A lot can happen in the early part of an insurance company’s handling of a claim. The insurer must often begin its own investigation of a claim at the same time it prepares to defend itself and the insured against a potential lawsuit while sometimes also trying to determine what defenses it may have against paying out the claim to the insured. It is common in these situations for insurance companies to issue a reservation of rights letter.
In November 2016, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released Special Publication 800-160. This document constitutes NIST’s approach to securing internet-enabled devices from malware and cyberattacks. The so-called Internet of Things represents a massive economic opportunity for many businesses, but it also represents another front in the war against cyber criminals.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently accepted a case that could have far reaching implications for how employee relations and worker’s compensation are handled moving forward. The case, Vitale v. Schering Plough, involves the validity of third-party lawsuit waivers in employment contracts. Lower courts have found that such waivers violate public policy and are thus unenforceable.
Wage and Hour litigation continues to increase across most types of businesses in the United States. The number of cases filed in the US reached an all-time high in 2015. Unsurprisingly, industries with large number of service jobs caused the majority of cases and losses: hotels, restaurants, leisure companies, as well as department stores and supermarkets. The nature of these suits can vary but often involve multiple claims - misclassification of employees, failure to pay or calculate overtime properly, breaking rules on rest periods and meal periods, as well as a host of violations relating to the paying of tipped employees.
While successful court challenges have managed to block a number of high profile regulatory changes in recent months, a Chicago court upheld a major new rule facing the trucking industry at the end of October. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a rule requiring trucking companies to install electronic logging devices aimed at ensuring compliance with hours of service safety requirements. A legal challenge against this rule brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) failed to succeed.
An emerging area of cyber liability for small businesses centers around the concept of third party risk. Third party risk means damages resulting from the security breach of a connected party - normally vendors or customers. Small businesses can face third party cyber risk on a number of fronts. They can face liability from a breach of their own systems infecting a vendor; they can also face damages caused when the breach of a vendor causes a breach of their own systems. Franchisee relationships have also caused increasing concerns of cyber risk.
As employers continue to take successful action to reduce their worker’s compensation claims, the question of how far worker’s compensation extends comes up fairly often. Many people often believe it takes little more than an employee suffering an injury at the location of their employment for a claim to qualify for worker’s compensation. The actual law in most states is more complicated than that, as a recent action out of New Jersey showed.
The Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule with respect to retirement plans caused a lot of consternation when first announced. The new rule created special rules aimed at limiting conflicts of interests within the world of investment advice for retirement accounts. Some people within the industry decried the rule as more needless regulation that would only increase costs for consumers, whereas others simply saw it as codifying changes most investment advisors had already made in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. Now, though, several factors raise questions as to the rule’s status before it goes into effect in June of 2017.
The Federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980 placed a number of requirements on interstate truckers at the same time it led to widespread deregulation of the industry. One of these requirements involved proof of financial responsibility. To ensure the safety of the public against damage caused by motor carriers who may not have the liquidity to pay resulting claims, the law requires that motor carriers be able to demonstrate the ability to pay any claims up to a statutory minimum.
Directors and Officers Liability policies traditionally targeted public corporations. These corporations began to face a large increase in the number of shareholder derivative lawsuits in the 1970s and 1980s and D&O policies existed to help companies handle the risks involved in these lawsuits. These lawsuits are often by significant drops in a company’s share price or valuation and therefore are easier to bring against public companies. This often leads to the mistaken belief that private companies do not need D&O insurance or that they need very basic minimal D&O policies. Recent cases though show the error in that line of thinking.