COVID-19 has changed the way many organizations do business. Whether out of a sense of caution or to comply with emergency orders, many businesses have shifted to allowing more work from home and remote work from employees. This increase in remote work has had significant impacts on cyber security and cyber insurance.
Companies without cyber insurance can find themselves in difficult situations. As more and more vital business functions migrate to electronic systems, companies without cyber insurance have to try and find coverage for any damage to their systems through traditional insurance policies. That approach can work depending on the specifics of a policy and a claim, but it might lead to additional legal costs fighting with the insurance company.
Employment contracts are different from most other types of commercial contracts. A host of unique rules apply to employment contracts. At the end of the day, though, they are still contracts and must adhere to the basic rules of contracts, even if those rules are sometimes applied in different ways. This is particularly true when discussing non-compete clauses.
In most civil cases, courts are careful to ensure that plaintiffs cannot benefit from a double recovery. That is to say, plaintiffs do not get to recover for the same injury twice. The purpose of a negligence lawsuit is to restore a person to the state they were in prior to suffering their injuries by compensating them for those injuries. This is one reason why insurance companies retain rights of subrogation.
The Separation of Insureds is a standard policy condition of the commercial general liability policy. Also known as the severability of interests, the condition serves several purposes. Still, it can be quite complicated to understand in some of those contexts. As it is increasingly common for contractors to request or demand a separation of insured provision within a business’s insurance policy, companies should make sure they understand the term and how it might affect them.
The commercial general liability policy includes contractual liability as a standard feature, but contractual liability can be a misunderstood term. It sounds like what would arise from a breach of contract, but most liability policies specifically exclude damages resulting from a breach of contract. Instead, contractual liability covers an insured for a contractual agreement to assume the liability of a third party. The most common form of this type of agreement is an indemnification or hold harmless agreement.
Liability rolls downhill. Big companies use their negotiating leverage to demand favorable indemnification clauses and hold harmless agreements be included in their vendor and customer contracts. Some degree of this is reasonable, but there are always a few players who try to push things as far as possible. The result is indemnification and hold harmless provisions that seem to foist all the liability on companies with less leverage without regard to fault or negligence. Many go so far as to seek that the second party indemnify the first party for the first party’s own negligence.
Action over cases have become increasingly common over the past two decades. These cases involve employees collecting worker’s compensation from their employer, and then suing a third party that caused their injuries through negligence who had a contractual indemnity clause with the employer that covers the lawsuit. The prevalence of these suits have led insurance companies to take action by issuing new endorsements aimed at protecting themselves.
No one wants to be sued, businesses especially. They particularly do not want to be sued by their customers or vendors. Many companies invest significant resources into policies and procedures designed specifically to avoid lawsuits. Unfortunately, some organizations choose to view lawsuits as the primary means of resolving disputes with others.