Our Insurance Law Team is experienced in advising and representing insureds and insurers in complex insurance coverage matters at all stages of the claims process. Our attorneys are well-versed in the similar, as well as dissimilar, ways that Missouri and Illinois law approach insurance coverage issues. We’ve 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. We’ve worked extensively with these types of policies at the primary, umbrella, excess, and reinsurance levels.
Get Sound Advice Before Committing to a Policy
We regularly advise clients on insurance matters even before a claim or lawsuit arises. For example, our attorneys provide guidance during the policy application and renewal processes. We also advise insureds as to the coverage provided by certain policy forms and endorsements. Our attorneys are particularly experienced in evaluating whether an insured's or another party's contractual promises to provide insurance or indemnity are covered by policy provisions for contractual liability or by additional insured endorsements. In addition, we advise insurers on effective claims management practices and procedures.
Get Expert Help in Handling Claims
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’re also experienced with coverage issues that 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).
Use Experienced Trial Lawyers to Handle Lawsuits
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 have been handled by other law firms at the trial court level.
Examples of our work in recent insurance coverage cases include:
- Argued before a three-justice panel of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on January 11, 2017. Represented Church Mutual Insurance Company in Olivet Baptist Church v Church Mutual Insurance Co., 16-1689, a breach of contract and statutory bad faith case. Won summary judgment for Church Mutual on all counts, and appellate court affirmed summary judgment on January 13, 2017, just two days after argument.
- Handled a chancery declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that State Farm owed no coverage in an uninsured motorist claim because the insured claimants breached the Concealment or Fraud provision of the applicable policy by lying about material facts. Court entered judgment in favor of State Farm on all counts. (State Farm v. Johnson and Nichols, 14 CH 13543, 2016)
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurer in a declaratory judgment action. Plaintiff alleged significant permanent injuries and almost a million dollars in damages as a result of being struck by an underinsured motorist while working as a delivery driver. Argued successfully that the claimant did not satisfy the definition of an insured under the underinsured motorist provision of the applicable policy. Summary judgment affirmed on appeal [Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Lukacs, 11 CH 25269; 2013 IL App (1st) 130664-U (2103)]
- Obtained dismissal of a policyholder action for declaratory relief, breach of contract, and statutory bad faith relative to client’s partial denial of the insured’s claim for property damage related to a putative high wind and hail event. (Far West Church of Christ v. Church Mut. Ins. Co., Cook County, Ill., 2017)
- Secured a substantial presuit settlement with an umpire who presided over a property insurance appraisal and fraudulently concealed his pre-appraisal association and representation of both the insured’s public adjuster as well as its appraiser. (Church Mut. Ins. Co. v. Confidential Umpire Defendant, 2016).