Guy Carpenter Study: U.S. Tort System Less Hostile to Corporate Defendants, Their Insurers

December 19, 2005

Guy Carpenter & Company Inc. reported the release of a new study, Recent Legislative and Judicial Trends Affecting the U.S. Casualty Industry, on key legislative and judicial developments and their impact on the U.S. casualty market. The report provides an overview of enacted and pending federal and state legislation that could impact U.S. casualty risks.

In its overall analysis, the study finds that the U.S. tort system is growing less hostile to corporate defendants and their insurers, providing a more level playing field with the plaintiffs’ bar.

“There have been a number of significant judicial and legislative developments on both the federal and state fronts that could have positive effects for U.S. corporations and their insurers – especially in areas such as class action litigation and obesity claims,” said Andrew Marcell, managing director and global leader of the company’s Casualty Specialty Practices. “At the same time, several recent decisions should give insurers pause, including the World Trade Center and Port Authority jury verdict in New York and state court rulings in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, where tort reform legislation has been struck down as unconstitutional. Overall, however, the legal environment appears to be more favorable for casualty insurers and their corporate clients than in previous years.”

On the federal level, the study looks closely at key legislative developments affecting casualty lines, including the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2005, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005, the National Catastrophe Fund, Risk Retention Groups, and the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005. The report also assesses state legislative developments in the areas of terrorism and tort reform, summarizes Hurricane Katrina-related issues and examines the impact of recent court decisions on the reinsurance community.

In addition, the study provides a detailed overview of major federal and state court decisions with the potential to impact casualty risks and exposures and coverage issues. These include tort reform rulings, “next asbestos” and “next tobacco” litigation, developments in products liability defense, pharmaceutical claims and environmental liabilities.

Recent Legislative and Judicial Trends Affecting the U.S. Casualty Industry is available for download at Printed copies of the study can be obtained by contacting Guy Carpenter at

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