The story is becoming all too common.  A merchant (or consumer) is convinced to wire money to a fraudulent account because of an incorrect belief that they are wiring the money to the real party.  A common example is a fraudster convincing a purchaser of a home to wire money in the mistaken belief that they are wiring the money to a closing attorney or agent.  Another common example is a fraudster convincing a company to wire money in the mistaken belief that they are paying a valid vendor.  These transactions can involve millions of dollars and it is rare that the money can be recovered after it is sent.

Can insurance cover these losses?  Recently the Eleventh Circuit decided Principle Solutions Group, LLC v. Ironshore Indemnity, Inc., 944 F.3d 886, (11th Cir. Dec. 9, 2019).  There, the insured employer filed an action against insurer, seeking coverage for a wire transfer of funds made by insured’s employee to scammers.  The employer claimed coverage under the “fraudulent instruction” provision of its commercial crime insurance policy, and asserted bad faith.

Continue Reading “Cyber” Insurance Found to Cover Fraudulent Wire Transfer

Earlier this week, two Alabama businesses sued their insurers for refusing to pay losses related to COVID-19. The first lawsuit, Wagner Shoes v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 7:20-cv-465 (N.D. Ala. Apr. 6, 2020), was brought by a shoe store in Tuscaloosa. The second suit, Ollie Irene v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 01-CV-2020-901319 (Jefferson County Cir. Court April 7, 2020), was filed by nationally recognized Mountain Brook restaurant, Ollie Irene.

Continue Reading First Alabama lawsuits filed over COVID-19 insurance denial

In Patel, et al v. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, et al, No. 16-12100 (11th Cir. 2018), the Eleventh Circuit held that claims against a loan servicer for “artificially inflated” force-placed insurance premiums were barred by the filed rate doctrine. In Patel, the plaintiff alleged that loan servicers and insurance companies breached implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing, as well as various deceptive and unfair trade practice statutes, by purchasing force-placed insurance for the plaintiffs’ mortgaged properties. Plaintiffs alleged that the premiums were “artificially inflated”, “unreasonably high”, and that they reflected the “costs of kickbacks” to the loan servicers. The Court affirmed the Southern District of Florida’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim, finding that the allegations in the complaint were “textbook examples of the sort of claims” barred by the filed-rate doctrine.

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit: Filed-Rate Doctrine bars claims over lender’s force-placed insurance