In a putative class action seeking damages for alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) arising from certain reinsurance transactions, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri held that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the McCarran-Ferguson Act, granting defendants’ motion to dismiss. Plaintiff Dale Ludwick and others purchased annuities from F&G Life Insurance Company, which was acquired by Harbinger Group, Inc. Plaintiff brought suit alleging that F&G, Harbinger and Harbinger’s chairman and CEO engineered a fraudulent accounting scheme to hide F&G’s liabilities, artificially inflate its reported assets, and create a false appearance of capital adequacy through reinsurance transactions with certain entities, including defendants Raven Reinsurance Company and Front Street Re (Cayman), Ltd, in violation of RICO.
Defendants moved to dismiss the action, arguing that plaintiff’s RICO claims impermissibly interfered with state statutory and regulatory insurance schemes, and were thus barred by the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The court granted defendants’ motion, finding that: (a) RICO does not specifically relate to the business of insurance, thus satisfying this prong of McCarran-Ferguson’s criteria; (b) the states relevant to the transactions at issue – Missouri and Iowa – have statutory schemes which regulate the business of insurance and governed said transactions; and (c) the application of RICO to the subject claims would intrude upon the insurance regulatory schemes in those states, and thus “invalidate, impair or supersede” the schemes in violation of McCarran-Ferguson. Moreover, the court rejected plaintiff’s argument that its common law claims negated the effect of McCarran-Ferguson and that such claims were not barred by the statute, as the transactions at issue were subject to the states’ insurance codes. Ludwick v. Harbinger Group, Inc., No. 15-cv-00011 (USDC W.D.MO. Feb. 12, 2016).