Larzelere Picou Wells Simpson Lonero, LLC has an insurance practice usually found only at much larger law firms. We are dedicated to offering our clients a better level of service – more efficiently and more personally – than our larger counterparts. Our insurance coverage lawyers have diverse backgrounds, and this provides our clients a broad base of extensive experience in different areas of insurance law and various jurisdictions. As a result, our insurance coverage practice, while concentrated in Louisiana and the Gulf South, spans the entire United States and beyond.
We have significant knowledge and experience with all manner of primary, excess, and umbrella/bumbershoot liability policies, as well as policies affording first-party coverage. We provide comprehensive services ranging from advice on underwriting and policy language, drafting manuscript and form language, issuing coverage opinions, preparing reservation of rights correspondence, and negotiating claim settlements outside of litigation, to defending insurers in direct action litigation, representing insurers in declaratory judgment actions and other coverage litigation, and continuing through appeals. We also handle pursuit of subrogation claims, including claims with values of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Insurance Counseling. Because of the breadth and depth of our insurance coverage experience, our clients often retain us to act as their representative vis-à-vis their insureds, other insurers, government agencies, and all involved parties following major marine pollution incidents, major marine casualties, and other large scale losses and incidents. This includes issuing reservation of rights correspondence, supervising and monitoring assigned defense counsel, monitoring and reviewing experts, consultants, and contractors, and acting to minimize exposure to our clients. Every major casualty is unique, and we pride ourselves on our demonstrated ability to adapt our past experience to address the new challenges that each presents to our clients.
Marine and Energy Insurance. At its founding in 1988, the initial primary focus of our firm was admiralty, maritime, and energy law, including the field of marine insurance. We continue to handle disputes, claims, and litigation involving coverage issues arising under primary, excess, and umbrella/bumbershoot liability policies (including Protection and Indemnity, Marine Employers Liability, Pollution, Terminal Operator’s, and Wharfinger’s policies). We also handle first-party claims arising under Hull, Increased Value, Builders Risk, and Cargo policies. We have handled many cases involving Removal of Wreck and Sue and Labor issues, and we are also well versed in issues that arise with Marine Package policies and Energy Package policies. Our experience ranges from relatively small vessel and offshore energy production incidents, to major collision and pollution incidents involving the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the National Contingency Plan, to offshore energy hurricane losses valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
General Liability Insurance. Our insurance coverage practice is much broader than energy and marine insurance. We also handle disputes, claims, and litigation involving coverage issues arising under primary, excess, and umbrella/bumbershoot commercial general liability policies, including surplus and special lines. We are experienced with all aspects of commercial general liability policies, such as duty to defend, “other insurance,” and stacking issues. We routinely handle coverage cases where pollution exclusions and pollution coverage buy-back provisions are at issue, as well as environmental and toxic tort coverage cases involving asbestos, silica, radioactive material, and long-term property contamination. We also handle on a regular basis coverage cases involving construction defects and general liability policies written for specific industries, such as garage policies and trucking policies.
Commercial Property Insurance. We handle disputes, claims, and litigation involving coverage issues arising under first-party commercial property policies for various types of property damage losses, such as those due to hurricanes, explosions, and fires. We have experience with claims from a wide array of businesses, both large and small. These include large shipyards, marinas, warehouses, major gas and electricity utilities, high-rise buildings, and professional service providers such as law firms and insurance agencies. In addition to property damage losses, we also work closely with forensic accountants and other experts on business interruption claims.
Homeowners Insurance. We handle disputes, claims, and litigation involving coverage issues arising under both the property damage coverage and the liability coverage of homeowners policies. A significant portion of our homeowners insurance work involves property damage arising out of hurricanes, including wind-versus-flood issues, anti-concurrent causation provisions, valuation, and named storm deductible issues. In addition to cases involving individual homeowners, we also handle mass joinder and class action litigation against insurers including those involving drywall, mold, hurricanes, and hailstorms.
Automobile Liability Insurance. We handle disputes, claims, and litigation involving coverage issues arising under both personal and commercial automobile liability policies, including excess and umbrella/bumbershoot policies. Due to our extensive maritime experience, our clients often seek our advice and representation on the complex coverage issues that arise when employees bring automobile related claims against their employers under the Jones Act.
Bad Faith Litigation. Insurance disputes, claims, and litigation often involve allegations of “bad faith” claims practices and application of policy provisions. We have extensive experience evaluating and litigating “bad faith” claims made under claims handling and trade practices statutes, and otherwise, on behalf of insurers and underwriters.