Arden Levy Law PLLC represents policyholders in sophisticated and complex disputes to recover insurance funds, always with a focus on maximizing the client’s bottom line and tailoring the approach to each specific client. The firm provides counseling and advice to help clients identify coverage opportunities and to protect against unnecessary losses, and, if necessary, obtaining coverage under insurance policies through litigation and alternative means, such as mediation and arbitration. Ms. Levy has obtained coverage for corporate and individual clients, handling matters related to the chemical, energy, waste disposal, healthcare, banking, construction, manufacturing, and defense industries. Her representation ranges from conducting policy audits and risk assessments to alternative dispute resolution or even litigation.
The firm handles coverage disputes on a wide range of policy issues involving many different types of policies. Listed below are some of the types of claims and issues that Ms. Levy can resolve for policyholders.
D&O Claims and Government Investigations
Policyholders and their insured directors and officers are often faced with disputes when seeking reimbursement for defense and indemnity costs in Directors & Officers (“D&O) liability suits. More recently, policyholders have sought coverage for fraud investigations initiated prior to litigation, raising issues of whether the investigation triggers coverage at all. Additionally, coverage issues arise from D&O suits that arise out of government investigations, such as those arising out of FCPA claims. Ms. Levy is experienced in recovering funds in these types of matters.
Disputes often arise when policyholders are seeking coverage for claims arising out of environmental damage and remediation. For example, where an injury or harm takes time to become known and a claim is separated from the events that may ultimately have caused the alleged environmental harm, insurers may deny coverage, arguing that they are not responsible for providing coverage during the time period when the event that gave rise to the claim happened or when the claimant finally manifested injury. Also, where the alleged harm may have been caused by more recent events, insurers may claim that coverage is excluded by a policy “pollution exclusion” clause. These claims can affect businesses of all sizes. Ms. Levy is knowledgeable about the policy provisions that typically come into play and in obtaining the maximum recovery possible for corporate clients.
The tide of asbestos claims remains a threat to corporate entities. These claims, which often involve allegations that reference asbestosis or mesothelioma, are particularly challenging when claims arise from products or materials manufactured by long-ago acquired holdings. Often the first challenge facing a policyholder is to locate all the relevant insurance policies. Then, a policyholder must determine the coverage scheme for different corporate layers over a period of time. Like environmental claims, asbestos claims create what is called long-tail liability issues for policyholders. Ms. Levy has experienced in negotiating with and litigating against insurance companies to obtain coverage for policyholders defending against asbestos claims.
With the growing tide of environmental disasters and the globalization of manufacturing and distribution, businesses are likely to feel the financial effects of events that occur on the other side of the world with greater frequency. For example, businesses may suffer financial losses as a result of disasters due to the suspension of operations overseas or changes in overseas suppliers or customers. In seeking coverage for those losses, a policyholder may look to contingent business interruption or extra expense provisions of its property policy to seek reimbursement. To recover under these type of policy provisions, a policyholder typically must provide the insurer with timely notice of the claim, submit a proof of loss within a short period of time, and, if necessary, file suit against the insurance company within 12-24 months of the loss. Careful preparation of the proof of loss is essential to a policyholder seeking coverage for the full “period of interruption” and all the damage and loss resulting from the business interruption. Ms. Levy can help policyholders manage this process from the beginning of the loss period through to when the policyholder obtains coverage from the insurance carrier.
Employee claims brought against corporate policyholders , such as for discrimination or harassment, can create a wide variety of coverage issues under employment liability policies. For example, the presence of independent contractors can complicate the coverage analysis and require the advice of counsel. Questions may arise as to whether the allegations are made against an insured party under the policy, whether additional insured clauses come into play, or whether settlement by one party is proper. Ms. Levy is able to assist a party defending against an employment claim to seek reimbursement from its insurance carrier for the defense and indemnity costs it incurs.
Employee Theft or Misconduct
When an employee engages in theft or misconduct, coverage issues arise depending on whether the business has suffered first-party damage or loss or whether the employee has allegedly harmed a third-party who has brought suit against the employer policyholder. Coverage issues and disputes may arise under each of the policyholder’s policies, such as involving whether the employer knew or should have known of the employee’s conduct, whether the loss involved tangible property, or whether other industry-specific exclusions may apply. Arden Levy Law can assist businesses coverage questions, beginning with auditing their risk management program to ensure that they have coverage, to obtaining coverage through negotiation or litigation after a loss has occurred.
Cyber and Data Loss
To date, there is little case law on coverage for cyber crimes and data losses arising out of viruses, cyber hacking, unintended disclosure of personal or confidential information, credit card fraud and other physical losses (including theft of a laptop or data storage device). Arden Levy Law can help businesses determine whether they should purchase coverage specific to cyber crimes, often referred to as “cyber coverage,” and which type of coverage to purchase. For example, insurers often split their coverage into policies for cyber crimes and policies for third-party liability arising out of cyber crimes, each containing provisions or raising issues that may impact coverage, such as “e-signature” exclusions or determining scope of coverage. For policyholders without cyber coverage who have suffered a data loss, the firm can develop a strategy to help obtain coverage under commercial general liability, directors and officers or errors and omissions policies.
Food Recall or Contamination
Individuals who become sick after eating contaminated food often bring suit against the parties in the manufacturing and processing chain, creating liability for those entities. Resulting food product recalls create further financial losses to those same parties. However, in seeking coverage and engaging with their insurance carrier, policyholders need to be aware of exclusions, such as provisions excluding losses unless contamination was caused by “other physical damage.” Whether a business grows or packages spinach that becomes contaminated, or manufactures or stores cheese that becomes contaminated, understanding the specific policy provisions at issue is essential. Regardless of where a business falls in the processing chain, Arden Levy Law can assist with understanding potential coverage options and obtaining the maximum coverage possible
When a provider of professional services is facing allegations of professional malfeasance, its insurance carrier may deny defense or indemnity coverage. Whether the defending party is a physician, hospital system, health services provider, or law firm, coverage disputes may arise. Arden Levy Law can assist with obtaining coverage when coverage is needed most.
Homeowner and Rental Policies
Individuals often face coverage disputes when seeking coverage for liability coverage under their own homeowner or rental policies. For example, military service members and federal government employees living overseas often face particular challenges when seeking coverage overseas or under rental policies. Arden Levy Law can help navigate the labyrinth that insurance companies sometimes create to help policyholders obtain maximum insurance coverage. Sometimes, the solution is simply to help explain the coverage terms and issues to an individual policyholder so that he or she can effectively discuss and obtain coverage from the insurance carrier.
An insurance carrier may face high potential damages for bad faith if it has failed to recognize coverage obligations in first- or third-party contexts. Just what “bad faith” means depends on the policy language, the facts, and the applicable law. For example, an insurer has a duty to conduct a thorough investigation. And when an insurer fails to conduct an investigation that would have uncovered facts supporting the possibility of coverage, the insurer may be imputed with knowledge of those facts, and be liable for bad faith failure to defend or indemnify. A policyholder has a much better chance of obtaining maximum coverage if it knows its coverage rights at the outset of discussions with its insurance carrier. Arden Levy Law can help policyholders assess and, if necessary, challenge a denial of coverage.