Coverage Opinions

Today’s post is actually another bit of a plug, though it does involve superheroes. I recently did an interview with Randy Maniloff of counsel at White and Williams in Philadelphia, who also publishes Coverage Opinions, a newsletter about insurance coverage issues targeted at coverage counsel. In the interview, we discussed some of the coverage issues pertaining to bat guano, Spider-Man’s webs, and magical perils. The piece is in Volume 2, Issue 14.

The newsletter is actually a pretty informative publication for those who follow developments in coverage law, and but it’s seasoned with enough levity to make for enjoyable reading for the broader legal audience. Non-attorneys and non-insurance professionals will likely find it a bit technical, but if you’re looking at how insurance law really works, it might actually a fairly accessible jumping-off point for a more general audience.

In any case, if you were wondering how Peter Parker might get in even more trouble, angry property owners facing the denial of insurance claims is plausible. Give it a look!

5 responses to “Coverage Opinions

  1. James Pollock

    On the topic of magic… does an exclusion for “acts of God” cover acts of ANY god? See, for example, origin story of Wonder Woman, Thor, Thanos the destroyer, or the New Gods. Or, for example, the X-Men “Inferno” storyline.

  2. Ryan Davidson

    That’s actually a disfavored term from contracts having to do with force majeure. Insurance policies don’t exclude “acts of God.” They’re specifically designed to cover “acts of God”. We talked about this when Thor came out.

    • James Pollock

      OK, I understand force majeure and all, but they are generally assumed by the industry as being random occurrences (or, not random, but caused by natural forces not under the control of an individual… the Weather Wizard notwithstanding… but I’m curious as to whether “acts of God” would have meaning when considering the acts of Lucifer (I assume that, jurisdictional issues aside, respondeat superior would cover the other angels and members of the Holy Host) but what about a supernatural force who is directly OPPOSED to God?

      To drag in a side issue I just thought of, in the Simpsons, Homer sells his soul for a donut, then attempts to reneg after he eats the forbidden donut. Homer’s soul is saved when it is discovered that an earlier security interest (Marge’s) has priority. But isn’t Homer now liable for fraud in the inducement because he offered for sale an item that was encumbered at the time, representing he owned it free and clear?

      • Ryan Davidson

        That’s just the thing: “acts of God” is not a defined term in insurance contracts. So the whole thing is just a non-issue.

        As to the second, he’d only be liable if he knew of the interest. Given Homer’s mental state on any give Tuesday, I’d say he’s got a good defense to fraud on the basis of lack of mens rea.

  3. As far as insurers go, I remember some Marvel comic where the proprietor, taking refuge under one of his own tables as a super-battle rages, mentions “supervillain insurance” as a cost of doing business in New York. So insurance companies on Marvel Earth have come up with some sort of coverage package for this specialized risk. Whether this includes magic or acts of assorted “deities”, I can not say.

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