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The attention-grabbing headlines surrounding the $250 million punitive damage award in the gender discrimination lawsuit against Novartis has triggered renewed interest by risk managers in the availability and insurability of punitive damages under employment practices liability insurance.

As with most litigation, only a small percentage of the thousands of employment claims filed every year ultimately make it to a jury. Most settle long before that point, but those that do reach a jury have a higher likelihood of a punitive damage award, because of the often inflammatory nature of the allegations made in these cases.

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