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Calfee’s Insurance Coverage practice group serves corporate insurance policyholder clients, in Ohio and nationwide. Our principal purpose for more than 25 years has been to help our clients protect against and mitigate risk through the use of insurance. We collaborate with and counsel our clients on all aspects of their insurance coverage legal needs. Our core values are: creativity, focusing on the issues that matter, and attentiveness to clients.

To help manage and minimize the risks, losses, and liabilities that pose threats to our clients, Calfee’s Insurance Coverage attorneys provide advisory and claims services. We assist our clients with the placement and enhancement of their insurance policies, reviews of their existing policies, shaping and pursuing claims to get losses paid by their insurance companies, negotiating resolutions to disputed insurance claims, litigating coverage lawsuits against their insurers, and finding solutions for insurance coverage issues in corporate M&A deals. 

We have experience with a wide array of policy types, from newer products such as cyber and M&A representations and warranties insurance, to more traditional policy forms such as commercial general liability (CGL), umbrella, excess, property, D&O, professional liability, and EPL policies, to more specialized policies such as builder’s risk, liquor, and aviation.


Certified Insurance Law Specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association

The leader of Calfee’s Insurance Coverage practice, James Sullivan, is one of only 24 lawyers in the state of Ohio certified as insurance law specialists by the Ohio State Bar Association.

Chambers USA Leading Law Firm Rankings

Calfee has been recognized as a Leading Law Firm for Insurance: Policyholder in Ohio by Chambers USA, most recently in Band 1 in Ohio (2023). 

Calfee is one of only four law firms ranked in this practice in the state. Chambers USA commentators note that "The team boasts an impressive reputation with decades of experience in policyholder insurance representation. Calfee is well known for its capabilities in risk mitigation and cost recovery strategies and provides representation in all aspects of insurance coverage policy disputes, including those surrounding M&A transactions. The firm has an impressive roster of clients that includes those in the academic, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors."

Clients interviewed by Chambers USA researchers said, "The Calfee team is proactive in communication, problem-solving, idea generation, and general advisory input; any inquiry is almost always answered within a matter of hours. One of the main reasons we use Calfee is because it has such great knowledge of our company. The Insurance team at Calfee provides a high level of consultation on very complex matters. The firm is incredibly responsive and approachable. They are my go-to firm, reasonably priced, effective at what they do, and add a lot of value at a lower cost. They manage situations so they can be handled cost-effectively, not over-billing; they're great at communicating in terms of status and good about making strong, practical recommendations. They're very quick to respond and extremely knowledgeable. The team is creative in devising solutions to coverage problems that don't begin with antagonistic litigation. The Calfee lawyers have been outstanding, professional, and articulate in resisting the denial of coverage. They couldn't have done a better job. They are the best outside counsel I have ever used."

Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2024 "Best Law Firms" rankings in the following areas:

  • Insurance Law (National Tier 3, Regional Tier 1 Cleveland)
  • Litigation – Insurance (Regional Tier 1 Cleveland)




  • A publicly traded, Fortune 100 corporation filed two lawsuits against our client, an Ohio manufacturing company, in federal courts in two states. The Plaintiff's claims against our client involved allegations that construction material, which the Plaintiff purchased from our client and installed in its retail stores, was defective and had caused alleged damages. The lawsuits involved more than 50 retail stores located throughout the country. Following a confidential settlement between the Plaintiff and our client, Calfee now represents the client in an insurance coverage litigation in the United States District Court against its three insurance companies. These lawsuits were the most significant that the client has ever faced, and the insurance claims will involve the interpretation and application of key controversial, recent Ohio Supreme Court precedent regarding coverage triggers and compensable property damage, with the coverage case potentially establishing new law exploring the boundaries of that precedent.
  • Serving as lead policyholder insurance coverage counsel regarding claims resulting from a fire at a chemical manufacturer client's facility in Europe. The publicly traded, Fortune 100 company client seeks insurance coverage from certain of its general liability insurers for alleged bodily injury and property damage resulting from a fire at the facility in Western Europe. This matter is important because it involves novel questions of the interpretation and application of certain key provisions appearing in typical general liability insurance policies.
  • Serving as Ohio policyholder litigation counsel to an American manufacturer for a federal insurance coverage lawsuit pending in United States District Court in which the client has sued a publicly traded insurance company seeking insurance coverage for defense costs and indemnification against any eventual settlement or judgment in connection with underlying class-action litigation alleging harm resulting from contaminated products. This matter is important because it involves unique issues of the interpretation and application of a batching provision in relationship to the definition of “occurrence.”
  • Calfee’s client, a publicly traded, global company has faced claims in multiple states from both government regulators and private claimants alleging that its chemical emissions have resulted in injury. Calfee is serving as the client’s lead insurance coverage counsel, designing and implementing a coverage strategy to secure defense and indemnification from certain of the client’s insurers. This matter is important because of the high-profile public nature and alleged public health hazards. The insurance coverage issues involve challenging questions surrounding the interpretation and application of key insurance policy provisions. There is a reasonable likelihood the newly filed lawsuit will set a precedent that will be cited and relied upon by courts nationwide on the scope of pollution exclusions appearing in commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies.
  • Calfee’s client, a global, privately held manufacturer of consumer and commercial products has faced a series of national class actions by municipalities and individual consumers alleging that one of their products has damaged drains and public sewer systems. Calfee has served as lead insurance coverage counsel, designing and implementing a coverage strategy to secure defense and indemnification for the underlying lawsuits. This matter is important due to the high reputational and financial risks it poses to the client, and insurance coverage is an integral part of the client's related risk-mitigation strategies. The coverage matter involves novel considerations of the scope of CGL coverage grants, including with respect to coverage for consequential damages.
  • Provided insurance coverage consulting and advocacy services to a privately held manufacturing company in connection with its efforts to secure defense and indemnification coverage for a pending environmental contamination lawsuit involving a city on the West Coast of the U.S. This matter, which was settled in 2022, was important because it presented unique issues of captive insurers in relationship to public market insurers, along with novel interpretation and application of exclusionary language, including pollution exclusions.
  • Providing insurance coverage consulting and advocacy services to a publicly traded, Fortune 500 natural resources and manufacturing company in connection with insurance claims pertaining to the costs of certain environmental contamination remediation. This is important because the procedural issues involve the interplay among the jurisdiction and sovereignty of various federal and state environmental agencies.
  • Serving a chemical distributor client as its insurance coverage counsel in connection with its efforts to obtain defense and indemnity from various insurance companies in connection with a series of third-party claims alleging serious bodily injuries, with each claimant seeking millions of dollars. Calfee’s services include litigating against the client’s historical liability insurers in U.S. federal court regarding their failure to honor the client’s allocation of its losses among its insurance policies and related bad faith claims handling by the insurers. The litigation is important because it includes first-impression insurance coverage issues that, if ruled upon by the court, will set key legal precedents under Ohio law regarding the application of Ohio’s “all sums” and equitable contribution doctrines for long-tail toxic tort and environmental pollution insurance coverage claims.
  • Calfee’s client, a large university, faces hundreds of claims by former student-athletes alleging violations of U.S. Title IX in connection with sexual misconduct committed by a former doctor employed by the university. Calfee serves as the university’s outside insurance coverage counsel, leading the client’s efforts to secure insurance coverage for the defense and indemnification of those claims valued at multi-billion dollars. This matter is important due to the magnitude and social significance of the pending claims against the client and it involves highly unique and sophisticated insurance coverage issues, including the interpretation and application of various types of insuring agreements and exclusions.
  • Serving as outside insurance coverage counsel for a privately held, billion-dollar U.S. and Canadian manufacturing company. Calfee is guiding the client through two separate disputes alleging damage resulting from alleged product defects. These matters present unique and challenging issues pertaining to the interpretation and application of commercial general liability coverage grants and retentions.
  • Serving as insurance coverage counsel for a privately held client’s efforts to recover its losses from its insurer, a publicly traded, Fortune 1000 company. In 2020, the client company sustained extensive property and business interruption losses as a result of violent protests that occurred in the wake of the George Floyd protests. This matter involves key questions about how to interpret and apply property insurance policies in the context of civil unrest and rioting, which has become increasingly common in the U.S.
  • Multiple Ohio municipalities and private companies have filed two high-stakes class action lawsuits against our client, an insurance company, alleging the client fraudulently collected certain fees. In addition to serving as the client’s defense counsel in the underlying litigation, Calfee is serving as the client’s insurance coverage counsel, having successfully secured a defense and indemnity from the client’s liability insurer. Calfee continues to manage the coverage claim to maximize the value of the insurance coverage available to our client. This matter is important because of the high costs of defending against the class action, as well as the fact that the class action poses significant reputational and financial risks to the client, with insurance coverage a key component in mitigating those risks.
  • Serving as insurance and indemnification counsel in connection with a state-court lawsuit involving the allegedly homicidal death of a young minor at the hands of his parents, with allegations that the client nonprofit entity's employee failed in their duties and engaged in a scheme to improperly obtain the family’s social assistance program benefits. Calfee also serves as trial counsel for a related federal lawsuit filed by an excess insurer regarding the existence and scope of insurance coverage for the matter. This matter is important because it involves key questions of law pertaining to the scope of self-insurance programs, additional insured rights, and indemnification rights under Ohio common and statutory laws.
  • For many years, Calfee’s client, a multinational, publicly traded, Fortune 100 company has faced large-scale claims alleging bodily injury resulting from exposure to asbestos incorporated in products distributed or manufactured by a predecessor entity now owned by the client. Since 2015, Calfee has served as lead outside insurance coverage counsel for the client in connection with these claims, designing and implementing strategies for protecting and maximizing insurance coverage assets available to the client. This matter is important because the insurance coverage claims include complex coverage theories, including issues of first impression with respect to the allocation of long-tail claim exposure across dozens of policy periods and among various primary and excess layers of insurance.
  • Calfee's client, a university in Ohio, faces continuing business interruption losses and related extra expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Calfee is leading the university’s continuing efforts to recover millions of dollars for these losses from their property insurer. This matter is important because insurance coverage for COVID-19 business interruption losses has been a critical issue facing many U.S. companies. Notably, Calfee helped many other clients with their COVID-19 business interruption insurance coverage claims, including two additional Ohio universities, a publicly traded Fortune 500 company, two professional sports organizations, and various companies in the hospitality industry, which was one of the hardest-hit industries.
  • Served as lead policyholder-side insurance coverage trial counsel in a federal coverage lawsuit filed by a publicly traded, Fortune 500 insurance company against its policyholder Calfee client, a California-based real estate investment trust, alleging no coverage for a bodily injury lawsuit based upon theories of late notice and resulting prejudice. This matter is important because it involves key questions of Ohio default judgment law and the scope and length of an insurer’s duty to defend when a matter has not yet been fully appealed.
  • Serving as insurance coverage counsel in an insurance broker malpractice claim by our client, a healthcare personnel provider, against one of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the U.S. The broker represented it had placed a multi-year program of insurance for the client, which turned out not to be the case. Calfee also serves as insurance coverage counsel in an insurance bad faith claim against a specialized insurer. This matter involves key questions about the interpretation and application of multi-year insurance programs, with insurers increasingly adopting anti-policyholder positions on the topic because of the continuing hard insurance markets and the rising values and costs of liability risk exposures.
  • Serving as policyholder-side insurance coverage counsel to a publicly traded, Fortune 500 company serving 1+ million businesses in the U.S. and Canada in connection with extensive losses the client suffered when Hurricanes Laura (2020, Category 4), Ida (2021, Category 4), and Ian (2022, Category 5) battered the U.S. This matter is important because it involves key questions of how to interpret and apply property insurance policy provisions in the context of natural disaster and climate change-related losses, particularly in light of the insurance company’s efforts to limit the client's losses based on the impact of other competing natural disasters.



  • We help publicly traded, closely held, and private equity clients secure and negotiate representations and warranties insurance (RWI) to protect the value of their M&A deals.
  • We provide advice to clients in M&A deals and other transactions concerning insurance and indemnification issues. 
  • We counsel clients’ risk management teams and work with brokers on insurance procurement and renewals and help clients maximize the scope of their coverage through customized endorsements to standard policy forms. 
  • We counsel clients and work with brokers to evaluate and negotiate specialized policy enhancements, including with respect to cyber, directors’ and officers’ (D&O), fiduciary, and employment practices liability (EPL) policies.
  • We advise clients on best practices for tracking their insurance coverage assets and timely identifying and reporting losses and third-party claims to their insurance companies.
  • We help clients identify insurable losses, provide effective notice and claim submissions to their insurers, address reservations of rights and denials issued by their insurers, and negotiate the resolution of coverage disputes with their insurers.
  • We prosecute and defend insurance coverage lawsuits in state and federal trial and appellate courts nationwide, as well as in alternative dispute resolution forums such as arbitration and mediation.
  • We review clients’ insurance portfolios and assess methods for maximizing the value of those assets, including by developing theories and models for triggering multiple policy years and securing full limits and sub-limits.
  • We assist clients with insurance archaeology, finding and preserving historical insurance policies for long-tail liabilities spanning decades back to the mid-1900s, such as asbestos, silica, chemical exposure, and environmental. 
  • We analyze clients’ corporate histories and acquisition agreements to secure coverage under predecessors’ insurance policies for claims arising out of products sold by the predecessor corporations. 
  • We guide clients on issues involving large self-insured retentions, deductibles, retrospective premium arrangements and captive insurance programs. 
  • We counsel clients concerning relationships and agreements with insurance brokers.
  • We advise and represent clients in matters involving insurance company insolvencies.



Our team frequently presents on various insurance coverage topics, including:

  • "Beware the Trip Wires: How to Protect and Maximize Insurance Coverage Assets," Advanced Issues in Insurance Coverage, Ohio State Bar Association, September 2020 (K. James Sullivan)

News & Events



"Calfee, Halter & Griswold has a respected practice representing policyholders. They are pragmatic in their approach and are results-oriented. They try to resolve disputes when they can, but they can also get more aggressive when necessary."

Calfee client quote, U.S. News – Best Lawyers in “Best Law Firms” report

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