John F. Finnegan

Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

New York
United States
T:+1 212 408 5180
New York
United States
T:+1 212 408 5180
John F. Finnegan

John F. Finnegan

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Biography

John concentrates his practice on the insurance and reinsurance industries. His background is quite diverse and includes trying more than 35 insurance and reinsurance disputes to conclusion as lead counsel, both in court and in arbitration.  He has substantial experience handling environmental, lead paint, asbestos and other mass tort claims, as well as claims involving natural disasters, including earth movement and weather (storm) related incidents.  John's practice also includes several niche specialties, most notably, business interruption and supply chain disruption.  On occasion, John has been retained to testify as an expert witness to explain procedural and substantive principles of law in products liability and insurance coverage disputes to foreign tribunals.  In addition to his work on claims and coverage, John provides advice and counsel on myriad issues ranging from product design and development to regulatory compliance and risk management.  John regularly drafts policy and contract forms, endorsements and other instruments for use by direct insurers and reinsurers.  He was also instrumental in forming a number of reinsurance sidecars.

John has obtained rescission and comparable relief on behalf of reinsurer clients and collected hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of his cedent clients. On several occasions, he has successfully turned back challenges that finite contracts did not transfer risk or adequate risk. He has also successfully defended brokers and other professionals in malpractice claims, on several occasions obtaining summary judgment.  His clients include, or have included: insurers, reinsurers, managing agents, managing underwriters, third-party administrators, pool managers, run-off entities and brokers, in both the Property & Casualty and Life, Health & Annuity sectors.

John is active in legal and trade associations, including AIRROC and ARIAS, and regularly lectures on insurance coverage and reinsurance topics.  He served on the faculty of the Strain Seminar for five years, as well as on several committees dealing with state and federal civil practice rules and regulations.  John currently serves on the FC&S Legal editorial board and, in the past, has also served on a Law360 editorial board.


Professional experience

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JD, St. John's University School of Law, 1982
BA, Fordham University, 1979

While in law school, John was a member and then an Articles Editor of the St. John's Law Review and the Catholic Lawyer.  He was also a member of the Order of the Coif.

  • New York State Bar

Reinsurance

  • At this point in his career, John has arbitrated or litigated disputes involving most every, if not every, clause that typically is found in a reinsurance contract, including, business covered and profit commission clauses, limit, retention and premium clauses, commutation and access to records clauses, and exclusions, to name a few.  He may be one of only a handful of lawyers to litigate a reinsurer's right to wrest control of claims handling from the liquidator of an insolvent insurer.
  • John has successfully represented both cedents and reinsurers in disputes involving late notice, misrepresentation and nondisclosure, aggregation and accumulation of claims, application of aggregate extension/extraction clauses and batch wording, number of occurrences, the recoverability of declaratory judgment expenses and expenses in addition to limits, the recoverability of XPL and ECO, claims cooperation and cash calls.
  • John's experience is not limited to the property and casualty sector and includes numerous life, health and annuity disputes, often involving bespoke contract language that arguably does not reflect the parties' actual intent.  In recent years, he has handled several controversies dealing with yearly renewable term business.  He has substantial experience with pools and associations, having represented entities in all facets of this type of business, including pool managers and fronting companies.


Direct Insurance

  • John regularly prepares coverage analyses for insurers in connection with professional indemnity and directors and officers liability claims, appearing for his clients at mediations, often obtaining meaningful discounts on their exposures.  He has broad experience evaluating the applicability of interrelated claim clauses.
  • He has represented insurers in class action lawsuits commenced in numerous jurisdictions, including Georgia, Alabama and Texas, navigating those controversies, each of which involved allegations of market misconduct, to favorable settlements.
  • John has also represented insurers in claims commenced against them by terminated and/or disgruntled agents, managing general agents and managing general underwriters, and has represented insurers' interests in regulatory proceedings involving terminated or soon to be terminated agents.  He has obtained temporary restraining orders, as well as other relief, in actions by his clients against former employees who possessed confidential or other proprietary information.


Miscellaneous

  • John has successfully represented insurance brokers and reinsurance intermediaries in claims against them alleging malpractice, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.  Following one bench trial, the judge accepted his proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law without any edits or revisions.  The decision was later affirmed on appeal, based on the trial court's opinion.
  • John has also successfully represented insurers in challenging proposed regulations and in mitigating penalties assessed for violating statutory or other regulatory provisions.
  • "Reinsurance, Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts," 4th ed. Thomson Reuters 2017 (as annually supplemented)
  • "Introduction to Reinsurance," Lawline, May 28, 2015
  • "Follow the Settlements: An Update," AIRROC Education Day, October 2014
  • "Second Circuit Reinstates Arbitration Award Obtained By Chadbourne for Travelers; Finds No "Evident Partiality", Client Alert, February 7, 2012