2021 Curriculum

The College provides an opportunity for insurance professionals to engage in a rigorous study of a diverse insurance coverage curriculum. The College also features two General Sessions that will address emerging issues in the insurance industry and an overview that will address 10 key duty to defend issues, how policy language and courts treat them and ways that insurers can avoid a potentially costly misstep when it comes to this important issue.

9:00 AM – WELCOME 

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: GENERAL SESSIONEmerging Issues

Panel: Natalie Douglass, Esq., Chief Legal Director – Management Liability Practice, Gallagher | Tim Fletcher, Vice President, Senior Emerging Issues Specialist, Gen Re | Thomas A. Warnock, Associate General Counsel, Corporate Affairs, Corteva 

Moderator: Patricia B. Santelle, Chair Emeritus/Former Managing Partner and Chair, Executive Committee, White and Williams LLP


10:00 AM – 10:10 AM: BREAK


10:10 AM – 10:30 AM:

Session 1: Covid-19 Business Interruption Litigation – Where Are We Now?

Edward M. Koch and Marc L. Penchansky

Over a year and a half into the pandemic, there are hundreds of court decisions in Covid-19 business interruption litigation. This session will focus on the key insurer and policyholder arguments and victories to date, and will provide a forecast as to where all of this is going.


10:30 AM – 10:40 AM: BREAK


10:40 AM – 11:00 AM:

Session 2: An Overview of Restrictive Covenant Practices

Vincent N. Barbera and Scott H. Casher

In this session we will offer a primer on the types, scope, and purposes of non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-acceptance clauses commonly utilized in employment agreements. This will include a discussion of drafting considerations from the perspective of enforceability. We will also discuss recent developments in the law as well as trends that we have seen in the use of restrictive covenants and in enforcement and defense of claims arising out of their alleged breach. The session will close with some comments on insurance industry implications. 


11:00 AM – 11:10 AM: BREAK


11:10 AM – 11:30 AM:

Session 3: Life Cycle of a Construction Claim

Anthony L. Miscioscia, Marianne Bradley and Laura Rossi

Claims professionals will benefit from this presentation by obtaining knowledge about how to handle a construction accident (bodily injury) or construction defect (property damage) claim – from start to finish. They will be taught how to respond to an initial notice/tender, what to do during the handling of the claim, and advised of strategies and considerations for settling or trying the underlying action. This session is designed to provide a high level overview of the tasks and decisions a claim professional may need to take in handling such a claim and evaluating the extent of the carrier’s potential obligation to defend and/or indemnify the named insured or other, additional insureds.


11:30 AM – 11:40 AM: BREAK


11:40 AM – 12:00 PM:

Session 4: Anatomy of a Bad Faith Calamity

Craig E. Stewart

This presentation will show how a series of missteps in responding to an uninsured/underinsured motor vehicle claim, involving a dead deer, resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement, far in excess of the insurer’s commercial auto policy limits. Using a hypothetical that involves elements of an actual case, the audience will see the importance of: (i) schooling TPA’s to provide an immediate warning of a potentially dangerous claim and timely responding to correspondence from the insured’s counsel; (ii) knowing the law of the applicable jurisdiction; (iii) quickly acknowledging and correcting an erroneous denial of coverage; and (iv) making a reasonable offer of settlement based on an assessment of liability and damages that is supported by expert testimony.


12:00 PM – 12:45 PM: LUNCH


12:45 PM – 1:05 PM:

Session 5: Where There’s Smoke, There’s a Coverage Dispute

Adam M. Berardi and Lynndon K. Groff

Injuries from and issues related to the usage of e-cigarette or vaping products have come into particular focus over the last few years. In addition to long-term effects comparable to regular cigarettes, the potential for more immediate injury is also a cause for concern. While traditional cigarette smoking rates among high school students have been declining for the past two decades, the rate of e-cigarette use by teenagers has doubled every year since the products first hit the market in 2015. This has caused both increased regulatory scrutiny on the vaping industry and hundreds of lawsuits brought by both governmental entities and individuals claiming they have been injured by vaping products. These lawsuits are not limited to only e-cigarette manufacturers, like Juul, but also include both retailers and distributors of vaping products. As has been the case with other potentially dangerous products, e-cigarettes rapid rise in both popularity and ensuing litigation has led to a new breed of complex coverage claims for insurers.

This course will discuss (i) how e-cigarettes work and why they appeal to adolescents; (ii) the nature of the underlying claims, including the causes of action typically asserted and the types of defendants involved; (iii) the coverage issues arising from vaping claims, such as does nicotine addiction constitute “bodily injury”, and (iv) the importance of indemnity agreements and how they may play a key role in determining who picks up the (potentially costly) defense of these claims.


1:05 PM – 1:15 PM: BREAK


1:15 PM – 1:35 PM:

Session 6: PFAS are Here to Stay: The “Forever Chemical” That Will Impact the Insurance Industry for Years to Come

Gregory S. Capps, Robert F. Walsh and Sara C. Tilitz 

Claims professionals will benefit from this presentation by obtaining knowledge about what is an emerging risk in the insurance industry, per- and polyfluoroalkyl (“PFAS”) substances. The session will provide an overview of: (i) what the substances are; (ii) the regulatory framework pertaining to these substances; (iii) the litigation to date and what is anticipated; and (iv) the coverage issues expected to arise in this context.


1:35 PM – 1:45 PM: BREAK


1:45 PM – 2:05 PM:

Session 7: Excess Coverage After Below-Limits Primary Settlement? Old Law, New Issues

Eric B. Hermanson and Austin D. Moody

For almost a century, the so-called “Zeig Rule” has allowed policyholders to “fill the gap” and trigger excess coverage, when an underlying primary carrier settled a disputed coverage claim below the full limits of its policy. But over the last decade or so, that rule has come under increasing attack. Beginning with Comerica Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, 498 F.Supp.2d 1017 (E.D. Mich. 2007) and Qualcomm v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, 161 Cal. App.4th 184 (2008), a number of cases have questioned Zeig’s reasoning, and allowed excess carriers to avoid liability, where the primary carrier and insurer resolve a disputed claim for less than full limits of underlying coverage. Over the last two or three years the debate has sharpened, with significant new rulings in Delaware, Connecticut, and other jurisdictions.

This session examines the Zeig rule, its rationale, its critics, its practical implications, and the emerging legal authority on both sides of the debate. 


2:05 PM – 2:15 PM: BREAK


2:15 PM – 3:00 PM:

Top 10 Duty to Defend Issues

Randy J. Maniloff

The duty to defend is one of the most important liability coverage issues. It is relevant in just about all liability claims – regardless of the type of policy or facts at issue. There are numerous aspects of the duty to defend – some tied to the primary policy language and others the product of case law. The treatment of many duty to defend issues vary by state based on judicial decisions. The consequences for an insurer, of breaching the duty to defend, can be severe. This program will address 10 key duty to defend issues, how policy language and courts treat them and ways that insurers can avoid a potentially costly misstep when it come to this important issue.


3:00 PM: Closing Remarks

Andrew F. Susko, Managing Partner

*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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