In an earlier ruling in this case, the Court had held that the “follow the fortunes” doctrine applied to a request for payment under a reinsurance agreement. The Court then granted the reinsurer a six month period of discovery during which it might take discovery on whether the claims made against its reinsured were within either of two exceptions to the “follow the fortunes” doctrine, i.e., that the claims were manifestly outside the scope of the underlying policy, or that the decision to pay the claims had been fraudulent, collusive, or in bad faith. After the discovery period was completed, the reinsured moved for summary judgment, contending that there was no evidence to support the applicability of either exception to the “follow the fortunes” doctrine. The District Court agreed, and granted the reinsured summary judgment. , Case No. 03-6999, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York (July 28, 2006).
Follow the Fortunes Doctrine
A US District Court rejected the application of the “follow the settlements” doctrine in a facultative reinsurance context, entering judgment for the reinsurer. The Court found that the reinsured had failed to conduct a reasonable and businesslike investigation and determination of the claims, paying claims that were outside the time frame of the insurance, resulting in grossly negligent and bad faith conduct by the reinsured. Suter v. General Accident Insurance Company of America, Case No. 01-2686 (USDC D. N.J. July 14, 2006). If you ever questioned whether inquiries into whether the application of exceptions to the follow the settlement doctrine should be fact specific, this 67 page opinion will provide the answer.
Daniel J. Neppl, Reinsurance Coverage for “Annualized” Loss Presentations Under Multi-Year Policies: “follow the fortunes” or Bellafonte?, Coverage, vol. 16, no. 3 at 1 (ABA Litigation Section Committee on Insurance Coverage Litigation May/June 2006).