Environmental Insurer Representation

Insurance companies are increasingly in need of legal counsel to effectively manage and resolve regulatory matters touching upon environmental issues and coverage disputes arising out of environmental insurance policies. The attorneys in Gardere’s insurer representation group are uniquely qualified and well-positioned to assist clients nationally and internationally with their novel and complex environmental needs.

Utilizing the experience and expertise of our nationally recognized environmental and insurance regulatory practitioners, we routinely assist insurers with matters such as:

  • Licensing
  • Regulatory filings
  • Compliance advice
  • Counseling on underwriting changes to mitigate risk and claim exposure
  • Evaluating reserve calculations and strengthening reserving procedures for environmental claims
  • Identifying and resolving disputes early in the claims process (negotiations, mediation and arbitration)
  • Coverage litigation
  • Subrogation litigation to recoup losses paid by insurers, including under CERCLA

When environmental coverage disputes arise, our goal is to assist clients with resolving these matters in the most comprehensive and expeditious manner possible. Our team’s ability to identify and strategically guide insurers through the evaluation and resolution of environmental insurance issues sets us apart from our competitors. Insurers particularly look to our team for counsel and advice when the environmental issues have far-reaching and precedential effect for the insurance industry beyond the claim or particular regulatory matter at hand.

We have successfully litigated environmental matters involving a wide range of disputes in a number of industries, including oil and gas, chemical, real estate and manufacturing. We work on behalf of our clients to advance their interests in areas related to questions of environmental coverage under particular policy terms, conditions, and exclusions; pursuit of CERCLA subrogation claims against other responsible parties, and the pursuit of claims against reinsurers, among other issues.

Our team is made up of attorneys from our nationally recognized insurer representation, insurance regulatory and environmental practices. We bring to the table high-levels of experience from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), along with strong working relationships with numerous other regulatory agencies in Texas and nationwide.  We also have extensive backgrounds in engineering, consulting and academia, including environmental law professorships at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and The University of Texas School of Law.

Our many years of experience, coupled with our breadth of expertise, gives us a unique understanding of insurers’ needs and makes us well-suited to provide the kind of value-oriented, strategic and efficient service that our clients demand.

Client Stories

Defending insurer in large toxic water spill

Where we started: Our client, a national insurer, was the primary insurance policy on the risk for the company responsible for a large toxic water spill in West Virginia.

Our roadmap: The spill was blamed for contaminating drinking water for 300,000 residents, and the company subsequently filed bankruptcy. Emergency response costs from the first 72 hours following the incident alone surpassed the $3 million policy liability limit.

And finally: Our team successfully negotiated a settlement to buy back the excess liability policy, resolving a dispute over the extent the insurer could be on the hook for the mounting legal issues related to the spill.

Negotiated Settlement with NJ State Agencies

Where we started: Our insurer client had liabilities connected with a $140 million surety bond on a property owned by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

Our roadmap: We successfully negotiated a settlement on the insurer’s behalf with several New Jersey state agencies, including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and resolved the insurer’s liabilities.

And finally: The settlement will result in a recoupment of monies paid by the insurer under the bond as a result of the insurer assisting the state agencies in the marketing and selling of the land to a developer.

Represented Client in Post-Judgment Settlement

Where we started: We represented our insurer client in post-judgment settlement negotiations in connection with an underlying CERCLA subrogation action against the United States.

Our roadmap: The matter involved a track of land in Los Angeles that housed a munitions facility. The subrogation action involved the United States role as owner and arranger in the munitions facility.  

And finally: We successfully obtained a favorable resolution on behalf of our client.

Negotiated International Settlement for Insurer Client

Where we started: Our insurer client was involved in a coverage dispute in the Philippines.

Our roadmap:  Our client had issued and environmental policy providing coverage of an operating mine. 

And finally: We were able to successfully negotiate a settlement before litigation proceedings commenced. This was favorable for our client due to unfavorable case law and a hostile forum.


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