Thomas S. Novak

Thomas S. Novak


Mr. Novak has focused on insurance law for 33+ years and has represented insurance carriers, insurance producers and policyholders. He has handled insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes involving Director and Officer, professional errors and omissions, excess and umbrella, surety, fidelity, property and general liability policies.  He has recovered over a hundred million dollars of reinsurance on product liability, asbestos, environmental and surety losses.  He has handled a wide variety of insurance producer litigation including brokerage errors and omissions claims by policyholders, agency disputes with carriers, contingent commission claims and intra-broker disputes.

His focus on insurance intensified in 1987 with the appointment of the Firm as Special Counsel to the New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance in connection with the liquidation of Integrity Insurance Company. Mr. Novak worked on the Integrity liquidation from 1987 to 2006 and was the Lead Partner on the matter for most of that time. In the course of this representation, Mr. Novak became involved in virtually all facets of winding down an insolvent insurer’s operations and handled a number of cutting edge issues in insurance law including valuation of incurred but not reported losses, trigger of coverage of mass torts such as asbestos, medical products and environment claims and the allocation of such losses among primary, excess and umbrella insurers and reinsurers.  He filed various actions on behalf of the Liquidator against former managing general agents for unremitted premiums, underwriting guideline violations, breach of contract and return of contingent commissions.

In 1993, Mr. Novak was appointed by The Home Insurance Company as its New Jersey Coverage and Bad Faith counsel, and he handled such claims against The Home in a variety of property and liability disputes until The Home filed for liquidation in 2001. He has also represented Gulf Insurance Company in the defense of professional liability claims and Harleysville Insurance Company in general liability coverage disputes.  He has represented various governmental entities and Fortune 1000 policyholders in D&O, errors and omissions, product liability, property and general liability coverage disputes.  He has represented both carriers and policyholders in retrospective premium disputes.

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Representative Matters

  • Represented GAF Corporation in the recovery of $55 million of asbestos bodily injury losses from its excess and umbrella liability insurers.
  • Represented Westpoint International in recovering $2.5 million under a D&O policy.
  • Represented various policyholders in pursuing business interruption and property damage claims resulting from natural disasters such as fires, building collapses, floods, hurricanes and other catastrophes.
  • Represented the Liquidator of Integrity Insurance Company in the recovery of $65 million of reinsurance on asbestos, environmental and toxic tort liabilities.
  • Represented the Liquidator of Integrity Insurance Company in the defense of actions seeking coverage of $50 million of financial guaranty claims.
  • Represented a national surety company in the recovery of $3.5 million of reinsurance on construction losses.
  • Represented insurers, producers and policyholders in agency and brokerage disputes involving allegations of negligent underwriting, violation of underwriting guidelines, failure to procure proper coverage and contingent commissions.
  • Represented major corporations and banking institutions in the prosecution of fidelity claims against carriers who insured against the dishonest acts of the policyholders’ employees.
  • Represented a national producer of D&O insurance in agency litigation with Federal Insurance Company over underwriting violations, unremitted premium and contingent commissions.

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1980
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 2006
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 1993
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1983
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1988
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1994

Representative Decisions

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Rankings & Recognition

New Jersey Super Lawyers®* 2008-2009, Business Litigation, Insurance Coverage and Construction Litigation
Martindale-Hubbell®* AV rating

* See Award Methodology


Member, Insurance Committee and Fidelity and Surety Committee, New Jersey State Bar Association
Member, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association
Member, Excess and Surplus Lines Committee, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association