Practice Areas & Industries: Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP


Risk Analysis & Mitigation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Managing risk in the context of today’s hyper-competitive, largely unpredictable marketplace can mean the difference between a business’s success and failure. From powerful “acts of God” to more commonplace – but no less devastating – human negligence, risks vary widely in scope and kind, but share surprising commonality in their consequences. The insurance industry, inherently engaged in the business of risk, is faced with especially intense pressures. Risk management protocols practiced by insurers and insureds alike are undergoing close scrutiny, frequently in an effort to stanch unprecedented losses.

Having litigated arguably more insurance claims than any other law firm in the United States, we appreciate the fundamentals of strong risk management protocols and the menacing repercussions of their absence.

Wilson Elser understands risk analysis and mitigation. The legal prism through which we view these disciplines gives us – and our clients – a practical perspective on how exposures are best identified and managed. Having litigated arguably more insurance claims than any other law firm in the United States, we appreciate the fundamentals of strong risk management protocols and the menacing repercussions of their absence. This is part of our culture and among our greatest strengths. Whether serving our clients directly or in collaboration with client-designated risk management specialists, we add value by bringing to bear more than 30 years of experience handling every conceivable type of liability claim. It is precisely because of this experience that our attorneys know how to develop and implement the processes and procedures designed to allow our clients to stay ahead of – rather than react to – the risks that otherwise would generate claims or even undo their businesses.

Our services begin with a thorough understanding of our clients’ specific requirements and areas of potential exposure. Placing the highest premium on reducing claims, we conduct audits designed to help clients understand their risk profile and potential liability exposure. Our comprehensive resources allow for immediate assessments of an organization's business, legal position and needs. The depth and breadth of our knowledge of many industries and commercial enterprises flattens the learning curve and allows us to concentrate our efforts on minimizing our clients’ risks as well as protecting their brand. As appropriate, we assist in the development of company policies, contracts, site modifications or processes designed to reduce risk and liability exposure. Directly leveraging our litigation experience, we routinely advise on potential claim scenarios with respect to underwriting certain classes of business and perform claim audits designed to evaluate loss exposures. We also publish frequent and timely alerts in an effort to keep our clients informed of key legal decisions and developments that impact their respective businesses and risk profiles.

Once engaged on risk management matters – often as part of a client-designated team of strategic partners – we conduct a vulnerability assessment designed to explore the nature of a business, inherent exposures including those arising from third-party vendors, and crisis preparedness. We then identify how risk can best be reduced or eliminated and execute against the resulting objectives, which frequently include putting appropriate systems and protocols in place and conducting employee training. We also explore methods of shifting risk downstream, such as the judicious use of carefully crafted indemnity provisions.

Throughout, we are committed to helping our clients recognize, confront and contain risk. When identified risks are mitigated or eliminated, companies are better positioned to weather uncertain economic times, increase bottom-line profitability and protect their brand and public image.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Illinois Appeals Court Rejects Application of Absolute Pollution Exclusion to Claim for Unpleasant Odors Emanating from Hog Farm Manure
Loren S. Cohen,Jacob R. Graham,Carl J. Pernicone, January 03, 2014
In Country Mutual Insurance Company v. Hilltop View, LLC, 2013 IL App (4th) 130124, an intermediate Illinois appeals court held that the absolute pollution exclusion in an umbrella policy did not preclude coverage for a claim by neighbors for unpleasant manure odors arising out of the...

New Jersey Court of Appeals: Discovery Related to Bad Faith Claims Should Be Stayed Pending Resolution of Insurance Claims for UM/UIM Benefits
Kim M. Connor,Thomas F. Quinn, December 20, 2013
On November 21, 2013, in Procopio v. Government Employees Insurance Company, a/k/a and d/b/a GEICO, Docket No. A23-1-12T2, an intermediate New Jersey appeals court held that in a pending uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage case, a policyholder may not file a complaint...

Exclusion Requested by First Named Insured and Contained in the Prior Policy Is Binding on All Named Insureds, Even Those Unaware of the Exclusion
Carl J. Pernicone,Robert E. Rider, December 13, 2013
In Berkhouse v. Great American Assurance Co., Case no. 13-0264, November 22, 2013, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals rejected the argument by an injured party in a third-party declaratory judgment suit that an umbrella policy’s liquor liability exclusion unknown to a named insured...

Everyone Can Find Reasons to Give Thanks for 2013 California Coverage Opinions
Louis H. Castoria, November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving is one day when the whole family gets together and sets aside petty differences to give thanks to the Almighty for the bounty we enjoy.

Duty to Settle Absent a Demand? California Court Says No
Patrick M. Kelly,D. Victoria LaBrie,James A. Stankowski, November 19, 2013
The California Court of Appeal in Reid v. Mercury Insurance Company [(2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 262 (rehearing denied November 6, 2013)] found no California authority “standing for the proposition that there is a duty to settle when there is a claim that is vastly in excess of the policy limits...

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claim against Insurer for Indemnification or a Defense for a Privacy Claim under a Professional Liability Policy
Richard L. Reiter, November 14, 2013
On October 22, 2013, in The Zodiac Group, Inc. v. Axis Surplus Insurance Co., the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of The Zodiac Group’s (Zodiac’s) claim against its insurer for indemnification or a defense under a...

Court Confirms the Limited Duty of an Insurance Broker to Procure Only Coverage Requested by the Insured
John R. Clifford,Edward P. Garson,Ian A. Stewart, November 11, 2013
Recently, in San Diego Assemblers v. Work Comp for Less Insurance Services, Inc. (October 4, 2013, CA Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District), the court upheld the granting of summary judgment on behalf of a broker on the grounds that it breached no legal duty to its client. The court rejected...

New York Court of Appeals: Vandalism Coverage under “Named Peril” Property Policy Can Apply Even When Malicious Act Is Not Directed at Covered Property
Judith Zuckerman Frantz, November 11, 2013
In a case with broad implications for property owners near construction sites (Georgitsi Realty, LLC v. Penn-Star Insurance Company, No. 156, October 17, 2013), the New York Court of Appeals has opened the door to broad first-party property damage coverage for losses emanating from nearby...

Recent Court Decisions Concerning Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Can Assist Insurers in Defending Regulatory Audits and Future Litigation
William T. Bogaert,Sandy M. McDermott, November 11, 2013
Perhaps the most significant litigation, regulatory and compliance issues facing life insurance companies can be found in the unclaimed property audits, multi-state regulatory settlements and class action lawsuits surrounding unclaimed life insurance benefits. With the assistance of third-party...

A Superstorm Sandy Retrospective: How the Actions of New York Regulators May Shape Responses to Future Natural Disasters
Sandy M. McDermott,Carl J. Pernicone,Frederick J. Pomerantz,Stacey B. Rowland, November 05, 2013
A year after Superstorm Sandy came ashore, the New York Department of Financial Services (Department) issued Circular Letter No 8 of 2013 to inform New York licensed property/casualty insurers of the regulatory standards they should expect to encounter the next time a federal or state disaster...