M&R’s breadth of experience in virtually every aspect of insurance law runs deep. We’ve long been recognized as a leader in the insurance industry, given our rich history representing clients in claim disputes, all types of coverage litigation and regulatory matters. As a leading law firm serving the insurance space, we know our clients’ businesses and the insurance landscape inside and out.
Nationally recognized for our work on behalf of the largest insurance carriers, brokers, agents and reinsurance companies in the country, M&R also represents outside investors looking to penetrate the lucrative industry. Further, we counsel self-insurance groups on their long-term business goals, and guide the span of our client base through formation, corporate structuring, mergers and reorganizations, state insurance regulations, market conduct, policy coverage issues and more.
Our insurance law specialists include attorneys from several different practice working in concert to service the full spectrum of our clients’ needs. This includes a team of powerhouse litigators, who have obtained numerous multi-million-dollar damage awards and defense verdicts in dozens upon dozens of insurance-related cases.
Versed in nearly every facet of insurance law, our lawyers are frequently asked to present at industry trade conferences and seminars, and to write articles for top insurance publications. We’re also actively involved with the Association of California Insurance Companies, American Agents Alliance, Brokers Insurance Group, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of California, California Insurance Wholesalers Association, Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America, National Association of Professional Surplus Lines, American Council of Life Insurers and the Association of Compliance Professionals, among other industry groups.
Areas of Expertise
Class Action & Other Insurance-Related Litigation (including coverage & bad faith)
Department of Insurance Investigations
Insurance Adjustment Disputes
Agent, Broker & Company Licensing
Managing General Agent Issues
Marketing Conduct Examinations
Mergers & Acquisitions
Successor Interest Issues
Wholesaler Advice & Counsel
Represented a national insurance wholesale broker in the sale of its Connecticut-based professional liability division to a property and casualty brokerage firm.
Represented the largest specialty insurance brokerage in the U.S. in its acquisition of one of the nation’s largest 401(k) advisory and brokerage firms.
Represented a leading insurance broker in the $120 million acquisition of the retail distribution division of a publicly traded insurance holding company, which transaction involved the acquisition of several subsidiaries and subsidiary assets.
Handled many dozens of individual brokerage acquisitions on behalf of the leading national personal lines insurance distributor serving the standard and non-standard markets. The approximate aggregate value of the transactions was in excess of $750 million.
After the California Department of Insurance promulgated regulations imposing examination fees on California insurers, an M&R attorney was retained by several trade associations to file a writ of mandate challenging the DOI’s authority to do so. Thereafter, he obtained significant discovery and admissions during depositions and then pursued a successful motion for summary judgment that resulted in the regulations being withdrawn.
Advised clients on initial and revised capital structures, reorganizations and extraordinary dividends. As for the latter, obtained regulatory approval within 30 days of a dividend approval request for a dividend in excess of $1 billion in a single transaction.
A prominent insurance brokerage was held liable for violating California’s wage and hour overtime laws, among other things, and faced a $42 million judgment. Successfully argued for a reduction of that judgment to $1.2 million on the basis of a conflict in federal and state employment laws (and the misapplication of those laws by the plaintiffs’ lawyers), which reduction was upheld on appeal by the Ninth Circuit.
Represented an insurance company in a putative class action alleging unfair competition arising from our client purportedly withholding payment of overhead and profit on actual cash value claims until such time as overhead and profit was actually incurred. At mediation, successfully negotiated plaintiffs’ eight-figure prayer for damages to a settlement that was pennies on the dollar.
Represented insurance companies in an action brought by over 70,000 class members alleging that the fee charged by a rental car agency for optional coverage provided by our clients violated various provisions of the California Insurance Code and was otherwise subject to rate filing. Successfully defended the insurers at trial, obtaining a complete defense verdict, which verdict was upheld on appeal. Parenthetically, the opinion of the appellate court was the first one to be published on the issues presented in the case and served to positively impact the entire rental car and associated insurance industries.
Successfully defended a class action involving allegations regarding improper automobile insurance rates by filing a demurrer that was sustained without leave to amend at the trial court level, a decision that was unsuccessfully appealed. The published opinion in this case is frequently cited to support an insurer’s defense of litigation challenging the viability of premiums charged.
Represented a large international insurance company sued by a public company policyholder for more than $100 million based on allegations that an insurance product issued by our client was illusory and illegal. Devised a defense strategy that included the filing of a lawsuit against the policyholder for failing to pay premiums pursuant to the policy. Secured a dismissal of the public company’s lawsuit and recovered approximately $5 million from the plaintiff.
Defended a global insurance company against, and successfully resolved, complex environmental claims exposing client to more than $100 million in damages.
Advised the Bank of America with respect to its divestiture of Balboa Life and Balboa Life Insurance Company of New York to Securian. Also counseled client with respect to the regulatory approvals required for its divestiture of the assets and business of the Balboa entities to QBE Insurance Corporation.
A large national insurance company faced an enforcement action initiated by the California Department of Insurance and $25 million in fines. By way of its action, the DOI alleged that the carrier was violating Proposition 103, which pertains to automobile insurance rates. In response, we sued the DOI on behalf of the insurer; successfully argued that the DOI’s action was illegal to the extent it sought to enforce a regulation that was not law; and caused the case to be dismissed.
fter the California Department of Insurance searched an insurance brokerage without a search warrant and subsequently sought to revoke its license and issue a fine for minor administrative violations, we successfully argued that the search—and regulation upon which it was based—was a violation of the Fourth Amendment. An administrative law judge agreed and declared the regulation illegal, a ruling that was rejected by the DOI. The superior court thereafter upheld the administrative law judge’s decision, which was upheld yet again on appeal. As a consequence of our efforts, the DOI changed its search procedures.
A large regional insurance brokerage was alleged to have inadequate customer service standards, to have dipped into trust funds worth millions of dollars, and to have employed unlicensed insurance professionals. Based upon these allegations, the California Department of Insurance sought to put the brokerage out of business by way of an enforcement action tried over multiple months in four different cities. On behalf of the brokerage, we compared its service levels to that of the DOI, a winning strategy that led to the court dismissing the DOI’s case and ruling that the brokerage’s license remain intact without sanctions.
Successfully represented the National Association of Independent Insurers in a case against the California Department of Insurance challenging the DOI’s authority to impose examination fees on insurers.
Represented the largest national insurance company and several others in relation to the writing of lender-placed insurance for mortgage lenders. Also counseled these companies on California and other state regulatory and rate issues.
Successfully represented insurance agents and brokers in the defense of several license revocation administrative actions alleging prior criminal convictions and improper transaction of insurance without a license.
Defended the California liquidation court’s jurisdiction over an out-of-state partnership that solicited and negotiated a substantial investment with the Executive Life Insurance Company when liquidating the company.
Successfully defended a large insurance company sued for approximately $600 million because its distribution channel (brokers) was allegedly comprised of de-facto agents. After lengthy litigation, the plaintiffs’ attempt to certify the class was defeated and the class representative was declared “inadequate” and removed. Plaintiffs then voluntarily dismissed the case. Subsequently, defended 10 other similar class actions.
Represented a major life insurer in a significant dispute with a California nonprofit that had been retained as third-party administrator to process premiums for certain city employees. Filed an action on behalf of the life insurer against the third-party administrator for fraudulently converting premium payments to its own use. Prosecuting this action involved complex and prolonged negotiations with the Los Angeles Controller’s Office in order to put pressure on the third-party administrator and the city to allow another third-party administrator to assume responsibility for the business. Successfully settled the matter on terms favorable to our client.
Represented several ceding companies in arbitrations involving disputes with reinsurers regarding work outs, run off of various MGA programs, improper payment of claims commissions, and administration of claims programs.