Archive for July, 2010

Ageism is the next Employment Practices Liability frontier

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal, ” ‘Objection!’ Older Lawyers Resist Forced Retirement”, points out the tip of an emerging iceberg. We have all heard those catchy phrases like “60 is the new 50”. Well, some of that thinking is coming to a courtroom near you. The article outlines ageism-related cases brought by partners at law firms who are routinely forced to give up their equity partner status upon achievement of a certain age. The newspaper also outlines that some large law firms have started to drop or amend their retirement policies thereby putting forced retirements into a case by case basis.

Lawyers, of course, often start legal trends. This one could really catch on fire. Lots of entities have mandatory retirement ages for officers, directors, partners and employees. Not just law firms, but churches, government entities, and other large employers. All of them susceptible to mass torts and class actions. It seems likely that age discrimination legal battles will increase. Underwriters of Employment Practices Liability Insurance need beware.

Hospital data breach shows vulnerabilities in data protection and insurance

Hospital officials announced yesterday that computer files from South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA containing personal information for 800,000 individuals (patients, employees, doctors, volunteers, donors, vendors and business partners) may have been lost when they were shipped to a contractor to be destroyed. The notice posted to their website provides careful readers with some insights into some of the potential financial and insurance coverage risks that even the most careful organizations can face in connection with the compromise of confidential information. Read more…

Considering the legacy of your digital property

Our friends at Hemenway & Barnes LLP have recently given our team here at WGA’s Private Client Group their wise counsel on an area of critical importance but not frequently addressed: website passwords.  Take a look at this write-up how accounting for “digital property” has become and important part of estate planning, it is totally on point.

A closer looks at medical malpractice coverage triggers

Most healthcare providers look at their insurance policies more as a costly expense, a nuisance and a necessity for their licensing rather than a legally binding contract. However, that is a oversimplification. A medical malpractice insurance policy IS a contract and must be treated as such. The terms and conditions of the contract can vary from company to company and even among different policies issued by the same company.

Few contract items demonstrate this more clearly than the wording surrounding the issue of “triggers”. For simplification purposes, we will assume coverage is on a claims-made coverage from. Claims made policies exclude coverage for incidents that were reported to previous insurance companies. Read more…

Privacy risks extend beyond your own systems

A recent news item highlights one of the most challenging and frustrating aspects for companies and organizations dealing with their privacy and data security obligations: their potential responsibility for the behavior of others. Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in New York City has posted a notice on its website explaining that several CDs containing patients’ protected health and personal information had apparently been lost in transit. One of the hospital’s vendors had shipped the CDs to the hospital via overnight courier, but they never arrived. According to the website, the CDs contained the following types of information: name, address, social security number, medical record number, patient number, health plan information, date of birth, dates of admission and discharge, diagnostic and procedural codes and descriptions, and possibly a driver’s license number. Read more…

Ask the Experts: What is expected for the 2010 hurricane season

Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict a busier than usual storm season for 2010 and there are reports that show unsettling similarities to the 2005 season which produced 28 named storms including Hurricane Katrina. WGA’s Bruce MacDougall talks about being prepared for the 2010 storm season.

For more information on being prepared, see WGA’s Claims Bulletin.