With more than a dozen partners dedicated to the practice, along with 30 of our counsel and associates, Crowell & Moring offers the insurance industry unsurpassed breadth and depth of experience in navigating the many challenges that inevitably arise. We understand those challenges because our lawyers have lived them for years. And we understand the complexities and interrelationships inherent to an industry that assumes, in one way or another, most of the financial risks of an increasingly global society.
Our lawyers are litigators and dealmakers; trial lawyers and settlement professionals; advocates and advisors. Our experience spans all of the major industry segments—life, health, property-casualty—and all of the lines of business—insurance, reinsurance, captives, runoffs, SPVs. This collective experience has taught us the value of understanding the business of insurance as well as the law and the regulations. Our fields of play include courts and arbitrations, agencies and legislatures, bankruptcies, and internal and external investigations. And our practice pays as much attention to preventing problems as to resolving them when they arise.
We believe that few law firms offer a team of lawyers specifically dedicated to the representation of the insurance industry in all its facets and variations. And we believe that our team, along with colleagues we can draw from closely affiliated practice areas at the firm, allows us to help insurance industry clients navigate any terrain they may need to traverse.
We are not the only ones who think so. The 2015 Chambers USA had this to say: "An efficient cross-practice approach allows this firm to handle insurance matters relating to bankruptcy and financial lines issues for both domestic and foreign clients. This adds to its prominent insurance and reinsurance focus, particularly dealing with complex coverage litigation." Interviewed clients had this to say: "They are very well placed to deal authoritatively and strike the balance between defending us and respecting the customer," "They not only have my back but they understand our business. They are a go-to on the biggest work," and "They are well-organized, efficient and produce quality work you can trust." Our practice and individual lawyers have also been recognized by legal, industry, and business publications such as Insurance Law360, Business Insurance, Best Lawyers in America, Washingtonian, and more.
Our practice was also nominated for the Chambers USA "Award of Excellence" for our insurance practice, and several of our partners were individually recognized as well.
Practice Areas for Insurers
Litigation, Disputes, and Investigations
Our lawyers have been successfully litigating major coverage disputes since the inception of the asbestos and environmental crises in the early 1980s. Our experience spans most of the major asbestos bankruptcies, trial and appellate defense of insurers throughout the country, Bermuda form and other arbitrations, and multiparty coverage workouts. Our lawyers have represented most of the world's top-20 property-casualty insurers on some of their largest exposures.
Our reinsurance attorneys have successfully litigated in virtually every area of reinsurance law for every segment of the industry. In hundreds of litigations and arbitrations, we have represented cedents, reinsurers, and intermediaries. Because of this unsurpassed depth of experience, we also regularly counsel industry clients about how to structure, confine, and articulate their exposures.
Bankruptcy, Insolvency, and Restructurings
Our bankruptcy team has focused on insurance-centric work for several decades, taking leading roles in many of the most complex multilateral asbestos and mass tort proceedings in history. We are also experienced in finding transactional solutions to difficult legacy exposures, ranging from the creation and disposition of runoff entities (or their restructuring) to obtaining regulatory or judicial approval of creative vehicles designed to disperse risk.
Internal and Governmental Investigations
No company wants them, but all companies have them. Our experience has us taught that, for inside and outside counsel involved in such investigations, there is no substitute for a thorough grounding in (1) the business of insurance, (2) the law applicable to the behaviors being investigated, and (3) the prosecutorial norms and customs being applied by regulators of every sort. Without these things, investigations run away with themselves and cannot be handled with the clarity and delicacy required. At Crowell & Moring, our lawyers have handled every kind of investigation at every level of severity, for insurers and for others, and we have successfully navigated governmental interventions arising out of the antitrust laws, FCPA, AML, OFAC, and other extraterritorial legal regimes. We team our insurance lawyers with former regulators and experienced financial investigators to provide a tailored approach to every unique situation.
Appellate Work and Law Creation
Our lawyers are constantly engaged in the effort to move insurance law in the right direction, whether on behalf of individual clients, industry organizations, or otherwise. Our recent experience with appeals, amicus representations, legislative and regulatory advocacy, and NGO and academic law-creation enterprises is extensive and, we believe, unrivaled. Our work has included major case appellate representations as well as defense of generic policy language used in frequency lines of insurance. It extends to insurance, reinsurance, mass torts and product liability, and bankruptcy/insolvency.
Broker & Intermediary Disputes
Our attorneys have extensive experience in defending and prosecuting claims against insurance brokers, agents, and reinsurance intermediaries in state and federal courts, at the trial and appellate levels, and in arbitration proceedings. As a result, we are uniquely well positioned to advise not just insurance intermediaries and market makers but also to advise insurers about coverage claims arising out of broker behaviors.
Professional Liability and Management Liability
Whether in connection with D&O coverage claims or in defense of the underlying action against board and management, our lawyers regularly represent participants in securities and derivative actions brought by shareholders, creditors, or policyholders. For insurers, we use all of the available legal tools to participate actively in liability suppression, particularly in the context of always-difficult settlement discussions.
Transactions and Corporate/Regulatory Advisory Services
Insurance Transactions and M&A
Working in a thoroughly interdepartmental manner, Crowell & Moring marshals all of its resources to help execute transactions quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Our transactional attorneys have represented insurers on acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, submarket exit strategies, new market entry strategies, joint ventures, international expansion, free trade issues, and access to capital markets. Drawing from so many areas of experience at our firm, including our international trade advisory group, we are able to help our clients design transactions, evaluate exposures, and get deals approved, no matter where they are centered.
Strategic and Preventive Counseling
Because so many of our lawyers have participated in the making of insurance law over the years, we are uniquely positioned to advise clients about how to handle emerging exposures, expanding regulatory intensity, problematic coverage grants and exclusions, and risk underwriting in general. As examples, our lawyers are currently engaged in advisory projects pertaining to cyber exposures (as a coverage grant and as an exclusion), the pending American Law Institute (ALI) Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance, and the creation of low-cost vehicles for libel insurance for investigative reporters. We have regularly acted as coordinating counsel for insurers on a broad range of legacy and emerging risks.
Corporate Structure and Governance
Our advisory services also extend to matters of corporate form and governance, where our collective experience creating corporate entities, structuring legal departments within insurance companies, and managing both severity exposures and frequency exposures allows us to assist clients in creating efficient and effective organizational structures, systems, and cultures. We believe that insurer law departments can be value-added sources of corporate wealth creation—not just "cost centers."
International Trade and New Markets
Crowell & Moring offers our clients distinctive legal and advisory assistance as they open operations overseas, navigate cross-border transactions, and seek multijurisdictional regulatory approvals for new or expanded businesses. Our model is unique: We combine our insurance and international trade knowledge with the decades of experience resident in our affiliated international policy and regulatory affairs consulting firm, C&M International. The result is an ability to deal with issues in real time based on realistic assessments of risk and reward, timing to completion, and local custom and practice. This collective advisory capability also entails a worldwide network of local law firms and advisors with proven records of success.
Our lawyers have regularly provided strategic and tactical advice for clients facing regulatory scrutiny, whether through state insurance regulators, tax authorities, or legislative or political interventions. We have advised clients on a range of reinsurance tax and capital allocation issues, groupwide supervision regimes, and inquiries about sales practices. With the combination of our international trade practice and C&M International, we can help clients navigate the opening of foreign markets or create effective and efficient multijurisdictional insurance programs. Because our lawyers understand the business of insurance, we are able to deal with matters that turn on seemingly complex nuances of corporate finance and actuarial art and science. We have also participated in most of the major initiatives toward regulatory change, including a number of proposals that were not adopted as a result of effective advocacy on behalf of the industry and/or individual clients. Our work has involved regulatory changes proposed as a result of the 2008-09 financial crisis (including standards for identifying "systemically important financial institutions"), groupwide supervision, reinsurance tax legislation, regulatory enhancement proposals in Bermuda, Optional Federal Charter, and inter-regulator cooperation in connection with multinational insurance programs.
Compliance and Extraterritorial Regulation
With a legal staff that includes former regulators and prosecutors, compliance professionals, and in-depth institutional knowledge about the law and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, Crowell & Moring regularly assists its clients in building effective compliance systems and disseminating clear and cogent information about compliance procedures. We help in-house legal and compliance teams effectively educate management about the real-world dynamics involved in establishing systems and procedures to protect both the company and the individual managers in it. Our approach is not academic and removed from the business realities. Rather, we help build systems that efficiently adapt existing business operations to the new compliance realities, and we do this by understanding how the insurance industry works. Our legal staff is intimately familiar with the major regulatory regimes of greatest importance and risk and understands from experience the enforcement dispositions of the most significant regulators. As a result, we are well positioned to help insurers craft efficient and compliant systems and to defend themselves when under regulatory scrutiny.
All-Segment Multidisciplinary Experience: Property-Casualty, Life, Health
In addition to the 40 practitioners who focus on property-casualty and life insurance, Crowell & Moring has also built an unparalleled practice advising health insurers on the entire range of regulatory, transactional, and litigation issues they face at the state and federal level. All of our insurance lawyers are, in turn, teamed with attorneys with deep knowledge of specific regulatory regimes or relevant legal landscapes, most of whom have experience within and without the insurance industry. At our firm, these practice areas are not separate and distinct; rather, our collective experience with regulators, financial reporting, reserving, transactions, business practices, and litigation has given us, we believe, the broadest possible exposure to the entire world of insurance. We can provide valuable insight on all of the issues and problems facing companies in the industry.