Deborah Vennos

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Deb Vennos is a trial lawyer and a member of the Insurance + Reinsurance Group. Her extensive scientific experience (explained below) and experience in insurance coverage litigation provides a unique background for representation of insurers in complex insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, which typically involve a “case within a case.” Deb has advised and defended insurers in a wide range of coverage disputes, including, most recently, the defense of a $27 million business interruption and $150 million bad faith claim arising from Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in a voluntary dismissal after five years of litigation. She has also defended numerous multimillion-dollar coverage actions relating to corrosive imported drywall, catastrophic losses to manufacturing and industrial facilities, losses involving construction defects and mold contamination, sinkholes, fire and explosion losses, landfill business losses, and design defect claims.

Deb’s parents were strong believers of education being an important means of protection in the world, thus excelling at school was expected from her and her siblings. Deb completed college at the age of 18, graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry from Towson State University in Baltimore, Maryland. She then went on to complete her master’s degree in chemistry at the age of 20 from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. By the age of 22, she was awarded a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell. Deb’s Ph.D. in chemistry provides a solid foundation for her focus on litigation matters involving scientific and engineering principles. After earning her Ph.D., she worked as a post-doctoral fellow at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey where she performed research in the development of new materials for use as optical fibers.

After her post-doctoral work, Deb decided to take a break from traditionally academic interests, and became a professional paid firefighter in upstate New York. She became a certified fire and arson investigator in addition to her full time work as an on-line firefighter. After 6 ½ years of firefighting, she decided to move on and go to Cornell Law School where she received her J.D.

When she is not reading cases and writing briefs, she likes to be outdoors with her children. Deb also loves gymnastics, and enjoyed seeing all of the talented and dedicated young men and women compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Next up, Rio!

Read Deb’s rc.com bio.

Latest Articles

We have written on the topic of late notice a number of times. Typical property insurance policies require that the insured notify its carrier of a loss promptly. The purposes of such a provision include allowing an insurer to investigate a claim close in time to the occurrence so as to ensure that it is able to gather all the relevant facts associated with the reported loss and to ensure that it has adequate…
Recently, the Texas legislature acted to curb abusive lawsuits filed by insureds as a result of hailstorm and other property insurance claims.  According to the Executive Director of The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions (TCAIS), the sheer quantity of abusive lawsuits filed against insurers in Texas was affecting the “availability and affordability of homeowners insurance in [a] state where consumers suffer more loss from natural hazards on an ongoing basis than anywhere else in
The terms and conditions of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”) are specified by regulations promulgated under the National Flood Insurance Act (“NFIA”). One of the terms in the SFIP provides that the insured cannot sue the flood carrier unless the insured has complied with all requirements of the policy and the insured must “start the suit within one year after the date of the written denial of all or part of the claim, and…
Suit limitation provisions in insurance policies shorten the statutory period of time that a plaintiff may bring a suit against an insurer for certain causes of action. A New York court recently held that an appraisal award issued a few months after the suit limitation expired was unenforceable where the insured failed to file suit before the suit limitation expired. MZM Real Estate Corp. v. Tower Ins. Co. of New York, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS
When an insurer finds that the insured misrepresented a material fact in an application for insurance, the insurer may rescind the policy of insurance, and take the position that no coverage exists for a claimed loss. In a recent case analyzed by New York’s Second Department, Otsego Mutual rescinded its policy of insurance with the insured after a fire loss and after Otsego Mutual determined that the insured stated in the application for insurance that…
We have discussed on a number of occasions the issue of causation when there are multiple causes of loss, some covered and some not covered. Most jurisdictions apply what is known as the efficient proximate cause analysis with a minority of jurisdictions applying the concurrent causation analysis, both of which are explained on our blog here. The Florida Supreme Court issued a decision last week applying the concurrent causation theory in a case where…
In National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Aspen Specialty Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16074 (2d. Cir. Aug. 31, 2016), Amtrak sought the entire $675 million of available coverage from a number of its insurers for damages incurred as a result of Superstorm Sandy.  Most of Amtrak’s damages resulted from flooding of tunnels under the East and Hudson Rivers.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the insurers finding that the damages caused by…
Back in March, our Data Privacy + Security Insider blog reported an increase in the use of commercial drones by State Departments of Transportation across the country. Now, insurance companies are also getting in the game. Using drones for underwriting, determining property values and conditions for policy issuance, inspections and risk evaluations may be more economical, may provide for better response times for inspections of insureds’ properties during a catastrophe, and may increase the safety…
Back in March, our Data Privacy + Security Insider blog reported an increase in the use of commercial drones by State Departments of Transportation across the country. Now, insurance companies are also getting in the game. Using drones for underwriting, determining property values and conditions for policy issuance, inspections and risk evaluations may be more economical, may provide for better response times for inspections of insureds’ properties during a catastrophe,  and may increase the safety…
On April 6, 2016, New York’s Second Department issued a decision in Provencal, LLC v. Tower Insurance Company of New York, 2016 N.Y. App. LEXIS 2529 (Apr. 6, 2016) holding that an insurer does not waive application of an exclusion in an insurance policy if the insurer omits the language of the exclusion in the declination letter. In Provencal, the parties stipulated that heavy rains and run off from a neighboring property caused the insured’s…