Following the Illinois Supreme Court’s 2021 ruling in West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Krishna Schaumburg Tan, Inc., 2021 IL 125978, which we covered in detail, a Chicago-based federal court recently handed another insurance coverage victory to businesses facing class actions under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois found that a general liability (GL) insurer had to defend its policyholders against two class action lawsuits alleging that the policyholders were selling biometric data in violation of BIPA and common law rights.
Continue Reading Illinois Court Builds on 2021 State Supreme Court Ruling to Find Further General Liability Insurance Coverage for Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Class Actions

Businesses operating in Illinois have faced thousands of lawsuits arising under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), leading to hundreds of cases and related insurance claims. Insurance companies have aggressively denied coverage for these claims and filed litigation seeking court approval of their denials, forcing policyholders into a two-front legal war. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court granted a major victory for businesses facing BIPA lawsuits, holding that a BIPA lawsuit alleging a wrongful sharing of biometric information fell within standard “personal or advertising injury” coverage in a commercial general liability policy and was not excluded.
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Affirms BIPA Lawsuits Are Covered by GL Policies

As previously reported in this blog, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought a case against a variety of insurers under 21 policy wordings seeking clarification of sample clauses because the carriers refused to pay any U.K. claims relating to COVID-19 business interruptions largely for hospitality businesses. The policyholders seem to have won most of the coverage issues, and indeed the carriers have announced that they would book significant losses.

The basic issues involved the coverage for a series of extensions (specified loss clauses) to basic Business Interruption (BI) coverage, which covered the closure of a business due to an order of a competent governmental authority based on the existence of a notifiable disease in the vicinity of the covered business. These extensions have relatively low limits under $50,000. Given these low limits, it was financially impracticable for individual policyholders in the United Kingdom to separately litigate their claims against their insurers. As such, the insurers appeared to be denying claims on the assumption that most policyholders would not be in a financial position to press their claims. The recent decision in the case brought by the FCA will now allow tens of thousands of U.K. small-business policyholders an affordable path to coverage.

Continue Reading FCA Case Provides a Win for Policyholders and Vindicates the Concept of Expedited Generalized Rulings for Small Businesses

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of businesses of all sizes have been forced to file lawsuits against their property insurers for failing to honor their contractual obligations to provide business interruption, extra expense, civil authority, and other coverage for the substantial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this onslaught of litigation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions of higher education are facing significant revenue challenges and incurring extra expenses for which their insurance programs should provide relief. Potentially covered sources of loss and damage include (1) efforts to make buildings safe for students, faculty, staff, and administrators, (2) tuition adjustments, loss of athletic and extra-curricular events revenue and related sponsorships, and (3) extra expenses and/or lost revenue related to student housing issues.

Continue Reading Higher Education COVID-19 Losses: Property and Business Interruption Insurance Policies Should Provide Relief

The insurance industry in the United States continues to thwart legislative solutions for disputed COVID-19-related losses under property/business interruption policies and resists efforts to group lawsuits together into multi-district federal litigation or class actions. Meanwhile, the independent regulator of insurers in the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is trying to take a more

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, countries have by and large placed limitations on how certain businesses can operate and have required other businesses to temporarily cease operations altogether. Businesses impacted by these restrictions have suffered substantial financial losses and, unsurprisingly, are looking to their business interruption insurers to cover these losses. As businesses begin to make business interruption claims, a stark contrast is arising between how U.S. and European insurers and governments are handling the influx of such claims related to COVID-19.

Continue Reading United States vs. Europe: How Insurers Have Responded to Business Interruption Claims Related to COVID-19

Numerous businesses facing class action lawsuits brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), 740 ILCS 14 et seq., have sought insurance coverage under general liability policies only to receive blanket denials. It appears some relief may be on the way as the first Illinois Appellate Court to consider the issue affirmed the decision of the trial court and found in favor of coverage. West Bend Mut. Ins. Co. v. Krishna Schaumburg Tan, Inc., 2020 IL App (1st) 191834 (March 20, 2020).
Continue Reading First Illinois Appellate Decision Finds Coverage for BIPA Class Action Under General Liability Policy

The start of 2020 has brought uncertainty for tech businesses as individuals in the global health and business communities grapple with trying to understand and contain the deadly new coronavirus. Originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, the coronavirus has infected more than 28,000 people, killing at least 560. On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the 2019-nCoV virus (the formal medical designation of this new strand of coronavirus) a public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is also closely monitoring the outbreak, reports that “[t]he potential public health threat posed by 2019-nCoV virus is high, both globally and to the United States.”
Continue Reading Coronavirus Coverage: How to Offset Your Business Losses in a Global Health Emergency

Data breaches are up significantly in 2019, exposing billions of confidential records and costing companies millions of dollars on average per breach. Security experts counsel their clients that data breaches are inevitable as even the largest, most secure systems may be breached. In spite of this environment, many tech companies are woefully unprepared to respond to a cyber intrusion, data breach, or other cyber-related event. Are you ready?

As insurance coverage lawyers, we often work with clients to confront this organization-wide challenge after a breach has occurred. The better approach, however, is to prepare in advance by understanding your risks, building a team, securing and monitoring your data, having a well developed and rehearsed response plan, and tailoring your insurance program to a possible breach. Additionally, having counsel involved throughout the preparation and response process is critical to protect privilege, minimize legal liability, and maximize insurance coverage. 
Continue Reading Preparing for Data Breaches: Data Mapping, Response Team and Insurance