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Insurance Partner Laura Foggan Quoted on Coverage Disputes Involving Retailers' Collection of ZIP Code Information

Business Insurance
July 24, 2011

Laura Foggan, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Insurance Practice, commented on retailers’ coverage disputes with insurers over the recent spate of lawsuits involving the collection of ZIP code information. The California Supreme Court recently ruled that ZIP code information counts as “personal identification information” and that the collection of such information violates state consumer privacy law. More than 150 lawsuits have been filed against retailers, and litigation is spreading from California to other jurisdictions under state consumer protection laws  Responding to arguments that coverage may respond to these claims, Ms. Foggan said that it is “‘unlikely’ that policyholders will find coverage in their CGL policies for ZIP code violation claims.” She added that “I cannot envision any way that a credible argument could be made about bodily injury or property damage liability coverage under a CGL policy. So we’re really talking about the question of the meaning of the advertising and personal injury coverage part.”   Although coverage for violations of privacy will be disputed, the personal and advertising injury part usually covers torts such as slander and libel. “Those characteristics just aren’t present in the ZIP code cases that we’re seeing,” Ms. Foggan said.