Colleen Murphy focuses her practice on regulatory and professional liability matters in the insurance and reinsurance industries and leads our insurance agents and brokers practice. She has nearly 20 years of experience counseling and defending clients that include major insurers and reinsurers, insurance agencies, and brokers through regulatory investigations, licensing matters, compliance and market conduct issues, and inquiries into consumer complaints.
She has represented and advised clients across the nation in their relations with regulatory authorities, including the state insurance departments of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California. Her victory in the landmark case of Lee v. State of New York Insurance Department, 222 AD.2d 1050 (4th Dept.1995) highlights her experience defending insurance agents before insurance regulatory authorities. In this case, Colleen successfully stopped the New York State Insurance Department from acting outside the scope of its investigational authority and prevented it from ordering the insurance agent to appear before it and to submit to questioning in the presence of a disgruntled agency customer with respect to a consumer complaint. She also represents broker-dealers and registered representatives in response to regulatory inquiries initiated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In a recent matter, Colleen worked alongside Goldberg Segalla partner James Wrynn in his role as an expert witness on complex regulatory and reinsurance issues.
Colleen complements her regulatory practice with extensive experience successfully defending insurance agents, brokers, and insurers in errors and omissions (E&O) claims and insurance coverage disputes. As a co-chair of Goldberg Segalla's insurance agents and brokers practice within the firm's Professional Liability Practice Group, she has successfully defended top-10 insurance brokers and self-insureds, major E&O liability insurers, and insurance agencies within financial institutions in hundreds of E&O claims and lawsuits across New York State as well as in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Colleen's representation of broker-dealers and registered representatives includes defending them in FINRA arbitrations involving securities-related claims, including those alleging unsuitable investment recommendations, improper sales practices, negligent supervision, churning, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.
Her representative decisions include L.C.E.L. Collectibles v. American Insurance Co., 228 A.D.2d 196 (1st Dept. 1996), in which Colleen obtained summary judgment by convincing the Appellate Division, First Department to hold for the first time in New York State that an insurance agent had no duty to recommend flood insurance or to inspect the location of the plaintiff's property to determine whether it was near a flood plain or swamp. L.C.E.L. Collectibles has been extensively cited and was relied upon by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the seminal decision of Wisniski v. Brown and Brown Ins. Co. of PA, 206 PA Supr.216 (PA. Super. Ct. 2006), which held that the relationship between an insurance agent and a customer is ordinarily an arm's-length transaction, and thus, the agent had no duty to inspect the property or recommend flood coverage.
A recognized authority on defending agents and brokers in the insurance industry, Colleen has been quoted in Insurance Law360 and has delivered numerous E&O-focused loss-control CE seminars and webinars across the country. She has also authored errors and omissions loss-control reports as well as contributed chapters to an errors and omissions loss-control primer. Major regional and national insurance agents and brokers associations have turned to Colleen for help meeting the diverse needs of their members, including helping to draft widely used loss-control procedures and forms.
Colleen has significant insurance fraud experience, which includes defending insurance agents and brokers in claims brought by insureds involving fraud of all types. She has handled numerous property insurance fraud cases involving arson, vandalism, theft, and intentional material misrepresentations by the insured, both in the insurance application and in the claims-handling process.
Her insurance coverage experience includes defending insurers in claims alleging bad faith in interpreting insurance contracts or in the manner a claim was handled, as well as in matters involving first-party property, professional liability, third-party liability, and reinsurance coverage. She has worked extensively alongside Thomas Segalla, author of the renowned insurance law treatise Couch on Insurance 3d, on numerous matters in which he was retained as a bad faith expert by major insurance carriers and policyholders in jurisdictions across the United States .
•Upstate New York Super Lawyers (Professional Liability: Defense)
•Business First's Who's Who in Law (Insurance)
•Western New York Autism Society, Conference Planner and Co-Chair
•Volunteer/Guide for Children's Adaptive Ski Program: Phoenix Adaptive Snow Sports Program at HoliMont, Ellicottville, New York