Robert D. Chesler is a shareholder in Anderson Kill's Newark office. Mr. Chesler represents policyholders in a broad variety of coverage claims against their insurers and advises companies with respect to their insurance programs.
A leading participant in the birth of modern insurance law in the early 1980s, Mr. Chesler has earned the reputation as "The Insurance Guru" for exceptional insurance coverage knowledge, and has emerged as a leader in such new areas of insurance coverage as cyber-insurance, D&O, IP, privacy and "green" insurance.
Mr. Chesler has served as the attorney of record in more than 30 reported insurance decisions, representing clients including General Electric, Ingersoll-Rand, Westinghouse, Schering, Chrysler, and Unilever, as well as many small businesses including gas stations and dry cleaners. He has received numerous professional accolades, including a top-tier ranking for Insurance Litigation: New Jersey in Chambers USA: American's Leading Lawyers for Business, which dubs him a "top-notch attorney" and "dominant force in coverage disputes." He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers and Who's Who Legal in the Insurance and Reinsurance section of the publication.
Mr. Chesler is a relentless advocate for his clients in their efforts to obtain coverage from their insurance companies. He has strength in creatively analyzing complex insurance coverage disputes and rapidly driving towards resolution. He has spent his entire career obtaining settlements from insurance companies. He can speak "insurancese" as well as the insurers, and knows how to approach insurance companies, when to talk to them and when to litigate. His depth of experience enables him to distinguish a bad insurance claim from a good one, and understand and implement best strategies for obtaining money for his clients quickly and cost-effectively.
Mr. Chesler taught history at the State University of New York at Purchase and Legal Methods at Harvard University. He currently teaches insurance law at Rutgers Law School. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University and maintains a scholarly interest in insurance. He is co-author of the seminal article Patterns of Judicial Interpretation of Insurance Coverage for Hazardous Waste Site Liability, 18 Rutgers L.J. 9 (1986), which has been cited by numerous courts, including seven state supreme courts and the Second Circuit, along with dozens of other articles on insurance issues. He is co-author of Insurance Coverage for Intellectual Property and Cyber Insurance Claims, published by Thomas West, and is former co-editor in chief of the Environmental Claims Journal. He has chaired seminars on the new cyber-policies and food insurance issues for the ABA and NJSBA, and is currently Chair of the Insurance Sub-Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
- Seeking insurance coverage under the policy's coverage for invasion of the right of private occupancy. A builder's subcontractor made a mistake, and the condo units were too noisy. The builder had to move out the condo owners to effect repairs.
- Obtained coverage for a client that had conducted sand-blasting of containers on its property, resulting in paint flecks that contained lead that allegedly caused groundwater contamination.
- Represented a national retailer that was sued pursuant to a California statute that made it illegal to ask a customer who was paying by credit card for personal information. Successfully obtained coverage under the client's cyber insurance policy.
- Counseling a hotel company that had a major data breach on insurance coverage.
- Pursuing insurance coverage in the case of the President of a company that stuffed ATMs with cash and stole over $50,000,000 from his company.
- Negotiated insurance coverage for an electric company whose customers have sued it in several class actions, asserting that they were overcharged.
- Analyzed and pursued coverage for companies with thousands of asbestos and silica claims filed against them.
- Advised clients on insurance in mergers and acquisitions, and advised companies on their insurance programs.
Mr. Chesler has represented General Electric, Ingersoll-Rand, Westinghouse, Schering, Chrysler, Unilever, gas stations and dry cleaners.
Mr. Chesler is a frequent speaker before the American Bar Association and the New Jersey Bar Association on a wide range of insurance coverage topics. He has also conducted seminars for the EPA, USDA and NJDEP. In the past year, he has spoken on food-related insurance issues at the ABA, NJSBA and New Jersey Food Processors Association.
"Navigating Insurer Affirmative Defenses Against Policyholders in Bad Faith Litigation," Strafford Publications Insurer Bad Faith Set-Up Defense and "Reversal Bad Faith" Claims: Insurer vs. Policyholder Perspectives Webinar, Newark, NJ (January 29, 2014)
"Emerging Issues In Food Industry Liabilities & Insurance Coverage," NJICLE Seminar, New Brunswick, NJ (December 4, 2013)
"Insurance Implications of Data Security," 17th Annual Policyholder Advisor Conference, New York, NY (October 17, 2013) (with Joshua Gold)
"Emerging Issues: Cyber Risk/Computer Related Losses," American Bar Association Property and Insurance Law Committee Annual Spring Meeting - Exclusions and Extensions of Coverage Under the All-Risk Property Policy, Palm Beach Gardens, FL (May 17, 2013)
"What Every In-House Counsel Needs to Know About Data Security," Delaware Valley Association of Corporate Counsel Seminar, Philadelphia, PA (April 23, 2013) (with Darin J. McMullen)
"Maximizing Your Insurance Recovery," AKO's New Jersey Policyholder Advisor Conference, Iselin, NJ (April 18, 2013) (with Steven J. Pudell)
"Defining and Delivering Greater Value to Corporate Clients," Association of Corporate Counsel Value Challenge Program," Seattle, WA (March 21, 2013)
"Mastering Data Breach, ID Theft & Privacy Laws," New Jersey State Bar Association CLE Seminar, New Brunswick, NJ (March 7, 2013) (with Joshua Gold)
"New York/New Jersey Floods/Storm Protection Project," New Jersey Institute of Technology Seminar in Environmental Problem Solving, Newark, NJ (March 5, 2013)
“Emerging Environmental Insurance Products and Issues as Well as Methods to Avoid Expensive Litigation,” Pace University School of Law, Center for Continuing Legal Education, White Plains, NY (February 22, 2013)
"Rebuilding New Jersey: Insurance Issues and Superstorm Sandy," Moderator, NJICLE Webinar, New Brunswick, NJ (February 21, 2013) (with Dennis J. Artese)
"An Overview of Insurance Considerations Created by Hurricane Sandy: Important Information for Lawyers and Their Clients," Essex County Bar Foundation, West Orange, NJ (December 17, 2012)
"Food Adulteration: Is It Preventable?," FX Conference Live Event, Newark, NJ (November 29, 2012)
"Environmental Insurance Today," Industry Breakout Sessions: Important Issues Affecting Key Industries, 16th Annual Policyholder Advisor Conference, New York, NY (October 25, 2012) (with Charles T. Lee and John G. Nevius)
Mr. Chesler has co-authored the seminal law review article "Patterns of Judicial Interpretation of Insurance Coverage for Hazardous Waste Site Liability" (Rutgers Law Journal); co-authored a book on "Assets & Finance: Insurance Coverage for Intellectual Property and Cyber Claims," (West Pub.); co-authored a chapter in the ABA book, "Environmental Liability and Insurance Recovery" and has published over 25 articles in 2011 and 2012. He is also the former co-editor in chief of the Environmental Claims Journal.
"New Decisions Affect Contribution and Allocation Causes of Action in New Jersey," New Jersey Law Journal, Vol. 214, No. 9 (December 2, 2013) and Anderson Kill New Jersey Alert (October 2013) (with Steven J. Pudell and Anna M. Piazza)
"Will New Jersey Policyholders Win Better Bad Faith Laws in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy?," Property Casualty 360 (November 1, 2013) and Anderson Kill New Jersey Alert (October 2013) (with Steven J. Pudell and Beth D. Simon)
"Insurance Broker Liability: What Constitutes a 'Special Relationship'?," New York Law Journal (May 2, 2013) (with Finley T. Harckham and Matthew F. Putorti)
"No Use Denying over Spilled Milk," Food Manufacturing Magazine (March 5, 2013) (with Steven J. Pudell and Kathleen F. Donovan)
"Who, What, When, Where, How? NJ Insurance Cases Of 2012," Law360 (January 17, 2013) (with Steven J. Pudell and Beth D. Simon)
"Commentary: Lessons From Recent Decisions on Bad Faith Litigation," Insurance Journal (December 12, 2012) (with Nicholas R. Maxwell)
"Year-End Review of New Jersey Insurance Case Law," AKO New Jersey Alert (December 2012) (with Steven J. Pudell and Beth D. Simon)
"Post-Sandy Flood Damage: Insurance Brokers May Be Liable," Law360 (December 3, 2012) (with Matthew F. Putorti)
"Bad Faith Litigation Against Insurance Companies Rages Across the Country," AKO Policyholder Advisor (November/December 2012) (with Nicholas R. Maxwell)
"NY High Court Chips Away At Broker Liability Shield," Law360 (March 3, 2014)
"Calif. Reinforces Broker Shield Against Policyholder Suits," Law360 (November 20, 2013)
"Fate Of Significant Sandy-Inspired Bills Still Uncertain," Law360 (October 29, 2013)
"NJ Ruling Protects Insureds From Insolvent Carrier Gaps," Law360 (October 10, 2013)
"Brokers Catching Heat For Sandy Coverage Headaches In NJ," Law360 (July 3, 2013)
"Brokers Facing Sandy Lawsuits," Risk & Insurance (June 10, 2013) (with Matthew F. Putorti)
"New Jersey Cases To Watch In 2013," Law360 (January 1, 2013)
"After the Storm, Suits Roll In," The Wall Street Journal (December 27, 2012)
"Guiding clients after the storm, insurance agencies brace for life after Sandy," The Star-Ledger (November 25, 2012)
"As Demand For Recall Policies Surges, Coverage Obstacles Lurk," Law360 (October 25, 2012)
"The difference between privacy claims under general liability policies and cyber insurance policies in light of Arch Insurance Co. v. Michaels Stores Inc.," Law360 (June 11, 2012)
"The increasing need for data breach insurance coverage across all industries," Law360 (March 13, 2012)
"Insurance policy options for food and beverage manufacturers who may require more protection under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act," Controlling Engineering (February 15, 2012)
"How the new Food Safety and Modernization Act will increase the demand and cost for product recall insurance," Risk & Insurance (January 10, 2012)
"Changes in general liability insurance policies brought on by increased risks in the age of social media," Risk & Insurance (June 1, 2011)
"Lawyers' and law firms' need for cyber insurance policies, which provides coverage for intangibles such as identity theft and IP infringement--claims that general policies do not cover," Lawyers USA (July 21, 2010)
"Does a Subpoena Constitute a Claim for Purposes of D&O Insurance Coverage," The D&O Diary (January 21, 2009) (with Cindy Sonenblick)
"The growth of cyber insurance, a new form of coverage for intangible Internet-based property loss," Lawyers USA (April 21, 2008)
"The Chubb Federal Insurance case against Skyy Spirits and its effect on business owners' perception on the value of liability coverage," NJBiz (June 27, 2005)
Chair, Intellectual Property Insurance Sub-Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association; American Bar Association; Insurance Subcommittee of Litigation Section; TIPS; Essex County Bar Association: Insurance Committee; and the New Jersey State Bar Association; Insurance Section; Co-Chair, Food & Beverage Subcommittee of the ABA Section of Litigation Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee.
Founding Member, American College of Coverage and Extra-Contractual Counsel
Harvard Law School, J.D. (cum laude)
Princeton University, Ph.D.
Princeton University, M.A.
Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, B.A. (summa cum laude)