Insurers Do Not Have to Defend in Opioid Litigation, Federal Appeals Court Finds

By William Rabb | January 18, 2023

Two insurance carriers have no duty to defend or to indemnify Quest Pharmaceuticals in lawsuits brought over the drug distributor’s role in the opioid crisis, a federal appeals court decided last week. The opinion could bolster U.S. insurers’ arguments that they should not be held liable in the multi-billion-dollar opioid litigation churning through courts across the country.

In a decision handed down Friday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that policies written by Westfield National Insurance Co. and Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. covered only damages resulting from bodily injuries, not the economic damages sought by local and state governments.

The carriers had asked a lower court to declare that their general liability and umbrella policies did not require that they defend Quest in the opioid lawsuits. A federal district court in Kentucky agreed, and the appeals court upheld the lower court.

The judges noted that they had to apply Kentucky law and review the case through the eyes of the state’s high court.… read more > “Insurers Do Not Have to Defend in Opioid Litigation, Federal Appeals Court Finds”

World Bank Seeks to Restart Cat Bond Issuance to Boost Emerging Nations’ Resilience

By Esteban Duarte | December 7, 2022

A resident carries a water catchment tank past debris after Hurricane Grace made landfall in Tecolitla, Veracruz state, Mexico, on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. Photographer: Hector Adolfo Quintanar Perez/Bloomberg

The World Bank is looking to restart the issuance of catastrophe bonds to help developing countries improve their preparedness for losses from natural disasters.

The supranational lender has issued close to $2.6 billion of catastrophe bonds since 2014, including a $1.36 billion transaction priced in 2018 to help governments in Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru hedge earthquake-related losses. Nonetheless, it hasn’t priced any transactions since July 2021, in part because institutional investors have allocated less cash to buy new cat bonds because they needed to use it to compensate for a slump in financial markets, said Michael Bennett, head of market solutions and structured finance at the World Bank.

“We have a number of transactions in the works and some in fact have been stalled by market conditions,” Bennett said in an interview.… read more > “World Bank Seeks to Restart Cat Bond Issuance to Boost Emerging Nations’ Resilience”

4 Issues Facing Contractors That Agents Must Know

By Alan Ferguson | September 19, 2022

Despite the plethora of construction work currently available thanks to state and federal infrastructure investments and the pent-up demand for new housing it’s a challenging time for contractors.

Several factors beyond contractors’ control are negatively impacting the construction industry and increasing exposures, particularly for smaller trade contractors. Insurance rates are also rising at the same time, making the cost of doing business more expensive.

Here are four of the biggest issues facing contractors that agents should be aware of and how they can help their clients navigate through them:

Shortage, Higher Costs of Materials

The worldwide shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic brought the production of construction materials like steel, lumber and appliances to a screeching halt, which has seriously disrupted global supply chains over the last 18 to 24 months.

More than 90% of builders reported some type of material shortage last year, which was the most widespread shortage since the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) began tracking shortages in the 1990s.… read more > “4 Issues Facing Contractors That Agents Must Know”

Assailant coverage evolves as shootings rise

By Matthew Lerner | September 01, 2022

Interest in active assailant insurance coverage has risen among an expanding range of organizations in the wake of several recent mass shootings.

Most demand comes from businesses and organizations in the United States, which has seen high-profile shootings in New York, Texas, Illinois and elsewhere over the past several months. U.S. policyholders account for 80% or more of the coverage bought, experts say. 

The insurance products, which were often called active shooter policies when they were launched about seven years ago, have been expanded and wider definitions applied as attackers employed different methods including knife and vehicle attacks.

There is “absolutely” more interest in this coverage, said Morgan Shrubb, New York-based head of terrorism for Axa XL, a unit of Axa SA. Her team now offers active assailant coverage on all of its quotes for terrorism insurance and the take-up rate has doubled this year, she said.… read more > “Assailant coverage evolves as shootings rise”

Race, Class and Traffic Deaths

A surge in vehicle crashes is disproportionately harming lower-income families and Black Americans.

Aug. 23, 2022

Vehicle crashes seem as if they might be an equal-opportunity public health problem. Americans in every demographic group drive, after all. If anything, poor families tend to rely more on public transportation and less on car travel.

Yet vehicle deaths turn out to be highly unequal. Lower-income people are much more likely to die in crashes, academic research shows. The racial gaps are also huge — even bigger on a percentage basis than the racial gaps on cancer, according to the C.D.C.

The unequal toll from crashes is particularly notable now because the U.S. is experiencing an alarming increase in vehicle deaths. Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, recently called it “a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways.” And the toll is falling most heavily on lower-income Americans and Black Americans.… read more > “Race, Class and Traffic Deaths”

NYC comptroller denies all 4,703 claims over flooding from Ida

By: Aliza Chasan | August 17, 2022

Damage to the side of a building from the remnants of Hurricane Ida is shown on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York. Three people were killed when several feet of water collapsed the wall to their basement apartment and flooded the apartment. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York City’s comptroller’s office shot down the thousands of people who filed financial claims against the city in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

Historic flooding from the drenching downpours destroyed the homes of many in 2021. In the aftermath, 4,703 people filed complaints with the city because of the flooding, as first reported by THE CITY. Each complaint was denied, a spokesperson for Comptroller Brad Lander’s office said. Letters went out to New Yorkers explaining that New York is not legally responsible.

“For over a century, courts have held that municipalities across the state of New York, including the City of New York, are not liable for damage from ‘extraordinary and excessive rainfalls,’” Lander wrote to New Yorkers in the denial letter.… read more > “NYC comptroller denies all 4,703 claims over flooding from Ida”

Cyber Captives 101: Is Self-Insuring the Right Risk Mitigation Choice for Your Business?

Cyber coverage is tightening. Could captives be the safety valve for businesses looking to manage this ever-threatening risk?

Courtney DuChene | June 1, 2022

Bring up cyber insurance coverage in any board room and you’re likely to be met with heavy sighs.

Policy rates are increasing as insurers struggle to make cyber lines profitable. Policy terms are tightening and risk managers everywhere are starting to feel the pinch on their risk-transfer pocketbooks.

“We have certainly noticed an uptick in the anxiety levels in many of the clients I spoke to about cyber solutions going forward and yet still the same anxiety stems from the exposure, the vulnerability and the fact that they are as yet unsure where their captive coverage begins and what role the captive could or should play,” said Adrian Lynch, executive vice president, North America, Bermuda and Cayman at Artex Risk Solutions, Gallagher’s wholly-owned subsidiary for alternative risk and captives.… read more > “Cyber Captives 101: Is Self-Insuring the Right Risk Mitigation Choice for Your Business?”

25 Years: The Journey of Cyber Insurance

25 Years: The Journey of Cyber Insurance

Kurtis Suhs | July 6, 2022

While young underwriters may think that cyber insurance is a recent coverage innovation, the line is actually more than two decades old. Here, Kurtis Suhs, a veteran of the cyber insurance industry who served as an investigator and criminal coordinator for the FDIC early in his career and later as a broker for INSUREtrust in the late 1990s, gives a personal account of the development of the cyber insurance industry from his vantage point and assessment of the market today.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the cyber insurance market.

While many industry observers view cyber coverage as a surging phenomenon in response to escalating incidence of random attacks, the first cyber policy was envisioned and crafted in 1997 to address a then perceived risk identified by financial regulators. The journey of cyber insurance launched to protect against a little-known exposure of Internet fraud related to cyber risk is today the hottest, fastest growing sector of the world’s insurance markets.… read more > “25 Years: The Journey of Cyber Insurance”

My daughter has a rare seizure-inducing condition. She wasn’t diagnosed until insurance agreed to pay for genetic testing.

FEMA Pushing for Stronger Building Codes Nationwide

Kelly Burch | June 13, 2022

Kali Worth and her family. Courtesy of Kali Worth

• Kali Worth’s daughter had up to 200 seizures a day, plus other challenges.
• She eventually was diagnosed with SYNGAP1, a genetic condition.
• This is Kali’s story, as told to Kelly Burch.

I knew something was different about my daughter Kai long before I was ready to admit it. By her first birthday, Kai would injure herself when she got upset, scratching at her eyes and mouth or biting her wrists. She wasn’t walking or communicating well.

A friend with a background in childhood development once pointed out that Kai’s jacket was always falling off. Her body was so limp that the coat just slipped down. I got defensive because I wasn’t ready to admit to myself or someone else that something was wrong.

As a first-time mom, you don’t know what typical development looks like, so it’s easy to push your worries aside.… read more > “My daughter has a rare seizure-inducing condition. She wasn’t diagnosed until insurance agreed to pay for genetic testing.”

FEMA Pushing for Stronger Building Codes Nationwide

FEMA Pushing for Stronger Building Codes Nationwide

June 2, 2022

On the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, federal officials announced a new initiative to modernize building codes across the country so that communities can be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.

Deanne Criswell, the administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Ali Zaidi, the deputy national climate advisor to President Joe Biden, discussed the initiative Wednesday during a briefing at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, where Hurricane Andrew caused $26 billion in damage in 1992, and recovering from a similar hit could cost hundreds of billions today.

Nearly two out of every three communities in the United States have outdated building codes and, as a result, are vulnerable to climate impacts and higher energy costs, officials said. The initiative is designed help state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments adopt current building codes and standards, enabling communities to be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.… read more > “FEMA Pushing for Stronger Building Codes Nationwide”

Is remote work going away? New York City employers don’t think so: survey

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Is remote work going away? According to a survey of 160 major employers in New York City, it’s not likely.

BY Sarah Vasile | May 9, 2022

Nearly 80% of city employers told The Partnership for New York City that they intended on using a hybrid work model for employees. Only 38% of Manhattan office workers are back in the office on the average weekday, with 28% still fully remote.

Only 8% of employees are in the office five days a week, the survey found. Still, the amount of fully remote workers dropped since October 2021 — from 54% to 28% as of April 2022.

A significant amount of employers — 91% — are encouraging employees to return to the office despite hybrid flexibility, the report found. Of those, 64% are using incentives, including social activities and transportation subsidies, to sweeten the deal.

Most employers surveyed said they expect New York City-based workers to increase or stay.… read more > “Is remote work going away? New York City employers don’t think so: survey”

With Supply More Abundant, Pharmacies Struggle to Use Up Covid Pills

The White House on Tuesday announced new steps to expand access to Paxlovid, the Covid-19 antiviral pill. But experts say that efforts to reach at-risk Americans remain complex and inefficient.

By: Noah Weiland | April 26, 2022

Adeolu Odewale, right, the owner of Demmy’s Pharmacy in Greenbelt, Md., had been eager to obtain Paxlovid for his high-risk customers,
but so far, he has dispensed it to just seven people. Credit…Shuran Huang for The New York Times

GREENBELT, Md. — Last month, the owner of a small pharmacy here secured two dozen courses of Pfizer’s new medication for treating Covid-19, eager to quickly provide them to his high-risk customers who test positive for the virus.

More than a month later, the pharmacy, Demmy’s, has dispensed the antiviral pills to just seven people. The remaining stock is sitting in neatly packed rows on its shelves here in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. And the owner, Adeolu Odewale, is scrambling to figure out how to get the medication, Paxlovid, to more people as cases have increased over 80 percent in Maryland in recent days.… read more > “With Supply More Abundant, Pharmacies Struggle to Use Up Covid Pills”