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What is a Reciprocal Insurance Exchange?

Historically, insurance exchanges were formed by individuals or corporations engaged in a similar line of business who together undertook to indemnify one another from certain kinds of risks by a mutual exchange of insurance contracts. Often times insurance exchanges were started to avoid questionable risk pools. Today, policyholders in a reciprocal insurance exchange—often known as “subscribers”—act through a common attorney-in-fact and are simultaneously both insurers and insureds. This method of providing insurance is different from mutual insurance companies because insurance exchanges do not have a corporate existence; instead, they are simply an unincorporated association of individuals who swap potential liabilities between themselves.

Winning Zero: Relating Damages to Accident is Required Under Virginia Law

All tort cases, at the broadest level, consist of two elements: liability and damages. If the defendant prevails on liability, the plaintiff necessarily recovers nothing. However, the converse is not always true. The Virginia Supreme Court has reaffirmed twice in the past two years that a plaintiff who prevails on liability is not necessarily entitled to recover any damages. As long as the evidence supports such conclusion, the jury is free to decide that the plaintiff was not injured and award no damages.

Not Your Business: Analyzing the Statutory Employer Test in Virginia

What remedies does a claimant have when he is injured while working for an uninsured contractor? Can he assert his claim against the owner of the construction project as his statutory employer? Does it matter if the owner has no involvement with the construction other than financing it? In Jeffreys v. the Uninsured Employer’s Fund, et. al., Record No. 171467 (Feb. 14, 2019), the Supreme Court of Virginia (the “Court”) recently considered the issue of whether a historical society could be a statutory employer under the Act.

Removal to Federal Court: When Does the Clock Really Start Ticking in Virginia?

Removal of a lawsuit from state court to federal court can often be an advantageous strategy move by a defendant in Virginia. This is primarily because federal courts are far more willing than Virginia state courts to grant summary judgment to a defendant when a plaintiff has failed to present a viable case for trial. Federal courts also move cases along more quickly than state courts, as exemplified by the nickname of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, often referred to as the “Rocket Docket.”

Rate Evasion: The Steps to Take When Trying to Prove It

Rate evasion refers to when an individual materially misrepresents information on an insurance application and can lead to the insurer rescinding the policy. Courts have upheld policy voiding for undisclosed teenagers, medical conditions, lying about residency and many other issues. Courts have allowed voiding in just about all lines of insurance from auto to life. It rids the carrier of a dishonest insured and potentially avoids unreported claims. Investigating the application should be part of every SIU investigation.

The Fifth Amendment vs. an Examination Under Oath: Which Prevails?

Nearly all insurance policies require that an insured cooperate with their carrier during the investigation of a loss. Many policies also require the insured to submit to an Examination Under Oath (E.U.O.) should the carrier so elect. But what happens if the insured is under criminal investigation for the same circumstances as the loss? Can the carrier force the insured to testify at an E.U.O. during the pendency of a criminal proceeding despite the Fifth Amendment’s Constitutional protection against self-incrimination?

Avoiding Penalties for Late Payments

As an adjuster working on Virginia worker’s compensation claims, you are likely aware of the penalties that can accrue on compensation that is not timely paid. Under § 65.2-524 of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”), “[i]f any payment is not paid within two weeks after it becomes due, there shall be added to such unpaid compensation an amount equal to 20% percent thereof…” What does this mean?

Negligence and the Implied Warranty of Merchantability with Foreign Objects in Food

As an adjuster working on Virginia worker’s compensation claims, you are likely aware of the penalties that can accrue on compensation that is not timely paid. Under § 65.2-524 of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”), “[i]f any payment is not paid within two weeks after it becomes due, there shall be added to such unpaid compensation an amount equal to 20% percent thereof…” What does this mean?

Improper Removal to Federal Court Results in Sanctions

Removing a case to Federal Court is often one of the first important strategic moves a defendant can make in litigating a lawsuit. Knowing the inherent advantages that typically come with Federal Court, Plaintiffs will often plead the case in a way that precludes Federal Removal. Sometimes, the rush to Federal Court can backfire, and in the recent case of Scott Carmine v. Glen Poffenbarger, et al., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-1288, Judge Anthony Trenga in Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia sanctioned the defendant for attempting to remove the lawsuit when such a move was not proper.