There are few areas of the insurance industry that involve such direct and personal contact with insureds in their time of need than first party claims that arise out of homeowner and commercial property policies. Unfortunately, there are few areas of insurance claims that generate more complaints and litigation. Even when an insurance company handles first party property claims faultlessly and fairly, it is an unfortunate inevitability that some litigation will result.

    The direct and 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 replacement cost – are considered, sometimes during catastrophe (CAT) operations, the importance of having legal counsel concentrating his or her practice in property litigation cannot be underestimated.

    Our Property Litigation Practice Group is very familiar with these issues and the state of the law as it pertains to first party matters and bad faith. Marshall Dennehey's Property Litigation Practice Group maintains a synergistic relationship with our Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith and Fraud/ Special Investigative Litigation Practice Groups. These relationships allow our attorneys to coordinate their efforts and stay current relative to these overlapping areas of practice.

    Our services go beyond representation after a lawsuit is filed and include:

    • Coordinating counsel services;
    • Pre-litigation commercial and residential 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 property coverage opinion letters;
    • Regulatory consultation and responding to insurance department complaints and inquiries;
    • Examinations Under Oath to clarify facts and coverage;
    • Training of management and staff;
    • Selection of vendors;
    • Assistance in developing claims protocols; and
    • Assistance in drafting new and revising existing policy language.

    Included in the Property Litigation Practice Group are attorneys who, prior to law school, worked as property claims representatives. These attorneys bring experience in property damage estimation, contents evaluation and public adjuster representation. They possess a unique perspective that enables them to advise and assist the claims professional both before and after litigation.

    James H. Cole, Chair