Voluntary Disclosure Agreement

"Privacy Driven": Supreme Court Limits Use of Driver Data for Client Solicitation by Attorneys

Does the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725, allow lawyers to mine databases maintained by state departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) for the purpose of gathering plaintiffs for an emerging lawsuit? Is an...more

6/19/2013 - Attorney Solicitation Class Action Data Mining DMV Driver’s Privacy Protection Act Personally Identifiable Information SCOTUS

Legal Alert: Supreme Court Upholds Arbitrator's Authority to Interpret Agreement to Permit Class Proceedings

“The arbitrator’s construction holds, however good, bad, or ugly.” This was the succinct message delivered on June 10, 2013, by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, No. 12-135, which challenged...more

6/11/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Class Action Contract Interpretation Judicial Review SCOTUS

Legal Alert: Supreme Court to Decide Removability of Parens Patriae Actions Under CAFA

On May 28, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Mississippi v. AU Optronics Corporation, No. 12-1036, to consider whether a parens patriae action brought by a state attorney general is removable as a “mass...more

5/29/2013 - CAFA Class Action Consumer Protection Act Injunctions Parens Patriae Removal SCOTUS

Legal Alert: Senate Finance Committee Hears Testimony on Proposal to Limit Access to Death Master File

On April 16, 2013, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on “Tax Fraud and Tax ID Theft: Moving Forward With Solutions,” including testimony on proposals to restrict access to the Social Security Administration’s Death...more

4/22/2013 - Death Master Files Identity Theft Personally Identifiable Information SSA Tax Fraud

Legal Alert: Administration Proposes To Limit Access to Death Master File

Over the past two years, states have undertaken various initiatives – including audits, exams, regulations, and legislation – intended to require insurers to compare their life insurance policy records with the record of...more

4/16/2013 - Data Protection Death Master Files Fraud Identity Theft Insurers Life Insurance Proposed Regulation Tax Fraud U.S. Treasury

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