Large Loss Property Subrogation


Robinson+Cole’s Subrogation Team comprises seasoned lawyers and leaders in the subrogation field. We prosecute large loss property subrogation claims, including claims arising from fires and explosions, water losses, construction defects, boiler and machinery failures, and marine and inland marine losses.

Our Services

We handle complex and high-value subrogation claims for many of the world's largest insurers and reinsurers as well as more routine subrogation matters. We are always willing to evaluate matters of any size for our subrogation clients and participate in negotiating, mediating, and arbitrating any claim where our services can add value.

Our Team

Effective Case Management

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

We also employ a full-time subrogation coordinator to facilitate the intake and management of subrogation claims, track deadlines and case progress, and serve 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 contribute to our team’s effectiveness and efficiency.

We communicate regularly with our clients on the status of ongoing investigations, theories of liability, and our analysis of key documents and 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 when appropriate. Our Subrogation Team has an impressive trial track record, as well as numerous successes in mediating and arbitrating subrogation claims.

Coordination with Experts, Consultants, and Independent Adjusters

Very often, our greatest value early in these cases is our ability to get the right experts assembled and working for us on short notice. We have deep ties to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Our group chair, John Kane, currently serves on the NFPA 921 technical committee, and we have close working relationships with many of the premier fire and explosion experts across the country. Our standing in the fire investigation community allows us to tap a nationwide network of top forensic professionals, fire investigators, fire protection engineers, and fire scientists who promptly respond to loss sites anywhere in the United States. We ensure  that the right people, with the right expertise, arrive at the loss scene as soon as possible. Our lawyers are fully versed in all aspects of origin and cause investigations, and we and our experts  conduct thorough investigations to put our  insurance clients in the best position possible to properly evaluate all potential recoveries.

We literally helped “write the book” that sets the standards for fire and explosion investigations and analysis—NFPA 921 Guide for Fire & Explosion Investigation, including rewriting Chapter 18, “Fire Cause Determination,” and revamping Chapter 27, now called “Management of Complex Investigations.” In addition, one of our colleagues served on the International Fire Service Training Association committees that produced Introduction to Fire Origin and Cause, 3rd ed., and Fire Investigator, 2nd ed.

We also have relationships with independent adjusters and consultants, including the leading forensic accounting firms that handle the business interruption aspects of coverage claims, helping us to achieve a coordinated and seamless recovery effort.

Industry Leadership

Members of our Subrogation Team are leaders in the following specialized professional organizations:

  • the National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP)
  • the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • the Property Insurance Committee of the American Bar Association's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (ABA-TIPS)
  • the Loss Executives Association (LEA)
  • the Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB)
  • the Maritime and Transport Law Committee of the International Bar Association
    • Experience
      • Recovered $30 million for a group of insurers in a suit against a major utility company arising out of a high-voltage electrical fire at a large manufacturing facility in Rhode Island.

      • Recovered tens of millions of dollars for insurer clients against foreign manufacturers arising out of fires caused by defective halogen lamps.

      • Achieved a 90 percent recovery (over $2 million) for an insurer arising out of damage caused by a backflow of steam at a cogeneration plant.

      • Successfully represented an insurer in litigation and mediation In connection with the largest of 26 consolidated cases arising from a fire at a shopping center.

      • Successfully represented a building owner and insurer in connection with a major structural fire in New York City that caused the collapse of three buildings and over $20 million in losses.

      • Successfully represented an insurer in connection with numerous product liability claims against a manufacturer of a wood finish product linked to spontaneous combustion and to fires nationwide.

      • Successfully represented an international insurer in an international arbitration against a Venezuelan construction contractor and a Russian shipping company arising from vessels crashing into a pier at a chemical tank facility, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and business interruption losses to the main pier in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.

      • Successfully represented an insurer in connection with a payment made under a builder’s risk policy involving the collapse of a commercial building in Brooklyn, New York.

      • Successfully represented an insurer in multimillion-dollar claims arising out of the loss of heavy equipment when a barge sank in New York Harbor.

      • Successfully represented an insurer in claims against several subcontractors to recover payments made under a builder's risk policy arising out of water damage in connection with a construction project of the Dormitory Authority of New York.

      • Successfully recovered a substantial sum for an inland marine carrier arising out of damage to a barge in New Haven Harbor during a 100-year storm.

      • Successfully represented a Fortune 10 company in connection with a chemical explosion at one of its facilities in California, resulting in a fatality and over $100 million in property damage. 

      • Successfully represented an owner and insurer of a power plant in Texas that suffered an explosion, resulting in over $30 million in property damage.

      • Recovered a multimillion-dollar settlement arising out of a yacht fire in Anguilla.

      • Obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement for a real estate owner against a contractor who caused a fire resulting in over $50 million in damages.

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

      • Successfully represented an insurer in a $35 million claim arising out of the explosion of a pressurized vessel used in the treatment of metal component parts for commercial airplanes.

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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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        • View article
      • 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
    • "Selecting & Utilizing Fire Experts," at National Association of Fire Investigators Fire Litigation Skills Conference, Sarasota, Florida, at National Association of Fire Investigators Fire Litigation Skills Conference, Sarasota, Florida

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

      "Daubert Standards for Expert Witness Testimony: Effective Strategies for Bringing and Defending Daubert Challenges," presented through Strafford Webinar Publications, Hartford, Connecticut

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

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

      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

Our Team