For close to three decades, we have been at the forefront of defending life insurance and annuity issuers and other financial services companies in every major genre of litigation affecting the industry. Such representation includes national litigation challenging the determination of cost of insurance rates and other nonguaranteed elements, "vanishing premium" and other life insurance and annuity sales practices/market conduct cases, ERISA fiduciary duty suits, and litigation over lender placed insurance. Our lawyers not only understand the legal issues relevant to these cases, we have a deep background in our clients' products, business practices, and regulatory challenges. We work closely with our colleagues in other practice areas, including the firm's Financial Services - Regulatory, National Class Actions, and Securities and Derivative Litigation Practice Groups, to make sure that we bring the highest level of expertise to every matter.
As a result, the industry knows us well. Our lawyers have represented the vast majority of the top 25 life and annuity companies (by assets) in class action and high stakes individual product cases. The firm has successfully represented dozens of national and international insurers in hundreds of class actions throughout the United States. Indeed, we have been consistently recognized by our clients as among the top "go to" firms for national class action and high stakes litigation for the life insurance industry.
We have a national practice. We have appeared as lead counsel in state and federal courts in nearly every state, including in appeals in all 12 of the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court. But we are not simply litigators: our lawyers are prepared to try cases. We successfully defended as lead counsel what is believed to be the largest jury trial of a certified national class action involving the life insurance industry - a case involving a nationwide class of approximately 400,000 annuity contract holders seeking $2 billion in damages, in which the jury returned a verdict for our client.
Our Representative Experience
COST OF INSURANCE AND OTHER CHALLENGES TO NONGUARANTEED ELEMENT DETERMINATIONS
- We have extensive experience defending the life insurance industry in matters involving challenges to insurers' determinations regarding the cost of insurance (COI) rates in fixed and variable universal life insurance policies, including litigation regarding COI rate increases.
- We have defended against challenges to insurers' exercises of discretion with regard to other non-guaranteed elements, e.g., interest/dividend crediting, and expense allocation-related claims.
Learn more about our experience defending life insurers against challenges to their exercises of discretion in setting non-guaranteed elements.
SALES PRACTICES-MARKET CONDUCT LITIGATION
- Our litigators have wide-ranging experience defending insurers in lawsuits alleging the improper sale or marketing of life insurance and annuity products.
- Our attorneys have successfully dismissed, settled, and won trial victories in class actions claiming, inter alia, that the sales of annuities and long term care policies were misleading; that life insurance policies were marketed as having "vanishing premiums" and/or were improperly replaced; that the insurer allegedly violated the TCPA; and that plans were improperly sold as complying with I.R.S. §§ 412(i) and 409.
Learn more about our experience defending life insurance and financial services companies against sales practices and other market conduct claims.
ERISA FIDUCIARY DUTY LITIGATION
- The Firm's practice in this area is devoted to the representation of insurers, financial institutions, and employee benefit plan sponsors in the areas of class action and other complex litigation, financial product development, regulatory compliance, and regulatory monitoring and advocacy.
- Litigators from Carlton Fields Jorden Burt have extensive experience litigating fiduciary and prohibited transaction claims, as well as other alleged violations of ERISA and other federal and state laws in connection with the management of pension or welfare plan funds, the provision of trust, custodial, actuarial, accounting, and other services to plans, and the administration of employee benefit claims.
Learn more about our experience defending financial services companies against ERISA claims.
LENDER PLACED INSURANCE LITIGATION
- Competing groups of class action lawyers have filed approximately 150 high profile class actions in venues all across the United States challenging aspects of lender-placed insurance programs ("LPI"). A team of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt lawyers have represented the largest LPI underwriting group of specialty insurers, and several banks and servicers, in defending these cases.
- In addition to achieving early dismissal of several of these cases (at both the trial and appellate levels), the LPI litigation teams have developed an effective settlement strategy for the defendants, and have implemented that strategy in nationwide settlements for most of the major lenders and loan servicers. Trial and appellate courts in numerous jurisdictions have approved these settlements, often over the opposition of experienced objectors.