Large Loss Property Subrogation

The Subrogation Team at Robinson+Cole is composed of experienced lawyers who are leaders in the subrogation field. We have broad experience prosecuting large loss subrogation claims, including claims arising from fires and explosions, water losses, construction defects, boiler and machinery failures, and marine and inland marine losses.

Our Subrogation Team routinely handles the most complex and highest-value subrogation claims for many of the world's largest insurers and reinsurers; however, we also have substantial experience handling midsize subrogation matters, and we are always willing to evaluate matters of any size for our subrogation clients. Moreover, while some of our clients prefer to handle their smaller subrogation claims in-house, we are frequently asked to consult with clients on such cases and participate in negotiating, mediating, and arbitrating any claim for which our services can add value.

Effective Case Management

Our experienced team of subrogation lawyers and nonlawyer professionals has a proven combination of skill and judgment critical to achieving the maximum subrogation recovery. We have developed a streamlined approach for our clients to report new claims right after a loss occurs, permitting us to immediately preserve evidence, gather essential information, and aggressively pursue our clients' subrogation rights.

A recognized attribute of our practice is our full-time subrogation coordinator, who facilitates the intake and management of subrogation claims, tracks deadlines and case progress, and serves as a key point of contact with our clients. Our coordinator's awareness of our clients' business priorities and broad-based knowledge of insurance coverage, claims procedures, and subrogation issues is an invaluable asset. When clients call our coordinator with a new loss, they know they can trust their subrogation needs to be handled. Our coordinator reports to clients, on a monthly and quarterly basis, on the status of each case.

Coordination with Experts, Consultants, and Independent Adjusters

Our Subrogation Team has hands-on experience coordinating the investigation of large property losses throughout the United States. We have assembled teams of forensic experts, origin and cause investigators, engineers, metallurgists, combustion scientists, and fire protection specialists to analyze and determine the root causes of large losses, often under extreme time pressure.

We pride ourselves on our early and regular communication with clients regarding the status of the ongoing investigation, our theories of liability, our review of key documents, and our analysis of the relevant legal issues. We typically propose mediation at an early stage in the subrogation process to eliminate the time and expense of protracted litigation. When litigation becomes necessary, however, we aggressively pursue the case through trial and appeal if necessary. In matters brought to trial, our Subrogation Team has an impressive track record of success. We also have considerable success in mediating and arbitrating subrogation claims.

Industry Leadership

Our Subrogation Team members are leaders in a number of specialized professional organizations. For example, we are actively involved in the National Association of Subrogation Professionals, the National Fire Protection Association, the Property Insurance Committee of the American Bar Association's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, the Loss Executives Association, the Property Loss Research Bureau, and the Maritime and Transport Law Committee of the International Bar Association. In addition, we literally helped "write the book" that sets the standards for fire and explosion investigations and analysis: NFPA 921 Guide for Fire & Explosion Investigations. John Kane and Joseph Carey currently serve on the NFPA 921 Technical Committee.

Our Subrogation Team litigates the following types of issues while pursuing recovery on behalf of our clients:

  • waivers of subrogation
  • contributions from coinsurers
  • actions against insureds who have been paid for fraudulent claims
  • actions against brokers
  • notice requirements of Uniform Commercial Code
  • relationship between actual cash value, replacement cost, and market value
  • insured – whole issues
  • recovery of deductibles and self-insured retention
  • implied coinsured doctrine
  • subrogating insurer's obligation to respond to requests to produce the insured's documents
  • discovery of the insurer's file
  • confidentiality of communications with the insured
  • validity of assignments of property damage claims
  • liability insurer's liability for interest when subrogation claim is in excess of policy limits
  • recoverability of commercial loss (lost profit and goodwill)
  • choice of law
  • subrogating insurer's claim for punitive damages
    • Experience
      • Represented an insurer in pursuing a $35 million subrogation claim arising out of the explosion of a pressurized vessel used in the treatment of metal parts used as component parts of commercial airplanes.
      • Represented numerous insurers in pursuing claims arising out of fires caused by halogen lamps, including several high profile fires that received considerable publicity.
      • Represented the owner of a Rhode Island wire mill facility in pursuing a $75 million claim against a utility company resulting from a high voltage electrical fire.
      • Represented an owner of real property in New York City in which a fire caused three buildings to collapse, resulting in property damage in excess of $20 million and personal injuries.
      • Represented a Fortune 50 company that had a chemical explosion at a facility, resulting in a fatality as well as tens of millions of dollars in property damage.
      • Represented the London market, insurer of a power plant in Texas that experienced an explosion resulting in property damage in excess of $30 million.
      • Represented a Fortune 10 company that had a chemical explosion at one of its facilities in California, resulting in a fatality as well as property damage in excess of $100 million.
      • Represented one of the world’s largest insurance companies in pursuing a $9 million subrogation claim against a shipping company. The claim arose from a collision causing property damage and business interruption losses to the main pier in Caracas, Venezuela. We were able to successfully resolve the matter through international arbitration.
      • Represented an insurance company in pursuing a $1.6 million subrogation claim arising from a fire at shopping center. The case was the largest of 26 consolidated cases arising out of this fire, and was settled for nearly $1.3 million upon the completion of a mediation which our firm initiated.
      • Represented numerous insurers in pursuing fire loss claims caused by the negligent use of wood finish products leading to spontaneous combustion of combustibles. These cases have been resolved with substantial recoveries.
      • Represented an insurance company in successfully prosecuting for hundreds of thousands of dollars a large water loss claim against the company who installed and monitored the fire protection system. The sprinkler system was triggered by a small fire in a commercial tenant’s space. The fire protection company received the alert but failed to notify the fire department.
      • Represented an insurance company in prosecuting a $1 million subrogation claim arising from a fire at a private secondary school. The case was settled with a substantial recovery.
      • Represented a manufacturer in a yacht fire that caused over $10 million in property damage to the Miami Beach Marina and vessels in the marina.
      • Representation of HVAC contractor in defense of various matters involving building and fire code violations, including an alleged defective sprinkler system, which caused $3 million in property damage.
      • Representing a real estate owner against a contractor who caused a fire resulting in damages in excess of $50 million.

      • Representing various insurers in the ConEd steam explosion cases that caused tens of millions of dollars in damages.

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    • News
      • January 16, 2014

        Dana Horton Leads Food Drive to Benefit Charities

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      • December 11, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Elects Four New Partners and Promotes Six Counsel

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      • December 6, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Announces Partner Promotions

      • November 30, 2011

        Melissa Sullivan Chairs Meeting on Property Subrogation

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      • August 12, 2011

        Rebecca Levy-Sachs Elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

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      • July 27, 2011

        Attorneys Author Article on Privacy Concerns in Property Subrogation

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      • June 27, 2011

        Eric Daniels Appointed to iQuilt Board

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      • February 7, 2011

        Fire & Explosion Attorney to Introduce Revised Cause Determination Chapter of NFPA 921

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      • December 3, 2010

        Insurance Partner Delivers Most-Attended Workshop at Conference in New Orleans

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      • October 22, 2010

        Two Robinson & Cole Attorneys Receive 40 Under Forty Award

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      • August 12, 2010

        Providence Business News Names Dana Horton As “40 Under Forty” Recipient

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      • April 26, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Subrogation Attorneys are Featured Speakers at National Association of Subrogation Professionals Seminar

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      • January 28, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Coauthor Article on Green Building and Property Coverage for the Green Book

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      • December 2, 2009

        Robinson & Cole’s Subrogation Team Attends Annual Conference

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "Daubert Standards for Expert Witness Testimony: Effective Strategies for Bringing and Defending Daubert Challenges," presented through Strafford Webinar Publications, Hartford, Connecticut (2011)

      "Selecting & Utilizing Fire Experts," at National Association of Fire Investigators Fire Litigation Skills Conference, Sarasota, Florida (2011)

      "Expert Report Writing: Best Practices for Producing Quality Reports," published in Fire & Arson Investigator Magazine (2011)

      "Supervising the Arson Case," at Travelers Insurance Claim University, Windsor, Connecticut (2011)

      "Subrogating Commercial and Industrial Losses," at National Association of Subrogation Professionals, 2010 National Conference, Grapevine, Texas, presented by Mamoon Alyah of LWG Consulting Group (11/2010)

      "Understanding & Applying Daubert Principles in Today's Cases," at West LegalEdcenter CLE Course, Iselin, New Jersey, presented by Rebecca Levy-Sachs (9/22/2010)
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      "Investigative Reports and the 2010 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," at 2010 International Symposium on Fire Investigation (ISFI) Science and Technology, University of Maryland, presented by Joseph Carey (9/2010)

      "Expert Report Writing: Best Practices for Producing Quality Reports," at International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, Baltimore, Maryland (2010)

      "Factors Impacting Expert Testimony by Fire Investigators," at National Association of State Fire Marshals Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois (2010)

      "Optimizing Subrogation Recovery: Tips & Tactics," at Unified Investigations & Sciences' Fire & Forensics Seminar for the Insurance Industry, Sturbridge, Massachusetts (2010)

      Chaired and presented at National Association of Subrogation Professionals, New England Chapter (3/2010), Property Subrogation Series, Hartford, Connecticut

      authored by Joseph Carey, Cause determination chapter (12/2010), published in NFPA 921: Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, chair of NFPA 921 Technical Committee for reviewing chapter

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Chair

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