Dan chairs the firm’s Insurance Solutions Practice Group, as well as chair of its Professional Liability Practice Group. He is co-chair of the firm’s Corporate and Commercial Practice Group. He has 20-plus year’s accumulated knowledge handling “bet the company” insurance difficulties, complex commercial matters and high-exposure loss. CBS’s 60 Minutes undertook two exposés on separate matters Dan directed. His experience ranges from litigating billion-dollar insurance and reinsurance disputes; breaking down misunderstood wording and policy issues; resolving regulatory quagmires; and providing proactive guidance to clients. Dan oversaw a team that resolved over 1,500 Superstorm Sandy claims — acting as national coordinating counsel for several insurers. He has an immense understanding of all facets of international insurance markets from London to Bermuda. During the Greek financial crisis, he coordinated with the Greek government on insurance solutions. In this regard, Dan brings unique cross-border transactional and regulatory expertise in portfolio transfers and insurance structural arrangements. He is a Registered Foreign Lawyer in England and Wales. In conjunction with being a US ARIAS certified arbitrator, Dan acts as an arbitrator, umpire and mediator of insurance and reinsurance disputes. He also offers expert testimony in complex insurance and extra-contractual matters. He has assisted in the passage of insurance legislation – having advised the key parties supporting Vermont’s Insurance Legacy Management Act. Dan has over 2,500 followers on his daily insurance-related Twitter feed @GerberCianoLLP. He prides himself on proactive and economical conduct of client matters. He achieves this through highly coordinated workflow, quality control, strategy planning, and candid communication. Dan believes that successful conclusions require visualizing the “end game” at the onset, and anticipating key variables to reach desired results.
While his practice primarily focuses on insurance solutions, Dan’s extensive experience includes successfully litigating matters that include: catastrophic loss; professional liability; intellectual property; construction defect; transportation; product liability; and, commercial disputes. Dan also maintains a distinct practice counseling clients on social media and disruptive technology exposures. In this vein, he develops claims/underwriting guidelines and provides in-house training on social media issues for several clients in the insurance sphere. Additionally, Dan has unique experience in crisis response and management. He has advised clients through high-profile legal crises and challenges. Today’s 24-hour news cycle and social media require a rapid, coordinated response during a crisis. Legal risks are often inextricably intertwined with reputational exposures. Dan’s experience with these issues assist clients in shielding their reputation while aligning with the desired legal outcome.
Dan’s comprehensive experience in the insurance arena extends to life, health and disability (ERISA and non-ERISA) issues. He previously chaired the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Life Health and Disability Committee. He has spoken and authored extensively on these subjects. His regulatory experience is extensive. He has guided clients through various regulatory issues surrounding portfolio transfers and insurer mergers and acquisitions. This includes various levels of due diligence, risk strategy, structural advice, approvals and filings.
Dan was named the Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyer of the Year (United States) by Lawyer’s Monthly Magazine. He is consistently listed as one of the top insurance and reinsurance lawyers in the world by the prestigious Who’s Who Legal (Insurance and Reinsurance). He possesses an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell; a Super Lawyer designation from Law & Politics Magazine; and, has been named by his peers to Best Lawyers in America for Insurance Law. He currently serves as a National Director for the Defense Research Institute (DRI), and is also a Board Member for the Defense Association of New York (DANY). Dan is an author for multiple chapters of Appleman on Insurance (Third Edition) and New Appleman’s Insurance Law Practice Guide, as well as being an editor of the Reinsurance Professional’s Deskbook.
Dan previously served two years as chair of the Insurance and Reinsurance Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). He is also the past Chair of the 3,000 member Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law (TICL) Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), and also served two non-consecutive terms in the NYSBA House of Delegates.
Dan is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, as well as all federal and state courts in New York and Pennsylvania. He is admitted to the First and Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals. He has received numerous awards and honors for his professional and community service.
Dan ran his prior firm’s Global Insurance Services Practice Group for over 10 years. In this role, he handled significant aspects of management. He also navigated and addressed all issues of establishing a completely “new” law firm in a foreign country.
Dan grew up in Eden, New York outside of Buffalo. Every year, the Eden Corn Festival acts as a High School reunion for him. He is a long-suffering Buffalo Bills fan. He enjoys international travel as much as he enjoys “binge-watching” the latest and greatest series on Netflix or Amazon Prime from his living room recliner. Dan’s passion for history is only exceeded by his passion for his family. He began his career as a plaintiff’s personal injury and policyholder lawyer. He tried many of these cases to verdict and gained valuable perspective that allows him to view both sides of any matter. Dan is an annual pass holder to Walt Disney World. He enjoys going there as much as possible and considers it his ‘happy place’.
The People of the State of New York, by Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General of the State of New York, v. The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC, et al.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued businessman and current President Donald J. Trump, for $40 million. The suit alleged deceptive acts and false advertising in connection with the operation of Trump University (later known as Trump Entrepreneurship Institute). The suit alleged that students were fraudulently induced to enroll in real estate investing seminars. Dan advised the insurer that provided extensive coverage for multiple Trump entities. Dan assessed all coverage afforded to its insured, namely the various Trump organizations.
Superstorm Sandy MTA Claims
When Hurricane Sandy — a.k.a. “Superstorm Sandy” — made landfall in New York City, it brought record storm surges that flooded the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway tunnels extensively, causing catastrophic damage. Dan handled complex reinsurance issues related to these claims.
Reported in New York Daily News, “Local MTA Could Be Stuck With $1 Billion Tab For Hurricane Sandy-Related Damage and Losses,” November 28, 2012.
Halloran v. Harleysville
Dan represented an insurer in litigation in Connecticut regarding coverage for earth movement and structural damage to homes across the State. This litigation is highly publicized.
USF&G v Travelers
Dan wrote an amicus brief in this matter which was adopted in part by New York’s highest court in its reasoning. The New York Court of Appeals found issues of fact regarding whether a cedent altered claims in a $1 billion asbestos litigation settlement to maximize its recovery.
Tennessee Valley Authority Coal Ash Release
Dan lead the Bermuda insurance first-party tower’s investigation into into one of the most significant man-made disasters in the past several decades. The loss was covered by 60 Minutes and several media outlets.
The Forgotten Hostages
In a matter sensitive to the United States government and its contractors, Dan worked to resolve insurance benefit issues surrounding the kidnapping of three contractors in the jungles of Columbia. This matter was covered by 60 Minutes and several media outlets.
Cedent v. Reinsurer
Dan was recently victorious in an arbitration dispute involving an attempt by a cedent to impose an indemnity obligation on its reinsurer that exceeded the reinsurance contract’s absolute limit of liability. Dan represented a reinsurer in the arbitration proceedings, which saw the petitioner assert that the reinsurer owed it an indemnity obligation in excess of the treaty liability limit of liability. The reinsurer previously paid its full limit, and the cedent conceded that this was indeed the case. The cedent, however, billed the reinsurer for a share of prejudgment interest in excess of the treaty’s liability limit. Dan successfully argued that the language of the contract was susceptible to only one reasonable interpretation. The limit of liability was a single “all-inclusive limit.” A three-person arbitration panel agreed, denying the request for an award.
Rekemeyer v. State Farm
Dan argued a seminal case on late notice and the requirement of prejudice to New York’s highest court. The case pre-dates more recent changes by the New York Legislature requiring a prejudice for certain late notice disclaimers. This case, and a few select others, contributed to these legislative changes.
Vermont Legacy Insurance Management Act (LIMA)
Dan coordinated a team assisting the Vermont’s insurance regulator, Legislature and Governor in adopting an Act that sought to achieve a finality solution for transfer of legacy insurance portfolios. Dan’s team assisted in legislation drafting and detailed discussions regarding implementation.
State Farm Life and Assurance Company, Inc. v. Epps, Smith
Dan saved a life insurer from having to pay an insurance policy twice in a complex federal case involving a homicide and competing claims for a life insurance policy. The claim itself was highly publicized.
Dan recently guided a foreign entity through the regulatory approval process and Form A filings required to successfully acquire several insurance portfolios and a domestic insurer. This enabled the entity to establish its US presence and begin writing US based insurance.
Dan provided expert opinion and testimony on complex insurance issues arising from a construction loss in Pennsylvania. Dan opined on New York law as it pertains to the duties of good faith in settlement that exist between insurers.
Energy & Utilities
One of the largest companies in the world faced the disintegration of one of its longest-standing and most important business relationships because of an indemnification dispute that had put the companies’ top executives at war. With tension rising and no favorable resolution in sight, the company called on Dan because it needed highly sophisticated counsel to de-escalate the volatile situation and find a solution that would both end the immediate dispute and preserve the multimillion-dollar relationship for years to come. For the client, the magnitude of the claim and the importance of its relationships made this a bet-the-company case.
Lugosch v, Congel
Pyramid is one of the largest mall development companies in the Northeast. The plaintiff’s represented by noted lawyer, David Boies, alleged that for a number of years, Bob Congel, the President of Pyramid Companies, operated partnerships as if he was sole owners. The plaintiffs also sued Pyramid’s accountants alleging that the shifting of funds was not authorized in their agreements and was done in a manner to defraud the partners.
The partners alleged that Congel, with the aid of a close-knit circle of insiders, engaged in a pattern of misappropriation of money, self-dealing and mismanagement in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Act. In a case involving millions of documents, Dan successfully represented the accountants and eventually secured summary judgment in their favor.
World Trade Center Deutsche Bank Fire
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 caused extensive damage to several surrounding buildings. A fire occurred at the adjoining Deutsche Bank Building during reconstruction. Several firefighters were injured and two died. The loss received extensive media coverage due to criminal allegations surrounding the cause of loss. Several contractors were pursued in several different lawsuits. Subsequently, extensive insurance litigation commenced. The parties brought in noted mediator Ken Feinberg. Dan represented several insurers in the matters and worked with Mr. Fienberg to achieve a successful resolution for these clients. The matter has had a book published surrounding the underlying facts entitled “The Fix is In: The Deutsche Bank Fire Conspiracy” by J.A. Graffagnino.
91st Street Claim Collapse
After enduring several long years of thorny litigation involving a 2008 crane collapse on 91st Street in New York City, a global insurer approached Dan for a separate and unique analysis of the matter. Company executives turned to him, based on the trust earned from a solid track record of success with the company, and concern over prior handling of this vastly complex, $100 million-plus dispute. The matter involved several insurers and specifically concerned which insurers were obligated to provide a defense to the general contractor arising out of the crane collapse.
International Group v United Aviation Underwriters
In a case where an aircraft was seized by authorities in the country of Benin, for alleged gold dust smuggling, Dan dealt with motions and pressure-filled litigations brought by the insured to declare the plane a loss. The matter involved claims that Nelson Mandela’s grandson wrote to the President of Benin to protest the plane’s release. The plane was highly mortgaged and therefore the insured had interest in a declaration of a loss over recovery. In the meantime, Dan coordinated with several resources to secure an order in Benin and worked with the insurer to retain a flight crew to secure the return of the plane.
Illinois State Trooper Killed by Tractor Trailer
Dan’s representation is often sought when there are major trucking losses with multiple insurers. He parachuted into this complex matter in Illinois to manage the primary and excess insurance issues. The matter had significant media exposure. With Dan’s involvement and coordination with defense counsel, the matter resolved within a week of his becoming involved.
KJDE v Hartford Insurance, Appellate Division
In a complicated business interruption insurance claim, the lower court ruled that the insurer owed coverage for losses stemming from the overflow of a creek causing several million dollars damage. The lower court determined that a flood exclusion did not apply to waters flowing over land from the creek caused to rise by excessive rain. The lower court found that this did not constitute “surface water.” The case proceeded to trial on damages while the appeal on the applicability of the flood exclusion was pending. Dan led a trial team that leveraged several motions in limine to preclude much of the policyholder’s alleged damages. In the meantime, other evidence illustrated that the policyholder’s damages did not rise to the level alleged. During trial, plaintiff agreed to a settlement, but the settlement was contingent upon prevailing at the appellate court with respect to the flood exclusion. Dan succeeded in achieving a reversal of the lower court, and a zero payout on the matter, when the Appellate Division determined the flood exclusion applicable and unambiguous.
Baker v. Broadspire National Services
In a lengthy opinion, the federal district court consider the standard of review and a comprehensive record. The court adopted Dan’s reasoning that an insurer had appropriately denied disability benefits under an ERISA plan.
Higgins v Village of Orchard Park
Dan established appellate legal precedent in New York in a dispute over property nuisance. The court held that “[a] municipality may not collect surface water from its lands and streets into an artificial channel, and discharge it upon the lands of another.”
Birdsong Estates Homeowners Association v. DPS Southwestern
Dan succeeded in obtaining a full reversal of the lower court in favor of a homeowner’s association. The appellate court concluded that the governing documents were ambiguous and did not give the developer complete control over approval of new construction in the development.
In Re M/Y Group Therapy
Dan successfully represented an insurer in an exoneration action under maritime law. At issue was the scope of coverage and limits of liability.
Green v. Clark- Reliance Corp., 200 A.D.2d 1155
Dan represented the manufacturer of a sight glass that became pressurized and sprayed acid all over the plaintiff’s body and causing blindness. The suit involved complex issues of product design, implementation and potential misuse. Dan worked with counsel for all parties, including the plaintiff to bring the matter to a mediated resolution.
Fulton Boiler Works v. A.M Motorists Insurance, United District Court, Northern District of New York
In a case covered by Law360, Dan represented an insurer in a complex asbestos coverage case involving contribution among insurers, uninsured policy years, trigger of coverage and allocation of coverage. The court held that the insured could be charged for its pro rata share of defense for years between 1949 and 1976. Also, that a co-insurer could not deny two years of additional coverage despite the fact that the actual policy could not be located.
Village of Springville v. Argonaut Insurance Company
In a case where a municipality made conscious decision to demolish a structure owned by a private citizen, Dan successfully argued that there was no occurrence as defined by the policy. This resulted in a full reversal of the lower court including its award of attorney’s fees and costs.
Town of Newfane v General Star Insurance Company, et al.
In a matter of first impression in New York, the appellate court addressed for purposes of invoking insurance coverage in an underlying action, whether the public entity insured’s alleged underlying act of malicious prosecution is deemed to have occurred on the date on which the criminal prosecution was instituted, or on the date on which it was terminated in favor of the accused. The court adopted Dan’s reasoning and concluded that the tort was committed when the criminal prosecution is instituted. Thus, there is no coverage for a claim of malicious prosecution under an insurance policy issued after the prosecution was instituted but in effect when the prosecution was terminated.
AIG v. Bobak
In a complex matter spanning New York and Pennsylvania courts, Dan first convinced the New York courts that an uninsured motorist hearing should have stayed pending arbitration in Pennsylvania. He then secured a result that ensured zero exposure of a $1 million policy.
Continental Connection (Colgan) Flight 3407
Dan assessed coverage and insurance related to claims arising from the February 12, 2009 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence Center, New York.