Our lawyers are known for their skills as negotiators, litigators and appellate counsel. From policy drafting to reinsurance recoveries, we have been involved in virtually every aspect of risk transfer. We routinely handle disputes between insurers and brokers involving the placement of coverage; disputes with policyholders involving the availability of coverage; and disputes among insurers involving their respective obligations to provide coverage. We have been called upon to draft and interpret insurance policies as advocates and experts. Our clients look to us to handle transactions, address regulators' concerns, provide creative solutions to disputes and, where necessary, aggressively litigate and vindicate underwriting intent.
Commercial Insurance Coverage
When litigation with a policyholder is necessary, we understand that finding the right venue is essential. Our team of lawyers have appeared in every federal circuit as well as the Supreme Court. We have been involved in litigating:
- the meaning of "property damage"
- the coverage afforded for "additional insureds" arising out of a catastrophic accident
- the obligation to defend an insured in claims seeking damages for unfair competition and infringement
- claims involving sexual assault and murder
We know — and have often made — the law that applies to the trigger of coverage and allocation of defense and indemnity. In courts throughout the country, we are recognized and respected.
Our lawyers have successfully defended insurers against allegations of “bad faith,” either by obtaining summary judgment or litigating "bad faith" claims. Whether the allegations are based on claim handling or “bad faith” failure to settle, we represent our clients aggressively and effectively. Also, we regularly conduct educational seminars designed to raise awareness and avoid extra contractual claims.
In this era of mass tort litigation, consistency and coordination are essential. Our attorneys have been called upon to evaluate, advise and handle disputes arising out of mass torts. General Counsel and Claim Executives look to us to provide creative advice and original approaches to handling these difficult exposures. We know how to conserve and focus resources to minimize business disruption and maximize efficiency. Whether the litigation involves asbestos, spinal fixation devices, environmental pollution, construction defects or sexual abuse, members of our team are often on the frontlines.
Claims Made Coverage
Hinshaw attorneys have served as leaders in the insurance industry in the analysis and development of claims made insurance coverages. We recognize the challenging coverage issues that arise out of insurance provided to professionals, directors and officers. We have handled litigation involving prior notice, dishonest acts, late reporting, and allocation of defense and indemnity.
We have prevailed in litigation involving an insured professional's involvement in an uninsured enterprise. We have convinced courts to uphold the "claims made and reported" requirements in professional liability policy. We have found interim funding and non-waiver agreements, as well as mediation and arbitration to be particularly useful in disputes involving insured professionals as well as directors and officers.
Insurance Broker and Agent E&O Liability Defense
With extensive experience in all aspects of the underwriting and claims processes, our professional liability defense attorneys represent insurance agents and brokers in all types of contract and negligence actions and actions alleging fraud. We represent major insurance brokerage firms, as well as independent insurance agencies. We counsel and represent agents and brokers on behalf of all types and sizes of insurance carriers. Our knowledge of the operations of carriers offering all lines of insurance as well as the regulatory environment in which carriers and their agents and brokers operate gives our attorneys and our clients a distinct advantage in evaluating, negotiating and defending claims against insurance professionals.
Insurer Relationships and Excess Insurance
Where there is a catastrophic loss involving difficult questions of allocation among insurers, Hinshaw lawyers are likely to be involved. Where possible, we work toward finding a common ground. When we offer our insight and express concerns, the courts have taken notice. Where litigation cannot be avoided, we have obtained equitable contribution for clients; recovered payments made under a mistaken belief that primary coverage was exhausted; and successfully resisted a claim for reimbursement made by a primary carrier against an excess insurer.
Reinsurance and Reinsurance Arbitrations
Our attorneys' extensive relationships with insurers have provided us with a unique ability to understand and address the complex relationships between reinsurers and ceding companies. We provide a wide range of services from negotiating treaties to arbitrating disputes. We have been involved in the formation and capitalization of reinsurance companies and captives. We have also been involved in handling the difficult issues that arise out of insolvencies, commutations and premium disputes.
In arbitrations, our attorneys recovered more than $2 million for a cedent in a dispute with its reinsurer involving successive facultative certificates and claims made professional liability coverage. We experienced similar success in the representation of a reinsurer, successfully resisting an effort on the part of the cedent to recover more than $3 million.
Insurance Regulatory Matters
Hinshaw's Insurance Services Group lawyers have authored articles and reference books on insurer insolvency and representation before guaranty funds and regulators. We regularly appear before administrative and regulatory agencies. From dealing with unauthorized placements to liquidations, we recognize the importance of anticipating and addressing regulators' concerns. We have provided guidance and counseling to ensure compliance with fair claims practices acts and applicable regulations when completing rate and form filings. When the actions of an insurer are challenged, we have successfully represented our clients' interests. Finally, we have provided advice to insurers in mergers, acquisitions, and transitions in corporate form and governance.
Class Actions and Market Conduct Claims
Hinshaw attorneys have defended numerous class action litigations. We have represented insurance clients in the trial and appellate courts in the resolution of market conduct claims, including premium pricing, policyholder discrimination, claim adjustments and property valuations.
The handling of complex litigation, including class actions and market conduct claims, requires extraordinary management skills and experience because these claims often involve large numbers of claimants, vast quantities of documents and exorbitant damage claims. We have substantial experience serving as both national and local counsel in actions pending in federal and state courts and ADR forums. As a result of this experience, we are sophisticated in the coordination of litigation and skilled in the retrieval, coordination and control of substantial documentary evidence.
Insurance Policy Drafting
Hinshaw attorneys have drafted professional liability, EPL, and specialty insurance products on behalf of our clients. We have been called upon to prepare manuscript endorsements and provide a critical, independent review of forms prepared by underwriters. As part of this practice, we meet with clients to obtain an understanding of the risk they are seeking to underwrite. We work toward finding innovative approaches to the underwriting process while ensuring that our client does not inadvertently undertake a risk it cannot price and does not want to assume.
Corporate Insurance Transactions
We regularly assist insurance industry clients in completing high-level business transactions, including strategic business sales and acquisitions, agency/broker relationships, licensing, and responses to regulatory authorities. We have represented insurance companies and agencies, third party administrators, managing financial agents and claims specialists in these matters.
We have assisted clients in forming domestic captives to afford property, casualty and workers’ compensation coverage for operations in all 50 states. We have also advised clients regarding the economic risks and tax consequences associated with self insurance and captive insurance.
Finally, our corporate insurance transactional attorneys have been involved in the creation of captive insurance companies, self-insured pools, and other alternative forms of risk transfer. We have been involved in the formation of domestic and off-shore captive insurers, risk retention groups, and other vehicles for risk transfer.