Parties to facultative and quota share reinsurance involving two separate arbitration demands had protracted disputes over the selection of arbitrators. In both arbitrations, the appointed umpire resigned, and the parties disagreed as to how to appoint a replacement. Noting that it had been two years since the service of the arbitration demands, that neither arbitration had an umpire in place, and that the reinsurance agreements did not specifically address the appointment of replacement arbitrators, the Court ruled that it would appoint umpires, giving the parties an opportunity to suggest names and then to object to the persons suggested by the other party. AIG Global Trade and Political Risk Ins. Co. v. Odyssey America Reinsur. Corp., Case No. 05-9152 (USDC S.D. N.Y. Sept. 21, 2006).
Arbitration / Court Decisions
The California Insurance Commissioner, as conservator of Fremont Indemnity Company, has sued former executive officers and directors of Fremont in a civil fraud case, alleging that they caused Fremont over $200 million is loss due to fraudulent underwriting and reinsurance placement activities, which caused reinsurers to seek rescission of reinsurance, forcing Fremont to enter into commutation agreements with the reinsurers. Garamendi v. Rampino, Case No. BC357691 (Cal Super. Ct. Aug. 29, 2006). The Complaint alleges that the defendants inappropriately gave pricing discounts, wrote risks in high severity NCCI grades, wrote on a net line underwriting basis, and abused deductible and retrospective rating underwriting principles, in many respects contrary to express representations made to reinsurers.
Cundiff and State Farm arbitrated the amount of damage suffered by Cundiff as a result of an automobile accident while working. Neither party challenged the award or sought confirmation. The policy contained a provision allowing State Farm to offset benefits received from worker's compensation from any policy claim. Cundiff sued State Farm, contending that she was entitled to recover the full amount of her loss, without an offset for the workers' compensation benefits. The Court determined that the full amount of Cundiff's loss, at least implicitly including the offset issue, had been litigated in the arbitration, and that Cundiff's failure to follow Arizona law to seek modification of the arbitration award barred her action, justifying summary judgment in favor of State Farm. Cundiff v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., Case No. 2005-0209 (Az. Ct. App. Oct. 27, 2006).
National Indemnity Company provided reinsurance to Seaton Insurance Company and Stonewall Insurance Company, both of which were in run-off. Castlewood, Inc. entered into an agreement with Seaton and Stonewall to provide administratrive services for the run-off of their business. When arbitrations commenced between NICO and Seaton and Stonewall on their reinsurance agreements, NICO sought to add Castlewood to the arbitrations, despite the lack of an arbitration agreement in Castlewood's agreements with Seaton and Stonewall. The Court granted Castlewood's request for a preliminary injunction preventing its addition to the arbitrations, subject to a $1 million injunction bond. Castlwood, Inc., v. National Indemnity Co., Case No. 06-6842 (USDC S. D. N.Y. Oct. 24, 2006). NICO sought to compel Castlewood to arbitrate based upon theories of assumption and estoppel, and because Castlewood's agreement provided that its administration of the run-off would not conflict with the reinsurance obligations of Seaton and Stonewall. The Court found this an insufficient basis to compel Castlewood's participation in arbitration.
A Pennsylvania court has ruled in a dispute over the sufficiency of a letter of credit posted by a cedent and draws on that instrument. The state court's opinion is available through Mealey's. Eastern Atlantic Ins. Co. v. Swiss Reinsurance America Corp., No. 2004 cv 5514 (Pa. Comm. Pls. Dauphin Co.). There had been a parallel action in federal court, in which the Court abstained to permit the state court to adjudicate the disputes. , Case No. 04-1555 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 16, 2004).