Insurance Law and Coverage

We represent insurance companies, agents, and insureds. We are familiar with all aspects of insurance and we have helped our insurance clients deal with virtually all phases of the insurance business.

We provide opinions regarding the legal meaning of insurance policy language. Reed McClure is regionally recognized in this highly specialized field of contract analysis. We frequently represent companies in coverage litigation and bad faith and fraudulent claims.

Since 1976, Reed McClure has published an informational newsletter to the insurance industry titled Washington Insurance Law Letter. Current issues of the Law Letter are available here.

Pamela Okano is the author of “Coverage Uncovered: A Periodic Update of Washington Insurance Coverage Law,”

Coverage Advice

Reed McClure routinely provides advice to our clients on a myriad of coverage issues. Coverage opinions address duties to cover, pay, and indemnify. Coverage issues arise in many areas including construction defect, trademark infringements, bodily injury, environmental damage, sexual abuse, and property loss.

Coverage Litigation

We litigate personal and commercial line coverage disputes in the trial and appellate courts.

Reed McClure has represented carriers in the following coverage disputes:

  • Leaky siding and inadequate ventilation in a pool room caused a hotel structure to rot. The issue was whether there was additional coverage under the business owner’s policy.
  • Teenagers set a recycling bin on fire outside a store, burning it down. The issue was whether the fire was an accident under the homeowner’s policy.
  • Insureds allegedly served alcohol to minors at their cabin. Insured’s daughter drove into a pond and two children died. The issue was applicability of the auto exclusion in the homeowner’s policy.
  • Insured painted a school. The paint started peeling. The issue was applicability of the “your work” exclusion in the CGL policy.
Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Litigation

We keep our clients apprised of their obligations under the Washington Administrative Code fair claims handling regulations. In addition to showing insurance companies how to avoid bad faith and extra-contractual liability, we have made significant contributions to this area of law. In particular, we have been active in defending claims brought under Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”). We represented the insurer in Malbco v. AMICO, 546 F. Supp.2d 1130 (E.D. Wash. 2008), the first published decision holding IFCA does not apply retroactively.

Suspicious Losses

We investigate suspicious losses and take examinations under oath, as well as litigate cases involving fraudulent claims. We have saved insurers from paying over hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent losses.  In Tran v. State Farm Fire & Casualty, 136 Wn.2d 214 (1998), the Washington Supreme Court agreed that the insurer had properly denied coverage when the insured failed to provide financial information needed to determine whether the loss was false or fraudulent.  In State Farm Fire & Casualty v. Huynh, 92 Wn. App. 454 (1998), the Court of Appeals upheld a favorable jury verdict for an insurer against a chiropractor who submitted false injury reports and bills.

Agent and Broker Errors and Omissions

We defend agents and brokers against claims by clients and others. Reed McClure has successfully defended claims of negligence in the placement of insurance, and claims relating to agents’ conduct. In connection with coverage litigation, we frequently advise our clients concerning the duties of agents and brokers.

  • We successfully defended an insurance agent in federal court against the property carrier’s action to rescind the policy. The carrier sought to avoid its obligation to provide coverage by alleging that the agent made material misrepresentations about the subject matter of the policy. After several days of trial, the judge directed a verdict in favor of our client.

Attorneys in this practice area: Earle BravoMarilee Erickson, Julia Nordlinger, Christopher Nye, Pamela Okano, Jack Rankin, David Reeve, Michael Rogers, Suzanna Shaub, and Jason Vacha.

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