Sergio F. Oehninger

Sergio represents companies in complex insurance coverage and bad faith disputes nationally and internationally.

Sergio counsels multinational corporations on insurance coverage and risk management issues arising in various industries – including financial services, retail, energy, technology, real estate, construction, and hospitality.

His insurance coverage advice focuses on risks such as: cyber and data breach; commercial general liability; directors and officers; professional liability; employment practices; property and casualty; business interruption; excess, umbrella, and integrated risks; and other insured and reinsured risks under occurrence based or claims-made policies. More recently, Sergio has counseled dozens of clients on insurance recoveries for COVID-19-related business interruption and other claims.

As part of his Latin America practice, Sergio advises Spanish-speaking corporate clients on cross-border exposures in connection with transactions, projects, operations, products, and services.

Sergio’s litigation, arbitration, and counseling experience includes insurance coverage and bad faith matters involving billions of dollars in cumulative losses or exposures. He has handled matters before federal and state courts throughout the United States and ADR tribunals. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and US District Courts in Virginia, Colorado and Washington, DC.

Sergio frequently makes presentations and writes articles, alerts, and contributions to the the firm’s Insurance Recovery Blog.

A strong advocate of public service, Sergio has served on the boards of several non-profits. His pro bono work includes advice to a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to combating gang violence and raising funds benefitting children living in poverty.

Representative Experience

Advice and Counseling

Financial Services

  • Advised global investment group on coverage and other rights under complex Cayman Islands captive agreement in connection with acquisition of manufacturing company.
  • Advised European bank on successor liability and assignment of insurance rights under D&O and CGL policies in connection with M&A.
  • Advised global financial guarantee reinsurer in connection with analysis of obligations under reinsurance agreements.
  • Advised multilateral investment bank on borrower’s compliance with property and casualty insurance requirements in loan documents.
  • Counseled policyholder concerning insurer’s defense obligations under legal professional errors and omissions insurance policy.
  • Counseled multilateral lending institution on key-man insurance issues in connection with loans to Latin American companies.
  • Advised joint venture participant on coverage under directors and officers and professional liability policies for claims of aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, defamation and other claims.
  • Analyzed coverage for losses arising out of undetected theft of funds under entity’s crime and dishonesty insurance policy and auditor’s professional liability policy.
  • Drafted provisions concerning cybersecurity and insurance for agreement between global investment and advisory firm and compliance software service provider.
  • Advised multinational bank on insurance coverage issues in connection with corporate transaction.
  • Coordinated legal advice to global private equity fund and portfolio companies in the areas of real estate, construction, employment, and insurance.
  • Advised US-based company on reinsurance recoveries from Brazilian reinsurer and related commutation negotiations.
  • Counseled reinsurer on coverage under professional liability policy for claims of bad faith denial of coverage and refusal to approve policy limits settlement.
  • Protected rights of ceding company in dispute with reinsurer regarding payment of balances and securities for reserves under applicable reinsurance treaties and facultative certificates.
  • Counseled financial services policyholders on insurance coverage issues.

Retail

  • Advise retailers nationwide on business interruption and other coverages for COVID-19-related losses.
  • Advise corporate client with operations in Latin America on Ordinance or Law Coverage under first-party property policy.
  • Advised professional soccer team on insurance and indemnification issues.
  • Advise Brazilian professional services corporation on insurance coverage procurement and placement for operations in the U.S.
  • Negotiated additional insured and insured contract (exception to contractual liability exclusion) coverages with primary and excess liability insurers as part of global insurance program renewal for Fortune 100 company.
  • Advised multinational corporation on indemnity and additional insured requirements in master sales and service agreements with vendors, contractors, service providers, and other business partners.
  • Recovered amounts reserved to, and paid out of, policyholder’s large self-insured retentions (SIRs) from business partners’ insurance through additional insured and insured contract coverages.
  • Counseled shareholder of joint venture in acquisition of majority owner’s shares of international retailer with operations in Latin America on representations and warranty insurance as well as successor liability, general liability, directors and officers liability and cyber insurance issues.
  • Counseled multinational consumer goods manufacturer on insurance coverage for environmental class actions brought in United Kingdom, United States and US territories.
  • Advised European biotechnology and pharmaceutical company on cross-border insurance issues in connection with commercialization of new drug in the US market and insurance coverage for clinical trial claims.
  • Advised Spanish-based commercial vehicle technology company on cross-border insurance coverage for its US subsidiary.
  • Counseled international commodities traders on coverage claims under marine cargo insurance.
  • Counseled global technology company on complex global insurance program comprised of D&O, CGL, E&O, cyber, aircraft, EPL, fiduciary liability, crime, kidnap and ransom, travel, commercial auto, workers compensation, excess and umbrella insurance coverages.
  • Performed insurance due diligence in connection with global government contractor’s various acquisitions and advised on Rep & Warranty insurance.
  • Drafted insurance provisions for subcontract between international professional services firm and service providers in connection with US government efforts at the US-Mexico Border.
  • Advised international maritime travel company on coverage claim for injuries to customers under Mexican insurance policy issued to business partner.
  • Counseled manufacturer on coverage for class actions alleging property damage from products and facility emissions.
  • Advised global manufacturer on “personal and advertising injury” coverage for claims by competitor alleging disparagement of goods.
  • Counseled global retailer on recovery of insurance proceeds as additional insured for wrongful death and product liability claims.
  • Advised contractor on coverage under cyber risk and liability policies for claims arising out of event on US Government property.
  • Advised international subsea cable company on insurance coverage for unique subsea cable risks.
  • Counseled global retailer concerning recovery of insurance proceeds for class action covered under fiduciary liability policy.
  • Participated in internal investigation of allegations in employment dispute by conducting confidential interviews of Spanish-speaking employee witnesses.
  • Advised global retailer on protections afforded to communications with insurer under common interest doctrine.

Energy

  • Drafted insurance and indemnification provisions in commercial agreements for clients in energy (including electric utilities, oil and gas, and other power companies), technology, marine transportation, real estate, construction financial services, and retail industries.
  • Counseled global infrastructure, environmental and renewable energy services company based in Spain on formulation of risk management, compliance and insurance coverage strategies for large-scale projects in North America.
  • Advised creditors’ committee of global energy company concerning coverage under D&O insurance policy issued to debtor and European parent company arising out of operations in Asia.
  • Advised major electric utility regarding insurance coverage under claims-made-and-reported policies for class actions asserting environmental claims.
  • Provided advice to national trade association on coverage under employment practices liability policy and negotiated defense and indemnity coverage.
  • Advised multinational oil and gas company on indemnity, insurance, and waiver of subrogation contract wording in connection with joint venture agreement.
  • In connection with privatization of electric utility in partnership with international financing entity, advised client on cross-border insurance and reinsurance for demand guarantees resulting from breach of transaction agreement.
  • Analyzed risks of doing business in Latin America, including regulatory uncertainty and resulting investigations, political risks, successor liability and validity of assignment of insurance rights in M&A transactions; developed risk management strategies.

Real Estate, Construction, and Hospitality

  • Counseled real estate developer on coverage for property damage and business income loss resulting from explosion during construction.
  • Advised client on insurance coverage issues in connection with NFL stadium construction project.
  • Provided counsel to interstate compact entity concerning indemnity issues under its bylaws.
  • Advised executive of multibillion dollar REIT on indemnification and D&O insurance coverage.
  • Advised product manufacturer on insurance coverage for high-stakes claims that alleged defect in product caused severe damages and business interruption to prominent hotels and condominiums throughout the United States.
  • Advised hotel on insurance coverage for damages and business interruption losses suffered as a result of defective construction by tenant and its contractors.
  • Advised South American real estate holdings company on authentication of foreign public documents pursuant to The Hague (Apostille) Convention for use in transaction with affiliate of US-based apparel company.
  • Counseled bank on insurance coverage under policies issued to it and the developer and general contractor of large construction project in response to multimillion dollar construction-related claims.

Arbitration/Litigation

Financial Services

  • Part of team that preserved client’s victory in multimillion insurance coverage dispute affirmed by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and for which certiorari was denied by Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Represented bank litigation over coverage under D&O insurance policy for claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty and other claims against bank and its executives.
  • Represented pool member against managing general agent in arbitration involving reinsurance recoveries and commutations under program comprised of 800 reinsurers on six continents.
  • Arbitrated multimillion dollar dispute in New York concerning global insurance and reinsurance pool manager’s breach of contractual and fiduciary obligations and failure to properly manage portfolio of risks, set loss reserves and comply with applicable accounting principles.
  • Arbitrated and litigated multimillion dollar claims for breach of contract and fiduciary duties relating to management of long-tail environmental, mass tort and asbestos claims under marine and casualty occurrence-based umbrella and high excess liability risks for Fortune 500 policyholders, as well as reinsurance collections and commutations.
  • Served as counsel to financial guaranty insurer in case against federal savings bank under FDIC receivership arising out of disallowance of proof of claim for breach of indemnity contract in connection with securitization of home equity mortgage loan asset-backed notes and mortgage pass-through certificates.
  • Represented global investor in international arbitration alleging Argentina’s breach of bilateral investment treaty with US and analyzed contracts and court opinions written in Spanish.

Retail

  • Represented corporate policyholders in insurance coverage disputes and litigation concerning additional insured and insured contract coverages for catastrophic bodily injury and property damage claims arising out of products, services, and operations.
  • Litigated billion dollar dispute under professional liability/E&O policy arising from allegations of insurer bad faith failure to settle class action brought under Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Litigated claims against Lloyds of London entities for coverage under event cancellation insurance policy for multimillion dollar business income losses associated with US government shutdown.
  • Litigated multimillion dollar claims by multinational chemical company for declaratory relief, breach of contract and bad faith regarding defense and indemnity insurance coverage for environmental class action and dozens of suits alleging bodily injury from exposure to contaminated air and groundwater.
  • Litigated insurance coverage and bad faith claims on behalf of government contractor whose directors and officers insurance company denied coverage for False Claims Act claims covered under the policy.
  • Confirmed commercial arbitration award in New York state court in multimillion dollar dispute between insurers and pool manager.
  • Litigated coverage dispute over multimillion dollar business interruption loss arising out of terrorist attack on World Trade Center.
  • Represented multinational corporation against mass toxic torts putative class action by citizens of Ecuador in US federal court.

Energy

  • Represented major electric utility in litigation seeking insurance coverage under general liability policies for individual and putative class action asserting environmental and asbestos claims.
  • Litigated claims of chemicals manufacturer for insurance coverage for bodily injury claims arising out of asbestos exposure and for remediation of industrial sites.
  • Litigated and arbitrated bet-the-company claims between government contractors involving allegations of trade secret theft, civil conspiracy, corporate raiding, tortious interference with Department of Defense contracts governed by FARs and DFARs, and other business torts.

Real Estate, Construction, and Hospitality

  • Represented policyholder in multimillion dollar dispute concerning additional insured coverage for claims arising out of major construction site accident.
  • Litigated and appraised multimillion dollar first-party insurance dispute arising from fire damage concerning property and extra expense coverage and bad faith.
  • Litigated multimillion dollar dispute involving claims of fraud in sale of real estate securities and negligence in design and construction of luxury residential property in New York City.
  • Tried and obtained favorable jury verdict in case involving claims of negligence and gross misconduct.
  • Prepared or argued hundreds of dispositive, discovery, in limine or other motions in disputes before state and federal courts or arbitration tribunals; conducted dozens of fact and expert depositions, including of directors and officers of publicly and privately held companies.

Memberships

  • Hispanic Bar Association of DC, 2002-Present; Board of Directors, 2011; Vice President, 2009; Endorsements Committee, 2008-2016 (co-chair 2008, 2013 & 2014); Task Force on Advancing Latino Attorneys, 2012-2018; Elections Committee, 2012-2013; Equal Justice Awards Steering/Development Committee, 2009, 2011-2013, 2016-2018; Website Committee, 2009
  • DC Bar Board of Governors Nominations Committee Member, 2014-2015; Board of Governors Candidate, 2014; DC Bar Pro Bono Center Development Committee, 2017
  • The George Washington University Law School Alumni Board of Directors, 2012-2016; Latino Law Alumni Association, Board of Directors, 2012-2017, and Vice Chair of Steering Committee, 2010-2012; Alumni Association Class Reunion Committee, 2007, 2012, 2017
  • The Esperanza Education Fund, Board of Advisors, Development and Scholarship Committees, 2009-2016
  • Hispanic National Bar Association, 2002-Present; Annual Convention Keynote Speaker Committee, 2011; Midyear Corporate Counsel Conference Panelist, 2013, 2015-2019; Annual Convention Panelist, 2014, 2015-2019; Elections Board, 2019
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2012-Present; LCLD Fellow, 2015; Law School Mentoring Program Mentor, 2012-2014
  • Member, World Services Group

Insights