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As the head of Riker Danzig's Insurance Department, Shawn L. Kelly leads by a rigorous set of standards that he applies to his own work. "My standards are very high for what I expect of myself and my people," he says. When Shawn gets a case, he prepares as if taking it to trial or arbitration is certain, even though he resolves many cases short of that point. "My view is that if the other side doesn't believe that you're committed to the case, you'll never get a reasonable settlement. You settle a case from a position of strength."
Shawn's practice focuses on solving complex insurance coverage disputes and reinsurance cases. Some of his largest cases have involved sorting out insurance issues stemming from major insolvencies. In one such instance, he represented $11 billion in pension funds and helped to organize a policyholders' group in rehabilitation proceedings involving Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co.
He has achieved an equal record of success in federal appeals courts. In one case, American Centennial Insurance Co. v. Seguros, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that reinsurance companies must post security prior to arbitration, a finding with wide ramifications for the reinsurance industry.
His clients include American Centennial, CIGNA, The Highlands Insurance Group Inc., the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, The Gerling Insurance Group, and The Riverstone Group.
In addition to representing many major U.S. insurance companies, Shawn has a growing practice in England with British insurance companies, including Brittany Insurance and River Thames Insurance.
Considering his own broad practice and those of his colleagues, Shawn believes that Riker Danzig is "the go-to law firm" in New Jersey for sophisticated insurance-coverage issues and complex reinsurance arbitration. Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers Clients' Guide, in which he is ranked in the First Tier of New Jersey insurance attorneys, calls Shawn a "standout figure in the New Jersey coverage arena" with a "good analytic business brain" and the ability to bring an "innate big picture view to everything he does." Chambers describes his insurance practice as "strong, significant and impressive" and characterized by an "understanding [of] the unique challenges faced by insurance carriers." Shawn also has been named among the top insurance and litigation lawyers in New Jersey in Best Lawyers in America®, a peer review of US Lawyers. Thomson Reuters has included him on the New Jersey "Super Lawyers" list. In addition, The International Who's Who of Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers 2013 has named Shawn among the world's leading insurance and reinsurance lawyers.