Practice Areas

Practice Areas


Since our earliest days, our diverse insurance practice has included specialization in reinsurance, involving a broad spectrum of reinsurance products and claims. As the reinsurance industry has evolved over time, so has our expertise and close association with the reinsurance market. Today we are recognized worldwide as an industry leader in reinsurance claims,  coverage analysis and dispute resolution. 

Early on, our thorough understanding of the development of reinsurance products, unique cedant-reinsurer relationships and reinsurance custom and practice allows us to partner with our clients in reaching their commercial goals and strengthening their commercial relationships. With the advent of more diverse and complex reinsurance products, and the onslaught of asbestos, health hazard, environmental pollution and other long-tail claims which engulfed the insurance industry in the early 1980s, cedants and reinsurers alike were faced with significant challenges in maintaining their traditional relationships and at the same time advancing and protecting their contractual rights. Since then, Mendes has counseled reinsurers on virtually every type of reinsurance claim and dispute arising in connection with underlying asbestos personal injury and property damage claims, environmental pollution claims and an expanse of health hazard claims including silicosis, berylliosis, hearing loss, repetitive strain, and lead exposure as well as products liability claims including breast implants, masks and respirators, blood products and medical devices. We have guided our clients through intricate and massive claim presentations, analysis of underlying claims and exposures, interpretation and application of all types of reinsurance protections and negotiation and resolution of the reinsurance claims. When disputes cannot be resolved, we are at the forefront of innovative alternative dispute resolution and, when all else fails, effective and dynamic arbitration and litigation of disputes. 

While still very active in “APH” – related asbestos, pollution, health hazard reinsurance matters, our current practice also includes property-based claims arising under surplus, per risk, and catastrophe treaties in connection with this century’s largest catastrophe losses including the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

Prepared for the next wave
Effective representation in the reinsurance arena requires the historical perspective and in-depth knowledge of industry custom and practice that is Mendes’ hallmark. Our fundamental understanding of reinsurance principles, wordings and industry relationships, our hands-on approach to dispute resolution and our long-standing prominence in the field uniquely qualify us to guide our clients through the challenges and evolving claims that inevitably will arise in the future.

Ceding company audits connect us to insurers across the U.S.
Mendes has a long history of conducting underwriting reviews at ceding companies in the U.S. to assess risk prior to renewals and claims audits to make recommendations to reinsurers on reserves and claim handling. This work has led to an extensive network of contacts among U.S. domestic insurers. These relationships are valuable to reinsurers when there is a need for an efficient, fruitful dialog on how best to resolve claims. The direct involvement of Mendes with companies accustomed to working with us facilitates the pre-underwriting process as well as the investigation and resolution of claims and disputes.

Reinsurance arbitration and litigation
Mendes has extensive experience in the arbitration and litigation of reinsurance disputes. In arbitrations, the selection of the panel is a key ingredient to ultimate success.  Our long-standing interaction in the reinsurance industry provides valuable resources and insight integral to the selection process. In addition to their well-honed skills in discovery, motion practice, briefing, argument and evidentiary hearings, our litigators are well-versed in the rudiments of reinsurance law and practice as well as the substantive analysis and litigation of the underlying claims giving rise to the reinsurance disputes. A key strength is our ability to draw on the expertise of our reinsurance and insurance specialists. We approach arbitrations and litigation as a collaborative team effort to deliver the most effective and efficient representation possible. We have successfully handled reinsurance and retrocessional disputes for domestic and international reinsurers arising under facultative arrangements, general casualty treaties and all forms of special and contingency treaties concerning a broad range of casualty claims including asbestos, pollution, health hazards, professional liability, directors and officers liability, construction defect, contractors’ liability, first party property and business interruption claims including Katrina and 9/11 losses, as well as reinsurer/agent disputes.