The California Insurance Commissioner issued a Bulletin last week accusing some of the largest auto insurers of improperly “collect[ing] inflated premiums” from California policyholders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That pronouncement comes closely on the heels of several class action lawsuits filed against auto insurers in Nevada state court attacking...Read More
Maynard Cooper & Gale's Insurance and Financial Services Litigation Practice Group consists of over thirty-five (35) lawyers who practice primarily in this area of law.
The group has received both national and local recognition for excellence:
- BTI Consulting Group includes Maynard Cooper among the “37 Law Firms Most Feared in Litigation” (2019)
- Benchmark Litigation ranks Maynard Cooper as a “Highly Recommended” firm for Litigation (2018)
- Several attorneys identified as “Local Litigation Stars” by Benchmark Litigation (2018)
- Ranked by U.S. News and Best Lawyers in “Best Law Firms” as a Metropolitan Tier 1 in Insurance Law
- BTI Industry Power Rankings lists Maynard Cooper as a “core, go-to firm” for the insurance industry, among the top 2% of all law firms, BTI Industry Power Rankings 2017: The Law Firms with the Best Client Relationships (2017)
Our group's rankings and recognition are the result of over 20 years of hard work and success representing insurance carriers throughout the United States.
We serve as primary outside litigation counsel for Protective Life Insurance Company and as national trial counsel and class action counsel for AIG/American General. Our attorneys have served as lead counsel in defending insurance and annuity-related class actions and multi-district litigation in state and federal courts in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We have also served as trial counsel in bad faith and punitive damages cases pending throughout the United States, including notorious “tort hell” venues in Alabama, California, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi South Florida, Texas, and West Virginia. We have defended banks, finance companies and mortgage loan servicing companies in hundreds of cases in state and federal courts related to loan originations, loan servicing, collection practices, credit reporting, underwriting, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, forced-placed hazard insurance, foreclosures and redemptions, and virtually every other issue that arises in a financing transaction. In addition to our litigation expertise, the Firm provides many of its clients with representation in all forms of corporate and regulatory matters. These activities typically include assistance in both the design and approval of insurance products, obtaining authorizations from state departments of insurance to transact insurance, and responding to regulatory enforcement actions and investigative requests. While our geographic location has served the group well in responding to clients’ needs in diverse venues, at substantial cost savings, we primarily attribute our success to adherence to one of the Firm’s founding principles: To provide our clients with the best and most professional service of which we are capable, remembering that service to clients is the principal reason for a law firm’s existence.
Clients of Insurance and Financial Services Litigation Services
- AIG Annuity Insurance Company
- AIG SunAmerica
- American General Assurance Company
- American General Life and Accident Insurance Company
- American General Life Insurance Company
- American International Group, Inc
- American International Life Insurance Company
- American Investors Life Insurance Company
- American United Life Insurance Company
- Ameriprise Financial
- Aviva Life Insurance Company
- AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
- First Acceptance Corporation
- Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company
- Hartford Life Insurance Company
- Life of the South
- Principal Life Insurance Company
- Protective Life Corp.
- Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company
- Southland National Insurance Company
- Trustmark Insurance Company
- U.S. Life Ins. Co.
- Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company
Class Action, Complex and MDL Litigation
Currently, Maynard Cooper is defending a purported nationwide class action against New York Life Insurance Company venued in the Southern District of New York arising out of so-called Retained Asset Account (“RAA”) claims alleging breach of contract and bad faith. Patel v. New York Life Ins. Co., No. 11-cv-04895-JPO (S.D.N.Y.).
Recently, Maynard Cooper obtained key victories resulting in the complete dismissal of purported nationwide class actions, venued in the Southern District of New York and:
In addition, Maynard Cooper was successful at the federal appellate level in upholding a trial court's denial of class certification in a nationwide insurance class action alleging the use of race-based life insurance premiums (Hunter v. American General Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 05-1249 (4th Cir. 2006)). The Firm also obtained dismissals of purported class actions in the following nationwide insurance and annuity class actions:
Individually assessing the litigation and business needs of each of its clients, Maynard Cooper also has extensive experience in negotiating innovative nationwide class settlements for a variety of clients in a variety of venues. Recent settlements include allegations arising from the alleged failure to refund unearned premiums for single premium products including credit life and disability insurance, as well as GAP and IUI coverage:
These claims-made settlements were approved by the respective courts in 2007 and 2008.
In addition to its extensive class action experience, Maynard Cooper served as lead counsel for the Defendant in In re American General Life Insurance Co. Industrial Life Insurance Litigation in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, which was a multidistrict litigation (“MDL“) created to provide a single forum for discovery and pre-trial proceedings in the numerous cases filed in the wake of the nationwide class action settlement in McNeil v. American General Life and Accident Insurance Company. Most of the cases were filed as individual or multiple plaintiff cases and all included allegations similar to those alleged by the plaintiff class in McNeil - namely, allegations arising out of the alleged race-based pricing of insurance policies by American General Life and Accident Insurance Company or companies it acquired.
In addition to the individual or multiple plaintiff cases, however, several of the cases filed and transferred to this MDL included class allegations. Mack v. Independent Life sought certification of a class of individuals who owned policies that would have been included in the McNeil settlement except for the fact that the policies terminated before January 1, 1982, which was the beginning date for the McNeil class period (the Mack class has sometimes been referred to as the “Pre-82 Class“). On December 2, 2004 the District Court entered an Order denying certification as to the Mack class (the “Pre-82 Class“) and that Order was affirmed by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on November 13, 2006. Hunter, et al. v. American General sought certification of a class of individuals who owned or were insured by certain groups of policies that were not part of the McNeil settlement. Judge Currie denied class certification of the proposed Hunter class on March 9, 2007.
- Following a CAFA removal, obtained strategically critical transfer of venue between federal circuits and then a complete dismissal with prejudice of a purported nationwide class action involving claim handling and interpretation of “incurred medical expenses“ in catastrophic major medical coverage. Maynard Cooper then won the appeal in the Second Circuit affirming the district court’s order granting defendant's motion to dismiss. Metz v. United States Life Ins. Co. in the City of New York, 662 F.3d 600 (2d Cir. 2011).
- Obtained complete dismissal with prejudice of a purported nationwide class action involving bad faith, sales practices and claims handling in catastrophic major medical coverage. Schandler v. New York Life Ins.Co. et al., No. 09 Civ. 10463, 2011 WL 1642574 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 26, 2011).
- Defeated plaintiff's motion for certification of nationwide class seeking refunds of credit life insurance/credit disability insurance premium payments following early loan payoffs, which was the first outright defeat of class certification in unearned premium litigation nationwide. Bishop v. Protective Life Ins. Co., 255 F.R.D. 619 (M.D. Ga. 2009).
- Maynard Cooper handled two extremely dangerous national class actions for American General Assurance Company and North Central Life Insurance Company in 2008: Desportes v. American General Assurance Company and Carter v North Central Life Insurance Company. The cases were in state court in Columbus, Georgia and were not removable. The class allegations related to the failure of these companies to refund unearned premiums on credit life policies. The potential exposure in these cases were well over $100 million. A similar insurer, with identical facts but much less exposure, was ordered by the same court to pay over $75 million in damages and fees. After aggressive and skillful litigation, Maynard Cooper was remarkably able to negotiate “claims made” settlements that resulted in payouts by the Companies of less than $5 million. This was not achieved by any other insured under similar circumstances.
- Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of class actions alleging improper pricing and disclosures relating to bonus annuity sales. Phillips v. American Int'l Group, Inc., 498 F. Supp. 2d 690 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); Delaney v. American Express Co., 2007 WL 1420766 (D. N.J. May 11, 2007)
- summary judgment in favor of insurer in purported nationwide class actions alleging improper use of smoker-based premium rates for juvenile insureds Thompson v. American General Life & Accident Ins. Co., 448 F. Supp. 2d 885 (M.D. Tenn. 2006)
- summary judgment in favor of insurer in class action alleging imporoper cancellation of war risk insurance coverage after September 11, 2001 Burkhalter Transport v. AIG Aviation, 1:02 CV 109-M-D (N.D. Miss. 2003)
- Deportes, et al. v. American General Assur. Co., SU-04-CV-3637 and Carter, et al. v. North Central Life Insurance Co., SU-2006-CV-3764
- Neal v. XL Life Insurance and Annuity Co., C.A. 04-C-834 (NH 2008)
Section 412 and 419 Litigation
ERISA and Group Insurance Litigation
Maynard Cooper's ERISA litigation advantage is its ability to obtain the desired outcome at a lower cost. Our nationally-recognized expertise and substantial experience allow us to delve into the problems at hand and bring practical considerations to bear for our clients. The attorneys practicing in this group regularly appear in federal courts in jurisdictions across the country and have accumulated extensive experience in discovery, summary judgment and appellate motion practice and argument. In addition to our established record in achieving summary judgment, we also have successfully fashioned innovative and bottom-line settlements, both informally and through alternative dispute resolution, yielding significant cost savings for our clients. Our clients know that Maynard Cooper's ERISA litigation attorneys will listen to their needs and objectives and will collaborate with them to reach the desired result.
- Recently obtained summary judgment in putative nationwide class action alleging claims related to the design and administration of “bonus” annuities.
- Obtained dismissal of bonus annuity class actions in federal courts in New York and New Jersey.
- Currently representing annuity issuers in cases alleging claims related to senior sales.
- Successfully defeated three separate variable annuity class actions in Alabama.
- Recently obtained summary judgment in a variable annuity fraud action pending in one of the most plaintiff friendly venues in Alabama.
Sales Practice Litigation
- Served as lead counsel for a life insurance company in numerous individual opt-out cases pending in federal and state courts in Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia alleging market conduct claims. After winning dismissal of the Mississippi cases on summary judgment, the remainder of the cases settled on very favorable terms to the insurer.
- Defended a life insurer against thousands of individual opt-out cases alleging market conduct claims. After obtaining dismissal of several of these cases on motions to dismiss, the remainder of the cases settled on terms favorable to the insurer.
- Defended a life insurance company in numerous multi-plaintiff cases pending in Madison County, Illinois alleging market conduct claims. After receiving favorable pre-trial rulings in the first case to go to trial, the firm obtained a favorable settlement of all of the remaining cases.
- Served as lead counsel for a life insurer defending thousands of individual opt-out cases alleging race-based premium claims. After intense litigation of these cases pending in state and federal courts in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, including the successful removal from a dangerous state court venue to federal court of the first case going to trial, the firm obtained a favorable settlement of these cases.
Consumer/Commercial Financial Services Litigation
Single Premium Insurance Litigation
Coverage Disputes / Bad Faith Litigation
The firm has extensive experience representing insurers pursuing and defending declaratory judgment actions, subrogation claims, and bad faith suits in the context of property and casualty and related lines of insurance.
- Recently represented a national insurer who issued excess insurance policies to companies now seeking defense and indemnity for alleged environmental contamination. The cases involved the litigation of the duties of an excess insurance carrier, interpretation of both “sudden and accidental“ and “absolute“ pollution exclusions found in many commercial general liability policies and other such coverage issues that frequently arise in environmental coverage litigation
- Tried an arson case to defense verdict in "tort hell" Greenville, Mississippi
- Hired to try a multi-million dollar bad faith case in Oklahoma state court over GAP coverage on behalf of national insurer, ended in favorable settlement after motions in limine rulings and one day of trial testimony
- Hired to defend national insurer against multi-million dollar Fidelity/Crime coverage claims; won summary judgment and was affirmed on appeal to United States Court of Appeals
- Recently hired to try multi-million dollar software theft/destruction case in Indiana on behalf of national insurer set for trial late 2012
- Recently hired to try multi-million dollar property and business interruption case on behalf of national insurer set for trial in summer 2012
- Routinely handles UIM/Bad-Faith claims against national insurers
- Served as counsel for adjuster corporation working in conjunction with national insurer in defense of mass tort claims involving Katrina litigation
Corporate Practice and Governmental Affairs
- Assistance in the design and approval of insurance and rate filings;
- Assistance in obtaining authorizations from state departments of insurance to transact insurance;
- Assistance in drafting legislation;
- Assistance in mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations of insurers and insurance holding company systems; and
- Representation in a variety of matters pending before or involving state departments of insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC")
Regulatory Compliance and Investigations
- Advice regarding the establishment, implementation and testing of corporate compliance and ethics programs;
- Assistance with investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by regulatory agencies such as the DOJ, SEC, FINRA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and numerous state insurance departments and other regulatory bodies;
- Assistance with responding to grand jury subpoenas, investigative demands, search warrants, and other investigative requests; and
- Assistance with internal investigations of potential regulatory or criminal violations perpetrated by employees, agents, competitors, or other third parties.