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When a Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch: An Appraiser’s Bias May Cost the Policyholder in the Long Run

In a long-awaited decision, Colorado’s highest court ruled a designated appraiser in a property insurance dispute must remain impartial and free from favoring one party over the other. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the policy language required appraisers to be “unbiased, disinterested, and unswayed by personal interest.” This decision is a win for the insurance industry, although the Supreme Court created a framework that is certain to lead to disputes about an appraiser’s partiality in the future. The decision

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Part 1: The California Consumer Privacy Act — What Insurers Need to Know

Assembly Bill No. 375, better known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is likely the most robust and sweeping privacy law in the United States. This is not surprising as California is notoriously at the forefront of passing privacy legislation, even though close to 20 other states are also taking steps to pass similar legislation. The CCPA, which becomes effective January 1, 2020, creates a number of consumer rights regarding the collection, storage, selling, and processing of personal information,

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Florida Ends Waiting Game and Creates Statutory Right of Contribution for Defense Costs

While Florida’s new Omnibus Insurance Bill for the most part updates laws relating to Florida surplus lines, its provision relating to a right of contribution for defense costs will have far-reaching effects on Florida’s insurance industry, especially in the context of multiple-policy/insurer actions, construction defect claims, and premises liability claims. Florida House Bill 301, signed by the governor on June 18, 2019, creates Florida Statute Section 624.1055. This section effectively reverses the established prohibition in Florida for causes of action

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Pennsylvania Federal Court Reinforces The Principle That Liability Policies Insure Against Legal Obligations Owed To Others

Defense and indemnity obligations owed under liability policies depend on the allegations made in the underlying lawsuit. In NVR, Inc. v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co., 2019 WL 989393 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 1, 2019), NVR, an additional insured under a CGL policy sought coverage for two lawsuits that arose out of a heater explosion at a construction site. NVR was the defendant in personal injury litigation. In a separate lawsuit, NVR sought recovery for property damage that it incurred due to the

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Congratulations, World! Atmospheric CO2 Levels Have Not Been This High in the Past Three Million Years

The world set a new record in May 2019, at least on a human perspective. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached 415.26 ppm on May 14, as recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, a level not seen in the past three million years. To put that into perspective, the last time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were this high, there were no humans on Earth. This was the Pliocene Epoch, where global temperatures were on average 2-3°C (3.6-5.8°F) higher than today; the

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Fifth Circuit: False Imprisonment Caused “Bodily Injury” During Subsequent Policy Periods Sufficient to Trigger Coverage

In a notable deviation from decisions across the country, the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that injuries from false imprisonment could be sustained after the actual false imprisonment itself ended, triggering two insurers’ duty to defend. Travelers Indem. Co. v. Mitchell, No. 17-60291, 2019 WL 2276694 (5th Cir. May 29, 2019). The insurers, whose policies did not come into existence until after the false imprisonment ended, were found obligated to defend a Mississippi County in a civil rights lawsuit stemming from

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Eleventh Circuit Holds Unlicensed Professional Was Not Engaging In “Professional Services”

The courts frequently apply insuring agreements broadly. However, in a recent decision, a court narrowly applied the definition of “professional services” to restrict coverage. Specifically, in Chapman v. Ace American Insurance Company, the Eleventh Circuit determined the services provided by an individual holding himself out as a counselor did not constitute “professional services.”     The underlying lawsuit concerned Mark and Barbara Chapman’s ten-year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD and had a history of behavioral problems. The Chapman family

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