TIG Insurance Company v. National Indemnity Company, Case No 22-cv- 165-SE, Opinion No. 2023 DNH 029

Issue Discussed: Jurisdiction

Submitted by Polly Schiavone

Date Promulgated: July 24, 2023

The defendant National Indemnity Company (“NICO”) is an insurance company based in Nebraska. NICO issued liability insurance to the State of Montana (“Montana Liability Policy”) and purchased reinsurance coverage for those policies from several carriers, including Skandia Insurance Company
(“Skandia”). Skandia is based in Sweden and has a U.S. Branch in New York. The subject reinsurance contract (the “Agreement”) was issued through a broker based in Chicago, Illinois. TIG Insurance Company (“TIG”) succeeded Skandia at some point after Skandia and NICO entered into the Agreement.

Numerous asbestos claims were tendered to NICO under the Montana Liability Policy and NICO brought a declaratory judgment action against Montana in Montana State Court seeking a determination of NICO’s rights/duties under the Montana Liability Policy. While in litigation with Montana, NICO sent status reports, demands and other correspondence regarding this action to TIG (at its address in New
Hampshire) and its other reinsurers. The Montana suit was ultimately settled and NICO advised TIG that a reinsurance billing was forthcoming.

Before the settlement between NICO and Montana was approved, and before NICO issued its reinsurance billing to TIG, TIG filed a declaratory judgment action in the U.S. District Court for the
District of New Hampshire and claimed that the settlement agreement was not covered under the Agreement. Two other reinsurers brought similar suits against NICO in other jurisdictions. Those reinsurers eventually agreed to dismiss their cases without prejudice in favor of litigation in the District of Nebraska.

NICO moved to dismiss this matter, arguing that the New Hampshire federal court lacked personal jurisdiction. In the alternative to dismissal, NICO sought to transfer the case to Nebraska. NICO contended that it had insufficient contacts with the State of New Hampshire to support general personal
jurisdiction there and its contacts with TIG in New Hampshire did not support specific personal jurisdiction. TIG, in turn, contended that specific personal jurisdiction over NICO existed based on the parties’ communications and NICO’s other contacts with New Hampshire. The Court applied a
“relatedness” legal analysis to assess the jurisdiction question.

Because TIG’s predecessor was based in Sweden with a New York branch, and the Agreement was issued through a Chicago broker to NICO, a Nebraska company, the Court found no connection to New Hampshire as to the formation of the Agreement. In addition, since neither TIG nor NICO had
breached the Agreement when TIG initiated the action, there was no contact with New Hampshire regarding the future consequences (or breach) of the Agreement.

TIG argued the fact that all NICO’s communications about the Montana suit were directed to TIG’s New Hampshire address was sufficient basis for jurisdiction. The Court distinguished cases cited by TIG on this point and found that, overall, the applicable caselaw did not support TIG’s theory. The New Hampshire Court granted NICO’s motion to dismiss and, because the case was dismissed, did not address NICO’s alternative request to transfer the matter to Nebraska.