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11th Annual Arbitrator Roundtable Took Place on Wednesday, June 9,  2021 by Zoom!

The Massachusetts Insurance & Reinsurance Bar Association’s 11th Annual Arbitrator Roundtable took place on Wednesday, June 9, 2020 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm via Zoom.  This year's Roundtable topic was: “The Future of Mediation For Insurance and Reinsurance Disputes.”  The Roundtable was held via Zoom and featured a discussion by noted mediators and arbitrators Lawrence Pollack of JAMS (left image) and Paul J. Van Osselaer of Van Osselaer Dispute Resolution (right image):

Robert A. Whitney of Sulloway & Hollis and MIReBA Board Member moderated the event.  Click on the PDF icon above to view the PowerPoint presentation from the Roundtable.

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10th Annual Arbitrator Roundtable was our First by Zoom!

The Massachusetts Insurance & Reinsurance Bar Association’s 10th Annual Arbitrator Roundtable took place on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm via Zoom.  We had great attendance for our first "Zoom Roundtable" that  featured the noted arbitrators Howard Page of HR Page Consulting LLP, Essex, United Kingdom (right image), and Janet Walker of Arbitration Place, Toronto, Canada (left image), who lead a discussion on this year’s exciting topic:  “Conducting Virtual Arbitrations: Pitfalls and Good Practices.”   Robert Whitney of Sulloway & Hollis and MIReBA Board Member moderated the lively presentation.


2020 MIReBA Symposium took place on Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 10:00am - 12 noon via Zoom!  Out of concern for the health and safety of all of our members, colleagues and friends, we had postponed our Annual Symposium that was originally scheduled to take place on April 30, 2020.  The 2020 MIReBA’s Symposium featured two presenting panels that explored the cutting-edge topics of ransomware exposure and climate change risk.  Jessica Park and Robert Whitney were the Symposium Co-Chairs.

The first panel - "Climate Risk In A Changing World" -  examined  climate change-related risks, including the increased likelihood of property damage due to climate change-related events, the potential for increased litigation against insureds due to climate change-related losses, and coverage issues related to attempts to limit the exposure of carriers for climate change-related damages through exclusions.  The panelists were:  Cynthia McHale, Director of Insurance at Ceres; Kristin Suga Heres, Partner, Zelle; and Peter Sousounis, Ph.D., Vice President/Director of Climate Change Research, AIR Worldwide; and 

Robert A. Whitney, Member, Sulloway & Hollis. 

The second panel - “Ransomware:  Exposures and Opportunities” - explored the fast-paced world of ransomware coverage from the underwriting and claims perspectives, with a particular focus on how insurers can meet their policyholders’ needs without creating a market for misconduct.  The panelists were:  Kelly Castriotta, Senior Director and Global Cyber Underwriting Executive, Markel Corporation; Michael Phillips, Chief Claims Officer,; and Jonathan Zelig, Attorney, Day Pitney LLP.

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MIReBA's 2019 Spring Forum, that took place on June 13, 2019, at the Back  Bay Harvard Club had a great turn out.  The Foum focused on the American Law Institute’s (“ALI”) “Restatement, Law of Liability Insurance” (“Restatement”) that was approved by the ALI members in May 2018.  The Restatement’s approval had enormous implications for claims professionals and attorneys in every jurisdiction in the United States. 

At the Forum, MIReBA presented a panel of outstanding experts that discussed the mainly problems that the Restatement has created for the industry, including:

  • New policyholder “rights” created by the Restatement;

  • New obligations of insurers in handling claims;

  • New causes of action for extra-contractual damages that could supplant or augment existing statutes;

  • A new concept of the "plain meaning" rule; and

  • Other fundamental changes in the rules for interpreting and applying insurance policies.

The panelists Melissa Fernandez, Joanne Locke, and Kim Marrkand, along with the moderator John Harding provided a practical guide to the many challenges presented by the Restatement.  Ms. Fernandez is a Senior Counsel Claim Legal at Travelers, based in Stamford, Connecticut.  Joanne Locke is Vice President of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and manages its Home Office Legal Coverage Unit in Boston.  Kim Marrkand, a member of Mintz Levin, is the founder and Chair of the firm’s Insurance Practice. John T. Harding is a partner in the Boston office of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, where he practices in the firm’s Insurance and Bad Faith Group.

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Back row (l. to r.):  Jessica Park; Jonathan Zelig; Michele Detherage; and Michael Mullins.

Front row (l. to r.): Melissa Fernandez; Joanne Locke; an Kim Maarkand. 

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