Coverage College® is a virtual seminar that includes advanced-level classes on a variety of cutting edge issues confronting insurance professionals. Every year hundreds of insurance professionals from across the country attend the College, creating opportunities for networking and meeting new people. Our virtual conference offers the same great opportunities to catch up with friends and colleagues during a day of education!
9:00 AM – WELCOME
9:15 AM – 10:15 AM: GENERAL SESSION – Social Inflation: Is it Here to Stay?
Panel: Mia Finsness – Managing Director, Global Casualty Underwriting and Claims, Markel; Jane Mandigo – Sr. Vice President, Senior Claims Expert, Swiss Re; and Robert G. Devine – Chair, Litigation Department, White and Williams LLP
Moderator: Michael S. Olsan – Chair, Commercial Litigation Department, White and Williams LLP
Social inflation, a phrase used to describe rising jury verdicts and negative attitudes towards corporate defendants and insurance companies, has been a concern since the 1970s. With verdicts in the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, the industry must confront social inflation and make every effort to bring it back to manageable levels. In this general session, you will hear from two insurance executives about how social inflation has impacted the industry as well as a skilled defense trial attorney who has first-hand experience with the juries that seek to punish corporate defendants. The panel will present a brief background of social inflation, followed by a more in-depth discussion of how it has negatively affected the insurance industry, what can be done to minimize the effects, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM: BREAK
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM: TRACK ONE PROGRAMS (Select One)
A. Insurer Mediation in 2020: Strategies for Effectively Mediating Complex Coverage Disputes
This class will cover strategies for global mediation of a complex claim in which there are disputes in the underlying action as to liability and damages, as well as coverage disputes between multiple insurers and their respective insureds. Presenters will outline what claims professionals can do in advance of a mediation to enhance the likelihood of resolution at mediation, as well as discuss common issues presented at the mediation itself.
Topics will include: How to handle an insured with multiple policies or coverage towers providing different coverages? Can an insurer settle less than all claims? What can or should an insurer do when faced with a policy limits demand? And, what strategies can an insurer consider if there appears to be a stalemate at the mediation (such as the use of brackets, a mediator’s proposal or a joint pretrial/settlement conference)? Presenters also explore when an insurer must or should intervene in the underlying action to allocate a judgment, if any, between uncovered and potentially covered damages. The program will also cover some of the benefits and challenges presented by virtual mediations, which are now more frequent due to COVID-19.
B. U.S. Privacy Law Under CCPA and BIPA: Knowing the Liability and Coverage Issues
Two privacy statutes that have had critical affect in 2020 are the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). CCPA went into effect January 1, 2020 and became enforceable on July 1, 2020. BIPA has seen an explosion of litigation over the last twelve months. Both Acts have private causes of action. This session will provide a crash course in CCPA and BIPA and rights afforded under them. It will also discuss the liabilities implicated by these statutes, coverage issues, and recent judicial decisions impacting the scope of liability or coverage for both statutes.
C. A Practical Discussion of EPLI Defense and Coverage Issues, Including Pandemic Based Concerns
Finding that a claim is a related act can have a substantial impact on the applicable timeframe for coverage purposes. If future claims relate back to earlier filed claims, insurers may be asked to cover claims outside of their policy period. This program will examine when employment claims are related acts and how such determinations impact insurers in terms of the timeframe for coverage. It will also address steps that a carrier can take in the underwriting and drafting process to minimize subsequent problems.
D. Difficult Times Ahead: The Insurance Fraud Forecast for 2021 and Beyond
This presentation will cover the challenges that insurers may face in 2021 and beyond because of the growing potential for fraudulent claims. Any way you slice it, 2021 could be a banner year for insurance fraud of every description, and insurers will likely face unprecedented challenges investigating and covering claims. Insurers should anticipate a significant surge in insurance fraud scams across all lines of coverage resulting from not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also in the wake of destruction caused by epic hurricanes and wildfires. This perfect storm of natural disasters will cause serious financial strain and uncertainty for many individuals and businesses across the U.S. Based on past experience, insurance fraud is often an early indicator of a worsening economic crisis.
11:15 AM – 11:30 AM: TRACK ONE BREAKOUTS
11:30 AM – 11:45 AM : BREAK
11:45 AM – 12:30 PM: GENERAL SESSION – Coverage Opinions Greatest Hits
Randy Maniloff, author of Coverage Opinions, will review some of the best cases of the past few years that provide a lesson for insurers or have the potential to influence other courts – his criteria to be a greatest hit. A wide array of liability coverage issues will be addressed and you will be sure to gain insights from this collection of Coverage Opinions greatest hits.
12:30 PM – 1:00 PM: LUNCH / NETWORKING
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM: TRACK TWO PROGRAMS (Select One)
A. Functus In-Officio: Exploring Exceptions to the Finality of Arbitral Awards
Finality is, in many ways, the cornerstone of the arbitration process. One of the advantages of arbitration is that it seeks to deliver the final determination of a dispute between parties by requiring that the award be ‘final and binding’. By agreeing to arbitrate, parties effectively relinquish their right to later seek judicial interpretation of an arbitral award. What happens, though, when a party to the arbitration argues that an award cannot be enforced – either because the award contains ambiguities, or because complying with its terms would pose practical impossibilities? To address these and other concerns, courts have created several exceptions to the doctrine of functus officio.
This presentation will discuss three of the most common exceptions to functus officio – namely, scenarios where: (1) the arbitrator can correct a mistake which is apparent on the face of the award; (2) the award does not adjudicate an issue which has been submitted, then as to the issue the arbitrator has not exhausted his function and it remains open to him for subsequent determination; and (3) the award, although seemingly complete, leaves doubt whether the submission has been fully executed, an ambiguity arises which the arbitrator is entitled to clarify. Presenters will use both existing case law and hypotheticals to explore why courts have found that an exception should apply and how these exceptions can impact parties’ rights (including rights related to confirmation and/or vacatur of an award).
B. How Are Insurers Faring in COVID-19 Business Interruption Litigation?
This program will address first-party business interruption claims arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will include a comprehensive review of the key cases decided by the courts to date and the identification of emerging trends within that case law, as well as a review of key coverage issues – physical damage requirement, certain exclusions that bar coverage, and the intended scope of civil authority coverage. The panel will also provide an update on legislative efforts to address business interruption claims.
C. “because of … sex” – the Implications of Bostock on Gender Claims Under Title VII
In a landmark decision, regarding the scope of “employment discrimination based on … sex,” the United States Supreme Court reasoned, “In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee.” The Court applied this broad language in the Georgia case, Bostock v Clayton County, and ruled, “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.” This program will discuss the Title VII provision because of sex, the Bostock decision and the implications for employment claims and litigation under Title VII.
D. PFAs are Here to Stay: An Overview of the Most Significant Environmental Concern Today
While PFAs were valued for their ability to create non-stick surfaces, they are the latest in a list of environmental concerns that are not going away. This course will explore what PFAs are and discuss their potential risks to human health and the environment, along with a discussion of the current state of PFAs regulations and litigation. In addition, there will be a discussion of the types of insurance policies impacted by these claims and the coverage issues likely to arise under those policies with respect to PFAs-related claims.
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM: TRACK TWO BREAKOUTS
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM: CLOSING REMARKS
*There is no cost to attend Coverage College® except for attorneys in private practice and non-sponsor vendors for whom tuition is $249. *Continuing Legal Education (CLE) in PA, NY, NJ, DE and IL and Continuing Education (CE) in TX, FL, OK, DE credits are available. In addition to the states listed here, a certificate of attendance will be issued to all attendees which can be used in other states with reciprocity.
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