D&O Insurance Law: 2019 Year in Review

The top 10 insurance coverage decisions for professional lines insurers.

The holiday season is over and it’s back to work! The first two weeks of January have been a good time to reflect on the insurance coverage decisions issued in 2019, and how those decisions will impact our practice and our clients.

From Related Claims, to Prior Acts, to policy application issues and beyond, 2019 was packed with key insurance coverage decisions. In this article, we provide a brief snapshot of ten of those key decisions from the past year.

Given the number of significant decisions in 2019, the “Top 10” selection process was difficult, and was guided by the following criteria:

1. Does the decision address a significant, hotly debated issue that is frequently disputed between insurers and policyholders?
2. Is the court’s rationale instructive in better understanding how to apply the relevant policy terms, conditions and/or exclusions?
3. Will the holding impact claims handling strategy and underwriting decisions?
4. Does the decision depart from prior precedent, or is there a possibility that the decision will set precedent in one or more areas of insurance coverage law?

Based on this criteria, the ten cases discussed below, organized by date, made the final cut. For each decision, we include the key takeaway (i.e., “why it’s important”), a brief background, and the court’s holding.
As we look to the year ahead, we expect that the issues driving these ten decisions will remain at the forefront of coverage disputes between insurers and policyholders.