According to a recent Insurance Journal article, Travelers Insurance has become the latest insurance company to try to avoid coverage from a potentially huge collection of lawsuits filed against the National Football League related to concussions and resulting brain injuries.
Earlier this year, a series of lawsuits were filed by former NFL players and their families, alleging that the NFL possessed medical research and other information confirming that repeated blows to the head – even in a football helmet – were connected to permanent brain injuries. Ultimately, the lawsuits have been combined into one case in federal court in Pennsylvania. Players and their families are seeking damages related to headaches, dementia, dizziness, and other symptoms consistent with traumatic brain injury. While the NFL has consistently denied not sharing whatever information it had with the players, it goes without saying that the potential damage award could reach into hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.
Not surprisingly, several of the insurance companies who have been insuring the NFL for years (and presumably collecting handsome premium checks) have now filed separate lawsuits seeking to escape any liability or exposure to damages. In the Travelers lawsuit, Travelers is seeking to divide the two NFL entities (the actual League, and NFL Properties, Inc. (a separate company)), in a way that will reduce Travelers’ exposure.
It is will interesting to see how all of this works out. I’m sure the NFL, and all of its entities, were paying a pretty penny for what they thought was thorough liability coverage – in case the League was accused of some kind of negligence. Documents suggest that Travelers may have insured the NFL since the 1960’s. Despite all of those years of working together, when the NFL faces a potentially huge problem from this brain injury lawsuit, what is Travelers’ reaction.
What do you think about whether these insurance companies should defend the NFL, and pay if the NFL (or its entities) are found to be negligent?