In 2015, Chambers USA: Client's Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business recognized Locke Lord as being one of the leading law firms in Insurance and Reinsurance with high national and state rankings in the areas of insurance: transactional and regulatory; insurance: dispute resolution (reinsurance); and dispute resolution (insurer). Chambers has noted that Locke Lord "has always been an industry leader and is an excellent firm with good people." Clients from various regions rate "Locke Lord highly in terms of their ability to turn things around and meet our needs."
Serving the insurance industry's needs is one of Locke Lord's greatest strengths. For more than 100 years, the Firm has represented insurers in courtrooms and boardrooms throughout the country in some of the largest, most complex lawsuits and transactions the industry has faced.
Locke Lord's insurance and reinsurance practices are consistently recognized in national and international publications, earning the distinction of being named “2016 Law Firm of the Year in Insurance Law” by U.S. News/Best Lawyers, frequent inclusion in Reactions magazine's annual survey and in The International Who's Who of Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers list of leading U.S. firms. The practices also have earned a string of accolades from The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 United States and Global Broker & Underwriter.
Protecting Our Clients' Interests in Drafting and Defending Their Policies
The Firm has developed a well-known and highly respected practice representing national and multi-national insurers in coverage and bad faith cases, from single plaintiff cases to mass actions and class actions. We provide the full spectrum of services, from skilled analysis and opinions of policies to claims defense in litigation.
The Locke Lord team represents insurers in high-stakes and contentious litigation around the country, often involving very significant alleged exposure to our clients, sophisticated legal issues, considerable factual and expert discovery, multi-party dynamics, multiple lines of current and historical coverages, and complex jurisdictional battles. We also are selected by insurers to defend insureds in certain tort litigation. We are creative in our litigation strategy and work to see each matter to conclusion, whether to a bench or jury trial, on appeal, by summary judgment motions, or through mediation or settlement.
Our lawyers are experienced with policies of all types, including primary and excess insurance, first party and third party policies, and manuscript and form language. We work with clients on new policy wordings and products. We perform a variety of audits for self-insureds and insurers, including in connection with potential or completed acquisitions of business units with historical policies. We step in following major events or disasters or after corporate acquisitions to "triage" potential claims. Our lawyers also counsel on claims management and risk reduction. Locke Lord's effective strategies for negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation seek the best results for each client.
We address all types of direct insurance matters that involve a wide variety of insureds, innumerable types of underlying claims, significant technical and financial issues, and sophisticated legal analyses and strategies. Some of the claims types and industries include:
The Locke Lord insurance litigation and counseling team is also featured in all of the prominent industry associations. Several members of the team are instructors in life insurance litigation for the American Law Institute/American Bar Association (ABA) and class action litigation at the Practicing Law Institute. Some of our lawyers are elected members and leaders in the ABA Tort and Insurance Practice Committee, American Board of Trial Advocates, Defense Research Institute, Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel, International Association of Defense Counsel, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Professional Liability Underwriting Society and the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance. The group also includes fellows in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Helping Our Clients Engage in the Business of Insurance
Locke Lord's insurance litigation and counseling team works closely with our corporate insurance colleagues to help clients adapt to market changes and advocate for them before regulatory agencies. We support the business goals of our insurance clients by addressing licensing and formation matters, answering day-to-day operating questions such as insurance holding company filings, investment and capital requirements and corporate governance. Our lawyers also help clients confront problems when they run into matters such as capital infusion, insolvency and guaranty fund issues.
Insurance regulation can change dramatically from state to state, and we are skilled at addressing and meeting differing demands in multiple jurisdictions. We target a particular state or structure businesses and products for multi-state transactions. We also implement national insurance programs.
The Firm conducts a wide range of investment transactions for insurance companies and other financial institutions. Our globally recognized skills in the insurance and reinsurance industries give us a unique perspective in effectively representing insurance companies and their affiliates in all aspects of their investment activities.
We help our clients grow through mergers and acquisitions of other companies and the purchase of blocks of business. We assist them in completing deals to better their distribution or arrange more efficient servicing of their business. We help businesses adapt to changes in the market through e-commerce and alternative risk financing transactions.
The variety of structured finance investment opportunities continues to grow, and we represent insurance companies in a wide range of investments, including guaranteed investment contracts, collateralized debt obligations, collateralized mortgage obligations, equity and debt investment funds, financial asset securitization investment trusts and others.
We also represent insurance companies and their affiliates in a variety of real estate fund investments and direct real estate investments. Our experience in representing insurance companies in mortgage financing transactions, including the restructuring and workout of troubled real estate investments, is extensive. We regularly represent insurance companies and their affiliates in connection with strategic investments and business arrangements with partners.
Our regulatory and transactional insurance team includes former state insurance commissioners and those who have served in senior executive and legal positions in insurance companies and trade associations. They regularly write and speak on insurance issues before professional groups. Our lawyers serve leadership positions or are members in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), an industry group made up of state life insurance commissioners and lawyers for regulatory matters, the American Council of Life Insurers and the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. Our insurance regulatory partners practice across the country and have strong relationships with the insurance departments throughout the U.S. and with the various insurance liquidators.
Locke Lord's direct insurance team goes above and beyond client expectations through added value services.
We regularly prepare Locke Lord QuickStudy materials on developments of interest to the insurance industry. Also, our insurance and reinsurance blog (www.insurereinsure.com) brings clients the latest legal news and developments in the industry. Clients can visit this site to subscribe and receive a single daily update email. They will also receive our more substantive quarterly newsletter, Insurance and Reinsurance Review, and other information related to our practice.
In addition, the Firm works with clients to provide in-house educational and training seminars on a variety of topics. Our lawyers provide a "quick query" courtesy service, addressing questions of a limited nature that can be answered quickly from our general knowledge. "Value-added" for Locke Lord means more than courtesy services. We are committed to maintaining, at our cost, various resources that help us provide our legal services in a cost-efficient manner. For example, we can establish free extranets to create a secure electronic file shared with clients that includes electronic versions of documents (draft agreements, correspondence, pleadings, insured-specific policies, policy forms and others). We also work with a generic web based application for claims databases that allow production of reports designed to meet a particular client's needs.
Our internal depth and our external experiences join together to provide our clients with extensive resources. Our insurance litigation and counseling team closely collaborates within the team and also with the firm's other practice areas, including antitrust, construction, corporate and securities, environmental, financial services, intellectual property and real estate. Our nationwide network of local firms has helped us form strong partnerships to provide the most effective representation in all types of matters. We have worked with technical experts in many different scientific and financial disciplines and we can seek their assistance on key factual matters.
As it continues to grow and change, the worldwide insurance industry needs counsel who understands the business of insurance and who has the team and the reputation to tackle challenging situations and help promote their clients' business goals. Locke Lord's direct insurance team has proudly been that counsel for more than 100 years and is ready to continue to help our clients achieve results.
Visit our Insurance & Reinsurance Blog (InsureReinsure.com) for the latest news and developments.
In an appeal to the California Fourth Appellate District, Christopher Barth and Hugh Balsam (both of Chicago) secured a unanimous grant of summary judgment for Star Insurance Company (a subsidiary of the former Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Inc. n/k/a AmeriTrust Group, Inc.).
On Dec. 2, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court declined to rehear its opinion in favor of Locke Lord clients, Yorkshire Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ocean Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.. In June 2016, the court had unanimously ruled that the insurers’ commercial general liability insurance policy did not cover the wrongful death of a leased-in worker on the insured’s drilling rig.
A Locke Lord team led by Aileen Meehan (New York) and Julie Mahaney (Hartford) represented CGB Diversified Services, Inc., in the $49 million acquisition of U.S. crop insurance managing general agent Heartland Crop Insurance, Inc., from Everest Re Group, Ltd., completed on August 24, 2016.