The most complex and high-stakes legal challenges facing the insurance industry demand the highest level of expertise and commitment, delivered by a coordinated team across all areas of insurance law. We deliver a personal, partner-led service to achieve the resolution of international and domestic liability and insurance business issues that are sensitive to the relationship between insurers, insureds and brokers.
Sedgwick serves clients from 12 U.S. and two international markets, and our attorneys are regularly admitted pro hac vice for matters in other jurisdictions. In addition, the firm maintains a network of local counsel throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada and Australia who may serve as co-counsel with our attorneys or handle individual cases in litigation managed by our firm. Our London office is based in the heart of EC3 and has considerable insurance experience with clients in the U.S. and Bermuda. Sedgwick is the only law firm with a presence in the three key international insurance hubs – the U.S., London and Bermuda. Sedgwick represents virtually all of the world’s largest insurance companies, including AIG, Chubb, Liberty International Underwriters, Lloyd's of London Syndicate and Companies, MetLife, The Hartford, Travelers, United Healthcare and Zurich.
Scope of Services
Our team is comprised of specialist insurance business and liability lawyers with a wealth of experience in the financial lines, casualty, property and other classes of insurance. We always put our clients’ commercial objectives at the forefront of our advice and seek to adopt strategies to help our clients effectively maintain their business relationships while achieving the best financial outcome. We frequently advise on sensitive matters which are complex, or which present significant financial and/or reputational threats. Sometimes, however, disputes are unavoidable, and for those cases we draw upon our considerable litigation and arbitration experience.
The trial attorneys in the insurance practice vigorously represent our clients’ interests in court and in arbitrations. The insurance attorneys in each of our substantive practice areas of expertise try coverage and bad faith matters in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. and in various international tribunals. Our regulatory attorneys work with various states’ insurance departments to assist our clients in meeting their goals and, as necessary, litigate before administrative law judges. Our business attorneys assist insurers with transactions and issues unique to the insurance industry.
Clients rely on Sedgwick for the depth of its bench, and its reputation for 24/7 client service. Together, the firm’s insurance-related practices comprise one of the largest international teams of trial attorneys, coverage advisors dedicated to the global insurance industry. With a geographic presence that provides our clients with the required legal talent in the major insurance and litigation centers, Sedgwick is the "go to" firm for bet-the-company cases and insurance industry shaping litigation in the following areas:
Admiralty and Energy
Sedgwick attorneys represent a wide variety of port, marine and offshore energy companies and insurers. Our admiralty and energy lawyers regularly counsel energy and marine insurers as to coverage issues and policy content. We also represent carriers in coverage and bad faith litigation. We routinely advise our clients on a wide variety of marine and energy policy forms including hull, marine general liability, protection and indemnity, maritime employers’ liability, energy package policies, builders’ risk, business interruption, operators’ extra expense and loss of production income.
Sedgwick’s aerospace lawyers provide legal services to domestic, London market and other international insurers serving the aerospace industry. Our lawyers represent clients in litigation and advise them on matters involving a wide variety of coverage forms, including first-party hull coverages, aviation products liability, aircraft (third-party) liability, contingent coverages, hangarkeepers and premises liability, airport liability, personal injury liability, war coverages, deductible policies, excess coverages, reinsurance, and space insurance forms.
Our team has a particular focus on catastrophic, high-value claims stemming from mass disasters and involving complex issues, including high-value claims by multiple claimants, intra insurer and low limits issues. In addition to catastrophic claims, we advise insurers on complex policy coverage issues as varied as intellectual property, construction, land movement, public entity liability, religious institution liability (including clergy sexual abuse), media, employment, defamation and disparagement, to name a few. Many of our cases are in the onshore energy sector. Sedgwick lawyers are experienced in interpreting primary and excess third-party liability policies of all types, including commercial general liability, manuscripted policies, umbrella, and excess coverages.
Cybersecurity/Data Security Privacy Risks
Coinciding with the exponential growth of cyberspace and the electronic collection and storage of sensitive and private information, companies face material and increased risk of data security breaches. Social media, mobile payment systems, and the remote control of devices pose emerging privacy and security risks. As companies face class actions and other lawsuits stemming from these Internet security vulnerabilities, the insurers who provide them with coverage will also see an increase in disputes. We assist our insurer clients in handling many claims presented under cyber risk insurance products, and have litigated coverage disputes when they arise under such policies. We also counsel our insurer clients and defend them in coverage litigation when claims are presented to general liability insurers by policyholders experiencing cyber-related losses. We provide training in the U.S. and internationally on cyber risks and likely sources of claims as well as the insurance coverage issues presented therein. Our attorneys help insurers in drafting and analyzing cyber policies and endorsements providing first and third party coverage.
Directors and Officers Liability
Advising D&O insurers is a core part of Sedgwick’s insurance business and the team has vast experience in handling D&O claims, dealing with both coverage and defense. We provide a credible face on behalf of our insurer clients to insured directors in often sensitive discussions, particularly when dealing with the nuances of the insurance coverage. For this reason, our clients tend to use us for more difficult, delicate and complex claims. Our knowledge of this class of business allows us to advise on more routine matters quickly and efficiently. Ultimately, we aim to achieve our clients’ commercial goals without damaging their commercial relationships.
The team has experience of advising insurance clients in relation to a wide variety of D&O claims from large U.S. and multinational listed companies to U.K.-based SMEs. We have been at the forefront of D&O insurers’ provision of global D&O program structures to their clients and have been involved in the devising and drafting of contractual mechanisms.
Ed Smerdon is the consulting editor of, and Tristan Hall a contributor to, the leading textbook “Directors’ Liability and Indemnification: a Global Guide”. Sedgwick’s U.S. lawyers contributed to the upcoming “Directors and Officers Liability Insurance Deskbook,” Fourth Edition, published by the American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section.
Employment Practices Liability
Sedgwick’s lawyers provide the firm’s insurance clients with sophisticated representation, both in analyzing coverages and defending insurers in coverage disputes throughout the U.S., on matters involving employment practices liability insurance policies. In light of the tumultuous economic times and its impact on the workforce, our lawyers are busy working with our clients in resolving coverage issues arising out of a panoply of employment matters, such as employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour disputes, WARN Act claims, claims involving reductions in force, claims under federal and state employment statutes, and employee class actions.
Sedgwick represents domestic and international insurance clients in coverage matters involving pollution liability, toxic tort, asbestos, silica and health hazard claims. Our lawyers advise insurers and litigate coverage disputes regarding large-scale environmental claims under pollution legal liability, cost-cap and blended professional liability programs, as well as general liability policies.
Our lawyers provide coverage and litigation counsel in pollution matters involving soil and groundwater contamination arising out of oil and gas production fields and refineries, manufacturing facilities, fertilizer spills and chemical drifts, leaking waste water ponds, railroad contamination and leaking underground storage tanks. In addition, Sedgwick lawyers have served as national coordinating coverage counsel under pollution liability programs for claims arising out of MTBE contamination, and airborne contamination claims arising out of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Extracontractual/Commercial Insurance Litigation
Sedgwick offers a wealth of experience and expertise in representing the insurance industry in courts and other tribunals domestically and internationally. The insurance lawyers who handle extracontractual and commercial litigation apply their extensive expertise in insurance matters in an aggressive yet thoughtful approach to the new challenges facing the insurance industry. In addition to litigating coverage disputes involving all aspects of property and casualty primary and excess insurance and reinsurance, Sedgwick has significant experience defending bad faith litigation, class actions and other representative or private attorney general types of actions.
Our lawyers also regularly handle commercial litigation for the insurance industry. Insurance companies face many of the same legal issues – unrelated to their insurance products – as any other large corporation. Sedgwick’s insurance lawyers, given their intimate knowledge of the insurance industry, handle many commercial disputes for our insurance clients. We also work with the firm’s bankruptcy lawyers when issues involving creditors’ rights and esoteric bankruptcy questions are presented.
Sedgwick has an international reputation for prominence in fidelity law. For more than three decades, Sedgwick lawyers have been investigating, negotiating and defending claims involving fidelity insurance. Our fidelity lawyers handle cases involving employee dishonesty, lending losses, security thefts, safe-deposit burglary, computer crime, and closed bank/savings and loan litigation. In addition to legal representation in situations of loss, our lawyers counsel insurers on policy coverage issues. Our lawyers also assist clients in drafting policy language and have participated in developing policies for special risks. One of the firm’s fidelity lawyers helped prepare the first computer crime policy, and some major changes in fidelity insurance policies are the result of our recommendations.
Sedgwick’s Financial Institutions team is market leading. We advise insurers on claims issues worldwide concerning all types of financial institutions from Wall Street banks to offshore funds, and have significant experience of working with specialist loss adjusters and local counsel in different jurisdictions. In addition to our contentious practice, we are regularly retained by insurers to advise them on wordings issues and new products, developing banks’ combined PI/crime and D&O forms, investment manager, funds, private equity and venture capitalist forms.
International Insurance Arbitration
Sedgwick’s international counseling and arbitration lawyers have significant expertise in dispute resolution between entities with multinational interests, whether the method of resolution is arbitration, mediation or expert neutral evaluation. Commercial arbitration is a particular feature of the group’s activities, whether under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the English Arbitration Acts, or otherwise. In conducting arbitrations in London and Bermuda, in particular, our lawyers provide clients with the benefit of firsthand knowledge of those jurisdictions.
A major component of our international practices includes advising Bermuda Form insurers, and acting for them in arbitration and mediation. Our work for Bermuda Form insurers has encompassed a broad variety of catastrophic and mass/serial tort claims, including those derived from such industries as auto, pharmaceutical, agrichem, energy, utilities, building materials, transportation, medical devices, and financial services. The disputes are typically subject to New York law and London arbitration, which Sedgwick can handle on a seamless basis via its London, Bermuda and U.S. offices.
Latin America Insurance
Along with the ascendancy of Latin America’s economy in the past decade, insurance issues have arisen unique to that vast and booming region. Global insurance companies need legal counselors with thorough knowledge of Latin American, English and American law and venues, as well as experience in the idiosyncrasies of the local markets. Our team has extensive experience assisting and working alongside of global insurers and reinsurers writing commercial casualty and property, energy, terrorism and other specialty policies for insureds based in or doing business in Latin America. We handle complex coverage disputes in the property, casualty, energy, mining, construction and utilities sectors across Latin America.
The team in our London office represents London Market insurers in connection with losses in Latin America. To better serve our clients with business interests in Latin America, Sedgwick opened a Miami office in 2013. This makes our firm ideally situated to advise insurers and reinsurers facing issues and opportunities in Central and South America and facing litigation in Florida, a growing venue for insurance coverage disputes.
Policy Drafting and Advice
Sedgwick lawyers in Bermuda, Europe and the U.S. have drafted everything from manuscripted policies for global companies to homeowners’ insurance forms. Our lawyers work with underwriters extending innovative coverage for unusual risks such as credit reporting errors and omissions, songwriters and music publisher programs, model captive reinsurance agreements, charity and pension trustee risks, IPO risks and “after the event” contingency policies. In addition to drafting contract forms and endorsements, our experienced insurance lawyers also assist clients to vet their more innovative products, examining them with an eye toward clarity and enforceability, using our in-depth knowledge of some of the more difficult forums for insurance clients. Similarly, our lawyers develop policy language or vet existing products for some of the most challenging risks, including many forms of directors and officers coverage, IMI and FI insurance, nursing home policies, sexual abuse cover, cyber risk cover, construction defect cover, IP cover, terrorism and the restructuring/merger/breakup of policyholders.
Product Liability and Recall
We are highly experienced in advising insurers on product liability and recall coverage in all sectors, including automotive, aviation, food and beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, technology and packaging. Where claims are covered, we often represent the insured in their defense of claims and in any recovery action against suppliers, whether in the U.S. or U.K. We also advise insurers on their wordings and have developed new forms for a number of leading insurance carriers.
In respect of U.S. claims, Sedgwick’s services are seamless across our relevant offices. We also regularly work alongside foreign lawyers (in non-U.S./U.K. claims), loss adjusters and forensic accountants.
Mark Kendall of our London office authored, and lawyers from our U.S. offices contributed to, the leading text book textbook “Product Recall, Liability and Insurance – a Global Guide” (Globe Law and Business, 2012). The book analyses products liability and recall insurance positions in 18 key jurisdictions worldwide.
Sedgwick London’s Professional Liability team acts for insurers of all types of traditional and emerging professionals, from SME to leading national and international organisations. We provide sensitive and commercial advice, either in relation to policy coverage or, where retained jointly on behalf of insureds, in the defence of claims made.
We advise insurers that insure offshore/U.S. domiciled professions and have a developing portfolio of claims against offshore trustees, lawyers and corporate services providers. Where necessary, we represent our client’s interests in other European and worldwide jurisdictions by working with local lawyers who have the necessary expertise in the complexities of their region.
Sedgwick’s property lawyers regularly provide coverage advice, counseling and litigation services for primary and excess commercial property insurers and reinsurers. Our lawyers advise on many complex first-party policy coverage issues important to the insurance industry, including claims arising from such diverse perils as fire and terrorism, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, water damage and mold. Many of our cases are in the onshore energy sector.
The property coverage group also has experience assisting clients in investigating and resolving business income, contingent business income, and extra expense claims and in conducting fraud and arson investigations. These matters have included numerous disputes stemming from major hurricanes, floods, and other catastrophes in various international locations. We maintain established relationships with various experts and consultants who can be called upon to successfully resolve claims.
Sedgwick lawyers’ practical experience in market-wide problems ranges from asbestos and environmental claims to film finance and workers’ compensation carve-out disputes to issues involving captives and other alternative risk structures. Our Reinsurance lawyers have conducted numerous reinsurance arbitrations and been involved in related litigation in the U.S., London, Bermuda and continental Europe.
Sedgwick lawyers have been closely involved with reinsurers in a variety of tasks, including establishing reserves for loss portfolios and individual large losses, conducting in-depth claims reviews and file inspections in various lines of business, drafting for facultative and treaty wordings, and endorsements to existing policies. We have guided the firm’s reinsurance clients toward achieving many successful commutations and other business terminations. Sedgwick lawyers also provide advice on excess and surplus lines regulatory issues and other regulatory and compliance issues facing reinsurers.
Surety bonds play a major role in American commerce and in the construction industry. For more than 30 years, surety companies have relied upon surety law experts at Sedgwick for the most complex and high-risk matters. As a national and international leader in managing the complex issues facing bonding companies, Sedgwick’s surety attorneys counsel and defend sureties in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, and litigation in local, state, and federal jurisdictions, including the bankruptcy courts. Sedgwick’s surety law expertise extends beyond performance, payment, bid, and release bonds in construction to commercial, subdivision, license, and miscellaneous bonds. Our attorneys can also draw on Sedgwick experts on E&O and CGL policies, in addition to other insurance resources, to find ways to shift risks from our surety clients to others.
Sedgwick attorneys have represented clients in connection with a variety of insurance company mergers and acquisitions, including acquisitions by stock purchase agreement, mergers, acquisitions of publicly traded insurers, demutualizations in connection with acquisitions, reinsurance and assumption agreements in connection with sales of affiliated entities and other transaction structures. Our attorneys have also handled surplus note pooling and other insurer financing transactions. Sedgwick also has expertise in insurance holding company system restructurings, drafting intercompany reinsurance, management and other forms of agreements and in securing regulatory approvals for intercompany transactions with novel features. Sedgwick’s deep industry knowledge and expertise combined with sophisticated corporate transactional experience allows us to provide clients with an integrated team of attorneys who can address our insurer clients’ transactional and regulatory needs in a seamless fashion.