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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Wiley Rein’s Laura Foggan Quoted in Article about Climate Change-Related Litigation

Hartford Courant
October 18, 2012

Insurance Practice partner Laura Foggan was quoted in an article concerning global warming-related lawsuits and the issues they raise for insurers. There has been a rise in climate change-related lawsuits over the past 10 years, raising a myriad of issues and concerns for property casualty insurance companies and reinsurers. In one such case, the inhabitants of the Alaskan village Kivalina filed a federal lawsuit which accused U.S. energy companies of contributing to global warming, thereby making the town uninhabitable.

One of the energy companies named in the suit, AES Corp., sought insurance coverage from its liability insurer Steadfast.  Steadfast sought guidance from the courts, believing that the allegations in the underlying global warming suit were not covered under its policy. Ms. Foggan, who represented the American Insurance Association and Complex Insurance Claims Litigation Association as amici curiae in the case, explained, “The AES versus Steadfast case was the first case to address commercial general liability coverage for global warming, and, therefore, there was a lack of guidance from the courts on how these policies would respond.” The Virginia Supreme Court agreed with the insurer in a landmark decision.