For 27 years, Greg Varga has focused his practice on representing insurance companies nationally in complex insurance coverage litigation and arbitrations, in lawsuits seeking punitive damages and other extracontractual remedies, and in other corporate litigation. As Chair of Robinson+Cole's Insurance + Reinsurance Group, Greg is proud to lead a team of 50 lawyers practicing across seven of the firm's offices.
Insurance Coverage Litigation
In the insurance coverage arena, Greg has successfully defended clients in numerous high-exposure cases involving a wide variety of insurance lines, including commercial property; business interruption and extra expense; builders risk, contractor's equipment, motor truck cargo, and other inland marine risks; equipment breakdown coverages; and excess and surplus lines risks. He has substantial experience defending litigation concerning catastrophe claims, ordinance or law coverage exposures, and complex business interruption claims involving a broad array of industries and professions. In addition, he has represented clients in coverage disputes involving layered and quota share excess insurance programs, in disputes related to underwriting, and in controversies between primary and excess insurers. Greg has also supervised numerous arson and fraud investigations and prosecuted declaratory judgment and rescission actions based on policyholder misrepresentation in the application process and in the context of pending claims. He also has litigated coverage disputes involving other lines of insurance, including professional liability, commercial general liability, and construction defect. Greg's expertise and depth of knowledge in the insurance coverage arena earned him election as a Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel, a prestigious international organization of approximately 300 lawyers recognized for excellence and thought leadership in the fields of insurance coverage and extracontractual liability.
Since April 2020, Greg has served as the co-leader of a team of R+C lawyers representing several clients in COVID-19 business interruption litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country. Greg and the team have been at the vanguard of this national coverage battle, and are responsible for many groundbreaking trial and appellate court decisions addressing "direct physical loss" and the virus exclusion.
Bad Faith Litigation
Greg's experience in the defense of bad faith litigation is equally significant. He has defended clients against bad faith claims in all of the New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. On many occasions, Greg has been retained on the eve of trial to take over the defense of bad faith cases previously handled by other law firms. In other instances, he has been retained to consult on open claims to ensure compliance with good faith investigation and claim settlement practices and to avoid exposure to extracontractual liability. Greg also regularly provides training to his clients to help them ensure compliance with sound claim handling practices.
In an increasing number of states, the extracontractual remedies available to policyholders and tort plaintiffs are of far greater concern than an insurer's potential exposure on the insurance policy. In response to this alarming trend, Greg and his team have developed innovative strategies for the defense of bad faith lawsuits and have successfully applied them to reduce clients' extracontractual exposures in a wide variety of first- and third-party claim disputes. For example, he led a team that defended a major international insurer in a Massachusetts bad faith action in which the plaintiffs sought $40 million in compensatory and punitive damages against our client (the primary insurer of a business auto risk) for its alleged failure to promptly settle a catastrophic personal injury claim. After a six-week trial, Greg's client was exonerated of all liability and a judgment was entered in its favor. In the ensuing two years, he and his team successfully defended the judgment against the plaintiffs' appeal to the Commonwealth's highest court.
Though Greg is committed to vigorously defending each case through trial, he recognizes that protracted litigation is costly and unpredictable and may not always be in a client's best interest. For this reason, he consults with clients at the outset of every new case in an effort to understand their unique business objectives and works to formulate and implement innovative, practical, and cost-effective strategies for achieving those goals.
Greg recognizes the importance of leveraging technology to advance the interests of our clients. He believes that a trial lawyer is both story teller and teacher, and he always strives to find new ways to help jurors understand and digest complex issues and facts. To that end, Greg has successfully integrated the most cutting edge trial presentation software and technologies into his trial practice. In 2018, he became one of only 20 lawyers in the nation to earn the "Technology Master Advocate" certification from the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, following his successful completion of an intensive course in the use of trial technologies. Greg now serves as a faculty member in that program. Additionally, Greg utilizes advanced technologies in document management, depositions, and all other areas of his practice, which has helped to streamline the discovery process and, ultimately, reduce litigation costs for his clients.
Insurance Industry Involvement
Greg is very active in insurance industry and bar circles, and has worked hard to promote knowledge and learning. In addition to being a Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel (ACCC), Greg has been a member of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) since 2008. He is also a member of the American Bar Foundation. Greg is a frequent speaker and panelist at insurance industry and insurance bar programs, including the ACCC, the FDCC, the Property and Liability Research Bureau, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Property Insurance Law Committee of the American Bar Association, Harris Martin Publishing, and HB Litigation Conferences, LLC. Greg has also lectured on trial techniques to other members of the bar.
Honors and Firm Leadership
In addition to chairing the firm's Insurance + Reinsurance Group, Greg has chaired the Technology Committee and the firm's Litigation Academy, a litigation and trial skills program.
Greg has received a number of honors during his years of practice. They include an "AV-Preeminent" ranking with Martindale Hubbell, and selection to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2011 to 2022 and by The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Insurance Law since 2012.