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Insurance Law

The HeplerBroom LLC attorneys are experienced in advising and representing insureds and insurers in complex insurance coverage matters at all stages of the claims process. Our insurance law attorneys are well-versed in the similar, as well as dissimilar, ways that Missouri and Illinois law approach insurance coverage issues. We have handled first- and third-party claims from a coverage perspective under nearly every type of commercial or personal line policy, including commercial general liability, automobile, professional liability, property, uninsured and underinsured motorist, and other business policies. The lawyers in the insurance law practice group have worked with these types of policies extensively at the primary, umbrella, excess and reinsurance levels.

We regularly advise clients on insurance matters even before a claim or lawsuit arises. For example, our attorneys have provided insureds with guidance during their application for or renewal of insurance policies. We have advised insureds as to the coverage provided by certain policy forms and endorsements. The lawyers in this practice area are particularly experienced in evaluating whether an insured's, or another party's, contractual promises to provide insurance or indemnity are covered by insurance provisions for contractual liability or by additional insured endorsements. We have also advised insurers on effective claims management practices and procedures.

After a claim or lawsuit arises, our insurance law attorneys routinely advise clients as to the rights and obligations of both insureds and insurers under their policies. We provide guidance and opinion letters which evaluate and provide strategies for resolving the various insurance coverage disputes at issue in the claim or lawsuit. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of Missouri and Illinois law in evaluating insurance coverage issues, including determination of defense and indemnity obligations, resolution of conflicts between insureds and insurers, and prioritization of insurers in multiple policy situations. We also are experienced with coverage issues which may arise from the conduct of the insured or insurer outside of the actual claim or lawsuit at hand, such as misrepresentations in policy applications, late notice of and noncooperation with defense of claims, and improper cancellation of policies.

If insurance coverage litigation is necessary, our attorneys have a proven track record of litigating coverage matters in the federal and state trial and appellate courts throughout Illinois and eastern Missouri. We understand the procedural challenges and nuances unique to insurance coverage litigation, including actions for declaratory judgment, garnishment, equitable contribution, subrogation, breach of contract and bad faith or vexatious refusal to pay. Our attorneys also have assumed representation for clients in coverage litigation at the appellate court level after the matters had been handled by other law firms at the trial court level.

Examples of our work in recent insurance coverage cases include:

  • Rowan v. Standard Fire Insurance Company. The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for HeplerBroom's insurer client, holding that its insurance policy language was not ambiguous.
  • The Cincinnati Insurance Company v. Douglas T. Watanabe DDS, Inc., Case No. 4:08CV0261 (E.D. Mo. May 1, 2009). The district court agreed that our insurer client's professional liability policies did not cover costs allegedly incurred by the insured in providing corrective treatment to certain of its patients.
  • National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, P.A. v. Maune, 277 S.W.3d 754 (Mo. App. E.D. 2009). The appellate court agreed that our insurer client's automobile liability policy had an unambiguous household exclusion which prevented stacking.
  • Cincinnati Insurance Company v. Taylor-Morley, Inc., 556 F. Supp. 2d 908 (S.D. Ill. 2008). The district court agreed that our insurer client's commercial general liability policy did not provide coverage for certain construction defect-related claims.
  • Thornburgh Insulation, Inc. v. J.W. Terrill, Inc., 236 S.W.3d 651 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007). The appellate court agreed that the per occurrence limit of liability in our insurer client's policy for employee dishonesty applied to all loss caused by one employee.
  • Schlafly Construction Company, Inc. v. American States Insurance Company, No. 05CC-006253 (St. Louis County, Mo., June 27, 2007). The trial court agreed that our insured client's policy provided coverage for acts of its subcontractor. The insurer later dismissed its appeal of the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of our client.

Both before and after a claim or lawsuit is filed, the HeplerBroom LLC attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to meet your insurance coverage needs.