The 17th Annual Insurance Insolvency & Reinsurance Roundtable invited me to participate on a panel discussion today in Scottsdale, Arizona. The panel is advertised to discuss "The Legal Threats." I suppose I am on the panel, which usually consists of insurance company attorneys, because somebody has to be the token policyholder attorney who actually files the lawsuits that may impose reinsurance demands or insolvency. While I am hopeful that the clients who trust their insurance disputes to the Merlin Law Group may have claims against carriers that have reinsurance, insolvency is the last thing we ever wish for an insurer. It’s bad for everybody’s business.

The primary listed areas of discussion will be:

  • Climate tort – the next asbestos.


  • Environmental liability – the sleeping giant wakes.


  • Emerging legislative risks – consumer safety runs with scissors.


  • Nanotechnology- a $1 trillion business by 2015.


  • Regulatory enforcement – a new sheriff in town.


  • Mass tort – big business in the 21st Century.

My fellow panelists are a very distinguished group. It makes me wonder who declined so that I was invited to speak. Saying anything that sounds intelligent after a law professor speaks always presents a challenge. Here are my colleagues for today’s discussion:

Pete Thomas, Executive Vice President & Managing Director
Willis Re
McLeansville, NC

Daniel McNeel Lane, Jr., Esq.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
San Antonio, TX

Francis McGovern, Professor of Law
Duke University School of Law
Durham, NC

Barry Weissman, Esq.,
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
Los Angeles

I added a couple of other questions and areas of inquiry that include:

1. Whether the Federal Government may enter the insurance marketplace as a reinsurer to help the private market provide a combined product for all-risk perils which includes wind and flood losses in a combined policy?

2. Whether recent insolvencies of smaller insurance carriers in Florida during non-hurricane years indicate an expected greater regulatory oversight and more transparency of the finances of carriers and that of their reinsurance relationships?

This session and these issues probably do not sound as exciting as skipping afternoon work and heading out to see my Yankees play a spring training game. Maybe I can talk these bright colleagues to having a morning session next year so we can get the benefits of learning our passion and then passionately cheering our revered ballplayers.

With that in mind, here is something from last fall’s World Series, Jay Z and Alicia Keys singing "Empire State Of Mind."