Legislative, Regulatory and Litigation

Find stories on Lawsuits and Litigation including Business Interruption and Auto rate issues. You’ll also find, executive orders, workers’ compensation, federal, and state matters impacting the insurance industry here.

LAWSUITS AND LITIGATION

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION


NOVEMBER 16
Insurers tell UK court they can’t provide unlimited virus cover

Major insurance companies told the U.K. Supreme Court on Monday it was wrong to assume there could be unlimited cover during a pandemic in an appeal closely watched by thousands of British businesses devastated by the coronavirus crisis. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 11
NAIC 2020 Fall National Meeting to Include Special Session on Business Interruption

The NAIC Center for Insurance Policy and Research (CIPR) will hold a three-hour special session during the NAIC 2020 Fall National Meeting. The special session titled “Pandemic Business Interruption Federal Insurance Mechanism – Learning from the Past, Thinking About the Future” will take place Tuesday, December 8, 2020 from 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central Time. Read more here.

OCTOBER 23
Insurer to Appeal Restaurants’ Win in North Carolina COVID Business Interruption Case

A judge in Durham County, North Carolina has handed down what may be the nation’s first dispositive ruling in favor of policyholders in a COVID-19 business-interruption lawsuit. Read more here.

OCTOBER 21
FAIR releases a digital BI insurance explainer
The Future of American Insurance and Reinsurance (FAIR) has released a new interactive tool to help showcase the need for a federal solution to pandemic relief. The Business Interruption Insurance “explainer” utilizes digital storytelling techniques to help clarify information about this complex topic.

OCTOBER 20
Court: Broker not liable for COVID-19 business interruption claim denial

After an insurance carrier denied a lawyer and her law firm’s claim for lost business income due to the COVID-19-related shutdown, she sued both her carrier and the insurance producer that procured the policy. Read more here.

OCTOBER 14
Houston Rockets Lawsuit Against RI Insurer Is Playing Out in, Not on, a RI Court

Playing out in a Rhode Island courtroom is a legal battle between the NBA’s Houston Rockets’ parent company and the arena the team plays in, as they are suing Rhode Island-based FM Global — a case that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars or potentially far more. Read more here.

OCTOBER 12
Insurer seeks dismissal of COVID-19 suit filed by McDonald’s, franchisees

An insurer has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by McDonald’s Corp. and two of its franchisees over the insurer’s refusal to defend them in COVID-19 litigation filed by the fast-food chain’s employees. Read more here.

OCTOBER 6
LA Restaurant Loses Legal Battle in Ongoing Coronavirus Insurance Fight

A Los Angeles restaurant faced a legal setback in a lawsuit against its insurance company this week, setting precedent for what could be a tough round of claim denials for restaurants negatively affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

Hollywood’s Insurer Braces for Claims Due to COVID-Related Movie, TV Shutdowns
Allianz SE, Europe’s largest insurer, is bracing for a flood of claims after movie and television studios were forced to curtail production during lockdown. Read more here.

OCTOBER 2
Hartford, Travelers Won’t Face Combined Virus-Loss Claims

Hartford Financial Services Group, The Travelers Cos. Inc. and other insurers won’t have to face a consolidation of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of business-interruption claims tied to the Covid-19 outbreak, a group of judges concluded. Read more here.

OCTOBER 1
German Court Rules Insurer Must Pay Restaurant’s Lockdown Claim

A German court has ruled that a Munich restaurant’s insurer must pay out a claim for losses caused by the state-imposed COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, the first prominent such case in Germany in which the court found in favor of the plaintiff. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 29
Advising Capitol Hill on insurance
While other companies have been asking lawmakers for aid and support during the coronavirus pandemic, insurance company Allstate has spent its time lobbying against government intervention in their work. Read more here

SEPTEMBER 17
Ohio Governor Signs COVID-19 Legislation
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law legislation that protects businesses and others from lawsuits arising from exposure to COVID-19. The legislation follows similar laws enacted by Georgia, Idaho, Nevada and Tennessee. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 16
Travelers wins business interruption lawsuit case
A federal judge in California has ruled that Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America is not obligated to cover the pandemic-related business losses of a San Francisco-based retailer. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 15
UK policyholders hail victory in battle over COVID-19 insurance claims

London judges have ruled that some of the world’s biggest insurers were wrong to reject tens of thousands of claims from small firms battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

Coronavirus Legal Fight Between Insurers and Businesses Goes Global
A debate over whether business-interruption insurance policies held by millions of companies cover a pandemic is increasingly being tested in global courts, drawing in regulators, insurers, industry groups and company owners. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 14
Insurer Says Rejection Of COVID-19 Loss Suits Growing Daily

Aspen American Insurance Co. has told a Texas federal court that it should follow the “daily-growing” number of courts rejecting businesses’ claims seeking COVID-19 closure coverage, since its policyholder, a Minnesota dental office, failed to show physical damage from its claimed revenue loss. Read more here.

Insurer wins COVID-19 dispute with barbershops
A federal court ruled a pair of San Diego barbershops can’t recover income lost due to coronavirus-related shutdowns from their insurer. Read more here.

SF Retailer Can’t Get COVID-19 Income Loss Coverage
A California federal judge on Monday found that Travelers Casualty Insurance Co. of America doesn’t need to cover a San Francisco retailer’s business losses resulting from COVID-19 shutdowns, saying the retailer hasn’t alleged it has suffered physical damage to or loss of its property. Read more here.


AUTO

LAWSUITS

AUGUST 04
Customers sue Allstate and other large auto insurers for bigger rebates
The lawsuits allege that large car insurance companies didn’t provide enough financial relief as Illinois motorists stayed off the road during the height of the pandemic. Read more here.


IMPACT

AUGUST 10
Usage-based insurance gaining steam among consumers
63% of U.S. consumers are open to changing their current auto insurance policy for one that has a telematics-based premium. Read more here.

JULY 16
Miles driven set to drop with increased work-from-home
Working from home and online shopping have become the new normal and that will reduce driving in the U.S. by up to 270 billion miles a year, according to new study. Read more here.

JULY 06
Progressive reveals profits in face of pandemic refunds
Despite reporting a significant drop in claims and providing auto insurance customers with premium refunds, Progressive generated a substantial profit during the pandemic – a detail that consumer advocates believe is unfair to customers. Read more here.


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TEXAS AND LOCAL UPDATES

JULY 15
Houston Rockets Sue Insurer Over Denied Covid-19 Loss Claims
The Houston Rockets and billionaire owner Tilman Fertitta are suing their insurer for denying the National Basketball Association team’s bid to tap its business-interruption insurance policy over revenue losses from the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JULY 14
Texas hospitals are running out of drugs, beds, ventilators and even staff
Many Texas hospitals are no longer accepting transfer patients in order to maintain space for a surge that’s expected to come. In some parts of the state, it’s already here. Read more here.

Houston Leaders Urge Citywide Lockdown Amid Virus Case Surge
Top officials in Houston are calling for the city to lock back down as area hospitals strain to accommodate the onslaught of patients sick with the new coronavirus. Read more here.

JULY 09
Is the coronavirus pandemic putting Texas businesses at a higher risk of lawsuits?

As COVID-19 cases rise, the legal aspect is one of many in which businesses are navigating between staying afloat and keeping people safe. Some are pushing for a legal shield granting businesses immunity — but others are pushing back, worried that the current legal environment does not protect workers enough. Read more here.


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TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE

ICT Summaries of TDI COVID-19 Related Actions
TDI and has been issuing bulletins and emergency rules to keep up with the changing needs and issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since these are coming in at a rapid pace, ICT has compiled summaries of each agency’s actions up to October 1 for reference.
Read the TDI summary here.

JUNE 30
Texas Insurance Department Asked to Conduct Auto Insurance Data Call
The Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) has asked the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to conduct a special data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state to gather information about personal auto claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JUNE 26
OPIC requests auto insurance data call
The Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) sent a letter to Commissioner Sullivan requesting that TDI conduct a special data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state to gather information about personal auto claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

JUNE 24
TDI extends telemedicine emergency rule into September

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is extending a requirement that insurers cover telemedicine services, including mental health visits, at the same rate as in-person visits. Read more here.

JUNE 16
Texas Returning to Normal Temporary Agent License Process on Aug. 15

Anyone with a temporary license issued August 15 or earlier will have until Nov. 13 to get a regular license. Read more here.

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DWC AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION NEWS


ICT Summaries DWC COVID-19 Related Actions
DWC has been issuing bulletins and emergency rules to keep up with the changing needs and issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since these are coming in at a rapid pace, ICT has compiled summaries of each agency’s actions up to August 10 for reference. 
Read the DWC summary here.

NOVEMBER 10
Reduced Driving Turns Into Fewer Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic comes with one bright spot for workers’ compensation insurers: Fewer workers are being injured in motor vehicle accidents. Read more here.

OCTOBER 6
California reports comp premium declines

Written workers compensation premium in the state of California for the first two quarters of 2020 dropped more than 10% from the same quarter in 2019, according to a report released Monday by the state’s Workers Compensation Insurance Ratings Bureau. Read more here.

AUGUST 14
These Workers’ Comp Experts Agree: The Industry Must Prepare for Huge Change After the Pandemic

Workers’ comp has changed a lot over the past few years. If claims management companies want to succeed they will have to look at both the industry’s past and future. Read more here.

AUGUST 04
TDI adopts NCCI rules related to COVID-19
TDI adopted National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Item B-1441—Revisions to NCCI Manual Rules Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The filing revises and establishes rules related to paid furloughed employees and reporting final premium for employers affected by the pandemic. The changes in Item B-1441 apply to new, renewal, and outstanding policies effective on and after March 1, 2020.

JULY 29
Washington Extends Relief for Employers Struggling to Pay Workers’ Comp

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is again extending the deadline for employers that are finding it difficult to pay their workers’ compensation premiums during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.

JULY 09
NCCI Proposes Rule for Experience Rating Related to COVID-19 Claims
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) filed Item E-1407—Exclusion of COVID-19 Claims from Experience Rating and Merit Rating. The filing proposes that the changes in Item E-1407 apply to experience rating modifications with rating effective dates of August 16, 2020, and later.

JUNE 12
Early trends in COVID-19 claims

As COVID-19 continues to affect the entire insurance market, an early look at claims trends offers a good place to start when it comes to understanding the full impact of the pandemic. Read more here.

JUNE 09
Facing Workers Compensation Challenges During the Pandemic: NCCI

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives, families, business routines, and the economy. Read more here.

JUNE 04
Bills would provide rebuttable presumption for workers with COVID
Kansas lawmakers introduced three bills Wednesday that would extend coverage to workers who acquire coronavirus on the job. Read more here.

COVID 19 Regulatory & Legislative Update: WC Compensability Presumptions
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted many state legislative sessions with state legislatures adjourning early, postponing their sessions, or focusing primarily on COVID-19 and state budget-related matters. NCCI is tracking COVID-19 related legislation around the country and at the federal level. Read more here.

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FEDERAL

AUGUST 5
Texas AG Urges Congress to pass Safe to Work Act
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined 21 other states in a letter to the United States Congress urging the adoption of federal pandemic liability protections contained in the Safe to Work Act. These protections will help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-19-related litigation against first responders, healthcare workers, law enforcement, and healthcare facilities, among other entities, while ensuring victims have legal options where appropriate. Read more here.

JULY 30
Coalition Letter on Coronavirus Liability Protections

The undersigned organizations urge you to support the timely, targeted, and temporary liability relief provisions contained in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act.” These crucial protections would safeguard healthcare workers, providers, and facilities, as well as businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JULY 21
What Could Stall Another Stimulus Check? Offering Protection From Coronavirus Lawsuits
Although Republicans are warming to the idea of authorizing a second round of individual checks, a partisan impasse over a seemingly obscure issue—limited liability—could delay any federal relief from getting approved anytime soon. Read more here.

JULY 20
Taking Insurers to Court Won’t Help Business. Government Must Step In
The late, great Kenny Rogers had some pretty good advice that plaintiffs’ attorneys could heed today about knowing when to hold’em and when to fold’em. As a lawyer and former insurance commissioner and Senator, it is clear to me what our businesses don’t need right now: expensive, lengthy litigation. Read more here.

JULY 07
COVID workplace suits increase: Report

The two types of COVID-19 claims that have been filed most frequently are employment discrimination claims and work-from-home/leave claims. Read more here.

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