Success in litigating insurance coverage issues hinges on understanding both the interpretation of insurance policies and the handling of claims. These key elements pervade every phase of the business from taking the application, through underwriting, and policy issuance. The members of our firm's insurance coverage practice group understand these elements and the important role they play in risk management.
The insurance experts at Heyl Royster are dedicated and experienced in all aspects of insurance and self-insurance. They each spend a substantial portion of their practice concentrating in the wide variety that is insurance coverage work, either first-party property damage of liability claims, opinions, declaratory judgments, defense of improper or bad faith claims practices, health, life and ERISA litigation, and agent errors and omissions.
Insurance related law is evolving and changing at a pace never before experienced. This requires experienced counsel who keep abreast of case law and statutory enactments affecting the law of insurance throughout the nation. Our attorneys maintain a keen awareness of these changes and trends, and participate in bringing them about. In fact, they play key roles in legislative considerations and appeals on insurance-related topics. They are also active in professional associations which influence the law of insurance, including the American Bar Association, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Defense Research Institute, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys.
Our lawyers are also experienced in alternative dispute resolution of insurance matters, including uninsured and underinsured motorist claims. Additionally, ADR is oftentimes preferred over jury trials to avoid the perceived bias jurors have against insurers. Our experience with ADR has led to successful resolution of many claims and has resulted in significant savings to our trusted clients.
The following is a representative sampling of coverage areas in which we have experience:
Errors & Omissions
Underinsured Motorists/Uninsured Motorists
Employment Practices Liability
Workers' Compensation/Employers Liability
Health, Life & Disability
Bad Faith Claim Practice
Underwriting and Policy Language
Central Insurance Company
Cincinnati Insurance Company
Erie Insurance Company
General Casualty Insurance Company
Insura Property and Casualty Company
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
MetLife Insurance Company
Western States Insurance Company
Progressive Insurance Company
Rockford Mutual Insurance Company
State Farm Insurance Company
Westfield Insurance Company
- Yacko v. Curtis 339 Ill. App. 3d 299 (4th Dist. 2003) Upholding insurer's cancellation of automobile insurance policy for nonpayment.
- State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Board of Governors 50 Ill. Ct. Cl. 304 (1997) Granting summary judgment to insurer for reimbursement of costs and fees incurred in defending parties' insured against libel claim.
- Calvert Ins. Co. v. Western Ins. Co. 874 F.2d 396 (7th Cir. 1989) Insurance coverage issue as to whether general liability insurer had to reimburse excess carrier for expenses excess carrier incurred in defending police officers and city in civil rights litigation arising from arrest.
- T.H.E. Insurance v. City of Alton 277 F.3d 802 (7th Cir. 2000) Whether a certificate of insurance can modify the language contained in the policy of insurance.
- Took over defense of a national insurer in the middle of a multi-million dollar bad faith claim and brought it to satisfactory resolution at mediation.
- Successfully defended national insurer from claims that it was primarily liable for the damages following a multi-million dollar fire to a restaurant; successfully argued that another insurer's coverage was primary.
- Successfully defended in federal court a nationwide insurer for bad faith claim alleging a failure to defend a claim of invasion of privacy.
- Armstrong v. Guigler 174 Ill. 2d 281 (1996) Held that a claim for breach of implied fiduciary duty is independent of and only incidental to the written contract and, as a result, the residual, five year statute of limitations applied.
- Cramer v. Insurance Exchange Agency 174 Ill. 2d 513 (1996) Held: Although an insurer's conduct may give rise to both a breach of contract action and a separate and independent tort action mere allegations of bad faith or unreasonable and vexatious conduct, without more, do not constitute such a tort.
- Roberts v. Northland Ins. Co. 185 Ill. 2d 262 (1999) In a claim against a primary and excess insurer, the court held that the insured was entitled to only one setoff for the insured's workers' compensation benefits; that the primary insurer was entitled to take the workers' compensation setoff first, after which any remainder could be taken by the excess insurer; and that public policy precluded either insurer from taking a setoff for the insured's social security disability benefits.
- General Casualty Ins. Co. v. Lacey 199 Ill. 2d 281 (2002) The validity of an exhaustion clause was governed by the law in effect at the time of issuance of the policy, not settlement with the liability insurer.
- Hobbs v. Hartford Ins. Co. of the Midwest 214 Ill. 2d 11 (2005) The statement: "If a premium charge does not appear, that coverage is not provided" appearing on an insurance policy declarations sheet does not does not address the issue of stacking and cannot reasonably be read as contradictory to the antistacking clause in the policy. The policy must be construed as a whole.
- Hartford v. Gulf 837 F.2d 767 (7th Cir. 1988) Interpretation of conflicting additional insured clauses in insurance policies.
- Czimer’s Exotic Game Meats and Fish Co. v. Cincinnati Insurance Company Department of Insurance, Chicago (2003) - cancellation upheld; cancellation hearing before the Department of Insurance affirmed insurer's decision and notice compliance for cancellation of commercial property insurance after extended fire loss claim was made and paid.
- Hobbs v. Hartford Ins. Co. 214 Ill. 2d 11 (2005) No ambiguity exists in auto policy to allow for stacking of insurance coverage.
- Prudential Property & Cas. Ins. v. Scott 161 Ill. App. 3d 372 (4th Dist. 1987) Interpretation and application of a family exclusion clause in an automobile insurance policy.
- General Cas. Co. of Illinois v. Juhl 283 Ill. App. 3d 376 (4th Dist. 1996) A 7-1/2 month delay on the part of the insured in notifying the excess insurer of a possible excess verdict against the insured was not notice given "promptly" as required by the insurance policy, and as a matter of law such delay was unreasonable and nullified the policy.
- "Unintended Consequences of Additional Insured Endorsements: Coverage for an Additional Insured Where the Claim Arose from the Named Insured's Professional Services," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
- "'Gone With the Wind' Unintended Coverage: Waiver or Estoppel," Heyl Royster (1992)
- "Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Arbitration: Don't Be Put Off by Setoffs," DuPage County Bar Association Brief (2001)
- "Insurance Law Update," Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (2005)
- "What Duties are Owed to an Excess Insurer by Sophisticated Self-Insured," ABA Tort & Insurance Law Journal (1993)
- "Other Insurance" chapter in multi-volume treatise Insurance Coverage Litigation published by the West Group
- "Survey of Illinois Law: Insurance," Southern Illinois University Law Journal
- Co-author, "How Much Room Under the Umbrella - An Examination of Ancillary Insurance Relationships," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph
- Co-author, "What Every Claims Professional Needs to Know About Conflicts of Interest, Good Faith Duty to Settle and Time Limit Demands," Heyl Royster (2007)
- "Americans with Disabilities Act: Will Insurance Carriers Pay?" The International Journal of Insurance Law (1996)
- "Intentional Act Exclusion (Supplement)," chapter in Commercial and Professional Liability Insurance, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education Handbook (2010) - Download Article
- "Intentional Act Exclusions" chapter in Commercial and Professional Liability Insurance, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2008) - Download Article