The attorneys at Thompson Coe are nationally recognized for their expertise in providing insurance clients with timely, effective advice and assistance with urgent or developing situations that require the depth of knowledge and experience we have regarding the insurance industry. For more than 65 years, our lawyers have successfully argued and obtained favorable decisions in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the nation on significant coverage issues benefiting the insurance industry on all types of first-party and third-party policies. Chambers USA has recognized Thompson Coe as a leading Texas insurance firm for the past fourteen years describing Thompson Coe as a “Texas insurance powerhouse with a national presence.”
Bad Faith Litigation
Common law and statutory bad faith cases arising from the denial of or delay in payment of policy benefits can potentially expose insurers to significant damages. Our lawyers have substantial experience in evaluating such exposure, and, if necessary, trying such cases to verdict. These types of cases include, but are not limited to, personal and commercial property claim disputes, workers’ compensation benefits and claims for life, health and disability benefits.
One of our primary strengths is the ability to advise primary and excess insurers faced with Stowers claims in the settlement context. The Stowers doctrine creates excess liability for insurers, based upon rejection of the settlement demand within policy limits. For decades it has been a major extra-contractual concern for insurers in Texas, where Stowers cases are difficult to win, but Thompson Coe has proven capabilities to handle Stowers litigation.
Our attorneys have defended against bad faith and extra-contractual claims arising under commercial and personal lines, primary and excess policies, general liability, professional liability, homeowners, title, disability, accident and health, marine, multi-peril business, and customized policies. We also represent insurers in civil lawsuits brought by other insurers, corporate policyholders and class action claimants. Although we excel at trial representation, we practice early motion practice to dismiss bad faith and extracontractual claims at the onset of litigation.
First-Party Property Insurance
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 65 years.
We have vast experience with hurricanes, tropical storms, fires, explosions, collapse, equipment and machinery malfunction, construction accidents, water damage, water main breaks, mold, theft of property, property contamination, and other pollution-related matters. Our attorneys assist insurers with claims investigations, coverage interpretation, coverage analysis, policy drafting, and litigation of losses throughout the United States.
Weather Related Catastrophe Litigation
In recent years, major storms on the Gulf Coast such as Hurricanes Harvey, 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. 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 Harvey, Katrina, Rita, Ike and Dolly.
Thompson Coe has been at the forefront of defending insurers in state and federal courts in class actions in Texas and across the country. Thompson Coe’s attorneys’ broad experience in insurance law and regulation give them a unique ability to defend class allegations against insurers. Among the areas Thompson Coe attorneys have defended in class actions are:
- Policy interpretation
- Diminished value
- Workers’ compensation rating and premiums
- Personal lines rating and premiums
- Discrimination in underwriting and pricing
- Financial stability rating and credit scoring
- Bill review systems
- Manual Rule compliance.