For the insurance broker, the time is now, right now, to do everything possible to document the claims discussions, to make records of admissions acknowledgements that the insurance in place was the result of conscious and informed decisions, and to make sure account files are preserved as fully as possible.
After catastrophic events, “there may be state or federal assistance offered, and insurance will provide coverage for significant percentages of the injured parties’ losses. But there are always individuals and businesses without sufficient insurance, or who believe they have insurance only to find that they have no coverage at all, or whose claims have been disputed or denied,” Goldberg Segalla’s Peter J. Biging and Christopher F. Lyon write in PLUS Journal. “Like the waves rolling toward the shore, following the initial losses resulting from these disasters and catastrophic events and the making of claims, the next wave invariably involves lawsuits brought against the insurers who have denied the claims. This is inevitably followed by a wave of claims against insurance agents and brokers.”
In their article, Peter and Chris, members of the firm’s Management and Professional Liability practice, address and analyze the serious insurance agent and broker errors and omissions (E&O) risks associated with natural disasters, cybercrime, and pandemics, including the current global outbreak of COVID-19. They discuss traditional agent and broker E&O exposures, expanded exposures based on application of fiduciary standards of care, risks to third parties, and other complicating factors. Finally, they provide detailed guidance and strategies for defending against the inevitable wave of agent/broker E&O claims that will follow the COVID-19 pandemic and future catastrophes.
“For the insurance broker, the time is now, right now, to do everything possible to document the claims discussions, to make records of admissions acknowledgements that the insurance in place was the result of conscious and informed decisions, and to make sure account files are preserved as fully as possible,” they conclude.
Peter J. Biging is a partner based in Goldberg Segalla’s Manhattan office. He as vice chair of the firm’s national Management and Professional Liability practice and leads the MPL practice across the firm’s four Metro New York offices. Peter is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney with more than 30 years of experience as a litigator in the state and federal courts of New York. His practice focuses on litigation involving directors and officers, financial institutions and defense of management and professional liability claims, including the defense of a variety of professionals against errors and omissions claims, labor and employment practices litigation, commercial litigation, municipal liability litigation, and professional liability coverage work.
Christopher F. Lyon, based in Goldberg Segalla’s Manhattan office, focuses his practice on counseling and defending accountants, architects, engineers, insurance agents and brokers, lawyers, and a variety of professionals with respect to professional errors and omissions claims. He practices in the state and federal courts, and has substantial experience handling all aspects of litigation, including trials and appeals. He has been a proactive member in the professional liability defense community, and most recently published in the PLUS Journal with the co-authored piece entitled “Which Lawyer Was Responsible?” and further co-authored “The Growing Landscape of Cyber Insurance” in support of the presentation at the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice conference in 2020.