Cyber fraud is quickly becoming real estate professionals’ worst nightmare, causing millions of dollars of damages each year. Part of your strategy for defending against cyber crimes should include proper insurance coverage. Because cyber insurance is a relatively new product and constantly evolving, you should take time to learn about the different types of policies that are available and which are particularly suited to the real estate industry.
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Class actions involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) are nothing new. What is new is that they recently hit the real estate industry. Worse yet, insurance companies have grown increasingly savvy in excluding coverage for those types of lawsuits. Nonetheless, a smart company might be able to bargain away its questionable insurance rights in exchange for settling a TCPA class action.
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One strategy companies can try when defending against potential class-action liability is to seek insurance protection, typically from an errors-and-omissions policy. If coverage is questionable and the insurer balks, a possible window opens: The insured could settle with the plaintiff and assign its policy rights to the class, which can then pursue the insurer. A recent decision in Illinois shows that this sort of three-billy-goats-guff strategy does not always succeed—at least for the class.
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Earlier this month, a federal appeals court dealt PNC Bank, Inc., a fatal blow in the company’s effort to obtain insurance coverage for the $102 million it paid to settle overdraft-fee class actions several years ago. The ruling comes at the tail end of a legal roller coaster in which the bank ultimately got no insurance coverage. Worse, but for drafting errors by its lawyers, it could have gotten at least $30 million in coverage.
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