Insurance Litigation and Counseling in Austin, Texas


insurance 1We understand the business of insurance. We have counseled national insurance providers with complex regulatory compliance, rate/form filing, and coverage questions. We are not an “insurance defense” firm, but we regularly defend our clients’ most important interests at the Texas Department of Insurance and in Texas courtrooms.

Regulatory Compliance Counseling

Our full-service Austin insurance litigation practice was founded upon serving one of the country’s largest personal lines (auto, home, life) insurers as Texas regulatory counsel. As regulatory counsel, we have assisted clients before the Texas Department of Insurance in a multitude of issues, including:

  • Rate filings and hearings
  • Form filings
  • Rulemakings
  • Withdrawal plans
  • Investigations and enforcement actions
  • Consumer complaints

insurance 3Agent Termination Litigation

Disputes with captive insurance agents abound. And one agent’s success can affect the legal interpretation of an insurer’s appointing agreement forever thereafter, not to mention that the same success can serve as inspiration for similar claims from additional agents. But while agents frequently litigate against the insurers they serve, individually, they present low-exposure cases. Our lawyers have experience crafting cost-effective and efficient solutions to these recurring agency issues, exemplified in the following representative matters:

  • Prosecution of breach of contract claims (and counterclaims) for a former captive agent’s  violation of post-termination non-competition provisions in the appointing agreement
  • Defense of breach of contract (appointing agreement) and related tort claims for breach of appointing agreement and failure to pay commissions and residuals
  • Prosecution of breach of contract claims (and counterclaims) for a captive agent’s “switching” or failing to write acceptable business with his/her appointed insurance group
  • Defense of statutory and common law claims against life insurer for its agent’s alleged fraud and conversion in connection with the partial surrender of a life insurance policy
  • Defense of common law claims against insurance agent (and insurer) for allegedly failing to secure “needed” coverage and violating a statutory duty not to insure property in excess of its “fair value”

insurance 2Insurance Class Action Litigation

Cobb & Counsel attorneys have defended numerous high-profile insurance class action cases in Texas and throughout the nation, in both trial and appellate courts. We have litigated class actions (some, multiple times) across the entire spectrum of the insurance business, including:

  • Claims handling
  • Credit scoring
  • Mandatory coverage / form requirements
  • Claims payments
  • Premium charges / statutory fees

 

Abbott - McCollum - Cobb - Healthcare Arguments - Pensacola, FL
Cobb and Attorneys General Greg Abbott (TX) and Bill McCollum (FL) outside the federal district courthouse in Pensacola, FL before arguments challenging the Affordable Care Act

Constitutional and Complex Insurance Litigation

Rate making, forms, mandatory coverages and statutory fees present complicated compliance issues for insurers, which often result in litigation. Indeed, sophisticated plaintiffs’ lawyers can discover claims and causes of action in most new state and federal laws touching on insurance. Our lawyers have been on the leading edge of many high-profile challenges to insurance laws and regulations, including:

  • Constitutional challenge to Texas Insurance Code Article 5.26–1, the homeowners “rate rollback” statute (obtained summary judgment)
  • Constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a ObamaCare) – lead trial counsel for the State of Texas (obtained summary judgment; partial victory at United States Supreme Court)
  • Defense of breach of contract / declaratory judgment claims alleging the improper collection of a state-mandated fee in addition to premium, rather than as a component part of premium (victory at Texas Supreme Court)
  • Defense of Fair Credit Reporting Act allegations of obtaining insured’s credit reports without making “firm offers” of insurance (obtained dismissal in trial court)

Texas Catastrophe Insurance Coverage and Claims Consulting

When a natural disaster strikes, Cobb & Counsel is there. In the wake of hurricanes Rita and Ike, complex coverage and claim payment questions proliferated. Even before the rains came, our lawyers were authoring dozens of coverage opinions and drafting catastrophe claims-handling guidelines. And once the storms had passed, our lawyers were on the ground and in the field, counseling “CAT” claims adjusters on coverage and payment issues. When the next hurricane visits the Texas gulf coast, we have you “covered.”

If you are in need of insurance litigation lawyers, get in touch with us today and call 512-693-7570.