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Full-Text Articles in Law

Dual Regulation Of Insurance, Christopher French Dec 2018

Dual Regulation Of Insurance, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Since this country was created, the insurance industry has been principally
regulated by the states with infrequent Congressional interventions.
As the insurance industry has evolved in recent decades, however, individual
states have become unable to adequately regulate some insurers, such
as multinational insurers and foreign insurers, because they lack jurisdiction
over such entities. Simply having the federal government assume responsibility
for regulating insurers will not solve the current regulatory
problems, however, because Congress’ past forays into regulating certain
areas of insurance generally have yielded poor results. Consequently, this
Article makes the novel proposal and argument that, with the creation of ...


English Justice For An American Company?, Christopher French Dec 2017

English Justice For An American Company?, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

This Essay addresses the Halliburton Co. v. Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd. case, which is pending before England's Supreme Court. The issue before the Court is whether it is appropriate for the "neutral" arbitrator, who has a history of serving as a party-appointed arbitrator for Chubb, to serve as the "neutral" arbitrator in the matter while simultaneously serving as a party-appointed arbitrator for Chubb in another related arbitration proceeding involving the same insurance policy form and the same underlying Deepwater Horizon incident. The lower courts declined to remove the arbitrator. The Essay also addresses the question of whether London arbitration ...


Insuring Against Cyber Risk: The Evolution Of An Industry (Introduction), Christopher French Dec 2017

Insuring Against Cyber Risk: The Evolution Of An Industry (Introduction), Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Cyber risks are the newest risks of the 21st century. The breadth and cost of cyber attacks are astonishing. Worldwide damages caused by cyber attack are predicted to reach $6 trillion by 2021. Between 2015 and 2017, ransomware damages alone increased from $325 million to approximately $5 billion. In 2017, WannaCry ransomware shut down over 300,000 computer systems across 150 countries.

On April 13, 2018, the Penn State Law Review held a symposium to discuss the evolution of cyber risks and cyber insurance. The symposium was comprised of an eclectic group of legal practitioners and scholars who presented four ...


Understanding Insurance Policies As Noncontracts: An Alternative Approach To Drafting And Construing These Unique Financial Instruments, Christopher French Dec 2016

Understanding Insurance Policies As Noncontracts: An Alternative Approach To Drafting And Construing These Unique Financial Instruments, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Insurance policies commonly are understood to be a species of standardized contracts. This Article challenges that conventional wisdom and argues that insurance policies do not actually qualify as contracts under the doctrinal and theoretical bases of contract formation. It examines the process by which insurance policies are created and sold, and measures that process against the requirements for contract formation. This Article also distinguishes insurance policies from other types of standardized contracts, such as wrap agreements, which currently are the subject of much litigation and scholarly commentary. It then explores the doctrinal and theoretical bases underlying the specialized rules that ...


Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Christopher French Dec 2016

Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

In their recent article, The Black Hole Problem in Commercial Boilerplate, Professors Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati, and Robert Scott identify a phenomenon found in standardized contracts they describe as “contractual black holes.” The concept of black holes comes from theoretical physics. Under the original hypothesis, the gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that once light or information is pulled past an event horizon into a black hole, it cannot escape. In recent years, the theory has been reformulated and now the hypothesis is that some information can escape, but it is so degraded that it is virtually ...


Sex, Videos, And Insurance: How Gawker Could Have Avoided Financial Responsibility For The $140 Million Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Verdict, Christopher French May 2016

Sex, Videos, And Insurance: How Gawker Could Have Avoided Financial Responsibility For The $140 Million Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Verdict, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

On March 18, 2016, and March 22, 2016, a jury awarded Terry Bollea (a.k.a Hulk Hogan) a total of $140 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Gawker Media for posting less than two minutes of a video of Hulk Hogan having sex with his best friend’s wife. The award was based upon a finding that Gawker intentionally had invaded Hulk Hogan’s privacy by posting the video online. The case has been receiving extensive media coverage because it is a tawdry tale involving a celebrity, betrayal, adultery, sex, and the First Amendment. The case likely will ...


The Insurability Of Claims For Restitution, Christopher French May 2016

The Insurability Of Claims For Restitution, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Does and should a wrongdoer’s liability insurance cover an aggrieved party’s claim for restitution (e.g., a claim for the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains)?  This article answers those questions.  It does so by first answering the question of whether claims for restitution are covered under the terms of liability insurance policies.  Then, after concluding that they are, it addresses the question of whether claims for restitution should be insurable as a matter of public policy and insurance law theory.  There are long-standing legal and equitable principles that, on the one hand, dictate that a wrongdoer should not be ...


The Insurability Of Claims For Restitution, Christopher French May 2016

The Insurability Of Claims For Restitution, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Does and should a wrongdoer’s liability insurance cover an aggrieved party’s claim for restitution (e.g., a claim for the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains)?  This article answers those questions.  It does so by first answering the question of whether claims for restitution are covered under the terms of liability insurance policies.  Then, after concluding that they are, it addresses the question of whether claims for restitution should be insurable as a matter of public policy and insurance law theory.  There are long-standing legal and equitable principles that, on the one hand, dictate that a wrongdoer should not be ...


A Battlefield Map For Nfl V. Insurance Industry Re: Concussion Liabilities, Christopher French Dec 2015

A Battlefield Map For Nfl V. Insurance Industry Re: Concussion Liabilities, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

When the superstar athlete -“Iron Mike” Webster - a 9-time National Football League (NFL) Pro Bowler, 4-time Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers died at age 50 with severe brain dysfunction after becoming homeless and living in a truck, it was discovered he had a previously nameless disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The discovery of CTE opened the floodgates on interest in delayed manifestation brain diseases caused by repeated blows to the head. As part of that flood, numerous class actions were brought by retired NFL football players against the NFL for their alleged brain diseases ...


Revisiting Construction Defects As “Occurrences” Under Cgl Insurance Policies, Christopher French Dec 2015

Revisiting Construction Defects As “Occurrences” Under Cgl Insurance Policies, Christopher French

Christopher C. French


Imagine a situation in which a homeowner hires a contractor to redo a bathroom, for example, and the work is done incompetently such that the plumbing leaks and causes damage to other parts of the house.  If the homeowner sues the contractor to recover the costs of repairing the faulty workmanship and the damage caused by the faulty workmanship, has there been an “occurrence” that is covered by the contractor’s Commercial General Liability (“CGL”) insurance policy?  This article provides an answer to that question.

The issue of whether construction defects are occurrences under CGL insurance policies has been litigated ...


Insuring Landslides: America’S Uninsured Natural Catastrophes, Christopher French Dec 2015

Insuring Landslides: America’S Uninsured Natural Catastrophes, Christopher French

Christopher C. French


Landslides occur in all fifty states and cause approximately $3.5 billion in property damage annually. Yet, in America, “all risk” homeowners and commercial property insurance policies exclude coverage for landslides, and there is only limited availability of expensive, stand-alone “named peril” insurance policies that cover landslide losses. Consequently, the affected homeowners are often left financially devastated—homeless with a mortgage to pay on an unsaleable piece of property.

This Article analyzes the problem of insuring landslide losses in America and proposes ways to help solve it. It describes both historical and recent landslide events. It discusses the insurance industry ...


Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophies In America, Christopher French Feb 2015

Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophies In America, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Flooding is the most common natural catastrophe Americans face, accounting for 90% of all damage caused by natural catastrophes. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, for example, collectively caused over $160 billion in damage, but only approximately 10% of the Hurricane Katrina victims and 50% of the Hurricane Sandy victims had insurance to cover their flood losses. Consequently, both their homes and lives were left in ruins in the wake of the storms. Nationwide, only approximately 7% of homeowners have insurance that covers flood losses even though the risk of flooding is only increasing as coastal areas continue to be developed and ...


The Role Of The Profit Imperative In Risk Management, Christopher French Dec 2014

The Role Of The Profit Imperative In Risk Management, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Risks in the world abound.  Every day there is a chance that each of us could be in a car accident.  Or, one of us could be the victim of a tornado, flood or earthquake.  Every day someone becomes deathly ill from an insidious disease.  Our properties are in constant peril—one’s house could catch fire at any time or a tree could fall on it during a storm.  Any one of these events could have devastating financial consequences, and they are just a few of the many risks that impact our daily lives.  One of the principal ways ...


Segmented Settlements Are Not The Answer: A Response To Professor Squire’S Article, How Collective Settlements Camouflage The Costs Of Shareholder Lawsuits, Christopher C. French Dec 2012

Segmented Settlements Are Not The Answer: A Response To Professor Squire’S Article, How Collective Settlements Camouflage The Costs Of Shareholder Lawsuits, Christopher C. French

Christopher C. French

In his recent article, Professor Richard Squire offers a provocative theory in which he claims the underlying claimants in shareholder litigation against corporate policyholders are overcompensated due to what he describes as “cramdown” settlements, under which insurers are forced to settle due to the “duty to contribute” that arises under multi-layered directors and officers (“D&O”) insurance programs. He also offers a novel idea regarding how this problem could be fixed by what he refers to as “segmented” settlements in which each insurer and the policyholder would be allowed to settle separately and consider only its own interests in doing ...


The “Ensuing Loss” Clause In Insurance Policies: The Forgotten And Misunderstood Antidote To Anti-Concurrent Causation Exclusions, Chris French Dec 2011

The “Ensuing Loss” Clause In Insurance Policies: The Forgotten And Misunderstood Antidote To Anti-Concurrent Causation Exclusions, Chris French

Christopher C. French

As a result of the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco which destroyed the city, a clause known as the “ensuing loss” clause was created to address concurrent causation situations in which a loss follows both a covered peril and an excluded peril. Ensuing loss clauses appear in the exclusions section of such policies and in essence they provide that coverage for a loss caused by an excluded peril is nonetheless covered if the loss “ensues” from a covered peril. Today, ensuing loss clauses are found in “all risk” property and homeowners policies, which cover all losses except for ...


The “Non-Cumulation Clause”: An “Other Insurance” Clause By Another Name, Chris French Dec 2011

The “Non-Cumulation Clause”: An “Other Insurance” Clause By Another Name, Chris French

Christopher C. French

How long-tail liability claims such as asbestos bodily injury claims and environmental property damage claims are allocated among multiple triggered policy years can result in the shifting of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from one party to another. In recent years, insurers have argued that clauses commonly titled, “Prior Insurance and Non-Cumulation of Liability” (referred to herein as “Non-Cumulation Clauses”), which are found in commercial liability policies, should be applied to reduce or eliminate their coverage responsibilities for long-tail liability claims by shifting their coverage responsibilities to insurers that issued policies in earlier policy years. The insurers’ argument ...


Debunking The Myth That Insurance Coverage Is Not Available Or Allowed For Intentional Torts Or Damages, Christopher French Dec 2011

Debunking The Myth That Insurance Coverage Is Not Available Or Allowed For Intentional Torts Or Damages, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Over the years, a myth has developed that insurance coverage is not available or allowed for intentional injuries or damage. This myth has two primary bases: one, the “fortuity” doctrine, which provides that insurance should only cover losses that happen by chance; and two, public policy, which allegedly disfavors allowing insurance for intentional injuries or damage. This article dispels that myth. Many types of liability insurance policies expressly cover intentional torts including trademark infringement, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation, disparagement, and improper employment practices such as discrimination. In addition, punitive damages, which typically are awarded for intentional misconduct, are ...


Construction Defects: Are They “Occurrences”?, Chris French Dec 2010

Construction Defects: Are They “Occurrences”?, Chris French

Christopher C. French

An issue in the area of insurance law that has been litigated frequently in recent years is whether construction defects are “occurrences” under Commercial General Liability (“CGL”) insurance policies. The courts have been divided in deciding the issue and in their approaches to analyzing the issue. This article addresses how the issue should be analyzed and concludes that construction defects are “occurrences”.

The relevant rules of insurance policy interpretation dictate that construction defects are “occurrences”. Policy language should be interpreted in such a way as to fulfill the reasonable expectations of the policyholder when the policy is construed as a ...