Dickstein Shapiro LLP: Emerging Insurance Coverage Issues From Superstorm Sandy

By Kirk A. Pasich, John E. Heintz and Jared Zola, Partners, Dickstein Shapiro LLP

In Superstorm Sandy: Emerging Insurance Coverage Issues, partners in Dickstein Shapiro LLP's Insurance Coverage Group discuss insurance coverage considerations for businesses and communities affected by "Superstorm Sandy" and other weather conditions. The commentary provides an overview of the many insurance issues likely to arise during the recovery, and how insureds may receive the full benefits of their insurance coverage.

The commentary explores how property insurance may protect against not only from losses because of physical damage to and loss of property, but also financial losses arising from an inability to conduct business (either at all or at the same levels as before); the extra expenses incurred in dealing with the effects of a disaster, including money spent to minimize any damage and losses; and the costs incurred in establishing the extent of the losses. The commentary also discusses how "Contingent Business Interruption" found in coverage often contained in property policies may provide coverage when a business faces loss due to its suppliers' inability to provide needed parts and resources, or its customers' inability to take delivery of product because of the damage to their own business ventures.

The commentary further discusses important coverage issues, such as determining the applicability and amount of deductibles, sublimits, and coverage extensions. It also provides guidance on negotiating the claims submission and handling process, outlining how to properly characterize a claim for coverage and the steps an insured can take in response to an insurer's coverage position.

Kirk A. Pasich is the leader of Dickstein Shapiro LLP's Insurance Coverage Practice and serves on the firm's Executive Committee. "One of the deans of the policyholder practice," according to Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, "All-star lawyer" Mr. Pasich "is an unmistakable feature of California's insurance landscape" and one of the nation's top 12 policyholder lawyers. Chambers USA also says "Kirk Pasich is the leading name at this national practice, whose skill at 'always putting the right people on a matter' ensures that it remains a go-to firm for complex insurance matters." The 2012 edition of Legal 500 also recognized Mr. Pasich as a "leading lawyer" in the Insurance: Advice to Policyholders category. Southern California Super Lawyers placed Mr. Pasich on its list of the top ten lawyers in the region in 2012. Mr. Pasich has represented many insureds in procuring coverage for losses caused by civil unrest, earthquakes, explosions, fires, floods, hurricanes, and terrorism. He is the co-author of the insurance section of the Los Angeles Disaster Assistance Manual and served as a member of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Task Force for Economic Recovery. Mr. Pasich may be reached at pasichk@dicksteinshapiro.com.

John E. Heintz is a partner in Dickstein Shapiro's Insurance Coverage Practice. A veteran in the fields of corporate insurance coverage and complex litigation with more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Heintz has won numerous landmark appellate cases in state and federal courts, and he has recovered billions of dollars in coverage for his clients. He has represented clients in securing coverage for property and business interruption losses arising out of the 9/11 attacks, hurricanes, and other catastrophic events. The 2012 Chambers USA ranks Mr. Heintz as one of the top 12 leading insurance coverage attorneys in the country. Chambers states that "he is known to peers as 'one of the best lawyers in this field,'" noting that "he is described as 'an outstanding performer with an outstanding reputation.'" The 2012 edition of Legal 500 recognized Mr. Heintz as a "leading lawyer" in the Insurance: Advice to Policyholders category and "among the very best." Mr. Heintz has also been recognized by Expert Guides, Super Lawyers, Who's Who Legal, Lawdragon, Law 360, and The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Heintz and his co-authors were selected as Burton Award winners for the 2010 "Distinguished Law Firm Category" for their article "Insurance Coverage for Climate Change Suits: The Battle Has Begun," which was published in The Environmental Claims Journal in March 2009. Mr. Heintz may be reached at heintzj@dicksteinshapiro.com.

Jared Zola is a New York-based partner and deputy practice leader in Dickstein Shapiro's Insurance Coverage Practice. Mr. Zola is also the national co-leader of the firm's Environmental and Production Liabilities Insurance Initiative. His practice focuses on representing corporate policyholders in insurance coverage litigation, as well as negotiating settlements with prominent property and casualty insurers. Since joining the firm, Mr. Zola has participated in the trials of several major coverage matters and dealt with a variety of significant and complex insurance coverage disputes, including professional liability, political risk, asbestos, environmental, toxic torts, construction defects, directors and officers, first-party disputes, and bad faith. His work has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in coverage for clients. The 2012 edition of Legal 500 recognized Mr. Zola as "outstanding." Mr. Zola was also recognized as a "Rising Star" in 2011 and 2012 by New York Super Lawyers. Mr. Zola may be reached at zolaj@dicksteinshapiro.com.

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