Insurance Risk & Management

If you contemplate the coming reality of drones routinely performing commercial activities, self-driving commercial fleets and exponential growth of big data and smart technologies, it’s easy to envision a parallel rise in insurance coverage disputes. Given the financial stakes involved, businesses must ensure their insurance coverage profile maps to their current operations and future strategy.

Key Contacts

Louis A. Ferreira Partner Portland, OR
Tamara L. Boeck Partner Sacramento, CA
Overview

Our attorneys help you understand and manage business risks, minimize and transfer risk by having the right insurance, and assist with claims and recovery of damages when insurers refuse to honor their contracts.

Our Services

  • Negotiation with insurers regarding coverage and exclusions
  • Coverage dispute litigation
  • Establishment and operation of captive insurance programs
  • Identification and application of historic insurance policies in the event of environmental damage instances and claims
  • Business interruption claims
  • Property loss
  • Construction and product defect claims coverage

Risk Management

We review your business activities and contracts with your suppliers and customers, weigh in on the risks you face, advise on contractual risk transfer opportunities, and help you find the appropriate types of insurance to protect your interests. This includes providing counsel on recommended language to have in sales transactions and advice on ways to share risk across the supply chain and with distributors and their insurers.

We also advise on tort and regulatory risks related to environmental and OSHA compliance as well as acquisition activity. When an acquisition is contemplated, we evaluate the target’s risks by conducting due diligence about its compliance and loss history, identifying environmental risks based on the historic operation of the company and audit safety and compliance programs that protect employees—all with an eye toward identifying or reducing your risks.

General Liability Claims

Your business could encounter an abundance of general liability pitfalls. Our clients are involved with mining, oil and gas, forest products, renewable energy, aerospace, construction, food processing and manufacturing; they’re municipalities and universities. Any business can experience a costly accident, environmental claims, construction defects, product defects, recalls, data breaches or equipment failure. In all of these cases we help investigate the issues and resolve the case through mediation or arbitration, or in the courtroom. We’ve handled cases in a variety of courts through the state supreme court level and represented clients in national class actions. 

High-Stakes Incidents

We have substantial experience with high-stakes incidents such as industrial accidents, fires, explosions, toxic spills, workplace fatalities and releases. We activate a rapid response, hiring experts and launching an investigation to have a clear picture of what happened and gather the evidence necessary in the event of disagreement with the conclusions of regulators. We manage regulatory inspections by OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the Consumer Products Safety Commission, DEQ and EPA, advocating on your behalf. At all times we maintain lines of communication, prevent regulator overreach, manage the evidence and steer the investigation to reduce your exposure, prevent lawsuits and get to faster resolution of coverage issues.

Often, businesses and landowners must look to historic insurance policies to recover the catastrophic costs of environmental liabilities. These cases involve finding or proving the existence and terms and conditions of policies written years earlier and fighting assertions insurance companies make to avoid paying. We’ve resolved these disputes and secured reimbursement of investigation and cleanup costs for historical contamination cases involving insurers.

While we have deep experience in the states in which we have offices, we work nationally, wherever you’ve had an incident or face regulatory scrutiny. Not only do we follow insurance coverage trends and regulations but we help shape them—we drafted the 2013 amendments to the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act that clarified and created new procedures for obtaining environmental insurance coverage in Oregon.

Matters
  • Schnitzer Steel Indus. v. Cont’l Cas. Co., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. We represented insureds on a trial team to recover defense costs incurred at the Portland Harbor Superfund site. After seven days of trial, we obtained a jury verdict of $8.6 million, the full amount sought. We also obtained declaratory relief regarding, among other things, attorney billing rates that had to be paid by the defendant insurance companies and the timeliness of payments, as well as a multimillion-dollar award of prejudgment interest. Currently representing the insureds in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Evraz Inc. NA v. Cont’l Ins. Co., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Stoel Rives currently represents Evraz in a lawsuit against 13 insurers to obtain insurance coverage for claims arising out of the Portland Harbor Superfund site.
  • Daimler Trucks North American Environmental Claims. We represented insured in negotiating multimillion-dollar settlements of primary and excess insurance policies for environmental claims including the Portland Harbor and Pasco Landfill Superfund sites. 
Team
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