Excess Insurance Trigger

lawboks2When I started out as a law firm associate doing D&O insurance coverage work more than three decades ago, there was virtually no interpretive case law available. Legal research in connection with D&O insurance tended to be a meagre, frustrating process. Things have changed so much in the interim that now we can have two appellate decisions from two different federal circuit courts on D&O insurance issues in just a single day. On October 21, 2015, both the Second and Fifth Circuits issued D&O insurance coverage rulings, in both cases finding that the there was no coverage under the D&O insurance policies involved for the matters in dispute.

The Second Circuit’s October 21, 2015 summary order in Nomura Holding America, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company can be found here. The Fifth Circuit’s October 21, 2015 opinion in Martin Resource Management Corporation v. Axis Insurance Company can be found here. I discuss the two appellate decisions below.
Continue Reading D&O Insurance: Two Federal Appellate Courts Issue Rulings Confirming Carriers’ Coverage Denials

insurancefilesIn many cases, companies’ D&O insurance programs are structured in several layers, with one or more policies of excess of insurance written over top of a primary layer. The excess insurance is often said to be written on a “follow form” basis, meaning that the primary policy’s terms govern the operation of the excess policies.

paIn a long and convoluted opinion befitting the long and convoluted case in which it was entered, Judge David Grine of the Pennsylvania (Centre Country) Court of Common Pleas, applying Pennsylvania law, entered summary judgment for an excess D&O insurer, holding that the excess insurer’s payment obligation had not been triggered due to the insolvency

On June 4, 2013, the Second Circuit, in an insurance coverage action involving the defunct Commodore International computer company, affirmed that excess D&O insurance is not triggered even if losses exceed the amount of the underlying insurance, where the underlying amounts have not been paid due to the insolvency of underlying insurers. The Second Circuit’s

On September 7, 2012, the Delaware Supreme Court, applying California law, held that Intel’s excess insurer’s defense obligations were not triggered where Intel had settled with the underlying insurer for less than policy limits and had itself funded the defense fees above the settlement amount and below the underlying insurer’s policy limit. A copy of

In the latest of what is now a lengthening line of cases, on June 12, 2012, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, applying Illinois law, ruled in a coverage case brought by JPMorgan Chase that owing to settlements by underlying carriers in a professional liability insurance program, excess insurers in the program