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.
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.
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 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 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.
Millennials make up a larger percentage of your customers, employees, and yes, even jury pools, than any other generation. Knowing that, it is important to see millennials beyond the stereotypes and determine how they are going to affect the outcome of your case.
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?