District of Puerto Rico Holds Article II of the Convention on Foreign Arbitral Awards Preempts the……

In a dispute over whether an international insurance policy provided coverage for losses resulting from a fire that destroyed the insured property, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico determined that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempt the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The plaintiff had purchased from several Lloyd’s syndicates an insurance policy containing an arbitration provision and providing coverage for property located in Puerto Rico. The plaintiff argued that the McCarran-Ferguson Act “reverse-preempted” the Convention and the FAA such that Puerto Rican insurance law controlled whether the parties’ dispute was arbitrable. The plaintiff further argued, and the insurers did not dispute, that the Puerto Rico Insurance Code prohibits insurance policies from requiring arbitration of disputes. The insurers, however, argued that the Convention and FAA preempted Puerto Rico’s Insurance Code, and therefore the arbitration provision must be enforced……

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