December 9, 2019

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Court Orders Stay of New Arbitration Over Disputed Reinsurance Billings and Compels Parties to Proceed Before a Predecessor Arbitration Panel

The case involved a “second layer special casualty excess agreement of reinsurance” under which reinsurers General Reinsurance Corp. and SCOR Reinsurance Co. agreed to cover a certain amount in excess of Chicago Insurance Co.’s $1 million per occurrence retention. An arbitration ensued after the reinsurers disputed reinsurance billings from Chicago Insurance arising out of certain asbestos insurance liability. The arbitration panel rejected Chicago Insurance’s attempt to bill its losses on the basis that each site where the insured had operated constituted an “occurrence” under the reinsurance agreement, and issued an award for the reinsurers. The award expressly retained the panel’s jurisdiction to “resolve any dispute arising out of [the] Final Award.”

Subsequent to the award, Chicago Insurance submitted a new billing to the reinsurers, which stated that the “loss allocation was prepared in accordance with the Award’s protocols.” The reinsurers disputed the new billing and alerted the prior arbitration panel. The umpire confirmed that it had retained jurisdiction but noted that Chicago Insurance’s appointed arbitrator disagreed and would not participate in the new dispute. Chicago Insurance then initiated a new separate arbitration, in which the reinsurers refused to participate, and filed a petition to compel the reinsurers’ participation and to stay the original arbitration. The reinsurers responded by filing a cross-petition to stay the new arbitration and for a declaration that the prior panel had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute.

The court denied Chicago Insurance’s petition and granted the reinsurers’ cross-petition to stay the new arbitration. The court rejected Chicago Insurance’s argument that the prior panel was functus officio by fully exercising their authority to adjudicate the issue submitted to them. The court found that the prior panel retained jurisdiction to resolve any dispute arising out of the prior award and that Chicago Insurance had consented to that by failing to dispute the award. The court also found that Chicago Insurance “repeatedly claimed that the new bill that it sent to the Reinsurers was offered pursuant to the ‘protocols’ set forth by” the prior award, and therefore, consistent with what the majority of the original panel determined, the current dispute “clearly” fell within the original arbitration jurisdiction. The court, therefore, ruled that the prior panel retained jurisdiction to adjudicate whether the new bill comported with its prior award.

Chicago Ins. Co. v. Gen. Reinsurance Corp., No. 1:18-cv-10450 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 22, 2019).

©2011-2019 Carlton Fields, P.A.

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About this Author

Michael Wolgin, Insurance lawyer, Carlton Fields
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Michael Wolgin defends insurance companies and financial services institutions in complex litigation matters in federal and state courts throughout the United States. His practice includes class action defense, consumer fraud, and commercial litigation. In addition, he represents and counsels insurance companies in regulatory matters, including multi-state market conduct examinations.

Michael’s extensive class action and complex litigation experience includes handling matters across multiple lines of insurance (for example, life insurance, reinsurance, supplemental health insurance...

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