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- About MMM
Morris, Manning & Martin is well-known for its exceptional practice in the insurance industry. Our lawyers possess in-depth industry knowledge and experience navigating complex insurance regulations and practices. Insurers, reinsurers, agencies, administrators, alternative risk vehicles, acquirers and investors regularly engage the industry-focused Insurance & Reinsurance Practice of Morris, Manning & Martin.
Our lawyers manage complex legal issues in the insurance arena, from mergers to alternative risk financing. We regularly advise clients on staying in compliance with regulations, entering new markets, navigating securitization laws or creating effective online insurance ventures. At all stages of insurance transactions, the Insurance and Reinsurance Practice enables sound deals that achieve your business objectives.
Along with primary and reinsurance carriers, our clients include captives, risk retention groups, agencies, new online insurance ventures and financial institutions with an insurance presence. Our lawyers have been instrumental in captive regulations on all levels, from penning provisions of the federal law to advising leading states on amending their laws to benefit all sides. Partner Robert “Skip” Myers was named in the Top 5 of Captive Review’s 2012 and 2013 Power 50 List, making him one of the world’s leading authorities on captive insurance. In 2012, MMM was recognized at the U.S. Captive Services Awards as the best onshore law firm for its work in the captive insurance industry.
Morris, Manning & Martin knows offshore rules and practices, and our veteran team counsels clients on a host of regulatory needs. Formation of an alternative market mechanism – from domiciling a captive to structuring tiered coverage – can be handled with confidence by the thorough, informed legal team at MMM.
Our insurance litigators handle a broad range of litigation, regulatory and arbitration matters, ranging from insurance coverage and allocation issues to class actions, business torts and insurer insolvencies.
Whether in-house counsel needs guidance on employment laws in Florida or a claims manager requires representation in a distant arbitration proceeding, the reach and resources of MMM ensure swift resolution guided by industry best practices. With an office in the nation’s capital, the Insurance and Reinsurance Practice’s leadership, advocacy and counsel on industry regulation keep clients on top of new and emerging laws that affect industry business. Regulators have often sought our representation in reorganizations and rehabilitations. Carriers know our firm’s savvy in statutory accounting and reserving issues will cover their risks as surely as their policies do for insureds. We collaborate closely with other MMM practices to provide effective and efficient legal services.
Transactions. Regulation. Dispute resolution. Across all lines, insurance clients count on our lawyers for counseling excellence.
Morris, Manning & Martin is nationally known for its Alternative Risk Transfer Practice. Headed by Robert “Skip” Myers, the lawyers in this practice have established and worked with captive insurance companies in all major U.S. domiciles and many of the offshore domiciles including Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Barbados and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Myers was Washington counsel for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners from 1983-1987. During this period, Congress passed the Liability Risk Retention Act. Mr. Myers is now the outside General Counsel for the National Risk Retention Association and he frequently makes presentations to industry conferences and NAIC working groups. In 2012 and 2013, Mr. Myers was named in the Top 5 of Captive Review’s Power 50 List, making him one of the world’s leading authorities on captive insurance.
In 2012, MMM was recognized at the U.S. Captive Services Awards as best onshore [U.S.] law firm for its work in the captive insurance industry. MMM was selected from a group of seven leading national law firms, each nominated by industry representatives. In 2013, the firm was ‘highly commended’ and recognized in the same category.
The following are sample Alternative Risk Transfer projects the firm has handled:
Single-Parent (Pure) Captives
We have established pure captives in several domiciles for purposes of reinsuring the general liability risk of affiliated entities as well as the risk of members of a national association. We have also established several captives as part of a terrorism risk insurance program under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.
Group captives can be useful for associations or existing groups of similar business entities. We have established several group captives to provide reinsurance for member risks.
Risk Retention Groups
We have established numerous risk retention groups in a variety of domiciles. The two most common types of insurance provided by the RRGs are medical malpractice and construction liability. All forms of commercial liability are possible.
We have established two cell captives under the District of Columbia protected cell law.
Our lawyers have established two nonprofit captives for religious entities and obtained the appropriate tax exemption for the provision of insurance as part of their exempt function.
We have redomesticated several captives from one U.S. domicile to another and from the Cayman Islands to a U.S. domicile.
The reinsurance component of any captive program is always important. We have prepared a wide variety of reinsurance documents and reviewed and revised documents prepared by others. We represent clients in their disputes regarding reinsurance.
Captive insurance company taxation (both income and premium) determines the nature of the captive program along with the selection of the domicile. Our lawyers have extensive experience in these matters.
Agents, Brokers and Captive Managers
We represent numerous agents, brokers and captive managers regarding their legal issues. They are a primary source of referrals for us regarding the creation of captive and other group programs.
Representation of Regulatory Authorities
We have represented the District of Columbia on several insurance matters during the past few years. Skip Myers has served as Special Deputy Commissioner in two rehabilitations/liquidations and has been special counsel for the D.C. Insurance Administration on several occasions.
Data privacy and security is pivotal. Data – client data, customer data, vendor data, patient data, personnel data – is core to operating a business, as such it must be properly protected and maintained. The number of data breach incidents has increased sharply over the past few years. Given the potential costs associated with a data breach or cyber-attack, companies need a law firm with significant regulatory, risk management and litigation experience. Morris, Manning & Martin’s Data Security, Privacy & Breach practice offers a wealth of experience guiding clients through such situations, managing them in the most effective way possible to optimize compliance, limit risk and minimize damages.
We provide a broad spectrum of specialized services which pull from several key practices including regulatory, litigation, insurance, financial services, healthcare, and technology. We recognize that the flow of information between businesses, consumers, and third-party vendors is becoming increasingly faster and more difficult to protect. While the vast array of data presents numerous opportunities and advantages, it also presents tremendous risks and exposure to potential cyber-liabilities.
Our specialized industry experience ensures we have the right lawyers in place to address regulatory compliance and breaches in a myriad of industries. We represent a diverse group of clients with respect to data security breaches, including financial institutions, payment processing vendors, retailers, health care providers, hospitality, travel & leisure, high-tech companies, and insurance issuers.
The means by which we communicate information has exploded in the past few decades and as each channel becomes available, the rules for protecting them must be created and the exposures they reveal must be examined. Clients need experienced, responsive counsel to help make sense of the opportunities and issues these channels present, as well as provide an understanding of the different rules associated with each, developing appropriate policies, and handling potential data breaches.
MMM’s Data Security, Privacy & Breach Practice assists businesses of all sizes and types with:
Our lawyers have a thorough knowledge of the state, federal and international data privacy and security laws which apply to data breaches. For instance, our team regularly analyzes and applies the following laws to data breaches across various industries and circumstances:
We also advise clients with regard to state security breach notification laws and other state laws dealing with the privacy and security of personal information.
In the event of a breach, our integrated approach ensures that the best privacy, internal investigations and securities legal counseling is provided in a coordinated manner at a time when companies feel the most vulnerable. We have extensive experience working on cyber security matters with federal officials, investigators, the FTC and other government agencies. In addition, our corporate and securities lawyers have counseled the leaders of many top companies and their boards of directors in disclosure requirements arising from data security breaches.
Areas in which MMM provides specific advice pertaining to data breaches & security include:
Privacy of Consumer Information
Businesses must be hyper-cognizant of regulations concerning the protection of consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII), particularly those within the healthcare and insurance industries. Those that collect, use, and store PII – such as names, addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, credit information, and social security numbers – are subject to an increasing number of state and federal laws and regulations that require privacy notices to consumers, patients, employees, and the rigorous protection of PII. Noncompliance with these requirements, as well as data breaches resulting in sensitive information being released to unauthorized persons, can result in substantial fines, penalties and other legal liability, as well as public relations concerns.
Businesses are also subject to a plethora of regulations concerning marketing practices. We regularly counsel clients on the CAN-SPAM Act, Do Not Call and Telemarketing Sales laws among others, analyzing whether existing and prospective advertising campaigns and promotions are fully compliant. MMM’s lawyers are also experienced with the unique issues presented by new media outlets such as social networking sites, blogs, and mobile advertising, and we advise businesses on how to protect themselves while taking advantage of powerful, new communication tools.
Privacy of Healthcare Information
We regularly counsel clients on healthcare-related privacy regulations, such as those mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the HITECH provisions of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, which imposes civil and criminal penalties for mishandling medical records upon healthcare providers and the many businesses that support them.
Privacy of Financial Information
MMM counsels clients regarding the rapidly evolving body of regulations aimed at protecting financial information. Under FTC regulations adopted pursuant to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, companies that offer financial products or services to individuals (consumer lending, tax preparation, financial advice or credit counseling, residential real estate settlement, and consumer debt collection) must comply with the Financial Privacy Rule, Safeguards Rule, and antipretexting provisions. The FTC’s “Red Flags Rule” requires virtually every business that extends credit to consumers to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. We are experienced in helping businesses understand their obligations and developing practical compliance methods.
Our Data Security, Privacy & Breach Practice is experienced with analyzing the internal practices of large and small employers, and the steps taken to maintain privacy compliance in the workplace. We advise employers on the development of systematic and consistent data protection policies across various company functions, such as the implementation of effective staff training to increase sensitivity to data privacy concerns and the maintenance of physical and technological safeguards for sensitive data, such as passwords, encryption, and data retention/destruction policies. Equally important, we advise employers regarding workplace monitoring and searches, the handling of medical records, employees’ personal use of office technology (e-mail, computers, phones), and social media.
Breach Management and Litigation
The evolution of privacy regulations has been paralleled by a significant increase in the penalties associated with breaches of privacy. The price of a compromise of confidential information is steep – it can result in fines reaching millions of dollars along with significant public relations and customer service challenges. The lawyers in our Data Security & Breach Practice offer a wealth of experience guiding clients through such situations, managing them in the most effective way possible to minimize damages, and correcting mistakes to ensure future compliance.
MMM lawyers have advised clients on a wide variety of data security and privacy matters, including the following:
The Insurance and Reinsurance Dispute Resolution Practice at Morris, Manning & Martin combines best practices in litigation and arbitration with extensive experience serving the insurance industry.
Strategic Legal Services
Morris, Manning & Martin represents a broad array of insurers and reinsurers in complex litigation and arbitration matters, including coverage disputes, agent misconduct situations, product torts, RICO claims, reinsurance disputes and contested regulatory matters. We analyze the substantive and procedural law to identify available forums and seek the most favorable venue. For example, the application of the reinsurance principle of utmost good faith varies sharply by jurisdiction, as does the approach taken by differing courts with regard to parallel proceedings, stays or injunctions. In each instance, we are focused on a strategic, substantive defense designed to achieve the specific goals of our client.
Our litigation and arbitration professionals possess in-depth insurance and reinsurance industry knowledge. This real-world experience allows us to effectively and efficiently advise clients in all aspects of insurance and reinsurance dispute resolutions. Members of our practice have extensive jury trial experience, as well as specialized insurance and reinsurance arbitration experience, and our lawyers have served as arbitrators in such disputes. When we analyze issues and recommend solutions, we consider not only the procedural and substantive matters relevant to the specific dispute, but also the costs, the potential for settlement or mediation and the effect of alternative outcomes on future strategies and exposures. With a broad view of how the industry works, we concentrate on an overall solution that best serves the interests of our client.
Morris, Manning & Martin’s Insurance lawyers speak frequently to the industry on regulatory, litigation, reinsurance, healthcare and insurer insolvency matters. We are regularly retained by insurers and industry associations to submit amicus briefs to appellate courts. From an office in Washington D.C., we provide review and counsel to Congress and regulators on evolving issues, such as the question of federal oversight.
Our attorneys work everyday with insurance departments across the country. We advise clients on regulatory requirements and administrative procedures and represent clients before regulators and administrative agencies. Additionally, we have served as counsel to the insurance commissioners of both Georgia and Michigan in insurer rehabilitations and liquidations involving Confederation Life Insurance and Annuity Company and Coastal States Life Insurance Company.
Relationships across the U.S. and in financial centers around the world give MMM’s attorneys the ability to act on a client’s behalf wherever a problem arises. For national representation by a team of respected industry veterans, insurance and reinsurance clients rely on our counseling excellence.
The Insurance Corporate and Regulatory Practice combines our extensive corporate experience with our in-depth regulatory knowledge to represent all entities in the insurance industry fully and effectively.
Strategic Legal Services
The Insurance Regulatory and Corporate Practice has a national and international focus, combining our unique knowledge of the insurance industry with our broader specialties in corporate and tax law. The result is a highly effective practice focused on the insurance industry that leverages our knowledge and skills to deliver legal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Industry Leadership and Relationships
Morris, Manning & Martin's Insurance lawyers frequently speak on regulatory, privacy, alternative risk, insolvency, taxation and other matters. We attend all NAIC quarterly meetings, as well other meetings such as those sponsored by the American Insurance Association, Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP), Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), American Council of Life Insurers, National Alliance of Life Companies (NALC), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA), National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA). We are also active participants in the Federation of Regulatory Counsel (FORC) and State Law Resources, and several of our attorneys have served as president of FORC.
Through our active representation of clients we have developed strong working relationships with regulators throughout the country. These relationships are one key to our success and ability to deliver timely results and achieve our clients’ goals.
Understanding Your Needs
Morris, Manning & Martin has a national insurance practice focused on the needs of Managing General Agents (MGAs). Few law firms understand and appreciate the broad and ongoing needs of MGAs; thus, in 2002, the firm formed this focused group to apply our knowledge and experience to this important, underserved segment of the insurance industry. MMM is a member of the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA).
MMM has substantial experience as principal outside counsel to MGAs. The firm leverages its in-depth understanding of the MGA industry to assist MGAs with complex corporate transactions involving the acquisition of companies or programs, mergers and corporate consolidations.
In the last 18 months our group has completed 11 corporate transactions with an aggregate value of approximately $150 million.
Contractual Matters and Disputes
The firm routinely litigates a variety of matters for MGAs, including defending bad faith claims, indemnity claims from insurers or reinsurers and class actions. As such, we have experience drafting and negotiating agency and program management/MGA agreements, as well as handling licensing, taxation and regulatory matters. MGAs spend substantial time and recourse cultivating networks of specialized agents. These networks have real value but often are not protected in the absence of special attention. We are experienced in drafting and negotiating MGA contracts, making the most out of what often is the MGA’s weaker and problematic bargaining position as compared to the insurer.
MMM understands the crucial considerations in negotiating an MGA agreement such as the breadth of exclusivity and the insurer’s authority to compete via other agents or in-house personnel; the insurer’s authority to change underwriting or pricing criteria, particularly where such changes effectively could preclude the MGA from competing in the marketplace; the insurer’s right to terminate or suspend the MGA’s authority; the timing of notice before the insurer may undertake any adverse action; the MGA’s post-termination rights to ”expirations” and the insurer’s authority to compete for subproducers and existing policy holders; the calculation of bonus commissions and the breadth of discretion accorded to the insurer in setting reserves; and the MGA’s right to commissions after termination.
Insurers have developed contract forms that favor the insurer. We assist MGAs in gauging their leverage and in identifying the important points for negotiations.
Captive Formation and Structuring
MGAs often want more control over their profitable programs but lack the capital necessary to become a fully licensed and admitted insurance company. Captives are a viable alternative that allow MGAs to better capture the profits on a book of business at a more affordable cost than owning a full insurance company.
MMM Partner Robert ”Skip” Myers was named in the Top 5 of Captive Review’s 2012 Power 50 List, making him one of the world’s leading authorities on captive insurance. The practice was also honored as the Best U.S. Law Firm for Captive Insurance at the 2012 U.S. Captive Service Awards.
Litigation and Arbitration
MGAs often become involved in litigation or arbitrations. On the plaintiff’s side, following termination of an MGA relationship, the MGA may need to resort to litigation or arbitration to obtain commissions and bonuses and to protect its agency network from insurers or competing MGAs. On the defendant’s side, the MGA often is sued in matters involving the alleged misconduct of a subproducer or matters brought by the insurer or an insured for professional negligence.
We have extensive experience in litigating insurance and agency matters. We counsel our clients in setting strategic objectives and focus upon obtaining those objectives as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Given that many MGA contracts contain arbitration clauses, our extensive experience in arbitration is invaluable. We are knowledgeable in negotiating such clauses, an exercise which may have a dispositive effect in resolving future disputes, and in handling the arbitrations themselves.
Handling the wide array of legal matters faced by MGAs requires knowledge of the business and experience in applying that knowledge. Morris, Manning & Martin’s lawyers bring that knowledge and experience to the table.
The Title Insurance Practice combines the extensive knowledge and experience of the firm’s Insurance and Reinsurance Practice with the firm’s recognized expertise in all facets of real estate.
Title insurance sits at the intersection of insurance and real estate. While regulated to varying degrees as insurance in different states, it has unique distribution channels and products. As a crucial component of the real estate market, insurance issues mix with market realities and core title principles. Morris, Manning & Martin brings focused experience in both.
Regulators historically have focused intermittently on title insurance with focused attention to hot topics, such as pricing, RESPA and market conduct inquiries, followed by periods of quiet. In those states where attorney-agents predominate, insurance regulation may clash with attorney regulation. The Title Insurance Practice can bring its national regulatory experience and extensive real estate knowledge to bear as issues arise.
Title Analysis and Defense
In defending title matters, nothing is more important than counsel with extensive working knowledge of substantive real estate title law, as well as available remedies. Our lawyers have decades of experience in analyzing title issues, devising the most effective resolution and implementing remedial measures.
Coverage and Subrogation
Title coverage is relatively unique in that it covers a matter that already exists but is unknown to the insurer. Given this inherent moral hazard, as well as potential disputes over the existence and nature of any insurable loss, coverage analysis is crucially important in title insurance. Our lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced with respect to a title insurer’s duties to indemnify and/or defend title and, in some circumstances, to clear title. Moreover, a finding of a failure of title and concomitant loss does not end the inquiry. Title insurers often are favorably positioned to enforce rights of indemnity and subrogation. We are experienced in enforcing those rights and, just as important, in identifying the best time and vehicle for doing so.
Title insurers have a unique agency structure which includes attorney-agents. This structure brings special regulatory, contractual and indemnity issues. During periods of economic stress, agencies may become financially impaired leading to receiverships, bankruptcies and competing claims to accounts and assets. Our Title Insurance Practice blends its insurance expertise with its experience in creditors’ rights and bankruptcy to assist title insurers in addressing these problems.
Because substantive title insurance issues often lead to litigation, title insurance counsel must be able to handle serious and complex litigation effectively and efficiently. Our team of professionals has the expertise and experience to devise and implement an effective, efficient and cost-effective litigation strategy. Whether the matter involves a single coverage plaintiff or a class action alleging pricing or RESPA violations, our lawyers have the knowledge and disciplined focus to help.