As the frequency and ferocity of extreme weather events and natural disasters increase, companies are facing a range of legal and regulatory issues stemming from the fallout.
Severe weather events and natural disasters—and the disruption and infrastructure damage that often follow—can lead to challenges related to insurance recovery disputes, government and regulatory investigations, consumer class actions, wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, mass tort cases, securities litigation, and more. Implications to employee policies, tax considerations, cybersecurity issues, and bankruptcy and restructuring considerations also may arise.
Our global team of lawyers has in-depth knowledge and skill in handling the full spectrum of issues involving crisis management, insurance claims, energy-related concerns, environmental counseling, and workforce matters, among others.
Maximizing insurance recoveries following a disaster can be a complex process. Following is a checklist to help policyholders report claims promptly, document losses meticulously, and pursue coverage claims effectively:
1. Identify Policies. Collect and analyze all available insurance policies, including policies issued to other entities under which your company may be an additional insured or loss payee.
2. Consider Timing Issues. Comply with notice, proof of loss, and suit limitation clauses in all potentially applicable policies.
3. Document Losses. Track property damage and business interruption losses; maintain records of financial losses and expenses incurred to repair or replace property, restore operations, and mitigate losses; document insurer requests for information and coverage positions.
4. Evaluate Remedies. Analyze remedies available to policyholders, including through appraisal, mediation, arbitration, and litigation.
5. Engage an Experienced Team. Insurance claims present hidden pitfalls that can significantly curtail otherwise available coverage. Consult an experienced insurance recovery team to advise throughout the claim process and dispute resolution to maximize recoveries.
As businesses and employees begin the journey toward recovery after a disaster, employers need to be mindful of federal and state laws related to leaves, planned and unplanned absences, accommodations, and pay practices.
The scope and magnitude of environmental issues caused by severe weather and natural disasters continues to evolve. The most common environmental questions likely to arise for companies in their aftermath include:
Read more on addressing environmental releases and obligations.
Following severe weather events, energy companies are usually faced with navigating a multi-faceted legal and regulatory landscape. We recognize the potential for aftermath-related issues to evolve into significant challenges and we assist companies prepare for and address them. These challenges include:
Following a disaster, various federal tax return filing and payment deadlines may be extended by the Internal Revenue Service for individuals and businesses. Consult the IRS Newsroom for the latest updates on weather-related extensions for tax filing and payment deadlines.
Our tax team can also assist with establishing charitable programs and tax-favored vehicles to assist victims of severe weather events and disasters.
Our team serves companies in the real estate industry as well as those whose business models use real estate as a strategic asset in connection with severe weather and natural disaster preparedness and the aftermath of the destructive forces. We are deeply familiar with the myriad legal issues that can arise under these circumstances, such as: