A trusted advocate for decades, we continue to offer skillful coverage advice and innovative defense to insurers.
Insurance companies encounter numerous scenarios where they benefit from the perspective of outside attorneys who are experienced, knowledgeable, and sensitive to issues unique to insurance carriers. Heyl Royster has been that trusted advocate for decades. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing carriers and guiding them through all matters.
We are frequently called upon to provide experienced coverage advice and innovative defense strategies to challenging, extra-contractual claims. We counsel insurers on claims handling and represent them in cases alleging improper claim practices, which can involve the thorny intersection of common law insurance law principles and regulatory obligations applicable to carriers. Simply put, Heyl Royster has the skill and experience necessary to help the insurance industry navigate today’s complex and demanding legal and regulatory environments.
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- Claims handling counseling
- Coverage advice and litigation, including first-party property and third-party coverage litigation
- Extra-contractual litigation
- First-party property investigations and litigation (including potential fraud investigations)
- Interpleader litigation
- Natural disasters
WHEN EXPERIENCE MATTERS
With a team of experienced defense attorneys and a multi-disciplinary approach to resolving your insurance disputes, Heyl Royster is unlike any other insurance defense firm. From coverage advice and litigation to fraud and claims handling, you can trust our insurance services attorneys to provide you with the expert legal representation your case deserves.
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Ms. B v. Insurance Company, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois – Plaintiffs' insurance policy lapsed after failing to make timely premium payments. Twenty-one hours after the policy had lapsed, a fire destroyed the plaintiffs' home. The plaintiffs paid their insurance premiums immediately following the fire. The defendant's insurer advised the insured that the policy was not in force on the day of the fire and refunded a portion of the premium. The plaintiffs filed suit for breach of contract and bad faith against the insurer and agent. The agent was quickly dismissed from the suit. The plaintiffs argued that there were waiver issues and that the insurer had a pattern and practice of accepting late payments without a disruption in coverage. Alternatively, plaintiffs argued that they made advanced premium payments. Therefore the cancellation was improper. The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.
Mr. Z v. Insurance Company, Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – An insured claimed that his pipe burst in his rental property, causing a significant loss. The insurer denied the claim after learning that the insured had failed to maintain heat and/or winterize the pipes as required by the insurance policy. The insured offered several new theories for the loss, which were ultimately proven false by the testimony of various witnesses and utility providers. As a result, the trial court granted summary judgment, finding that the policy exclusion applied and that the insurance company did not act in bad faith.
Reeder v. Auto Owners Ins. Co., 2016 IL App (3d) 150252-U – Obtained summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners in a case where plaintiffs claimed they were entitled to coverage under an insurance policy issued to the prior car owner. The firm also argued the case before the Third District Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court's order, holding that following the sale of the car, the prior owners had no insurable interest in the vehicle. In addition, the court found that the omnibus clause of the policy could not be interpreted as offering coverage to the purchasers of the car.
Demond v. Ameriprise Insurance Company, 13-CV-00649-JPG-PMF, 2015 WL 1256515 (S.D. Ill. Mar. 17, 2015) – The court granted summary judgment in favor of two insurers on the plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, finding that the plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence of the "extreme" mental distress necessary to support the cause of action.
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London v. Central Mutual Insurance Co., 2014 IL App (1st) 133145, 12 N.E.3d 762 – Representation of Central Mutual Insurance Company (Central) and its insured (Subcontractor) in a case in which the general contractor (Builder) and its insurer, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London (Underwriters) claimed that Central should have been the primary insurer regarding coverage for severe personal injuries that allegedly occurred to a worker at a home construction site. The dispute arose because, although the subcontractor was contractually obligated to maintain insurance for the builder, the subcontractor agreement was silent as to whether this additional coverage was to be primary or excess. At the trial court level, the firm succeeded in getting Underwriter's declaratory action dismissed on the motion for summary judgment, and the Underwriters appealed. On appeal, the First District agreed with the firm, holding that Central's insurance would be considered excess. There would be no duty to defend or indemnify unless the primary limits were exceeded.
Insurance Company v. Mr. & Mrs. S, Circuit Court, Jefferson County, Illinois – After insureds were sued for injuries to a foster child living in their residence, they sought a defense to the claim under their homeowners' insurance. The homeowner's insurer retained us. We filed a declaratory judgment, arguing that the injury to the insured exclusion of the policy precluded coverage because the foster child was a resident of the insured's household. After discovering and submitting cross-motions for summary judgment, the circuit court entered judgment in the homeowner insurer's favor, finding that it had no duty to defend the insureds.
Velazquez v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co., 2011 IL App (5th) 100444-U – Illinois Appellate Court for the Fifth District affirmed the dismissal of a Section 155 claim against an insurer on the grounds that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring the Section 155 claim. In doing so, the Appellate Court reaffirmed the general rule that only an insured or an insured's assignee has standing to bring a Section 155 claim.
Insurance Company v. Mr. & Mrs. W, Circuit Court, St. Clair County, Illinois – After insureds were sued by their child for injuries stemming from abuse to their child by a family acquaintance, they brought a defense to the claim under their homeowner's policy. We were retained by the insurer and filed a declaratory judgment action, asserting that the injury to the insured exclusion precluded coverage. After filing a summary judgment motion, the insurer entered judgment in the insurer's favor, finding that it had no duty to defend the insureds.
Hobbs v. Hartford Ins. Co. of the Midwest, 214 Ill. 2d 11, 823 N.E.2d 561 (2005) – The statement: "If a premium charge does not appear, that coverage is not provided" appearing on an insurance policy declarations sheet does not address the issue of stacking and cannot reasonably be read as contradictory to the anti-stacking clause in the policy. The policy must be construed as a whole.
Yacko v. Curtis, 339 Ill. App. 3d 299, 789 N.E.2d 1274 (4th Dist. 2003) – Upholding insurer's cancellation of automobile insurance policy for nonpayment.
General Casualty Ins. Co. v. Lacey, 199 Ill. 2d 281, 769 N.E.2d 18 (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.
B. v. Insurance Company, Circuit Court, Rock Island County, Illinois – Successful defense at jury trial of an alleged breach of contract claim in which the insurer asserted material misrepresentation and arson defenses.
Roberts v. Northland Ins. Co., 185 Ill. 2d 262, 705 N.E.2d 762 (1998) – 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 Worker's Compensation setoff first, after which the excess insurer could take any remainder; and that public policy precluded either insurer from taking a setoff for the insured's social security disability benefits.
T.H.E. Insurance Co. v. City of Alton, 227 F.3d 802 (7th Cir. 2000) – Whether a certificate of insurance can modify the language contained in the policy of insurance.
Cramer v. Insurance Exchange Agency, 174 Ill. 2d 513, 675 N.E.2d 897 (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.
General Cas. Co. of Illinois v. Juhl, 283 Ill. App. 3d 376, 669 N.E.2d 1211 (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. As a matter of law, such delay was unreasonable and nullified the policy.
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 the excess carrier for expenses excess carrier incurred in defending police officers and city in civil rights litigation arising from arrest.
Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. v. Gulf Ins. Co., 837 F.2d 767 (7th Cir. 1988) – Interpretation of conflicting additional insured clauses in insurance policies.
Prudential Property & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Scott, 161 Ill. App. 3d 372, 514 N.E.2d 595 (4th Dist. 1987) – Interpretation and application of a family exclusion clause in an automobile insurance policy.