First-Party Property Insurance

Overview

Swift Currie’s first-party property insurance practice has the largest legal team in the Southeast dedicated to first-party property issues, including sophisticated coverage disputes, arson, fraud and property damage cases. For more than 40 years, our attorneys have counseled clients and defended their interests in all areas of property insurance law, representing insurance companies and defending insured parties facing claims of damages to others’ property.

We have experience in property damage cases involving water from sprinkler and plumbing systems, electrical issues, fires, flooding, wind, catastrophes, natural disasters and the disputes that arise from those over the amount of damages. We also handle property coverage issues involving arson, fraud, collapse, contamination, valuation disputes, property subrogation and business interruption for repairs and replenishing inventory.

Our first-party property insurance team focuses on the interpretation of language in insurance policies, as well as the size and scope of the damage claims. A growing trend in property damage cases is the inclusion of diminution in value in claims, meaning the property’s value is reduced even after damage has been fixed. We frequently work with the foremost expert appraisers in the region and have experience getting favorable results through the appraisal process, either through a grievance with the appraisers or in a final decision from an umpire.

Clients are concerned about how to interact with public adjusters and difficult insureds with respect to coverage disputes. We take a very proactive approach early in the claims process in order to position the company for a more effective defense should litigation ensue.

Most of our clients understand that one of our principal roles is to help them evaluate a claim for the possibility of litigation where there are serious disputes concerning coverage or the amount of a loss. In this regard, our role is to assist the carrier in the evaluation of the propriety of any defenses and in preparing the claim for litigation should litigation ensue. Consequently, our job involves knowing what issues will likely be litigated and what laws and evidence the courts are likely to rely upon to decide such issues. Thus, we often are asked to conduct examinations under oath, obtain witness statements, secure relevant documents for detailed analysis and otherwise assist the carrier in identifying relevant, credible and admissible evidence needed to asses and, if appropriate, defend a coverage dispute. This way, if litigation ensues, the carrier will be in the best possible position to prevail in its defenses and vindicate its good faith.

With a wealth of experience, our attorneys have successfully litigated significant cases involving bad faith claims, policyholder misrepresentations, contractual suit limitations, limits on the Fifth Amendment privilege and discovery issues. We know when to develop and implement alternative solutions, including arbitration, to coverage disputes to avoid the expense of prolonged litigation.

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