Written by David A. O’Neill, JD, Director of Investigations, PolicyFind
Liberty Mutual, the third largest property/casualty insurer in the United States has announced that it has entered into a retroactive reinsurance agreement with National Indemnity Company (“NICO”), a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Under what is known in the industry as an aggregate adverse cover agreement, Liberty Mutual will transfer $3.2 billion of its existing environmental, asbestos and workers compensation liabilities to NICO in exchange for approximately $3 billion.
The agreement is retroactive to January 1, 2014 and covers substantially all of Liberty Mutual’s domestic environmental and asbestos related liabilities arising under insurance and reinsurance policies with effective dates before January 1, 2005. Also covered are its U.S. workers compensation liabilities for injuries or accidents occurring prior to January 1, 2014. NICO will assume responsibility for claims handling relating to Liberty’s asbestos and environmental claims while Liberty continues to handle its workers compensation claims.
NICO has been involved in reinsurance agreements such as this one in the past, including the Lloyds Equitas claims agreement in 2006, the agreement with Chartis, AIG’s global property/casualty insurer in 2010, and an asbestos claims deal with C N A Financial, also in 2010.
What this change will mean to policyholder claims currently being handled by Liberty Mutual’s Complex and Emerging Risk Claims Department in Dover, New Hampshire is unclear at present. It is anticipated however that NICO will delegate much of the handling of the Liberty Mutual environmental and asbestos claims to its sister company, Resolute Management, Inc.