SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): January 25, 2021
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(Commission File Number)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
|100 First Stamford Place|
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: 203-363-7300
(Former name or former address, if changed since last report)
Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions:
|☐||Written communications pursuant to Rule 425 under the Securities Act (17 CFR 230.425)|
|☐||Soliciting material pursuant to Rule 14a-12 under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14a-12)|
|☐||Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 14d-2(b) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14d-2(b))|
|☐||Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 13e-4(c) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.13e-4(c))|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, par value $1.00|| CR||New York Stock Exchange|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933 (§230.405 of this chapter) or Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (§240.12b-2 of this chapter).
Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
SECTION 2 – FINANCIAL INFORMATION
|Item 2.02||Results of Operations and Financial Condition.|
On January 25, 2021, Crane Co. (the “Company”) announced its results of operations for the quarter ended December 31, 2020. The related press release and quarterly financial data supplement is being furnished as Exhibit 99.1 to this Current Report on Form 8-K.
The information furnished under Item 2.02 of this Current Report on Form 8-K, including Exhibit 99.1, is not deemed to be “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
SECTION 8 – OTHER EVENTS
Information Regarding Claims and Costs in the Tort System
As of December 31, 2020, we were a defendant in cases filed in numerous state and federal courts alleging injury or death as a result of exposure to asbestos. Activity related to asbestos claims during the periods indicated was as follows:
|For the year ended December 31,||2020||2019||2018|
|Beginning claims||29,056 ||29,089 ||32,234 |
|New claims||2,620 ||2,848 ||2,434 |
|Ending claims||29,138 ||29,056 ||29,089 |
Of the 29,138 pending claims as of December 31, 2020, approximately 18,000 claims were pending in New York of which approximately 16,000 are non-malignancy claims that were filed over 15 years ago and have been inactive under New York court orders.
We have tried several cases resulting in defense verdicts by the jury or directed verdicts for the defense by the court. We further have pursued appeals of certain adverse jury verdicts that have resulted in reversals in favor of the defense. We have also tried several other cases resulting in plaintiff verdicts which we paid or settled after unsuccessful appeals, the most recent of which are described below.
On March 23, 2010, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, state court jury found us responsible for a 1/11th share of a $14.5 million verdict in the James Nelson claim. On February 23, 2011, the court entered judgment on the verdict in the amount of $4.0 million, jointly, against us and two other defendants, with additional interest in the amount of $0.01 million being assessed against us, only. All defendants, including us, and the plaintiffs took timely appeals of certain aspects of those judgments. On September 5, 2013, a panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, in a 2-1 decision, vacated the Nelson verdict against all defendants, reversing and remanding for a new trial. Plaintiffs requested a rehearing in the Superior Court and by order dated November 18, 2013, the Superior Court vacated the panel opinion, and granted en banc reargument. On December 23, 2014, the Superior Court issued a second opinion reversing the jury verdict. Plaintiffs sought leave to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which defendants opposed. By order dated June 21, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied plaintiffs’ petition for leave to appeal. The case was set for a new trial in April 2018. We settled the matter in 2018.
On September 17, 2013, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida state court jury in the Richard DeLisle claim found us responsible for 16% of an $8 million verdict. The trial court denied all parties’ post-trial motions, and entered judgment against us in the amount of $1.3 million. We appealed and oral argument on the appeal took place on February 16, 2016. On September 14, 2016, a panel of the Florida Court of Appeals reversed and entered judgment in favor of us. Plaintiff filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for rehearing and/or certification of an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, which the Court denied on November 9, 2016. Plaintiffs subsequently requested review by the Supreme Court of Florida. Plaintiffs' motion was granted on July 11, 2017. Oral argument took place on March 6, 2018. On October 15, 2018, the Supreme Court of Florida reversed and remanded with instructions to reinstate the trial court’s judgment. We paid the judgment on December 28, 2018.
On July 2, 2015, a St. Louis, Missouri state court jury in the James Poage claim entered a $1.5 million verdict for compensatory damages against us. The jury also awarded exemplary damages against us in the amount of $10 million. We filed a motion seeking to reduce the verdict to account for the verdict set-offs. That motion was denied, and judgment was entered against
us in the amount of $10.8 million. We initiated an appeal. Oral argument was held on December 13, 2016. In an opinion dated May 2, 2017, a Missouri Court of Appeals panel affirmed the judgment in all respects. The Court of Appeals denied our motion to transfer the case to the Supreme Court of Missouri. We sought leave to appeal before the Supreme Court of Missouri, which denied that request. The Supreme Court of the United States denied further review on March 26, 2018. We settled the matter in 2018.
On April 22, 2016, a Phoenix, Arizona federal court jury found us responsible for a 20% share of a $9 million verdict in the George Coulbourn claim, and further awarded exemplary damages against us in the amount of $5 million. The jury also awarded compensatory and exemplary damages against the other defendant present at trial. The court entered judgment against us in the amount of $6.8 million. We filed post-trial motions, which were denied on September 20, 2016. We pursued an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which affirmed the judgment on March 29, 2018. We settled the matter in 2018.
Such judgment amounts were not included in our incurred costs until all available appeals were exhausted and the final payment amount was determined.
The gross settlement and defense costs incurred (before insurance recoveries and tax effects) by us for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 totaled $50.9 million, $66.2 million and $88.8 million, respectively. Results for 2020 were impacted by court closures and significantly reduced trial related activity in jurisdictions throughout the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assuming a successful and comprehensive implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine program, we expect activity in the tort system to begin returning to a more normal pace in the second half of 2021. In contrast to the recognition of settlement and defense costs, which reflect the current level of activity in the tort system, cash payments and receipts generally lag the tort system activity by several months or more, and may show some fluctuation from period to period. Cash payments of settlement amounts are not made until all releases and other required documentation are received by us, and reimbursements of both settlement amounts and defense costs by insurers may be uneven due to insurer payment practices, transitions from one insurance layer to the next excess layer and the payment terms of certain reimbursement agreements. Our total pre-tax payments for settlement and defense costs, net of funds received from insurers, for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 totaled $31.1 million, $41.5 million and $63.9 million, respectively. Detailed below are the comparable amounts for the periods indicated.
|For the year ended December 31,||2020||2019||2018|
|Settlement / indemnity costs incurred *||$||35.3 ||$||45.5 ||$||63.0 |
|Defense costs incurred *||15.6 ||20.7 ||25.8 |
|Total costs incurred||$||50.9 ||$||66.2 ||$||88.8 |
|Settlement / indemnity payments||$||24.7 ||$||38.9 ||$||61.5 |
|Defense payments||16.7 ||21.4 ||26.5 |
|Pre-tax cash payments, net||$||31.1 ||$||41.5 ||$||63.9 |
* Before insurance recoveries and tax effects.
The amounts shown for settlement and defense costs incurred, and cash payments, are not necessarily indicative of future period amounts, which may be higher or lower than those reported.
Cumulatively through December 31, 2020, we have resolved (by settlement or dismissal) approximately 141,000 claims. The related settlement cost incurred by us and our insurance carriers is approximately $680 million, for an average settlement cost per resolved claim of approximately $4,800. The average settlement cost per claim resolved during the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 was $13,900, $15,800, and $11,300, respectively. Because claims are sometimes dismissed in large groups, the average cost per resolved claim, as well as the number of open claims, can fluctuate significantly from period to period. In addition to large group dismissals, the nature of the disease and corresponding settlement amounts for each claim resolved will also drive changes from period to period in the average settlement cost per claim. Accordingly, the average cost per resolved claim is not considered in our periodic review of our estimated asbestos liability. For a discussion regarding the four most significant factors affecting the liability estimate, see “Effects on the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements.”
Effects on the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
We have retained an independent actuarial firm to assist management in estimating our asbestos liability in the tort system. The actuarial consultants review information provided by us concerning claims filed, settled and dismissed, amounts paid in
settlements and relevant claim information such as the nature of the asbestos-related disease asserted by the claimant, the jurisdiction where filed and the time lag from filing to disposition of the claim. The methodology used by the actuarial consultants to project future asbestos costs is based on our recent historical experience for claims filed, settled and dismissed during a base reference period. Our experience is then compared to estimates of the number of individuals likely to develop asbestos-related diseases determined based on widely used previously conducted epidemiological studies augmented with current data inputs. Those studies were undertaken in connection with national analyses of the population of workers believed to have been exposed to asbestos. Using that information, the actuarial consultants estimate the number of future claims that would be filed against us and estimates the aggregate settlement or indemnity costs that would be incurred to resolve both pending and future claims based upon the average settlement costs by disease during the reference period. This methodology has been accepted by numerous courts. After discussions with us, the actuarial consultants augment our liability estimate for the costs of defending asbestos claims in the tort system using a forecast from us which is based upon discussions with our defense counsel. Based on this information, the actuarial consultants compile an estimate of our asbestos liability for pending and future claims using a range of reference periods based on claim experience and claims expected to be filed through the indicated forecast period. The most significant factors affecting the liability estimate are (1) the number of new mesothelioma claims filed against us, (2) the average settlement costs for mesothelioma claims, (3) the percentage of mesothelioma claims dismissed against us and (4) the aggregate defense costs incurred by us. These factors are interdependent, and no one factor predominates in determining the liability estimate.
In our view, the forecast period used to provide the best estimate for asbestos claims and related liabilities and costs is a judgment based upon a number of trend factors, including the number and type of claims being filed each year; the jurisdictions where such claims are filed, and the effect of any legislation or judicial orders in such jurisdictions restricting the types of claims that can proceed to trial on the merits; and the likelihood of any comprehensive asbestos legislation at the federal level. In addition, the dynamics of asbestos litigation in the tort system have been significantly affected by the substantial number of companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection, thereby staying any asbestos claims against them until the conclusion of such proceedings, and the establishment of a number of post-bankruptcy trusts for asbestos claimants, which have been estimated to provide $36 billion for payments to current and future claimants. These trend factors have both positive and negative effects on the dynamics of asbestos litigation in the tort system and the related best estimate of our asbestos liability, and these effects do not move in a linear fashion but rather change over multi-year periods. Accordingly, management continues to monitor these trend factors over time and periodically assesses whether an alternative forecast period is appropriate.
Each quarter, the actuarial consultants compile an update based upon our experience in claims filed, settled and dismissed as well as average settlement costs by disease category (mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancer, and non-malignant conditions including asbestosis). In addition to this claims experience, we also consider additional quantitative and qualitative factors such as the nature of the aging of pending claims, significant appellate rulings and legislative developments, and their respective effects on expected future settlement values. As part of this process, we also consider trends in the tort system such as those enumerated above. Management considers all these factors in conjunction with the liability estimate of the actuarial consultants and determines whether a change in the estimate is warranted.
Liability Estimate. In June 2016, the New York State Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Dummitt v. Crane Co., affirming a 2012 verdict for $4.9 million against us. In that opinion, the court ruled that in certain circumstances we are legally responsible for asbestos-containing materials made and sold by third parties that others attached post-sale to our equipment. This decision provided clarity regarding the nature of claims that may proceed to trial in New York and greater predictability regarding future claim activity. We also reflected the impact of the Dummitt decision on our expected settlement values. Accordingly, on December 31, 2016, we updated and extended our asbestos liability estimate through 2059, the generally accepted end point.
Following our experience in the tort system post the Dummitt decision, we entered into several, increasingly similar, group settlements with various plaintiff firms, the most recent of which was in the fourth quarter of 2019. We expect this new trend of these types of group settlements to continue, and accordingly, effective as of December 31, 2019, we updated our estimate of the asbestos liability, including revised costs of settlement or indemnity payments and defense costs relating to currently pending claims and future claims projected to be filed against us through the same expected end point of 2059. Our estimate of the asbestos liability for pending and future claims through 2059 is based on the projected future asbestos costs resulting from our experience using a range of reference periods for claims filed, settled and dismissed. Based on this estimate, we recorded an additional liability of $255 million as of December 31, 2019.
An aggregate liability of $712 million is recorded as of December 31, 2019 to cover the estimated cost of asbestos claims now pending or subsequently asserted through 2059, of which approximately 85% is attributable to settlement and defense costs for future claims projected to be filed through 2059. The liability is reduced when cash payments are made in respect of settled claims and defense costs. The liability was $670 million as of December 31, 2020. It is not possible to forecast when cash payments related to the asbestos liability will be fully expended; however, it is expected such cash payments will
continue for a number of years past 2059, due to the significant proportion of future claims included in the estimated asbestos liability and the lag time between the date a claim is filed and when it is resolved. None of these estimated costs have been discounted to present value due to the inability to reliably forecast the timing of payments. The current portion of the total estimated liability at December 31, 2020 and 2019 is $66.5 million and $65.0 million, respectively and represents our best estimate of total asbestos costs expected to be paid during the twelve-month period. Such amount is based upon the actuarial model together with our prior year payment experience for both settlement and defense costs.
We have made our best estimate of the costs through 2059. Through December 31, 2020, our actual experience during the updated reference period for mesothelioma claims filed and dismissed generally approximated the assumptions in our liability estimate. In addition to this claims experience, we considered additional quantitative and qualitative factors such as the nature of the aging of pending claims, significant appellate rulings and legislative developments, and their respective effects on expected future settlement values. Based on this evaluation, we determined that no change in the estimate was warranted for the period ended December 31, 2020.
Insurance Coverage and Receivables. Prior to 2005, a significant portion of our settlement and defense costs were paid by our primary insurers. With the exhaustion of that primary coverage, we began negotiations with our excess insurers to reimburse us for a portion of our settlement and/or defense costs as incurred. To date, we have entered into agreements providing for such reimbursements, known as “coverage-in-place,” with eleven of our excess insurer groups. Under such coverage-in-place agreements, an insurer’s policies remain in force and the insurer undertakes to provide coverage for our present and future asbestos claims on specified terms and conditions that address, among other things, the share of asbestos claims costs to be paid by the insurer, payment terms, claims handling procedures and the expiration of the insurer’s obligations. Similarly, under a variant of coverage-in-place, we have entered into an agreement with a group of insurers confirming the aggregate amount of available coverage under the subject policies and setting forth a schedule for future reimbursement payments to us based on aggregate indemnity and defense payments made. In addition, with ten of our excess insurer groups, we entered into agreements settling all asbestos and other coverage obligations for an agreed sum and received a total of $82.5 million in aggregate as a result of those settlements. Reimbursements from insurers for past and ongoing settlement and defense costs allocable to their policies have been made in accordance with these coverage-in-place and other agreements. All these agreements include provisions for mutual releases, indemnification of the insurer and, for coverage-in-place, claims handling procedures. With the agreements referenced above, we have concluded settlements with all but two of our solvent excess insurers with policies expected to respond to the aggregate costs included in the liability estimate. The first such insurer, which issued a single applicable policy, has been paying for many years the shares of defense and indemnity costs we have allocated to it, subject to a reservation of rights. The second insurer issued a single applicable policy in a layer of coverage that we do not anticipate reaching until many years from now, and, prior to the policy being reached, we anticipate opening a dialogue with that insurer about the execution of a suitable agreement. There are no pending legal proceedings between us and any insurer contesting our asbestos claims under our insurance policies.
In conjunction with developing the aggregate updated liability estimate referenced above, we also developed an updated estimate of probable insurance recoveries for our asbestos liabilities. In developing this estimate, we considered our coverage-in-place and other settlement agreements described above, as well as several additional factors. These additional factors include the financial viability of the insurance companies, the method by which losses will be allocated to the various insurance policies and the years covered by those policies, how settlement and defense costs will be covered by the insurance policies and interpretation of the effect on coverage of various policy terms and limits. In addition, the timing and amount of reimbursements will vary because our insurance coverage for asbestos claims involves multiple insurers, with different policy terms and certain gaps in coverage. In addition to consulting with legal counsel on these insurance matters, we retained insurance consultants to assist management in the estimation of probable insurance recoveries based upon the aggregate liability estimate described above and assuming the continued viability of all solvent insurance carriers. Based upon the analysis of policy terms and other factors noted above by our legal counsel, and incorporating risk mitigation judgments by us where policy terms or other factors were not certain, our insurance consultants compiled a model indicating how our historical insurance policies would respond to varying levels of asbestos settlement and defense costs and the allocation of such costs between such insurers and us. Using the estimated liability as of December 31, 2019 (for claims filed or expected to be filed through 2059), the insurance consultant’s model forecasted that approximately 14% of the liability would be reimbursed by our insurers. While there are overall limits on the aggregate amount of insurance available to us with respect to asbestos claims, certain limits were not reached by the total estimated liability currently recorded by us, and such overall limits did not influence our determination of the asset amount to record. We allocate to ourselves the amount of the asbestos liability (for claims filed or expected to be filed through 2059) that is in excess of available insurance coverage allocated to such years. An asset of $98 million was recorded as of December 31, 2019 representing the probable insurance reimbursement for claims expected through 2059. The asset is reduced as reimbursements and other payments from insurers are received. The asset was $87 million as of December 31, 2020.
We review the estimated reimbursement rate with our insurance consultants on a periodic basis in order to confirm overall consistency with our established reserves. The reviews encompass consideration of the performance of the insurers under
coverage-in-place agreements and the effect of any additional lump-sum payments under other insurer agreements. Actual insurance reimbursements vary from period to period, and will decline over time, for the reasons cited above.
Uncertainties. Estimation of our ultimate exposure for asbestos-related claims is subject to significant uncertainties, as there are multiple variables that can affect the timing, severity and quantity of claims and the manner of their resolution. We caution that our estimated liability is based on assumptions with respect to future claims, settlement and defense costs based on past experience that may not prove reliable as predictors; the assumptions are interdependent and no single factor predominates in determining the liability estimate. A significant upward or downward trend in the number of claims filed, depending on the nature of the alleged injury, the jurisdiction where filed and the quality of the product identification, or a significant upward or downward trend in the costs of defending claims, could change the estimated liability, as would substantial adverse verdicts at trial that withstand appeal. A legislative solution, structured settlement transaction, or significant change in relevant case law could also change the estimated liability.
The same factors that affect developing estimates of probable settlement and defense costs for asbestos-related liabilities also affect estimates of the probable insurance reimbursements, as do a number of additional factors. These additional factors include the financial viability of the insurance companies, the method by which losses will be allocated to the various insurance policies and the years covered by those policies, how settlement and defense costs will be covered by the insurance policies and interpretation of the effect on coverage of various policy terms and limits and their interrelationships. In addition, due to the uncertainties inherent in litigation matters, no assurances can be given regarding the outcome of any litigation, if necessary, to enforce our rights under our insurance policies or settlement agreements.
Many uncertainties exist surrounding asbestos litigation, and we will continue to evaluate our estimated asbestos-related liability and corresponding estimated insurance reimbursement as well as the underlying assumptions and process used to derive these amounts. These uncertainties may result in our incurring future charges or increases to income to adjust the carrying value of recorded liabilities and assets, particularly if the number of claims and settlement and defense costs change significantly, or if there are significant developments in the trend of case law or court procedures, or if legislation or another alternative solution is implemented. Although the resolution of these claims will likely take many years, the effect on the results of operations, financial position and cash flow in any given period from a revision to these estimates could be material.
SECTION 9 – FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND EXHIBITS
|Item 9.01||Financial Statements and Exhibits.|
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.
| ||CRANE CO.|
|January 25, 2021|| || |
| ||By:|| ||/s/ Richard A. Maue|
| || ||Richard A. Maue|
|Senior Vice President and|
| || ||Chief Financial Officer|
|Document and Entity Information||As of|
|Entity Central Index Key||0000025445|