On March 26, a containership struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, resulting in the collapse of the highway infrastructure and tragic loss of life.[i]  As communities grieve the loss of their loved ones, businesses around the world are grappling with the economic fallout, including significant supply chain disruptions.  The closure of I-695, which provides an alternate route for hazardous materials and oversized vehicles that are prohibited from going through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, has created a gridlock for companies with distribution warehouses nearby.[ii]  The many ships stuck at the Port of Baltimore blockage, which is the top port in the nation for automobile shipments, is likely to create a ripple effect for other ports worldwide.[iii]Continue Reading Insurance Recovery for Businesses Impacted by the Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse

Manufacturers face an ever increasing risk of liability exposure for pollution caused by polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as “PFAS.” In early June this year, it was reported that 3M, as have other large chemical manufacturers, settled pending litigation involving PFAS-contamination in U.S. cities for an estimated $10 billion and aimed to resolve allegations that 3M polluted bodies of water in several U.S. cities.[1] This reported settlement comes after another recent $1.19 billion settlement related to the contamination of water systems.[2] Moreover, environmental regulators—including the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) under the Biden Administration—have made PFAS a priority in recent years.[3]Continue Reading PFAS Liability and Insurance: Potential Avenues to Mitigate Exposure for PFAS Risks through Insurance

When seeking insurance coverage for “long-tail” mass tort and environmental claims that involve alleged exposures and injuries spanning multiple years, businesses often look to their occurrence-based commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies.   These policies are designed to provide broad coverage for defense costs, settlements, and potentially adverse judgements.  However, CGL policies generally cover “occurrences” during one-year policy periods and renew on an annual basis, which can complicate efforts to seek coverage for claims involving alleged injuries or property damage spanning decades.  Moreover, for severe claims, businesses may need to obtain access to one or more of their excess CGL policies.  Therefore, determining which policies to pursue, whether policies in multiple policy periods will respond, and how to access valuable excess coverage are factors that should always be considered with coverage counsel when facing long-tail exposures.  Courts across the country are divided on how these questions should be answered.  A recent decision issued by the Supreme Court of North Carolina in Radiator Specialty Co. v. Arrowood Indemnity Co., provides guidance to North Carolina policyholders attempting to maximize coverage for long-tail claims.Continue Reading North Carolina Supreme Court Provides Guidance to Policyholders Attempting to Maximize Insurance Coverage for Long-Tail Claims