Commercial general liability policies provide insurance on a per occurrence basis. What constitutes an occurrence, though, is an area of significant debate. This is an issue that constantly arises in construction cases, especially construction defect. The commercial general liability standard language defines an occurrence as an “accident . . .”. Yet courts have divided on whether faulty workmanship in the course of construction constitutes an “accident” and therefore an “occurrence” triggering coverage under a commercial general liability policy.
Wire transfer fraud claims resulting from cyber attacks have increased dramatically over recent years, and companies are losing millions of dollars in these attacks. As is common when a new business risk develops, organizations look to their insurance policies to help cover their losses. As we have shared in previous examples, the coverage is not always adequate.
The extent of coverage for a company that has been a victimized may be sparse, and the costs of any breach are ongoing. Consequences of a fraudulent wire transfer depend not just on the specific wording in the policies a business has purchased, but as seen in the following instances, also being upheld differently in different states.
What Is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is a set of laws created with one ultimate goal: to protect the personal data of people in or from the European Union (EU). The critical point here is that the individual’s nationality or residence is irrelevant- just whether they are in or from the EU. This law has forced the hand of many businesses to adopt the regulations into their practices for data collection- most commonly seen on websites. The GDPR became effective on May 28, 2018, but many businesses are still catching up due to inertia in changing procedures and practices.
When people think of Directors and Officers Liability Insurance, they often think of massive, publicly traded multinational corporations and shareholder derivative lawsuits that allege damages in the billions of dollars. This can lead smaller, private companies to assume that such coverage does not provide them with significant benefits. Yet these policies can cover a number of different types of losses that impact small companies. All businesses should consider whether directors and officers liability coverage might help them better manage their risks.
Employment contracts can represent a large area of potential risk for modern businesses. Many companies are used to thinking of their employment practices as an area where lack of diligence can lead to massive lawsuits. Most realize that solid employment contracts can protect them from potential lawsuits by laying out clear expectations for the employer-employee relationship and through agreements to engage in methods of alternative dispute resolution. Still, the contracts, whether as a separate document or through the use of an employee handbook that serves as a binding contract, can lead to several potential landmines for the unwary.
Hurricane Sandy is still fresh in the memory of many business owners and homeowners in the Eastern part of the United States. While most hurricanes are best known for their high wind velocity, a storm like Hurricane Sandy was known for the damage that was created by the accumulation of surface water, overflow of inland or tidal waters, and overall flooding conditions.
Managing cyber risk in the current atmosphere requires constantly staying abreast of new threats. Every new technological advancement creates new opportunities for criminals to turn your systems against you. Companies rightly concern themselves most with cyber crimes like data theft or extortion. Yet even seemingly minor crimes can cause lost revenue for companies not paying attention.
The conflicting interests that may exist between an insured and their insurance company when it comes to the defense of a lawsuit have led courts to create rules to ensure everyone’s legal rights are respected. These rules implicate issues like the insured’s right to hire their own attorney or the insurer’s ability to reserve their rights to avoid paying a judgment. The conflicting interests can become particularly thorny when one party wishes to settle a case while the other objects to the settlement.
Whether to purchase cyber risk insurance remains a big question for many companies. Recent studies have shown that only a quarter of U.S. companies currently have cyber risk insurance despite more than half of companies stating they expect to suffer a breach within the next year. These positions seem inapposite, but they appear to stem from doubts about the effectiveness and the extent of cyber coverage given its price.
In the popular imagination, major cybersecurity events involve an elite hacker (or a group of them) employing a singular genius to crack complex computer codes and steal vital secrets or millions of dollars. The reality is that most hackers use a set of tools available for sale for shockingly small amounts of money. “Hacker schools” in places like Brazil and Russia can train someone who is relatively computer illiterate to use those simple tools to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to sensitive information, whether it be trade secrets or personally identifiable information useful for committing identity theft.