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Representative Matters
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Kent Keller is a litigator who focuses his practice in insurance services, with particular emphasis in trial and appellate work on behalf of property & casualty insurers, life and annuity insurers, reinsurers and other financial institutions. Mr. Keller has substantial experience in insurance law claims and disputes stemming from California Proposition 103. 

Professional Background

Mr. Keller became a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in October 2014 as a result of the merger of Hinshaw and the Los Angeles-based firm of Barger & Wolen LLP.

Professional Affiliations

  • The State Bar of California, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • The American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the membership of which includes less than one percent of all practicing lawyers.
  • Selected for inclusion in the "The Best Lawyers in America®" in the area of Insurance Law, since 2006.
  • Best of Class
  • Received the highest ranking (Band 1) by Chambers USA for his representation of insurers, one of only a handful of California lawyers to be so recognized, 2011-2013
  • Recognized on the "SuperLawyers" List, 2005-2014
  • Holds the AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability

Representative Matters

A selection of Mr. Keller's representative matters includes:

Insurance Regulatory Litigation/Proposition 103 Specific 

  • In 1988 California adopted Proposition 103, an initiate that brought prior approval rate regulation to California for many property & casualty lines of insurance. Mr. Keller was retained to represent Travelers concurrently with the adoption of Proposition 103 for the purpose of withdrawing five Travelers personal lines companies from California. The California Department of Insurance (CDI) refused to permit the withdrawal but the California Supreme Court ruled in Travelers favor. Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Gillespie, 50 Cal. 3d 82 (1990).
  • In the years that have followed, Mr. Keller has handled numerous cases involving one aspect or another of Proposition 103, including two cases dealing with the question of whether rates approved by the CDI can thereafter be challenged as excessive or unlawful in a civil action. Walker v. Allstate Indemnity C., 77 Cal. App. 4th 750 (2000) and MacKay v. Superior Court (21st Century Ins. Co.), 188 Cal. App. 4th 1427 (2010). In MacKay, the Court held that a rate approved by the CDI cannot thereafter be challenged in a civil action, thus clarifying California law and freeing insurers from what had been a series of class actions challenging approved insurance rates.

General Insurance Regulatory Litigation

  • Wolfe v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., 46 Cal. App. 4th 554 (1996) in which the Court ruled that it was permissible for insurers to temporarily cease writing fire insurance following a large California fire storm.
  • 21st Century Ins. Co. v. California Department of Insurance, 2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9928 (2004) in which the Court rejected the CDI’s claim that it could invalidate settlements of the Northridge Earthquake market conduct examinations because of mishandling by the former Insurance Commissioner.

Property/Casualty Litigation

  • Mr. Keller has successfully handled property casualty cases as diverse as whether the use of replacement cost less depreciation valuation of property losses was an unfair business practice (CARE v. Aegis Security Ins. Co., 92 Cal. App. 4th 886 (2001)), whether piecemeal waivers of uninsured motorist coverage was permissible (Smith v. State Farm Ins. Group, 93 Cal. App. 700 (2001)) and the meaning of the “owned or acquired” provision of a property/casualty policy (GE Engine Services v. Century Indemnity Co. 250 F. Supp. 2d 1237 (C.D. Cal. 2001)).

Life & Annuity Litigation

  • Throughout his practice, Mr. Keller has handled cases for life & annuity insurers, including American Investors Life, American General, Fremont Life, Principal and others. In Clark v. Superior Court (National Western Life Ins. Co.), 50 Cal. 4th 605 (2010) the Court ruled in National Western’ favor holding that restitution awards under California’s Business and Professions Code, section 17200 cannot be trebled.

Class Action Litigation

  • Many of the decisions listed above (Walker, MacKay, Smith, and Clark) were class action cases. In addition to those and other unreported class action cases, is Basurco v. 21st Century Ins. Co., 108 Cal. App. 4th 110 (2003) which held the Northridge Earthquake Fire cases could not proceed as a class action.

Presentations

A selection of Mr. Keller's presentations includes:

  • "To MacKay and Beyond: The End of the 'Dual System' of Rate Regulation and What Lies Ahead," 22nd Annual Association of California Insurance Companies' (ACIC) General Counsel Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 2011.
  • "The Impact of Proposition 64 on Class Actions Against Insurance Companies," 20th Annual ACIC General Counsel Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, August 2009.

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