Cozen O’Connor has represented major domestic and foreign property insurers on a worldwide basis for more than 40 years. Property insurers need knowledgeable and experienced counsel, and our attorneys are widely recognized as consummate first-party practitioners.
We have extensive experience with the full range of first-party property insurance coverages, including: all risks; builders risk; commercial property; commercial combined; cyber and electronic commerce risk; high-net-worth personal; inland marine; machinery breakdown; on- and off-shore energy; and business interruption.
Our team is distinguished by its dual core competencies: precise contractual analysis and powerful trial advocacy. In many cases, collegial negotiation among stakeholders can win the day. In those instances when it cannot, Cozen O’Connor is fully prepared to go to verdict and has an impressive record of success on behalf of insurer clients.
The firm handles trials in state and federal courts around the country, and argues appeals on coverage issues critical to the industry before all levels of appellate courts. We also advocate on behalf of insurers in pre-suit settlement negotiations, mediations and in arbitrations. Our attorneys have played a significant role in numerous recent high-profile losses, including Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, the 9/11 attacks, the Tohoku earthquake, numerous California wildfires and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Though every claim is different, Cozen O’Connor has an encyclopedic knowledge of the legal bases governing the good faith handling and resolution of any claim scenario. We handle losses arising from weather events and natural catastrophes, structural incidents, suspected arson and fraud, and terrorist and cyber attacks. With offices in 27 cities, Cozen O’Connor is capable of responding quickly and effectively wherever losses occur.
Individual members of the property insurance team have been recognized in Chambers USA. Several Cozen O’Connor attorneys have authored treatises in the property insurance field, including Insuring Real Property (Matthew Bender) and the Fire Litigation Handbook (National Fire Protection Association). Firm members are regularly invited to participate in or chair seminars at nationally recognized industry conferences, as well as to provide webinars and in-house training programs for members of the insurance industry. The extent of our industry involvement speaks to our credibility, as well as to our commitment and dedication to the insurance industry.
December 05, 2018
At least two Florida appellate courts have directly contradicted each other on an increasingly-important question facing Floridians and the insurance industry. The question is as follows: “Are insurance provisions valid which condition the validity of third-party benefits...
September 01, 2018
Alycen Moss, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, published an article titled, Complicated Cats, for Best's Review.
June 06, 2018
While Hurricane Ike made landfall in Texas almost ten years ago, the resulting litigation is alive and well as evidenced by the recent decision in Texas Windstorm Insurance Association v. Dickinson Independent School District, 14-16-00474-CV, 2018 WL 2436924 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] May 31,...
June 01, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance Department, authored an article on his predictions on the course of Hurricane Harvey litigation entitled, "The Imperfect Storm: Harvey Litigation Will Be Governed by Hailstorm Bill's Rules, While 'Menchaca' Looms in the Background."
March 22, 2018
This is a question the Colorado Supreme Court is set to resolve after recently granting Owners Insurance Company’s petition for writ of certiorari in Owners Insurance Company v. Dakota Station II Condominium Association, Inc., 2018 WL 948601 (Col. Feb. 20, 2018).
The Colorado Court of Appeals...
March 05, 2018
In a rare foray into insurance law, London’s Privy Council considered the interpretation of a Contractors’ All Risk (CAR) policy in Sun Alliance (Bahamas) Ltd v Scandi Enterprises Ltd (Bahamas), and overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas.
The Judicial Committee of the...
January 10, 2018
A not uncommon scenario: after examining the charred debris of a property fire, investigators note that the building’s alarm failed to sound and automatic sprinkler system similarly failed to activate because neither had been inspected or maintained for over a year. The policy that insured the...
October 26, 2017
Melissa Brill and Laura Dowgin discuss the decision in Air Master & Cooling, Inc. v. Selective Ins. Co. of Am., and its impact on progressive property damage claims in New Jersey.
October 09, 2017
Cozen O’Connor attorneys Thomas McKay III, Richard Mackowsky, Charles Jesuit, and Melissa Brill recently secured summary judgment from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in favor of Great Northern Insurance Company on claims asserted by Madelaine Chocolate...
August 14, 2017
Texas has finally enacted statutory reforms specifically designed to combat abusive insurance litigation. Enacted primarily in response to hailstorm lawsuits, the scope of the reforms are much broader. Effective September 1, 2017, Section 542A of the Texas Insurance Code governs all lawsuits arising...
July 18, 2017
[caption id="attachment_1499" align="alignright" width="205"] Alice in Wonderland Rabbit[/caption]
This year was off to a positive start in the realm of property insurance with a decision out of the Second Circuit upholding an at times embattled policy provision that is found in nearly every...
June 20, 2017
In February, the Nebraska Supreme Court held that it is acceptable for insurance companies to depreciate labor costs when determining the actual cash value (ACV) of damaged property, even when the insurance policy does not define “actual cash value” or “depreciation.” See Henn v. American Family...
June 13, 2017
Are an insurer’s attorney’s fee bills discoverable in first party claims? In In re Nat’l Lloyds Ins. Co., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 522 (Tex. 2017), the Texas Supreme Court considered this question in a hail MDL dispute and answered “No” in a lengthy opinion. The opinion is the latest development in a...
May 02, 2017
Michael D. Handler and Thomas M. Jones discuss three recent rulings that are consistent with the trend of courts around the country concluding carbon monoxide is a pollutant under a liability insurance policy.
February 10, 2017
Many property insurance policies that provide coverage for business interruption losses also include “extra expense” coverage for reasonable and necessary extra costs to temporarily continue as nearly as possible normal business operations, or to reduce the period of time necessary to resume normal...
January 27, 2017
In 2011, the California Insurance Commissioner promulgated a regulation governing replacement cost estimates for homeowners insurance (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 10, §2695.183 [the Regulation]). After the trial court and intermediate court of appeal invalidated the Regulation, this week the California...
January 19, 2017
The preemptive effect of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on overlapping claims asserted by policyholders based on federal and state common law theories of liability is well established. “Numerous courts have held that claims other than those expressly authorized by the [National Flood...
January 18, 2017
Tracy L. Eggleston and Patrick M. Aul discuss the South Carolina Supreme Court’s recent decision that adopts strict requirements for effective reservation of rights letters.
January 04, 2017
Does the efficient proximate cause rule serve to afford coverage for the additional costs to rebuild the foundation of a home in compliance with changed building code requirements beyond the sublimit of liability of an optional building ordinance or law endorsement? In an opinion ordered published...
December 20, 2016
Kenneth Levine, co-chair of the Insurance Corporate & Regulatory Group, discusses the misuse of assignment of benefit provisions in connection with homeowners policies and its potential to create a rise in fraudulent claims and rate increases.
December 07, 2016
Karl A. Schulz discusses the Fifth Circuit's clarification of a typical but potentially tricky question involving property claims in De Jongh v. State Farm Lloyds.
December 06, 2016
J.D. Dickenson and Elizabeth Fata discuss the recent Florida Supreme Court decision in Sebo v, American Home Assurance Company, which favors the Third Districts reasoning and the concurrent cause doctrine in property loss cases.
October 17, 2016
Patrick Aul discusses what insurers in both North and South Carolina should be mindful of when handling Hurricane Matthew related claims.
October 07, 2016
Hurricane Matthew is the first major hurricane to strike Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. As the insurance industry prepares for Florida property loss claims due to Hurricane Matthew, we highlight five claims-handling points based on the primary Florida statutory and administrative code provisions most relevant to property insurers with respect to first-party property loss claims, as well as on Florida’s statutory framework for a first-party bad faith claim.
October 06, 2016
It is well-established that claim processing and wrongful denial of coverage disputes involving federal flood insurance policies belong in federal court because they present substantial questions of federal law. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina recently applied this...
September 28, 2016
Julia A. Molander and William F. Knowles discuss the FountainCourt Homeowners Association v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co. decision holds that eviscerated the seminal case of Wyoming Sawmills v. Transportation Ins. Co.
September 19, 2016
Principle Solutions Group, LLC, an information technology company, lost $1.717 million when it became the victim of a fraud scheme for which it sought coverage under the terms of a commercial crime policy issued by Ironshore Indemnity, Inc. The policy provided coverage for “Computer and Funds...
September 07, 2016
On August 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a Colorado district court ruling that the sudden obliteration of a building in a 2013 mudslide did not constitute an “explosion” under a commercial property policy. Accordingly, coverage for the loss was barred under the...
August 09, 2016
On August 4, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court joined a long list of states’ high courts when it affirmed a ruling that consequential damages resulting from a subcontractor’s faulty work constituted “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” under the property developer/general contractor’s commercial general liability policies.
August 08, 2016
Ruling in favor of the insurer on a motion for summary judgment, on July 29, 2016 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the terms of a commercial crime policy, proof of a forgery by the insured’s employee in extending $90 million of credit to a customer did not establish an unlawful...
August 04, 2016
Many first party property insurance policies exclude claims for water damage that occurs when the insured premises is left vacant or unoccupied, unless the insured has used reasonable care to prevent such losses. In litigation challenging the denial of such claims, whether or not the insured’s...
July 29, 2016
A U.S. federal district court recently granted Peerless Insurance’s summary judgment motion, concluding that, as a matter of law, under Virginia law, a property policy insuring a building under renovation would not provide coverage for a collapsed basement wall due to a subcontractor’s lack of...
June 13, 2016
Melissa O’Loughlin White discusses a unanimous decision by the Washington Supreme Court that rejected the policyholder’s arguments that certain provisions in a “Vacancy or Unoccupancy” endorsement were ambiguous and must be construed in favor of coverage.
April 20, 2016
Rick Mackowsky and Stacey Farrell discuss a recent case wherein the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida applied Florida law and denied the insured’s motion for summary judgment seeking to compel appraisal of losses sustained at two of her insured buildings.
April 18, 2016
Craig H. Bennion discusses property insurance policies that exclude rot damage that have been called upon to cover rot because the policies extend coverage to collapse — an undefined term — caused by hidden decay, even if the structure remains standing and in use.
April 18, 2016
Rick Mackowsky discusses the Minnesota Court of Appeals' decision that pre-award interest is not recoverable on an appraisal award made pursuant to the terms of an insurance policy, absent an underlying breach of contract or actionable wrongdoing.
April 11, 2016
Ron Tigner and Gregory Hudson discuss the growing trend of jurisdictions no longer recognizing any distinction between the recoverability of loss of use damages between partial and total destruction of personal property.
December 14, 2018
Stephen Pate, a member in the firm Global Insurance Department, was quoted in Law360's feature "The Biggest Property & Casualty Insurance Decisions of 2018."
August 20, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, was quoted in an article for Law360 discussing coverage suits following Hurrican Harvey.
April 17, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, was quoted in the Business Insurance article, Marijuana Insurers in Holding Patter After Sessions Memo.
March 01, 2018
Melissa Brill, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, was quoted in an article titled, "Attorney says 7th Circuit Ruling in Exploding Grain Bin Case Could Narrow Property Damage Coverage" which appeared in the Cook County Record.
October 28, 2017
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, interviews with KCBS radio about insurance policies on marijuana grows in the fire zone.
September 01, 2017
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O’Connor's Global Insurance Department, speaks with June Grosso on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg Law” about Texas House Bill 1774 that went into effect September 1, 2017.
August 30, 2017
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance Department, was quoted in an article for Bloomberg discussing how insurers could face fewer suits after Harvey due to the Texas House Bill 1774 that was passed earlier this year.
August 29, 2017
Stephen Pate, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance Department, was quoted in an article for Law360 that discussed how property owners should handle damages caused by Hurricane Harvey.
August 23, 2017
Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition based on a rigorous peer-review that has been developed and defined for more than 30 years.
April 11, 2017
Stephen Pate discusses the recent Texas Supreme Court decision that restored protections for policyholders by putting teeth back into statutory provisions that penalize carriers for deceptive practices in an opinion insurance lawyers say is one of the most important in recent history.
August 15, 2016
Craig Bennion of the Global Insurance Department is quoted in LegalNewsLine discussing the July 19th ruling by the Montana Supreme Court that a boulder that thundered down a hillside and crashed into a house was to be considered a landslide for insurance purposes.