In an article published in Internet Retailer on January 11, 2018, Hunton & Williams LLP’s Insurance lawyers Syed Ahmad, Lorelie (Lorie) Masters and Katie Miller discuss the risks retailers face when using smartphone-reliant technology and contactless payment systems, including ransomware attacks and other security breaches, and the insurance coverage necessary to address these potential risks.

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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have devastated portions of Texas, Louisiana and Florida. For retail insureds in particular, the losses due to property damage and business interruption will be staggering. In an article published September 12, 2017, in South Florida’s Daily Business Review, Hunton Insurance lawyers Walter Andrews and Andrea DeField explain why it is critical that policyholders act fast to maximize insurance recovery for their hurricane-related losses. They also provide a checklist to guide policyholders through the claim process and to ensure maximum recovery for any property damage and business interruption losses. As Andrews and DeField explain, business interruption and related coverage endorsements may cover loss resulting from (1) an inability to open for business; (2) reduction in business income when the business remains open but cannot operate at full capacity; (3) civil authority orders barring access to an insured business; and (4) service and utility outages effecting business interruptions — an important coverage in light of Florida’s ongoing power outages.

Continue Reading Retail Insureds Should Act Now to Ensure Insurance Coverage for Lost Income Due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

The Ninth Circuit will decide whether Great Lakes Reinsurance must defend clothing company, In and Out, against a trademark infringement suit by Forever 21. The dispute focuses on exclusionary language in the general liability policy issued by Great Lakes to In and Out, which broadly bars coverage for claims stemming from violations of intellectual property rights, but which also excepts from the exclusion claims for copyright, trade dress and slogan infringement occurring in the company’s advertisements. The appeal concerns last year’s ruling by a California federal judge that Great Lakes owed a defense because the underlying complaint raised a potential that In and Out’s advertising infringed Forever 21’s trade dress. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit to Decide Whether IP Exclusion Applies to Forever 21 Trademark Suit

Commercial general liability policies typically provide coverage to insureds for losses resulting from property damage caused by an “occurrence,” usually defined in the policy as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same harmful conditions.” Specific product recall insurance policies and contamination policies also typically require that the insured’s loss be caused by accidental or unintentional contamination or impairment. In the context of product recalls, however, the exact cause of damage or contamination may be unknown. This creates uncertainty, and in turn, a coverage dispute over whether the cause of damage was indeed accidental, and thus a covered “occurrence” or “event” under the policy. Continue Reading Fear of the Unknown: Insurance Coverage for Recalls Where the Cause of Loss is Unknown

In March 2017, Syed Ahmad, a partner with Hunton & Williams LLP’s insurance practice, and Eileen Garczynski, partner at insurance brokerage Ames & Gough, co-authored an article, Protecting Company Assets with Cyber Liability Insurance, in Mealey’s Data Privacy Law Report. The article describes why cyber liability insurance is necessary for companies and provides tips on how it can make a big difference. Ahmad and Garczynski discuss critical questions companies seeking to protect company assets through cyber insurance should be asking.

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On November 9, 2016, Hunton & Williams LLP lawyers on the Retail and Consumer Products, Insurance and Corporate Litigation teams, Syed Ahmad, Shawn Regan and Shannon Shaw, published an article in Corporate Counsel discussing a recent decision from New York’s highest court that may impact the exchange of information between retailers and third parties, such as vendors, that are engaged in a variety of transactions where privileged information may need to be shared. The article addresses the impact of Ambac Assurance v. Countrywide Home Loans, in which the New York Court of Appeals held that an attorney-client communication disclosed to a third party during the period between the signing and closing of a merger will remain privileged only if the communication relates to a common legal interest in a pending or anticipated litigation. The ruling represents a restrictive reading of the common interest doctrine despite a recent trend among federal and state courts to broaden the doctrine to remove any litigation requirement.

On July 19, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held in Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. H.D. Smith, LLC, No. 15-2825 that a general liability insurer’s duty to defend suits seeking damages “because of bodily injury” was triggered when the state of West Virginia sued a pharmaceutical distributor, alleging it had contributed to an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, causing the state to spend money to care for addicted citizens. Continue Reading Pharmaceutical Distributor Sued – A Tough Pill for Insurers to Swallow

Consumer class actions are on the minds of virtually all consumer product manufacturers and service providers. Class actions based on privacy and consumer protection statutes are increasing at a remarkable rate, and can be a challenge to predict, budget and defend, given the difficulty in valuing consumer privacy rights. In an article, “Second Circuit Reminds Consumer Product Companies That Insurance Options Exist for Big Data Blunders and Privacy Faux Pas,” published in FC&S Legal’s Eye on the Experts column, Hunton lawyers Syed S. Ahmad, Neil K. Gilman and Paul T. Moura address the growing trend and remind consumer product manufacturers and service providers to look to their insurance policies when they find themselves faced with class action lawsuits in the digital landscape.

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On June 14, 2016, two lawyers in Hunton’s Insurance Coverage Counseling and Litigation practice, Syed Ahmad and Jennifer White, published an article in Risk Management Magazine about how commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies may help policyholders looking to recover attorney’s fees or fund settlements in trademark infringement litigation. Historically, CGL policies were the wrong place to look for coverage, and insurers raised often successful defenses to covering such trademark infringement cases under CGL policies. Or, policyholders would avoid CGL insurance altogether in favor of intellectual property (“IP”) insurance, which usually covers the cost of sitting on either side of the “v.” when enforcing or defending IP rights. But recent case law signals that businesses may want to take another look at the CGL policies that once spurned their IP advances.

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