Insurance Recovery & Advisory
Peter M. Gillon
Robert L. Wallan
Pillsbury’s Insurance Recovery & Advisory practice is one of the first insurance policyholder practices in the United States – dating back to the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, when the firm helped business owners recover from their insurers to rebuild the city. We have recovered nearly 15 billion dollars of insurance policy proceeds – more than one billion dollars in each of 2013 and 2014 – for our policyholder clients, and regularly protect our clients by helping them obtain broad and appropriate insurance coverage to address the risks inherent in business today.
Our insurance recoveries have arisen from major disasters like Superstorm Sandy and the Gulf of Mexico well blowout and oil spill, complex D&O liability disputes, and disastrous cyber-attacks. We are recognized among the leading construction insurance firms in the country, and are at the forefront of new coverages and claims in cybersecurity and many other areas. We advise policyholders seeking coverage under virtually every kind of insurance policy, and represent policyholders around the world in all major industries.
Pillsbury’s leading policyholder practice and its lawyers have been recognized by: Chambers USA; Law360; Legal 500; and Best Lawyers in America.
With a deep understanding of the insurance business and the business needs of our clients, the Pillsbury team is recognized as a go-to coverage firm by leading international insurance brokers, who frequently refer their clients when coverage disputes arise. The Pillsbury team is also among the leaders in advising clients on insurance policy wording and structure, adding immense value to negotiations of D&O and E&O liability insurance policies, cybersecurity insurance policies, property policies, wrap-up insurance programs, and captive programs.
On the Forefront of Insurance Recovery
Pillsbury is engaged on numerous significant and often headline-grabbing coverage disputes for our clients, including:
- Secured a $55.3 million breach of contract, bad faith and punitive damages jury verdict, including more than $8 million in attorney’s fees and $46 million in punitive damages, in favor of a mechanical pipe joining manufacturer who was denied coverage for defense of product liability claims. This was one of the largest insurance jury verdicts in California in 2015. (Victaulic Co. v. American Home Assurance Co. et al., RG12642929 (Alameda County Superior Court))
- Ongoing insurance claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico well blowout and oil spill on behalf of one of the three well owners for liabilities of more than $2 billion
- Recovery of $835 million of insurance claims on behalf of Duke Energy for repairs and power replacement costs stemming from the dormant Crystal River nuclear energy plant in Florida
- Ongoing property and business interruption insurance claims arising from Superstorm Sandy on behalf of a real estate company, a telecommunications company, a national retailer and other clients
- Global airline’s claims for business interruption loss arising from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan
- Litigation on behalf of Gibson Guitars for recovery of losses from the Nashville floods of 2010 which devastated the guitar-maker’s primary factory
- Represented a global engineering firm with insurance claims exceeding $100 million in value in connection with design and construction issues related to a number of coal-fired power plants
- Obtained an eight-figure recovery for a general contractor arising out of the default of multiple subcontractors in a billion-dollar hotel construction project
- Recovery under global manufacturer’s D&O liability insurance policy for liabilities arising from alleged anti-competitive activity
- Litigation on behalf of football helmet manufacturer Riddell on coverage claims arising from wave of NFL player concussion lawsuits
- Represented PAR Electrical in litigation arising out of the 2007 California wildfires, seeking coverage under liability policies for PAR’s alleged $2 billion liability for initiating the fires
- Top national university’s cyberinsurance coverage claims for loss due to accidental release of confidential medical information
- Multiple national restaurant chains’ claims under D&O policies for employee Wage & Hour claims
- Multiple construction and real estate clients in pursuit of insurance recoveries for Chinese drywall claims from insurance carriers.
- U.S. oil refiner’s D&O liability insurance claim arising from shareholder suits
- Online university’s D&O coverage claims arising from securities class action following acquisition of public entity by private equity firm
Pillsbury’s Approach to Insurance Coverage Disputes
Pillsbury’s Insurance Recovery & Advisory group is an integrated national network of more than 30 lawyers who use their deep understanding of the insurance business to devise optimal strategies and solutions for our clients. We understand that resolving insurance disputes often requires a combination of creativity and a sound commercial approach to the parties’ positions. Our clients – and insurers – often remark, that we “get it,” where other firms frequently do not. On the other hand, our lawyers are not reluctant to use their experience and skill as litigators to enforce our clients’ rights when litigation is necessary. The group draws on the experience of attorneys within Pillsbury in fields such as bankruptcy, aviation, energy and environmental law, to supplement its teams. When needed, we also have the ability to leverage the firm’s full litigation capabilities.
Pillsbury’s Insurance Recovery & Advisory Services
Our practice offers two broad types of services to our clients:
Claims Litigation and Settlement
Pillsbury’s claims litigation and settlement services begin with framing the presentation to the insurer in an initial notice, guiding our client through the initial discussion with the insurers – often resulting in early resolution of the claim. Before resorting to litigation, our lawyers may engage in extensive negotiations with insurers, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution procedures, where such an approach is deemed to provide the best approach for recovery. Our lawyers have experience and a proven record of success in litigating coverage issues through arbitration, trial and appeal in the U.S., Bermuda, and the UK.
Although not insurance brokers, the Pillsbury team works closely with our clients’ brokers and other advisors in evaluating enterprise risk, and structuring the appropriate coverage. We have extensive experience with the structuring and placement of pollution and cleanup cost-cap policies, and in creating specialized liability transfers. We are frequently called upon to provide a “second look” at coverages to ensure that the client has the most advantageous terms and wordings, and to negotiate with insurers to secure appropriate enhancements to coverage. The firm’s proprietary D&O Review and Cyber-Insurance Advocacy services permit clients to benchmark their coverage against best-available enhancements in the current marketplace. We also advise clients and assist in structuring pooled risk or captive insurance programs and other risk management issues, including contractual indemnity rights and related efforts to minimize their potential exposure to losses that may adversely impact their businesses cyberliability policies.