Weather-Related Catastrophe Litigation

Beginning with litigation from the massive explosion of the Steamship Grandcamp that leveled much of Texas City in 1947, through the wind-driven-rain disputes arising out of Hurricane Carla in 1961, the battle over pollution exclusions, and key “bad faith” cases of the 1990s to the mold and hurricane litigation of the present, Thompson Coe has been at the forefront of some of the most important property insurance cases litigated in the last 60 years.

In recent years, major storms on the Gulf Coast such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Dolly led to a proliferation of high-volume property insurance litigation. After a catastrophe, insurers now face an onslaught of multi-media advertising brought by well-financed and organized plaintiff firms whose goal is to efficiently file a high volume of lawsuits based on the “mass tort” litigation model. Insurers will likely see a proliferation of this “mass tort” type litigation after a catastrophe such as Superstorm Sandy. Thompson Coe has unmatched experience helping insurers formulate cost-effective defense strategies to respond to a high volume of lawsuits and claims after a catastrophe. Thompson Coe has:

  • Defended insurers in thousands of catastrophe claims, including over 400 Hurricane Rita and over 2,000 Hurricane Ike property damage suits and appraisals;
  • Formulated and implemented mediation and appraisal strategies for resolution of voluminous contested claims;
  • Developed efficient and cost-effective corporate document management and discovery strategies for large volume litigation;
  • Gained in-depth understanding of the strategies employed by the major players among the catastrophe plaintiffs’ firms;
  • Prepared and tried hurricane cases to jury verdict;
  • Represented insurers in class-action litigation involving coverage and claims handling practices;
  • Succeeded in consolidating over 500 similar Hurricane Dolly and Ike cases into more cost-effective “Multi-District Litigation”;
  • Developed Alternative Fee Agreements (such as flat-fee or phased billing) that reduce post-catastrophe legal expense;
  • Provided insurer clients with custom-certified continuing education seminars and webinars addressing subjects critical to claims handling and litigation both before and following hurricanes and other catastrophes;
  • Assisted insurers in the formulation of claims policies and procedures for catastrophe claims management, including coordination of defense with independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters;
  • Represented insurers before Departments of Insurance in enforcement proceedings and civil investigations relating to policy provisions and claims practices; and
  • Defended insurers on complex commercial property and business interruption losses as well as inland marine claims, including claims stemming from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Dolly.

Thompson Coe’s knowledge of the insurance industry and expertise in insurance law and insurance-related litigation is unsurpassed. The firm is extremely proud of its selection by Chambers USA as a leading Texas insurance firm for the past eight years describing Thompson Coe as a “Texas insurance powerhouse with a national presence.” Thompson Coe stands ready to assist the insurance industry as it navigates the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and other weather related catastrophes.