First Party Property

Practice Area

First Party Property

For more than 20 years, Lewis Brisbois has had a thriving first party property practice and our attorneys have long-standing relationships with many domestic and international first party insurers.  We earned these relationships by demonstrating a deep knowledge of the first party property insurance industry, common sense and efficiency. We pride ourselves on effectively and efficiently evaluating claims and lawsuits. Our attorneys have obtained many appellate decisions on critical and novel legal issues.

Lewis Brisbois’ attorneys are routinely involved with first party claims and lawsuits which involve catastrophic losses, including earthquakes, floods, hail, tropical storms and hurricanes. We also have vast experience with 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 and abroad. We assist in Department of Insurance inquiries and hearings. Our attorneys also regularly conduct and participate in fraud and arson investigations, including conducting examinations under oath and handling "bad faith" litigation, and have testified in criminal trials arising out of questionable claims. We also regularly conduct and participate in appraisals. Our attorneys serve as national coverage counsel and national coordinating counsel for several insurers, and often monitor litigation across the country.

Our attorneys have conducted thousands of examinations under oath and have tried many first party property cases, including "bad faith" cases, to verdict.  We are sensitive to how counsel representing insureds during the claims investigation process attempt to convert the fact finding process into a confrontational platform for "bad faith" litigation.

Our attorneys have given presentations to many organizations and companies on a variety of topics, including the "good faith" claims handling regulations, avoiding and defending "bad faith" claims, conducting examinations under oath, addressing proofs of loss, proper claim handling techniques, identifying red flags associated with fraud, and taking proper recorded statements.

While we pride ourselves with regard to involvement in high profile catastrophic issues, our attorneys are regularly engaged in connection with more common property claims. We are known for thinking outside the box to benefit our clients’ interests. For example, when a client was confronted with a serious fire loss and resulting business interruption claim to a beachfront Malibu restaurant, our use of examinations under oath quickly established the magnitude of the loss and that it would grow substantially if the restaurant was not able to resume business quickly. Although the facts presented significant coverage issues and the policy language implicated had only limited judicial construction, we recognized total projected expense could be mitigated if we avoided the conventional approaches of taking more examinations, requiring extensively documented forensic projections of income loss, using an appraisal to resolve disputes over value and engaging in litigation to resolve disputes over policy language. We initiated and extended negotiation with the insured’s counsel, relying on the information gathered, which was enough to generate reasonable approximations of the losses involved and resolve them quickly. The insured’s counsel and our client called the approach “enlightened” and the insurer paid far less than anticipated.

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