Westlaw Topical Highlights: Insurance, November 8, 2013

November 8, 2013

insuranceWestlaw Topical Highlights for Insurance provides summaries of significant federal and state judicial decisions and legislative and administrative activities affecting Insurance law. A Westlaw subscription is required to access the documents linked from this page.

 Bad Faith and Unfair Practices: Insurer’s bad faith in handling UIM claim justified an award of $1,252,325 in punitive damages.  Grossi v. Travelers Personal Ins. Co., 2013 WL 5872293 (Pa.Super.)

A punitive damages award of $1,252,325 was not unconstitutionally disproportionate to the character of the insurer’s bad faith behavior in evaluating and processing an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim. After receiving the insured’s UIM claim, the insurer failed to perform any independent analysis in preparation of claim worksheet. The insurer rejected the insured’s future earnings loss claim without any independent evidence, analysis, or reports. The insurer assumed a value below its offset and established only minimal reserve. It delayed obtaining an independent expert report it professed to need for over a year, and when it received an independent vocational report in time for the arbitration hearing, the insurer’s adjuster failed to obtain a written report or maintain the same in the claim file.

2013 WL 5872293.  (The full-text of the rest of the Topical Highlights are available within Westlaw Next, subscription required)

Health: Employers showed likelihood of success of claim that contraceptive mandate of Affordable Care Act violated Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Gilardi v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services 2013 WL 5854246 (C.A.D.C.)

Limitations: Motion to set aside judgment or in alternative for new trial tolled three-year limitations period governing claim for breach of contract.  Sweet Valley Missionary Baptist Church v. Alfa Ins. Corp. 2013 WL 5858303 (Miss.)

Automobile: Failure to use prescribed forms for offering underinsured-motorist coverage results in loss of statutory presumption.  Thomas v. McDermitt 2013 WL 5583474 (W.Va.)

Excess and Umbrella: Competitor’s claim based on sale of insured’s brand did not fall within grant of coverage for personal or advertising injury.  Charter Oak Ins. Co. v. Maglio Fresh Food 2013 WL 5763209 (E.D.Pa.)

Marine: Insured violated the doctrine of uberrimae fidei when it applied for marine insurance.  Catlin (Syndicate 2003) at Lloyd’s v. San Juan Towing & Marine Services, Inc. 2013 WL 5817574 (D.Puerto Rico)