Cyberinsurance Buyers Beware! Is the Past Prologue?

James S. CarterOmid Safa, and Jared Zola

 

 

 

 

More insurers are offering stand-alone cyberinsurance policies than ever before. At the same time, there are very few decisions by courts regarding this relatively new breed of insurance policy. Most of the decisions construing insurance coverage for cyber risks to date involve other types of insurance policies, such as commercial general liability (“CGL”) and commercial crime policies. Although such cases may not involve cyber policies per se, buyers trying to navigate the cyberinsurance market ignore them at their peril. They illustrate the types of cyber incidents that have generated insurance coverage disputes significant enough to be litigated to decision. Familiarity with such cases can help buyers select and negotiate cyber risk policies with wording aimed at minimizing such disputes and increasing the scope and certainty of the coverage available to the policyholder.

Continue reading “Cyberinsurance Buyers Beware! Is the Past Prologue?”

Managing Cyber Risks: Tips for Purchasing Insurance That Works for Your Business (Part 1)

Omid Safa, James S. Carter, and Jared Zola

Safa, OmidCarter, James S.Zola, Jared With information technology impacting nearly every aspect of commerce in our “wired” economy, few issues present more concern to businesses today than cybersecurity. Cyberattacks continue to proliferate at an alarming rate and the threats facing companies continue to evolve and become more sophisticated with each passing day. The legal and financial costs associated with such events also grow more serious, as legislators, regulators, and customers insist on greater protection and impose more stringent requirements. Meanwhile, insurance companies have sought to limit the coverage available under traditional insurance policies with new exclusions aimed at cyber-related risks. As a result, it has become imperative for organizations to reevaluate their cybersecurity protocols and breach response plans—and their insurance coverage assets to help offset losses and liabilities associated with such events when all other safeguards fail. Increasingly, this means that companies must consider purchasing cyber-specific coverage to insure against these emerging risks and address the potential gaps in their traditional insurance programs. Continue reading “Managing Cyber Risks: Tips for Purchasing Insurance That Works for Your Business (Part 1)”

Don’t Let Your D&O Insurer “Bump” a Covered Claim

James R. Murray, Jared Zola, and Kyle P. Brinkman

Murray, James R.Zola, JaredBrinkman, Kyle P.Companies facing shareholder derivative suits should be wary of their directors’ and officers’ liability (“D&O”) insurers attempting to avoid providing coverage for settlements or judgments based on “bump-up” or “inadequate consideration” exclusions. The historic purpose of the exclusion is to prevent insureds from negotiating an unfairly-low price when purchasing another entity or completing intracompany transactions and then using insurance proceeds to supplement that price to come up with the fair market value. Continue reading “Don’t Let Your D&O Insurer “Bump” a Covered Claim”

Wage-and-Hour Policies May Be a Useful Asset to Fill Potential Coverage Gaps

Jared Zola and Frank M. Kaplan

Zola, Jared Kaplan, Frank M.As a wise person once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Anyone who thought wage-and-hour lawsuits would be a short-lived lawsuit du jour of the plaintiffs’ bar have been proven wrong. Claimants filed more than 8,900 FLSA cases in federal court last year, a 30 percent increase from 2011. In light of the continued trend and recent legislation that has the potential to expand liability to individuals acting on an employer’s behalf, employers should take a hard look at the insurance assets available to protect against these potential liabilities.

California’s new statute, the Fair Day’s Pay Act, has the potential to implicate a “person acting on behalf of an employer” to liability for the company’s allegedly improper wage-and-hour practices. Labor Code § 558.1 (eff. Jan. 1, 2016). New York amended its existing Business Corporation Law § 630, effective January 19, 2016, to extend potential liability for unpaid wages to the top 10 shareholders of privately held corporations incorporated in New York and foreign corporations. While employers and individuals are armed with a wide array of defenses, the potential risks warrant a close look at what insurance assets a company has available to offset any potential liabilities in this continuously growing area. Continue reading “Wage-and-Hour Policies May Be a Useful Asset to Fill Potential Coverage Gaps”

Top 5 Tips for Insureds Following Winter Storm Losses

John A. Gibbons, Jared Zola and Erin L. Webb

This week, winter snowstorms swept through the East Coast of the United States and several surrounding areas, leaving snowfall of up to two to three feet in a 36-hour period. In the bustle to get the snow cleared and get back to work, companies and individuals should be sure to maximize all available insurance coverage.

Winter storm losses can be serious and expensive.  At least one source estimates that the cost of the recent East Coast storm could range from $585 to $850 million. While not all costs will be covered by insurance, insurance policies can protect against a variety of losses relating to winter storms. For example, damaged buildings and property may be covered under a first-party property policy, as can business interruption losses that are caused by property damage. Snow and ice can also potentially expose a company to third party claims for bodily injury or property damage relating to conditions on their property, which may be covered by liability insurance.

The following five tips will help insureds maximize their coverage for winter storm losses and get back on their feet quickly.  Continue reading “Top 5 Tips for Insureds Following Winter Storm Losses”

Don’t Let Insurers Use Attorney-Client Privilege to Shield Claims Handling Documents

James R. Murray, Jared Zola and Omid Safa

Murray, James R. Zola, Jared Safa, OmidUpon receiving an insurance claim from its policyholder, an insurer is obligated to promptly and reasonably investigate, adjust, and determine whether to pay a claim. Those are fundamental aspects of an insurer’s business that arise with respect to every claim. Reports by insurance investigators or adjusters, prepared during the processing of a claim, are discoverable as made in the regular course of the insurer’s business.

Insurers frequently allege that attorneys working for the insurers perform or assist with the claim investigation or adjustment and then assert privilege in an effort to avoid producing such reports during litigation. Policyholders should be wary of any such assertion and consider case law from across the country compelling insurers to produce claims handling documents (and related testimony) generated by or in connection with insurer coverage counsel. Many courts hold that the decision to have lawyers undertake or be involved in basic claims handling functions does not imbue this business task with privilege, and protection from discovery. Thus, communications among these attorney claims handlers, independent claims personnel, and insurers about the results of their claim handling activities should not be cloaked in privilege. Continue reading “Don’t Let Insurers Use Attorney-Client Privilege to Shield Claims Handling Documents”

Upcoming Speaking Engagement Will Explore Coverage Issues Arising From Qui Tam Lawsuits

Jared Zola

Zola, JaredOn March 6, 2015, I will co-host a session with Manuel Mungia Jr. from Akin Gump at the ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Annual CLE Seminar in Tucson, AZ, titled “Exploring the Coverage Issues Emerging From the Recent Avalanche of Qui Tam Lawsuits.”

The U.S. Department of Justice reported a record-setting $5.69 billion in False Claims Act recoveries in fiscal year 2014—including more than $3 billion from 700+ qui tam actions and $435 million paid to whistleblowers. Qui tam lawsuits are easier than ever to bring and, given the potentially lucrative payday, plaintiffs are bringing them more frequently. Policyholders often turn to their PII, EPLI, and D&O policies for coverage. Continue reading “Upcoming Speaking Engagement Will Explore Coverage Issues Arising From Qui Tam Lawsuits”