The ability to anticipate future events is important. How about this August 2009 prediction I made in More News on the Michael Jackson Event Cancellation Insurance Policy and Claim:

One of the trends in insurance claims is that some insurance carriers are a lot more willing to litigate potential defenses regardless of the wealth or size of the policyholder. Two decades ago, corporate clients and those of public reputation infrequently needed to resolve insurance matters in courtrooms. That is no longer the case. With $17.5 million at issue, I would not be surprised if the underwriters were considering application defenses as well.

Underwriters at Lloyd’s filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles this week seeking a declaration of no coverage for various reasons, including an application defenses. One curious and common theme throughout the complaint is that the policyholders failed to cooperate and satisfy post-loss conditions. Proofs of loss, examinations under oath and other information were allegedly not provided. For example, the complaint states:

This is an insurance dispute between sophisticated parties to a contingency non-appearance and cancellation policy. The policy was issued with regard to Michael Jackson’s series of concerts to be held London, England at the Arena during the summer and fail of 2009. In light of Mr. Jackson’s death, the concerts never went forward. The insured, AEG Live LLC (“AEG”) made a claim for coverage under the policy and UNDERWRITERS have sought to obtain documents, witness statements and other information necessary to determine AEG’s entitlement to coverage under the policy. The parties have an actual and present controversy regarding what coverage, if any, is afforded under the policy and/or whether the policy should be rescinded for non-disclosures and/or misrepresentations as more fully set forth below. AEG has failed and refused to provide UNDERWRITERS with necessary information, including but not limited to, information and documents regarding Dr. Conrad Murray, Mr. Jackson and AEG, which UNDERWRITERS are informed and believe are directly relevant to and necessary for the determination of whether AEG’s claim is covered. (emphasis added)

Regarding the application defense, the complaint states that misrepresentations made before Michael Jackson’s death voided policy conditions:

"UNDERWRITERS contend that they do not have a duty to indemnify AEG and/or Jackson LLC, based upon THE POLICY’S applicable Conditions Precedent, including but not limited to “Pre-existing Medical Conditions” and “Other Pre-existing Conditions.” THE POLICY states as Conditions Precedent as follows:

It is a condition precedent to the liability of [UNDERWRITERS] that [AEG and/or Jackson LLC] has:…

4.1 truthfully declared all material facts likely to influence a reasonable Insurer in determining:

(4.1.1) whether or not to accept the risk or any subsequent amendment,

(4.1.2) the premium,

(4.1.3) the conditions, exclusions and limitations, having reasonably made all necessary inquiries to establish those facts.

4.2 … established to their best knowledge and belief after making reasonable inquiry that [Jackson] has no physical, mental or medical condition or is undergoing any treatment, medical or otherwise, other than those advised to [UNDERWRITERS] and agreed to them in writing, and that [Jackson] is fit to fulfill the commitment insured herein.

4.3 no knowledge at inception, of any undisclosed matter, fact or circumstances, actual or threatened, that increases or could increase the possibility of a loss under this Insurance.

4.5 declared that all information supplied to support the application for this Insurance is in all respects true and complete and unchanged at the inception of this Insurance.

56. UNDERWRITERS contend that they have no duty to indemnify AEG and/or Jackson LLC based upon THE POLICY’S applicable Exclusions, including, but not limited to, Duty of Care, Drugs, and Fraud. THE POLICY includes the following:

This Insurance does not cover any loss directly or indirectly arising out of, contributed to by, or resulting from: …

7.3 non-appearance at an Insured Performance or Event of any Insured Person due to:

(7.3.4) any known pre-existing, physical, psychological or medical condition unless otherwise agreed in writing by [UNDERWRITERS],

7.4 [AEG’s and/or Jackson LLC’s] or [Jackson’s] lack of care, diligence or prudent behavior, the result of which would increase the risk, and/or likelihood of a loss, hereunder;

7.5 the illegal possession or illicit taking of drugs and their effects; …

7.12 any fraud, misrepresentation or concealment by [AEG and/or Jackson LLC] or [Jackson].

The policy does not list Michael Jackson by name. Instead, the parties used "Mark Jones" in place of "Michael Jackson" throughout the policy. This is not an uncommon practice when insuring the rich and famous.

Michael Jackson’s estate has a fine lawyer, Howard Weitzman. He was quoted as saying, "This legal action is nothing more than an insurance company trying to avoid paying a legitimate claim by the insured."

The issues in this lawsuit are similar to many of the routine insurance coverage cases we handle. Unlike many of ours, though, this is certain to be a Thriller: