The lawyers of Pierce Atwood’s Insurance Practice Group understand the many dimensions of the insurance industry, the different concerns of market participants, and the legal, regulatory and tax issues that confront insurers. Engaged in a highly diverse insurance law practice, we draw from a cross-section of practice groups to serve our insurance industry clients, including Business, Litigation, Privacy & Data Security, Tax, Construction, Energy, Employment, Environmental, Maritime, and Government Relations. These lawyers practice in specialties including insurance regulation, litigation, employment law, employee benefits, tax, and corporate law, which play important roles in advancing the interests of our insurance clients. In addition, the practice group is supported by several corporate and litigation paralegals.
Over many decades, our Insurance Practice Group attorneys have developed special expertise and in-depth knowledge in virtually all areas that affect insurance companies, insurance agencies and self-insurance groups and programs, including their formation, corporate structuring, mergers and reorganizations, state insurance regulation, market conduct, and policy coverage issues. We have advised insurers on a host of internal, structural, and operational matters, including bulk reinsurance transactions, extraordinary dividends, mutual policyholder dividend plans, federal income tax issues, policyholder/shareholder governance matters, permitted business activities, TPA contracts, and contracts with insurance-specific vendors and service providers. Our experience includes workers' compensation, property & casualty (P&C), life & health, surety, and disability insurance.
With respect to mutual insurers, attorneys in our Insurance Practice Group have extensive, hands-on experience on issues relating to formation, demutualizations, mergers and acquisitions, liquidations, dividend practices, federal taxation and ongoing operational matters – issues that affect both the companies and their policyholders.
In addition to our corporate expertise, our attorneys team with our insurance clients on regulatory matters, including representation at state insurance departments and lobbying for insurance-related legislation.
When other solutions don't get the results our insurance companies desire, we can call on the litigators in our group, who have decades of experience in insurance-related lawsuits. Whether it is a corporate fight for control of the company, or defending a class action for extra contractual remedies, including punitive damages, we deliver tough advocacy for our clients. When an insurer's regular defense counsel runs into trouble, Pierce Atwood attorneys have extensive experience in handling insurance issues on appeal. For example, our firm successfully overturned one of the largest jury verdicts in Maine history in a bad faith disability insurance case. We have an extensive library of coverage opinions and, in addition to coverage advice, have tested those opinions for many years in coverage litigation in the state and federal courts.
Areas of Expertise
On the corporate and business side, Pierce Atwood lawyers have advised insurers on a host of internal, structural, and operational matters, including their formation, corporate structuring, mergers and reorganizations, state insurance regulation, market conduct, and policy coverage issues. Representative operational matters include bulk reinsurance transactions, extraordinary dividends, mutual policyholder dividend plans, federal income tax issues, policyholder/shareholder governance matters, permitted business activities, TPA contracts, and contracts with vendors and service providers.
On regulatory matters, we work with our clients at every level, including representation at state insurance departments and lobbying for insurance-related legislation.
Pierce Atwood has extensive experience in all facets of insurance-related litigation. Whether representing an insurance company, a corporate insured, or an insurance agent, Pierce Atwood provides effective and practical legal services at the trial court level or on appeal in cases ranging from declaratory judgment actions, breach of contract suits, uninsured motorist claims, and extra-contractual litigation. Pierce Atwood consistently obtains successful results for clients whether it is overturning a large jury verdict in a bad faith disability insurance case, defending a class action for extra-contractual remedies, or prosecuting or defending a coverage case.
Pierce Atwood attorneys litigate insurance coverage and benefit disputes involving life, health, property/casualty, errors & omission, CGL, reinsurance and director & officer lines. Our experience extends to litigating ERISA and non-ERISA disputes in courts nationwide.
Insurance Coverage Analysis & Litigation
We recognize that insurance is an important, but complex, tool to manage risk. Pierce Atwood attorneys regularly work with clients to understand and evaluate the terms of many types of insurance policies, and develop strategies to efficiently and economically achieve their goals. When disputes over insurance coverage arise, the litigators in our Insurance Practice Group have significant experience representing both insureds and insurers in large-scale and complex insurance coverage matters in state and federal courts around the country. Even in lawsuits where the terms of insurance are not the focus of the dispute, insurance coverage frequently plays an important practical role in the handling and resolution of a case. Our insurance coverage litigators are able to draw on their deep understanding both of complex insurance coverage concepts, as well as of the insurance industry, to accomplish our client’s goals. In a recent example, Pierce Atwood was able to convince a client’s insurer to reverse its decision and pay the legal fees to defend the client from a customer’s lawsuit, and eventually, through a separate lawsuit, persuade the court to order the insurer to fully indemnify our client for all of its losses in the underlying lawsuit.
Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Litigation
We represent plan fiduciaries and insurers in ERISA benefit disputes, including pension, health, life, and disability plans, throughout the northeastern United States. We defend benefit claims as well as claims for breaches of fiduciary duty, both in single-plaintiff cases and class actions. Our expertise runs the gamut of benefits issues including disputes over entitlement to benefits and associated removal/ERISA preemption issues, prohibited transaction claims, subrogation actions, bad faith and rescission suits, and complex class actions in both ERISA and non-ERISA contexts. We also represent employers in the defense of withdrawal liability claims by multiple employer pension plans.
We have assumed a lead counsel role in both routine and complex benefits cases in courts throughout the nation, and have represented clients in connection with several important U.S. Supreme Court ERISA cases. We have argued benefits cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals. We have litigated benefits cases in every federal judicial circuit and Canada.
Our team includes the editor and co-authors of the ABA book, ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits, as well as authors of articles and book chapters addressing a range of benefits issues. We are also actively involved in the DRI Life Health & Disability Committee, with group members having served as its chair and program chair. Our team members are also frequent speakers on benefits litigation topics at national meetings and forums, including the annual DRI Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Litigation Seminar.
Cyber insurance continues to evolve rapidly, as carriers and insureds update their understandings of the nature, likelihood, and severity of key cyber threats impacting modern businesses, including hacking, ransomware, phishing, insider threats, and more. Unlike more well-established lines of insurance, cyber insurance policies differ significantly from carrier to carrier, and new endorsements and exclusions enter the cyber market regularly. Not only when dealing with a data breach, but also when entering into a new policy or conducting an important coverage review (e.g., when engaging a new service provider who will have access to your most sensitive data), Pierce Atwood’s technology and data privacy and security experts can help you understand what exactly you are buying (and not buying) with your cyber insurance premium, informed by the insights and experience of our insurance litigation colleagues.
Pierce Atwood’s Maritime Group attorneys have handled significant marine insurance coverage litigation for various types of marine insurers. The Maritime Group’s attorneys also routinely assist marine insurers in providing defense to various types of claims, and in connection with seeking subrogation recovery.
Construction & Energy Insurance
Our practice group includes practitioners who represent owners, developers, contractors, and design professionals in the energy infrastructure and private/public construction industries. We provide personalized guidance on platforms, tools, and contract clauses to plan for and mitigate risk on construction projects of all kind. This includes providing advice on available insurance products, additional insured coverages, and appropriate indemnification provisions and statutory limitations concerning the same.