Reed Smith Client Alerts

On March 11, 2021, Bedivere Insurance Company (Bedivere) was placed into liquidation in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court oversees the liquidation of Pennsylvania-domiciled insolvent insurance companies, with the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner acting as Liquidator. Importantly, Bedivere holds the historic environmental and asbestos liability coverage issued by numerous other companies, particularly OneBeacon and Commercial Union.

Bedivere holds OneBeacon and Commercial Union liabilities

Bedivere was formerly known as OneBeacon Insurance Company (OneBeacon). In December 2020, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department approved the merger of The Employers Fire Insurance Company, Lamorak Insurance Company (Lamorak), and Potomac Insurance Company with and into Bedivere. Lamorak was formerly known as OneBeacon American Insurance Company, Commercial Union Insurance Company, and Employers Commercial Union Insurance Company. Therefore, any business with an insurance policy issued by any of those entities is now subject to the liquidation proceedings in any effort to obtain recovery.

In December 2014, OneBeacon was acquired by Trebuchet US Holdings, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Armour Group Holdings Ltd. In that transaction, the historic asbestos and environmental liabilities of OneBeacon were segregated, capitalized, and reinsured based on representations to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department that there was a very low possibility of insolvency. Although some companies objected to that transaction, it was approved based upon those representations.

Insurance insolvency does not prevent insurance recovery

Insurance insolvency does not necessarily preclude recovery under an insurance policy. There are a number of different potential sources of recovery.

Direct recovery from the estate is accomplished through a proof of claim process. Pennsylvania statutes establish a claim priority system, with all claims in one claim priority category being fully satisfied before recovery of lower priority claims. Administrative expenses of the estate are the highest priority, with claims for losses under insurance policies next, followed by other types of claims, such as general creditor claims. The Liquidator will establish a proof of claim deadline. Claims filed after the deadline can be penalized by being granted a lower priority in the distribution scheme, which could be the difference between some recovery and no recovery.