Financial, Professional Liability, Business Interruption
and Property Insurance
The ability to recognize an archaic but subtle difference in a policy form may mean the difference between success and failure.
Hoke LLC has represented and advised corporations throughout the U.S. and abroad in financial services and business insurance matters arising out of failed business ventures, shareholder disputes, investment management decisions, malpractice, breaches of fiduciary duty, environmental pollution, natural and man-made disasters and other crises. Insurance implicated in these representations included:
- D&O, E&O and cyber coverages, including industry-specific policies;
- ERISA, fiduciary liability, employment practices, employee benefits, and workers’ compensation coverages;
- Business interruption coverage, found in pollution liability, property and other first-party policies;
- Commercial crime, kidnap and ransom and other crisis coverage.
Steve Hoke has litigated financial professional liability issues his entire career. When he represented insurers, he litigated FinPro coverage issues and drafted D & O policy forms for a major insurer. As policyholder counsel, he continues to litigate and advise corporations in various industry sectors with respect to their commercial liabilities. He has conducted and supervised the renewals of D & O and all other coverages for a major Fortune 500 policyholder. He was lead counsel in the successful shareholder derivative litigation involving the leading national bank bond firm now known as Performance Trust Capital Partners. Since the successful takeover of the firm by its original founders, Rich Berg and Phil Nussbaum, he has represented them and the company closely in various legal including general corporate advice, FINRA disputes, litigation regarding failed business ventures and regulatory investigations. Steve has a Kellogg MBA, and he has two years experience as an investment banker serving the real estate and bank sectors. Jake Mihm and Analyst, Kevin Meshek, have both worked with Steve on all of these issues collectively for over 30 years.
Laura Meredith Geiger, formerly of Reed Smith and Morgan Lewis, has spent the majority of her 20 year legal career providing FinPro and business insurance advice to major corporate policyholders. Laura has provided business interruption and other insurance coverage advice regarding, and in the wake of, natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Superstorm Sandy (2012), worldwide virus spread, including SARS (2002) and H5N1 (2008), and financial crises, including the events of 2008 and their financial repercussions.
Our in-house Risk Management Consultant, Claudia Temple, is the former Risk Manager at Mondolez, Kraft, BorgWarner, Brunswick and Brightview and has 30 years of deep hands-on experience working in all areas of commercial insurance including property, liability, FinPro and business interruption insurance.
Select representations include:
- After being retained post-denial, implementing a different recovery strategy and approach, overcame a business interruption denial for food industry client securing full coverage resulting from a total-loss event.
- Within six months of filing suit on behalf of our national custodian trust firm client, successfully settled the case seeking coverage under an AIG-issued D&O and Bankers Professional Liability policy for suits by underlying plaintiffs claiming they were victims of a $100M Ponzi scheme.
- Using a ninety-year old statute, obtained a first-ever judicial finding that one of the largest insurers in the world was not properly admitted to do business in Illinois, forcing the insurer to post a bond for the full amount at issue in the underlying cases in order to be allowed to defend itself in the coverage action. Within a week of the ruling, the insurer agreed to begin covering our Fortune 500 client’s 50,000 asbestos claims after refusing for years to do so.
- Within a month of being hired by our Fortune 500 publicly traded mining equipment client due to a claim denial by its Fiduciary Liability insurer, managed to settle the matter recovering approximately 65% of the underlying settlement despite the fact fiduciary policies generally only cover defense expenses.
- Obtained full defense from Hartford under a D & O liability policy for a lawsuit alleging that an important recently launched product was based on misappropriated trade secrets. The complaint was filed by a competitor and alleged that one of its former employees that had been hired by our client had stolen intellectual property which included the design of the product. The claim was tendered for a defense but was denied on various grounds including that trade secret theft was excluded. Within a month of being retained, and without filing suit, we developed a compelling argument for coverage and the carrier reversed its position agreeing to provide a full defense for both the claim against the company as well as a separate claim against the employee.
- Steve Hoke was retained by a Fortune 500 company to direct the annual multi-line renewal when the Risk Manager left unexpectedly before year-end. He supervised the placement of the D & O, General Liability, general FinPro and other relevant coverages.
- Precedent setting dismissal of a $600M coverage action on behalf of our Fortune 100 insured by successfully arguing that it would prejudice the defense of the underlying claim: preserved an estimated $5M-$10Mper annum defense expense. Sustained on appeal.
- Successful representation of an asset management firm in coverage dispute over claims by local union chapter involving alleged errors and omissions in its management of retirement funds.
- Principal outside counsel for national broker-dealer selling fixed-income products, including representation on issues such as suitability of products, employment and shareholder disputes.
- Obtained insurance coverage for two class actions: 1) an EU manufacturer of over 1,000,000 allegedly dangerous and defective vehicles from a complicated international insurance program with substantial SIR and captive components; and 2) a national food distributor prominently accused in the media of systematic racial discrimination in hiring.
- Successful representation of a prominent fixed income broker-dealer against a North Carolina corporation and its Directors & Officers over a failed business venture.
- Prevailed in an arbitration in which a CEO and majority shareholder in a prominent financial services firm allegedly over-paid himself approximately $30M, resulting in the CEO filing personal bankruptcy. Represented the minority shareholders throughout the process including the purchase of the CEO’s stock in bankruptcy, and later represented the company successfully in post-purchase regulatory and insurance litigation and other proceedings.
- After an initial claim denial, full recovery for a Fortune 500 policyholder for damage to yachts stored in a Spanish boat yard building destroyed by fire.
- Full recovery via settlement of a first-party property claim for a fire that destroyed a commercial building and grocery store within 6 months of the original full claim denial and without resort to litigation.
- Steve served as a registered lobbyist on behalf of a Fortune 500 client with respect to legislation that would have seriously limited the value of its outstanding insurance, successfully lobbying for defeat of adverse legislation.
- Successful representation of a company whose business was interrupted by a roof explosion that resulted in denial of access to the building for an extended period of time.
Hoke LLC welcomes Robert Muriel (Partner) and Amalia Rioja (of Counsel).
- Hoke LLC Case Named Top Insurance Decision in U.S. in 2019 by Law360, Law.com, P&C 360 and RM Magazine
- “Private Equity Wants to Buy Your Asbestos Liability” Steve Hoke Article in Law 360
- Hoke LLC in the Media: Law 360, Business Insurance, Bloomberg, JD Supra
- Recovery of $1.8B for Asbestos and Pollution Policyholders
- Overcame Business Interruption Denial for Food Industry Client Securing Full Coverage
- Stephen Hoke Super Lawyer for 14th Consecutive Year and a 2020 Best Lawyer in America
“Steve won the most important case in our company’s history after seven large firms said it was unwinnable. His uncanny ability to quickly and correctly assess complex situations is extraordinary.”