"The Trouble with Teapots”

A family of five was seated at a table in a restaurant with a Lazy Susan in the center.

A teapot was placed on the Lazy Susan by a server and one of the children spun it at a sufficient speed that the teapot fell and spilled hot tea over a minor sibling. The tea severely burned her face, upper extremities, torso and legs, requiring several skin graft surgeries. The claim against the insured supplier of the teapot was for defective design and the case settled for $9.9m, of which $3.9m was reinsured on an Excess of Loss basis. The insured became the primary target after the Chinese manufacturer of the teapot couldn’t be located and plaintiffs became aware that an intermediary and the Lazy Susan manufacturer had limited insurance limits.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

"Uneven Stairs + Poor Lighting = 5 Operations”

The insured was the landlord of a building and the claimant fell whilst walking down stairs into the tenant`s bar.

The tenant refused to defend and indemnify the insured and its carrier subsequently went into liquidation. The claimant sustained a trimalleolar fracture that required five operations, including an ankle fusion. It was alleged that the stairs were not a uniform height and that the lighting was insufficient. The case settled for $2,095,000, of which $1,095,000 was reinsured.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

"Slip & Fall into the Basement”

The insured was the reinforced steel contractor for a hotel project.

An employee of the insured slipped on a patch of ice and fell from the first floor of the hotel under construction to the basement below. The employee sustained multiple fractures to his feet and legs. The New York Labor Law applied and the insured also had a contractual obligation to defend and indemnify the owner, the General Contractor and the Concrete Contractor. The claim settled at mediation for $4.5m and the policy contributed $1m, of which $750,000 was reinsured on an Excess of Loss basis.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

"Walking Backwards Caused Paraplegia”

The insured was the General Contractor on a building site and an employee of a subcontractor walked backwards into an unprotected hole

that had been excavated to construct stairs down to the basement. Safety railings had been installed previously, but were removed for an unknown reason prior to the accident. The claimant suffered paraplegia and, with no evidence to show who removed the safety railings and with the insured being responsible for site safety, the insured became the primary target. The case settled for $4m, with $1m from the policy, of which $900,000 was reinsured on a Contributing Excess basis.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

"Flying Plywood and NY Labor Law”

During a building project, an employee of the insured was struck in the head by a piece of plywood dropped from above by a co-worker.

The plaintiff alleged head and back injuries. The New York labor Law applied and the insured also provided a defense and indemnification to the building owner and the General Contractor. The case settled for $1.5m and the policy contributed $1m, of which $750,000 was reinsured on an Excess of Loss basis.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

Commercial General Liability – “An Act of God is not necessarily a defense to liability.”

A father and daughter were travelling in their car during a severe wind storm when a large tree fell and crushed the roof of their vehicle, killing the father.

The tree that fell was located on land owned by the insured, which was being developed for an apartment complex. An argument has been made that the insured was negligent in its development of the land and the wind wouldn’t have caused the tree to fall without that negligence. The value of the claim is estimated at $3 million, given the loss of consortium claims of the wife, two surviving young children and the economic loss to the estate.

The case is pending, but in this case, the insurer may be able to recover from its casualty facultative policy because it purchased an excess of loss reinsurance certificate from Berkley Re Direct.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

Liquor Liability – “How liable is a furnisher of alcohol for a patron’s subsequent actions?”

The insured owned a recreational vehicle parking area with a restaurant that could be rented for functions.

The plaintiff was parked on the premises and was assaulted by one of the guests at the restaurant. The guest admitted that he was intoxicated at the time of the incident and was subsequently arrested and pled guilty to 4th degree assault. The plaintiff demanded $250,000 from the insured for pain and suffering. Alcohol was served by employees of the insured at the wedding reception so, while the assailant was primarily responsible for the injuries, the insured also had potential exposure if the patron was served while visibly intoxicated. The insurer settled this case for $40,000.

However, because the insurer purchased a casualty facultative coverage from Berkley Re Direct, it was able to recover a portion of this loss.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

Umbrella Excess Liability – “When reinsurance can significantly limit your exposure.”

The insured driver was involved in a single car at-fault accident. She was driving home with a passenger and attempted to pass another vehicle.

However, her car went off the road, striking a road sign, clipping railroad tracks and rolling, before coming to a rest on its roof. The insured vehicle was a total loss. The insured driver sustained a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs and bruised lungs. The passenger sustained a broken femur, fractured pelvis, fractured hip socket, multiple burns that required skin grafts, and was air-lifted from the scene of the accident. The case settled for $1.25m.

Fortunately for this insurer, it purchased excess casualty facultative coverage from Berkley Re Direct and was able to recover some of its losses under this policy.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

Excess of Loss – “When Less is Not More”

The insured installed foam insulation at the plaintiff`s building. It was determined that the wrong thickness of insulation was installed and the subsequent removal and replacement cost approximately $500,000.

Suit was filed to recover the costs, alleging breach of contract and negligence. The case went to trial and the plaintiff was awarded a total of $1,958,067.19 (including compensatory damages, interest and attorney fees). A settlement was ultimately reached for $1.1 million.

The insurer was able to recover a portion of this loss because it purchased an Excess of Loss reinsurance certificate from Berkley Re Direct.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

Excess of Loss – “Assault at a Nightclub”

The claimant alleged that, while in the bathroom of the insured’s nightclub, she was assaulted by the insured’s employees.

The insured advised that the claimant was unconscious in a stall and when an employee went into the stall to check on her safety, the claimant awoke and became violent. The employee then restrained the claimant and allegedly struck her. The Assault & Battery sub-limit applied to the reinsurance coverage and the insurer was able to recover a portion of this loss because it purchased an Excess of Loss reinsurance certificate from Berkley Re Direct.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

For additional information concerning W.R. Berkley Corporation’s insurance company subsidiaries, click here.

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