Alterra Looks to Sack Defense Duty in NFL Concussion Suits

File photo of former Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk during Super Bowl XXVI. (AP Photo/David Longstreath) File photo of former Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk during Super Bowl XXVI. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

NU Online News Service, Aug. 14, 3:07 p.m. EDT

Alterra American Insurance Co. is seeking to officially rid itself of an obligation to defend or indemnify the National Football League (NFL) in 93 concussion-related lawsuits against the league.

Court documents filed by Alterra with the Supreme Court of the State of New York indicate the NFL is looking for defense and indemnification in lawsuits filed by former players.

The list of lawsuits—filed by former players such as Mark Rypien, Jamal Anderson, Jeff Hostetler, Art Monk, Alex Karras and Eric Dickerson—takes up 9 of the 13-page court filing, yet represents just a fraction of the hundreds of concussion-related lawsuits the NFL faces.

The players allege they suffered neurological damage due to fraud and negligence by the NFL. Many of the suits have been consolidated into a single case in a district court in Pennsylvania. The NFL is headquartered in New York.

Alterra wants a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify the NFL because there is a dispute between the two about how its policy should be read and interpreted.

According to the court documents, Alterra issued an excess casualty follow-form policy effective Aug. 1, 2011. It expired Aug. 1 this year.

Altera’s policy has a per occurrence—meaning coverage responds to incidents during the coverage period regardless of when those claims are reported—with a limit of $25 million in excess of a commercial umbrella liability policy issued by Chartis with an per-occurrence limit of $50 million and a commercial general liability policy from Ace American Insurance Co. with a limit of $1 million, according to the filing.

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