Merck awarded $1.4bn claim over 2017 NotPetya cyberattack

Merck has been awarded $1.4bn from Ace American Insurance after a court cause was ruled in its favour regarding the NotPetya malware outbreak from 2017.

According to Security Week, the NotPetya malware outbreak caused massive damage and disruption around the world and led to the Merck court case. Merck had an ‘all-risks’ property insurance, but had its claims initially rejected based on a war exclusion clause. This led them to file a lawsuit against their insurer.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Walsh ruled that the ‘plain language meaning of the words used in the war exclusion clause are paramount’. He concluded that the insured could not be expected to assume that the clause would exclude physical damaged caused by NotPetya.

He wrote, “Given the plain meaning of the language in the exclusion, the court unhesitatingly finds that the exclusion does not apply. Insurers did nothing to change the language of the exemption to reasonably put this insured on notice that it intended to exclude cyberattacks. Merck had every right to anticipate that the exclusion applied only to traditional forms of warfare.”

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