A lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York concerning the administration of the $100 million Mariah Re Ltd. cat bond, which covers severe weather event risks ceded to Mariah Re by American Family Mutual Insurance Company, with an attachment point of $825 million. The Complaint focuses on the modeling and reporting of a particular storm by ISO Services, Inc,. (d/b/a/ Property Claim Service (“PCS”)) and AIR Worldwide Corp. (“AIR”). Payments under the cat bond are based upon estimated loss modeling by PCS, rather than being indemnity based. The Complaint alleges that PCS impropery issued an amended bulletin reporting on the losses resulting from the storm after it had issued its “final report” concerning the storm, and that PCS improperly backdated the replacement report so that it apepared to have been issued prior to the date of its “final report.” It is alleged that as a result of the replacement report, AIR’s calculation of the losses purportedly chargeable to Mariah Re resulting from the storm increased from $62.2 million to approximately $180.1 million. Apparently, American Family withdrew the entire $100 million limit of the cat bond from the cat bond’s reinsurance trust, approximately $37.8 million more than what it is alleged should have been withdrawn.

Disputes over the administration cat bonds are rare. One source has suggested that this is the first lawsuit concerning the administration of cat bonds. This lawsuit raises the interesting question of whether the use of non-indemnity payment triggers in cat bonds exposes ceding insurers to potential litigation risks which an indemnity payment trigger would avoid.

This post written by Rollie Goss.

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