Washington Federal Court Grants Motion to Compel Arbitration

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Recently, I wrote a reinsurance commentary for IRMI.com on reinsurance issues with captive, pools and other risk-sharing entities. Coincidentally, in January 2023, a Washington federal court had to deal with a risk-sharing pool’s claims of breach of a reinsurance contract and a reinsurer’s motion to compel arbitration.

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Arbitration Clause Upheld In Coverage Dispute

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Coverage disputes between US policyholders and non-US insurers like Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London continue to raise jurisdictional and related issues in US courts. The issues become further exacerbated when there is an arbitration clause in the insurance contract and the non-US insurer seeks to stay the coverage litigation and compel arbitration under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention), to which the US and the UK and most EU countries are signatories.

In a recent case, a Louisiana federal court, hearing the case after removal from the state court, granted the insurers’ motion to stay litigation and compel arbitration.

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Ninth Circuit Compels Arbitration Holding Art. II, Sec. 3 of New York Convention Self-Executing

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The Ninth Circuit has weighed in on the controversy over whether state anti-arbitration provisions in insurance codes reverse preempt the arbitration provisions of The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) because of the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The court joined several other circuits in holding that Article II, Section 3 of the New York Convention is self-executing and, therefore, arbitration can be compelled.

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