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December 2012

Gordon & Rees's Multistate Hurricane Sandy Team Offers Unique Services for Insurers

Gordon & Rees’s team of experienced lawyers are here to help insurers address and meet the claims handling challenges resulting from Hurricane Sandy. With offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and coast to coast, our lawyers have assisted clients with the unique issues presented by other catastrophes, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Our team has the experience and resources necessary to provide your claims department and individual claims professionals with the support necessary to manage a catastrophic claims volume promptly, efficiently, and effectively, while navigating the legal issues and changing regulatory environment resulting from Hurricane Sandy. The experience and services offered by Gordon & Rees’s Hurricane Sandy Team include:    

  • Catastrophe Claims Handling Assistance: We support insurers and facilitate the prompt and efficient handling of the high volume of claims that result from disasters like Hurricane Sandy. We can work with your team to develop catastrophe protocols, claims prioritization, investigation checklists and guidelines, and templates for reservation of rights letters. We can coordinate loss inspections and investigations, take examinations under oath, assist with fraud detection, and quickly provide legal opinions on coverage issues as they arise.

  • Claims Handling Statutes and Regulations: Compliance with unfair claims handling statutes, regulations, and executive orders present challenges for insurers, which are required to respond quickly to a high volume of multijurisdictional claims. Insurers that do not implement procedures to ensure compliance with claims handling statutes and insurance regulations may face extra-contractual exposure. Gordon & Rees lawyers can assist with the interpretation of and compliance with applicable statutes and regulations.

  • Business Interruption Claims: Business interruption claims present significant exposure to insurers. Business interruption insurance typically applies when the interruption results from direct physical loss of or damage to covered property as a result of a covered peril. First-party property policies may include civil authority and ingress/egress provisions that implicate coverage otherwise excluded. We can help you interpret policy language and exclusions pertinent to business interruption claims and provide practical advice and solutions to resolve these claims. Our attorneys have litigated business interruption issues throughout the United States, including claims that resulted from the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

  • Contingent Business Interruption Claims: Many first-party property policies provide coverage for contingent business interruption losses caused by physical loss of or damage to the property of the insured’s suppliers or customers as a result of a covered peril. Under these provisions, insureds throughout the country, or around the world, may seek coverage for contingent interruption losses due to suppliers or customers affected by Hurricane Sandy. Our team can help you navigate the unique legal issues that result from these claims.   

  • Flood Versus Wind/Rain Causation: Disputes over the cause of property damage or loss resulting from a hurricane are inevitable. First-party property policies often cover damage resulting from wind and wind-driven rain, but exclude or limit coverage for damage resulting from flood water. Hurricane Sandy produced high winds and extensive flooding. The resulting property damage will lead to coverage disputes over the cause of the damage. Our attorneys can provide advice on the investigation and determination of coverage and, when necessary, litigate wind versus flood causation disputes. 

  • Extra Expense Coverage: First-party property policies typically provide coverage for costs incurred by an insured to prevent, limit or mitigate future damages by minimizing the disruption of operations. Gordon & Rees’s Hurricane Sandy Team has experience analyzing the policy language and factual circumstances to determine whether costs incurred by insureds qualify for extra expense coverage. 

  • Additional Living Expenses: ALE claims by homeowners are expected to be significant given the widespread geographic storm surge resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Gordon & Rees lawyers have managed and, when necessary, litigated ALE claims following hurricanes over the past 20 years.

  • Errors and Omissions Claims: As with other catastrophes, uninsured or underinsured storm victims may assert errors and omissions claims against their insurance agents or brokers. Our experienced insurance attorneys can assess coverage under professional liability policies in response to these claims, and Gordon & Rees’s professional liability defense team also can defend these claims throughout the region.

Retaining insurance counsel to address Hurricane Sandy insurance coverage issues can help insurers manage their risk and mitigate their losses, while providing prompt and fair claims management to insureds. With more than 500 attorneys in 27 offices, including New York, New Jersey, Long Island, and Hartford, Gordon & Rees is uniquely situated to help you meet the challenges presented by Hurricane Sandy.


Matthew S. Foy
Craig A. Jacobson
Elizabeth F. Lorell
Robin Symons