Damon N. Vocke

Partner

  • Damon N. Vocke
  • Phone: +1 212 692 1059

    Damon N. Vocke - LinkedIn Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    1540 Broadway
    New York, NY 10036-4086
    USA

Damon Vocke is a seasoned trial lawyer and business counselor, and focuses his practice in complex insurance and reinsurance coverage, class actions, high exposure arbitration and litigation matters, regulatory disputes and corporate governance. He serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Insurance & Reinsurance industry group. Mr. Vocke has extensive experience with insurance regulatory and compliance, corporate governance, C-suite problem solving and internal investigations

Mr. Vocke previously served as President and General Counsel of General Re Corporation, from 2004 to 2016, where he had executive responsibilities for a $6 billion business across 30 countries. He was also Chairman of a Lloyd’s syndicate (Faraday, Syndicate 435), Chairman of the Supervisory Board of a German affiliate (Gen Re AG) and Chairman of United States Aviation Underwriters in New York. In his capacity as Group General Counsel of Gen Re, Mr. Vocke also had responsibility for all corporate legal, regulatory, governance, compliance, company-wide compliance training, and global claims. Both for Gen Re and for major (re)insurance clients, Mr. Vocke has led high-profile (re)insurance disputes, regulatory matters across the globe, internal investigations, and white-collar criminal defense. Mr. Vocke has handled various regulatory, civil and criminal matters before the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the SEC, OFAC, the New York Dept. of Financial Services, the Illinois Ins. Dept., the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (State of Washington), the California Ins. Dept., the Prudential Regulatory Authority (UK), the BaFin (Germany), APRA (Australia), and others.

Mr. Vocke holds both an undergraduate degree (with high distinction) and a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan. He is a director of the World Affairs Forum.

Areas of Practice

  • Insurance and Reinsurance

  • Insurance Regulatory and Compliance

  • Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations

  • White-Collar Criminal Defense

Representative Matters

  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice, which was unanimously affirmed by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, on behalf of one of the nation’s leading auto insurers in a class action lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging breach of contract and consumer fraud based on alleged “excessive” profits the insurer earned during the pandemic in not refunding or crediting those profits to policyholders. The court held that private litigants have no legal right to collaterally attack these business practices because they fall within the exclusive domain of the financial services regulator of the State of New York.

  • Represented GEICO in obtaining a class action dismissal with prejudice brought against them in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, in a case centered on claims that GEICO allegedly charged “excessive” premiums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Represented Markel Corporation in securing a summary judgment in the New York Supreme Court against a Texas-based hedge fund, in which the Court determined that a term sheet was not a final, binding and enforceable contract relating to the attempted purchase and assignment of subrogation claims against California utility companies arising from the 2017/2018 California wildfires.

  • Represented GEICO in a prevailing writ of mandamus before the Supreme Court of Nevada, which invalidated a statute, on constitutional separation of powers grounds, that had permitted plaintiffs’ lawyers or their representatives to attend independent medical exams, which can affect the independence of the exam and lead to mischief and intimidation by the plaintiffs’ bar.

  • Represented APCIA, the largest insurance trade association in the United States, in successfully persuading a Washington state superior court to grant a motion for summary judgment to invalidate an emergency regulation by the Washington Insurance Commissioner to ban the use of credit history in insurance underwriting, a ban predicated on the contention that credit reporting safeguards for consumers during the pandemic resulted in unfair discrimination. Successfully argued that the Commissioner failed to establish the requisite good cause necessary to adopt an emergency regulation without tangible evidence of unfair discrimination.

  • Secured dismissal with prejudice of a Pennsylvania restaurant’s proposed class action seeking business interruption coverage from National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., for losses due to the pandemic and government shut down orders.

Admissions

  • New York
  • Connecticut

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1989
  • University of Michigan, B.A., with highest distinction, 1985

Experience

  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2018-present

  • Vocke Law Group LLP
    - Managing Partner, 2016-2017

  • General Re Corporation
    - President and Global General Counsel, 2004-2016

  • Lord, Bissell & Brook
    - Associate/Partner, 1989-2004

Professional Activities

  • Federal Bar Council

  • American Bar Association

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2021-2023

Selected Publications

  • Co-author, "Subrogation and Related Implications Following Natural Catastrophes," ARIAS Quarterly Journal, September 2019

  • Co-author, "Anticipating Insurance Issues Raised By Climate Change Suits," Law360, August 22, 2019 

  • Co-author, "6 Upcoming Supreme Court Cases That Will Affect Insurance," Law360, July 19, 2018

  • Co-author, "Functus Officio: Because All Things Must Come to Pass, the Real Question Is, on What Terms?" ARIAS Quarterly Journal, March 2018

  • “Courts Are in Conflict Over Arbitration Forum Battles,” National Law Journal, June 7, 1999

  • “Arbitration Clause Interpretation,” National Law Journal, September 22, 1997

Media Hits

  • Quoted, "2nd Circ. Skeptical of Misrepresentations in Geico Refund Suit," Law360, May 17, 2022
  • Quoted, "Future Pandemic Risk Pools Will Be Shallow, Not Deep," InsuranceERM, November 18, 2021
  • Quoted, "Judge Halts Wash. Insurance Chief's Emergency Credit Rule," Law360 Insurance Authority, October 13, 2021
  • Quoted, "Arts Groups Fight Their Insurers Over Coverage on Virus Losses," New York Times, May 5, 2020
  • Quoted in "Preparedness & Recovery," Michigan Law Quadrangle, Spring/Summer 2018

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, "Washington Litigation on CBIS Emergency Rule," American Property Casualty Insurance Company Virtual Western Region General Counsel Conference, July 28, 2021
  • Panelist, "COVID Panel: Insights on Epidemic and Pandemic Risk from an Epidemiologic Point of View,"  Reinsurance Association of America, March 23, 2021
  • Speaker, "28th Annual Property & Casualty Insurance Symposium," Insurance Council of Texas, Webinar, October 6, 2020
  • Speaker, "Evolving Liability Conference 2020," The Geneva Association, Webinar, October 6, 2020
  • Speaker, "Disparate Impact & Rate Differentiation: A New Paradigm?" National General Counsel Conference, American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Webinar, September 21-22, 2020
  • Presenter, "Legal Implications for the Insurance Industry Relating to COVID-19," Reinsurance Association of America, Webinar, April 2, 2020
  • Speaker, "Insurance: 2019 Game Changers," Renaissance Re, October 30, 2019

  • Speaker, "Hedge Funds, Subrogation Claims, PG&E, and (Continuing) Wildfires," Reinsurance Association of America, October 29, 2019

  • Speaker, "Insurers Beware: Key Emerging Issues in 2019 & Beyond," APCIA National General Counsel Conference, Baltimore, September 24, 2019

  • Speaker, "California Wildfires," Philadelphia Lunch and Learn, Brokers & Reinsurance Markets Association, May 1, 2019

  • Co-presenter, "Legal & Insurance Implications of the 2017/18 California Wildfires," New York City, March 6, 2019

  • Presenter, "Crisis Management: Tool Kit for In-House Counsel," Markel Corporation, January 16, 2019

  • "Game Changers: Mass/Class Actions on Climate Change, Opioid, and Molestation Litigation," RAA Law, Claims, and Underwriting Committees, Washington, D.C., December 13, 2018

  • "Employee Misconduct, Escalation, Internal Investigations, and Compliance Best Practices," Rabobank Legal, New York, December 11, 2018

  • “Key Coverage Issues”, PCI General Counsel Conference, Boston, September 24, 2018

  • "Opioids," RAA Discussion Series, Hamilton, Bermuda, September 20, 2018

  • "Political and Regulatory Activism Risks,"  Munich Re, Princeton, New Jersey, July 16, 2018

  • "Dealing with Corporate Crisis," The Directors Roundtable, New York, June 28, 2018

  • “Regulatory Activism and its Impact on the Insurance Industry,” CLE Presentation to Swiss Re, Armonk, New York, April 18, 2018

  • “Implications of the New General Data Protection Regulation (EU) and How You Can Prepare,” RAA Webinar, October 2017

  • “General Counsel Crisis Management Toolkit,” PCI Northeast General Counsel Seminar, Philadelphia, September 18-19, 2017

  • “D&O Emerging Risks: Cyber, Regulatory Investigations & Whistleblowers,” Association of Corporate Counsel, September 13, 2017

  • “Emerging Legal Issues: Cyber, D&O, Talc Liability, and Class Actions,” RAA Underwriting Conference, New York City, September 7, 2017

  • “Class Actions: Emerging Issues & Game Changers,” RAA Law and Claims Committees, March 23, 2017

  • “Law Enforcement Interrogations,” Federal Bar Council, February 23, 2017

  • “Day at Lloyds III,” ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, New York, February 7, 2017

  • “Impact of Regulation on the Life & Health Industry,” National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA) Annual Meeting, October 2013

  • “Financial Stability and Systemic Significance,” NAIC’s International Insurance Forum, Washington, D.C., May 2013

  • “Business and Legal Challenges to Corporate Management and Directors: Facing Domestic & International Enforcement,” Directors Roundtable, The Yale Club, New York City, May 2012

  • “Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Law,” Federal Bar Council, February 2011

  • “Key Issues Facing Boards of Directors: Global Securities Enforcement & Litigation,” Directors Roundtable, The Harvard Club, New York City, October 2009

  • “International Investigations,” Federal Bar Council, February 2009

  • “Responding to Parallel Proceedings: A View From The Eye of the Storm,” ABA Criminal Justice Section, Third Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud, Washington, D.C., October 2008

  • “A Commercial Case - Do I Want To Be in State or Federal Court (or Arbitration)?” The New York State Judicial Institute, CLE Program for State of New York Supreme Court Justices, Commercial Division, June 2008

  • “Where To Go For Relief: Federal Court, State Court, or Arbitration,” Federal Bar Council, January 2008

  • “Lawyer's Role in Corporate Governance,” Federal Bar Council, February 2007

  • “The Modern Law Firm and Professionalism,” Federal Bar Council, February 2007

  • “Responding to a Government Investigation,” Business Council, Inc., Member Conference, October 2006

  • “Crisis Management - Corporate Counsel's Role in Government and Public Relations,” Mealey's Corporate Counsel Conference, September 2006

  • “How to Improve the U.S. Arbitration System,” American Conference Institute, September 2006

  • “Financial Ratings and Trigger Clauses - What Does the Future Hold?” Mealey's Reinsurance Roundtable, April 2005

  • “Arbitration Developments,” Legal Education Institute Seminar on Civil Litigation, January 2000