Our Practice

Insurance & Reinsurance Disputes

The team at Chaffetz Lindsey LLP is ‘very intelligent, hardworking, knowledgeable about the pertinent industry issues, and savvy in achieving the desired results’.
– Legal 500 USA
They are high-quality, excellent lawyers and leave no stone unturned.
– Chambers USA
... offers expertise in direct insurance coverage disputes and boasts an impressive client roster of leading insurance market clients.
– Chambers USA
The firm is big enough to handle any reinsurance dispute, and its talent level is surely comparable to what one would expect to find at the bigger firms.
– Chambers USA
Where Advocacy Meets Business

Insurance and reinsurance companies are at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. And regular claims will not go away simply because the sector has to address the crisis. Now more than ever, insurance and reinsurance clients require skilled disputes lawyers who really know their industry.  This is where our firm stands out.

Insurance and Reinsurance Disputes, Generally. Most leading law firms have downsized their insurance disputes practices over the last fifteen years. Not us.

Before we launched this firm in 2009, three of our founding partners led the highly ranked US insurance and reinsurance practice at global law firm, Clifford Chance.  Over the past 10 years, we have made that premier practice a core pillar of our growth and success at Chaffetz Lindsey. We now have ten senior lawyers (six partners and four counsel/senior attorneys) who all focus on insurance and reinsurance disputes. No other top firm has invested more in this area.  This is something the industry has noticed: We have more Chambers-ranked New York insurance partners than any other US firm of any size.

Our clients generally request our help in large (high severity, low frequency) property and casualty or financial claims. We regularly handle claims involving hundreds of millions of dollars in exposure, though we can also handle smaller claims that are important to our clients. Our matters have arisen from losses across all lines of business including P&C (including business interruption), life and health, E&O, surety, finite risk, workers’ comp, and political risk and trade credit.

We have extensive experience helping clients through disputes that arise out of crises, such as the September 11 attack, Hurricane Harvey, Enron, Madoff, Unicover, and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.

Insurance Arbitrations. In addition to being a market leader in insurance and reinsurance, we also are one of the world’s recognized leaders in arbitration. We handle complex domestic and international arbitrations in insurance and reinsurance matters, and across other sectors including construction, energy, finance and investments, and post-M&A disputes. We have deep knowledge of the arbitration process, practitioners, and arbitrator pools. We are active in numerous arbitral organizations around the world, including ARIAS, where partner Steve Schwartz serves on the Board of Directors.  No firm is better suited to handle arbitrations involving the Bermuda Form, Rep and Warranty Insurance, reinsurance, or other insurance contracts.

Bankruptcy and Insurance. Insurers often have to deal with counterparties (insureds or counterparties on general commercial contracts) in financial stress. We have top-tier bankruptcy capabilities to support our insurance clients in these situations. We also have had extensive experience acting against and sometimes for the liquidators of insolvent insurers.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS: Insurance

We represent or have represented:

  • Insurer in $100 million+ coverage dispute (international arbitration) over environmental contamination claims.
  • Insurer in $20 million coverage dispute over municipal liability for widely-publicized malicious prosecution scheme.
  • Insurer in multiple state court litigations over coverage for MTBE contamination.
  • Insurer in multiple state court litigations over lead paint claims.
  • Insured in $100 million+ property/business interruption arbitration.
  • Insured in disputed claims on employee fidelity bonds.
  • Insured in dispute over multi-million dollar property damage to engine turbine.
  • Insurer in $100 million+ international arbitration over products liability exposure.
  • Insurer in $75 million+ E&O and CGL dispute over defense costs arising out of antitrust action.
  • Insurer in $25 million excess claim for catastrophic personal injury.
  • International life insurer in a putative securities class action arising from losses in client funds that resulted from indirect investments in Bernard L. Madoff Securities LLC.
  • International insurance and reinsurance company in litigation regarding representations and warranties in a Commission Purchase Agreement.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS: Reinsurance

We represent or have represented:

  • Reinsurer in a pending appeal to the Second Circuit of a $66 million jury verdict concerning allocation of asbestos losses.
  • Insurer in multiple cases to recover reinsurance on losses totaling well in excess of $1 billion based on asbestos, environmental and other mass tort claims. We have prosecuted these cases in court in New York and Massachusetts and in a series of arbitrations.
  • Major domestic insurer in two arbitrations for collection of reinsurance protecting insurance-wrapped residential mortgage-backed securities and variable rate demand obligations.
  • UK subsidiary of a leading financial guarantee insurer in connection with insolvency proceedings commenced against its US parent and ultimately in the commutation of a 90 % quota share reinsurance contract involving hundreds of millions of dollars in premium and claim payment obligations.
  • Domestic insurer by providing New York law advice to London counsel in support of High Court actions against reinsurer and reinsurer broker.
  • A small, independent reinsurer in a successful challenge to one of the largest domestic carrier’s retroactive reallocation of large losses under a highly complex program for the insurance of major league sports disability losses.
  • Reinsurer in a dispute with another reinsurer concerning exposure to losses on a portfolio of securities.
  • Insurer in an action alleging fraud and breach of contract related to reinsurance contracts covering premiums paid on aviation contracts covering losses related to the 9/11 attacks.
  • Foreign run-off administrator in a dispute with a domestic cedant concerning claims on a series of reinsurance contracts with a dissolved reinsurer.
  • Property insurer in a successful arbitration against a reinsurer to determine the number of occurrences implicated by extensive construction defects that required the reconstruction of a large apartment complex.
  • Property insurer in an arbitration against multiple reinsurers concerning the interpretation of an hours clause.
  • Reinsurance brokers as amici curiae in a successful effort to overturn a major Second Circuit reinsurance decision.
  • Cedents and reinsurers in multiple disputes arising from finite risk arrangements. In one case we achieved a favorable settlement for a reinsurer of a liquidator’s state RICO claim seeking treble damages of approximately $75 million on the theory that a finite contract had caused the ceding company’s insolvency.
  • Life reinsurer in an arbitration with the liquidator of a cedent.
  • Life reinsurer in multiple arbitrations arising from losses in excess of $2 billion on workers’ compensation carve-out reinsurance.
  • Insurer and reinsurer in connection with nearly $1 billion exposure to losses arising out of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
  • Reinsurer in New York state court action concerning losses on residual value insurance programs.
  • Insurer in $150 million arbitration to enforce surety reinsurance coverage.
  • Insurer in an action alleging fraud and breach of contract related to reinsurance contracts covering premiums paid on aviation contracts covering losses related to the 9/11 attacks.
  • Multiple acquirers of reinsurance companies in federal and state court litigation regarding representations and warranties in Stock Purchase Agreements.

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