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Since the earliest years of the firm, Bracewell has represented insurance companies and customers in virtually every form of civil litigation, administrative dispute and coverage conflict. These matters have ranged from simple vehicular accidents to multimillion-dollar commercial and personal injury lawsuits. We have handled disputes and enforcement actions involving insurance companies and state, federal and international regulatory agencies across the United States. We also advise clients in reinsurance matters involving companies with a presence in Europe, including Lloyds of London syndicates, P&I Clubs and American insurers.
We represent insurers in first-party litigation and enforcement actions initiated by individual insureds, corporate policyholders, class-action claimants and state insurance regulatory agencies. We handle matters including allegations of bad faith, breach of contract, violations of state insurance and trade practices regulations, negligence and fraud. We also provide coverage investigations and provide opinions concerning claims filed by policyholders.
We represent insureds in an extremely diverse array of claims brought by third parties, including matters involving product liability, environmental contamination, professional liability defense, deceptive trade practices defense, general business torts, trade secrets litigation, toxic tort, admiralty, defense of directors of financial institutions, patent and copyright, lender liability, white collar crime, construction claims, vehicular accidents, real estate, antitrust, asbestos, securities fraud, and general premises liability.
A number of our attorneys have substantial experience in environmental claims brought under comprehensive general liability, EIL, and commercial property and casualty policies. Our insurance lawyers are well versed in the key technical and legal matters involved in such disputes, including the evolution of the pollution exclusion, occurrence, owned property, alienated property, bodily injury, property damage, as damages clauses, and other traditional exceptions contained in many policies. Our lawyers counsel clients in declaratory judgment actions, counterclaims, toxic tort and environmental contamination claims, and disputes related to claims handling, unfair settlement practices, dilatory investigations, failures to defend and failures to investigate.
Liability and property and casualty claims and coverage
We represent parties in liability allegations, civil lawsuits, administrative hearings and appeals involving a wide variety of policies, including comprehensive general, premises, motor vehicle, employer, products, homeowners, manufacturers and contractors, directors and officers, agents and brokers, dram shop, common carrier, malpractice, and aviation policies. In the area of property and casualty, we represent parties in disputes pertaining to residential property, oil and gas equipment, vehicles, commercial buildings, agricultural crops, aircraft and machinery. We assist clients at every step, from investigations and evaluations, through the issuance of opinions and defense in court.
Life, health and accident claims
Our attorneys have extensive experience in disputes concerning major medical, life, Medicare supplemental and workers’ compensation policies. These matters include disputes involving claims handling, investigations, underwriting, policy cancellations, and ERISA-related and other regulatory enforcement actions.
Excess and umbrella coverage
Bracewell represents excess and umbrella insurers in first-party, third-party and insurer-initiated claims and declaratory judgment actions. We have particular experience in “monitoring” litigation involving underlying primary carriers, and represent excess and umbrella insurers in coordinating investigation, defense, and indemnity obligations
Surplus lines insurers
We represent surplus lines insurers in civil litigation, administrative disputes, and appeals. Jurisdictional issues frequently predominate disputes involving these carriers; our attorneys help resolve jurisdictional disputes of this nature across the country.
Bracewell has formed a team to help insurers working against a new form of organized insurance fraud informally called “Gypsy Fraud.” This includes a wide range of highly organized and skillful new techniques to extract money from insurance companies, often using fictitious companies and con artists to procure life insurance policies. We emphasize proactive litigation planning to reduce exposure to these fraudulently obtained life insurance policies. In the past three years, we have successfully presided over recessions in excess of $25 million through judicial action in this area.