For decades, WLG attorneys have worked closely with insurance companies handling issues in virtually all areas of insurance law. We have substantial experience in handling bad faith litigation and disputes involving insurance agents and brokers and have defended numerous class action lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the country. We have also provided numerous coverage opinions to domestic and foreign insurers on issues involving property, general liability and professional liability policies. WLG attorneys have also advised insurers on commercial disputes and transactional issues. Our reinsurance practice focuses on recovery of reinsurance for our cedent insurer clients. This unique blend of experience allows us to apply the most cost-efficient and beneficial procedure available in obtaining successful results.
BAD FAITH DEFENSE
Since its inception, one of WLG’s core practices has been defending property and casualty insurers against claims alleging bad faith, violations of unfair business practices statutes, punitive damages and other extra-contractual claims. We have extensive experience handling bad faith and extra-contractual claims for a number of major domestic insurers and the London market. We also track and analyze bad faith and punitive damages judgments and devote a significant amount of time to counseling and training our clients’ claims professionals in extra-contractual claim avoidance techniques.
- This year we successfully resolved a first party bad faith case filed in an unfavorable venue where the plaintiff alleged losses arising from the bad faith denial of a theft claim. The plaintiff claimed that the theft resulted in a complete loss of his inventory. At mediation, the plaintiff demanded a settlement in excess of $6 million. Thereafter we aggressively deposed plaintiff’s accounting expert who was critical in their business inventory loss claim. The deposition resulted in the exclusion of significant evidence and facilitated an economic resolution.
- In another case, an insured filed a declaratory relief action seeking coverage under a commercial property policy alleging more than $3 million in damages for alleged cracks and water damage to multiple buildings caused by the failure of the general contractor to properly seal the buildings’ foundations. We resolved the case against the insurer for well below early estimates of potential exposure and obtained significant contribution from other responsible parties.
WLG attorneys have a wealth of experience providing coverage opinions in a wide range of matters including: construction defect claims; product defect claims; general liability claims; and claims alleging residential and commercial property losses. We are well-versed with all the major property and general liability coverage forms and make sure our attorneys and clients remain abreast of developments in the areas of coverage and bad faith law. Moreover, when WLG is appointed as coverage counsel we take an active approach to each case with the goal of obtaining cost-efficient and successful results.
- Recently, we served as coverage counsel in a construction defect action against a general contractor who built a structure housing numerous condominiums. The developer alleged the contractor was liable for significant lost profits associated with delays and extensive repair costs to areas related and unrelated to the faulty work. The case was assigned to arbitration at which time we filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the CGL policy insurer and requested that the arbitrator’s award consist of a form which included language that would definitively answer the outstanding indemnity questions. The motion to intervene was granted and the case settled at mediation with coverage counsel present. In that instance intervention was the most cost effective and direct resolution strategy.
- In another recent case, an insured submitted a $950,000 claim based on the alleged theft of property – e.g., beams, frames, doors, windows, etc. – being used in a construction project. Our investigation revealed that the insured had assigned the construction project to the very entity that allegedly absconded with it. Although the property had indeed been taken from the insured and it thus suffered a loss, we used a request for information letter to educate the insured that its dispute was contractual in nature and not covered under its policy.
- WLG attorneys recently resolved a first party coverage matter that involved a dispute over the value of lost business. Through the utilization of accounting experts, and working closely with opposing counsel, we were able to avoid litigation and reach a compromised resolution to the claim.