Drawing on over half a century of extensive knowledge of the legal, financial and regulatory aspects of the insurance industry, Debevoise lawyers have acted as lead counsel for insurers in many of the industry’s largest and most complex disputes. Debevoise’s leading role in prominent insurance disputes is a natural result of the close integration of the insurance litigation practice with both our highly ranked insurance transactional and regulatory practice (Chambers USA Band 1) and overall litigation practice (Chambers USA New York Elite Firm). Our work on behalf of insurance industry clients encompasses every part of the industry (from life and annuities to property and casualty to financial guaranty), and every type of dispute in which insurance expertise is required, including government investigations, securities litigation, policyholder class actions, coverage disputes, ERISA litigation, and reinsurance arbitrations. We believe we are unmatched in our ability to field teams of highly sophisticated lawyers focused on the industry.
Debevoise has long been the preeminent firm for disputes and regulatory matters involving life insurance companies, with a demonstrated track record of success in handing the most complex insurance-related representations. Our coverage practice is also top-notch, with a particular emphasis on such high-exposure matters as asbestos and environmental disputes and bankruptcy-related representations. Given the depth and breadth of our industry experience, it is not surprising that we are seen as the “go-to” firm for high-stakes insurance disputes, investigations, and regulatory proceedings that demand exceptional care, judgment, thought and creativity.
The scope of our work on behalf of insurance industry clients includes:
INSURANCE COVERAGE AND REINSURANCE
Debevoise lawyers have represented clients in many of the largest and most complex multi-lateral coverage disputes. Whether as strategic coordinating counsel or as trial counsel on mass tort coverage lawsuits, our lawyers have been centrally involved in such high-exposure matters as asbestos and environmental disputes and bankruptcy-related representations,, drug and property damage disputes and many other kinds of mass torts. The firm also brings to the coverage and reinsurance space its second-to-none capability in international arbitration and litigation, as well as its familiarity with the markets and tribunals in London, Bermuda, and around the world. Debevoise has represented insurers in coverage lawsuits, arbitrations, and reinsurance disputes involving polybutylene piping, various medical products, a wide range of pharmaceutical claims, radiant heating systems, pollution, and political risk claims.
COMPLEX INSURANCE LITIGATION
Debevoise has long been the preeminent firm for disputes and regulatory matters involving life insurance companies, with a demonstrated track record of success in handing the most complex insurance-related representations for Prudential, John Hancock and Manulife, among others.
Debevoise is well known for providing successful representation to major life insurers in individual policyholder lawsuits and nationwide class actions alleging improprieties in the sale, underwriting, servicing and administration of insurance policies. Over the past decade, our lawyers have worked with several of America’s largest life insurance companies to resolve claims asserted by tens of millions of policyholders. We are also recognized for our representation of life insurance companies in the high profile class actions alleging racially discriminatory underwriting practices in the early and middle parts of the 20th century.
Insurance companies routinely face company-specific inquiries and investigations from state regulators or require advice on significant business issues with potential regulatory implications. These investigations and issues require industry expertise and a sophisticated understanding of state regulatory regimes. Debevoise regularly represents insurance companies in response to allegations by various insurance regulators, state Attorneys General, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the United States Attorney, the New York Department of Financial Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other government agencies. These representations have included handling internal investigations and civil litigation relating to violations of RESPA, non-traditional ownership of insurance companies, forced-place insurance, retained asset accounts, escheatment, contingent broker commissions, allegations of market-timing and late-trading and non-traditional insurance products such as finite risk policies.