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Michelman & Robinson, LLP’s (M&R’s) Regulatory and Administrative Department focuses on the resolution of sophisticated and sensitive insurance regulatory matters. We have unparalleled knowledge of administrative and regulatory insurance issues, and are considered a “go to” firm in this complex and esoteric legal area.

M&R has represented major insurance and reinsurance companies, managing general agents, general agents, wholesale brokers, surplus line brokers, and retail agents and brokers before many state departments of insurance throughout the nation. Our clients are involved in virtually every segment of the insurance industry, including property and casualty, life, health and disability, reinsurance, managed care, and excess and surplus line insurance. Our experience in interpreting primary and excess third-party liability policies of all types, including commercial, general, manuscript and umbrella, has provided us with the expertise to counsel our clients on efficient ways to resolve coverage disputes without litigation. Our attorneys recognize that regulatory and administrative issues touch upon every aspect of an insurance transaction, and they have the talent and breadth of knowledge to help clients navigate highly complex regulatory requirements.

Our well regarded Regulatory and Administrative attorneys interact with regulators on matters to get the job done in a nimble, timely fashion. Despite frequently arguing against state departments, we have earned their trust and respect due to our unmatched credibility. Regulators have come to expect that M&R attorneys will fight zealously, but they will do so honestly, competently, and in a collaborative manner whenever possible. We have been instrumental in both passing and opposing legislation that could impact our clients--thus changing statewide insurance law. We have had numerous published decisions, created meaningful precedent, and even overturned unconstitutional laws. 

Our agency expertise runs deep and impacts almost every industry we service. Our attorneys defend companies against claims brought by state agencies, such as California’s Department of Business Oversight. We frequently handle Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations, and we have worked to spearhead defense against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We defend our physician clients in investigations brought by various medical boards, and represent businesses in investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Real Estate (DRE), and the Department of Consumer Affairs. 

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Areas Of Expertise

The following is a select sampling of our representative matters:

  • California Department of Insurance Litigation: The California Department of Insurance promulgated regulations that imposed examination fees on California insurers. M&R attorney was retained by several trade associations to file a writ of mandate in Superior Court challenging the CDI’s authority for imposing the examination fees. The attorney was able to obtain significant discovery and admissions during depositions, which allowed him to file a motion for summary judgment challenging the legality of the regulations which were granted by the judge. The CDI subsequently withdrew the regulations.
  • Class Action Defense: M&R attorney represented an insurance broker in defending both a California Department of Insurance order to show cause and a related B&P Code 17200 class action lawsuit that was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court. Both alleged that the attorney’s client and Travelers Insurance Company charged illegal broker fees in the amount of $3 million. The attorney and Travelers successfully defended the San Francisco Superior Court class action obtaining a dismissal without costs, and M&R attorney obtained a settlement with the California Department of Insurance for costs and minimal broker fee refunds.
  • Class Action Defense: Successfully defended an insurance broker in a B & P Code Section 17200 class action alleging unlawful receipt of several millions dollars in broker fees.
  • Divestiture: Advised Bank of America with respect to its 2011 divestiture of Balboa Life and Balboa Life Insurance Company of New York to Securian, and counseled with respect the regulatory approvals required for its 2011 divestiture of the assets and business of the Balboa insurance companies to QBE Insurance Corporation.
  • Examination Fees: Successfully prosecuted litigation filed by the National Association of Independent Insurers (now PCI) against the California Department of Insurance, challenging the Department’s authority to impose examination fees on insurers.
  • Insurance Brokerage Enforcement Action: A large regional insurance brokerage was alleged to have inadequate customer service standards, have “dipped” into trust funds worth millions of dollars, and have employed unlicensed insurance professionals. The Department of Insurance sought to put the brokerage out of business. M&R tried the case over multiple months, in four different cities. Part of the strategy was to compare the Department’s service levels to that of the brokerage. This strategy proved successful, with the court dismissing the allegations and ruling that the license remain intact without sanctions. The brokerage received a nominal penalty of $16,000.
  • Insurance Brokerage Enforcement Action: The Department of Insurance searched an insurance brokerage without a search warrant and sought to then revoke its license and issue a fine for minor administrative violations. M&R argued that the regulation was a violation of the United States Constitution’s 4th Amendment protections. After an administrative trial, the regulation was declared illegal. The department rejected the ruling, bumping the case to the superior court. The superior court agreed with the administrative law judge and upheld the decision. On appeal, the appellate court also upheld the decision. As a result, the case was dismissed, forcing a change of the department’s search procedures.
  • Insurance Company Administrative & Regulatory Enforcement Actions: A large national insurance company received an enforcement action by the Department of Insurance alleging that it was violating Proposition 103, which pertains to automobile insurance rates. The department sought significant change of business practices and a $25 million fine. M&R sued the department, contending that the enforcement action was illegal as it was trying to enforce an “underground regulation”; a regulation that is not law. In a lengthy decision, the court held that the department’s actions were illegal and dismissed the case. 
  • Lender Placed Insurance: Advise and represent the largest national insurance company and several others, in writing lender placed insurance for mortgage lenders and services, and counsels companies on California and other states on regulatory and rate issues.
  • License Revocation Actions: Successfully represented insurance agents and brokers in the defense of several license revocation administrative actions including charges of prior criminal convictions, and improper "transaction" of insurance without a license.
  • Premium Payments: M&R attorney was retained to represent a major life insurer in a significant dispute with a California nonprofit that had been retained as a third party administrator to process premiums for certain city employees. The life insurer filed an action in Los Angeles Superior Court against the third party administrator for fraudulently converting premium payments to its own use. Prosecuting this action involved complex and prolonged negotiations with the City of 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. We were ultimately successful in accomplishing the transfer and settling the matter.
  • Proposition 103 Appeal: Represented numerous insurers who were required to roll back their premiums 20 percent as the result of the passage of Proposition 103, which significantly changed the way California insurance rates were regulated. During the course of administrative hearings concerning the rollback, M&R attorney filed an unprecedented motion to compel discovery against the California Department of Insurance, demanding information on other insurer rollback settlements that had been entered into by the department. The Administrative Law Judge granted the M&R attorney’s motion, but the California Commissioner overturned that order. The attorney then filed a writ of mandate with the Superior Court, which sustained the Commissioner’s Order.  M&R attorney appealed the Superior Court ruling and obtained an unprecedented ruling in the case of RLI Ins. Co. vs Superior Court (California Department of Insurance), 51 Cal. App. 4th 415 (1996), overturning the Superior Court’s decision and granting his client’s motion to compel. This published insurance industry appellate decision provided significant leverage for M&R attorney to obtain a reduced settlement for his clients.

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