Jonathan L. Schwartz

All articles by Jonathan L. Schwartz

 

What Is Modern Warfare? Ninth Circuit Rules War Exclusions Do Not Preclude Coverage for First Party Loss Caused by Hamas Rocket Attacks

On July 12, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found two “war” exclusions inapplicable, under California law, to a loss caused by 2014 hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Universal Cable Productions, LLC v. Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-56672, 2019 WL 3049034 (July 12, 2019). In doing so, the court overturned the Central District of California’s award of summary judgment in favor of Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company. The parties’ dispute arose out of Atlantic’s refusal to indemnify Universal for costs associated with Universal’s…  

Part 1: The California Consumer Privacy Act — What Insurers Need to Know

Assembly Bill No. 375, better known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is likely the most robust and sweeping privacy law in the United States. This is not surprising as California is notoriously at the forefront of passing privacy legislation, even though close to 20 other states are also taking steps to pass similar legislation. The CCPA, which becomes effective January 1, 2020, creates a number of consumer rights regarding the collection, storage, selling, and processing of personal information, as well as corresponding business…  

Everybody’s Buying Cyber… Why Aren’t You?

A recent market survey shows companies are getting the message that purchasing cyberinsurance is a corporate imperative today. According to a recent AM Best Market Segment Report, direct premiums written for U.S. cyberinsurance policies from 2015 to 2018 have doubled to $2 billion. Three million cyberinsurance policies were in force in 2018, an increase from 2.6 million in 2017. Admittedly, premium growth has slowed to 12.6 percent in 2018, although that may be due in part to the number of companies using captives for their…  

Cryptocurrency Theft is on the Rise

According to a recent study, losses from theft, fraud, and misappropriation of cryptocurrency increased to $1.2 billion worldwide in the first quarter of 2019, which is already 70 percent of all such activity from 2018.  In fact, it was  reported that hackers used phishing, viruses, and other techniques to steal $41 million in cryptocurrency from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. This is on the heels of an announcement by Fidelity Investments that it will soon buy and sell bitcoin for institutional customers.…  

As If 200 Class Action Lawsuits Weren’t Enough…

The Illinois Supreme Court finally made its long awaited ruling on standing to sue under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), siding with the class action representative in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., 2019 IL 123186, and allowing persons having suffered no actual injury to maintain a cause of action under BIPA.  BIPA has already given rise to 200+ putative class action lawsuits against businesses nationwide, including those with any measureable operation in Illinois. Businesses have fought back, arguing that BIPA’s private…  

Advisen Cyber Risk Insights Conference

I, along with three of my partners in Goldberg Segalla’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice Group, recently attended the Advisen Cyber Risk Insights Conference in New York City and came away with some terrific nuggets.  They include the importance of “silent cyber” to reinsurers and regulators, the fragmentation of the cyberinsurance market and the difficulty in driving change even for industry leaders, and continuing perceptions about coverage for cyber-related losses under stand-alone cyberinsurance policies and traditional insurance policies. One of the best resources I picked…  

Why Not Cyberinsurance?

A July 2018 Market Watch Survey by the Council of Insurance Agent & Brokers revealed that only 32 percent of respondents purchased some form of cyber coverage in the past six months. And, 70 percent of U.S. healthcare firms have elected against carrying cyberinsurance. Incredible, right? With reports that cyberattacks affect businesses of all types, sizes, geographies, and industries, no business should prepare to shoulder the entire load should it suffer a breach.This is especially so, as evidence mounts that hackers can cause property  

Sixth Circuit Uses Every Tool in the Box To Build Case for Coverage for Defrauded Policyholder

July 12, 2018, we reported on the Medidata decision handed down by the Second Circuit in which the court found coverage for a claim resulting from social engineering fraud. We suggested the ruling in Medidata lacks persuasive power due to its unusual factual circumstances and atypical policy language. The Sixth Circuit’s decision in American Tooling Center, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America, No. 17-2014, 2018 WL 3404708 (6th Cir. July 13, 2018), will have more persuasive power, but due to…  

Second Circuit’s Decision Upholding Social Engineering Fraud Coverage Likely a Paper Tiger

In a case closely monitored by the insurance industry, the Second Circuit upheld in a non-precedential summary order a New York federal district court’s summary judgment finding coverage under the computer fraud coverage of a commercial crime policy. Medidata Solutions, Inc. v. Fed. Ins. Co., No. 17-2492, 2018 WL 3339245 (2d Cir. 2018). Although the policyholders are apt to tout the decision as a seismic victory, the atypical policy language and factual circumstances should greatly limit its persuasive value. As background, the insured, Medidata…  

Fifth Circuit Shops for Implicit Allegations Wrongdoing Against Liquor Store Chain To Avoid Policy Exclusion

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Spec’s Family Partners, Ltd. v. Hanover Insurance Co. (No. 17-20263, Jun. 25, 2018), afforded a contractual liability exclusion a narrow interpretation to deny an insurer judgment in its favor.  The coverage litigation resulted from Hanover Insurance Company’s (Insurer) refusal to pay Spec’s Family Partners’ (Spec’s) litigation costs in connection with a payment card industry (PCI) liability dispute between Spec’s and First Data Merchant Services, LLC (First Data) following a data breach. The Spec’s credit card network had been…  

No More Chits to Call In: Computer Crime Policy Does Not Cover Fraudulent Transaction

In Interactive Communications International, Inc. v. Great American Insurance Company, a lawsuit closely monitored by those in the cyberinsurance space, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a Georgia federal court’s decision, finding an insurance policy’s “Computer Fraud” coverage did not extend to certain losses caused by fraudsters. The decision comports with other recent decisions finding that social engineering fraud schemes do not satisfy the policy’s requirement of losses resulting directly from the use of a computer. Here, the devil was in the details. InComm operated a…  

Something to Keep an Eye On: Insurers and Insureds to Duke it Out in Data Breach Coverage Suit

A new Indiana coverage litigation regarding a CGL policy (and umbrella policy) may provide more guidance about how courts will approach data breach coverage under traditional insurance products. In National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford v. Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc. et al. (N.D. Ind., No. 16-cv-152), two CNA companies initiated a declaratory judgment action seeking a ruling they do not have the duty to defend or indemnify Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc. or NoMoreClipboard, LLC (collectively Medical Informatics) in relation to lawsuits filed against Medical Informatics. …  

Credit Card Payment Coverage Declined: Cyberinsurer Not Obligated to Reimburse P.F. Chang’s for PCI Liability

In the most significant cyberinsurance coverage decision to date, an Arizona federal district court in P.F. Chang’s China Bistro v. Federal Insurance Co., No. CV-15-01322-PHX-SMM (D. Ari. May 31, 2016), granted summary judgment to Federal Insurance Company, acknowledging it had no duty to reimburse P.F. Chang’s China Bistro for payment card industry liability assessments under the CyberSecurity policy issued by Federal to P.F. Chang’s corporate parent. This decision represents a significant victory for cyberinsurers insofar as it upholds insurers’ marketing strategy of making available…  

Connecticut Supreme Court Makes Significant Ruling in Data Breach Case

The Connecticut Supreme Court made a very significant ruling yesterday in Recall Total Information Management, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Co., adopting wholesale the Appellate Court’s well-reasoned ruling that an insured’s loss of sensitive records, without more, does not constitute a “publication” of material that violates a person’s right of privacy. Notably, the Appellate Court held that absent proof of an unauthorized third party’s access to the personal identification information, the “publication” element of the Privacy Offense (under the definition of “personal and advertising injury”…