New York’s State’s Child Victims Act (CVA) and Its Impact on Insurance Claims

This post was authored by Kaitlyn B. Rowe, J.D., AIC, Senior Claims Litigation Specialist at Rose and Kiernan, Inc.

New York state’s Child Victims Act (CVA) was signed into law on February 14, 2019. The law raises the statute of limitation to file a civil suit until the victim is 55-years-old. Additionally, there is a one-time “lookback window” which removes the statute of limitations from August 14, 2019 – August 14, 2020. This change in the law will have a wide-ranging impact on organizations who interact with children.

What are the implications of the CVA on insurance claims?

  • Depending on the type of coverages in place and the nature of the allegations, a General Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Directors and Officers or Errors & Omissions policies may be put on notice.
  • Claims that were previously dismissed due to statute of limitations may be revived.
  • Aggregate limits may be impacted and this has resulted in bankruptcy for organizations in other states that had numerous lawsuits brought during lookback windows.
  • Claims brought during the lookback window will be put on an expedited track in the court system, so be prepared for claims to move quickly.

What do you if your organization receives a claim under the CVA?

  • If you receive notice of a claim, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to get the relevant insurance companies on notice.
  • Consult with your attorney, but be aware that defense costs incurred prior to putting an insurance company on notice are often not covered under the policy.
  • For older claims, review your organization’s files to obtain any information on coverages in place during the time of the alleged incidents.
    • Rose & Kiernan, Inc. may be able to assist in this process by reviewing both our policy and billing systems to identify appropriate carriers.
    • Insurance Archeology firms are available to track down insurance coverage from insurance companies that has merged or have been acquired by other companies.

What is the best way to protect your organization going forward?

  • Review practices for hiring and supervising staff members working with children to ensure safety and appropriate oversight.
  • Review retention policies of insurance policies, personnel files and internal investigations to prepare for future claims pursued under the CVA. This information should be held until the statute of limitations runs, which now may be in over 70 years from the date of incident.
  • Be versed in mandatory child abuse or neglect reporting requirements and report all complaints of abuse or neglect to appropriate authorities.
  • Have a discussion with your insurance broker about policies available to protect your organization.

For more information on risk management services with Rose & Kiernan, please visit that section on our website. Or you can contact us here or by calling 800-242-2433.

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