A new approach to Mass Torts may require changes in PI policies, as the ordinary policies for professionals involved in mass gatherings are not sufficient to grant the insureds the necessary protection and also are not enough in order to indemnify the injured parties
Hundreds of insurance companies’ managers and claims people attended the annual conference of Levitan, Sharon & Co on 6th June 2021 being one the first face to face conferences in the insurance industry in the post Covid-19 time.
Adv. Peggy Sharon lectured about Mass Torts and the ability of the insurance to respond to such cases. During the years, several accidental occurrences led to fatalities and bodily injuries of many people (e.g. the landing of a light aircraft on the audience in 1954, the collapse of the Maccabiah bridge in 1997, the collapse of the Versaille floor in 2001).
During these occurrences the state wished to indemnify the people without dealing with the issue of liability and the proof of fault in court. In the absence of a suitable procedure and due to the complexity of the occurrences, in some of the cases, even after several decades, not all of the injured have been indemnified.
From the insurance perspective, the professional insurance policies for engineers, including safety engineers, constructors and the like, are not sufficient in order to cover the damage caused by mass torts and the insured may be personally exposed to huge claims. In addition, the policy limits are not sufficient for the third party injureds who are seeking a deep pocket. This risk should be priced and covered for catastrophic events, especially for professionals who may be involved in mass events.
New approaches by academic researchers e.g. Dr. Inbal Blau, and by the State in seeking solutions for these occurrences, call for applying a Strict Liability rule instead of the regular Negligence based Liability, in order to shorten the procedures for indemnifying the injured people ,without a need to prove liability and its allocation between the parties involved. This may require rethinking on the elements of the Insured Event under these policies which currently requires proof of breach of legal/professional liability on part of the insured.
Adv. Sharon Shefer reviewed claims against gas suppliers for fires allegedly caused by gas leakage, which were proven to be caused by other reasons. This required bringing external and impartial evidence not mentioned by Plaintiffs.
Adv. Moshe Abady, Yael Navon, and Addy Margalit reviewed interesting developments in the Financial Insurance field, especially the Derivative Actions and the position of State Attorney relating thereto, claims filed by company liquidators, and a recent judgement which warns against over-deterrence of the companies’ D&Os.
Adv. Hadas Adler and Emlee Polakevitch spoke about Causal Connection and Disclosure Duties, and updates re new regulatory directives for Insurance Brokers , and the applicable Discounting Rate were given by Tammy Greenberg and Keren Marco.