On June 7, 2018, the Second Circuit Court in Certain Underwriting Members of Lloyds of London v. Fla., Dep’t of Fin. Servs.,1 held that a party-appointed arbitrator should not be held to the same standard as a neutral arbitrator. The Court vacated a district court’s order vacating an arbitral award in a reinsurance dispute between Insurance Company of Americas (“ICA”) and Certain Underwriting Members of Lloyds of London (“Underwriters”). The case was one of first impression for the Second Circuit on how to determine the standard of evident partiality challenged to a party-appointed arbitrator.
Underwriters reinsured ICA under a series of treaties. The treaties each contained an arbitration clause requiring that disputes be adjudicated by an arbitration panel consisting of three members: one party-appointed arbitrator for each party, and a neutral. The clause required only that the arbitrators “be active or retired disinterested executive officers of insurance or reinsurance companies or Lloyd’s London Underwriters.”