Spencer Kook is an insurance regulatory and commercial litigation attorney. He regularly represents and advises insurance carriers and other regulated entities in matters involving the California Department of Insurance on issues of regulatory compliance, rate matters, examinations, licensing and enforcement actions. Additionally, Spencer manages a wide variety of insurance litigation and coverage dispute matters, and represents companies in insurance and non-insurance related litigation, class actions, and challenges brought under California's Unfair Competition Law and false advertising laws.
Spencer is the Partner-in-Charge of Hinshaw's Los Angeles office and serves on Hinshaw's seven-member Management Committee, the firm's principle governing body. He also serves on the firm's Executive Committee and Diversity Committee, and previously co-led the firm's Insurance Regulatory Law section.
Prior to joining Hinshaw, Spencer was a partner at Barger & Wolen LLP, a long established and leading California insurance regulatory and litigation firm that merged with Hinshaw in October 2014.
- The State Bar of California
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- Insurance Law Committee, Co-Chair
- Korean American Bar Association of Southern California
Honors & Awards
- Recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Insurance: Insurer – California (Band 4), 2020
A selection of Spencer's representative matters includes:
- Representative Prior Approval Rate Hearings
- In the Matter of the Rate Application of Geo Vera Insurance Company, File No. PA-2007-00008 (2007 EQ Rate Application)
- In the Matter of the Rate Application of Explorer Insurance Company, File No. PA-2007-00013 (2007 PPA Rate Application)
- In the Matter of the Rate Applications of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company et al., File No. PA-2007-00017 (2007 HO Rate Applications)
- In the Matter of the Rate Applications of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company et al., File No. PA-2007-00017 (2007 EQ Rate Applications)
- In the Matter of the Rate Application of Mercury Casualty Company, File No. PA-2009-00009 (2009 HO Rate Applications)
- In the Matter of the Rate Application of California State Automobile Association Inter-Insurance Bureau, File No. PA-2010-00014 (2010 HO Rate Application)
- In the Matter of the Rate Applications of Progressive Advanced Insurance Company, Progressive West Insurance Company, File Nos. 11-5808, 11-5823, 11-5825, 11-5826, 11-5827 (2011 PPA Rate Applications)
- In the Matter of the Rate Application of California Automobile Insurance Company, File No. 2013-00001 (2013 PPA Rate App)
- In the Matter of the Rate Application of Mercury Casualty Company, File No. PA-2013-0004 (2013 HO Rate Applications)
- Representative Administrative Hearings
- In the Matter of Safe-Guard Products International, Inc., File No. VSC 372-AP (Order to Show Cause)
- In the Matter of the Rates, Rating Plans, or Rating Systems of Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange, Mid-Century Insurance Company, File No. NC-03029253 (Notice of Noncompliance)
- In the Matter of the Licenses and Licensing Rights of Riversource Life Insurance Company, CDI File No. UPA 2009-00003 (Order to Show Cause)
- In the Matter of Mercury Insurance Company, Mercury Casualty Company, and California Automobile Insurance Company, File No. NC-03027545 (Notice of Noncompliance and Order to Show Cause)
- Representative Rulemaking Hearings
- 2010 Amendment of Governing Procedures for Noncompliance Hearings (REG-2010-00013) (Public Comment)
- Representative Civil Litigation Matters
- Representing physicians and private corporations in defense against multi-million dollar claims for defamation, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, conspiracy, extortion and interference claims arising from acrimonious partnership dissolution.
- Representing a workers compensation insurer in an attorney fee dispute where law firm sought millions of dollars in fees and damages, which was resolved to client’s satisfaction for fraction of demand.
- Representing vehicle service contract and deficiency waiver provider against a series of putative class actions concerning false advertising and claims handling practices, all of which were resolved in favor of the provide on the merits, by defeat of class certification, and other informal resolution.
- Representing and successfully prosecuting breach of contract and fraud litigation against individual defendants and alter-ego company for recovery of converted funds and unearned commissions owed to company.
- Representing and resolving to clients’ satisfaction state and nationwide class action challenging insurer practices such as the handling of total loss claims, “diminished value” claims, off-set and reimbursement rights relating to medical coverage benefits, auto-body shop “steering” claims, charging of allegedly unlawful contingent commissions and use of continuous coverage discounts.
- Representing workers compensation carriers in prosecuting and recovering premiums owed by companies under loss-sensitive workers compensation policies and programs.
- Notable Decisions and Reported Opinions
- McAlister v. Mercury Ins. Co., 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7731 (2013)
- Grim v. Safe-Guard Products International, 2011 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2475 (2011)
- Hervey v. Mercury Casualty Co. v. Mercury, 185 Cal. App. 4th 954 (2010)
- Medina v. Safe-Guard Products International, Inc., 164 Cal. App. 4th 105 (4th App. Dist, June 19, 2008
- State ex rel. Metz v. Farmers Group, Inc., 156 Cal.App.4th 1063 (2007)
- State of California ex rel. Linda Nee v. Unumprovident Corporation, 140 Cal. App. 4th 442 (2006)
- Farmers Insurance Exchange v. Superior Court, 137 Cal. App. 4th 842 (2006)
Spencer has lectured on the regulation of insurance and class actions. His presentations include:
- "Legal, Governmental and Regulatory Issues Concerning Insurance Coverage Arising Out of COVID-19," National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention, Virtual Event, November 7, 2020
- "(Mostly) Non-COVID 19 California Insurance Litigation and Regulatory Update," Western Region General Counsel Conference, Webinar, July 29, 2020
- "California Rating: News Flashes and New Issues," 30th Annual Western Region General Counsel Conference, Hollywood, California, July 25, 2019
- "Is California Catastrophe Regulation Leading to a Homeowners Rate Crisis?," 30th Annual Western Region General Counsel Conference, Hollywood, California, July 25, 2019
- "Thirty Years After the Passage of Proposition 103," PCI's 29th Annual Western Region General Counsel Seminar, San Diego, California, July 26, 2018
- "News from the Front: Update on Mercury v. Jones," 25th Annual Association of California Insurance Companies' General Counsel Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 2014
- "Mercury v. Jones: Judicial Review of Prior Approval," 24th Annual Association of California Insurance Companies' General Counsel Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 2013
- "Class Action Litigation under the California Unfair Competition Law," CPCU Society, Los Angeles Chapter, Los Angeles, California, January 2011
- "The Regulation and Oversight of Insurance Pricing: Developing Trends in Health and P&C Insurance," Insurance Law Forum, Chicago, Illinois, November 2010
- "Class Action Litigation under the California Unfair Competition Law," CPCU Society, Los Angeles, California, November 2009
- "The Impact of Proposition 64 on Class Actions Against Insurance Companies," 20th Annual ACIC General Counsel Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada August 2009
A selection of Spencer's publications includes:
- "Overview of California Insurance Law," Chapter 1 (Revised and Updated), California Insurance Law and Practice, LexisNexis, 2019
- "The California Insurance Holding Company Act," Chapter 5 (Revised and Updated), California Insurance Law and Practice, LexisNexis, 2019
- "Overview of California Insurance Law," Chapter 1, California Insurance Law and Practice, LexisNexis, 2016
- "Property – Casualty Insurance Ratemaking and Rate Regulation," Chapter 6A, California Insurance Law and Practice, LexisNexis, May 2015
- "Operation of Life and Disability Insurance Carriers," Chapter 29 (Revised), California Insurance Law and Practice, LexisNexis Matthew Bender, September 2013
- "Subrogation," Chapter 53, California Insurance Law and Practice, LexisNexis Matthew Bender, September 2010
- Hinshaw Lawyers Author Article on COVID-19 Insurance Issues and Recent California Insurance Litigation and RegulationsDecember 4, 2020
- April 23, 2020Five Hinshaw Partners Recognized by the Guide
- March 18, 2019
- May 18, 2016Appointments Serve to Re-Generate and Add to Diversity of Firm Leadership
- May 18, 2016
- Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order Creating Rebuttable Presumption of Workers' Compensation Compensability for COVID-19 Work-Place Related IllnessesMay 8, 2020Insights for Insurers
- California Orders Premium Refunds on Policies Exposed to Reduced Risk of Loss Due to COVID-19 Pandemic and Calls for Coverage Extension for Uninsured Delivery Drivers for California Essential BusinessesApril 13, 2020Insights for Insurers