The Insurance Defense Group at Bowles Rice is committed to preserving a healthy and competitive insurance climate in our region. Our skillful and experienced team of attorneys knows the industry extremely well, having represented insureds and insurers in hundreds of cases covering every imaginable aspect of insurance defense.
In an environment that is increasingly litigious, where damages specific to an insurance contract can quickly escalate to include the pursuit of punitive damages exceeding policy limits, Bowles Rice provides focused and aggressive defense of insurance clients against extra-contractual and coverage claims.
What are Extra-Contractual and Coverage Claims?
"Extra-contractual claims" seek damages in addition to – or well beyond – a contract of insurance and typically include a claim for “bad faith,” which is often associated with alleged unfair claims handling practices by the insurer. Alternatively, coverage issues often arise in extra-contractual claims and involve arguments that the insurer either misinterpreted or misapplied the insurance contract.
Bowles Rice has developed significant experience over many years of litigating claims and associated issues for a variety of types and lines of insurance. From extra-contractual claims of spoliation, failure to proceed and negligent entrustment to coverage claims that either stem from an extra-contractual lawsuit or act as a separate, stand-alone claim, our team of lawyers is well-equipped to handle these claims and seek swift resolution.
A Strong, Regional Resource
For decades now, members of our insurance defense team have provided litigation and alternative dispute resolution services to insurance companies across West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and the surrounding region. We proudly represent nationally recognized Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, community-based carriers in the defense of extra-contractual / bad faith and coverage claims. And with seven offices located in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia, we are geographically well-positioned to assist clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southeast regions of the country.
Understanding that extra-contractual damage awards most often arise from certain claims handling practices, Bowles Rice offers a range of legal services to assist insurance professionals and help identify any potential for impending litigation. These services include claims adjuster training, insurance coverage evaluations and pre-suit investigations.
Additionally, Bowles Rice litigators stay abreast of current trends, topics and federal/state legislation that affect our insurance clients through memberships and active participation in industry organizations such as the Defense Research Institute (DRI) and the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia (DTCWV). We also regularly attend industry conferences, meetings and webinars, including the bi-annual DRI Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability Seminar and meetings of the DTCWV Insurance Law Committee.
Just as there are seemingly endless lines and providers of insurance, there are unique and specific methods to employ in defense of insurers. To that point, our insurance defense work includes:
- Bad Faith and Coverage Litigation
- West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Hearings
- Excess Coverage Disputes
- Property Damage Claim Disputes
- Automobile Claims
- Marine Watercraft Claims
- Fire Loss Claims
- Underinsurance / Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM/UM)
- Completed Operation Hazard Coverage Claims
- Insurance Agent Liability Claims
- Failure to Procure Insurance Claims
- Disputes focusing on the Insurance Carrier's Underwriting Practices
- Training for Insurance Adjusters, Claim Handlers, Litigation Managers
- Assistance with Developing and/or Refining Claim Handling "Best Practices"
Articles & Alerts
- "Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Issues Two important Decisions for Insurers: Dorsey v. Progressive (No. 12-1254) Estate of Bradley v. Farmers and Mechanics Mut. Ins. Co. of W. Va. (No. 12-0769)"Litigation Alert, November 18, 2013
- "Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Reverses First-Party Bad Faith Verdict of $25 Million in Punitive Damages: AIG v. Hess Oil (No. 12-0705)"Litigation Alert, November 13, 2013
- "Nearly $1,000,000 in Attorney's Fees Avoided as the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Issues a Favorable Decision for West Virginia's Insurance Industry: Lemasters v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co."Litigation Alert, November 5, 2013
- Litigation Alert, June 21, 2012