Volatility and Uncertainty. These words sum up the challenges faced by today’s reinsurance industry. From cyber attacks to extreme weather, the specific threats and exposures confronting the reinsurance industry are challenging in their complexity and magnitude. Never has it been more important to partner with experienced legal counsel who can bring clarity and perspective to the significant challenges presented in the reinsurance marketplace. To manage these risks, cedents, reinsurers and intermediaries look to Crowell & Moring’s Insurance and Reinsurance Practice, which is consistently among the most highly-ranked in the United States.

Our deep knowledge and broad experience is put to work every day for clients across all lines of the reinsurance industry. Our attorneys’ experience covers the spectrum of reinsurance matters – from evaluating potential implications of reinsurance exposures to handling complex multi-party arbitrations.

We have been engaged to handle disputes arising out of virtually all types of underlying business and exposures, including asbestos products and non-products, environmental, sexual molestation, concussions, variable annuities, individual life, workers' compensation, disability income, accident and health, long term care, financial lines, and construction defect claims. Our clients say that Crowell & Moring’s Insurance and Reinsurance group attorneys “are a go-to on the biggest work,” “deal authoritatively [with legal disputes],” and “strike the balance between defending us and respecting the customer.” Our clients also rely on us to advise on cutting-edge issues that are being shaped by technology, politics, legal developments, the environment, and social movements.

In addition, we partner with reinsurers as they look ahead, actively monitoring and shaping innovations that will impact long-standing and emerging exposures. This includes digital advancements such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Our up-to-the-minute understanding of these technologies and the legal issues they present ensures that our clients receive the most current guidance on managing risk and resolving disputes as we help to reshape the reinsurance landscape. 

Our reinsurance work includes issues such as:

  • Cyber
  • Sanctions
  • Sexual Molestation
  • #MeToo/ Sexual Harassment
  • Climate Change/ Extreme Weather / Wildfires and Mudslides
  • Concussions
  • Opioids
  • Asbestos/ Environmental / Toxic Tort
  • Terrorism
  • Crop Insurance
  • Finite Reinsurance

Representative Matters

Crowell & Moring’s reinsurance group provides counseling and handles disputes for major domestic and international reinsurers. Here are just a sample of our successful matters.

North America

Property and Casualty

  • Overcame reinsurer’s “Bellefonte” defense to recover expenses in addition to indemnity limits under facultative certificates. Secured $10 million judgment for client after bench trial in Pennsylvania state court using expert testimony and evidence of underwriting intent.
  • Represent insurers in insurance coverage disputes and provide counseling concerning coverage for sports-related traumatic head injuries/concussions and a panoply of issues, including number of occurrences, expended/intended, fortuity, and notice.
  • Represent risk retention group in connection with coverage disputes and reinsurance counseling arising from claims against major educational institutions alleging sexual molestation and sexual abuse by current and former employees and officials.
  • Defeated ceding company’s attempt to rely on “paid or to be paid” language to accelerate reinsurer’s payment obligation, relying on evidence of underwriting history and intent and custom and  practice.
  • Defeated ceding company’s attempt to pro-rate reinsurance contract retentions in connection with cession of single occurrence losses under multi-year policies, relying on evidence of underwriting intent and contract language.
  • Represent ceding company in dispute with reinsurer involving notice and allocation issues in the cession of losses arising from exposure to carbon black.
  • Represent insurers, ceding companies and reinsurers in actions to compel or stay arbitration/litigation, to confirm and enforce arbitration awards, and proceedings involving arbitrator selection issues.
  • Secured $10 million arbitration award against TPA for contractual indemnification of liability caused by deficient claims handling.
  • Relying on underwriting intent and custom and practice, defeated reinsurer’s attempt to avoid payment of declaratory judgment expenses where the ceding company defeated the coverage claim and did not make any loss/indemnity payment.
  • Represented a reinsurer in successfully challenging the reasonableness of a ceding company's allocation of settlement costs.
  • Represented ceding company in several arbitrations aimed at recovering reinsurance payments for asbestos, environmental, and other long-tail exposures, rebuffing arguments challenging notice, number of occurrences, and reasonableness of allocation.
  • Represented ceding company in dispute concerning challenges to allocation and number of occurrences issues under a series of excess-of-loss reinsurance contracts reinsuring losses sustained by an insurance pool.
  • Represented reinsurer concerning the allocation of non-products asbestos losses, including fact-intensive analysis of proper number of occurrences.

Life, Accident, Health, and Worker’s Compensation

  • Represent large health insurance organization in dispute involving servicing, pricing, and reinsurance of substantial block of long term care insurance policies.
  • Thwarted ceding company’s attempt to manufacture reinsurance recoverable by aggregating losses under a worker's compensation carve-out reinsurance contract involving September 11 rescue, recovery, and clean-up losses. Successful outcome was based on arguments regarding the proper interpretation and application of the contract’s “event” language, “occupational disease” exclusion, and the inclusion of actuarial projections of potential future exposure under “sunset” and “commutation” clauses.
  • Represented reinsurer in retrocessional dispute concerning long term disability coverage.
  • Defeated retrocessionaire’s attempt, based on alleged misrepresentations, to rescind retrocessional agreement covering losses arising from the Guaranteed Minimum Death Benefit (GMDB) and Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit (GMIB) feature of variable annuities.


  • Represent clients in civil and criminal proceedings concerning large finite reinsurance contracts and allegations of side-letters or side deals altering or purporting to alter the written terms of the reinsurance contracts and/or affecting risk transfer.

Reinsurance Intermediaries and Brokers

  • Handled claims arising from the activities of reinsurance intermediaries and brokers relating to the placement of coverage, litigated claims against brokers and reinsurance intermediaries, and worked cooperatively with brokers and intermediaries to secure information germane to a dispute.

Europe and Bermuda

  • Represented reinsurer in dispute involving the extent to which the ceding company could group risks together under a “Sole Judge of Risk” clause.
  • Defeated reinsurer’s positions in dispute addressing coverage triggers and the definition of occurrence under a boiler and machinery policy for a large port side loader loss where the reinsurers refused coverage on the basis of exclusion for cranes and lack of an occurrence.
  • Defeated ceding company’s allocation of subrogation recoveries across its large property reinsurance program, including surplus treaties, an underlying quota share treaty protecting the ceding company’s retention, excess of loss catastrophe treaties and proportional facultative reinsurance for that portion of the underlying risk not retained.
  • Represented London market insurers upholding exclusion for damage to large turbines in Central America on the basis that the nature of the loss was a design fault and not damage, including considerations of the coverage and the LEG clauses.
  • Represented reinsurer in discussions with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding the propriety of claims made under reinsurance treaties impacted by losses in US embargoed countries.
  • Represented Bermudan companies in treaty reinsurance disputes concerning class action employment discrimination and environmental claims arising from manufactured gas plants and chemical manufacturing facilities.
  • Represented London and Bermudan reinsurers in a treaty reinsurance dispute relating to surety losses on offshore Brazilian oil platform construction projects.


  • Defeated foreign reinsurer’s attempt, based on alleged misrepresentations during placement, to rescind dozens of reinsurance contracts. Secured award of 100% of the attorneys' fees incurred by our client in connection with the dispute.
  • Represented reinsurer of a Chinese microchip producer in connection with disputes regarding coverage for a business interruption loss where the interruption was within the period of cover but the causative occurrence was prior to the reinsurance contract’s inception.