COVID-19, Economic Turmoil, and Financial Services Litigation

Houston, TX – At the nadir of the Great Recession, a small group of attorneys dedicated to the principle of client-first service decided to leave the relative comforts of Big Law and present our clients with a simple proposition: we would provide the same high-quality representation and financial service industry expertise but without the Big Law overhead. Thanks to the trust ensured to us by our loyal clients over the last decade, we have been able to deliver exceptional results both for our clients and the financial services industry at large. While our depth (now over 50 attorneys) and geographic reach (offices in Northern California and Southern Florida in addition to Texas) have grown to meet the needs of our clients, our core dedication to client-first service and unmatched subject matter expertise in the core industries we service remains unchanged.

One of our guiding philosophies is that litigation should be proactive rather than reactive. Confronting the COVID-19 virus, the ongoing economic turmoil, and the inevitable resultant direct and indirect litigation will require proactive representation. For that reason, we wanted to let you know we are already analyzing how each of our financial services clients may be impacted. Many of these impacts are straightforward:

  • ERISA plans and health insurers will face unprecedented pressure in examining COVID-19 related claims.
  • Short-term disability policies or even traditional life products with disability premium riders could face similar scrutiny.
  • Businesses will assess their rights regarding business interruption insurance.
  • Guaranteed or simplified issue life insurance products will likely see a short-term increase in applications.
  • Many businesses may face significant cash flow issues in the face of extraordinary stresses brought on by the economic impacts of social distancing.

Other potential litigation impacts of the current crisis will not be as direct. Much like during the Great Recession, servicers of universal life products will see indirect litigation fall-out, as the economic turmoil and resultant negative persistency and investment impact may necessitate adjustments to cost-of-insurance rates.

McDowell Hetherington stands prepared to assist our financial services clients in preparing for and meeting these challenges. For more information, please contact MH attorneys David McDowell, Tom Hetherington, or Jarrett Ganer.