On May 1, 2018, former University of Arkansas star running back Rawleigh Williams III filed a breach of contract, insurance bad faith, deceit and civil conspiracy lawsuit in Arkansas state court seeking to recover $1 million under a permanent total disability, or PTD, insurance policy issued to him by Lloyd’s of London arising out of a career-ending neck injury he sustained that left him momentarily paralyzed from the neck down. The denial of the Williams claim by Lloyd’s was apparently based on an endorsement issued by the wholesale insurance broker, International Specialty Insurance Inc., which was dated three days after Williams sustained his debilitating neck injury and more than six weeks after the insurance policy incepted. The ISI issued post-accident endorsement purported to exclude all coverage for the very type of injury that Williams sustained days before.
The Williams lawsuit is the fourth such athlete insurance case filed in the last 19 months, all of which involve claims for coverage under PTD or loss-of-value, or LOV, insurance policies. These recent cases shine a public spotlight on the sometimes murky world of how insurance brokers procure these types of specialized policies for athletes and how the claims arising under PTD/LOV policies are handled by those brokers and the insurance companies.
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