Experienced Coverage Counsel In New York
Creedon & Gill P.C. has a long history of handling every kind of insurance coverage case. Partner Peter Creedon is a past manager of Creedon & Associates, a Travelers Insurance Company staff counsel office employing 40 attorneys engaged in all manner of insurance work.
For more information about what we have been successful in, please see below:
Coverage and Declaratory Judgment Actions
Creedon & Gill P.C.‘s partner Peter Creedon first began litigating coverage cases during the construction boom of the ’80s for construction giants like Tishman and Olympia and York and owners like Chase and Citibank, (back in the days when Citi was sometimes still known as Chemical Corn Bank).
These cases involved making sure that insurance companies lived up to their obligations in cases where construction workers were injured or killed and a prime contractor had promised to provide insurance coverage for the project’s general contractor or owner.
We literally wrote the book on prosecuting “declaratory judgment” actions in those days; cases, where the relief sought from the court, was not money, but a “declaration” – an order – obligating a contractor’s insurance company to live up to their bargain. The ruling we achieved in case was a landmark ruling, establishing for the first time definitions that are still controlling in this kind of litigation to this day.
We still handle declaratory judgment actions for our business and corporate clients, recently co-authoring the CLE course “Additional Insured Considerations at the Claim Desk” that is a definitive “how-to” on “additional insured” insured.
Creedon & Gill P.C. regularly handles cases on behalf of businesses or individuals whose insurance company has refused to provide coverage, disclaiming without a valid reason to do so. An invalid or wrongful disclaimer can be devastating to a business owner or an individual.
In the individual setting, it frequently occurs in settings where there has been an extensive fire or flood damage to a home and the homeowners simply don’t have the means to correct the damage out of pocket. Situations where an insurer low balls settlement offers can be equally frustrating.
There are remedies for some of these situations included in most homeowners and business policies, a so-called “appraisal process”, which is a kind of built-in mediation. In other cases, resort the courts is necessary. And even after an insurance is forced to provide coverage the difficulties don’t necessarily cease because the insurer may now try to insist on having their hands in on every step of the reconstruction process. If you or your business has been the subject of a wrongful disclaimer, you need an expert coverage lawyer on your side.
Bad Faith and Excess Coverage Counsel
Even when an insurer does agree to provide a defense and to pay for a judgment up to the limits of a business or individual’s insurance policy, there can still be treacherous waters to navigate.
In some instances, an insurer may refuse to pay what is necessary to settle a case because they think they might possibly win outright, or get a better judgment from a jury and will risk hanging their insured out to dry.
In situations where a jury might return a verdict against you or your business that is in excess of your available insurance limits that could leave you or your business personally liable for a big money judgment. It’s a common misunderstanding to think that if you or your business are insured that your insurance company will pay any judgment – in full – rendered against you. But that is not the case. Situations like this are sometimes described as “bad faith” cases. “Bad faith” because your insurance company has a fiduciary duty to consider your interests before their own, and when they don’t they are acting in “bad faith.”
If you are potentially exposed to such an “excess judgment” you need an expert coverage attorney on your side who will make sure that your insurance company will put your interests first, knows how to put the pressure on them to make them do so and knows how to protect you from a worst-case scenario.
Excess Coverage Counsel
In some situations, even where an insurance company is willing to pay your full policy limits to settle a lawsuit against you, the offer may not get the case done. This can happen in situations where an injury is grave or catastrophic, or where your policy limits are limited, or where another defendant to the lawsuit complicates things by making it unattractive or impossible for you to settle out on your own.
In such a case, you or your business might be exposed, again, to an “excess judgment”, or “excess verdict.”
Again, if you are potentially exposed to such an “excess judgment,” you need an expert coverage attorney on your side who will make sure that your insurance company will put your interests first, knows how to do everything possible to help you safely move to the other side of the river and knows how to protect you from a worst-case scenario.
Reservation Of Rights
When an individual or a business is being sued, even if an insurance company does not issue an outright disclaimer they may still claim they are only providing coverage under a “reservation of rights”.
That means that insurance company says they are willing to pay for a lawyer to represent you, but not to pay for any judgment against you that might result in the case, for example, from a jury verdict. Since jury verdicts can be extreme, and since the lawyer the insurance company may want to use might be more loyal to them than to you, it is important to know that an individual or business has the right to choose their own lawyer to represent them in a lawsuit in this situation, and to have that lawyer paid by the insurance company.
We have stepped in many times to represent businesses and individuals in cases like this. If you or your business has been the subject of a wrongful disclaimer, you need an expert coverage lawyer on your side.
Broker and Agent Negligence: Failure to Procure Adequate Insurance
Individuals or businesses can find themselves without adequate coverage, or any coverage at all if their insurance agent or broker doesn’t do their job correctly.
Contractors often find out that their construction coverage is practically worthless because the policy that they were sold contains an “employee” exclusion. An insurance policy employee exclusion adds up to the result that if someone gets hurt on their job there won’t be any coverage for that person’s injury case.
Property owners are often hit with “co-insurance” penalties. A co-insurance penalty happens when a property is underinsured for its full value. For example, where a building worth $1 million dollars is only insured for $500,000 dollars. In that case, an insurance company may end up paying only 50 cents on the dollar in damages.
We have handled many lawsuits against negligent agents and brokers, seeking to make our clients whole from the broker and agents errors and omissions policy, the kind of malpractice insurance that brokers and agents carry.