One of the perennial D&O insurance coverage issues is the question of whether two or more claims are or are not interrelated. Under the operation of provisions typically found in most D&O insurance policies, if two or more claims are interrelated within the meaning of the policy, they are deemed to be a single claim first made when the first of the claims was filed. This seemingly technical determination can have important implications for the determination of which of the two potentially related insurance programs applies to a claim.

These recurring issues arose in connection with a dispute over which of two potentially applicable D&O insurance programs apply to the securities class action lawsuit filed against Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Insurers in the different towers argued over whether an earlier SEC subpoena, issued to Alexion during an earlier policy period, was related to the later securities suit, which was filed during a later period. In an interesting February 15, 2024, opinion (here), Delaware Superior Court Judge Paul R. Wallace, applying Delaware law, held that, despite some overlap, the subpoena and the securities suit were not related.Continue Reading Prior SEC Subpoena and Later Securities Suit Held Not to Be Related

A frequently recurring insurance claims handling challenge is the problem of “too many insureds, not enough insurance.” Different insureds can have competing and even incompatible interest in the limited insurance funds. As a recent insurance coverage dispute in the Southern District of New York showed, these problems are magnified when the competing insureds also have conflicting interests in the underlying claim. Judge Jennifer Rochon’s February 8, 2024, opinion rejecting one insured’s attempt to block the competing demands to the insurance proceeds of another insured can be found here. Paul Curley’s February 11, 2024 LinkedIn post about the decision can be found here.Continue Reading One Insured Can’t Block Insurance for Another Insured’s Settlement Based on Consent Clause

If the underlying insurers have paid their limits, you would generally expect that the next-in-line excess insurer would also have to pay its limit as well for losses within its layer. However, in an appellate decision with what is arguably an unexpected twist, an appellate court has held – in reliance on express policy language – that an upper layer excess carrier is relieved of its obligation to pay because the underlying carriers, all of whom paid their full limit, did not admit liability. The Third Circuit’s January 19, 2024, decision, marked “not precedential,” can be found here. A January 21, 2024, LinkedIn post about the decision by Paul Curley of the Kaufman, Borgeest & Ryan law firm can be found here.Continue Reading Excess D&O Insurance Coverage Barred Because Underlying Insurers Didn’t Admit Liability

Nelson Kefauver

In the following guest post, Nelson Kefauver, Head of Profin Underwriting at Intact Insurance, takes a look at how three frequent industry predictions from the recent past have turned out.  Nelson’s comments are specific to the private and non-profit D&O insurance space and not do not refer to the public company D&O insurance

In the latest installment in its D&O Insurance videos series, London-based insurer RisingEdge, in a panel discussion of D&O insurance experts, examines the five steps in the D&O insurance policy placement, implementation, and deployment process. The panel, which is moderated by RisingEdge CEO Philippe Gouraud, includes Lianne Gras of Howden; Robert Barnes of GAWS in

Public company D&O insurance policies provide entity coverage (that is, insurance for the benefit of the insured organization) only for “Securities Claims.” But what is a “Securities Claim”? That is the question that Delaware’s courts have grappled with in a long-running dispute between the telecommunications company Verizon and its insurers.

The Delaware Superior Court had

Private company management liability insurance policies typically contain certain policy exclusions, including, for example, the Insured v. Insured Exclusion and the Contractual Liability Exclusion. These exclusions often include carve-backs preserving coverage for otherwise excluded claims. While the exclusions and even the carve-backs may be familiar, the way they operate in practice may not be as familiar, particularly the carve-backs. In a recent insurance coverage decision from the District of Massachusetts, applying Massachusetts law, the court considered how common coverage carve-backs operate and interact. Readers may find the way the carve-backs did or did not apply to provide some interesting lessons. A copy of the Court’s November 9, 2023, opinion can be found here.Continue Reading Carve Backs Preserve Coverage for Otherwise Excluded Claims

The drama surrounding former crypto mogul Samuel Bankman-Fried’s criminal prosecution and conviction has dominated the business pages for weeks. In addition, and as the news reports noted at the time, just before the criminal trial began, SBF sued one of FTX’s excess D&O insurers, alleging the insurer was refusing to pay his legal bills. Earlier this week, it emerged that SBF has withdrawn his insurance coverage lawsuit. But while the coverage lawsuit apparently now will not go forward, the interesting questions the situation presented are still worth asking. And the short-lived coverage litigation also unearthed some interesting stuff, as discussed below. Daphne Zhang’s November 7, 2023, Bloomberg article about the coverage litigation, which contains a comprehensive overview of the coverage dispute, can be found here.Continue Reading FTX Legal Drama Includes D&O Coverage Fight (Now Withdrawn, but Not Forgotten)

Jane Njavro

One of the continuing issues in the world of directors’ and officers’ liability insurance in recent years has been the question of when a U.S.  company should obtain a separate locally admitted D&O insurance policy for its foreign subsidiaries. In the following guest post, Jane Njavro, Senior Vice President and Partner at Woodruff Sawyer, examines the issues surrounding this perennial question. This article was originally published on Woodruff Sawyer’s D&O Notebook, here. I would like to thank Jane for allowing me to publish her article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Jane’s article.Continue Reading Guest Post: Foreign Subsidiaries and D&O Insurance: Are You Prepared to Place?

Some D&O insurance policy exclusions are written with the broad “based upon, arising out of, in any way relating to” preamble. These exclusions sweep broadly, precluding coverage for a wide range of claims. The ever-present question when insurers seek to rely on these exclusions’ sweeping reach is: how broad of a reach it too broad? What is the outer limit of these exclusions’ preclusive effect?

In a decision that is worth reading closely, the Delaware Supreme Court recently concluded that, despite its broad preamble, a management liability insurance policy’s professional services exclusion did not apply to preclude coverage for the underlying claim. The decision not only explores important questions about the reach of exclusions with the broad preamble, but it also underscores the deeper question about the use of the broad preamble for these types of exclusions in the first place. The Delaware Supreme Court’s September 14, 2023, opinion in the case can be found here.Continue Reading The “Broad Preamble” Problem in D&O Insurance Exclusions