Insurance Coverage / Litigation
Clients trust our judgment and experience in matters of insurance litigation and coverage and for regulatory advice.
Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass LLP represents the insurance industry in all aspects of its business, including the preparation and conduct of litigation and the steps companies can take to avoid it. Our track record in the defense of insurers involved in coverage issues under first-party and third-party policies is enviable. We regularly handle situations involving single-event building claims, as well as complex losses involving multiple locations caused by catastrophic events. We are often entrusted with our insurer clients’ most sophisticated and complex issues involving business machinery, multi-faceted manufacturing operations, and catastrophic losses implicating risks in the energy sector. We also handle lawsuits involving agents and brokers, declaratory judgment actions, proceedings before administrative agencies, subrogation cases, and various other types of litigation, as well as regulatory matters.
Clients frequently ask us to analyze their most difficult coverage questions. This work involves reviewing the policy language of any clause, exclusion, limitation, or other provision that might relate to coverage or the amount of a claim. We then advise clients on the appropriate course of conduct with regard to an insured, and on how best to protect themselves from improper or excessive claims.
Mound Cotton is “a longstanding player in the New York market thanks to its experience and broad range of insurance coverage services.” Clients are quick to highlight the firm’s “deep subject matter expertise and attentiveness to their business needs.”
Chambers USA 2013
We have practiced in many jurisdictions across the U.S. and globally. Our attorneys have had years of experience in jury and non-jury trials, appellate arguments, and administrative and arbitration proceedings.
Many of our partners regularly write articles, author treatises, and lecture extensively within their areas of expertise.
More of our partners were named insurance coverage Super Lawyers for 2015 and 2016 than any other firm’s, regardless of size, in the New York Metro Area.
First-Party Insurance Practice
The kinds of issues we have litigated for our broad range of insurance clients include:
- Threshold coverage questions relating to the extent to which all-risk or DIC property insurance policies might be called upon.
- Various complex circumstances surrounding a claim, including concurrent causes of loss, the timing and number of occurrences, and non-fortuity.
- The nature, scope, and extent of the coverage afforded by various forms of business interruption insurance.
- Onshore/offshore energy sector losses, including “delay start-up” coverage.
- Catastrophic losses, such as the coverage issues arising out of the World Trade Center disaster, the 2005 hurricanes, the Japan earthquake, and Superstorm Sandy.
“The team there is good at untying fairly complex fact patterns and drilling down to the real issues.”
Chambers USA 2016
- All facets of environmental law, including issues involving federal statutes such as CERCLA and “Superfund” and directives of the EPA and state and local agencies, as well as coverage questions and litigation on behalf of first-party carriers.
- Excess, bad faith, extra-contractual, and punitive damages claims in the context of first-party coverage.
- Toxic tort litigation, including mass tort claims involving injuries caused by asbestos, asbestos-in-building coverage issues, lead-paint litigation, and mold-related claims and lawsuits, on behalf of first-party insurers.
- Arson and water-damage claims and other cases involving fraud and misrepresentation by insureds, public adjusters, brokers, accountants, salvors, and appraisers, whether before or after losses have been sustained.
- Specialized coverage, such as marine and aviation risks, plant efficacy and production guaranty insurance, residual value insurance, and other financial guaranty insurance products.
- Subrogation and indemnity recoveries.
- The interaction between insurance policies that afford coverage for a particular loss, e.g., all-risk, boiler, machinery, or between competing “other insurance” clauses.
- Transit claims, including air, ocean, motor, and rail carriage worldwide.
- The extent to which fidelity bonds can be called upon when financial institutions collapse.
- Internet liability and e-commerce claims.
Third-Party Insurance Practice
MCWG’s third-party coverage practice is broad and diverse. The firm has decades of experience providing coverage advice to insurers, brokers, third-party administrators and others, and representing them in complex multi-layer, multi-party toxic tort and mass tort coverage litigation, including actions seeking coverage of personal injury and property damage claims involving asbestos, silica, mold, benzene, coal dust, lead paint, popcorn lung, pharmaceutical products and medical devices, cell phone radiation, sexual abuse, pollution, and contamination.
We also regularly provide coverage advice and litigation services to insurers, contractors, and subcontractors in connection with coverage disputes arising out of construction projects, multi-family dwellings, commercial structures, and others, including issues involving “your work” exclusions, “additional insured” coverage, priority of coverage, and “personal and advertising injury.” We routinely represent insurance carriers in contribution claims against other insurers involving “additional insured” and “other insurance” issues, among others.
Because of the firm’s extensive experience in defending liability claims, MCWG is regularly retained by insurers to represent their insureds, ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to smaller business entities and individuals, in a wide variety of matters involving bodily injury and property damage throughout the country.
- Toxic tort cases, such as claims for exposure to asbestos, lead paint, mold, and other chemical and biological elements and compounds.
- Product defect and injury claims.
- Environmental contamination and spill cleanup claims.
- Construction work-site accident claims, including those triggering New York labor law liabilities.
- Premises liability claims.
- Personal injury claims.
- Common law and contractual indemnification claims.
Crisis Management (Including Political Risk) Coverage
MCWG has been counseling clients on Crisis Management insurance for almost as long as these policies have been in existence. The types of Crisis Management forms that MCWG has studied, interpreted, guided, drafted, and litigated include:
- “Accidental Product Contamination.”
- “Malicious Product Tampering.”
- Comprehensive “Contaminated Products” coverage, which includes both “accidental and “malicious” triggers, as well as “government recall” and “product extortion.”
- “Kidnap, Ransom, Extortion.”
- “Product Recall.”
The firm has a dedicated team of professionals who understand the intricacies of the issues presented by losses in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods industries and how the protection provided by these insurance products helps to shape governmental and public perception on the health and safety of these consumables.
Commentators – mainly clients – note that Mound Cotton’s attorneys “have demonstrated vast knowledge of crisis management and are particularly keen on the intricacies involved in handling a crisis management coverage issue.” “They provide quality service to their clients.”
Chambers USA 2015
Also within this niche practice area are losses involving various “war risks,” such as “insurrection,” “revolution,” “civil war,” and “coup d’etat,” and we have handled claims throughout the United States and the world under policies covering “Confiscation, Expropriation, Nationalization,” “Terrorism,” and “Sabotage” losses.
Throughout the years, MCWG has also lent its vast claims experience to underwriters of these products to assist with drafting new forms or modifying existing forms and endorsements, in order to shape these coverages to comport with the demands of the market for Crisis Management Insurance.
We’ve advised our insurance company clients on a broad array of regulatory and transactional matters, including:
- Analysis of the impact of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage.
- Status of existing dependent coverage provisions for domestic partners and civil union partners under inforce group life insurance policies.
- Permissible activities and tasks for 49-state insurance entities.
- Unfair discrimination prohibitions under state insurance laws.
- Potential ERISA preemption of state insurance laws.
- Insurance advertising regulations.
- Subsidization of group life insurance premium rates.
- Self-support requirements under state insurance laws.
- Insurance agent licensing and appointment requirements.
- Life insurance and annuity product filing requirements.
- Extraterritorial filing requirements.
- Insurance company disputes with group policyholders.
- Amendments/restatements of existing group insurance policies.
- Development of a new critical injury insurance policy.
- Structured settlement regulatory requirements.
power, energy, renewables
MCWG attorneys regularly deal with renewable energy losses and claims concerning solar arrays, on-shore wind farms, and pumped hydroelectric storage. We proactively keep abreast of current and new emerging energy technologies and transformations in this sector, including battery storage, fuel cells, solar thermal energy (molten salt), off-shore wind, biomass, wave energy converters, and geothermal.
MCWG is proud to be a founding member and co-host of PowerCon, an annual insurance industry energy and power conference held in May of each year in New York City, which includes an international roster of speakers and attendees on a range of topics, including onshore, offshore, renewable energy and power protection/transmission.
Cyber Risk and Technology
Cyber Risk and Technology is another robust practice area for MCWG. In addition to analysis and coverage work for malicious malware and ransomware attacks, the firm is regularly consulted by underwriters on cyber related policy wording and forms. MCWG’s practice is to work with technical computer consultants to assess the facts of a cyber or technology loss and to provide in-depth coverage analysis in the context of first-party property claims.