Justin F. Lavella
A wide number of companies have been in the news in recent months as a result of food contamination or food recall events. However, such problems are not isolated to companies with poor safety records or lackadaisical quality controls. In fact, a report issued by Swiss Re, the international reinsurer, has found that the number of United States food recalls—and the costs associated with those recalls—have nearly doubled since 2002. And this is a trend that is likely to continue as the food industry becomes increasingly integrated, the regulatory requirements become increasingly complex, and infectious diseases become increasingly drug resistant. Accordingly, all companies involved in either the food or health supplement industry must plan not for “if,” but “when” a recall is necessary.
To this end, insurance should be a key component of every company’s risk management strategy, and there are a number of specific insurance products on the market to assist. For example, a number of insurers have started marketing policies to “food and beverage” companies that purport to provide coverage for “accidental contamination” and/or “recall.” Unfortunately, these products have only recently been tested in the courts, and policyholders have been generally disappointed to learn that these policies do not provide the breadth of coverage expected. Continue reading “Ensure You Are Covered as Food Companies Face Recall Risks”
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”
James S. Carter
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights a widespread cybersecurity threat that it reports has generally gone unrecognized: the vulnerability to cyberattacks of the underlying control systems that power and cool data-center networks. These same types of systems, which include generators, thermostats, and air conditioners, are also found in commercial buildings and factories.
The article reports that a cyberattack involving control systems has the potential to take down an entire operation. It could also endanger human life. While these risks are not new, the article notes that security personnel at many companies do not realize that such systems may be connected to the computer system or the internet, and thus exposed to a cyberattack. In fact, the article reports, such systems often lack basic security protocols, such as user names or passwords. Continue reading “Does Your Company’s Cyber Risk Insurance Cover Cyber-Related Bodily Injury and Property Damage?”
John E. Heintz and John A. Gibbons
Many businesses and individuals are familiar with insurance that is available to pay for property that is taken by a private third party, be it a stranger, employee, competing business, or any other private actor. But what happens when a government entity or official “seizes” property? Businesses may not immediately think of insurance, but a number of forms of insurance may offer protection and reimbursement for the loss of the “seized” or taken property. Continue reading “Insurance Coverage for Government Seizures of Property”
Mary M. Gardner
In the last month, businesses and individuals throughout the United States were impacted by winter storms battering the East Coast, Midwest, Mountain, and Southern United States. From a declared state of emergency in Georgia to week-long public service and government closures in Boston, these storms disrupted businesses across the country. In the aftermath, it is important that businesses understand the extent of their applicable insurance coverage and provide insurers with prompt and detailed notices of any losses. Continue reading “Pursuing Insurance Recovery in the Aftermath of Winter Storm Damage”
Erin L. Webb
On December 9, 2014, I participated as one of the speakers on a panel at the Nuclear Power International conference in Orlando, Florida. The session focused on the unique regulations and procedures that workers and plant operators must follow in order to keep the public and the staff safe. We also discussed the market conditions affecting nuclear power, including the challenges the industry faces from competing power generating sources such as natural gas. Rick Higginbotham of GE Power & Water and Clayton T. Smith of Fluor served as co-chairs and led the discussion.
In my presentation I talked about industry-specific insurance issues concerning nuclear power plants, and explained the available options for liability and property damage insurance. I also provided important tips to keep in mind in the event of a property damage claim. Understanding how these policies work, and the importance of prompt notice as well as the often complicated and technical process of filing a detailed proof of loss with the insurer, can be key to maximizing a policy’s value. Finally, I discussed some emerging issues that may have significant impacts on future insurance products, such as the development of small modular reactors and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recent action concerning continued storage of spent nuclear fuel. Changes in technology, as well as changes to the applicable regulatory scheme, can spur changes to the exposure and risk a plant faces, and should be addressed in the insurance policies purchased to mitigate those risks. Continue reading “Nuclear Power International Panel: Economics, Policy, and Regulation”
On February 11, 2014, John Heintz and I spoke on a panel at the @Hospitality_Law 2014 Conference discussing maximizing coverage for large property and business interruption claims. We presented a hypothetical scenario in which Acme Hospitality is a full service Real Estate company that owns several hotels, including one in Galveston, Texas that a hurricane devastated to the point of total loss and a second in Houston, Texas that the same hurricane impacted with minimal physical damage and significant financial losses. One interesting fact presented was that a sports stadium located nearby the Houston hotel suffered major roof damage and is expected to be closed for six months. The Houston hotel typically sells out for every home game played at the sports stadium and other live events. We explored the question of whether the Houston hotel is entitled to coverage for lost business income resulting from the stadium’s closure. Continue reading “Hospitality Law Conference 2014: Importance of Business Income From Dependent Properties Coverage”