The more some things change, the more some things remain the same. Since at least 14th Century Venice, businessmen have sought to transfer risk by insuring their liability and property against loss. While the types of liabilities and property insured may have changed and new insurance products created to insure them, the insurance principles applicable to coverage disputes remain essentially the same.
For the past 40 years, Sills Cummis & Gross has represented insurance companies, insurance producers, insurance regulators and corporate policyholders in a wide range of insurance coverage matters. While our practice began representing insurance companies, over the years it has increasingly focused on representation of corporate policyholders in addition to insurers. We have represented both policyholders and insurers in coverage and bad faith litigation involving Director & Officer Liability, Products Liability, General Liability, Errors & Omissions, Excess & Umbrella, Fidelity, Surety, Property and Life insurance policies. We have extensive experience with mass tort products liability coverage, having handled a half billion dollars of asbestos, medical product, drug product liability and environmental claims for policyholders and carriers. We have also represented corporate policyholders seeking coverage under their D&O liability policies, sometimes obtaining coverage after filing litigation and many times prior to suit. We have litigated additional insured coverage issues on behalf of property owners and governmental entities.
In addition to the more common liability coverage disputes, we litigate property coverage claims. We successfully prosecuted on behalf of the insured, the only reported Law or Ordinance property insurance case in New Jersey, DEB Associates v. Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company, 407 N.J. Super. 287 (App. Div. 2009), where we recovered a property owner's cost of compliance with the current New Jersey Construction Code after a partial building collapse. We have represented various property owners in insurance claims resulting from hurricanes, flooding, fire and employee theft.
As a result of our former 20 year representation of the New Jersey Department of Insurance in liquidating several major insolvent insurers such as Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company and Integrity Insurance Company, we gained experience in all facets of insurance company operations including production, underwriting, claims and reinsurance. Because of that experience, we have been retained by insurance companies and insurance producers in disputes involving premiums, contingent commissions, IBNR reserving and violations of underwriting guidelines. We have represented insurers and policyholders in retrospective premium disputes. We have represented cedents and reinsurers in reinsurance disputes involving coverage of claims arising from asbestos, medical products, drugs and surety bonds. We have handled retrospective premium and contingent commission disputes between cedents and reinsurers. We have become one of the leading firms nationally in the area of insurer insolvency and have pursued claims on behalf of policyholders against liquidators and state insurance guaranty associations throughout the country.
We have counseled insurance producers on licensing issues arising under the Uniform Insurance Producer's Act and have represented both policyholders and insurance producers in broker errors and omissions cases.