NFL Reaches Concussion Settlement with Westport Insurance Corporation

Oct 11, 2019

The NFL has reached a settlement with Westport Insurance Corporation, after a lengthy battle between the two regarding payments to players who suffered brain injuries during their playing career and now experience medical issues, according to a New York State Supreme Court filing.
The crux of the issue between the league and the companies has been the players’ claim that the NFL was not only negligent for not addressing the concussion crisis, but that it was fraudulent. In other words, it deliberately hid the risks of concussions from the players. Thus, companies such as Westport, were not obligated to pay claims of as much as $5 million, which varies depending on the type of neurological and cognitive problems being experienced,
“The case was originally brought by 32 insurers who wrote liability policies for the N.F.L. dating back to the 1960s,” according to a New York Times article. “But their case was largely shelved while the N.F.L. and the retired players negotiated their settlement. Once that was finished, the insurers resumed their case, which included collecting documents from the league and its teams.
“The insurers banded together for the purposes of their suit, but they had different amounts of exposure. Some insurers were the primary parties covering damages, while others wrote so-called excess liability policies that covered damages over a certain amount. Some insurers wrote policies for only a year or two, while others worked with the N.F.L. for many years. Some of the insurers took over the claims from other companies in mergers and acquisitions. A half dozen insurers settled with the N.F.L. in 2017, leaving 26 companies, including Allstate and Travelers, to continue fighting. Most of their cases remain active, though those companies had to sign off on the Westport settlement. In addition to asking for documents from the league, lawyers for the insurers have also subpoenaed the N.F.L. teams looking for records, and filed motions in a number of state courts when some teams did not comply. The insurers also questioned how the league and lawyers for the retired players established the criteria for their settlement.”


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