Practice Areas

Practice Areas

Directors and Officers

Risk is always the name of the game for underwriters, but directors and officers insurance poses distinct challenges. Whether claims result from a stock offering, a merger, a restatement of earnings or other major corporate event, they have the potential to bring any company to its knees. D&O claims also tend to be highly intricate—and can take years to resolve. 

With decades of claims-handling experience and sharp analytical skills, Mendes can lighten the burden for underwriters facing high-stakes D&O matters, whether involving commercial corporations or financial institutions. We are adept at claims reporting, recommending reserves and enforcing coverage terms. Our lawyers frequently participate in settlement negotiations, and—with respect for policy obligations—work to conclude all claims on the most favorable terms for our clients. 

We do not waste time on the non-essential
Experience has honed our estimating skills. Our views on the likely course of claims are well-informed, and we are practiced in cost projections. Mendes maintains easily accessible files of past settlement agreements and other agreements relevant to current cases.

In reporting to our clients, we focus upon the future path of the claim, not the minutiae of past legal maneuvering. Our clients depend on us for reserve recommendations in most cases. We have dealt with “headline” cases and other very significant claims, but avoid the easy path of proposing full-limits reserves merely because a case is financial news or involves significant players or amounts. Instead, we carefully evaluate the insureds’ defenses to the claim, identify the proper coverage issues, and recommend reserves accordingly.

Our lawyers also have excellent relationship skills, so we know how to deal with all players, whether we are upholding an insurer’s interests or liaising with an insured to smooth ruffled feathers when it is necessary to deny coverage. Ideally, insurance is a continuing relationship. We know that our insurer clients, even when engaged in a dispute or facing a loss, will likely want to continue the insurance relationship and we keep that in mind. We approach cases with a business sense, not just a lawyer’s eye. D&O cases involve sophisticated insureds and often far-reaching corporate effects, and almost every one is different—we do not process them assembly-line style.

Power of the written word
Whether the objective is to cover or exclude risks, we find the correct policy language for the project. We analyze policy terms and endorsements and craft policy and endorsement wordings to accomplish clients’ precise intentions. Mendes is acutely aware of the perspective courts bring to policy wordings, and we apply this knowledge to our analyses and our writing. Past experience often has current application. We maintain indexed files with policy wordings, policy wording questions and endorsements.

Reinsurer claims audits
Mendes frequently conducts on-site claims audits for reinsurers. We carefully review insurers’ files related to a particular program or class of business for a given time period, retrieve relevant information, analyze it and load it on to our state-of-the-art data management system. All data retrieved is then shared with reinsurer clients through the firm’s secure, 24/7 Web portal. The information is useful for judging how claims on reinsurers’ books are likely to unfold, and it also helps determine if reserves are adequate.

Banks, investment banks, securities brokerages and other financial institutions
Directors and officers’ policies are often written in conjunction with financial institutions’ errors and omissions policies, so Mendes’ D&O practice frequently involves these claims as well. The legal areas relevant to E&O claims are often the same as those pertaining to D&O claims—securities law, stockholder class actions, etc., so we are equally adept in managing them. We are currently, as of 2009, handling claims involving two of the largest financial institutions’ bankruptcies.