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For Anderson Kill P.C.’s policyholder clients, what’s old is new again.
Asbestos litigation, for example, has been going on for years but is evolving, said Robert Horkovich, a New York-based managing shareholder with Anderson Kill, citing the example of Johnson & Johnson facing thousands of claims alleging that asbestos in the company’s talc-based products caused mesothelioma.
Meanwhile, directors and officers liability coverage remains “very important” as shareholder and other lawsuits continue to be filed against corporate directors and officers, he said.
Now add emerging risks such as cyber and opioids to the mix, Mr. Horkovich said.
“Cyber obviously has become much more important,” he said. “It’s a new frontier of risk … that risk managers have to deal with. And it’s an evolving, unfolding risk.” “Here, we are now with a whole new layer of talc cases and opioids presenting new, daunting liability challenges,” Mr. Horkovich added.
Another evolving area to monitor are first-party losses caused by natural catastrophes, he said. “The numbers don’t lie,” Mr. Horkovich said. “Whatever the politics of debating global warning, the fact of the matter is that there are more severe storms than there ever have been, and that’s affecting the property market.”
Anderson Kill has served as lead or co-counsel in several cases that scored key victories for policyholders. In November 2018, a New York appeals court affirmed that an American International Group Inc. unit must defend the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and several contractors against asbestos claims brought by construction workers on the original World Trade Center, according to American Home Assurance Co. v. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey et al.
“The Port Authority World Trade Center case is very important,” Mr. Horkovich said. “It clarified that the duty to defend is not severable. It’s not pro rata. Each insurer on the risk is on the risk 100% and that principle has now been very clearly stated. The insurance companies have to defend the entire claim. They can’t pick and choose what parts of the claim they want to defend.”
In Siltronic Corp. v. Employers Insurance Co. of Wausau et al., an Oregon court granted Siltronic’s motion for summary judgment in November 2018, after holding the exclusion for “expected or intended” pollution did not apply because the policyholder Siltronic bought the property at the heart of the case not knowing it was already contaminated with highly toxic coal tar. Mr. Horkovich called the decision “a win for the policyholder and win for the environment.”
• Caterpillar Inc. — Caterpillar’s in-house legal team won changes to the captive law in Illinois to help make the state a more attractive captive domicile and led innovations in captive financing for employee benefits.
• McCarter & English LLP — McCarter & English’s insurance coverage team has won numerous cases for policyholders in property damage and business interruption claims, errors and omissions and directors and officers coverage cases.
• Squire Patton Boggs — Squire Patton Boggs has expanded its capacity, including its expertise in insurtech, and has represented insurers in numerous actions, including asbestos and environmental coverage disputes, and construction defects.
• Wiley Rein LLP — Wiley Rein’s insurance practice has won numerous cases including False Claims Act litigation, asbestos liability litigation, and an insurance coverage dispute.
Business Insurance presented the second annual U.S. Insurance Awards on March 21 in New York, and more than 450 people gathered to celebrate the achievements of outstanding insurance and risk management professionals.