Equitas Financials — 2006 Version

As part of the Reconstruction and Renewal of Lloyd’s in 1996, various participants in the Lloyd’s enterprise established several companies for the purpose of reinsuring the then-open syndicate years of account and managing the runoff of claims under those and prior years’ insurance policies. In 1997, the liabilities of a Lloyds’ owned-entity called Lioncover were reinsured into Equitas too.
Equitas issues an annual report and accompanying press release that discusses its results to date. Some of the highlights this year:

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Running Out of Time: Statute of Limitations for Liability Insurance Policies

Liability-insurance policies were introduced in 1881, yet there is no great certainty in most states as to when the statute of limitations commences for bringing suit on an insurance policy for performance. Somewhat complicating matters – and simplifying it too – is the availability of declaratory relief, a remedy designed in part to pull insurance disputes into court. So to understand the application of statute of limitations in this context, one must draw distinctions among several concepts: (i) anticipatory repudiation of contract, which is considered a present breach of contract; (ii) anticipatory relief of seeking a declaration of rights before breach of contract; (iii) continuing breach of the duty to defend by an insurer; and (iv) breach of the duty to indemnify. The Alaska Supreme Court recently confronted these issues and elected to follow the California Supreme Court’s approach to the questions presented.

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Discovery of Other-Insured Claim Files in Insurance and Bad-Faith Disputes

Among the typical skirmishes in insurance-coverage litigation is the scope of discovery. In seeking discovery in insurance-coverage cases and for insurance bad-faith claims, policyholders seek information from insurers about the underwriting of the policy at issue and the carrier’s handling of the policyholder’s claim for coverage. Disputes arise once the policyholder moves beyond those materials to information showing the general practice of the insurer, how the insurer’s response to the particular insured compares with how it has handled other claims, and the insurer’s own understanding of the policy language as evidenced through claims-handling manuals, training materials, and other types of interpretative aids. See generally Saldi v. Paul Revere Life Ins. Co., 224 F.R.D. 169 (E.D. Pa. 2004); Colonial Life v. Superior Court(Perry) 31 Cal. 3d 785 (1982); Carey-Canada v. Cal. Union Ins., 118 FRD 242 (D.D.C. 1986). One recurring subject has been other-claims information, that is, information in claim files dealing with other insureds.

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