The so-called “Bump-Up” Exclusion found in many D&O insurance policies typically excludes coverage for claims alleging that the insured company, as the acquiror, underpaid or sought to underpay for the acquisition of a target company. However, in a recent decision following a bench trial, in which the court interpreted an unusually worded exclusion that arguably applied to preclude coverage whether or not the insured company was the acquiror or the acquisition target, the court held that the exclusion unambiguously precluded coverage for the settlement of a claim that the directors of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, the insured company, had breached their duties by accepting an inadequate amount for the sale of their company. The judge’s opinion is a cautionary tale for anyone involved in the placement of D&O insurance and also has important implications about the wording of the bump-up exclusion. A copy of the court’s December 30, 2022, post-trial Final Statement of Decision can be found here.

Continue Reading Exclusion Bars Coverage for Insured Company’s Acquisition Underpayment

A standard feature of virtually every commercial contract is a choice-of-law clause. The general perception is that these types of clauses help facilitate settlement and reduce litigation costs. There is, however, one type of contract the usually omits choice-of law-clauses – insurance policies. Throughout the insurance industry and across most lines of coverage, insurance policies lack choice of law clauses. The reasons why insurance policies omit provisions that are standard for virtually every other type of commercial contract is the subject of an interesting new paper from University of North Carolina Law Professor John F. Coyle, entitled “The Mystery of the Missing Choice-of-Law Clause.” Coyle’s paper raises a number of interesting questions, some of which may be relevant as some insurers consider the question of whether they many need to add choice of law clauses to their policies. A copy of Professor Coyle’s December 2, 2021 paper can be found here.
Continue Reading Why Don’t Insurance Policies Have Choice-of-Law Clauses?

tuneupThe private company management liability insurance environment is constantly changing. The liability environment is constantly evolving. Because of the changes in liabilities and exposures and because of the competitive nature of the insurance marketplace, the available terms and conditions are constantly changing as well. Unfortunately, all too often, some private companies simply renew their management liability insurance programs year after year, without ensuring that their policies contain the most up-to-date terms and conditions available. In order for companies assess whether their policies are current, I have listed some of the important items for companies to look for in their policies. I have added some additional comments below, as well.
Continue Reading Private Company Management Liability Insurance Tune-Up Tips