Defense Digest, Vol. 28, No. 1, April 2022

On the Pulse…Our Property Litigation Practice Group

The Property Litigation Practice Group is part of Marshall Dennehey’s insurance services umbrella and responds to both personal and commercial lines’ claims. There are few areas of the insurance industry that involve such direct personal contact with insureds in their time of need than first party claims arising out of homeowners and property insurance policies. The frequency and severity of these claims are rising rapidly, both due to more intense weather events and to strategic pushes by certain attorneys, contractors/mitigation vendors, and public adjusters who attempt to leverage local laws and public attitudes in order to increase claim payout. Of course, this increases the cost to consumers throughout the country. 
The direct personal contact with the insureds, the complex nature of the policies at issue, the limitless number of claims scenarios, combined with the ever-increasing percentage of insureds represented by public adjusters, make this area of insurance claims ripe for lawsuits. When other unique areas of dispute—such as appraisal, matching and overhead, and profit are considered, sometimes during catastrophe (CAT) operations—the importance of having legal counsel concentrating his or her practice on property litigation cannot be underestimated. While all of our property litigation/coverage attorneys are familiar with these matters, the issues are magnified in the state of Florida, where the state’s fee-shifting statutes have caused Florida to be far and away the leader in generating first party property lawsuits. In fact, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Florida accounts for 76% of all litigation against insurers nationwide, while only accounting for 8% of all homeowners claims opened. Led by shareholder Michael Packer*, our Florida offices are fully staffed with attorneys who solely defend such cases on behalf of insurers across the entire state. 

Our group is routinely called upon to analyze and defend admitted and authorized carriers, surplus and specialty lines carriers, and policies issued by overseas insurers or through the London market in all property and casualty lines of insurance.

It should be noted that our services go beyond representing insurers after a lawsuit is filed. Much of our practice involves services such as:

•    Coordinating counsel services for pre-litigation commercial, residential and marine claims consultation, including such issues as business interruption, extra expense, profit and overhead “matching,” and appraisal;
•    Drafting reservation of rights and coverage position letters;
•    Drafting responses to Civil Remedy Notices of Insurer Violations;
•    Drafting property coverage opinion letters;
•    Representation during pre-suit ADR, including mediations, appraisals and arbitrations;
•    Regulatory consultation and responding to Insurance Department complaints and inquiries;
•    Examinations Under Oath to clarify facts and coverage, as well as assisting in SIU investigations;
•    Assisting in the investigation after receipt of a Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation and drafting responses to the notices;
•    Training of management and staff; 
•    Selection of vendors; and
•    Assisting in developing claims protocols and drafting or revising policy language. 
We are always happy to field any questions or concerns in the first party property arena. I encourage you to reach out to me or Michael Packer with any questions. 

*Jim serves as Assistant Director of our Professional Liability Department and Chair of the Property Litigation Practice Group. He works in our Philadelphia office and can be reached at 215.575.2635 or Michael Packer, who works in our Fort Lauderdale office, is Co-Chair of our Insurance Services Practice Group and can be reached at 954.847.4921 or


Defense Digest, Vol. 28, No. 1, April 2022 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2022 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact